Talk:Election Document Depository

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Revision as of 15:20, 19 July 2011 by Jeffs (talk | contribs) (New page: Principle 5 of the Free Geek Mission is: Be democratically run in a non-hierarchical way that is open and transparent to all participants in its programs. This may take many forms. Basica...)
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Principle 5 of the Free Geek Mission is:

Be democratically run in a non-hierarchical way that is open and transparent to all participants in its programs. This may take many forms. Basically, the people who volunteer at a Free Geek should be able to help shape it and determine the organization's priorities and programs. At the mothership Free Geek (in Portland), we have the Council, which sets overall policy and vision, and a number of working groups which involve both staff and volunteers in developing and maintaining programs. Much of the paid staff is a worker collective. _____

Last council meeting, July 13, a number of concerns arose around the status of "non-hierarchical" for defining the priority of a new Board structure and the responsibilities of new members. Since this relates directly to the THM and the creation of Volunteer Representatives, I am setting up this discussion point to help clarify and move through the concerns about Principle 5.

jeffs. As I mentioned in meeting, non-hierarchical is a counterfactual term. It exists in theory and principle, but appears "false" or "impractical" when brought down to concrete particulars of existing structures of power and mechanisms of authority. The counterfactual nature of a abstraction does not a warrant giving up on it though. Non-hierarchical is highly useful then a meta-ethic or guide for evaluating the conditions of operation that make Free Geek work on a daily basis. It also spurs inventive thinking about how to safeguard against top-down decision making and deter insularity among interested parties (e.g. collective staff, non-collective, management, etc.).
I'd like us to clarify what we are imbuing in the principle of non-hierarchical by leaning on its allied terms: democratic, consensus, transparent, and open. Non hierarchical cannot mean the absence of power, authority, or structure. Instead, it requires a mediation about the form and mechanisms of decision making. I'm no fan of Roberts Rules of Order, not because they are hierarchical but because of the barriers to access.
Volunteer representatives do not replace Council. They do shift the burden of sustaining a non-hierarchy toward some very traditional mechanisms of representation (polling, taking the temperature, group conversation, feedback, etc.) How do we actually operationalize this function without over burdening the volunteer? What kind of infrastructure of support is needed for Volunteer Reps to accomplish their responsibilities of representing volunteers? Besides the annual or semi-annual town hall, what kinds of deliberative bodies can we convene to assist Volunteer Representatives?