[EURO-Discuss] List of nominations for Belgrade GA

Christopher Wilkinson cw at christopherwilkinson.eu
Sun May 29 11:31:53 UTC 2011

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Allow me to respond briefly to Bill Drakes' comments on my recent  
posting. I would also thank Avri Doria for her comments in support of  
several of my suggestions.

First, regarding Civil Society: Bill has more facts at his disposal  
than I do. I would simply observe that for all the efforts that are  
being deployed, Civil Society still lacks adequate recognition and  
effectiveness in several fora. I am also still baffled as to how Civil  
Society can achieve credible representativity in the face of all those  
multiple organisations and fora and the lack of resources. In the  
ICANN context, I have noticed and, on occasion deplored, the  
duplication and competition for personal time and resources between At  
Large and NCUC. That does not help the users' interests in ICANN.

Secondly, regarding EURALO, Bill restates the question quite clearly.  
I do not support the model of "an open democratic polity like other CS  
formations" because I am quite sure that governments will not accept  
that model as the "missing link" that is the "third voice which should  
sit at the table ... ".  (quoting a recent WK comment to the IGC  
List). Accepting that 'capture' is too strong a word, we cannot have a  
situation where the outcome within Civil Society is determined by a  
few individuals which happen to have the personal time and resources  
to run the show. Fortunately to date the results have been normally  
benign and sometimes very positive. But it is not a stable model in  
the longer term.

Thirdly, regarding the role of individual members, Bill and I  
obviously disagree fundamentally, and we do not need to restate the  
options here.

In general, these matters are sufficiently complex and subtle that I  
doubt that they can be resolved through e-mail exchanges. I trust that  
at some future date there will be an opportunity for a face-to-face  
debate among all the relevant points of view.



PS:	For my part, through consultation and prior exchange of opinion, I  
can confirm that my original posting does reflect the position of the  
Executive of my home ALS.

On 28 May 2011, at 21:41, William Drake wrote:

> Hi Chris
> I agree & disagree with several points below.
> On May 27, 2011, at 5:16 PM, Christopher Wilkinson wrote:
>> Dear Friends and Colleagues:
>> May I express my appreciation to all those who have accepted to stand
>> for election to the EURALO board at the forthcoming Annual Meeting in
>> Belgrade.
>> I am however concerned about the manner in which EURALO appears to be
>> reaching a conclusion on this matter.
>> Civil Society in general and the ICANN At Large in particular have  
>> not
>> yet reached the threshold of participation and representation that
>> would lend sufficient credibility to their necessary and worthy
>> efforts in several international Internet fora.
> Disagree.  I don't know what threshold you believe must be reached,  
> but would suggest you consider letting facts get in the way of the  
> sweeping generalizations.  In ICANN,  while I don't have membership  
> numbers handy, it's clear that At Large has made significant strides  
> in recent years with respect to participation and representation. In  
> parallel, in the GNSO there's NCUC, which has 204 members from 62  
> different countries, including 86 noncommercial organizations and  
> 118 individuals, plus a couple other constituencies in formation.   
> Similarly, CS is active and contributes in various other global  
> Internet-related fora.  In the IGF there's the Internet Governance  
> Caucus which has a couple hundred members, the APC which has over 50  
> organizational members, and other CSOs outside these networks.  In  
> the OECD there's the Civil Society Information Society Advisory  
> Council, which has 82 organizational members and dozens of  
> individual members.  And there are various coalitions of CS  
> organizations and individuals active and contributing in WIPO, WTO,  
> UNESCO, and so on.  People who are active in these processes and  
> participate in the negotiations and email exchanges and document  
> draftings and on and on know all this first hand.  Of course, in  
> every case there are internal weaknesses and external/institutional  
> constraints, and when push comes to shove CS views are usually  
> trumped by those of business (where's their threshold, BTW?) and  
> governments, but I wouldn't dismiss quite so easily the efforts and  
> activities of all these people.
>> EURALO needs to
>> continue to work on this, in terms of its membership, structures and
>> representation. Although these concerns are - I think - shared among
>> our membership, I wonder whether we all appreciate how much still
>> needs to be done, particularly to establish the autonomy of At Large
>> and ALAC with respect to ICANN.
> Everyone I know is pretty painfully aware of how much needs to be  
> done….?
>> In this context, it was - I suggest -  an error of judgment on the
>> part of our elected ICANN Board member to have initiated his own
>> "ticket" of candidates to the EURALO Board, whatever the merits of  
>> the
>> individual candidates concerned. The At Large Board member is elected
>> by ALAC and the RALO's, not vice-versa.
>> Furthermore, we thus give proof patent to our critics that At Large  
>> is
>> a creature of ICANN. For instance, I would not expect that individual
>> ICANN Board members would be intervening in the election of other
>> Constituency or Supporting Organisations' councils, which in turn
>> elect their ICANN Board members. There would be a conflict of
>> interest, or at least a détournement. Should it ever be so, it would
>> not be an example to be followed.
> I'm not getting in the middle of this bilateral...
>> In this respect, for future reference, I would recommend that EURALO
>> elections be conducted by a neutral election committee supported by
>> the ICANN staff.
> Seems reasonable
>> I would also recommend that candidates be nominated and seconded
>> individually by member ALS's. Since EURALO wants to have larger
>> numbers of ALS ("outreach") and greater participation from within
>> member ALS ("inreach"), then I suggest that we could begin right  
>> here.
>> Contrariwise, if the whole "ticket" is nominated internally, I can
>> think of no better way of turning off the potential interest of
>> newcomers. (And we need them, many.)
> Agree, Euralo like all parts of ICANN definitely needs new people  
> who have the time and energy required, and it would be great if  
> there were more nominations of such folks.   On the other hand, it's  
> not clear to me why a nomination or second should have to come from  
> a member's ALS.  I guess it depends on how you see Euralo—as a  
> corporatist peak association in which each subgroup puts forward  
> "it's" candidate, or rather an open democratic polity like other CS  
> formations.  I prefer to think we're the latter and that anyone  
> should be able to stand for office, anyone should be able to  
> nominate anyone, and then members vote their preferences.
>> Finally, I would turn to our individual members. At this stage in the
>> development of EURALO, I suggest that our individual members enjoy
>> neither the representativity nor the mandate to act as officers of
> Disagree.  The relevant electorate is the membership of Euralo, not  
> the membership of any particular ALS.  If someone stands for  
> election and Euralo members choose them, then they are  
> representatives and have a mandate. This is not an issue in any of  
> the other coalitions mentioned above, all of which have individual  
> members who can be & are elected to represent them.  More generally,  
> the non-accomodative orientation toward individual members hasn't  
> helped Euralo at all.  Good people who were elected as individuals  
> gave up and left the board in frustration, while others stayed but  
> reallocated their main energies to more welcoming parts of ICANN.  I  
> don't think Euralo can reverse that sort of dynamic by dissing and  
> constraining individual members at the outset of the new era in  
> which they're supposed to be encouraged to contribute.
>> Those individual members who wish to exercise a mandate in At
>> Large - and thankfully there are some - should give priority to
>> creating their corresponding ALS's, as provided for in the amended
>> EURALO Statutes. Otherwise, yet again, EURALO and ALAC lay themselves
>> open to the characterisation of a self-perpetuating group of ICANN
>> insiders. None of us want that
> I don't see the logical connection between these two sentences, and  
> I don't think it'd be fair to characterize the people who've cared  
> enough to put in time getting Euralo off the ground as some sort of  
> self-perpetuating cabal if they decide to stand for reelection.  If  
> members don't want them to continue serving, they can vote  
> accordingly.
>> Needless to say, the above comments may not be taken as criticism of
>> any of our members, candidates, officers or delegates.
>> This is about EURALO's process, and how it may be perceived both
>> internally and externally. And about how it may be improved.
> It would definitely improve things if more new people were to stand,  
> be elected, and then roll up their sleeves, no question.
>> With my best regards to you all and best wishes for a successful
>> meeting in Belgrade.
> And to you,
> Bill
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