• dibco1 2021 discusionfsm input119 en

last modified July 6, 2021 by facilitfsm

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 Text 117 information note 2001 - and institution of consensus in the programmatic agreement between the 8 organizations that make up the organizing committee WSF2001 - WSF 2002 


(March 14, 2020 - at the time of an assembly of the facilitator collective in Mexico) 

Forgive me to get into a conversation that I have not participated but which I have subsequently learned, through online annotations, about the decision by consensus in the International Council of the WSF and in the assembly of March 14, 2020 in Mexico . Allow me, it may perhaps be useful to bring some information from the concrete experience in this regard at the WSF throughout its almost 20 years.

If I remember correctly, @ 1 we have decided to opt for this way of deciding based on one of the general objectives of the WSF: to help build the union of the multiple and different movements and organizations of civil society willing to build the “other possible world”, respecting its diversity. So, known (and experienced) by many of the tendency to divide these movements and organizations, as well as the parties of the left, we have little by little discovered, in practice, that decisions by majority vote were a great democratic conquest @ 2 but also one of the roots of this tendency to division: those who “lose” in the voting (minorities or almost majorities) end up separatingand create dissident organizations that do what they think should be done.

@ 3 The decision by consensus has thus been shown a way to prevent that dynamic of division from weakening us , in the face of a much more powerful enemy since it dominates the world. That is, instead of deciding on a quorum for deliberations, absolute majorities (majority of representatives) or simple majorities (majority of those present), etc., we prefer to choose @ 4 to  discuss the issues until all doubts, ambiguities or mistrust are eliminated. to be able to follow the path together.

@ 5 To verify that a general agreement on the decision was already possible, consultations were made in the meeting that discussed it, without voting, to find out if everyone would accept that decision. @ 6  If one or more than one refused to accept it, he wondered: would you accept the decision, since it corresponds to the will of the majority, so that we continue together, even if they do not consider it the best? Or will you leave if we take it?

@ 7 If they said they were leaving, the discussion would resume . Which meant that the majority who would be "victorious" believed that the principle of union building prevailed over all else. @ 8 This does not mean giving the right of veto to whoever wants to use it, but rather respecting the reasons they have for disagreeing with the majority. Or sometimes it is simply because you have to consult the organization you represent ...

@ 9 This can take more time to decide, although sometimes everything is resolved with a simple suspension of work for a while for a calmer conversation or the creation of a working group to do it. Because it is assumed by principle that everyone wants to reach an agreement and no one wants to prevent decisions from being made.

CI has had several such experiences that have been successful. There were more complicated cases in which the decision was left for the next day. I also remember once a trade union leader from South Africa reminded his European colleagues, concerned about deciding things more efficiently by voting, that we were not in a union or in a political party ,

I'm staying here, even if I had other things to remember, such as the @ 10 experience of the Indians in the 2004 Forum. They were the first to organize the WSF from an assembly of movements, as it is intended to do in Mexico. , supported by a facilitating committee . @ 11 It was for them a way of adding as many movements as possible in the necessary effort, without subjecting them to majority or minority rules to decide things, but rather @ 12  creating opportunities for them to deepen, in the practice of the organization of the Forum, their understanding of the objectives of the WSF, of its character and of its Charter of Principles - so different from the usual one in political activity - as well as of the ways of participating.

Boy Hugs 

I would like to complete what I sent yesterday on decisions by consensus.

The IC is an assembly of representatives, and as in all assemblies of this type, each organization or movement has a representative with the right to voice and one vote, to be given by him or, in the event of his absence, by his alternate.

Little by little we have discovered things that made us different from assemblies in general. To think that in the first IC meetings, only representatives duly indicated by their organizations or movements entered the room, who sat in the first row of seats and the alternates behind ...

The IC does not have its own funds to “bring” all its members to its meetings, who must come by their own resources. This creates dangerous “inequalities”, even because, being international, the costs to come are quite different, and it is not possible to “demand” the presence of all IC members, much less hope that it will only make decisions with a well-defined quorum. .

That is why the CI's operating criteria is not bureaucratic but one of solidarity and trust - a Solidarity Fund has even been created to pay for travel, with the help of organizations with more resources. @ 13 And now they are thinking of a more digital operation, which does not require travel, which was more difficult only with emails and this list is already encouraging.

@ 14 It is all these elements that differentiate the IC and the WSF process from the structures with which the organizations - especially international - that we know and in which we also participate function. @ 15 Decision systems have to adapt to these differences. @ 16  Decisions by vote are not driven by solidarity and trust but rather by the power that each one has, thus opening space for manipulations that divide and destroy organizations. @ 17  Consensus decisions reduce these risks a little and open up space for living in solidarity, the main characteristic that the "other possible world" will have.