C.T. Butler coming to the Conference
There are a very small number of extraordinary people who win Nobel Prizes. These are people who are recognized for having made breakthrough contributions in their field. With a single award a year for thousands in the field, it is quite and honor and rarity. Then there are people like Linus Pauling. Pauling and Madame Currie are the only two people to hold 2 Nobel Prizes in different fields (Pauling’s prizes were in Chemistry and Peace).
CT Butler, with the formulation of the formal consensus model and the founding of Food
Not Bombs, is the Linus Pauling of the progressive movement. CT did not invent consensus – its roots go back to the Quakers and before. But he captured it in his crazily popular booklet On Conflict and Consensus and helped usher its widespread use into various progressive movements in the US.
Food Not Bombs (FNB) is the poster child for effective anarchist structured projects. Food which is often going to be thrown away is salvaged, prepared by volunteers in a soup kitchen or church (often) and then served to poor people in a public part on an on-going basis. A simple model satisfying a direct, acute need.
As a radical organizer, I look for good ideas that spread and last – successful memetic structures, to use jargon. FNB certainly succeeds in this. Local unaffiliated FNB
collectives have popped up in scores of cities across the country. They work without budgets or administrators, feeding tens of thousands of people every week. There is no executive director, no bank account, no store front. The exhaustive FNB website list 68 chapters in California alone and 12 in Australia and New Zealand.
CT Butler will be bringing his knowledge of consensus and his experience as a radical organizer to the Conference, leading a workshop titled “Value-Based Consensus by Comparison.” He is a hero of mine and I am excited that he is working with us on this event.