Would this action fall under "Collaborative advocacy" in the Foundation
Policy and Political Association Guideline? The section refers to
"collaborat[ing] with another organization to take action on a particular
policy or political question". The example given is signing a petition by
the EFF against Internet censorship. The required steps include (among
other requirements) consultation with the Public Policy Advisory Group,
along with getting consensus in a broader RfC except where time does not
permit. I find it difficult to believe that this situation is so critical
and urgent that an RfC in advance was impossible, so if it does fall under
that section, the policy was yet again violated. Frankly, I don't believe
that an RfC would pass in the first place. If you've been following the
earlier thread, you may be aware that there is increasing alarm at the risk
of the movement being hijacked by political interests, and this new action
is not helping matters.

This was a unilateral political actions in a sensitive area without prior
discussion. The Guideline does say that the WMF may deviate from the policy
if specifically approved by the General Council, although I don't know why
deviating would be warranted here. Was this done here? Who was involved in
the decision? Was the Board consulted, as suggested by the guidelines
(although as an "Optional" step)? Or was it simply considered to not fall
under the policy at all? Is the guideline still in effect, or was it
eliminated or changed without the document on Meta being updated?

The amicus brief specifically challenges the refugee suspension, among
other areas. Is this topic considered to be within the WMF's goals, or was
bringing the WMF into an irrelevant political battle considered simply an
unavoidable side-effect in the effort to protect WMF operations by means of
national political intervention?

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Legal/Foundation_Policy_and_Political_

On Mon, Feb 6, 2017 at 1:10 AM, Michelle Paulson <mpaul...@wikimedia.org>

> Dear All,
> Today, the Wikimedia Foundation joined with more than 90 other
> organizations in filing an amicus brief[1] in State of Washington v.
> Trump[2]
> currently before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States.
> This case challenges the recent executive order[3] issued in the United
> States on January 27, 2017, which establishes immigration and travel
> restrictions based on country of origin. Other signatories to the brief
> include Facebook, Levi Strauss & Co., Microsoft, Mozilla, and Paypal. The
> brief includes legal arguments against the order itself, and details the
> real and immediate impact these restrictions will have on the Wikimedia
> Foundation and other signatories’ staff, users, customers, and operations.
> We expect it to be filed in other current and future cases challenging the
> order, as appropriate.
> We know that the Foundation’s prior statement[4] on this executive order
> has generated debate in the communities, on mailing lists and in other
> forums. Some disapprove, with concern that the Foundation has taken a
> political stance on behalf of the movement. Others approve, with concerns
> about the impact of this order on the practicalities and values of open
> collaboration and sharing. We would like to clarify our perspective on this
> important issue.
> From our perspective, the implications of this order - and the urgency of
> our response - are clear. Beyond the issue of the values of open
> collaboration, this order will also have serious, tangible effects on the
> Foundation and our ability to support the Wikimedia projects and
> communities.
> From an operational standpoint, orders such as these may substantially
> limit our ability to deliver on support for the global Wikimedia
> communities. Much of the Foundation's work involves travel across borders.
> We cross borders to develop and sustain strategic partnerships with
> Wikimedia affiliates and free knowledge advocates. We travel to gatherings
> and hackathons to support and collaborate with Wikimedians around the
> world. We represent Wikimedia research and methodologies at conferences
> with librarians and scientists from across the globe. We meet with
> community leaders and board members internationally to exercise corporate
> and community governance and execute strategic oversight.
> As the Foundation, we have an obligation to protect the Wikimedia projects
> and ensure that they thrive in perpetuity. We are not a political
> organization, but we are passionate about defending free knowledge, and the
> conditions for its flourishing. We believe that the immigration and travel
> restrictions posed by the executive order in question will have a
> detrimental impact on the Foundation's mission and operations, as people
> are unable to enter the United States or restricted from leaving because
> they may not be allowed to return home. Board and committee meetings,
> conferences, conventions, hackathons, and more may be affected by the
> executive order in its current form, as well by the threatened extension of
> restrictions to additional countries.
> It is our obligation to engage with issues that affect the Wikimedia
> Foundation's capacity to support Foundation’s mission and the goals of the
> Wikimedia movement. From freedom of expression to freedom of movement, we
> will continue to do so, in service of our shared vision. You can read more
> about the brief on the Foundation’s blog.[5]
> Best,
> Michelle Paulson
> Interim General Counsel
> [1]
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/w/index.php?title=File%
> 3AAmicus_curiae_brief_of_Tech_Companies_%26_Orgs%2C_
> Washington_v._Trump.pdf&page=1
> [2] https://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/content/view.php?pk_id=0000000860
> [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_13769
> [4] https://blog.wikimedia.org/2017/01/30/knowledge-knows-no-boundaries/
> [5]
> https://blog.wikimedia.org/2017/02/06/amicus-brief-immigration-travel-
> restrictions/
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