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C.T. Lawrence Butler

C.T. Lawrence Butler has lived an alternative lifesytle since he left college at the end of the Vietnam War. With a group of actor friends in Boston, MA, he founded a theater production company and produced several off-off-Broadway plays including Dracula, Sylvia Plath, and The Marlowe Show in Boston and Fits, Seizures and Small Complaints in New York City. He is a self-taught cook and has held a position as a head chef in a French restaurant. He has been a vegetarian for over 30 years and written a vegetarian cookbook. He is a founding member of a worldwide, nonviolent, grassroots activist movement known as Food Not Bombs. His nonviolent direct actions against war, poverty and injustice have lead to his being beaten, tortured and arrested over 50 times in the United States without ever having committed or been convicted of a crime. He is a proud father and parent to several children. He has participated in a surrogate birth and is raising an adopted daughter who is a full-blooded Native American Aymara Indian from Bolivia. He has written three books: On Conflict and Consensus, Food Not Bombs, How to Feed the Hungry and Build Community, and, the soon to be published, Consensus for Cities of 100,000. He travels extensively teaching and lecturing on nonviolent conflict resolution, consensus decisionmaking and grassroots political organizing.

Before C.T. wrote his first book, On Conflict and Consensus, and before mediation was big business, C.T. was already developing his approach to alternative conflict resolution. He had a private practice helping couples, individuals and groups mediate their conflicts. During the early years of the AIDS epidemic, C.T. was recruited by the organization ACT UP Maine to teach nonviolence trainings in preparation for nonviolent direct actions. Throughout the 1980s, he continued to be in demand for mediation and nonviolence trainings by various organizations and grassroots activist groups through the end of the first Persian Gulf War in the early 1990s.

His first book, On Conflict and Consensus, was published in 1987. In it, he defines his model of consensus called Formal Consensus. In the early 1990s, C.T. shifted his efforts to focus his attention on teaching workshops on Formal Consensus. Since then, he has facilitated over 60 Formal Consensus workshops in the US. In addition, various organizations have sponsored workshops by C.T. in Stockholm, Ottawa, London, and Paris. A wide variety of community groups and organizations have adopted Formal Consensus as their decisionmaking process. The list includes:
  • Co-housing Communities
  • Eco Villages
  • Homeless Advocacy Organizations
  • Native American Indian Tribes
  • Government Agencies
  • Boards of Directors of Non-profit Organizations
  • Social Change Groups
  • West African Nonviolent Revolutionaries
  • Churches
  • Professional Organizations
  • Covens
  • Food Coops
  • Alternative Schools and Colleges
  • Anarchist Networks in Eastern Europe
  • Artist Collectives
  • Dance Communities
  • Families

In August 1999, C.T. sustained a serious head injury. He stopped traveling and took an extended leave of absence from teaching. He reentered the field in September 2005 by teaching a 2-day workshop with the Humanities Department faculty at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez. In March 2006, he presented his first ever 4-day Training for Teachers (T4T) workshop. The workshop, held in Tucson, AZ, was a tremendous success with 30 participants from across the US, including two activists from Africa.

Recently, C.T. traveled to Alaska to conduct a workshop for the Alaska Native Health Board. There, he witnessed a stunning example of Formal Consensus being used skillfully, effectively and successfully in the world. Currently, he is motivated to enlarge the scope of Formal Consensus to address large organizational process issues. His book, Consensus for Cities of 100,000, will address this topic. This book will be available in the fall 2006.

C.T.'s Formal Consensus workshop schedule:

- four-day workshop (T4T), Blairstown, NJ, June 24th-27th,
contact: Abe Karl-Gruswitz at boyfromthefuture@fastmail.fmor 973-786-5396 or Kathyann Natkie at knat@sprintmail.comor 908-812-1251.

- two classes at the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) conference in Troy, NY, June 29th-July 2nd,
contact: http://www.EducationRevolution.org/conference.html

- four-day workshop (T4T), Seattle, WA, September 9th-10th and 16th-17th,
contact: Catherine Kettrick at catherine@performanceschool.org

- six day workshop and Conference on Formal Consensus and Nonviolence, Lagos, Nigeria, September 24th-30th ending with a concert with Charlie Boy, October 1st,
contact: http://africanconsensus.net/

- two-day workshop, Sonora co-housing community, Tucson, AZ, October 14th-15th,

- two-day workshop, Portland State University, Portland, OR, October 21st-22nd
contact: Justin Myers

- meta-facilitator for Alexander Technique International (ATI), a professional organization of Alexander Technique teachers that uses Formal Consensus at their Annual General Meetings, Scottsdale, AZ November 12th-17th.
contact: http://www.ati-net.com/index.php

If you would like to contact C.T. Butler for meeting facilitation, to arrange a lecture or workshop, or to simply to ask a question about Formal Consensus, he can be reached at . In the US or Canada please use the toll-free Formal Consensus Technical Assistance Phoneline 1-800-569-4054. Outside the US and Canada please use +1-301-270-0401.

A brief biography on C.T. Lawrence Butler

Food Not Bombs Publishing
7304 Carroll Ave #136
Takoma Park, MD 20912

E-Mail: ctbutler@consensus.net