Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Sometimes Democracy Doesn’t Work

Here’s an interesting article on the ongoing attempt by white supremacists to take over the Sons of Confederate Veterans. If successful, it will change the group from a historical association made up of descendants of Confederate veterans to the largest white power organization in the country. The Sierra Club fended off a similar attempt last year. This is illustrative of the problems non-profit groups like these can experience when they are run on a democratic model. It’s easy for extremist groups to have their supporters join the targeted non-profit en masse, and then put forward some of these new members as candidates for leadership positions. If the non-profit’s rank-and-file members do not vote in large enough numbers in the leadership election (as they are apt not to), then the infiltrators can win, gaining power over both the non-profit’s name and bank account. It makes me wonder if these organizations might not be better served by a system that sacrifices some of its democratic elements for more internal stability.


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