Greg Colvin's opening remarks to Paris Council

These are Greg’s remarks to the 2018 Paris Council earlier this year. Link.

My first experience of formal consensus-based decision making was joining my first direct action against the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons factory. Hundreds of people were participating, organized into affinity groups of about five to ten people. After training in non-violence there was a final meeting to agree on tactics for the action. We needed consensus on what laws we would and would not break, how we would behave when provoked, arrested, or attacked, and other contingencies. Both for the consistency of our message and for our own safety and the safety of the police.

Each group chose a spokesperson, and we formed a large circle with spokespeople on the rim and the rest of us behind our spokesperson. The facilitator kept going around the circle, seeking agreement and disagreement, and each spokesperson would consult with their group before speaking. As the disagreements became fewer the leader started asking the whether objectors wished to block consensus. At that action, all blocking objections were resolved. Had they not been the objectors might have left, and the remainder would need to reach consensus on whether to proceed without them. The consensus was that we would sit down across the roadways into the plant, refuse orders to leave if we chose to, passively require the police to carry us if chose to, but by no means actively resist arrest.

Just saying…


From a call with @gcolvin today, he brought up the Rainbow Family / Rainbow Gathering. Lots of tips on running “disorganizations”:

I love this quote:

Some rainbow family participants make the claim that the family is the “largest non-organization of non-members in the world”

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