On the structure of the FSF Europe

Xavier Drudis Ferran xdrudis at tinet.org
Wed May 16 01:29:05 UTC 2001

El Sun, May 13, 2001 at 01:28:40PM +0100, MJ Ray deia:
> Now why would that be?  Let's look at the evidence...
> While this may technically be a democracy, it doesn't feel like that
> to the people who wish to participate.  If I've read this properly,
> the constituency is the existing executive.  That sounds seriously
> broken.
That sounds like assambleary democracy (sorry for my English). Wasn't 
something similar in the Greek polis when democracy was born (but 
only among free men, which wasn't really democracy) ?
I'm sorry but I don't understand you and many other people wanting 
to decide what the FSFE says or does. 

As I see it, some people decided to get together and form an organisation.
Freedom of association is a human right, and it comes with freedom to 
choose who do you associate with and who you don't want to associate with.
Nobody should be telling them who they should get together with and who 
shouldn't. You can pick some friends and make another association, and 
I won't come telling you how you should work. 

Most people in this list are not members of the FSFE so we should not be 
allowed to decide for the FSFE. That is not undemocratic. People in my 
town choose our mayor, but nobody from the next town comes here to vote.
They choose their own mayor. If anyone could come to my town to vote 
without living here it wouldn't be democratic. In fact many frauds 
in elections come from the census. But I hope anyone from the next town 
can come here and tell us how unfair is our mayor, so that if he 
convinces us, we won't vote her again, or just give us ideas to make our 
town a better place, and we'll consider them when we vote. But he won't 
vote. That's what this list is for, as I see it, to tell people 
in the FSFE (and anyone else in the list) what we think of something, 
and the FSFE members can take it into account. And then _they_ vote 
what _they_ do.

If the FSFE had some power over me I'd like to be able to influence 
its decisions, but it hasn't any power so I don't want to tell them 
what to do. I enjoy being in this list because people talk about free 
software and I'm interested in it, but being in this list does not mean 
I'm in the FSFE or have a say in what they say and do. It means I get 
to know about their good job, and they get to read what I write and may 
take it into account if they want. But they are they and I am I. 
They're responsible for their actions and I'm for mine. 
Why should you be allowed to vote what the FSFE says or does and 
Bill Gates shouldn't be allowed to vote?. Because you have written 
free software and he hasn't?. I don't think that is a good reason. 
Writing free software entitles you to rights on your software and 
to my gratitude and many other's, but it does not entitle you to 
decide what others say or do. 

I think the problem is that we all feel so in the same community 
and so happy together and we like the FSF and FSFE so much that 
we think we're part of the FSF or FSFE. Most of us are not. We 
are just friends of the FSFE, so to say, so we can give advice 
to a friend, but we don't decide for him. The day the FSFE asks
me for a ballot to vote what I write in my own web pages I'll 
say "nay, you don't get to vote, but I'll gladly listen to your
ideas", just the same as I now say nay to anyone outside the FSFE 
(but in the beloved free software community) who is asking for 
a ballot to vote what goes in the FSFE web.

Sorry if this is too long and repetitive, I just can't understand 
many messages in this list that think not being able to control 
other people's (i.e. FSFE's) decisions is undemocratic. 

Xavier Drudis Ferran
xdrudis at tinet.org

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