Friday, March 07, 2014

Corporation Meeting (2014)

This is my final year as a Corporation Member of the AFSC.  I've served at least one earlier three year term.

On the theory that Yearly Meetings appoint whom they choose, and AFSC receives these appointees without approving them, I was able to "sneak in" as an attender (and former member), promoting my theory that attenders may be as actively Quaker as members and should not be treated as second class in principle.

So in that sense NPYM is flaunting the AFSC's by-laws, which insist, implicitly, that "a Quaker" be defined as a "a member of a Yearly Meeting".  I've recorded my non-member status in the surveys sent around to us and no one has raised a fuss.

The board, which is more central and more powerful in terms of AFSC's governance, does allow non-Quakers to serve (up to 20%), which I suppose might cover people such as myself, who claim to be Quaker, but choose not to signify this attribute through the institution of recorded membership.  I'm not on the board however.

Attenders, sometimes more active than members, and on occasion more "cutting edge" in their practice, should not be overlooked when it comes to serving on the AFSC corporation.  One reason some have not sought membership -- as when a same-sex couple finds the local meetings still refuse to take their marriage under its care -- is their practice is ahead of the curve.

I shared these concerns and perspectives at one of the breakout sessions.  Lucy Duncan agreed these were relevant and important concerns.  I also reiterated my view that FCNL and AFSC need to maintain distinct identities.  Succinctly:  FNCL is about changing the law, whereas AFSC is about "breaking" the law (think civil rights movement).

In another meeting we played a board game about the horrifyingly silly-fascist nation-state game, wherein humans are penned in at birth and disallowed much freedom of movement unless especially economically privileged.  I played an undocumented Polish guy with no possibility of US citizenship.  I worked in a restaurant in Philadelphia or somewhere, with no other family here.  Most of us weren't going to reach the citizenship goal.  The game is rigged that way, with an outer loop that just goes in a circle.

I'm thinking of the philosopher Rene Descartes wandering around Europe with has valet, a cross between a tourist and military journalist.  With an EU passport, he might get away with that today.  Jesus Christ would have no hope of getting an employment-based visa to the US in our day, having only low level carpentry skills -- "Rabbi" wouldn't qualify as a skill unless he had a baccalaureate degree -- and coming as he did from an ethnic minority background.

So why doesn't the AFSC make more use of the nation-free Dymaxion Projection?  Chris gave a slide show on that at a math-GIS meetup, which I missed because of our program (malesh -- too bad).  But shouldn't Fuller's anti-nationalism (along with Einstein's) get some notoriety from Friends?  He, like Bayard Rustin, was also a Medal of Freedom winner.

We have this myth that the US does not export a large number of migrant workers to the rest of the world i.e. that it's a one way street.  That's because migrants in Okinawa, Afghanistan, Germany, and Korea, Marshall Islands, and so on, are accounted as "US military personnel" vs. "migrant workers".