OCCUPY BELLINGHAM ASSEMBLY GUIDE FOR CONSENSUS
What is Consensus
Consensus is a process of nonviolent conflict resolution. The expression of concerns and conflicting ideas is considered desirable and important. When a group creates an atmosphere which nurtures and supports disagreement without hostility and fear, it builds a foundation for stronger, more creative decisions.
1. Ask for statement of proposal
2. Ask proposer(s) to stand aside while you ask:
a. Are there any clarifying questions?
b. Are there any points of information?
c. Are there any strong concerns or objections with the following?
d. Are there any friendly amendments to address the expressed concerns and objections?
3. Give the proposer(s) a moment to consider whether they will address the concerns and objections by doing any of the following:
a. explain how any concerns or objections are already addressed,
b. withdraw the proposal,
c. amend the proposal based on concerns & objections,
d. adopt any of the suggested amendments, or
e. keep the proposal as is.
4. Instruct the proposer(s) to restate the proposal (whether changed or not)
5. Go through steps 2 & 3, again.
6. Repeat steps 2-4 until there are no more objections or amendments
7. Ask if there are any blocks. BLOCK definition: A block should only be used if the proposal endangers the organization/group or its participants, or violates the mission of the organization
a. The reason for the block is stated aloud to the Assembly
b. If 4/5TH of assembly confirm that it meets the above definition of a block (whether they agree with it, or not), then ask how many people want to support the Block.
c. If 10% of the people support the Block, the proposal is tabled.
d. If less than 10% of the people support the Block, then the proposal can move forward for consent.
8. If not blocked, ask “Is this a proposal you can live with?” and get temperature check
9. If there is 4/5th consent of those present and voting (Yeah, Nay &Stand asides), confirm with the participants that all see 4/5th consent, then announce that consensus is reached and the proposal is adopted.
10. If there is not consensus, but the proposal is not blocked, the proposal goes back to appropriate working group