While I entirely appreciate that ‘Yes, but’ has a role in holding those in power to account, it also suffocates and stifles and undermines. Just for those few moments, I allowed myself to imagine how our political debates might look if they had ‘Yes, and’ at their heart. I liked what I saw.
Understanding social movements, what causes them and makes them succeed, are the elusive questions that David Graeber’s latest book, The Democracy Project. A History. A Crisis. A Movement, confronts in response to the contemporary Occupy movement.
The conflict in this real community I’ll call “Green Meadow” (first described in Part I of this article, Communities #155, Summer 2012) was between two community members who had frequently blocked proposals and a roomful of people who wanted to pass an Agriculture Committee proposal about a community site plan for future farms, pastures, and orchards. Passing the proposal would mean clearing more of their forest. The two frequently blocking members were committed to protecting the community’s land—to protecting the Earth—from the human impact of clearing more forest and implementing the proposed agricultural site plans.