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  4. <title>About Free Software Foundation Europe - FSFE</title>
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  6. <body>
  7. <p id="category"><a href="/about/about.html">About</a></p>
  8. <h1>About FSFE</h1>
  9. <h2>Self-Conception</h2>
  10. <p>The people of the <a href="">Free Software
  11. Foundation Europe</a> (FSFE), see ourselves as Europeans from
  12. different cultures with the shared goal of co-operation across
  13. cultures and of developing a common culture of co-operation from a
  14. regional to a global level.</p>
  15. <p>We form a non-profit non-governmental organisation and network that
  16. itself is part of a global network of people with common goals and
  17. visions. We are not representative for anyone but ourselves and our
  18. work. Our common work and dedication to freedom in all aspects of
  19. digital society is what defines us.</p>
  20. <p>With the Free Software community growing faster every day, it
  21. becomes more important to keep the vision of Free Software healthy,
  22. solid and alive. In some cases, increased political interest in our
  23. issues also creates desire to exploit them for particular personal
  24. interests regardless of the medium- and long-term effects.</p>
  25. <p>Therefore, the central component of our work is keeping the legal,
  26. political and social base of Free Software strong, secure and free of
  27. particular interests. This requires deep understanding of Free
  28. Software and related issues. Above all it requires being primarily
  29. committed to the long-term vision.</p>
  30. <p>We understand this sometimes means having to accept short-term or
  31. even medium-term disadvantages in order to remain true to our
  32. principles, which may be hard to communicate and occasionally even
  33. unpopular.</p>
  34. <h3>Principles</h3>
  35. <p>We feel strongly committed to the principles of democracy,
  36. transparency, plurality, consistency, reliability and focus.</p>
  37. <p>In the light of substantial legal responsibilities and the need to
  38. remain decisive even in difficult times, our structure aims to
  39. implement the above principles as well as possible.</p>
  40. <h3>Structural Overview</h3>
  41. <p>Voluntary work and contribution
  42. is the fundamental on which everything rests. Different levels of
  43. involvement exist; level of involvement is primarily a personal
  44. decision.</p>
  45. <p>Everyone is welcome to occasionally, regularly or permanently
  46. participate in the activities of the Free Software Foundation Europe
  47. (FSFE) and make its activities their own.</p>
  48. <p>If you wish to become part of the Free Software Foundation Europe, you
  49. can join one of our teams -- either geographically or by focus --
  50. and take responsibility to work and act in the name of the FSFE. </p>
  51. <p>The country-based teams are generally co-ordinated by the members
  52. of the association (see below) responsible for these countries. The
  53. other teams are either co-ordinated by members of the association,
  54. members of the teams or members of an associated organisation (see
  55. below).</p>
  56. <p>If you wish to become part of the Free Software Foundation Europe,
  57. but do not have the time to do work, you might also choose to <a
  58. href="/donate/donate.html">make a donation to FSFE</a> or become a <a
  59. href="">fellow</a> of the FSFE.
  60. </p>
  61. <p>If your association pursues similar goals to those of the Free
  62. Software Foundation Europe and wishes to establish formal
  63. co-operation, it can become an <a href="/associates/">associate
  64. organisation</a> of the FSFE, thus becoming part of the FSFE
  65. network.</p>
  66. <p>The skeleton of the Free Software Foundation Europe is the formal
  67. and legally established <a href="/about/legal/">association</a> with
  68. its chapters in the member countries. Membership in this association
  69. requires the highest commitment, measured in years of dedication and
  70. the responsibility to put long-term consensus over personal
  71. opinion.</p>
  72. <p>The FSFE association is fundamentally democratic. All parts of the
  73. FSFE -- members of the association, members of the teams, as well as
  74. <a href="">fellows</a> and members of associate
  75. organisations -- are welcome to actively participate in the decision
  76. making process.</p>
  77. <p>Members of the association are usually proposed by members of the
  78. teams and the associate organisations from their countries. They are
  79. then approved by the general assembly of the FSFE association.</p>
  80. <p>Although voluntary contributions in terms of work and resources are
  81. the grounds of our work, we recognise that some of these tasks cannot
  82. be undertaken as part-time activities and therefore require full-time
  83. work.</p>
  84. <p>Normal employees of the Free Software Foundation Europe are part of
  85. the executive only and do not become part of the general decision
  86. finding processes.</p>
  87. <p>Any decision about employment/payment must ultimately be agreed upon
  88. by the general assembly of the members of the association.</p>
  89. <p>The main criterion for these decisions are the needs of the Free
  90. Software Foundation Europe in terms of successfully pursuing its
  91. goals. Whenever possible, we try to hire a person for each job that
  92. has already done the job without getting paid -- either within the
  93. FSFE structures or outside -- because knowledge, dedication and
  94. initiative are virtues of the FSFE.</p>
  95. <p>Ideally we will allow someone to dedicate themselves fully to a task
  96. that was already important enough to them to contribute much of their
  97. available resources.</p>
  98. <h3>Decision Processes</h3>
  99. <p>The people of the Free Software Foundation Europe believe in
  100. consensus. We always seek to base our work on the consensus -- and
  101. sometimes compromise -- of our active members.</p>
  102. <p>Also, we believe it is occasionally necessary to make quick and
  103. decisive actions. For this reason we have established the FSFE
  104. association and its extended executive committees at European and
  105. national levels. These provide fall-back structures and procedures
  106. that are determined, monitored and controlled through democratic
  107. processes.</p>
  108. <p>This approach was adopted in search of a structure that will allow
  109. transparency, plurality and participation, at the same time remaining
  110. as lightweight as possible.</p>
  111. <p>It ensures the possibility of participation by all parts of FSFE.
  112. Members of the association, members of the teams and members of
  113. associate organisations can all participate. This allows the Free
  114. Software Foundation Europe to act quickly when necessary and maintain
  115. a strong organisational long-term consistency.</p>
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