who has time for the GA? (was: terminating memberships responsibly)

Carsten Agger agger at modspil.dk
Mon Sep 3 18:18:19 UTC 2018

On 09/03/2018 07:18 PM, Nikos Roussos wrote:

> That's true for most associations, but even in these cases usually there are some limitations on how you get to be a member. In many associations, besides paying a membership, it is required that some existing members vouch for you. This provides some short of web of trust, but also acts as a fail-safe, preventing a group of people taking over an association just because they have the money to do so.
That's completely true! I believe that in this country (Denmark) it's 
not allowed for any association that wants to apply for public support 
to be discriminatory, i.e. there can be no arbitrary limitations to 
membership. But of course, you have to be a qualified nurse to be a 
member of the nurse's union, etc.
In such a situation, other fail-safes can be constructed and are indeed 
important.Hostile takeovers of associations have happened!

I'm myself the treasurer of "Permakultur Randers", which is the 
permaculture association of Randers, and in order to become a member you 
must accept that this association has its focus in the vicinity of 
Randers. We *could* have demanded that people live here, if we wanted.

A common requirement is that people ust be physically present and the 
general assembly and can't delegate their vote. Other fail-safes which I 
think would be of interested were I to create a Free Software 
association in Denmark (something I refrained from, preferring the 
FSFE), one could make the bylaws virtually unchangeable by requiring an 
80% majority in two consecutive general assemblies with no less than 80% 
of the membership present in each (that would make a hostile takeover 
very difficult bordering to the impossible in an association with more 
than a thousand members).

Another common failsafe is to have a bylaw which enables the expulsion 
of members who work against the association's bylaws. Thus, a Microsoft 
lawyer working to get  software patents could be expelled from a Free 
Software association.


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