Re: Sudbury as community

Coby Smolens (
Wed, 9 Apr 1997 03:53:12 -0700

Dear Dale,

All the harping on the state of Democracy as it now exists (or doesn't,
according to your recent posts) is off the mark. It is of little
consequence whether big corporations, unions, churches or governments
are democratically run. It is not the goal of a SV modeled school to
stamp out little cogs that fit comfortably into these institutions. It
was for another set of purposes entirely that the SV model came into

(However, for the sake of accuracy, I send along the definition of the
word, according to Webster:

1. Government by the people. A form of government in which supreme power
is retained by the people.
2. Government by popular representation. A form of government in which
supreme power is retained by the people but is indirectly exercised
through a system of representation and delegated authority periodically
renewed. A constitutional representative government. A republic.

Sorta sounds like the US of A would fit in definition #2 without even

I agree, however, that in practice, most of the world, including lots of
our corner of it, falls short of the mark, if pure democracy is the
goal. I can't quite tell by your writing whether you think real
democracy would be a good idea and you are disappointed that it hasn't
worked, or if you think it's a stupid idea that can't work and you're
annoyed that people are wasting their time with it.

In either case you don't seem to have a very clear notion of the
relationship of democracy to a Sudury modeled school, or its ( <-OK
Charles?) practice therein, for all the hundreds of dollars you have
spent on the literature. The 501(c)3 designation can be found in the
second paragraph of Article II of the SVS By-laws, by the way.

The School meeting (check the By-laws, Article VI, The School Meeting,
and the School Meeting Lawbook) is a business meeting in every real and
traditional sense, right down to Roberts Rules of Order. The fact is
that the School is a corporation owned in common by all its members. All
matters of policy and it's implementation are decided by majority vote
of the Meeting. Those in the minority are entitled to marshall their
arguments, form voting blocks, return to the fray again. Happens all the
time in board meetings I've been party to.

The decisions that are being made on a daily basis are business and
political decisions. When a member or group of members wish to pursue a
particular goal, often they will form a sub-corporation to carry it out,
with officers, meetings, the works. Not all the members will participate
in the process -- it is of course entirely up to the interested
individual to do so -- but imagine the impact on those who choose to.

This sounds to me like a VERY good way for people to grow up who may
have occasion to: start a business; go into higher education; work in
deal with any form of beaurocracy; be in any kind of long-term

OK, gotta go,