[fosscomm] DEADLINE for FOSSCOM position on Draft Policy: 10.00 AM July July 9th.

V. Sasi Kumar sasi.fsf at gmail.com
Thu Jul 9 00:53:50 PDT 2009

On Thu, 2009-07-09 at 11:44 +0530, prabir wrote:
> I have taken myself out already, so suggest that we move on to the
> real issues of our position and how to campaign on it.
> I do believe that representation is an important issue and should be
> done by consensus. I am a little surprised at the reaction of the
> representation being confined to only politics, and my politics at
> that!

Dear Prabir, Let me make it clear that, thought this issue was raised in
connection with you representing FOSSCOMM, my statements are not about
you. I wouldn't want anyone with a known political connection to
represent FOSSCOMM for the reasons I had mentioned. It is nothing
personally against you. It is just that I don't think a person with
known strong political links should represent FOSSCOMM. This is my
opinion, and, of course, people have the freedom to reject it. I think I
did try to explain the reasons why I would like to see FOSSCOMM remain

> The position "politically neutral" FOSSCOMM should not mean no
> position. And any position that FOSSCOMM takes has political
> implications.I presume that Sasi  means "politically neutral" in this
> context no affiliation to any political party.

Yes, of course. Free Software itself is about politics, but that is
politics of a different kind. Not party politics. So I strongly support
political "neutrality" in the sense that Prabir has explained.

> However, if it means
> that people who are with political parties should not be in FOSSCOMM,
> let us state that up front and then some of us can decide on FOSSCOMM.
> We can certainly be supportive from outside if that is the opinion in
> the group and if it helps unify FOSSCOMM better.

Of course, I never said or meant anything like that. In fact, I think I
did say that every one of us may have our own politics. And that is one
of the reasons why FOSSCOMM as such should not have politics, because
that could lead to conflicts among members themselves. Moreover, we need
support from every political party in the country, and our political
stand should not come in the way. For instance, while CPI(M) has
explicitly supported Free Software, BJP also seems to be moving in that
direction. There appear to be stirrings within the Congress too in
favour of supporting Free Software. We don't want to take a political
stand that would antagonise any one of them. My only apprehension is
that, if the person who represents FOSSCOMM in meetings is a known
political activist of a particular party, that might give a political
colour to FOSSCOMM and affect our interests, and I am not talking about
anyone in particular, including Prabir.

> With that, can we end this issue "why no Prabir" for the time being,
> before it gets personal and bitter!

Let me repeat, this is not about "why no Prabir". In fact, Prabir could
possibly help us quite a bit. But it is about why FOSSCOMM should not
get a political colour. About why we should not only remain "neutral"
but also appear to be "neutral". And there is nothing personal about it.
I wouldn't want to raise any personal issue here. I have none, anyway.

V. Sasi Kumar
Free Software Foundation of India
Please visit http://swatantryam.blogspot.com 

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