Democratic Dialogue | 民主式對話 | Global Greens

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Democratic Dialogue | 民主式對話

Green Parties and civil society movements convened in Dakar, Senegal this April 2012 to discuss the world’s critical intractable issues of today, and it was at this Global Greens Congress that I experienced the connection between dialogue and democracy.  From these discussions among 400+ delegates emerged resolutions declaring our common voice on clean technology, the rights of indigenous peoples, sustainable development, LGBT rights, land justice and biodiversity, marine ecosystems, the occupy movement, Syria, Tibet, Western Sahara, Greece, and many more.  The following article reports the process used to reach a single voice from a cacophony of opinions.  This is dialogue in action as democracy.

The Greens are the world's fastest growing political family working for change inside and outside the world's governments and have elected representatives in all corners of the world at local, state, national, and European Parliament level.  Organized into Federations in the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia-Pacific, the Greens work cooperatively to implement an inspiring Global Greens Charter articulating our core values and political actions of participatory democracy, social justice, nonviolent security, and respect for diversity (  The Greens strive to walk the talk of democracy by consensus-based decision making; it was in this consensus building process that I experienced how dialogic skills are incredibly useful for dealing with complex, potentially frictional and divisive issues.  Below is the story of one such case:

The most hotly debated resolution at the Congress was about the future of the Greens institution - the organizational structure, strategy and financing, all traditionally sensitive political topics.  The goal was global consensus, yet each topic felt like a land mine for debate as we began with every individual holding a different perspective on our current reality and aspiration for what to create and how.  A simple deliberative process however whittled down the largeness of the task into manageable pieces:

Stage 1: A few months before the Congress a small working group of both experienced and new Greens dialogued and drafted a preliminary resolution.

Stage 2: Each world Federation (Africa, Asia, Americas and Europe) held internal deliberations over the draft and proposed amendments based on local perspectives.  The Asia Pacific process began with delegates sitting in a circle and opening the space for inquiry and advocacy to develop the group’s understanding of the major implications for our region.  Each nation’s delegation voiced their reactions, needs and perspectives based on their local realities.  As each delegate spoke, I observed attentive and empathetic listening from the circle.  I fully believe this opportunity to voice and feel heard by one’s peers was a critical foundation to achieving our end consensus.  Afterwards, volunteers among the circle formed a small working group to draft amendments on behalf of the whole Asia Pacific.  Legitimacy existed because people were given a full opportunity to speak their minds and participate.

Stage 3: By morning, the Asia Pacific delegates reconvened to review the amendments generated by our working group.  This is where the magic of a dialogic process makes all the difference: what could have been discord instead became harmony.  A skillful moderator held the space with calm poise and brought each line of the lengthy article under group inspection.  All from the floor were given full opportunity to speak uninterrupted; as people raised their hands indicating desire to speak, their names were added to a list and one-by-one their time with the mic was given.  I believe this pacing enabled people the time to reflect rather than speaking reactively and created a civil and constructive movement. 

Stage 4: Each Federation’s positions was stated by a representative in a speech to the 400 members of the congress.  The floor erupted with debate and immediately a space was nominated for negotiations to continue among anyone wishing to participate.  After the negotiation group dialogued for an hour, they nominated Federation representatives to continue synthesizing the amendments into one single document.  Negotiations continued among the representatives who then nominated an even smaller groups of 3-4 representatives from each Federation to reach agreement on the most contentious areas.  Finally, an agreement was melded by another working group empowered by the whole for this task.  Ultimately, the final document was presented with track changes to the whole 400 global delegates, read through line by line and put to vote for endorsement.  This fractious document passed unanimously.

I observed how constant dialogue generated legitimacy and consensus.  I learned that consensus is not reached at once, but through many stages and group sizes empowered by the whole to work on key pieces.  Good ideas come through the maturation of being worked on again-and-again from different perspectives.  Dialogic skills of listening, empathy, mutual respect, inquiry, advocacy, and good facilitative process made this all possible in a civilized and constructive manner, leading me to conclude that dialogue and democracy are two sides of the same coin.

Article by Keli Yen, Asia Pacific Greens Network Convener,  and CP Yen Foundation Facilitator:


多國綠黨與推動公民社會運動的組織於2012年四月在塞內加爾的達喀爾(Dakar, Senegal)聚會,共同討論當今全球最艱鉅的一些議題。就是在這全球綠黨大會(Global Greens Congress)中,我體驗到對話與民主之間的緊密關係。從這些討論中,大家做出許多重要的決議,包括在淨化科技上共同發聲、原住民族群的權益、永續發展、LGBT跨性別族群權益、土地正義與生物多樣性、海洋生態系、占領運動、西伯利亞、西藏、西薩哈拉、希臘,以及更多的議題。以下的文章就記錄一個匯集不同意見、達到共同聲音的過程。這就是對話在民主中的呈現。

綠黨是全球最快速成長的政治組織,希望能在全球的政府體系內外帶來改革,而且在全球各地的當地、州政府與國家層級,以及歐洲的國會當中,都有許多民意代表。全球綠黨組織成美洲、非洲、歐洲與亞太地區的聯合會,共同合作來執行全球綠黨章程,是一份充滿啟發性的文件,強調透過參與式民主、社會正義、非暴力的安全、對多元文化的尊重等核心價值 (請查詢網站章程內容。綠黨希望身體力行,透過共識表達民主精神。就是在這達成共識的過程,讓我很驚奇地見識到對話的技巧在處理複雜、可能引發衝突、容易分裂的議題上扮演的重要角色。以下就是其中的一個小故事:

在這場綠黨大會中,最受熱烈討論的決議就是綠色組織的未來- 討論到組織的結構、策略與財務等過去都是非常敏感的政治議題。大家的目標是達到一個全球性的共識。但是一開始討論時,卻因每個人對當下的真相都有不同的觀點,對於未來的想法與該如何做到也持有不同意見,每個議題都宛若地雷,隨時可能引爆。但是這些卻都靠著一個很簡單又精心設計的過程,將這些如同怪獸般巨大的議題得以拆解成可管理的小區塊:






本文撰寫人: 顏克莉,亞太綠人召集人、朝邦文教基金會引導師:


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