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I’ll do it, but only if you’ll help


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We're all keen to get the members to do as much as possible. 1000 people all pulling together grassroots campaigns would be astonishingly fantastic. However, 1000 people discussing the Articles of Association, for example, probably doesn't work so well because it's a 20 page legal document that you can't even find copies of online (it's based on legislation from 1985, and nothing earlier than 1988 is online) which needs to be amended from various other government-supplied tables and such. For that, we need expert legal advice - so if anyone here is a lawyer with experience setting up a non-profit, please email me. (suw dot charman at gmail dot com)

Regarding elections, starting an organisation with elections first simply isn't going to work because you need to know what positions you need to elect people for. You need to have a membership to do the electing, and for that you need a company limited by guarantee with a board and advisory council etc. for people to be members of and elected to. And someone needs to set that all up, but if no one can do anything until they are elected then nothing will get done. It's a bit of a catch-22 situation - you need a group to set things up before you can elect a group to set things up.

This is why I have a hard time understanding this 'self-appointed' meme that is going round at the moment. What's the difference between 'self-appointed' and 'volunteer'? The reason I'm doing so much is because I volunteered to, plain and simple. My involvement in this whole thing goes back before OpenTech, when I was in San Francisco and had lunch with Danny and we started talking then about setting something like the EFF up in the UK. Having spent so much time thinking and talking about it, does anyone really expect me to then wash my hands of it after OpenTech and say 'well, I'm not going to help.'? I have the skills and experience to do certain things and those things I am doing.

There is no 'cabal'. There's just a group of people trying to get something up and running which will outlast us. There is no 'cult of Danny' or 'Suw foundation' - we just happen to be the two people who've been speaking about this most in public because we are deeply enthusiastic about it.

And to be honest, the people that have volunteered their time - people like James Cronin and Louise Ferguson and Stef Magdalinski and Cory Doctorow - have heaps of expertise, knowledge, contacts and experience and I feel delighted and honoured that they would choose to support us by giving us the benefit of all that they've learnt over the years. Without doubt we will be able to get this effectively and properly set up more easily with them helping than without them.

I've also had a few people from here emailing me who have volunteered their help, which is wonderful, but so far the skills on offer aren't the ones we need in the short term. I don't know most of the people on the list, so I have to rely on them contacting me and explaining to me how they could help. I have publicly given my email address out and said that I would be delighted to talk to anyone who has skills to contribute, but, for example, IP law expertise is not required at the moment, but a pro bono business lawyer is. As it happens, we do have contacts that are being pursued at the moment to cover that angle, but again, if anyone wants to volunteer that skill, please email me.

Many people who've signed this pledge did so because they trust Danny to do what's right. Nothing changes the fact that Danny, myself and all the others want to do things properly. So whilst we sort out the nitty gritty, can I please again ask for a bit of patience.
Suw Charman, 12 years ago.

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