urgent: call for observers and community presence at annual meeting

Daniel Pocock daniel at pocock.pro
Tue Jul 17 07:54:22 UTC 2018

Hi everybody,

As the elections have been cancelled[1] and the fellows will not be able
to elect a new representative to attend the annual meeting this year, I
would like to raise the possibility that we make the meeting more open
than previous meetings, by having observers who can participate in the
discussions even if they are not yet respected equally.

Not only do we have the end of elections, but last year's meeting also
voted[2] to look at ways to empower the wider community in FSFE's
governance.  While the abolition of elections was rushed through an
extraordinary general meeting in May, I have not seen any hint of how
the new governance structure will be implemented and it is less than 3
months to the annual meeting.

I feel community involvement is vital for various reasons.

One of the most widely known quotes of the American revolution is James
Otis's "Taxation without representation is tyranny."

The FSFE fellows, supporters and community contribute time and money but
have no representation beyond myself and when my term as representative
expires, nobody will replace me.

As in the American Revolution, people can't wait for democracy to be
given to us on proper terms.  You need to be present at meetings like
this.  There is a limit to what I can do myself as your representative.

Council already circulated an email asking people to put 6+7 October in
their diary, a venue has not been announced but we have been told it
will be in Berlin.

There is significant time and cost involved for all GA members to travel
to the meeting so it appears to be in the best interests of the
organization to have any leaders from local groups or associated
organizations who want to attend at the same time and maximize
opportunities for discussion.

Having the community meeting last week separately from the annual
meeting in October appears to create fragmentation in the community and
I don't feel that having GA meetings that exclude the community is the
best way to spend fellows' money or motivate volunteers in the long term.

Note that people can also send requests[3] directly to the president,
mk at fsfe.org asking to become provisional members of the association and
receive an official invitation to the meeting.  As it is less than 3
months away now and it takes a few weeks to process these requests I
would suggest sending the email promptly.



1. https://lists.fsfe.org/pipermail/discussion/2018-July/012420.html
2. https://fsfe.org/about/legal/minutes/minutes-2017-10-15.en.pdf

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