I’m very interested in this whole thread, and in particular these questions. I’m looking at cases where I want to participate in an existing volunteer organization, but their decision-making process is painful. “Who Decides Who Decides” is a beautiful booklet, but you make it clear, Ted, that it is designed for newly forming organizations or organizations which are small enough that a re-launch is possible, and that makes sense to me. I want to present one case that I’m currently facing.
I’m moving into community of folks who, among other things, organize a local chapter of Food Not Bombs. (This means that I am relatively new to the community and the organization.) Their current decision-making process involves, as I understand it, one person who largely heads the organization and other people who make decisions in a loose way based on the urgency of
the decision and the energy of the people available at the time. Some of these folks have an explicit affinity for anarchism, and many of them are also involved in other organizing work in their larger community. I have a fantasy about an umbrella organization that includes a Food Not Bombs circle but which allows them (us!) to make decisions that coordinate their larger efforts. There are a dozen or so active voices discussing the regular Food Not Bombs activities, taken from a somewhat larger group of people who might think of themselves as members of the Food Not Bombs chapter.
Legitimacy: how do I get more than a small circle of people on board with the idea of Sociocracy, particularly when I am relatively new to the community and organization? How much education or training do I invite them into? I would love for everyone in the group to read MVOS, but I’ve already seen that that’s much too large a request, even for the organization’s current leader, who is already overtaxed, although the leader is excited about the potential of Sociocracy. I’m afraid of other members not having the energy to acknowledge the importance of governance early on, and then being afraid and defensive about losing legacy structures later.
I am very excited to learn more about how to participate in Communities of Practice, and how to get involved with other support structures as they become available (or if they are already available and I’m just not aware of them).