"The one no-vote is the highest political expression of love that we know of."
- Things I've Heard Vic Say
Over forty years ago, we formed a community giving each member a decisive and
irrevocable no-vote on any proposed action that affects the group. We
understood that even if a large political unit, such as a country or city
ruled by the majority or fewer, could afford a dissatisfied segment of the
population, a closely associated community can not. Each person in such a
group is directly affected by the winning and losing of every other person
in that group. Your winning is diminished and polluted if those nearest to
you are losing. The one no-vote is the political expression of this fact. It
gives you enough social conscience and compassion to pay attention to your
The one no-vote was designed to secure that the viewpoint of the weakest
member would be considered. This goal is achieved by all members of the
community having the same ultimate veto power or no-vote. In this way, no
one, regardless of age, race, gender or apparent status, would be subject to
decisions he or she finds untenable. Unless the no-vote, once cast, is
irrevocable, more powerful members could easily influence or coerce the
dissenter into withdrawing his/her vote. Without irrevocability, the
sovereignty of every individual member remains a dream.
Over the years, many people have questioned whether a one no-vote system
makes "progress" cumbersome. If things are already good now, as we think
they are, then a proposed plan, in order to make things truly better,
must be acceptable to those involved. If even one person is unhappy about
a change, then the change is not worth it. One no-vote doesn't mean we
agree on everything; it means that no one has disagreed to the extent
of voting no. We have discovered that the one no-vote decision-making
structure results in very few no-votes.
The finality of the no-vote invites discussion. Under these circumstances,
we feel freer to express our viewpoints. With a group of people where all
of us are interested in each of us winning, we are able to take advantage of
all our eyes and to formulate the most encompassing, winning solutions to
solve our problems and achieve our goals.
Although we have experienced many challenges and our course has seemed
unpredictable, we are thriving and having fun after forty years.