ASI W9900327r1.0

Moon Miners' Manifesto

#107 July 1997

Section the Artemis Data Book

Constructive New Mission for NSS Chapters Assembly, Editorial

In Focus IN FOCUS: Constructive New Mission for NSS Chapters Assembly, Editorial
byPeter Kokh
At ISDC '97 in Orlando, representatives of 15 chapters gathered, presumably to preside over the merciful death of the Chapters Assembly. Founded in Denver in 1988 by John Strickland, Larry Ahearn, and Jim Davidson, the original mission of the "CA" seemed to be clear - to provide mutual support in an era in which NSS headquarters seemed neglectful, and to drag the NSS Board kicking and screaming from what seemed an unquestioningly NASA-loyal posture into one in which we could share the lead toward a stronger, more effective space program.

From the outset, the more aggressive reformers seemed to be in control, scaring off moderate NSS-lead-following chapters. LRS had joined up at day one, not to reinforce the "radicals" but to act as a voice of constructive moderation. However, membership in the CA never approached real representativeness. As time went by, constructively cooperative leadership (e.g. Cheryl York of Oregon L5 and those that followed her) took the reigns, and CA "requests" for NSS Board consideration of activist thinking on various space policy issues slowly gained a measure of real earned respect.

But more recently, under the leadership of Ronnie Lajoie of Huntsville L5, chapters seemed ever more unresponsive to requests for feedback. Ronnie put the question of dissolution on this year's agenda. "Should the CA become an informal no-dues organization that meets only at the annual ISDC?" Or "should the CA redefine itself and become more active." LRS leaned toward the first option, but when our time to stand up and be counted came in the middle of the role call, our vote was "As Chair of ISDC '98, I pledge to place all the resources of ISDC '98 behind the second option." The tide turned and we reached a 7-7 tie. But then we suddenly realized that he two options did not exclude one another.

Not to babble on much longer, here is the synthesis we arrived at. (1) The CA will no longer have dues, but use email and Inside NSS for communication instead of costly U.S. postage. (1A) The surprise corollary of this, something that did not dawn on us right away, is that all chapters now automatically become members. (2) However, we will remain a formal organization, keeping our duly amended bylaws. (3) The CA will meet only at the annual ISDC, redefining its role to what it can do within such limits. (4) As to commenting on NSS internal policy, we will concentrate on NSS policy towards chapters &emdash; that is clearly directly germane to our self-interest. (5) As to space policy, the CA will endeavor to survey its member chapters on various issues and advise the Chair of the following year's ISDC of those questions around which there is a wide difference of opinion so that the following ISDC can provide a forum for their discussion in the search for a patient consensus. (6) the hitherto unsuspected natural partnership of each iteration of the CA with the Chair of the following year's ISDC also leads to the request that the CA look at the current ISDC's activist and chapter-interest program offerings (and scheduling) and suggest program changes and additions for the following year. (7) The CA realizes that it does not have the resources to support individual or joint endeavor chapter projects. Chapters have the ability to network with one another on shared goals and projects through letters and articles in Inside NSS.

Once we knew that the two options on which we were split were complimentary, the next two dozen votes went very fast, leading to a wide and self-evident consensus. At 11:15 pm (we began at 8 pm that Friday night) we were barely into the first third of our agenda items. Within the next half hour we had easily dispatched them all. We went in ready to die, and came out full of new life and realistic purpose. Kudos to all of us who took the time to attend, to all of us who gave a damn.

Now that the CA's mission is redefined in realistic and totally constructive terms, and now that annual [$10] dues have been abandoned, it is our hope that participation in each year's CA at the ISDC will be much more representative of our natural fellowship. We have become something that the Board can enthusiastically support, a force that can assist the Board more fruitfully with its work. The CA has been rehoned as a tool we can all use. Let's all of us vow to do just that. <PK>

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