[Foundation-l] The Entities in an International Movement. Was: Re: Board resolutions (chapters)

Ziko van Dijk zvandijk at googlemail.com
Tue Jan 20 16:46:50 UTC 2009

Hello Ting,

Well, it is really difficult to know how the Esperanto community or, say,
the Red Cross (and Red Crescent) Movement would organize themselves if they
would come to life in these days. Maybe it would not be that different.

Let my lay out the matters with regard to different entities in an
international movement, with the Red Cross, Esperanto and Wikimedia as

First, the Core: A person or an organization that deals with the central
subject of the movement, also with trademarks. In our three examples, this
entity has a board but not members in the way a member organization has.
* In the Red Cross Movement it is the International Committee of the Red
Cross, founded by several nation states in 1863/64 (actually, it is not a
"N"GO in the strict sense). It defines the principles of the movement and
recognizes national organisations that then have the right to call
themselves a Red Cross organisation. The committee with international
members has its seat in Switzerland.
* In the Esperanto movement, it is the Academy of Esperanto that observes
the usage of the language and defines rules. It was founded in 1905/06
(under a different name). It is cooptating its members. Everybody has the
right to use the name "Esperanto", so the Academy does not recognize
organizations or deals with trademarks. Since 1922/34, other organisations
pay contributions to facilitate the work of the Academy.
* In the Wikimedia movement (or "community"), it is the Wikimedia Foundation
that runs the projects technically and gives "local" organisations the right
to use the trademarks. It was established by Jimmy Wales in 2003, in a
similar way Zamenhof established the Academy.

Second, national organisations:
* After 1864, friends of the Red Cross idea founded national organizations
in several countries. They must not only be recognized by the International
Committee, but also by the national government.
* Before and after the Academy of Esperanto was founded, Esperanto speakers
in several countries founded national organisations, independently from each
* Since 2004, there are national (or "local") organizations of Wikimedians.
The organization must be recognized by the Wikimedia Foundation if it wants
the right to use the name Wikimedia and other trademarks.

Third, an international member organisation:
* This exists or existed only in the Esperanto movement. Because of the
internationalism of the language itself, in 1908 some Esperantists created
Universal Esperanto Association (UEA). The idea was to collect all
Esperantists as direct members of UEA, although the UEA members were
encouraged to create organizational entities in their countries. This was
creating a concurrence against the already existing national organisations.
* (Theoretically, one can imagine an international member organizations of
Wikimedians, as WMF itself is not a member organization.)

Fourth, a federation of national organizations:
* Besides the International Committee, the national Red Cross organizations
have founded in 1919 an International Federation. Its members must be
societes recognized by the Committee. The Federation is the actual
coordinator of international Red Cross activities like banning land mines,
creating large scale humanitarian projects, not the International Committee.
* In the Esperanto movement, the national organizations tried to create a
federation in concurrence to or in cooperation with the already existing
UEA. In 1933/34, a compromise was settled: UEA since then still has
individual members on the one hand, on the other it serves as a federation
of the national organizations. The highest body of UEA is the committee, a
kind of parliament. Some of its members are elected by the individual (EA
members, others are delegates from the national organizations. Most of the
national Esperanto organizations are affiliated to UEA, but some are not
(usually because they have less than 100 national members). - After a lot of
negative experiences, UEA recognizes only one national organization in one
country. (I could elaborate, but you know my book, Ting. :-) )
* And Wikimedia? How will the collaboration of the "chapters" look like in
future? WMF allows them to send two people to the WMF board, this creates a
need for more coordination and common actions between the chapters.
Questions will rise like who is going to vote with how many votes.

I have put some ideas last year, when we discussed about a Wiki Council,
into this plan:

Kind regards

> By the way I am reading your book about the International Esperanto
> Conference. I see a lot of parallels from them and us (for example the
> definition of neutrality, internationality and so on). I find it very
> very interesting. Thank you very much for the book. And do you think
> that the Esperanto community would organize strictly in national
> chapters if they start today, and not more than hundred years ago?
> Ting
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Ziko van Dijk
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