Monday, April 4, 2016

Promises and Proposals Regarding The Requested Revision to The Bylaws

Yesterday evening the Executive Committee (Ex Com) of the LPC, asked the Bylaws Committee (BC) to prepare a revision of the Bylaws for consideration by the Central Committee (a.k.a. dues-paying members) at the next convention.  The Ex Com further asked the BC to conduct the development of draft revisions openly and to allow for participation by any interested members.

Just so it is clear to everybody, "revision" means a total rewriting of the Bylaws.

I would like to write a fuller report of my impressions from the 2016 LPC convention when I have a chance.  Tonight, I will just express my promises, thoughts and hopes regarding the responsibility handed to us, including how we might respond to the Ex Com request.

Besides myself, the other four  Bylaws Committee members elected are Kevin Duewel, Bill Lopez, Starchild, and Aaron Starr.  I requested the role of BC Chair and no objection was made.  I will continue as Chair for no longer than the BC allows me to.  To those who were nominated but not elected: I wish the limit of 5 members in the present Bylaws had not operated to exclude you from voting on proposed drafts.    

To all my fellow members, elected to a committee or not, who wish to follow or participate in the work of the BC: I promise to include you to the fullest extent possible that does not unfairly impede our work.  I sincerely want your thoughtful and civil input, even if it is to oppose the revision generally or any of its particulars.  I promise to consider and respond to any reasonable comments or suggestions.

Transparency requires a full disclosure of motive.  Every member of the BC and any member who would like to participate in drafting of the revision (or in stopping preparation of any draft revision) should do at least this one thing: to announce their intentions honestly, as they become aware of them.  We cannot deal with each other dishonestly and expect any mutual benefit from our association and efforts.  The degree to which trust and mutual respect is magnified by our process of cooperation in responding to the Ex Com's request is far more important than any Bylaw Report we can ever hope to present to the Central Committee (CC).  "How you play is what you win" (Ursula K. Le Guin).

So I will lead by fully disclosing my motives and intentions:  I love the hope of an active, expanding voluntary association of people inventing, demonstrating, proving and sowing countless seeds of liberty and non-aggression until the idea that force or fraud can be used for any social purpose is widely understood to be as antiquated and as repulsive as medieval torture devices.  I will do what I can to make the LPC the center of activism for that hope in California.  I will preserve in any revision the presently stated purpose of the LPC, which is:

"The Party exists to uphold, promote, and disseminate the philosophy and principles of
libertarianism. To that end, it shall proclaim and implement the Statement of Principles of the
national Libertarian Party by engaging in political and informational activities in California."

I will not vote to approve any revision that omits a requirement for the non-aggression pledge for CC (voting) membership.

My specific intention for participation in the 2016 BC is to discover whether or not it is politically possible to propose a revision of the Bylaws that will be accepted by the Central Committee.  It is my hope that the Central Committee carefully considers our Bylaw Report and that no member votes to adopt it who does not sincerely believe that the improvements provided by the revision outweigh any risks that its unforeseen consequences might weaken us.  The adoption or rejection of a Bylaw Report by the Central Committee is not my goal.  My goal is to work diligently to improve trust and competence among ourselves by responding to the revision request to the best of my ability, while treating every other member interested in the process with fairness, civility and respect.

I propose the following schedule and general process:

April 4-May 1:  Members and participants obtain and study Robert's Rules of Order 11 ed., LPC's Bylaws, alternative model bylaws or other pertinent sources of information.  Action items:  report progress to one another and share any relevant model bylaws or sources.  During this time, we will not share drafts or proposals regarding revision language or structure, other than stating our own non-negotiable positions as I have done above.  The BC agrees to a calendar and process for drafting the revision.

May 1-Sept 3: Circulation of initial proposals and drafts, using a collaborative authoring platform (CAB) such as Google Docs.  I propose the following guidelines and objectives for circulating drafts and proposals, during this period:

1. Any proposal or draft written or submitted by any member of the BC is circulated to and revised by members of the BC via the CAB until at least three members have indicated agreement to it.  Proposals or drafts may be organized as the authors desire and may be submitted by any CC member with the cooperation of any BC member.  Any BC member who submits a proposal or draft is responsible for obtaining agreement of at least three other members of the BC to it, as submitted or revised.

2. Once at least three BC members have indicated agreement to a proposal or draft, a copy of it will be released (within 24 hours or so) for comment by any CC member who has indicated an interest in participating.  One or more of those members of the BC who have agreed to the proposal or draft will review and respond to every comment submitted via the CAB by any CC member.

Sept. 3.: Teleconference to decide whether or not it is feasible, based on progress so far, to complete the revision by the end of 2106.  If a majority of the BC agrees that it is not possible to complete the revision, we will report that fact to the Ex Com and either abandon work on the Bylaws together or shift our focus to regular amendments, as the BC members agree.

Sept. 4- no later than Sept 30: Continuation of drafting process.  If a revision is feasible, this will be mostly fine-tuning and organizing the agreed drafts according to the proposals into a whole draft revision.

The whole revision (if feasible) will be released in draft form for comments on the CAB as soon as possible, no later than September 30, 2016, provided that at least three members of the BC agree to it.  A copy of the draft will be sent to every member of the CC by email with an invitation to comment via the CAB.

~Sept. 30 - November 12:  The BC responds to comments and revises the whole revision draft, subject to continuing agreement of at least three members of the BC to any changes.

November 13:  The BC meets somewhere in person to celebrate and to release the Bylaw Report, consisting of whatever has been agreed to by that time.  Any interested members of the CC are welcome to celebrate with them.

If you have read this far and have comments, feel free to provide them.  Please keep your criticism constructive, meaning do suggest an acceptable alternative, if something is not to your liking.  I will ignore any merely negative criticism.

If you are anyone interested in following the revision at a high level only, follow this blog.  If you are a CC member interested in commenting via the CAB, please contact me in writing and you will be added to the commenters list.