October 4, 2022

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From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Pacific Greens January 8 convention to decide: Consensus or local autonomy

5 min read
Pacific Greens who wish to decide between local autonomy or consensus-seeking should become Supporting Members by Dec. 8.

Pacific Greens who wish to decide between local autonomy or consensus-seeking should become Supporting Members by Dec. 8.

Unable to reach consensus on a response to public health measures, a veteran member of the Pacific Greens proposes they stop trying. Brian Setzler is promoting autonomy for local chapters.

[00:00:11] Brian Setzler: I’m putting in a proposal that has this very deliberate piece to it. The main thing is the cellular structure. That’s the only thing I’m really concerned about. And the peer-to-peer building of the peer-to-peer network and relationships. What I wasn’t willing to do is to have a bunch of people come in and wordsmith it together because that’s just, you know, it’s like, I’m the chef here and I’m not, not in an ego way, but I just want to put a proposal together that has input and you guys are all helping to improve it. But if somebody wants to put something in differently than that, they’re free to submit a different set of proposals.

[00:00:48] John Q: Speaking with Nathalie Paravicini, Brian Setzler.

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[00:00:51] Brian Setzler: I’d also say the proposal that’s out there right now, that I’m bringing to the table, it doesn’t have to be perfect. And to keep, to hold it up for minor things, just if that’s what bogs things down, it’s better to move forward and learn than to stay in a place… because you don’t have the perfect item to move forward with.

[00:01:15] Nathalie Paravicini: So it is important to arrive at that position where all the major issues are addressed. I agree with you, Brian. And that’s what we’re trying to do. And those that remain on the table aren’t minor. They’re major.

[00:01:27] John Q: Nathalie says respect for consensus is essential to the Pacific Greens.

[00:01:31] Nathalie Paravicini: The reason consensus is so important is because it requires you to try to understand the other person’s perspective and needs. And where is the other person coming from and what are their needs? And when you start discussing and grinding the ideas, very often, you find a big section of common ground that you can agree on and very little bit that’s really differing, right. And those are the differences or you’re okay. I’m willing to go with that because in general, we agree.

[00:02:04] So consensus takes a lot of time, discussion, negotiation, where you trying to say what we’re trying to do, and also a lot of open hearts and compassion and trying to understand. And it does take much longer, but usually when you arrive in a position with consensus, it has so much support behind it, that it is very difficult to undermine that decision, because there’s been a process of education, of discussion, of understanding of the issues. And when you rally behind, okay, this is a decision. It is very difficult to undermine or to go against it.

[00:02:39] I think that what has shown in the past two years very much is this conflict between the individual and individual liberties and the needs of a group of people. And very often the needs of a few individuals are not the same as those of the majority, and so how do you allow for the voice of the minority while also respecting the needs of the majority?

[00:03:01] John Q: The conflict involved the Lane County chapter of the Pacific Greens.

[00:03:04] Nathalie Paravicini: There is a group who last year denied that COVID existed or was a problem and came out against wearing masks in public spaces, in the middle of a very damaging pandemic, and what we requested is, ‘That, that’s not the consensus position of the Pacific Green Party. There is no consensus and actually there’s a lot of resistance to that.’ What I would suggest is for your local group to create your own banner and have your own banner.

[00:03:32] My concern is a small group using the name and the brand of the party to represent views that are not consensual from the party. So in the bylaws, I want to specify that people have their individual freedom to associate and to represent what their group believes. But if that is not the consensual position of the Pacific Green Party or the Green Party as a whole, they cannot represent that it is the Pacific Green Party’s position.

[00:03:58] if you impose your minority position on a majority of the people, you’re basically usurping my free speech and my position. If you know that the position is not shared by a majority of the party, I would not use the Pacific Green Party because it would be usurping other people’s position.

[00:04:15] John Q: She said in bypassing any attempt at consensus, Brian’s proposal creates an existential crisis for the Pacific Greens.

[00:04:22] Nathalie Paravicini: You know, what the party is undergoing with the bylaw revision is an existential thing. It’s important for you to register, to become a Green Party member and to become a supporting member before December 8th, which is the deadline to become a supporting member in order to vote at the convention in January.

[00:04:39] The value of consensus is not only the decision-making itself, but the process to arrive at the decision, because it allows you to have a bigger understanding of the other person’s position and finding common ground. For example, it took us 18 months to arrive at some agreement on a process for moderation and moderation guidelines. It was like it took 18 months. 18 months of creating the situation where people could express their voice while still respecting the other person’s opinions.

[00:05:10] And so we encourage everybody to go to the web and find the information about the upcoming convention and to become supporting members so that you can participate fully.

[00:05:20] John Q: To have a vote at the convention, see the website, Pacific Greens dot org

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