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The Transition Team



  • What is Mutual Aid?

    A:

    Mutual aid is a voluntary giving of material goods, resources, or labor to others in a shared community with the expectation that all will benefit. Mutual aid is not barter; groups and individuals give what they can or what they want to. In this way, participation in mutual aid is a way to put into practice the idea that individuals and groups can be trusted to make economic decisions that affect them and their communities.

    Sources: Treasure City Thrift

    Recommended Reading: Treasure City Thrift

     


  • When Someone Says "Solidarity not charity." What Does That Mean?

    A:

    Charity alleviates the symptoms caused by an unjust system but doesn't challenge the root problems, and it often puts those providing the charity in a position of power OVER those who it 'helps' with benevolence or feeling good for helping out. Solidarity, on the other hand, implies that our struggles are intertwined.

     

    Sources: Treasure City Thrift

    Recommended Reading: Treasure City Thrift


  • What is a Commune?

    A:

    Commune is a loaded term. Most people think hippies and the 60's, free love, drugs, etc. These kinds of communes certainly existed, some still exist today, and many contemporary communes embody aspects of their culture. People also think cult. And there is truth behind this association as well. But most communes are not cults, and communes as a social structure are much bigger than those started in the 60's.

    The basic description of a commune in Wikipedia works pretty well: 

    "A commune (the French word appearing in the 12th century from Medieval Latin communia, meaning a large gathering of people sharing a common life; from Latin communis, things held in common) is an intentional community of people living together, sharing common interests, often having common values and beliefs, as well as shared property, possessions, resources, and, in some communes, work and income and assets. In addition to the communal economy, consensus decision-making, non-hierarchical structures and ecological living have become important core principles for many communes."

    This points to a history most people have no idea about, including people who live in intentional communities of all kinds. Some people like to say that monasteries were the first communes. Others speculate that communes were the standard social structure before civilization. But what does it mean to be a commune today?

    Source: Commune-In-A-Box, Wikipedia

    Contributors: The Federation of Egalitarian Communities Members

    Suggested Reading: What Is a Commune?



  • The Future of Food

     

     

    A great way to show your support and help grow The Transition is to distribute copies of the films found in our Movie Vault to people who are not yet a part of our movement. They make great:

    • Gifts
    • Rewards or door prizes at large fairs, festivals, and events
    • Movie screenings possible!

    Your purchase also monetarily helps The Transition cover our overhead costs as well as strengthen our Buzz Bucks and The Cooking Pot programs.

    Get Your Copy Now!


  • Consensus with BUDs vs. Voting with Individuals

    Another goal of The Transition is the creation of opportunities for self-empowerment. The way to do this within a BUD is to create an environment where every member is encouraged to participate in decision-making, take initiative, and fill the various roles necessary for smooth functioning of the BUD.

    We make decisions by consensus rather than by voting. One of the significant effects of consensus process is getting the results you want from a group decision-making process is not about being on the side of the majority and getting your way, but by participating.

    In voting, to get what you want you both have to participate and also be able to get the majority of votes so you win. Voting is a win or lose model in which people are often more concerned about the numbers it takes to win a majority than they are in the issue itself.

    In consensus, to get what you want, all you have to do is participate. Consensus is a process of synthesis, bringing together diverse elements and blending them into a decision which is acceptable to the entire BUD. In essence, it is a qualitative rather than quantitative method of decision-making. Each person’s ideas are valued and become part of the decision. There is no winning. There is no sides. This is not just rhetoric. Within every group, for every decision, there is some outcome that is in the best interests of the group. Everyone in the group will benefit if the decision is truly in the best interest of the group. Consensus is a group decision-making process that regularly produces decisions that are truly in the best interest of the group. Another significant effect of consensus process on the culture of the group is the shift of focus from the ego to the collective. Allowing for ideas to mingle as collective property creates the opportunity for the creative interplay of ideas. Individuals are free to use their own ideas and borrow from other’s ideas to mix and match until, almost magically, an idea comes forward from the collective idea pool that satisfies enough concerns as to reach consensus from the group.

    Many times, it would be impossible to say exactly who came up with the idea. This shift away from having a personal attachment or investment in ideas will be very difficult for some folks. Anyone whose identity is wrapped up in being the “person with the solution” may have a hard time letting go of control and let ideas have collective ownership. After all, ideas don’t care who has them.

     

    When everyone participates in the discussion of an idea, trust develops and people feel valued and committed to the result. A proposal is stronger when everyone works together to create the best possible decision for the BUD. Any idea can be considered, but only those ideas everyone thinks are in the best interest of the BUD are adopted.

     

    This is probably the most radical shift from where we are today into the paradigm of consensus decision making. In choosing to use the consensus process, one is intentionally letting go of personal control over both the flow of ideas and the outcome of the decision.With the ownership of ideas type of process, individuals retain significant power by controlling how their idea is used. The owner can define it and redefine it, withdraw it from discussion, decided which other ideas are “friendly amendments” and which are not, and even control over who else can “borrow” the idea. People go to meetings intending to argue for their ideas. They will convince others to their own point of view and even intentional attack another idea if it is deemed a threat. None of these behaviours or attitudes towards ideas is appropriate during the consensus process.

     

    Anyone who has ever said, before going to a meeting using consensus process, that they were going to block a decision, has fundamentally misunderstood the concept. During the consensus process, it is never one person who decides what happens at any Level, and especially when there is a free flow of ideas that can interplay creatively producing results that would be unimaginable beforehand. It is completely out of order for an individual to even try to control the outcome.

     

    It is out-of-process in that individuals are never asked to make any decision in consensus; it is always a group decision making process. And it is not in the spirit of democracy because it is making the fundamental assumption that an individual can make a better decision for the group than the group can make for itself.

     

    Letting go of personal control over both the flow of ideas and the outcome of the decision us really at the core of democracy. Democracy is more than a process to empower the majority to do what it wants. At its core, it is about the revolutionary shift from personal power to collective power.

     

    Methods of decision-making can be seen on a continuum with one person having total authority on one end to everyone sharing power and responsibility on the other. The level of participation increases along this decision-making continuum. Oligarchies and Autocracies offer no participation to many of those who are directly affected. Representative majority rule, and consensus democracies involved everybody, to different degrees.

     

    From the start of recorded history when the United States (US) was founded, the idea that every person (defined at the time as “white male adult landowner”) who lived in a certain geographical area had the right to participate in the decision making (vote) just because he lived there created a radically new system of governance. It involved more people in the decision making than ever before. “One person-one vote” was a new concept. Voting was just developing as a system for governance of a nation.

     

    Unfortunately, before democracy could take root in the USA, a system of voting was created that became the defining characteristic of the USA decision making process. In it, the concept of democracy was limited to the ability to elect the individual representatives who made the actual decisions.

     

    The individual people of the “one person-one vote” definition of democracy do not actually participate in the real decision making that affects their lives. These people elect the decision maker by popular majority vote. The people elected are the legal decision makers. They are not everyone. By definition, this structure is an oligarchy.

     

    What Americans have in the USA is more accurately called a “representative oligarchy” because the democratic part is that we, the people elect representatives. This type of structure in decision making is called an oligarchy.


    The ideas within this website are intended to reawaken our collective desire to make the world a true democracy.

     

     

    Sources: On Conflict & Consensus

    Contributors: Amy Rothstein, C.T. Butler

    Recommended Books: On Conflict & Consensus


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