Wednesday, 25 August 2010


I'm going to take a break from my series of posts about the Representative Assembly of CDS to comment on the demerging of CDS and Al Andalus.

I'm still a full year behind in writing my summaries of CDS Representative Assembly meetings. My post-before-last was about the very first meeting of the merged entity. And before I could even recapitulate that year of merger, this experiment in inter-community cooperation has ended – in failure.

How I Learned the news

The way I learned the news about the demerger was odd. It had been announced on the CDS forum, but I missed it. I was on vacation at the time. When I checked in on the forum, the announcement had already dropped too far down in the list to catch my eye.

So I only realized that something had happened when I read the Transcript of the July 24 RA Meeting. A few minutes into the meeting there was the following exchange:

[9:07] Ranma Tardis: so now what? AA has left the CDS
[9:07] Rose Springvale: smiles
[9:08] Rose Springvale: we move forward Ranma. and that's what the RA will be addressing this term, how CDS will move forward. I hope you'll stick around to see

A bit later in that meeting, Rose Springvale explained that Al Andalus had announced its withdrawal from the merger on the previous Thursday. What had happened?

There had been little warning of the possibility of such an outcome at the previous RA meeting on July 11. Consider for example this Summary of Actions posted after the July 11 RA Meeting. There is not so much as a mention of the upcoming decisions concerning the merger.

And if one digs into the detailed discussion at the July 11 RA Meeting, one gets the impression that opposition to the merger was coming mostly from the CDS side. There was notably the following exchange between Patroklus Murakami and Rose Springvale:

[9:10] Patroklus Murakami: has the RA meeting to consider the merger been set yet?
[9:10] Rose Springvale: it isn't on the agenda, but the time for it is between july 22 and july 29

When asked why he brought this up, Pat explained: "it may well be a foregone conclusion but.... we still need to hold the vote." The period indicated by Rose marked the one year anniversary of the merger, at which time either party could decide to pull out, according the merger agreement (see point 8).

Thus Patroklus, who appeared as the informal head of the CDS group opposed to the merger, was sceptical as to whether the merger could be overturned. Pat seems unaware that there was a strong possibility that Al Andalus might themselves decide to pull out. But that is what they did.


A few days after I learned the news, I read Rose's blog post dated July 27, entitled Sometimes, it is just time to move on. Apparently Rose herself had come to the decision to demerge, even before the Al Andalus community meetings which were held on July 21.

After I had read Rose's post I discovered that a CDS forum thread I started had become "colonized" (as Jamie Palisades put it) by a discussion of the demerger. So I took advantage of that opportunity to express my own reaction to this sad development, calling it a "fiasco."

And then I came across a post by Kaseido Quandry about The CDS as Modernist Bastion . I replied to Kaseido with a comment in which I argued that the blame is to be shared on both sides. I concluded: "there was a failure of the collective leadership of the merged entity."

So what now? Rose Springvale seems to think both entities can continue to carry on their separate business as usual. The CDS stalwarts seem to have quickly adapted to the new situation, promptly erasing all traces of Al Andalus from the CDS portal.

But what about those of us who were counting on the success of the merger? I for one went out on a limb, seeing that CDS was in the process of opening up and changing. For example, I had written this comment on an earlier post by Kaseido, in which I refer to "covert control by a self-perpetuating elite." My dreams were that CDS would initiate a whole new group of members to structured democratic process (which I prefer to the Al Andalus ad hoc consensus process), and that this new group would in turn help CDS to evolve. Now both of these dreams have simultaneously collapsed. A great opportunity has been missed. Perhaps there will be others.


Rose said...
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Rose said...

I am a writer Danton, and my journal entry was created in my personal journal before the vote. I posted it, as you can see, well after the vote.

After a while, one gets tired of being called names, accused of theft, accused of totalitarianism, etc etc etc. You will find all that in both your review of the forums, and the transcripts.

You've noticed too, how quickly AA was purged from CDS. The vocal opponents, who were not part of the RA when the merger was passed (or didn't vote,) succeeded in their quest to get rid of all those new people. The CDS chancellor never even tried to work out an agreement. Those are simply facts.
Some of those people justified their opposition by saying they wanted to negotiate a different kind of deal. Over a month has gone by,and there has been no communication.