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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<html newsdate="2021-03-24">
<title>Statement on Richard Stallman rejoining the FSF board</title>
<h1>Statement on Richard Stallman rejoining the FSF board</h1>
We learnt through a public announcement that Richard Stallman is
again part of the board of directors of the Free Software Foundation,
one of our independent sister organisations. We disapprove of this
step that came without any message of remorse or willingness to
In 2019, Richard Stallman resigned as president and board member of
the Free Software Foundation. On 21 March 2021 Stallman announced he
is member of the board again. The FSFE only learnt about that fact
through his public announcement.
We believe this step and how it was communicated harms the future of
the Free Software movement. The goal of the software freedom movement
is to empower all people to control technology and thereby create a
better society for everyone. Free Software is meant to serve everyone
regardless of their age, ability or disability, gender identity, sex,
ethnicity, nationality, religion or sexual orientation. This requires
an inclusive and diverse environment that welcomes all contributors
equally. The FSFE realises that we ourselves and the Free Software
movement still have to work hard to be that place where everyone
feels safe and respected to participate in it in order to fulfill the
movement's mission.
One crucial factor in making our community more inclusive is to
recognise and reflect when other people are offended or harmed by our
own actions and consider this feedback in future actions. The way
Richard Stallman announced his return to the board unfortunately
lacks any acknowledgement of this kind of thought process, and we are
deeply disappointed that the FSF board did not address these concerns
before electing him a board member again. Overall, we feel the
current step sends the wrong signal to existing and future community
That is why, as a legally and financially independent organisation,
in which Richard Stallman has not had any decision-making powers, we
call for his resignation from all FSF bodies. The FSF needs to
seriously reflect on this decision as well as their decision-making
process to prevent similar issues from happening again. Therefore, in
the current situation we see ourselves unable to collaborate both
with the FSF and any other organisation in which Richard Stallman has
a leading position. Instead, we will continue to work with groups and
individuals who foster diversity and equality in the Free Software
movement in order to achieve our joint goal of empowering all users
to control technology.
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