The Importance Of Consensus Building

Failed Violent Insurrection

On January 6, Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol building in an attempt to undermine the democratic process and keep their chosen candidate in power. They failed because consensus was not built in the right places to support what they wanted to do: overturn the election results. 70 million people voted for President Trump, and even though they did so at the expense of democratic norms, it still was not enough for them to maintain their grip on power.

Achieving Political Success

Political success depends on having the right alliances. Much of Trump’s support is limited to working class whites. The problem with this in regard to the attempt at the capitol was that the alliances within his army of supporters were not agreeable with their objectives: to undermine the democratic process and hold onto power.

The right number of supporters from the civil service, law enforcement, and military sectors of society are needed to successfully prevent someone democratically elected from taking power at the appropriate, designated time, and is only obtained through consensus building among these groups of political actors.

Lack Of Consensus Building

Consensus building is the most important activity among the range of activities that can be done when politically engaging. Black Americans have not been successful at political engagement in large part because effective, consensus building is not a key part of our engagement efforts. Our culture does not feature widespread, effective consensus building among ourselves or other groups, and is the reason why our vote continues to not yield positive results.

Why Consensus Building Important

Meetings, covered in the article “Requirements For Effective, Political Engagement,” are a type of political engagement strongly encouraged because it is where consensus building, the most important activity, can take place. Consensus building is important because it increases support for that which consensus is required. For instance, we need widespread consensus on the legacy of racism and how our cultural identity should be shaped around it. Do we view racism as a system that continues to marginalize us, or do we view it as a system whose effects have drastically lessened with time and are of little consequence? Our overall cultural identity shapes our political and economic identities, which in turn, shapes our policy and legislative objectives.

Activating The Politically Unactivated

Black organizers should focus a lot more on consensus building among the politically unactivated in black America only, for history shows us that we do not have allies, but those who exploit and co-opt and must appeal to what is really the only thing needed: justice. Justice breaks down into many things: better incomes, job opportunities, fair treatment under the law, etc., but all of these things equate to one main thing: justice.

In order to do this, Black organizers have to have the courage to stand up to Whites, who have generally shown themselves as being opposed to justice. This means advocating for policies and legislation most Whites view as threatening to the political and economic advantages they currently enjoy, like: reparations, anti-racist legislation, and swift apprehension and prosecution of anyone engaging in activities designated legally as racist.

Summing Up

Consensus building has to be front and center in our efforts if any of the policy and legislative objectives previously mentioned are to ever have a working chance at successfully being met. Like the Trump supporters who stormed the capitol, we have not built consensus in ways agreeable with our needs. Only when there is widespread consensus on what our objectives are, will our oppression end and our lives drastically improve.

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