Re: DSM: Majority Rule vs. Consensus

Scott David Gray (
Sun, 23 Jan 2000 09:00:32 -0500

I have been part of meetings run by consensus, and meetings run by Robert's
Rules. Consensus is VERY coercive. In practice, a consensus meeting says to
the minority "we don't get to end this meeting until you CONSENT to what the
majority wants". I have felt obliged to depart more than one group, because
I was made to feel uncomfortable and unwanted when I refused to CONSENT to
things I thought were wrong. In a regular Parliamentary Meeting, I am never
denied my right to voice my objection, maintain that the majority is wrong,
and yet submit to the will of the majority. As a perpetual member of the
minority in many gatherings, I cannot tolerate the intrinsic DISRESPECT of
my individuality that comes from a consensus style meeting.

The most fundamental right of any minority, is the right to stand by and let
the majority do what it will without ever letting go of their personal
belief that the majority is wrong.

Consensus equals government by the stubborn, and encourages people to act as
rubber stamps.

As far as discussions being ended as soon as it is clear that a motion will
get the majority, advise that your collegues actually read Robert's Rules --
the rights of the minority to be heard are taken very seriously (much more
so than in any consensus meeting in which I've participated). Shee

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

-- Scott David Gray
Phone: 508/650-9639
ICQ: 27291292

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