why I started a new e-mail discussion group

January 12, 2013. Hello. I have shanghaied all your e-ddresses onto this new e-mail discussion list...

From the creator of this mail list. Yes, I would agree with someone that we have a shit show on the Fair Vote Canada mail list. The show has been going on for a very long time and it has become obvious that it is never going to end.

I have been around many different activist groups; I mean real groups as well as internet discussion groups. I see the same things over and over. Once again, a group with a good purpose, in this case Fair Vote, comes under attack as soon as it starts to be effective. Once again, the people involved absolutely have not got the mental wherewithal to deal with an attack by professional trolls.

The Toronto chapter of Fair Vote has been paralyzed for several years by Meslin and crew. Now he is close to taking down FVC nationally. Somebody should have checked into his background before inviting him onto the board. He at least should have been removed the minute he started his crap.

Instead, people keep on and on engaging him. Some of them seem to like engaging in verbal jousting with him but most normal people are not interested in this and it destroys the usefulness of the list and eventually the organization. Others seem to be under the delusion that they can somehow convince Meslin and are exasperated when they cannot.

The only real solution for this is for the best people to rise beyond it, to go away from the trolls and the troll bait and to begin again. I have helped people to do this in the past, with some success. I will see if it can work here. I have the capacity to create new discussion lists.

Now, it is up to the people I "invite" onto the list to make it work. Do not complain to me if you do not like how I did this. The unsubscribe procedure is very easy.

two days later, the big explanation

I am getting some interesting responses to this new discussion list. Nobody is replying to me over the list yet. Of course, I have one guy who does not want to be on this list but wants me to keep him informed about anything interesting that happens. I have heard this before. You are either in it or out of it.

He does not have time to be on more than one list. He does not really have time to debate with Meslin but thinks he has to. But that is the point. Meslin has all the time in the world. He is being paid to do this. All the people reacting to him have other things to do. Who is going to give up first?

Yes, Meslin hates to be called out. But with these kinds of people, rather than driving them off it makes them more determined than ever. They really hate to lose. And the basic rule with these types of troll/bullies is that if you can not get rid of them, they have won.

To reiterate, he has unlimited time. He will outlast anyone. If he is not removed he will eventually be in control of Fair Vote Canada. Everyone else will eventually give up. So, why can't we get rid of him? What has been the malfunction between the ears of the Toronto chapter board, the list moderator, and now the national board?

So, another rule about troll/bullies; anywhere they turn up, they are not the real problem. The problem is their enablers. If Meslin did not have enablers within FVC who block effort to get rid of him, he would be nothing. The fact that the present board of FVC is able to even contemplate nonsense like this referendum means that he has already pretty much won. Fair Vote Canada is likely finished.

Personally, I am glad I did not waste any time on them recently, just before this referendum thing came down. Especially, that I did not renew my membership.

Now, does anyone still need to ask me what the point of this list is?

It is going to be impossible to discuss what needs to be discussed on the official FVC list; the moderator is among the enablers and will censor it. That is why I harvested e-dresses and started this; my announcement of the "Golden Screw" award disappeared into the black hole.

So is it possible for real voting reform advocates to get back control of Fair Vote canada? One thing in favor of that is the decentralized structure of FVC. The creeps cannot take every chapter, subject team, caucus or coordinator. When I was on the board of the Toronto chapter the national organization had control of the member list and most of the funds. I do not know if that situation persists.

But those who correctly assess what is going on need the means to start to get in touch with each other. If anybody has already created a list like this or some other means of communication, I am not aware of it. What has happened amounts to a coup, and some form of counter coup must be organized.

There are two basic forms this could take. First, we all need to know just how the different chapters and teams stand. Toward this it would be helpful to know more about just how this ridiculous referendum emerged from the National Council in the first place.

Was there a vote on it? Who voted for it? Who voted against, and why have they not spoken out against it? The half baked wording shows that not much thought went into it, which would mean there was some ambivalence about it.

From some remarks by some people on the official list, I get the impression that for much of the national council, this referendum was a way of ending the controversy; maybe Meslin and his toadies will go away now. If so, they are sheep. Believe it; the AV lobby will not drop the matter if they lose the vote.

How to find out what went on, and to get those responsible off the council? A strong response from the membership might put some starch into some spines. I wonder what procedures are available to call an emergency election and get rid of some people?

Otherwise, we are looking at starting Fair Vote all over again. That would have one advantage; an opportunity to correct a glaring weakness in the present organization. That is, the lack of provision for dealing with the troll attacks which are an inevitable part of anything public in Canada.

It seems that some key people in Fair Vote want to just have a polite conversation about it. If all you want is a polite conversation you can have it about butterfly collecting or ancient celtic music. Voting reform effects power and there will be a reaction from those with power. Such people tend not to be interested in debating about increased democracy; they want it stopped.

If an advocacy organization is not made up of enough people with the mental muscles to deal with the ways political people have of shutting down what they do not want, then it is not a viable organization. Getting such people into a volunteer organization is a problem; there are not enough of them around. One way is to have a fairly small and self selected group. For a group advocating more democracy, that is not realistic.

The other way is to have a more open organization than at present, where the leadership can be more easily challenged. Right now, it is a bit elitist. You can only be on the national council if you can afford to travel. If the workings of both the national and Toronto groups were more open to scrutiny by the membership, this situation would likely not have occurred.

So, here is the issue that needs to be discussed away from the official channels. How can FVC be restructured to be more democratic? And if this is not possible, how can a new vehicle for voting reform in Canada be constructed that will be responsible to the membership?

There is now a substantial nation wide membership. There are some financial resources. A national board needs to be made up of locally elected delegates and they need to have travel arrangements paid for to get together face to face at least once a year. The rest of the time they could get things done by conference call.

It needs to be made very clear that this organization is promoting serious voting reform at all levels, including local, in conformity with the best practices world wide. This means, legislatures elected by proportional representation and executives appointed by the legislature. Anyone who does not agree with that does not belong in the organization, which means you do not try to get elected to its boards or insinuate yourself into its discussions. People who try to do so are to be unceremoniously booted out.

To sum up, the nonsense around Meslin and crew is happening because of enablers. It is the enablers who must be removed by a grass roots revolt of the membership, who are committed to the principles of proportional representation. It must be made clear that participation requires commitment to those principles. This is the only way to maintain the integrity of the organization, given the "disrupt and realign" mentality that prevails in Canadian politics.

So that is why this list is here. tr