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[atlarge-discuss] Wolfgang, I think we should keep our distance from ICANN

HelpWith reference to Wolfgang's orderly comments on ALOC participation, I agree that any representatives we send should carry with them a clear mission statement.

However I feel less comfortable with the extent to which he feels we should frame our organisation within ICANN structures and ICANN goals. (I don't want to misrepresent Wolfgang here, so what I'm saying concerns MY views, not HIS.)

I believe any ICANN at large Supporting Organisation will, frankly, be an ICANN-side initiative, driven to meet an ICANN agenda. With reference to the setting up of an ALSO, the mandatory two thirds of Board members are unlikely to back anything unless it is indirectly under their control, or the control of their staff.

My concern is this: we cannot allow our group to become "hemmed in" by ICANN rules and structures, organisation and bylaws. It would be better, in the short term, to be "locked out" if it had to be so.

We MUST maintain independence and separation from ICANN, and merely interact with it as we choose. The ICANN leadership is not worthy of trust, and we MUST keep a very clear distance from their discredited organisation which I and many others regard as cynical and corrupt.

Referring to other issues raised by Wolfgang, I favour some kind of incorporation/legislation as an independent "not-for-profit" organisation, but I am opposed to membership fees. They will inhibit outreach on a popular scale, discriminate against the less affluent, and effectively define membership. I would prefer the concept of voluntary membership contributions (but not involving any special privilege). Donations from eg Registries and Registrars should be strongly discouraged in my opinion. Bodies which have commercial vested interests should be kept at a distance.

Wolfgang rightly tried to focus us on what our purposes should be, as a step towards defining mission statement. He asked whether we wanted to HELP ICANN to reform, or whether we wanted to KILL ICANN off. Frankly, I think these are issues largely beyond our powers, or our immediate scope. Our Agenda should focus on who WE are - representatives of the internet-using public, creating a platform for the public voice, and building a moral authority (based on numbers) for the case for "democratic control of the internet" (to quote Bruce Young). Wolfgang refers to the need for workable tactics. I don't think we're in a good tactical position, and we could expend ALL our energies jumping through ICANN's hoops for no gain, which is probably exactly what they'd like us to do.

So OUR identity should be determined and driven by OUR own Agenda (who we are, what we propose to become), and the issue of ALOC participation (though relevant) should remain peripheral to our main objectives (because it's not a battle we're likely to win in the near future - ICANN's calling all the shots).

As Machiavelli said, concentrate on the battles you know you can win.

Our success will be determined by Outreach and Scale.