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On the Inappropriateness of Dissent

Everybody’s talking about Iran, especially about Iranians using Twitter & YouTube to express their outrage over a stolen election, organize protests, and get the word out about government repression and killings.

Local hash mismanagement takes a dim view of such things. Here are some items from a post-hash election email sent out by our new GM this morning:

mismanagement will be this sunday, june 28, 6pm at dirtbags (south-west corner of speedway and campbell). we’l’ have a pick-up hash starting from there at 5pm. we’ll try to get both things started kind of right on time … for those who are fairly new to the hash: everybody is welcome to voice their opinion there. no matter how long you’ve been hashing with us, your vote will count the same.

i would like to get as many wankers as possible involved in this. lets try to get the bitching out of our systems there and keep it there.

below is a list of topics that will be discussed and, if necessary, voted on. if you have something you would like to add please come to mismanagement. if you can’t make it please mail it to me (not the listserve!).

[ . . . ]

PLEASE, don’t start discussions about this on the listserve. mismanagement is there for the purpose of these discussions. ( i am still on the listserve committee ;) )

And here are two items on the proposed mismanagement agenda:

3) new listserve control committee.

4) is there a better way to keep non-fun emails from the listserve.

Dear Gispert, I don’t even know where to begin!

Well, I’ll start with the election. I don’t think our local hash election was stolen, but I do have questions. We voted by email, but my ballot was unacknowledged. Was my vote received? Was it counted? Mismanagement told us who won, but that’s all. I’d like to know how many hashers voted and what the count was for the different candidates. How hard would it be for mismanagement to share that information? Shit, at least the mullahs in Iran took the trouble to come up with numbers, even if they did pull ‘em out of their asses!

The new GM goes out of his way to warn hashers about bringing up mismanagement issues on the listserve, our Yahoo email group. He wants to restrict discussion to the monthly mismanagement meetings (and, to be fair, so did the previous GM). The listserve, he says, is only for fun emails. Asking questions is not fun. It’s bitching. And bitching, he threatens, will be dealt with by the listserve committee, who will delete controversial emails and ban the hashers who post them.

Instead, we’re supposed to hold our bitches until the next monthly mismanagement meeting, to share with the dozen or so hashers who attend those meetings. Concerns are not to be voiced to the hundred or more hashers who use the listserve but don’t attend mismanagement . . . the hundred or more hashers who, based on comments I heard at Sunday’s hangover hash, have questions of their own about the recent election.

Here’s how mismanagement meetings work: there’ll be 10-15 hashers at the meeting. Members of mismanagement will be there, along with members of the unelected inner circle that calls the shots in the hash. You, with your issue, complaint, or suggestion, will be one voice. Without any prior group discussion of issues on the listserve, no one knows whether you’re speaking for yourself, for a few, or for many. It’s a system designed to resist change, and it’s been my experience that it resists change effectively.

(Not) the Inner Circle

(Not) the Inner Circle

Well, you may ask, if there’s no group discussion of mismanagement issues prior to the meeting, does word of what happened at the meetings get out to hashers, so that at least some discussion can take place prior to the next meeting? Yeah, sort of, but not always. Mismanagement usually publishes minutes of the meetings on the listserve, but sometimes details are glossed over. In some cases, when particularly unpleasant arguments have occurred at mismanagement meetings, previous GMs have actually suspended publication of the minutes.

With no group discussion allowed prior to mismanagement meetings and limited publicity on controversial issues put out afterward, the majority of hash members get their information through the rumor mill, which is almost always inaccurate.

I hope our new GM will cut the unelected inner circle out of the decision-making loop, give hashers their say at the monthly mismanagement meetings, and act on their concerns. I hope he’s not planning on keeping hashers in the dark about mismanagement actions. But it’s not a good sign that his very first message to the pack tells us to shut the fuck up. Maybe local hashers will take a lesson from the Iranian people and start using the listserve to speak up, no matter what the GM says.

It’s times like these I’m glad I have a blog, where I can say what I want . . . even if no one reads it!

- Flying Booger

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