The future of the Guild

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Sudane Erato
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The future of the Guild

Post by Sudane Erato »

Recently I've received several requests from citizens wishing to be named to Guild membership. I've spoken to each to explain briefly my feeling that before taking any such step, we need to determine, as a community, what the Guild is.

Everyone knows that the Artisanal Collective (AC, or, "the Guild") is the third branch of government, established at the original foundation of what was then Neualtenburg. While its purpose and function are briefly described in the Constitution, such purpose and function has been much discussed with little resulting clarity. Section 1 suggests that the purpose of the Guild is to provide revenue, goods and infrastructure for the City. As a Guild, it has hardly done this. While members of the Guild have indeed built the City, they have done so with no functional relationship to Guild purposes.

Here is the complete text:
---------------------------------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[u:2z1njvet][b:2z1njvet]Article II - The Artisanal Branch [/b:2z1njvet][/u:2z1njvet]
[b:2z1njvet]Section 1 - Artisanal Collective [/b:2z1njvet]

The Artisanal Collective (AC) is group of productive citizens
who provide revenue through sales and infrastructure support.
Its governmental role is to act as treasury and its service role
is to provide goods and infrastructure.

[b:2z1njvet]Section 2 - Artisanal Collective Body [/b:2z1njvet]

The AC is open to all participant citizens provided they create goods
and/or services for the city. The collective is a four-tier system of
apprentices, journeymen, masters, and a guild master. Site specific
names may be substituted provided roles remain the same.

[b:2z1njvet]Section 3 - Artisanal Collective Leader [/b:2z1njvet]

Every election cycle the AC leader or guild master is chosen from
the pool of masters. Votes of the masters are weighted by the
size of their workshop. A vote using scores generated
by Borda-count ranked votes are employed.

[b:2z1njvet]Section 4 - Powers of the AC [/b:2z1njvet]

In regards to the Representative branch:
The leader of the AC may veto a revenue bill or resubmit a modified revenue bill for vote.
The leader of the AC can call an emergency session of the Representative branch.
The AC can seek impeachment of members of the Representative branch for failing to act with fiscal responsibility.
The leader of the AC sits as the leader of the Representative branch if the Representative branch seeks to impeach a member of the Philosophic branch.

In regards to Philosophic branch:
The Leader of the AC provides a vote of confidence on candidates to the Philosophic branch. This vote is in regards to their perceived likelihood to uphold the constitution.
The Leader of the AC can seek impeachment of members of the Philosophic branch for failing to uphold the constitution.
The leader of the AC sits as the leader of the Philosophic branch if the Philosophic branch seeks to impeach a member of the Representative branch.
Section 5 - Limitations of the AC

All goods produced by members of the AC remain property of the
citizens and must remain with them if a member departs.

Removal of an artisan of any rank can be achieved with a 2/3 vote
of all members of the AC for any actions which endangers the goods
or infrastructure of the organization.

--------------------- End of Constitutional Text ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The original Guild master was Kendra Bancroft, who held that office even before the Constitution was approved. About a year ago Kendra, wishing to run for a seat in the RA, resigned the Guild master position, because of rules prohibiting simultaneous voting priviledges in two branches of government. Since at this time there were *no* other voting Guild members (they all held positions in other branches of government), Kendra "elected" me as Guild master.

I was a Guild member solely by virtue of my being the Treasurer, which at that time was an entirely undefined and unappointed post. "Its governmental role is to act as treasury"" was the justifying phrase. Indeed, when I had, a year before, proposed that as Treasurer I be accountable to the RA, the measure was passed, and then promptly vetoed by Ulrika (who was, like Kendra, the only voting member of her branch, the Scientific Council).

This utter vagueness regarding the practical function of the Guild caused me to: (1) begin preparation of a proposal that might define a consistent role for it, and (2) suspend any new member appointments until what it was they're being appointed to is defined.

I prepared a proposal which I think I provided a clear function for the Guild in its combined role of "trade union" and governmental authority. It was posted perhaps six months ago. Because it basically recast the Guild as a entity of business owners, it was perceived as altering the original intent of the Guild, and it met little favor.

More recently, considerable alteration has been done to the basic structure of government authority in the Democratic Sims (the CDS). In particular, a new position has been created, the Chancellor. The defined role and function of the Chancellor has clarified responsibilities which were previously assumed to be those of the Guild master, not by specific assignment in the founding documents, but by default. I have enthusiastically welcomed this development. In addition, adoption of the "Treasurer" bill, defining this role as an appointment of the Chancellor, has been a positive step.

The result of these changes has been to leave the governmental function of the Guild, indeed, even the identity of the "Branch" itself, even more murky. In particular, since the Guild has little or no clear function, Section 4 "Powers of the Guild" is especially inappropriate.

Rather than mindlessly appointing citizens to a entity of government which has no logical function, I prefer to offer this matter to the community at large for their discussion and determination regarding its future.

Sudane.....

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Aliasi Stonebender
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Post by Aliasi Stonebender »

One option could be to decommission the Guild itself as a direct governmental branch, and - as has been suggested in the past - turn it into non-governmental entity with government approval. (In the US, I could point to the Federal Reserve Bank or the Post Office as examples.)

This would allow the Guild to concentrate on the goods-providing and training role, and we could keep the mandate that the Guild remain the first choice for the city. I'm reluctant to totally throw away the Guild as some sort of educational structure would be useful.

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Post by Claude Desmoulins »

Although I like this idea, the Guild serves another important function -- safety net. The Chancellor amendment has a sunset provision. If we remove the Guild from government without eliminating the chancellor sunset, there is a small but real possibility that the next RA could not reaffirm the Chancellory model (or , if the referendum amendment passes, the citizens might reject it) and we would be left without any executive at all.

What then?

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Post by Aliasi Stonebender »

[quote="Claude Desmoulins":3geksjm1]Although I like this idea, the Guild serves another important function -- safety net. The Chancellor amendment has a sunset provision. If we remove the Guild from government without eliminating the chancellor sunset, there is a small but real possibility that the next RA could not reaffirm the Chancellory model (or , if the referendum amendment passes, the citizens might reject it) and we would be left without any executive at all.

What then?[/quote:3geksjm1]

There's nothing saying, and no situation as such, that we have to kill the Guild [i:3geksjm1]now[/i:3geksjm1].

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Post by Patroklus Murakami »

I can understand the desire for clarity over the nature of the Guild. Both factions contesting the last set of elections had Guild reform on their platforms.

But the Guild has not yet been abolished and I agree with Claude that the checks and balances provided by the Guildmeister need to find another home in our Constitutional setup if we are to abolish it. The obvious place for these checks and balances would be with the Executive branch... but we will need time to assess the value of the office of the Chancellor.

So what do we do in the meantime? Well, I think it is wholly unacceptable to refuse membership of the Guild to citizens who request it just because we haven't quite decided what to do with it. I've asked Sudane twice if I could join the Guild and been told that 'things are in transition' or 'we need to decide what to do with it' first. The first time was before the elections and the second time more recently. Frankly, it feels like I'm being fobbed off. The correct course of action now would be to allow citizens who want to join the Guild to do so. We can then work on reforming the institution from within and decide whether there is anything salvageable here. The current 'halfway house' is just not on; the Guild cannot simultaneously be an institution of government and closed to new members because it's future is uncertain. We either need to abolish it straight away or start letting citizens back in.

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Post by Sudane Erato »

[quote="Patroklus Murakami":2v382vtr] We either need to abolish it straight away or start letting citizens back in.[/quote:2v382vtr]
I will be your strongest supporter should you propose legislation to abolish it right away.

Appointing people to positions of authority when that authority is not defined and has no clear place in the community seems to me like a disaster waiting to happen.

Sudane.....

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Post by Patroklus Murakami »

[quote="Sudane Erato":2pd2bw0q]Appointing people to positions of authority when that authority is not defined and has no clear place in the community seems to me like a disaster waiting to happen.[/quote:2pd2bw0q]
I don't understand what you're getting at here Sudane. There's only one 'position of authority' in the Guild, the position of Guildmeister which you hold. The Guild has a clear place in our community, it's role is defined in the articles you quoted from the Constitution. Until it is abolished (if it ever is) it is a branch of government and it is unreasonable to deny membership to those citizens who seek it.

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Post by Sudane Erato »

No, IMHO.

While the constitution identifies a number of specific powers the GM holds, it is the case in any situation where the "executive" is appointed by the choice of the majority of the constituency, that the executive holds those "powers" by consent, so to speak, *of* the constituency.

Were I to resign, for example, the existing members of the Guild would hold it in their power to appoint a new "wielder" of that power. And, should they be displeased with how that office holder wields that power, they would elect another. It is inaccurate to say that only the holder of the position GM wields the power of the Guild.

Of course, you could say that the *only* purpose of the Guild is the wield the powers invested in the GM by the Constitution, since there are no other purposes which are clear. I will say that that is to fundamentally contort the stated "purpose" of this branch of government:

[b:2vxm0sr0][i:2vxm0sr0]The Artisanal Collective (AC) is group of productive citizens
who provide revenue through sales and infrastructure support.
Its governmental role is to act as treasury and its service role
is to provide goods and infrastructure. [/i:2vxm0sr0][/b:2vxm0sr0]

The Guild has *never* been functional, as I have explained above. I am fundamentally disinclined to "wield" the "power" of the GM simply by virtue of having a label attached to my name. This branch of government is a "bug" in the code of government of our very worthy community. It should be repaired or removed.

Sudane.....

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Post by Chicago Kipling »

I'm more a brainstormer than legislator, but I wonder...

Could it be that the guild could at some point function as the civil servants that really carry out many of the tasks that the chancellor has the ability to commission and guide? Clearly the chancellor is unable to take on the actual building and creative processes that must be done as the city is maintained and enhanced.

A good photograph is like a good hound dog, dumb, but eloquent. ~ Eugene Atget
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Post by Aliasi Stonebender »

[quote="Chicago Kipling":1zp7wobr]I'm more a brainstormer than legislator, but I wonder...

Could it be that the guild could at some point function as the civil servants that really carry out many of the tasks that the chancellor has the ability to commission and guide? Clearly the chancellor is unable to take on the actual building and creative processes that must be done as the city is maintained and enhanced.[/quote:1zp7wobr]

That would be the effect of transforming the Guild into a true "worker's union" and giving it right of first refusal on city work, I would believe.

Perhaps a revamped Guild would still have some governmental role, but not as a proper 'branch'. Even if the Guild was 'under' the Chancellor, it would be inappropriate to just make the Chancellor a de facto Guildmaster!

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