NYC General Assembly’s Awesometageous Facilatator Training


40 min. Oct. 9th (already a tiny bit dated)
The first 1:40 is a recap of consensus seeking and history, you can skip it if you want.
The next 9 minutes covers the core concepts very well.
The next 10 or so walks you through a NYC general assembly.

The most important concept is that consensual decisions don't just seek a super-majority.
Consensus seeking means that we attempt to address every viewpoint and objection, so that when it comes time to vote, no vote is actually needed.
Modification is sometimes made to full consensus to allow a few to stand aside, or even block it, on the assumption that there will be plants present to block everything useful. 

WI Green Party allows something like 2 blocks, or 3 stand asides or blocks. In Greater Milwaukee GP there is also a 2/3 majority vote to go to a 3/4 majority rules vote to overide the blocking concerns. To my knowledge, the later process has not been used in the decade+ since being decided upon by a modified consensus of 32 for, with 1 blocking vote, and one stand aside.

In NYC GA, it's a straight up 90% vote, not a bad choice for such a huge crowd.

The main difference is that minority concerns are treated, as much as possible, as majority concerns.
Majority rule is coercive and combative, consensus attempts to reconcile and compromise so that everyone continues to hold a stake in the communal enterprise.
Before calling for a vote everyone must be heard, and given a chance to offer a compromise they can fully support.

Retaining a blocking vote as a result of not getting your way is also more serious than just not having full support. 
It generally is a "I'm gonna walk" level of concern when one blocks a critical vote. 
A block should imply that you have a distinct and genuine distaste for the proposal.

It can take an excrutiating amount of time to get a group of newbies started on consensus (it often seems).
But once the habit takes, daily decisions are much quicker and more fully resolved. 

People have to lose the habit of counting the majority votes and learn to count the opposition(s).

The hardest part for some is learning patience, second is feeling your neighbors' pain.
These are good things to practice anyways.

The ever present dangers of groupthink, expertise-ism, and loud white males (like myself), are actually greater to/in consensus seeking!
If not guarded against these can wreck meetings, decisions, relations, and organizations. The flip side is that there are more eyes on the prize.

I'll let the vid tell you how OWS does it, I wanted to get my advice out there before being contaminated by the bright new shiny, so I haven't watched it yet…

Wow!! Facilitator Working Group! vibe checks, lots of trial and error, and many mechanisms, like gestures, so universal you can use them at a concert or a Robert's Rules of Order proceeding. 

It doesn't cover some of the new things the same guy covered Oct. 18 on the GlobalRevolution Livestream, like the caucuses' blocking vote. 
A block by a minority identity caucus is the end of a proposal if a compromise cannot be reached. 

A lot of this, like platoons of facilitator auxiliaries, caucuses, and putting everything through working groups, won't find much use real soon in WI, but it's good to know it's there when we need it, and it'll be better, with more options, by then.
The genie is definitely out of the bottle in the USA.

Consensus (Direct Democracy @ Occupy Wall Street) 8:26
the too short but more inspiring version.

Monte Letourneau, WIGP Rec. Sec.

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