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


I simply believe that membership in our organization must be open to all
individuals, but ONLY to individuals.  We will lose our ability to be truly
representative of all users if we permit corporate or other entities to
become members. We will also lay ourselves open to acusations of conflict of

The current accusations against certain correspondents who are afilliated to
other organizations lose credibility when it is realized that anyone, no
matter their beliefs or other associations, is entitled to a personal
membership and to the freedom to speak their mind within the membership
forums.  It is similarly within the rights of any other member to expose
those associations where they feel that a conflict of interest exists so
that other readers may judge the posting appropriately.  It would be helpful
if members used these rights with a modicum of restraint and a limit on the
heat of the flames.

Ron Sherwood

----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Henderson" <richardhenderson@ntlworld.com>
To: <atlarge-panel@lists.fitug.de>
Cc: <atlarge-discuss@lists.fitug.de>
Sent: Saturday, May 11, 2002 12:22 PM
Subject: [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

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

Our success will be determined by Outreach and Scale.


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