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Re: Constitutional, Parliamentary Issues (was Re: CFV: Non-freearchive removal)

Craig Sanders wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 06, 2000 at 10:03:26PM -0500, Bolan Meek wrote:
> > Craig Sanders wrote:
> > >
> > > On Thu, Jun 29, 2000 at 10:32:03PM -0500, John Goerzen wrote:
> > > > The requisite discussion period having been entertained, ...
> > >
> > > your CFV is unconstitutional because nothing in the consitution allows
> > > the Social Contract or DFSG to be amended.
> >
> > It's been pointed out plenty of times that the body of Developers
> > do have this power, according to the DC:
> it has been asserted by some that this is the case.  note: not proven, not
> established, just asserted.

It has not only been asserted, but proven through the quote of DC 4.1.5.
The problem is, then, that you have not accepted this quote as proof.

> > ...
> no, the constitution mentions ISSUING documents. it says nothing about
> MODIFYING existing ones.

I think that it is generally assumed that if one has the power
to "issue ... documents" which would supercede previous docs,
one has the power also to amend the previous docs, the amendments
effectively making new documents which supercede the former.
This seems self-evident to me.  I wouldn't have thought that
there would need to be get more specific than the wording of 4.1.5 .

Might it be that your emotions are clouding your acceptance of
"amending" as being included in "issuing"?

Think about it pragmatically:  if I recall correctly, the Project
Secretary let John know that he had to issue on -vote a formal
call for votes.  If the PS interpreted 4.1.5 as you have, he ought
have told John at that time that the proposal was unConstitutional
(hereafter UC).  This is proof #2, even though it is somewhat weak.

But let's go further:  there is no specific power delegated to
anyone to declare this measure UC, nor to define whether "issue"
includes "amend".  Therefore, by 5.1.4, it would fall to
the Project Leader.

Suppose that without the intervention of the PL, the proposal
would carry by a majority vote.  Well, this same majority can
override the PL, according to 4.2.2 , since there is no
specific protection for already issued docs, nor any clarification
that prevents amendment as part of the power to issue.  This is
proof #3, and I think, somewhat stronger.

You may continue to reject the assumed power to amend, being
lexically included in the power to issue, but really, the
judgment belongs to the majority, since there is, apparently,
an ambiguity, or an incompleteness, in the DC.  (maybe I ought
to file a bug report..., and maybe, when I'm a Developer, I'll
close the BR by issuing a CFV to amend the DC to clarify this.)

I notice that you didn't respond on the matter of the relative
importance between the DC, and the DFSG & SC:

Bolan Meek wrote:
> Craig Sanders wrote:
> >
> > On Wed, Jul 05, 2000 at 05:56:37PM -0500, Adam Heath wrote:
> > > On Wed, 5 Jul 2000, Steve Greenland wrote:
> > > >     5.Issue nontechnical policy documents and statements.
> > >
> > > Issue, but doesn't say a thing about modifying ...
> >
> > precisely. if we end up deciding that these founding documents may
> > actually be changed, there's also the issue of HOW they may be changed.
> > given that they are at least as important (far more so, IMO) than the
> > constitution, ...
> > lets sort that out and clarify the constitutional issues before
> > proceeding with a vote which may be (and almost certainly is)
> > constitutionally invalid.
> It is not the "pre-existing" documents that make up Debian, but the
> membership.  The contract between the members is the "Constitution". 
> Neither the "Social Contract", which really is a misnomer (but I
> support it), nor the DFSG are specially protected by the DC. 
> These documents did not found Debian, the people who drafted them did.
> The sentiments stated in them are subject to change as the membership
> changes.  These statements of policy are not contractual,
> as is the DC, and therefore, _not_ "far more so".
> ...

Does this mean I've posted something that makes sense?

I'd like to further point out in this that Debian doesn't belong
even _to_those_who_founded_it_ (only), but (also) to the membership
whom they've admitted since the founding.  It is often the case
that, with new membership, and the changes of sentiment and priorities
that (may) come with it, that earlier members feel that new members are
screwing things up.  That is a risk that founders must take when
admitting new members in on an equal footing.

In any case, the DC is the charter, the contract between the members,
and, absent any provision in the DC otherwise, any and all other
documents belong to the body, the membership, and are subject to
their collective will, as expressed by a majority vote.

If you feel that the DFSG and the SC need special protection, propose
an amendment to give them that, such as needing the same ratio as to
amend the DC, and after the requisite discussion period, call for
Bolan.Meek@wcom.com 972-729-5387
bolan@koyote.com (home phone on request)
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