The General Assembly of Occupy Berkeley, like many of the General Assemblies in occupations around the country, uses a consensus decision making process to reach its decisions. The consensus process is a directly democratic process in which the group tries to work collaboratively to come to a solution that all members are happy with, or at least that all members can live with. Consensus decision making can be more time consuming than simple “majority rules” type decision making, but it has many advantages, namely:
- By seeking the input of all individuals, better quality decisions are made
- The largest number of people are happy with the decision and will be more likely to see it carried out. This can be contrasted with a “majority rule” decision where 49% of the group may be highly opposed to what is being passed.
- Facilitates listening, because since the concerns of individuals must be addressed, care must be taken to understand their position.