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E pluribus unum (was: What happened?)

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    Jim Healy Nov. 6, 2001, 10:25 p.m. (Message 28061)

    John Fenningworth writes:
    
    >As a final remark as a Scot I would say to all those "members"
    >who aren't really interest then leave the Society now and save
    >the Society a fortune in producing things in which you are not
    >really interested And to all real true members pay your
    >subscriptions direct to HQ and make things even better
    
    No, John. E pluribus unum (out of the many, one) is not the motto of the 
    United States by chance. As the recent election of George W Bush showed, 
    there comes a point when, whatever form of democracy has been agreed, it has 
    to be accepted. I argued, both privately and in the meeting, that the 
    Bristol Motion (formerly Option C or 3) was the right answer. That option 
    was defeated by a handsome majority. I reserve the right to think that the 
    majority was wrong but, within the system we have, the only options I have 
    are to continue to fight for my views from within (as I shall do, to no 
    surprise from Alan or Jean) or leave the Society. Your argument suggests 
    that YOU should leave the Society not the “real true members”.
    
    Jim Healy
    Perth, Scotland
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    Andrew Smith Nov. 7, 2001, 9:24 a.m. (Message 28067, in reply to message 28061)

    I would add a rider to Jim's comments.
    
    There seemed to be some antagonism to the fact that Option 3(C) was
    resurrected in the face of the Exec councils support of 1(A), and that to
    seek an alternative was undemocratic.
    Jim wrote: "> there comes a point when, whatever form of democracy has been
    agreed, it has to be accepted." This is true, but does not mean that a
    decision is then cast in tablets of stone for ever, otherwise there is no
    point in Jim, and others of us, continuing the fight from within. It means
    that one works to make the decision work, but that one does not, and indeed
    should not,  give up working to make it work better. This is the beauty of a
    democracy, that one can always work within a constitutional framework to try
    to get one's views across while still supporting the work of the
    organisation. (Otherwise there are some political parties which would have
    had to put up the shutters years ago.)
    Equally, one cannot take one's ball home and leave an organisation (if a
    decision has been taken with which one does not agree), and still hope to
    influence that organisation, because in a democratic society change can only
    be effected from within. (Even if it is in response to external forces, it
    still has to be accepted by the majority. By definition, I would suggest,
    democracy is dead when very major change is imposed from outside.)
    Andrew.

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