Re: DSM: Majority Rule vs. Consensus

Joseph Roach (
Sun, 23 Jan 2000 04:57:56 -0800 (PST)

Greetings Martin,

Joe Roach from The New School in Delaware here.

Consensus always sound benign, doesn't it?
Personally, I find consensus to be a very subtle,
insidious form of coersion. Children often disagree
with each other -- sometimes for personal reasons,
sometimes for reasons of principle... I want a child
to be free to disagree.

In any democratic organization, a great weakness can
the unfettered rule of the majority. Good
organization building means ensuring the rights of
people who may find themselves in a minority. Such
rights can be guarded through the charter or by-laws
of the school. Consensus-building can be every bit as
unfair as majority rule.

Good luck and best regards,

Joe Roach
The New School
Newark, Delaware

--- Martin Wilke <> wrote:
> Hi all,
> I and three parents are going to (try to) start a
> non-coercive school in
> Berlin. On our first informal meeting we found that
> we have quite
> different ideas of how decisions should be made in a
> non-coercive
> school.
> While I think majority should decide they insist on
> consensus. Their
> main argument is that the majority would oppress the
> minority. That
> discussions would be ended as soon as it is clear
> that a motion will get
> a majority, and thus the minority would simply be
> ignored. What
> experience do you have in School Meetings or
> Assemblies with this point?
> Martin Wilke
Do You Yahoo!?
Talk to your friends online with Yahoo! Messenger.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Tue Sep 26 2000 - 14:58:24 EDT