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[ga] Independance Day

Today in the United States we celebrate Independance Day.  This is a 
particularly apt moment to reflect upon grievances, upon lack of 
representation in the decision-making process, upon the lack of the right to 
elect our own officials, and upon an organizational structure that continues 
to disenfranchise the rights of individuals.

The Non-commercial constituency and others are threatened by the potential 
loss of voting rights if they fail to pay for representation on the Council.  
The ccTLD community has already inaugurated efforts to create a separate 
Supporting Organization, arguing that the DNSO is not sufficiently attentive 
to its needs.  This is indeed a time to consider whether the DNSO is 
sufficiently attentive to the needs of the General Assembly.

One of the issues facing our forefathers here in the United States was the 
question of taxation without representation.  They were being asked to supply 
the fruits of their labour without the benefit of a voting voice in the 
legislative process.  We too are being asked to supply the fruits of our 
labour through contributions to a forum in order to confer legitimacy upon 
the ICANN process, and in like fashion we too have been denied not only the 
right to vote in the decision-making body of the DNSO, but we are now being 
denied the right to fully participate as top-down Task Forces have come to 
replace bottom-up Working Groups.   

This is tyranny.  When the Review Working Group was callously terminated by 
the leadership of the Council, we were promised the following:

"The Names Council will be reviewing both the input from the final WG D 
report and from the Review process to develop a new process to implement the 
recommendations of the Review process. Full participation in this 
implementation phase is envisaged. It is understood that the structure of 
participation will be an improvement on the present structure of DNSO
working groups!"  http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/council/Arc04/msg00840.html

Lies.  There is no full participation, there has been no improvement, only 
less participation, endless delays, and continued procrastination.  The NC 
Task Force report was issued on 17 February.  What progress has been made?!!  
Do we have any published Terms-of-Reference yet?  No.  Has the new Review 
Task Force made any attempt to work in an open and transparent manner?  No.  
Do they have a publicly-archived mailing list where terms-of-reference have 
been discussed?  No.  What has been done?  According the last teleconference, 
there has been some "drafting going on".  More backroom dealings.  Nothing 
out in the open.   At this rate, will there ever be an Individuals' 
Constituency?  Don't bet on it.  

The Council determined its need to silence the voices in the Review Working 
Group because we were engaged in serious discussions on structural changes 
that called for a complete re-organization of the DNSO.  We were not alone in 
our conclusions... even the ICANN Board recognized the need for change and 
issued a resolution to address the issue:

[Resolution 01.28] The Board asks the Names Council and other sources to 
separate their proposals into those that improve operations of the DNSO as it 
is constituted today and those which may result in changes in the structure 
of the DNSO and/or major changes in its functioning.

Where is the Council's proposal to change the structure of the DNSO?   There 
is no proposal, nor will there be one.  They will continue to defy the Board 
and will continue to ignore the voices calling for change.  Change must be 
thrust upon the NC.  They will not reform themselves nor the DNSO.  In the 
interim, we all suffer from the consequences of their lassitude and their 
ex-parte deal-making.  

Why are there no more working groups?  It does not accord with the 
self-interest of the entrenched participants to allow for the opposing 
consensus view of the majority to be articulated.    They fear the prospect 
of 120 voices raised in discussion on a topic because the results may not be 
to their liking.   We cannot have a working group on collisions in namespace 
because we might conclude that ICANN is responsible and accountable for 
creating such collisions.  We cannot have a working group on the UDRP because 
we might take a collective stance to decry the excessive influence of the 
intellectual property interests, and might actually shift the balance in 
favor of the individual against corporate interests.  We cannot have a Review 
working group because we might challenge an abusive power structure.  We 
cannot have a working group on .org because only the Council has the wisdom 
to make the appropriate choices.  This is unmitigated elitism.  

There is not one single issue that should pass out of the DNSO without the 
full involvement of the General Assembly.
Token participation in Task Forces is no more than a sop to keep us quiet.   

The issue boils down to this -- what course of action should the General 
Assembly take?  

Personally, I am in favor of following the lead of the ccTLDs and moving 
forward to a discussion of withdrawing from the DNSO in favor of a Supporting 
Organization that would better guard the interests of individuals.  I look 
forward to your comments.  Happy Independance Day!

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