Showing Solidarity With FSFE Survivors

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 10:43 am by Guest Editorial Team

A few people pointed out the recent blog of another Developer, this quote caught my eye:

“The job of the free software movement is to demonstrate that this world is possible by living its values now: justice, equity, equality.”

What does justice look like?

Trial by social media, Due Process Judicial process, women give charges under oath Reports absent from Google search Still has job
Jacob Appelbaum, Jacob Appelbaum Y N
Richard Stallman (RMS), Richard Stallman Y N
Matthias Kirschner (FSFE), Matthias Kirschner Y Y Y

The recent siege on the US Capitol killed five people, was captured by numerous TV cameras and witnessed by most members of the US Congress. Nonetheless, they delayed the former president’s trial until 8 February to give him two weeks to review the evidence and prepare a defense. That is due process. Compare that to the way summary executions are conducted in free, open source software mailing lists, such as the falsification of at least some claims against Jacob Appelbaum:

Most of these testimonies have been sent to debian-private in a way that is accessible to all Debian Developers (including Jacob). Two days ago we emailed Jacob directly, forewarning him of this decision and soliciting his input. We have received no reply, and the deadline we set has lapsed.

If this is a justice process, it can be summarized by the phrase Heads I win, Tails you lose. That isn’t justice at all.

Justice for my friends and not for yours.

Why do Google search results show so many smears and defamation about some people but Google does not show the court case where sworn evidence was given under oath?

In DuckDuckGo searches, it is the first result:

More than one month has passed since a woman decided to go public about workplace bullying in FSFE. No other free software organization has made any public comment. Many people made public comments about Richard Stallman in 2019 but it has been radio silence for Matthias Kirschner. Why? Is it because Google sides with FSFE? Using justice selectively for a political target is not justice.

How much money from private donors was spent on costs relating to employee illness, legal fees, hiring and training replacement staff?

After the free software community voted for me to be the Fellowship representative, Kirschner removed the role from the FSFE constitution in the same callous manner that he removed all the women from permanent contracts. I wrote my own observations about this in an internal email to the GA mailing list. I’m publicizing it today in support of the women at FSFE. Compare the way I described the FSFE culture in May 2018 to that described in evidence from one of these women in 2020. As an FSFE employee, she would not have had access to the GA emails and would not have seen my email before publishing her own observations about false accusations created to extinguish her career.

If the GA listened to the complaint about Kirschner in 2018, the pain suffered by these two women would have been avoided.

Subject: grievance with council, censure of council

Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2018

From: Your Fellowship Representative

To: ga@lists.fsfe.org

Council have never explained why the notice of meeting included an option to immediately remove the last remaining fellowship representative, myself, from being a member of the GA.

As demonstrated in my email of 2 May to the GA and council (“legality of motion about existing Fellowship representatives”), the option fell well below the standard that all members of the GA are equal and that a specific procedure must be followed to remove a member. My email of 2 May was an opportunity for council to explain their behaviour or remove the option from the agenda.

I feel option 3 in that motion was there to give people an opportunity to attack me and censor me and is therefore a gross violation of the code of conduct.

I would ask everybody to contemplate the personal impact of such misconduct: having this threat hanging over my head since the notice of meeting was circulated 2 months ago has caused undue anxiety and made me feel that council perceives me as disposable. This threat of summary removal from the group has strained my relationship with FSFE and torpedoes any claims that FSFE is a friendly organization.

The failure of anybody from council to contact me about whether or not I am still a representative or GA member after the meeting on Saturday further prolonged my concern about the matter. This failure to communicate proactively about a decision that impacts my membership appears callous and indifferent.

As a consequence of council’s decision to include option 3 in the agenda, 4 people voted for the option and their identities are known to the GA members and staff who attended the meeting but their identities are not known to the target of the motion, myself. This makes it hard for me to trust other people in the group who attended the meeting and will create further difficulties for the GA to function as a team in future. To put it bluntly, we now have a toxic situation and it is a direct and foreseeable consequence of council’s decision to include option 3 in the agenda.

I notice that the CARE team, as listed on the wiki, appears completely unsuited to dealing with a complaint of this nature so I’m raising it with the whole GA and proposing a motion of censure against all members of council on the following grounds:

- they invited people to attack me by including an abusive option in the agenda and without providing sufficient justification for it

- their ongoing handling of the relationship with a member (myself) has been reckless and callous and demonstrated no concern for the impact of their behaviour

- attempting to censor an elected representative brings the organization into disrepute

- as a leadership group, council should demonstrate the highest standards in such matters

- the toxic legacy of the votes in favour of that option and the future impact that will have

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