Honeybee Democracy*

by Tanna Kasperowicz

We are much like Honeybees in that we are both a society and a superorganism. living here as we do in our Hull, Cohasset, Hingham, Scituate and Weymouth hives.

Individually, we act as family units and then in our town governments we are divided into precincts, and parties. And along with all of that comes the issues that must be decided by the society via votes at town meeting and town, state and federal elections.

It is the group choices we make via our collected wisdom that are so compelling. Honeybees all appear to have an equal role to play in the hive and it is thought that they are not jealous of one another.

Queen bees are born, not elected. Their role is arduous, not glamorous. If Queen bees ever get dethroned, the author of Honeybee Democracy does not record it in his research. But she can have rivals and there are fights to the death.

Bees work hard and all are dedicated to the promotion of their species. New hives are established when the present hive becomes too large. Nobody is angry although some confusion occurs when the hive splits; but the wisdom of the Hive(s) prevails.

So how is it that the Cohasset Board of Selectmen have lost its ability to make democratic decisions with regard to our common interests, and are no longer functioning as an effective decision making body? How is it that it has become so dangerous to the hive that the collective will in the community is to work to remove members of this board from the HiveArchy?

As I move among HiveArchy, I am discovering groups forming well in advance of May 2013 town elections. Grassroots bees say Cohasset Selectmen have lost their ability to identify options and make good choices for the hive.

Grassroots bees say Selectbees are supposed to shape the process, not the product, of the group’s deliberations. “They no longer deliberate with us,” grassroots bees say. “They have not explained to us the protocol they are using to make decisions, and they are making decisions separate from the Swarm.”

Bees say they are upset that a worker bee on the conservation commission was removed from his duties. A year ago he was demoted to an associate member. Last month he was fired, in spite of the fact that he did his job well, attended all meetings and went to conservation conferences to learn how to better make decisions for the Hive.

“Our views are no longer welcomed or respected by the Selectbees,” the bees say.

There is an analogy between the bees in a hive, the cells in a body, and the cooperation necessary to build a higher level entity. Bees say that cooperation has broken down in Cohasset.

“We voted upon laws that we all honor. Now Selectbees say they don’t honor those laws. They don’t want to obey the laws. They say they are the law.”

Hum mm mm. The Swarm is not happy.

Honeybees have much to teach us.

Thank you Richard Karoff for your bravery, your constancy, your attention to detail, and for having served the Cohasset Hive well for over 8 years on the conservation commission. You made good group decisions based upon the laws of the Hive.

*Honeybee Democracy, Thomas D. Seeley, Author

This editorial appeared the July 11th hard copy edition of the Tinytown Gazette.

© Copyright 2012 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed