Events in the Dec 18th General Assembly and before it convinced me that
the politics in Hamakor is getting out of control.

Political process has its place when resources are scarce and need to be
allocated.  Then the various stakeholders need to reach an agreement how
to divide the scarce resources among them.

In Hamakor's case, the only real scarce resource, which I see, is
volunteers, because the income from membership fees was thus far
adequate to cover costs, which are not covered by sponsors.  Projects
like August Penguin were fortunate in having leaders, who were
financially responsible and lined up sponsors to cover their costs.

However, there is an artificial scarce resource - control over the amuta
and over activities sponsored by it (management of the server,
maintenance of the Web site, procedures of decision making, etc.).
There is also a value in control over the public relations and
government relations functions.

It seems to me that due to some unfathomable reason, some people value
this "resource" enough to start a political process over it.  It is this
political process, which could get the amuta into trouble.

Let's remind ourselves why Hamakor was founded in the first place.

It was founded in order to help volunteers further their Free Software
related projects.  The amuta is supposed to help volunteers by providing
accounting services, coordination and communication among volunteers, as
well as providing some funding to further their projects.
In addition to the above, the amuta was intended to represent the Free
Software community in dealings with newspapers and the government.

How to proceed from here?

We need to accept the reality that there is politics, and that it is
dirty but as necessary as those dirty and smelly bodily functions, which
complement drinking and eating.  So we need to deal with politics, as
dirty as it may be.  However, we need to control politics rather than
letting it control us.

First of all, we must ensure volunteer-friendly atmosphere.  Invite them
to do their projects, and confront them with as few bureaucratic
obstacles as possible.  Ensure that they are rewarded for their efforts,
not in money but in respect by community and social status.

Then, we need a consensus-building process for deciding about the
message to the government and the mass communication organs, with which
the community will be comfortable.  This process will probably consist
of discussions in mailing lists and Web forums, informal surveys, and
when an issue remains controversial - make a formal vote.

We also have to ensure that Hamakor's official positions are made
unattractive to power-hungry politicians.  This means, for example, that
the Hamakor board should think twice before accepting the share in the
Vaya Research Institute.  It is OK and necessary that people, who
volunteered to serve in Hamakor's board and other positions, are
rewarded AFTER they finish their terms in those positions.  But as long
as they are holding those positions, they should not have incentives to
continue clinging to them.
                                         --- Omer
Every good master plan involves building a time machine.  Moshe Zadka
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