[GA] who is a member?

Mat Witts admin at yuj.it
Mon Feb 5 14:59:23 UTC 2018

Hi Florian,

>> I have left the FSFE because (among other things) there appears to be multiple levels of practical engagement with policy (which is fine) but it is based on a rather obscure set of policies concerning what membership means (which is not fine).

> I am trying to understand better what exactly you mean here; would you mind elaborating a little bit about your experience?

Broadly, I would describe my experience in one way: initial enthusiasm about the FSFE transforming into ambivalence.

On one hand I am very energized by the work of the FSFE in keeping FS principles relevant to society, communities of developers and end users. On the other hand I am depressed and anxious about the specific features of the organization that frustrate that work through various contradictions at the level of organizational design which Daniel and a few others highlight in this thread and elsewhere so I won't repeat them here.

The danger I think is an organization like the FSFE is instrumental (though it's effectiveness is difficult to measure) in attenuating the most harmful effects of privately oriented institutional control over software development, but it is not immune to the potential to become 'weaponized' by well-meaning individuals, niches and other groups who themselves who are given far more control or influence over the organization than others in various ways.

This style of leadership although has benefits for some, it is generally I think problematic for society, communities of developers and end users - the objects the FSFE is claiming to support.

This is why I have chosen to cancel my financial support for the time being, until such time that a clearer picture emerges from the FSFE about it's policy priorities and future activities.

What is required is a clear set of policy priorities with robust evidence of support for them from the entire membership (and how 'membership' is to be construed seems to be unsettled too). There are many ways to do that from elections, polls, forums, working groups and all the rest of it but if either one is missing - 1) clear policy and 2) evidence of freely conferred deference to them from members (and it seems both appear to be weak in some instances) then no good will result and the FSFE will be on course for an arbitrary accumulation of capital causing all the overdetermined social problems and moral hazards that unaccountable accumulations of capital I think have proved universally to facilitate both in software development and anywhere where technical knowledge is distributed through networks framed by the monocultural havoc wrought by capital rather than the sympathetic wonder of diverse human collectives.

/ m 


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