Archive for the ‘Consensus’ Category

Apr
24
    
Clam birth by Sam Lovejoy, June 16, 2008

I believe it was 2 days after the feds granted the Seabrook permit in mid June, 76, Guy [Chichester] called to tell me; and I remember telling him (er goofing on him) “I told you so;” at which point he kinda admitted he had been too optimistic because “I just never believed they’d turn the bay into a hot tub!”. Then he, Renny [Cushing] and I talked on the phone to put together a “quick” coordination meeting almost immediately (several people like Mr. Brummer were already on board), my memory is June 22 (1976?). That 1st meeting had maybe 10 to 12 people at it. Guy and I sorta co-chaired (he was way bigger than me back then).

That first meeting really was only dedicated to energizing ourselves and coming up with a broader list of activist folks to get together AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, and make preliminary – yet to be confirmed or decided til the greater meeting – decisions on what to do and how to do it. The occupation in Weil, Germany, was an inspiration to us all. There was also Neil, Mr. Brummster, Kate, Kristie [Conrad], 2 other women I can see, maybe Chuck [Light] and Dan [Keller] of Green Mountain Post Films?, (and who else, memory just collapsed!).

The next meeting happened just a few days later, was at a little quasi-public place near the coast, with some lawn where we all sat outside on an absolutely gorgeous, sunny day (I remember getting some sunburn). That meeting lasted (?) 12 exhilarating hours with maybe 25 to 30 people. It was at that meeting that ALL general guiding principles of Los Clam were decided or established, nonviolence and absolute consensus – and the Clam named. That meeting broke into sub-groups that would report back to the larger group, maybe every hour, so that everyone knew what was going on in every subgroup, and a strong and clear consensus could be developed.

I clearly remember the Statement of Purpose sub com was “assisted” by a “style” committee at the end of the day. The “name” sub com, if I remember right, came up with “Clam Alliance” (?) which was met with great enthusiasm – and then amended to “Clamshell” by someone in the larger group because the shell was the “container” for the Alliance being started.

It was decided that nonviolent training was needed for each affinity group for many reasons including security and controlling provocation. Also, a certain pre-eminence was given the Clamshell people of the Seacoast in decisions (since “they had to live there,” and knew the local folks), thereby granting them a kind of blackball on strategy and tactics. We committed to growing each occupation force by 10 times the previous number. We created working committees – Coordinating, Legal, Fundraising, Media; there was a joke made that we needed a “Propaganda Committee” which met with a lot of laughter.

Thereafter, until August 1, the Coord Com met at least once a week, or more, preparing for Occupation #1. Harvey [Wasserman] was in Thailand, or somewhere across the Pacific waters, and arrived at the seacoast around noon or thereabouts from Logan airport on August 1, the first “occupation,” with the infamous 18 (mostly) seacoast residents.

All in all, an absolutely tremendous, almost unbelievable, amount of organizing work occurred in just 5 weeks… truly phenomenal. THE CLAM WAS A GROUP, COLLABORATIVE EFFORT, with an emphasis on NOT having a leader or leaders but rather working by consensus thru affinity groups………. and a great team and time was had by all, especially in the first 18 months or so… Three occupations with over 1,600 total arrests (without injury), and a very amazing Energy Fair, all took place within 10 months at Seabrook. The volunteer energy, enthusiasm, cooperation – and love – was spectacular! The sound from this bell ring obviously “rang true” because so many groups around the US and the world adopted the basics of this organizing model.

(and I do believe that Paul Gunter was taller back then!)

Mar
06
    
Create the Action by Acting on Your Passion by Naoto Inoue

 

Create the Action by Acting on Your Passion

By Naoto Inoue (as told to Sharon Tracy)

 Do you remember 1976? The anti-nuclear planning was happening and I was living in Newburyport. I had dropped out of UNH and was looking for direction in my life, not really knowing what to do. I was working as a carpenter. On Water St there was a natural food store called Corn Mother, and Katrina who owned the place showed me a poster about a Clamshell organizational meeting in Hampton Falls, NH, at the church. So I went to the meeting. At the time, I was so numb I did not know where electricity came from (in 2007 I am finding that is still the case). But if I can learn anybody can. Read the rest of this entry »

Mar
06
    
Non-Violence and Consensus by By Wally Nelson

Non-Violence and Consensus

By Wally Nelson

Non-violence is the constant awareness of the dignity and humanity of oneself and others. It seeks truth and justice. It renounces violence both in method and attitude. Non-violence is a courageous acceptance of active love and goodwill as the instrument with which to overcome evil and transform both oneself and others. It is the willingness to undergo suffering rather than inflict it. It excludes retaliation and flight.

 

When we speak of consensus, we are not referring to the literal meaning of the word. Literally, consensus is understood as a noun we use when a group comes to a unanimous decision. Consensus as we use it implies much more than the final state of being in agreement. It is a way of relating to each other in a non-violent, respectful and caring fashion. It is more than an end result; it is a process. And in the process of consensus, it is not unanimity we seek, but unity in which we can all contribute in our own way. Hallock Hoffman in The Civilization of the Dialogue explains: “Unity… is more complex. It does not necessarily reflect total agreement on the issue under discussion. It incorporates a perception of the relationship of the members to each other and to the issue.”