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(en) AUT: Update on Collective Book on Collective Process [+]

From Richard Singer <ricinger@inch.com>
Date Fri, 3 Jan 2003 09:05:06 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

Update on Collective Book on Collective Process:
This is a project that focuses on some of the common
and often unrecognized problems encountered in
collectives. In order to create a broad-based resource
for egalitarian collectives, we always seek your
participation and feedback. Since the last update, we
have added new and revised drafts to Booklet One, "Is
This What Consensus Looks Like?" and created Booklet
Two, "Is This the Just Society We Want to Model?" We
also added new sections and included many more links
to other resources on working collectively
Below are some excerpts, with links to the complete

A Model for Justice? (new)
"Many of us rightly condemn the injustices of the
societies in which we live, but then we fail to turn
that same scrutiny and skepticism onto our own
activist organizations and anti-authoritarian

The Dearth of Due Process (new)
"When local rumors and accusations spread like
wildfire, it is important to move the trial beyond the
places where the fire has spread. The local group from
which a case originated is often the last place where
that case should be tried."

What About Free Speech? (new)
"Within the radical community, especially among
anarchists, there has lately been a frenzy to limit
e-mail exchanges, establish strict guidelines for
e-mail lists, and purge people whose comments on those
lists are considered provocative or upsetting. This is
a fairly recent phenomenon, as e-mail used to be a
very free medium, back in the earlier days of the

Red Flags to Guard Against (new)
"1. Meetings are poorly attended and those who do
attend appear to be sullen and bored, letting a
self-appointed leader set the agenda and do most of
the talking. This is a sure sign that people have
given up on the possibility of having meaningful input
into the group's direction."

Respect for Differences (new)
"Lack of respect for differences does not start with
its ugliest and most glaring manifestations but is
present whenever room is not made for another person's
viewpoint, situation, or life experience."

Micro-Managing Other People's Behavior (new)
"In a well-intentioned attempt to establish guidelines
to prevent disrespect of one another and abuse of
process, some collectives fall into the authoritarian
trap of dictating which specific, often minute,
behaviors collective members may or may not display."

Creating Pariahs
Ploys To Subvert Consensus
The Need For Kindness

Final Note: We will be presenting a workshop entitled
"Is This What Consensus Looks Like?" at the National
Conference on Organized Resistance (NCOR), Jan. 26,
2003 in Washington D.C. For more info:


The Common Wheel Collective, which initiated the Collective Book on Collective
Process, will be presenting a workshop entitled "Is This What Consensus Looks
Like?" at the National Conference on Organized Resistance (NCOR). The
conference includes over 60 workshops around the subject of activism for social
justice and will be held in Washington D.C. on the weekend of January 24 to
January 26, 2003.

Workshop: "Is This What Consensus Looks Like?"
Sunday, January 26th
Ward Circle Building, Room 4
American University
Washington D.C.

"The aim of this workshop is to help members of collectives
1. recognize unhealthy dynamics, informal hierarchies, and power plays that may
be at work in their groups, sometimes leading to an atmosphere of coercion and
intimidation (or, in less extreme situations, at least confusion and frustration);
2. identify the possible sources of internal conflicts and members\' responsibilities
in maintaining fairness and adhering to due process when striving to resolve
3. clarify and define the purpose and goals of the group as a means to guide the
conduct and actions of its members, particularly in times of crisis; and
4. recognize common misinterpretations and misuses of consensus that can result
in poor decisions which are not consensed to by all, or even most, of the

For more information, check out the NCOR Web site:
Workshop descriptions:
Schedule and location of worksohps:

The Common Wheel Collective website at geocities.com/thecommonwheel


The Common Wheel Collective is a radical community
group based on the North Shore of Staten Island. Our
main objective is to move ourselves and our neighbors
(ever so gradually) toward a more just, democratic,
and egalitarian society. Philosophically, we believe
that a truly just society must be one free of all
inequality, domination, and hierarchy.

The Common Wheel Collective formed about seven months
ago. In our present, still-formative stages, we have
focused most of our energies on outreach and the
sharing of information. As these efforts develop, we
are discovering that we are something of a publishing
 collective as well.

Our most widely received effort to date is the
Collective Book on Collective Process, a handbook
exploring democratic process within collectives,
focusing on the problems that develop and possible
approaches toward fixing those problems. Chapter
drafts of this book are presently being posted on
our Web page, http://www.geocities.com/collectivebook.
We are inviting people to join the Common Wheel
Collective in order to help us put together this
book, but we seek input and collaboration from
people outside the collective as well.

We are also publishing a series of flyers, ?Anti-Capitalist
 Savings Tips.? These flyers are designed to help people
cope with living on a limited income in the face of
various pressures from the current economic system.
The flyers contain a good number of practical savings
tips, yet they also contain advice on how to gain
economic autonomy by rejecting the capitalist,
consumerist messages with which we are so constantly
 bombarded. Eventually, we hope, these flyers will
explore methods of collective action and resistance.

The Common Wheel Collective is participating with
other groups in street fairs, public tablings,
workshops and demonstrations. We have also been
discussing plans to build up a public meeting space
and an information center.

We are deeply committed to anti-poverty work. We
believe that a world dominated by economic power,
in which moneyed interests control people?s lives,
is inherently unjust. By fostering individual and
collective self-empowerment, we hope to help people
overcome the competition and exploitation on which
the current system thrives.

We intend, also, to treat our comrades within the
collective the same way we would want people to treat
one another in the society at large. We will always
regard one another as equals and will try our best
never to engage in the power grabbing or back stabbing
that you see in so many other supposedly egalitarian
groups. We will do as much as we can to avoid the
very problems that we describe in the Collective Book
on Collective Process. We intend, at all times, to
resist any temptation to become grandiose, ?all-knowing,?
or arrogant. Within the collective as well as beyond it,
we will reject domination and hierarchy.

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