Let's Practice Sociocracy (Consensus decision making) ONLINE (TO SAVE THE WORLD!)

IC’s & FIC’s.
I think increasing numbers of intentional communities are trying Sociocracy for decision making. And I think Sociocracy is probably the best decision-making method that there is.
I don’t know if FIC has started using it yet, but I hope any FIC members may like to discuss it here. And any other members of intentional communities or potential members I hope may like to discuss it too.
I learned about Sociocracy in 2005 and then I started a chat group where close to ten people discussed it in a chat room about once a week for a few months. It was people from several continents, so it was hard to find a time of day that was workable for everyone, but it did work out pretty well.
I’d like to do something similar again soon. I like Chatzy dot com, but a member of our previous group recommended a different chat room website and that’s what we used at that time.
I’m also a little involved in Robert F. Kennedy, Jr’s presidential campaign. He switched from the Democratic Party to Independent a month or so ago, because the Party wasn’t letting him have a place on Primary ballots. I don’t consider him a perfect candidate, but his platform is the best that I know of for a leading candidate.
I’m near St. Louis and a local supporter & friend suggested that we start a New Party for RFKJ and other like-minded candidates. I think that’s a good idea and I suggested that it be called the Equality and Freedom Party, because this friend said those are the main needs, and I agree with that.
And I think Sociocracy would be the best organizational method for the new Party. So I’d like to discuss all of this with everyone. I plan to write more here on the subject shortly.

Following is part of a message I thought I might send to RFKJ supporters.

As hinted at by Lloyd Sloan, we could call a new party (for RFKJ) the Equality and Freedom Party, or something like that, because power in society needs to be distributed more equally, with freedom from oppression for all.

According to {some sources} … the Occupy Wall Street movement … used a modified consensus process, where participants attempted to reach consensus and then dropped to a 9/10 vote if consensus was not reached(1). This process was used by the general assembly, which was the main OWS decision-making body(1). The consensus process was also influenced by the online collective, {called} Anonymous, which had a role in organizing and supporting the movement(2).

  1. https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Occupy_Wall_Street
  2. https://www.theguardian. com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/sep/27/occupy-wall-street-anonymous
  3. https://time. com/6117696/occupy-wall-street-10-years-later/
  4. https://www.britannica. com/topic/Occupy-Wall-Street

The U.S. first organized under unanimous rule with the Articles of Confederation, so they had the right idea. Although, at that time, it was found to be unworkable under the prevailing conditions of the colonies. When the new government was instituted under the Constitution, jury trials were required to make decisions by unanimous rule. And jury trials were initially important for judging the justness of laws. So society has some positive experience with consensus.

How well has Majority Rule worked out for the U.S.? Not well at all. It’s pretty easy for power abusers to use propaganda techniques to persuade a majority of the people to accept their views. 51% majority rule is the most abusive. 99% is least abusive. It’s hard to reach 100%; however, it’s not hard to come up with proposals that no one reasonedly objects to, especially if groups making decisions are not too large. No-objections decision making is doable.

If RFK Jr is a real Progressive, he should easily be persuaded that adopting consensus throughout government is the way to end abuse of power. Some states have passed laws requiring a 2/3 vote to increase taxes etc. That’s progress toward 99%. Majority rule in legislatures won’t change easily, but if we start a new political party, it would be much easier to adopt consensus there. And if the party is successful, that would show that consensus is effective.

For the past 20 years various organizations and businesses have been scientifically experimenting with and developing a consensus decision making, or unanimous rule, process that is much more effective than previous methods. It’s called sociocracy, or in some cases holacracy. If we want real change for the good in our world, such as maybe by electing RFK Jr, do we not owe it to ourselves to find the most effective ways to organize and do activism?

Following is info from SOFA about sociocracy. I’ll include some more info in the next post.

SOFA: Sociocracy For All
Sociocracy For All (SoFA) is a nonprofit that helps organizations, communities, workplaces and collectives to learn how to organize in a decentralized way and make their decisions with equity, efficiency, empowerment, trust and transparency using sociocracy.
Our aim is to promote sociocracy locally and globally as a sustainable way of governance. We do this by innovating, by making decisions together and sharing what we learn!
Free & Open Source Contents
Sociocracy offers a way out of power control/dynamics by:

  • Providing a more horizontal structure
  • Guidance with processes that help agents of change become resilient
  • Helping groups work more equitably, taking everyone’s needs into account.
    At SoFA our mission is to make sociocracy accessible to everyone by creating communities of practice, sharing materials, training and resources for learning and implementing it widely and freely.
    Get someone to help your organization use sociocracy
    Sociocracy makes organizations and groups more inclusive because
    With sociocracy all voices matter!
    We chose sociocracy because we believe that the world will be better when people learn to share power and engage together to meet their individual and collective needs in an equitable way, with respect for all living beings.
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I hope this isn’t too much to read, but the following seems worth reading too.

SoFA dreams of a world where people are organized to meet needs by sharing power. In order to realize that vision, our mission is to make resources for learning and implementing sociocracy accessible to everyone.
Part 1:
Sociocracy for All is for everything that supports our capacity and freedom to engage as equals in meeting our individual and collective needs. We aim to bring sociocracy to the world because sociocracy establishes “power with” and creates the conditions where “power within” can flourish. This is in contrast to governance based on “power over”, such as tyranny of the majority by win-lose democracy or tyranny of the minority by poorly defined consensus processes. Sociocracy is an approach to governance where everyone’s voice matters.
Sociocracy for All objects to all systems of oppression resulting from “power over”. This includes militarism, imperialism, colonialism, extractive capitalism, classism, racism, sexism and every kind of system of oppression that is based on the idea that one kind of people is inherently worth more than another kind.
Sociocracy for All is for a just world in which “power with” results in everyone having what they need to thrive. We seek to work with others who share our vision of a world based on cooperation among equals in support of contributing to everyone’s needs and the well-being of the planet.
Sociocracy for All recognizes that the capacity to practice “power with” comes from individual capacity for “power within”. Even within a sociocratic organization, we are not the same. We all have our history and contexts that contributed to privileging or diminishing our voices. To bring equity to our voices, Sociocracy For All commits to the ongoing learning and development of all our members towards their full potential.
Part 2:
The Gifts and Challenges of Sociocracy in Relationship to Social Justice
The gifts: How is sociocracy non-oppressive?
Sociocracy provides a framework for shared power in organizational settings. It allows us to relate as equals by giving everyone a voice. It can help reconfigure power by distributing it more horizontally, and also healing our relationship to power by giving us a different experience with it.
The Challenges: How is sociocracy not emancipatory enough?
There’s an important difference between sociocracy’s potential for being non-oppressive and it actually functioning as actively anti-oppressive or emancipatory. Sociocracy faces these challenges in reaching its full liberatory potential:
It’s typically not framed as anti-oppressive.
An organization may want to manage themselves sociocratically for efficiency purposes, but have no strong intentions of using sociocracy as a tool for transformation. Shared power may be part of their governance structure, but not really a part of their vision, mission, aims, and everyday operations. In order for sociocracy to serve as a liberation tool, its use must be intentional.
Even if it is framed as such, it’s a challenge.
We have a long, hurtful relationship with power. We have a lot of familiarity with the harmful patterns we want to transform. It’s easy to fall back into them because they’re so well-known to us. If we want to break those patterns and learn more harmonious ones, we need to practice shared power and the skills necessary for it. In order to change we need intentioned rehearsal and repetition, as well as compassion for ourselves and each other in that learning path.
Even with well-intentioned practice and commitment to change, sociocracy is one piece of a much bigger puzzle.
Sociocracy is a governance system designed for particular organizations that want to practice shared power among members. The organizational aspect of our lives is just one dimension of our complex reality. The most harmful systems of oppression tend to cut across individual, interpersonal, and systemic levels… Focusing only on the organizational dimension leaves out the societal context that our organizations are set in. Thus, sociocracy should be complemented with additional strategies that are aimed at changing society as a whole.
Conclusion: In the long run, sociocracy as a practice can contribute to healing our relationship with power. In the short run, we all have work to do to ensure that every voice matters.
Part 3:
In light of this social justice statement, what does SoFA commit to do?
We commit to “walking our talk” by:
Externally: Distributing sociocracy and shared power where it’s most needed:

  • Making sociocracy affordable and accessible with diverse strategies such as sliding scales, replicable materials, creative commons license, translations, etc.
  • Intentionally prioritize our allies: working with and for people and organizations that are focused on the redistribution of power, particularly those currently most negatively impacted by systems of oppression
    Internally: Cultivating our ability to share power among members
  • Including a liberation perspective in Membership Circle’s program of member development
  • Addressing potential barriers that would discourage anyone from fully participating as members
  • Centering the quality of connection among our members as our source of creativity and “power with”/“power within”
  • Supporting members to address and transcend internalized oppression
  • Asking for help: looking beyond our organization for support and challenge in strengthening our social justice commitment
    We commit to “talking our walk” by:
    Externally: Framing sociocracy practice and training as a tool for liberation
  • Inviting and creating more content on sociocracy and its relationship to power/social change
  • Giving clear, visible and bold voice to our social justice philosophy and approach
    Internally: Making power an issue to address and explore
  • Addressing power dynamics in circles, such as noticing who’s in the room or whose voices were not heard, as specific agenda items
  • Hosting member gatherings to continue reflecting on our relations to power (study groups, workshops, conferences, caucus spaces, etc.)
  • Evaluating and measuring SoFA’s impact towards accomplishing our vision of shared power, being compassionately self-critical.

Sociocratic meetings are designed to be inclusive and efficient, with a clear format. Here are some guidelines for a sociocratic meeting:
Premeeting: Any member may make proposals for the next meeting agenda any time in advance.
Reports may be submitted in advance.
Meeting: Everyone should strive to get to the meeting on time and the clerk should start the meeting at the scheduled time.
Opening: Facilitator, start with a check-in, which allows everyone to share briefly how or what they’ve been doing since last meeting.
Consent to Agenda: Facilitator, state the proposed itemized agenda and ask if there are reasoned alternative proposals.

  • If so, members revise agenda to accommodate them.
    Agenda Items: All agenda items fall into one of the following categories:
    Reports: e.g., reports from sub-circle or parent circle, reports on metrics or progress.
    Explorations: e.g., giving feedback, brainstorming, generating proposals.
    Decisions: e.g., policy decisions, selection processes, possibly significant operational decisions, policy reviews.
    Review: Update what needs to be added to the backlog for future meetings.
    Check-out (Meeting Evaluation): Evaluate the meeting to improve meetings over time. This could regard the content of the meeting, interpersonal dynamics, or the process.
    Note, the more standardized and agreed-upon the meeting format is, the easier it is for everyone to contribute in the meeting.

I also posted about Sociocracy at:

Personally I prefer Jasmine Sherman because she is more prepared and active.

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How about asking Jasmine and her supporters to use Sociocracy/consensus in the Green Party in order to give all of the members equal say in the party?

And her supporters could also join the New Party in order to have equal say in it.

Actually, the new party could run several candidates until they can decide which one to run for election.

I just posted messages on RFK Jr’s substack at Comments - Biden’s Carbon Pipeline — A Boondoggle for Big Oil Punishes Iowa Farmers and Comments - Biden’s Carbon Pipeline — A Boondoggle for Big Oil Punishes Iowa Farmers
In the second one there I include a link to ic.org.