Draft Organisational Principles - Input DSC Dublin

Discussing the Diem25 organisational principles and voting on feedback on those principles.


  • Comments and proposed amendments to the draft organizational document for Diem25:

    This document contains a structured discussion about the Diem25 organisational principles, that is a result of several conversations and online discussions between the members of DSC Dublin. It is meant to be a constructive document, in which we do not only stress the problems of the current draft of the organisational principles but also propose several concrete solutions to these problems. We would like to see that this constructive approach is appreciated by Diem25 Central, and that we will get adequate responses to the concerns we raise.

    First, we discuss the main issue of the two parallel Diem25 structures. Second, we discuss problems and solutions for each of the sections of the draft of the organisational principles. Third, we comment on the appendix.

    I The main problem of two parallel Diem25 structures.

    We think that the main issue of the organisational principles is the constitution of the non profit association. It appears that the internal structure of Diem25 was discussed, and then people realized that the main structure of Diem25 could not be made compatible with the restrictions imposed by Belgian law (which is an issue many NGOs have to deal with). However, we think that the integration and compatibility of both structures is not satisfactorily resolved in the current draft of the organisational principles.

    • Is the main structure of Diem25 going to be a ghost structure (that is, non-existent in a legal sense)? Or is it actually going to exist? If so, since the final decisions of Diem25 are going to be taken by the board of directors and the elected representatives (treasurer, secretary…), their actions must be strictly bound to the organization structure of diem 25. It makes no sense to have two fundamentally different structures, but for the time being we need a formula to integrate both to the last consequence.

      To provide an example of a statutory clause that we think should be in place in order to make the legal structure of Diem25 compatible with its organisational structure: If the validating council is the ultimate decision making institution for a certain issue, any of the members of the board who opposes the decision of the VC should immediately loose chair.

      In any case, the proposed solution with a double structure can only be a temporary constitutional document, in order to start working. We should not always be thinking about how we work, instead of working. However, if the proposed contradictory structures prevails we are paving the road to disaster. In two years from now we should have a coherent organization where the legal structure is built upon and is fully accountable to, the democratic structure which we are developing. Furthermore, the idea of having random members making important decisions is interesting, but not necessarily the best. The entire structure of Diem25 should be put to discussion two years and six years from now, respectively. Permanent revision should be part of our DNA until we find a system which is sufficiently democratic and suitable for governance.

      • We ask Diem25 central to: Disclose any draft of the statutes of Diem25's legal structure to all the Diem25 members, before it is made legally binding by a Belgian notary. Indicate how Diem25's organisational principles are reflected in its statutes. Indicate in all cases where the statutes are incompatible with the Diem25 organisational principles, why this is the case and how these incompatibilities might be solved in the future.

        • I Problems and solutions concerning the sections of the organisational principles draft document.

          Below, we present additional comments to the different points of the draft document. The leading numbers refer to the sections of the document. We both present the problem we perceive, and, where suitable, we propose an amendment to the organisational principles as a solution to the problem.

          Section 1.- Problem: The current institutional make-up of the CC allows CC members to remain in office for an indefinate period of time, on the condition that they are re-elected. We think this is an undesirable practice, for it allows people who have a powerful and influential role in the organisation by default to retain their positions at the expense of less influential members.

          Solution: A limit should be stablished for the amount of terms someone can be re-elected for the CC. We suggest a total of 8 terms and a maximum of 4 in a row. Or, as a less-restrictive rule, if a CC member has been in office for a total of 6 terms, she or he must wait 6 terms before being eligible for re-election.

          • Section 2.- Problem: The Advisory panel, such as defined in section 2 of the document, has no specific roles, responsibilities or tasks. It looks like an honorary institution. If that is the case, it should not exists.

            Solution: Otherwise its activities, objectives, responsibilities and powers should be clearly defined. Furthermore, if the AP has any direct or indirect power on the steering of D25, its member should be also democratically renewed after a period of time (4 years?) with a maximum number of reelections. Say 3.

            • Section 3 Problem: VC sortation: how does 50/50 take into account transgender and LGBT individuals. i.e. how is the gender of individuals stablished for the draw?

              Solution: The gender of individuals can be chosen freely by everyone.

              • Section 4 Problem: Guidelines. The random mechanism by which the 5 approvers are selected should be specified. Among which are these chosen? Regarding this concern we need to be aware of the language issue. A text written in a certain language can hardly be approved by people who do not speak that language.

                Solution: ???

                • Section 5 Problem: It is stated that Diem25's policies are put together "from the grassroots upwards". However, it is nowhere stated how this process is democratically structured. We need to answer questions such as: who decides which policies are prioritised (agenda setting power)? Who decides which contents is included in the policies and which is not? How do we make sure that the grassroots actually have a say in how these policies are drafted, and NOT just a "yes or no" decision?

                  Solution: Multiple solutions for the above mentioned problems can be thought of. In terms of agenda setting, a requirement might be that any proposed policy should originate from the regional level (proposed by a particular DSC) and can be upvoted by other European DSCs. In terms of deciding on the contents, a system similar to the VC assembly system can be thought of, meaning that all Diem25 members can apply for being included in the lottery for an assembly on a particular topic. This would result in the contents of the policies being actually representative of the Diem25 network, and not just of the ideas of a limited number of individuals. Finally, policies should be "alive" rather than dead after they have been adopted, meaning that any DSC should have the organisational power to challenge the contents of a policy and initiate a process of revision.

                  • Section 6 Problem: Amendment process. This Organization principles should only be taken as “work in progress”. Evidently we should avoid a situation where the movement is always wasting time worrying about how it works, but we should not stick to a first design by inertia, natural resistance to change.

                    Solution: the organisational principles should be valid for 2 years, after which we automatically commit ourselves to revise them, then six year later then every ten years.

                    • III Comments on the Apendix.

                      7.1 Membership to the General Assembly is bound to the payment of an annual fee, this issue should be clear in the organizational principles. Is membership of Diem25 bound to the same annual fee? If not, who takes part in the general assembly and who pays their fees?

                      If membership is submitted to the board of directors, the board of directors has to have as a rule to vote unanimously in the directions indicated by the VC if this has expressed an opinion.

                      • 8.1 "elections to the Board are submitted to democratic primaries whereby candidates have to secure the support of a given number of Members from a significant number of countries.” This is totally in opposition to the principles exposed in the organization document and against the basic idea of “one voice, one vote” which should run democracy. People are people regardless where they are born or live.

                        • 9.- With whom rests the power to exclude a member, and to decide if the exclusion conditions have been met? Can the CC decide on this?

                          • 10.- Members contributions. How are they stablished? Which organism has the power to demand an extraordinary contribution? This should at any rate be approved by the VC.

                            • 11.1 Why a maximum of 10 proxy votes? The question is how the proxy votes are certified. Having a limit to proxy votes gives an advantage to people who have the possibility to travel with respect to those people. I, e, people who live in more central countries and who have more money (unless all the expenses are payed by Diem25, in which case the number of member in the assembly should be limited by budget and hence membership of the assembly should be subject to a well stablished mechanism which is not specified.

                              • 11, 12, 13 Can only be accepted as temporary solutions. They are in full contradiction with the organizational document of Diem25 and none of the governing structures of the association seem to be linked to, or subject to the decisions of the CC, VC or the members of Diem25 who are not part of the General Assembly, for which they have to pay a fee. These relationships need to be revisited in order to achive to satisfactory, temporary, integration of both structures.

                                Salud, paz y democracia.

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