European Science Fiction Society Board Makes Statement on Russia-Ukraine War

The European Science Fiction Society Board today responded to Ukrainian calls for action in a statement about the Russia-Ukraine war on the ESFS website.

ESFS is an international organization of fans and professionals that promotes sff, administers the ESFS Awards, and determines the site of the Eurocon.

The Board said:

War is against the very values on which the ESFS was founded. 50 years ago the ESFS was created during the Cold War to promote understanding between people of different racial, political and religious grounds.

We have received a number of suggestions for actions the society should take in relation to the Russia-Ukraine war. We the Board think that it is important that these decisions are not made solely by the Board, but rather by the mechanisms enshrined in the society constitution.

We propose a motion trying to encapsulate the views expressed to us directly and on our public forums, which will be voted on at the start of the general meeting at Luxcon. However the Board thinks it is important to remember that the ESFS was founded to keep channels open between the borders of our countries, in the belief that the cultural exchange of ideas is a road to peace.

We have received requests for the ESFS Board to make a statement on the Russia-Ukraine war, however the ESFS was founded as a non-political organisation so the Board do not believe that would be appropriate. However, as individuals we may express our own personal opinions on the war.

We condemn the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by the Russian government. We stand with Ukraine – Carolina Gomez Lagerlöf, Saija Kyllönen, Anouk Arnal, Carol Connolly, Fionna O’Sullivan

They have also authored a proposed change to the ESFS rules that, if passed, would permit the group’s general meeting to vote to disqualify a country from participation in ESFS governance or its awards.

Proposal to Change ESFS Statutes – TO DISALLOW AWARD NOMINATIONS, BIDS, AND DELEGATES FROM A COUNTRY

Proposed by: Carolina Gomez Lagerlöf (ESFS Board)

Purpose: This amendment to the Constitution of the ESFS adds an additional section to define a mechanism by which, in exceptional circumstances, the ESFS will not accept ESFS Award nominations, Eurocon or Euroconference bids, or delegates, from a country.

Addition:

Section 17: Disallowing nominations, bids & delegates from a country

ESFS will not accept ESFS Award nominations, Eurocon or Euroconference bids, or delegates, from the countries listed in Appendix 5. The addition of a country to Appendix 5 is by a simple majority vote of the delegates at the general meeting and takes effect immediately. Countries in Appendix 5 are removed at the opening of the next general meeting, or by the simple majority decision of an EGM.

The proposal will be considered at the organization’s next meeting during Eurocon 2022, which will be held concurrently with LuxCon from April 7-10 in Dudelange, Luxembourg.

5 thoughts on “European Science Fiction Society Board Makes Statement on Russia-Ukraine War

  1. I am not a European, even though I will be attending that Eurocon. But it seems to me that a simple majority might be an unwise threshold to set for such a very drastic action.

  2. Hey! I will be too (how about a drink?), but even though I AM a European (and pretty much the only one from my country who bothers going), I try to stay away from the ESFS GM, which is a tiresome bore of almost WSFS BM dimensions, but (inevitably) with much more amateurish chaos.

    The Statute says “In all leading bodies of the ESFS, decisions shall be taken by a simple majority vote”, so I guess the change is is in line – after all, the same simple majority could change the statute more drastically if it wanted, even if the exclusion threshold were set higher. (Ooh, I am beginning to see: there’s also the next-year-ratification thing like at WSFS, but “If a Statute Change needs to come into immediate effect, it may be voted on for a second time at that General Meeting. On the second occasion a 75% majority is necessary.”)

    I just don’t see the point of all this (except for trying to placate the petitioners): the same (super)majority that disqualifies all the nominations from a Rogue Country can simply not vote for them at the GM (all right, this also blocks them being sent in for the next year, I suppose); so the difference is just expulsion of the delegates.

    Similarly, what is the last sentence supposed to mean? The Appendix is cleansed at the opening of the next general meeting, or by the decision of the same meeting, after its start triggered the previous option??? Where is Kevin Standlee when EU needs him?

  3. I asked, and the ESFS Board has kindly explained to me that the hapax legomenon “EGM” should read “Extraordinary General Meeting” per Article 10 of the Statutes (that could be convened between Eurocons, although it is not clear where and how it would take place) and not “Eurocon General Meeting” per 13.

  4. So if I unterstand right (the debate was meandering but shorter than I expected and I had to leave for a while), the amendment was accepted, modified to require 75 % supermajority.
    Afterwards, there was some amount of confusion about the number of delegates present and quora required, but in the end both Russia (19 of 21, 1 abstention?) and Belarus (17, 2 against, 1 abstention) were added to the sanctions list.

  5. Pingback: European Science Fiction Society Disallows Award Nominations and Delegates from Russia and Belarus | File 770

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