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Creating community where you are/Majority-take-all voting

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Creating community where you are/Majority-take-all voting

From ICWiki


The US was founded on the principle of one person, one vote (although in the beginning, the one person needed to be white, male, and a land-owner.) Voting is so much a part of our culture that it is hard to see the damage that majority voting does to our political process, and to the decisions we come to as a group, a city, a county, a state, or a country. Unfortunately, the weaknesses of the voting system seem to accumulate over time, leading us to the current political dysfunctionality so visible on the national level.

The primary destructive effect that voting has on community comes from the basic human characteristic that losing is more memorable than winning. As an example, in the North of the US, the US Civil War is a story in the history books at school. In the South, it is a wound that continues to fester, 150 years later. A voting group can take only 3 votes in a meeting, and everybody can go home upset by being part of a losing vote.

A person on the losing end of a vote generally feels that the decision is being imposed on them, rather than that they have been a part of the decision (even though they got to cast their vote). In fact, Quakers feel that voting is the violent imposition of the will of the majority on the minority. Violent imposition is not a concept that fosters a sense of community in a group.

Another negative aspect of voting is that it is easy for special interests to manipulate it for their own narrow good, rather than seeking the best for the whole group. Giving away just enough favors to get that magic 51% leaves a lot more resources for the special interest than finding a solution acceptable to the whole group. It seems clear that a decision that gives most or all the resources to 51% of the group is not likely to foster community and harmony.

When a majority in a group gets entrenched in power and continues to win the votes, the group can create a culture of division instead of community. Each vote is seen as a vote between the two groups rather than a vote on the issue. The losing side feels less and less heard (and typically gets angrier and louder.) The minority tries to find a way to pick off a few wavering people from the majority, so they can “return the favor” and dominate the people who had been dominating them. This does not enhance a sense of community in a group!

We happily link to the following organizations, all of whom share our strong commitment to promoting community and a more cooperative world:
Cohousing The Federation of Egalitarian Communities - Communes Coop Community Cooperative Sustainable Intentional North American Students of Cooperation Global Ecovillage Network