Re: DSM: Majority Rule vs. Consensus

Melissa Tyson (
Thu, 27 Jan 2000 18:49:06 GMT

Does anyone know of any essays or the like expounding upon the idea that
neither our democratic government nor its citizens should object so
vehemently to a school based on freedom and democratic principles?

You know --specifically.


>From: Joseph Roach <>
>Subject: Re: DSM: Majority Rule vs. Consensus
>Date: 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
> >
> >
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