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Consensus

A look into the "HOW" of the General Assembly at Occupy Wall Street.

66 comments on the article “Consensus”

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wolfgangbraun

I understand the value of "Process".

I understand the value of "Consensus Process".

However, "Process" is one part of three. It's part two. The people participating in OWS is one step ahead of itself. At least from what I see here.

If you're trying to make an impact on the lives of all citizens, you really need to follow:

PURPOSE --> PROCESS --> MEASUREMENT

You need to discuss "THE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT" and come to a consensus on what that should be.

It needs to be brief.

It needs to be easily articulated by all.

It needs to be understood by everyone.

It needs to be agreed upon by everyone.

Only then can you move on to PROCESS.

What is PURPOSE ?

PURPOSE is a definitive statement about the difference you are trying to make in the world.

PURPOSE isn’t everything, but it trumps everything else. Sure, every government has to have great leadership. But leadership has to be guided by a Purpose. It's my experience and belief that this wonderful movement has to start with a PURPOSE. That is the hinge that everything else hangs upon.

Please, add PURPOSE to your discussions.

wolfgangbraun

I understand the value of "Process".

I understand the value of "Consensus Process".

However, "Process" is one part of three. It's part two. The people participating in OWS is one step ahead of itself. At least from what I see here.

If you're trying to make an impact on the lives of all citizens, you really need to follow:

PURPOSE --> PROCESS --> MEASUREMENT

You need to discuss "THE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT" and come to a consensus on what that should be.

It needs to be brief.

It needs to be easily articulated by all.

It needs to be understood by everyone.

It needs to be agreed upon by everyone.

Only then can you move on to PROCESS.

What is PURPOSE ?

PURPOSE is a definitive statement about the difference you are trying to make in the world.

PURPOSE isn’t everything, but it trumps everything else. Sure, every government has to have great leadership. But leadership has to be guided by a Purpose. It's my experience and belief that this wonderful movement has to start with a PURPOSE. That is the hinge that everything else hangs upon.

Please, add PURPOSE to your discussions.

Wojciech.Piasecki

Wolfgang is right.

Agreement needs to be reached about the PURPOSE of the movement - if support for the movement is to be consolidated and if real progress is to be made.

I've no doubt that the purpose relates to the loss of democratic control over our governments - which have become preoccupied with imposing POLICY agendas rather than with upholding fundamental PRINCIPLES ..

.. What is more, if the serious failings of government institutions were to be fixed .. then the problems with Wall Street and related groups would inevitably be brought under control.

Focusing on Wall Street without looking at the deeper failures in government that allowed Wall Street to go so badly wrong would be a mistake, because it would not fix the underlying problems.

The preoccupation of those in government with IMPOSING partisan policy agendas has led to the most vital institutions of government act in ways that are in direct opposition to the fundamental purpose OF GOVERNMENT:

- That fundamental purpose OF GOVERNMENT relates to PRINCIPLES rather than POLICIES ..

.. and THE core purpose of government is connected very directly with upholding the principle of fundamental justice.

That principle dictates that no person or institution will act in any way that violates the fundamental rights and just interests of ANY other person.

That is, the core purpose OF GOVERNMENT is to uphold the principles of fundamental justice - equally and for every single citizen.

.

I believe that the widespread support for the OWS movement comes from a feeling among many that the movement is seeking some fundamental change in the way in which our society "works" ..

.. so as to restore the principle of fundamental justice to its proper place as THE PRINCIPLE that guides and controls our society .. and to get government to do its essential job in upholding that principle .. as the institution with the duty to uphold that PRINCIPLE .. and to prevent the doing of harm by any person or party in our society.

Effectively, the movement draws its support from the perception that it is more concerned with correcting the deeper failings in government that allowed Wall Street to go so seriously wrong in the first place, than with the failings in Wall Street itself.

.. Put another way, support for the OWS movement arises from the fact that many believe or hope that it is directed by a commitment to restore the principle of fundamental justice to a proper place in our society ..

.. and that the movement, in seeking to move towards that principle, is dedicated to bringing about essential changes in the most critical institutions in our society that have a duty to uphold that principle .. the institutions of government - which have increasingly strayed from THEIR most essential purpose:

.. of protecting the rights and just interests of every citizen against the self-serving desires of those who want to bias the rules of society so as to create privileges for themselves.

In effect, I believe that the OWS movement gets its support from the fact that the movement is seen:

.. to stand behind the PRINCIPLE that governments must protect the rights and just interests of every citizen against the potential for abuse by any other citizen..

.. and to undo any POLICY, programme or regulation that would compels any citizen to provide unjust privileges or benefits to any other.

More narrowly, the OWS movement gets its support from the sense that it is attempting to take back democratic control of the vital institutions of government.

That is, the movement draws a great deal of its support from the perception that it is concerned with the fact that those who occupy positions of public trust have lost their legitimacy ..

.. by abusing the immense powers of the public offices that they hold so as to impose partisan POLICY agendas that grant privileges to the members of certain sub-groups in society ...

.. through the imposition of statutes, regulations and practices that grant privileges to some, at the expense of the rights of others..

..

And the hope that lies behind the support for the movement comes from the perception that it is intent on trying to find ways to ensure that governments take all necessary steps to uphold the PRINCIPLE of fundamental justice equally and for all.

That said, the embryonic support for the OWS movement comes from a sense that the PURPOSE OF THE MOVEMENT is to take back control of our government and its institutions ..

.. so that governments begin to do their most essential job - begin to live up to THEIR actual purpose - of PROTECTING the rights of each and every citizen.

So, if the PURPOSE OF THE MOVEMENT was to be articulated along the lines of taking back control of OUR governments from those who have perverted institutions that are essential to the operation of a sound and civil society, that would attract much deeper and wider support ..

.. enough support, one might hope, that it would create sufficient pressure to force those who occupy positions of public trust within the vital institutions of government .. to act in accordance with the actual purpose of their positions within the overall purpose of government - and so move towards restoring the legitimacy of governments:

.. by putting PRINCIPLE ahead of POLICY;

.. and by protecting the rights and just interests of every citizen.

If the PURPOSE OF THE MOVEMENT was to be concisely articulated – along the lines of the above - I believe that that would serve to consolidate support for the movement - and enhance the role of the movement as an effective agent of essential change.

Once a clear statement of PURPOSE is articulated it would then be possible to move on to discussing policies and prescriptions for achieving that PURPOSE.

Without the clear statement of of such a uniting PURPOSE, it would be impossible to evaluate any of the many policies and prescriptions that might be proposed by those who are associated with the movement . or who might want to use the movement to their own ends.

It is necessary to articulate the PURPOSE.

.

Wojciech.Piasecki

Wolfgang is right.

Agreement needs to be reached about the PURPOSE of the movement - if support for the movement is to be consolidated and if real progress is to be made.

I've no doubt that the purpose relates to the loss of democratic control over our governments - which have become preoccupied with imposing POLICY agendas rather than with upholding fundamental PRINCIPLES ..

.. What is more, if the serious failings of government institutions were to be fixed .. then the problems with Wall Street and related groups would inevitably be brought under control.

Focusing on Wall Street without looking at the deeper failures in government that allowed Wall Street to go so badly wrong would be a mistake, because it would not fix the underlying problems.

The preoccupation of those in government with IMPOSING partisan policy agendas has led to the most vital institutions of government act in ways that are in direct opposition to the fundamental purpose OF GOVERNMENT:

- That fundamental purpose OF GOVERNMENT relates to PRINCIPLES rather than POLICIES ..

.. and THE core purpose of government is connected very directly with upholding the principle of fundamental justice.

That principle dictates that no person or institution will act in any way that violates the fundamental rights and just interests of ANY other person.

That is, the core purpose OF GOVERNMENT is to uphold the principles of fundamental justice - equally and for every single citizen.

.

I believe that the widespread support for the OWS movement comes from a feeling among many that the movement is seeking some fundamental change in the way in which our society "works" ..

.. so as to restore the principle of fundamental justice to its proper place as THE PRINCIPLE that guides and controls our society .. and to get government to do its essential job in upholding that principle .. as the institution with the duty to uphold that PRINCIPLE .. and to prevent the doing of harm by any person or party in our society.

Effectively, the movement draws its support from the perception that it is more concerned with correcting the deeper failings in government that allowed Wall Street to go so seriously wrong in the first place, than with the failings in Wall Street itself.

.. Put another way, support for the OWS movement arises from the fact that many believe or hope that it is directed by a commitment to restore the principle of fundamental justice to a proper place in our society ..

.. and that the movement, in seeking to move towards that principle, is dedicated to bringing about essential changes in the most critical institutions in our society that have a duty to uphold that principle .. the institutions of government - which have increasingly strayed from THEIR most essential purpose:

.. of protecting the rights and just interests of every citizen against the self-serving desires of those who want to bias the rules of society so as to create privileges for themselves.

In effect, I believe that the OWS movement gets its support from the fact that the movement is seen:

.. to stand behind the PRINCIPLE that governments must protect the rights and just interests of every citizen against the potential for abuse by any other citizen..

.. and to undo any POLICY, programme or regulation that would compels any citizen to provide unjust privileges or benefits to any other.

More narrowly, the OWS movement gets its support from the sense that it is attempting to take back democratic control of the vital institutions of government.

That is, the movement draws a great deal of its support from the perception that it is concerned with the fact that those who occupy positions of public trust have lost their legitimacy ..

.. by abusing the immense powers of the public offices that they hold so as to impose partisan POLICY agendas that grant privileges to the members of certain sub-groups in society ...

.. through the imposition of statutes, regulations and practices that grant privileges to some, at the expense of the rights of others..

..

And the hope that lies behind the support for the movement comes from the perception that it is intent on trying to find ways to ensure that governments take all necessary steps to uphold the PRINCIPLE of fundamental justice equally and for all.

That said, the embryonic support for the OWS movement comes from a sense that the PURPOSE OF THE MOVEMENT is to take back control of our government and its institutions ..

.. so that governments begin to do their most essential job - begin to live up to THEIR actual purpose - of PROTECTING the rights of each and every citizen.

So, if the PURPOSE OF THE MOVEMENT was to be articulated along the lines of taking back control of OUR governments from those who have perverted institutions that are essential to the operation of a sound and civil society, that would attract much deeper and wider support ..

.. enough support, one might hope, that it would create sufficient pressure to force those who occupy positions of public trust within the vital institutions of government .. to act in accordance with the actual purpose of their positions within the overall purpose of government - and so move towards restoring the legitimacy of governments:

.. by putting PRINCIPLE ahead of POLICY;

.. and by protecting the rights and just interests of every citizen.

If the PURPOSE OF THE MOVEMENT was to be concisely articulated – along the lines of the above - I believe that that would serve to consolidate support for the movement - and enhance the role of the movement as an effective agent of essential change.

Once a clear statement of PURPOSE is articulated it would then be possible to move on to discussing policies and prescriptions for achieving that PURPOSE.

Without the clear statement of of such a uniting PURPOSE, it would be impossible to evaluate any of the many policies and prescriptions that might be proposed by those who are associated with the movement . or who might want to use the movement to their own ends.

It is necessary to articulate the PURPOSE.

.

wolfgangbraun

Very well said Wojciech !

The textbook definition of purpose is: n. The object toward which one strives or for which something exists.

I'm convinced that many western governments no longer exist to serve 'all' citizens. Our elected officials serve those who support their election and re-election. Special interest groups support politicians who support their financial goals.

Without a purpose, developed and agreed upon by the majority of all its people, what do we want our elected politicians to strive for? In fact, I would argue that without giving them an agreed upon purpose, we give them a green light to serve those who help them. At the expense of all people.

I support the people behind OWS and all I'm asking them is to 'discuss' what purpose do we want our government to be guided by?

wolfgangbraun

Very well said Wojciech !

The textbook definition of purpose is: n. The object toward which one strives or for which something exists.

I'm convinced that many western governments no longer exist to serve 'all' citizens. Our elected officials serve those who support their election and re-election. Special interest groups support politicians who support their financial goals.

Without a purpose, developed and agreed upon by the majority of all its people, what do we want our elected politicians to strive for? In fact, I would argue that without giving them an agreed upon purpose, we give them a green light to serve those who help them. At the expense of all people.

I support the people behind OWS and all I'm asking them is to 'discuss' what purpose do we want our government to be guided by?

Josh--

Totally disagree Wolfgang. Where does purpose come from? Out of the air?
Of course not, it comes from people right? If a movement is people joined together by common purpose, then either you start with the purpose and find the people who will go with it, or you start with the people you have and build a common purpose.

Most real movements are a compromise between these two methods; you start with a few people, you come to some powerful agreement about the way forward, then it catches and spreads. But what spreads? The agreement of the original people? Some idea or technique or goal they come up with in their discussion? Inspiration to form similar groups?

If people turn up at one of these occupations and find a glimmer of common purpose with someone there, and they have a way to expand and spread that in the gathering, then that is enough to tie them together, and perhaps these different purposes can knit together more and more, until you say there is one purpose, although everyone gives it a different name.

One purpose of the gathering should be to let such purposes grow. And if you want to intentionally head for that, then you shape your processes towards that end, towards being as light as possible, but full of places for people to communicate ideas and hear new ones.

Josh--

Totally disagree Wolfgang. Where does purpose come from? Out of the air?
Of course not, it comes from people right? If a movement is people joined together by common purpose, then either you start with the purpose and find the people who will go with it, or you start with the people you have and build a common purpose.

Most real movements are a compromise between these two methods; you start with a few people, you come to some powerful agreement about the way forward, then it catches and spreads. But what spreads? The agreement of the original people? Some idea or technique or goal they come up with in their discussion? Inspiration to form similar groups?

If people turn up at one of these occupations and find a glimmer of common purpose with someone there, and they have a way to expand and spread that in the gathering, then that is enough to tie them together, and perhaps these different purposes can knit together more and more, until you say there is one purpose, although everyone gives it a different name.

One purpose of the gathering should be to let such purposes grow. And if you want to intentionally head for that, then you shape your processes towards that end, towards being as light as possible, but full of places for people to communicate ideas and hear new ones.

Wojciech.Piasecki

Josh, it seems to me that you are not trying to grasp what Wolfgang was saying.

Wolfgang didn't ask anyone to invent the purpose out of the air. He asked that the purpose be defined - and of course that has to come from the people - and it will take time and effort to come to agreement on it.

I sense that Wolfgang was reacting to the preoccupation with process and the lack of focus on identifying a core, common purpose.

In my rambling response I tried to point towards what I sense is the common purpose of those who are involved - arising from the comments I have heard from the people - and what I've heard them agree to as being their deeper purpose that motivates them - and that lies behind what they initially said brought them to the movement.

I support Wolfgang's comment because some of those who are involved have clearly said to me that they will stay involved as long as the movement embraces their concerns - and they did note some worrying signs for their continued involvement - particularly that they did not support some of the various grievances that were being rolled up into a long list of "things" that the movement stood for.

The movement has to find its support in the core principles that all agree to - not in trying to get support for all of the particular grievances that every person might bring to the movement. It's the common ground that gives a basis for cohesion - and that common ground can be articulated in a core purpose that is shared by all.

If no clear and simple and widely acceptable purpose is articulated, then the movement will not attract the support it needs to bring about the sort of changes that are so desperately needed.

I'm convinced that such a unifying purpose does exist - and it is important to devote the effort that is necessary to get it articulated and accepted.

Wojciech.Piasecki

Josh, it seems to me that you are not trying to grasp what Wolfgang was saying.

Wolfgang didn't ask anyone to invent the purpose out of the air. He asked that the purpose be defined - and of course that has to come from the people - and it will take time and effort to come to agreement on it.

I sense that Wolfgang was reacting to the preoccupation with process and the lack of focus on identifying a core, common purpose.

In my rambling response I tried to point towards what I sense is the common purpose of those who are involved - arising from the comments I have heard from the people - and what I've heard them agree to as being their deeper purpose that motivates them - and that lies behind what they initially said brought them to the movement.

I support Wolfgang's comment because some of those who are involved have clearly said to me that they will stay involved as long as the movement embraces their concerns - and they did note some worrying signs for their continued involvement - particularly that they did not support some of the various grievances that were being rolled up into a long list of "things" that the movement stood for.

The movement has to find its support in the core principles that all agree to - not in trying to get support for all of the particular grievances that every person might bring to the movement. It's the common ground that gives a basis for cohesion - and that common ground can be articulated in a core purpose that is shared by all.

If no clear and simple and widely acceptable purpose is articulated, then the movement will not attract the support it needs to bring about the sort of changes that are so desperately needed.

I'm convinced that such a unifying purpose does exist - and it is important to devote the effort that is necessary to get it articulated and accepted.

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