• Lada Matyášová

Collective power, the power of community

On September 20th - 30th, 2019, the Collective Power international training event took place in the picturesque small village of Brivezac near Clermont-Ferrand, France. It was focused on the principles of sociocracy and community coexistence, decision-making and implementation. Sociocracy is the opposite of the power hierarchy of human coexistence, so it is typically not a well-known business model based on one sovereign company owner who decides on everything. This is an approach emphasizing the equality and equality of all members of the group and their decision-making and executive law. In reality, sociocracy has four main principles. Division of work using thematic circles, double links, election without a candidate and method of consensus decision-making. Thematic circles work in such a way that the candidates are divided into groups according to their greatest interest in the matter, which the whole group chooses. A double links is a function of two members from each circle. They meet in a shared central circle consisting of two representatives from each circle, one advocating the interests of their circle and the other the interests of the central circle (to avoid conflicts of interest) where communication and participatory decision-making on the whole group takes place. Elections without a candidate are a method of selecting one member of a circle or group into a role or position, in which the group determines (all its members) who is best suited to the position according to the role description. Consensus, unlike the consensus method, is different in that, instead of saying yes, no one here says no.

And after we learned about this method, we immediately started to implement it on our group. We have created thematic circles themselves (so-called forest nymphs taking care of nature, so-called actogether dealing with events, so-called hot tea and chocolate dealing with the well-being of all and inmotion dealing with emotional intelligence). We then defined the needs and offer of programs and combined them into a nine-day schedule. And that we invented a lot! We started rituals to live with the place Homade, which became our home for the next week, and with a group of thirty other participants, beautiful souls and artists. We also tried the old African tribal Kabbalah ritual. We build on the games of trust and work with our own body for better awareness. The next day we went to a workshop on a safe space and practically tried without a candidate and the method of consensus. The next day we started to create our common radio, learned a lot about the method of personal mapping and tried the Tao game. Massages took place in the evening. The next day we continued to explore the theory of non-violent communication and give and receive feedback. In the evening we went to the local "shared" Cacalou bar, where we initiated spontaneous music and dance entertainment in addition to a delicious dinner.

We learned the theory of problem solving and design thinking. And we tried to make music using only our own body. The next day we went to practice co-creating tools (6 thinking hats, Walt Disney method, etc.). In the evening we went out for dinner again, at the same time celebrating the birthday of one of the participants, so there was a big party until late at night. We inspired our creativity by creating Ubuntu books in the form of linocut. We tried the method of aquarium discussion and World café. And we went for a whole afternoon and evening to the festival of the ecological village of La Talvere. The penultimate evening, we prepared a spectacular public show where we could hear us sing, perform a body play, dance, juggle or see aerial acrobatics on the rope performed by all the members of the group. And on the very last day, we devoted ourselves to what we wanted to achieve together after our departure home, and how we guarantee that we do not lose contact with each other.

It was a strong and unique experience. Find a new family that has not only three or five members but almost thirty. It just doesn't happen. So many emotions, open hearts and arms and sharing everyday worries and joys (yes, of course we also bought, cooked and cleaned together). I thank Homade for the opportunity to feel at home, and Nomadways for organizing this unique experience, knowing that they have acted on their own and am convinced that if it works for them, in the middle of nothing in France, the principle of sociocracy will work anywhere. And I already know that sharing human forces, talents and personalities leads to magical results. Merci, Erasmus+.

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