[EURO-Discuss] ALAC

Patrick Vande Walle patrick at vande-walle.eu
Thu May 10 11:15:41 EDT 2007

Dear Adam,

Again speaking for myself only, although I am not sure this conversation
about ISOC is of any interest for other members.

Adam Peake wrote:
> ISOC's proposed budget for 2006 mentions $1.2 million for chapters and
> membership.  I realize a budget item "chapters and membership" doesn't
> mean that money necessarily flows as cash to chapters. But it surely
> means some benefit to the chapters, right?
Well, to be precise, this budget covers the 3 or 4 staff members who
handle relations with chapters, individual and organizational members.
There is about $100.000 used for small grants to members projects (not
only chapters).  But again, the benefits we chapters get from this are
very limited. I do not think one can say that we "owe" something to HQ.
Actually, the reverse is more true. Without chapters and individual
members, ISOC would be yet another industrial lobbying group.
> Whereas, seems to me the reason you're participating in the RALO is
> because of your relationship with ISOC: the ALS you represent is an
> ISOC chapter, ALS/Chapter is one in the same thing.
We are not participating in the RALO because of ISOC. We are
participating in both structures because we think they are both useful
tools to spread values we believe in.
Our local group has similar views as ISOC right now, and we think it is
a good environment for us to work with, just like we hope ALAC will be.
We signed an agreement, a franchise if you want, to use the ISOC name.
Should our values differ in the future, we would simply terminate the
agreement. Our legitimacy comes from our base, not from the top.
> So my question was, given the obligation chapters seem to have to
> follow ISOC policy (described here
> <http://www.isoc.org/isoc/chapters/policy/> point 5), would the
> representative of an ALS/ISOC Chapter, irrespective of ISOC policy on
> an issue or ISOC's interests in an issue, be able at all times to
> follow the wishes of the EU RALO and ALAC.
In the framework of this RALO, I am serving the people who trust me, ie
the members of ISOC Luxembourg ASBL, which happens to be also an ISOC
chapter at this point of time. If I am trusted by other RALOs to serve
on the ALAC, I would try my best to serve them, with a willingness to
work for the common interest. 

With regard to ISOC, it is also my job to escalate my membership's
concerns to the board and management, especially when ISOC has positions
which the chapter might not agree with, and see how they can be changed.

In summary, I think my legitimacy is based on the people who have chosen
me. If they think I am wrong, or wrongdoing, or serving other interests
than theirs, they can vote me out next year. As you see, I have depicted
a bottom-up approach, not a top-down one.  And believe me, I can live
with an angry phone call, should I ever receive one from ISOC.

I am not sure I have convinced you, but this is probably the best answer
I can give.
Warm regards,


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