Bonum Certa Men Certa

FSFE, CCC, Erik Albers & secret punishments

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Apr 03, 2024

[Article 1.5 years old]

Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship.

At CCC in December 2017, an FSFE volunteer, Michael Kappes (MajestyX) distributed a leaflet with the slogan "FUCK GOOGLE FSFE". We are leaking the full email below.

(Twitter, Gnusocial, Ubuntu, BeLUG).

There is a Twitter hashtag #fuckgooglefsfe

For writing these three words, Michael was subjected to a three month exclusion from the FSFE local group in Berlin.

Michael wrote a blog with his side of the story and it vanished. Censorship.

It looks like many of his online profiles have gone dark. We don't know where he is. There is a close correlation between extreme isolation punishments and suicides. There are too many suicides in free, open source software.

When Germans like Erik Albers behave like this and impose punishments, the world needs to worry.

Volunteers like Michael donate approximately thirty percent of the FSFE budget. Albers is there to serve us. He has no right to give us orders.

The key point to note here is that the volunteer stopped distributing the leaflets at the FSFE booth and distributed them from another location in the CCC. Albers and FSFE have no right to interfere in the work of activists outside their FSFE booth. Following volunteers around the CCC is stalking.

Here is the Susanne Bücherratten email to censor Michael Kappes:

From: Susanne Bücherratten (ratten) <ratten@buecherratten.in-berlin.de>
Date: Mon, Jan 1, 2018, 19:48
Subject: Konsequenzen
To: <berlin@lists.fsfe.org>, Erik Albers <eal@fsfe.org>

Hallo Alle zusammen,
ich hab nach dem 34c3 nach gedacht, vor allem über das was dort passiert ist. Ich habe beschlossen mich zu schützen und nicht mehr an den Aktivität der FSFE teilzunehmen. Ich bin nicht gegen die FSFE oder die Ziele der FSFE und ich habe die FSFE immer gerne unterstützt und würde es auch weiterhin gerne tun. Jedoch habe ich gemerkt, das ich aus dem was beim 34c3 passiert ist, Konsequenzen für mich ziehen muss. Ich kann und will es nicht mit unterstützen oder tollerieren, wenn sich eine Person aus meiner Sicht und Wahrnehmung so der massen schädlich verhält, wie das auf dem 34c3 der Fall war. Ich möchte betonen das dies meine Sicht und Wahrnehmung ist und die entsprechende Person dies mit Sicherheit vollkommen anders sieht. Ich habe mich bestimmt nicht in allen Punkten auf dem 34c3 richtig verhalten, vorallem was das Verhalten dieser Person und mein daraus resultierendes Verhalten betrifft. Für mich ist dieser Schritt eine Sache von Selbstschutz und Gewissen, daher bin ich nicht bereit darüber zu diskutieren und möchte euch daher bitten meinen Schritt zu respektieren. Ich ziehe diese Konsequenz nicht leichtfertig und mit schwerem Herzen, sehe für mich aber keine andere Möglichkeit.
Ich melde mich hiermit auch von der Mailing-Liste ab.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Susanne _______________________________________________ Berlin mailing list Berlin@lists.fsfe.org https://lists.fsfe.org/mailman/listinfo/berlin

and here is the private email from Erik Albers where he admits making punishments:

Subject: Re: [GA] Fwd: Konsequenzen
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 2018 14:12:54 +0100
From: Erik Albers <eal@fsfe.org>
To: ga@lists.fsfe.org

Hi Mirko, everyone,
please excuse my brevity as I am on vacation. I wonder why this should be handled by the GA but your call for action now drives me to explain the situation briefly and put in my 2 cents. Please respect that I am on vacation and that I cannot follow up the discussion properly.
On 02.01.2018 07:59, Mirko Boehm wrote: > Hello, > >> On 2. Jan 2018, at 02:02, Albert Dengg <albert@fsfe.org> wrote: >> >> does anybody actually know what she is refering to? >> >> (i spennt only very little time at the fsfe assembly, but i would >> have thought if something really grave happend somebody would ahve >> mentionend something? > > > I know nothing more than the original mail sent to the Berlin list. I believe that a) we need to make sure we are all on the same page regarding to what happened,
one of our supporters was acting like a wolf in sheep's clothing. While he was on one hand behind the booth to sell merchandise, he on the other hand spread self-made print-outs about "#fuckgooglefsfe" to criticise that FSFE accepts donations by google. (the print-outs were fortunately so bad and cryptic I doubt someone could understand what they are saying)
Despite him insisting on his freedom of opinion, I forbid that person to spread these print-outs around the booth.
The person in question is member of the local FSFE group. This local FSFE group has been forming half of the assembly-crew. I tried to integrate their thoughts/feelings in my decision. All of them did not see harm in his presence himself but only in the print-outs. Some of them were even saying is doing a good job behind the booth.
The next day I got aware that there have been print-outs at the tea-house which was like 20m away from our assembly. I then gave the person in question order to stay away from the booth because I told him before to not spread his print-outs around the assembly.
As a compromise ("you have to use violence to get me away from here" ...) I did let him stay around the booth but I did not allow him anymore to be behind the assembly as a booth-team-member.
I was told however, that in the next morning, when I was still away from the assembly, the person in question was acting behind the booth for a while together with someone else from the Berlin local group. But as long as I was there he was not allowed to participate anymore and he did not.
So much about what happened.
Now to the criticism brought up by Susanne: Already at the event, Susanne complained about his behavior and that he is harming the FSFE. I agreed with her and did what I was explaining above.
As a sidenote, Susanne is in personal care and was at the CCC with a professional assistant. Both of them - Susanne and the person in charge - are very emotional. I now feel very sad that Susanne feels like having to take such consequences. But I also think that this is the consequence of a pre-existing personal conflict between the two persons and actions during CCC were simply the last straw.
After my vacations I am open for discussions and suggestions about how to handle this situation best. But after reviewing it now after three days I still think I was handling the situation to the best of one's knowledge.
The situation required to balance the group spirit (as said, I consequently asked the other team members about the person behaviour and got zero support for throwing him out) former reactions of the person in charge (so I only forbid him to act as a team-member but not to generally not be present around the booth) and things he actually is allowed to do (well ... yes, he is allowed to spread print-outs on the tables around the booth).
Other or more dramatic reactions from my side could have made the situation better - but they also could have made the situation worse.
> and that b) any such situation needs to be reviewed and possibly handled by the GA.
can you please explain me why you think so?
We have a CARE team for CoC conflicts and a Fellowship coordinator as well as two community representatives and with @coordinators a representation of our most active community members. I really wonder why you think we now should handle personal conflicts between community members on a GA level?
> If I am connecting the right names and faces here, Susanne attended the Berlin community meeting recently and is a long-time, if not super-active contributor.
long-time yes, super-active not.
Best regards, Erik
-- No one shall ever be forced to use non-free software Erik Albers | Communication & Community Coordinator | FSFE OpenPGP Key-ID: 0x8639DC81 on keys.gnupg.net _______________________________________________ GA mailing list GA@lists.fsfe.org https://lists.fsfe.org/mailman/listinfo/ga

Here is the email about the punishment:

Subject: Re: [GA] Fwd: Konsequenzen
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2018 17:13:07 +0100
From: Erik Albers <eal@fsfe.org>
To: Jonas Oberg <jonas@fsfe.org>
CC: ga@lists.fsfe.org

Hi Jonas,
On 23.01.2018 11:44, Jonas Oberg wrote: >> We will report after that.
There have been even more CoC breaches by this person on our mailing list recently but I do not see the need going so much into detail. The CARE informed the person in question to be exluded from any local meet-ups for three months and that he is put on moderation on all FSFE mailing lists in the same time. His access to his blog is also deactivated for 6 months and he is not allowed to participate in any official FSFE representation, including but not limited to participate in booths or give talks in the name of FSFE.
> Thank you! Once this is resolved, perhaps we can then discuss vacation > times and ensure that a majority of the CARE team is always reachable > -- enlargening or having deputy CARE team members if needed to facilitate > that.
I think the CARE team could profit from having more volunteers so it is not seen as a staffers tool for sanctioning.
Best, Erik
-- No one shall ever be forced to use non-free software Erik Albers | Communication & Community Coordinator | FSFE OpenPGP Key-ID: 0x8639DC81 on keys.gnupg.net _______________________________________________ GA mailing list GA@lists.fsfe.org https://lists.fsfe.org/mailman/listinfo/ga

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