You know it seems a bit rich to me when Beal accuses Freegle of being undemocratic. He is cited in The Guardian of saying, “If anyone had shown themselves to be undemocratic it was those who founded Freegle.”
However if you look at the facts, TFN shown almost no democracy in each of its 6 long tortuous years. What is worse is that any shred democracy disappears further with each minute that rolls by.
Am I talking rubbish? Let us look at the TFN credentials on democracy:
- Firstly Beal holds all the strings of power as he and his wife are the only real directors and shareholders.
- By shunning Neil Morris, looking back the only other director of Freecycle UK Ltd he has effectively killed any fragment of influence from the UK over their own affairs.
- The creation of MyFreecyle technology has always been about the use of public and grant money to centralise control away from the grass-roots movement. Even the term “group owner” no longer exists in the TFN vocabulary.
- Attempts in 2004 by moderators to add democracy in terms of polls are quashed as Beal bans Yahoo polls from all moderator groups.
- Attempts by any moderator to ask any question of the organisation, no matter how innocuous, leads Beal to put them on moderation. From that moment he, directly or indirectly approves or blocks all their posts before anyone else reads them. Any unwanted posts that “get through” are deleted. So the OIDG (Organisational Issues Discussion Group – a real misnoma if ever there was one) is cleansed of posts that do not discuss meaningless blabber.
- Secret rules have been at the heart of the organisation with Da-Hub being a law unto itself with no published rule book.
- TFN maintains a secret database on its moderators, logging any notes of dissaffection. It then uses this same database to control and even oust moderators, using insinuation as its primary weapon.
And this is a charity!