Why “fellowship”?

MJ Ray mjr at phonecoop.coop
Wed Jan 18 00:02:14 UTC 2012

Carsten Agger <agger at modspil.dk> [...]
> There is one good reason for not running a political organization or NGO 
> as an association with free membership, and that's the risk of "coups".
> Suppose an association is really successful and attract a lot of 
> donations. Come next general assembly, some group who is hostile to the 
> association's goals, organize a lot of people to join just in time to be 
> able to vote at the next general assembly.

That's why not-for-profit groups should not hold more assets than
necessary, why a group may need some entry qualification and why there
should be regulators who can enforce the stated goals, but it is not a
reason against open and voluntary membership and democratic member

In fact, I suggest that the risk of coups is greater in undemocratic
organisations because the attacker would only need to persuade a few
core group postholders in private and don't need to convince a
majority of a large audience of supporters pretty much in public.

The organisations that I have seen fall to such coups have gone
because there was no regulator who would intervene, the board had been
persuaded first and then they persuaded the wider membership.  I don't
remember any coups led by a membership against a board's wishes, so
as long as only a minority of the board is elected each assembly,
there's time to defeat a coup one way or another.

> What's important is that the *community* is democratic, i.e. 
> collaborative and with an open spirit.

Amen!  And to reply to the earlier post: as I understand it,
democratic does apply to organisations. It just means the people
(Greek demos) run it (kratein).  Usually these days, we understand it
as being the whole audience, but it may be debatable who that is for
MJ Ray (slef), member of www.software.coop, a for-more-than-profit co-op.
http://koha-community.org supporter, web and library systems developer.
In My Opinion Only: see http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html
Available for hire (including development) at http://www.software.coop/

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