EXCERPT FROM THE February, 2004,  ESSAY:


“Ghandi’s Dream of the New Democracy:

The Parallel Consensual Democratic Governance System”


By Terry Mollner

Chair & Executive Director

Trusteeship Institute, Inc.



[Ghandi] returned to the villages and began to create what he called “Peoples Committees (PC).” It was based on the ancient panchayat tribal systems of India. The way it functioned was as follows.


The main affinity groups in the village were identified. In today’s small towns it might be every major church, the downtown business association, the manufacturer’s association, the women’s association, the major non-governmental organizations, the farmers association, the major non-profit and for-profit corporations, etc. Each group would be invited to elect their senior, most mature person, to serve on the PC. The only people who could not serve on the PC were those directly involved with electoral politics.


The reason was that they were going in the opposite direction. They were organizing against an opposition. The PC was based on finding consensus. The PC was looking to find common ground and to co-create greater understanding. While accepting all the differences that existed, it invited these elders in the community to search to identify as many agreements as they could find to peal off from their disagreements so the donut of agreements became larger and larger relative to the differences in the middle of the donut. The PC was seeking to find agreement, hopefully with 100% voting for the agreement but, if not, be able to observe the percentages going higher each time the proposed, or amended, agreement was once again discussed.


The PC would be open for anyone to attend. In fact, the entire village was encouraged to sit in a circle around the PC circle. In today’s world, this possibility could be enhanced with the use of television and radio.


Gandhi’s belief was that since this was a more mature way for people to relate, the result would be that the elected officials would never be able to go against the consensus decisions, or near consensus decisions, of the village elders. The result would be that people would slowly shift their priorities and give greater priority to the PC than to the competing political governance system. In this innocent and non-violent way, the PC would become primary; the competitive process would become secondary; and, hopefully, eventually the official competitive process would be reorganized to reflect the PC more in its processes as well.




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