[Fsfe-se] Jabber official meeting

Jeremiah Foster jeremiah at jeremiahfoster.com
Wed Aug 22 16:33:20 CEST 2007

On Aug 22, 2007, at 4:05 PM, Henrik Sandklef wrote:
>> In general the point of democracy is that _everyone_ has a vote. When
>> just the party members have a vote, and you can think of the
>> Fellowship as a political party, you get oligarchy. It seems
>> hypocritical that a political action group (the FSFE) who lobbies on
>> behalf of the people of Europe is steered by an unelected board and
>> that only Fellows can interact via Jabber with the FSFE.
> OK, we also read emails every now and then ;)
> Anyone can interact with FSFE, e g vie e-mail*. If everyone should  
> have
> a vote then we can easily be mislead by another organisation that  
> might
> have a different agenda than ours. Given that, it's not strange that
> only members have a vote.

True there is always the threat of some outside organization  
influencing the outcome of decisions inside FSFE, but that does not  
mean decisions cannot be made with public input.

> Everyone can become a fellow. Everyone can become a member (see below)
> and everyone can become president.
> *) For swedish issues:    sweden at fsfeurope.org

Is this an alias for fsfe-se at fsfeurope.org or a separate email list?

>   For European issues:   team at fsfeurope.org
>> Here art two easy steps toward transparency and openness:
>> 	1. Let anyone who wants to participate in the FSFE Jabber meetings -
>> don't limit them to Fellows.
> So far we haven't had any jabber meeting. Only physical meetings  
> here in
> Gothenburg.
> Every (physical) meeting so far have been open and the invitations are
> always sent on this ML. You've been with us a couple of times.

I participate in those projects that are open and advance human  
rights. I believe debian is one of those projects, that is why I am  
on the perl-packaging team. I will continue to participate with the  
FSFE but I have never seen a Fellow of the FSFE at any FSFE meeting  
(side from yourself) and Jonas. Keeping the meetings open for all  
will allow for;

	1. A larger community
	2. Greater openness

>> 	2. Describe the process by which the leadership of the FSFE gets
>> elected
> Can anyone vote?
> - The members of the General Assembly votes
>   A note on bootstrapping,
>   How was the first General assembly elected then?
>   It wasn't. The first General Assembly started the org.
> Can anyone become a member of GA?
> Yes. The people in the GA are usually the ones being the moset  
> active in
> the FSFE Team.

Has anyone moved from being just a Fellow to being a member of the GA  
within the last two years?

> Can anyone join the Team?
> Yes. The process here is basically the same as for say companies,
> organisations (even Debian as you've had as an example before),  
> agencies
> ...  You have to have some proven skills (social, legal, hacking,
> political ....) and there has to be a need for it as well.

Actually debian is quite different. Debian has a gigantic set of  
policy documents which get voted on _before_ they come into effect.  
FSFE does not have this. Debian removes it leadership and elects a  
new leader every year. FSFE does not do this. Debian is free as in  
beer to use and join. FSFE is free as in freedom, not free as in  
beer. Money blocks those who do not have the means from joining,  
therefor FSFE is not open to everyone, just those who can afford it.  
Debian is completely transparent - every process, every package,  
every decision gets made in public with a great deal of debate. That  
is why debian's founder calls it "process run amok." But that process  
is democratic. Where is the debate in the FSFE? Where are the voices  
for and against? Where are the emails to the mailing list?

> The steps above prevents take-overs better.

Maybe, maybe not. Transparency can work as a brake on the aspirations  
of a FSFE board that makes decisions that the Fellows do not approve  
of, someone can take over the FSFE from the inside as well. In fact,  
I would make the argument that the FSFE is just a branch of the FSF  
and takes its marching orders from Boston.

>> Until things like this are done, the FSFE will continue to receive
>> criticism for its lack of openness. And not just from me.  :)
> Some of the work we do and the people/project/org(...) who assign  
> it to
> us do demand the setup we have.

This concerns me. If the groups you work with do not expect the FSFE  
to be a democratic, open community and board, then what types of  
people/project/org are you working with? If it is so secret you have  
to hide it from Fellows and the public alike, you run the risk of  
destroying the FSFE if the Fellows leave en masse after being  
disillusioned by your partners. Or you will injure the public  
reputation of your partners if someone finds out that they are  
working with you, thereby endangering their relationship with the  
FSFE and ending potentially important projects. Either way, if it  
appears that the FSFE is keeping secrets, it will seriously damage  
the reputation of the FSFE and its credibility. Don't you agree?


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