Re: DSM: Majority Rule vs. Consensus

Jerome Mintz (
Sun, 30 Jan 2000 17:34:30 -0500 (EST)

Dear Dan:
What you say is obviously true, and anyone who has experienced this
process would know that. But at Shaker Mountain we did have a system in
which the minority was polled after a vote was taken, wherupon any member
of the community could ask for a revote. When this happened, we usually
came up with a better proposal.

Unfortunately the article, Shaker Mountain Democracy has somehow become
unlinked from our website. Until I can get it put it back I'll just have
to send
it to people individually, as I have been doing. Those who'd like to see
it can write to me at it can write to me at

Jerry Mintz
800 769-4171

On Tue, 25 Jan 2000 wrote:

> In a message dated 1/24/2000, Jerry Mintz talked about his Shaker Mountain
> School, in which, he says, << We evolved a system slightly different from SVS
> in which the minority is not ignored. >>
> I have been reading the exchanges about different forms of decision-making
> with interest. This debate has probably gone on from the dawn of time, in
> the earliest tribal communities organized by homo sapiens. I doubt that it
> will ever be concluded that one form of decision-making is the only right one
> for everybody.
> But it is essential in these discussions to be careful in making blanket
> statements. To imply that the system Sudbury Valley School uses -
> parliamentary democracy, run according to Robert's Rules as modified by the
> School Meeting - is one in which the minority is "ignored", is to display an
> utter lack of knowledge of SVS's School Meeting, a body with a continuous
> history of some 32 years, with a highly developed culture, and with a process
> that not only has served a school whose size has varied from 60 to 220, but
> has done so with a sensitivity towards every individual position, put forth
> by members of all ages (from 4 and up), a sensitivity that I have not seen
> matched or approached in any deliberative or decision-making body in which I
> have been involved over a period of some fifty years.
> Please, say what you will about this or that process, but don't judge a
> community that has chosen one particular way to reach decisions unless you
> have extensive experience in that community, and can speak from intimate
> knowledge of the community.
> Dan Greenberg, Sudbury Valley School

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