So, you want your own empire? Part IV

Img. source: Reddit

By
Tim

Good evening,
Well, if you read parts One, Two and Three you’re probably all set up with the beginnings of your very own “world beating” premiere VC group now. If so, congratulations… welcome… that’s awesome – now, whatcha gonna do with it?

Are you just gonna hang with ya homies there and natter? Share the good gossip? Watch everything that’s going down outside your group and have a laugh about it? Yeah, ‘scool – unless you wanna take over the VC world.

Are you going to get involved in some serious philosophical and academic discussions about the modern living Vampyre culture? Try and solve some of the riddles of our Nightkind universe? Write and share meaningful editorials or articles about the culture? Awesome, discussion is a welcome and evolutionary process, even debate – carried out properly – is healthy and valuable.

Are you going to go one step further and get actively, and regularly, involved in the interactions between our culture and the, forgive my use of the term, mundane world population? Maybe charity work? Regular balls, banquets and/or Salons? Magnificent – keep it real, keep it on an even keel and project a good image of the culture.

Are you going to open up your group to “public” from within the culture, turn it into a cesspit of “slamming”, “abuse”, “endless repetitive arguments”, “circular bullshit griping and whining”, “armchair critics” and the like?

You see, as with EVERY single group there is a direction, it may be one planned, it may be one that develops as the group grows, it may be a controlled path, it may be complete fucking chaos… as the owner and Grand PooBah of the Group it’s up to you. It’s your call.

So, how do you know what to do? What path should you/ will you set your group on? Nobody can tell you that, that’s between you and your admins/members but there are a couple of things, above all else, that you need to consider.

Reputation and Credibility

I am going to imagine that everyone, regardless of whether they have their own group, or not, is looking to be considered as a credible commentator in the culture and/or they want to build a solid reputation as a good leader and a contributor to the modern culture. If you don’t, stop reading now because nothing I say after this point is going to mean shit to you.

If you let “Loonies” into your group your place will become an asylum and you will be laughed at.

img. source: domica.info

If you let ego-maniacs loose your place will become one great cesspool of self-masturbatory back slappers and no one, except yourselves, will even spare you a second thought.
If you let the rules get huge and overwhelming… well, modern Vamps don’t like being TOLD what to do…

img. source: Magickal Graphics

The balance of membership in your group should not only be somewhat articulate but able to think at the sort of level that you do. If you are all about setting yourself up as the monarch of a slave race who can’t muster a reasonable thought between them then you are just a, pardon the unimaginable metaphor, “a slave trader” and your members won’t hang around for long because they ain’t getting their jollies from you.

If you want to interact, frequently and meaningfully, with other groups you need to be able to present a credible and respectable face. Long gone are the days when “fangbangers” could gallop through the culture yelling about “juice boxes”, “Chew toys” and the like… that’s so old and so stupid that nobody pays attention anymore.

You have to remember, what your group members do, both within and outside of the group, reflects DIRECTLY on you as their leader. Either build a good group or get to be a nasty, grumpy, snotty overbearing S.O.B. – Your call.

The other thing you need to be attentive to…

Inconsistency

Your group’s path, purpose for existing and methodology should have been solidly worked out before you floated the group to any audience, be it members or public. You should know what it is you want to achieve with your Empire, know what path you are going to take to get there and know what you’re going to do once you arrive. That’s smart planning and will mean the difference between success and failure.

Img. source: Bon Vita

If your group path, focus and aims keep varying wildly, if you dart off in a million different unconnected directions at the same time, if you keep dropping, making, dropping and remaking yourself and your group people will get seriously bored with trying to keep up with your antics.

Seriously, think about it… Mom and Pop Jones open a bakery, they start baking the most delectable donuts any has ever tasted and they get very popular for their donuts then all of a sudden they decide they’re going to focus on lunch sandwiches… well, there goes their faithful donut customers and they have to do ALL that work, all over again, to try and develop a following for their sandwiches, the best damn sandwiches either side of the Rockies of course… at which point they decide fried chicken is the way of the future… booom…!!! There goes the clientele again….

Same story with modern Vampire culture groups.

Focus, Path, Aims, Goals – All need to be realistic, pragmatic, achievable and, when you have got it in the palm of your hand don’t play the “Oh, I’m so bored…!” card and drop it to start something new all of a sudden… that gets you a name as being vacuous, non-committal and flaky… there goes your personal credibility and respect again.

What on earth to do?

Every successful organisation on earth has what is known as a business plan. It is a forward projection of where they’re headed for, how they’re going to get there and what they’re going to do when they get there. I’m not saying turn your group into a business… unless you want to of course but have a plan, even if it’s only notes you jotted on a breakfast napkin, doesn’t matter a toss, it’s your “plan”.

Img. source: seewaldhanfling.com

Follow it and as you develop, and mature, your group strengths in certain areas use that as a solid base for outgrowth. Sure, you can “add strings” to your fiddle as you go, you can start off-shoot projects as you go, small developments and improvements that, ultimately, enhance the serviceability of your organisation but ALWAYS keep your eye fixed firmly on the goal you set for your group at the beginning of the ideas/planning.

The modern Vampire culture has far, far too many little splinter groups and offshoot groups that come and go and come and go and come and go and so on ad nauseum. DON’T BE AN AD NAUSEUM.

Start out being respectable, start out with a plan, grow as your plan proceeds and succeeds. DON’T come blazing out with proclamations, treatises, manifests and the like, DON’T be charging out telling us all how we’re all fucked up and how you have the answer and we all have to toe your line – You’ll get crucified every time.

PROVE to us you’ve got a plan, an idea and a sound concept… the smart ones out here will recognise it and will get behind you, the others? Well, they don’t REALLY matter do they? – Like I said, your call.

Copyright T & RVL (except where otherwise noted) 2018

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL International, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL International and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

For further information please see the RVL International Website Disclaimer

 

 

Sweet Home Chicago

Written, edited and Presented by

Tim

Good evening,
I’m going to kick off the new month with something that’s close to our hearts over here…
Back in July this year we had the privilege of being able to spend a little time with one of the founders of the Greater Chicagoland Vampire Coalition, Derek Lestat.

Since then the GCVC has been organising itself, and establishing itself, as an important facet of the modern Vampire culture in Chicago. Accumulating a respectable following both on-line and at its live Meet-Up events that are being held, on a regular basis, in the windy city.

We decided to catch up with the GCVC again and see what has transpired since we last highlighted this important, hometown, initiative, accordingly, it gives us great pleasure to welcome back to RVL GCVC Director Derek Lestat and to welcome, for the first time, GCVC Assistant Director Lady Kimberly.

********************

RVL: Good evening Derek, welcome back and a warm welcome to you Lady Kimberly, it’s great to be able to catch up with The GCVC again… too long between drinks eh?

K: It’s always too long between drinks, right? Really, it is great to chat with you and get out what we have been up to.

D: Especially too long between if Tim’s buying…

RVL: *laughs* In speaking with Derek, back in July, confidence was high for the new Chicago based GCVC. Can you tell our readers a little about what’s been happening – internally – with the GCVC since then?

D: Quite a lot, actually, a lot more than meets the eye or that we’re letting on about. We’ve been spending the past few months just laying the groundwork for a number of big projects that, for the moment, we’re keeping close to the vest.

RVL: …and we’ve been seeing some encouraging growth in the live Meet-Up side of the venture… how has that been shaping up?

D: It’s been shaping up quite well, actually. Thus far every Meet-Up not only brings us new faces each month, but also many returning faces.

K: I definitely have to say this is this is one of my favorite parts about being with the GCVC: getting to know everyone who comes out, whether it’s a newly awakened Vampire or someone who has been in the community for a while now. We also have our fair share of Therian and otherkin brothers and sisters who like to join us from time to time.  Everyone has a great time sharing their experiences and getting to know one and other.

Lady Kimberly
Assistant Director GCVC

RVL: Apart from the live, regular, local Meet-up events what plans are afoot, without revealing any “State Secrets” of course, for future events?

D: Without revealing any secrets, eh? Well… For one, we’re looking to amp up the Meet-Ups in a few ways. One is to continue rotating the venues across the expanse of the Chicagoland area, to cover a wider area. Let’s say you’re up on the North Side, and can’t make a Meet-Up on the South Side or the Western Burbs. Don’t worry, we’ll be rotating around to you, too. And we’re always open to more suggestions for future venues.
Also, we’re looking to swap out a few of the “regular” Meet-Ups for some “upgraded” events. Like what? Well there are so many options for a city the size of Chicago. We can visit any of the cultural institutions, take tours or day-trips. One “secret” I’ll let out of the proverbial bag for you is: we’re looking to an unprecedented GCVC Meet-Up this summer at the Bristol Renaissance Fair, where we’ll plan on hooking up with and meeting our Wisconsin brethren. We’ll be announcing the details of that this coming summer.

K: On top of everything we have going on here at home there are those of us who like to mix it up a bit. We enjoy getting out there and attending some of the events put on by other members in the VC all over the country. A few of us will be heading out in February to visit some of the amazing events out west. I think seeing how different areas operate is very beneficial. We are always looking for ways to connect with people in the community.

RVL: As far as the online contact and interaction for followers what resources are available for people to be able to keep up with the GCVC?

K: Of course, there is our Facebook page and group, both Greater Chicagoland Vampire Coalition.

https://www.facebook.com/GreaterChicagolandVampireCoalition/?ref=bookmarks

https://www.facebook.com/groups/253495805195734/?ref=bookmarks

We also have our Chicago Vampire Meet Up page https://www.meetup.com/vampires-21/. You can email us directly at GCVC.Chicago@gmail.com.

Derek Lestat –
Director GCVC

D: We’re looking into other social media options, as well. If you’re fortunate enough to have friended us on Facebook, you can always message us either via the page, group, or individually.

RVL: …and are there any planned developments in this area? New website perhaps? A blog edition?

K: We are currently in the process of developing a website. So be on the lookout for that.

RVL: Anything big planned for the Yule season or is it better a case of steady as she goes and look ahead to spring 2019?

D: Aside from our Meet-Up in early December, we’re taking a little time for ourselves and everyone else to just enjoy the holidays. Everyone will have their get-togethers and obligations, and in addition to that our Council will have a big and busy 2019 to prepare for.


RVL: Is the GCVC planning a group set-up specifically for ‘Greater Chicago Area’ vamps to join or is the focus going to be on getting Chicagoland followers to the live Meet-Ups a preference?

D: First things first. With what we have in mind, we’re not taking things too fast. First, we want to get our name out there, get people (vampires, therians, Otherkin, any “Night-kind”, even Mundanes; we’re not about excluding) together, start making new friendships. We want to show everyone what we have to offer, give them a taste of what’s to come, and work on growing from there.

K: I agree with Derek. I think we have a pretty good idea of what we want to be. However, as we grow there is always a possibility that things may shift to fit the needs of whoever comes our way. I think our number one goal is to make sure that everyone who reaches out gets what they need out of their time with us (within reason). There are many possibilities that fall in line with that kind of thinking. Any organization that wants to succeed needs to be flexible. It needs to be able to configure itself to fit the needs of those they are serving to move forward. It’s a big undertaking in a big city but we are willing to take a shot at it.

D: What she said.

RVL: …again, without ‘spilling the beans’, what other little projects do the GCVC have in the offing?

D: It’s probably safest to say that we’re looking to turn up our volume in 2019, start making some more noticeable noise. We aim to start going beyond only Meet-Ups.

RVL: …maybe a national invitational event in the not too distant future?

D: Well, there is the big Elders Summit and Leadership Conference coming up next spring. It’s open to anyone, well, except for the part that’s for VC Elders and Leaders only. This is bound to be an historic gathering in the VC, and the GCVC is honoured to be one of the first groups to be included and sponsoring the event.

K: I am really looking forward to the conference. I always welcome an opportunity to learn. It sounds like there are going to be some really great things happening there.

Copyright GCVC 2018

RVL: Sounds like the GCVC has carved out a solid little place for itself in the Windy City, we would think this bodes well for the future of Chicago nightkind yes?

D: I think it bodes quite well for the Nightkind of our beloved City. For far, far too long, there has really been no representative presence, nothing and no one for the Newly Awakened to find, nobody to help them understand what they’re going through, that they’re not alone or freaks.
In all honesty, at every Meet-Up to-date, there is always somebody who tells me they’re glad they’ve found us, that they’re happy we’re here for them, that we are operating the way we are. I’m always happy to hear feedback like that, y’know? It tells me we’re doing something right.

K: Absolutely, its amazing how fast people are finding us and just how excited they are to be around others like themselves. Bonds are being forged and people are really wanting to come and see what Chicago has to offer.

RVL: Thank you for your time today, and for the update on the GCVC, we’ll keep in touch and let’s look for bigger and better things heading into 2019, yes?

D: It’s always a pleasure. And thanks to RVL for giving us this opportunity to let the Community know more about the GCVC.

K: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. We are excited to let you know where things go in the future.

*********

Pretty much everyone active in the modern culture in this country will be aware that, historically, Chicago has been rather “quiet” when it comes to an active enclave of modern living Vampires… not anymore.

This dynamic duo, full of energy, enthusiasm and ideas are drawing Chicagoland’s Nightkind together in an unprecedented way, they’ve started small, at grass roots, at “street” level if you will and it’s coming together. Interest has been high in this venture and now, with the live meet ups happening on a regular basis the nights, in Chicagoland, are seeing the ripples and shimmers in the darkness and shadows.

Chicagoland should be proud of these two pioneers, and Chicago Nightkind should get behind their new champions.

It’s going to be very exciting watching this initiative grow.

Copyright Greater Chicagoland Vampire Coalition & RVL (unless otherwise noted) 2018

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL International, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL International and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

For further information please see the RVL International Website Disclaimer

 

Councillors, Counselors and Consultants

img source: sylvielefrancois.com

Researched, Written and Edited by

Tim

In the editorial “Sires, Siress’, Mentors and Self” I wrote about connections between individuals and their closest “advisors”, the way in which individuals could be connected with groups and the relative merits of standing on their own feet. It’s an important aspect of being part of the modern living Vampyre culture and can provide a sense of stability and belonging.

In this editorial the point will be to look into methods of co-operation that could be used in the culture to promote communication and goals between organisations.

I guess that pretty much everyone is in the know about the various histories of attempts to form “Councils” and “Co-operatives” within the modern culture. From 1997 and the Long Black Veil events, which gave rise to the original, “The Black Veil”, code of vampyre ethics and common sense to the year 2000 and the formation of COVICA, a council of collected elders from different traditions, there have been subsequent attempts to create “councils”, “enclaves” and the like that, one by one, seem to have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another.

In fact, not so very long back a public post revealed that the leader of one organisation was stepping down for the purposes of concentrating on, and I quote, “…“dealing with the community as a whole, specifically the Leadership of the VC in order to change it.”

The obvious questions here must be, “What is meant by the term, “Leadership of the VC” and why does it need to be changed? Is it bad, broken or faulty? Are we talking about a “Council of Leaders”? A committee of Leaders? A Court of Leaders? And, perhaps more importantly, who are our new “Leaders” going to be? Who are the nominees? When will voting open and who’s got the “Golden Envelope” for the “Top Job”?

No matter how you cut it it’s going to be a hard sell, as my dear friend Lady CG pointed out to me once, “Getting Vampires to agree is like trying to herd cats” and with that image firmly in mind let’s see if we can divine some possible, workable, options.

Img. source: vector illustration

The “Council”

If it’s to be “Councillors” then we have a sitting Council, these can be formed in two ways, by popular election (and I don’t mean democracy as in vote preferences, I mean ONE person, ONE vote) which is the preferred manner of election. Naturally the majority vote carries the day but you will only get a representation of a population group and you won’t ever know whether that is the TOTAL population or simply a proportion of the population.

The best that could be arrived at is that this will end up as an indication of preference.

As a prime example of a functional establishment we read that, in the Gotham Halo, the following structure/s is, or are, in place and within this we can recognise a firmly established precedent for the use of “Royal title” in the word “Regent”:

Society Nocturnus Of Gotham (S.N.O.G)

“S.N.O.G. (Society Nocturnus Of Gotham)

It is a society consisting of various Houses/Clans/Groups initiated in 2000.”

 “Court of Lazarus

They are the Metropolitan Court of Gotham and sister Court to Society Nocturnus Of Gotham. They are a society consisting of various Houses/Clans/Groups initiated in 2002.”

Council Positions (Within Courts)

Note, these positions may vary in definition and/or responsibility between courts.

Regent (elected) Sheriff (elected) High Templar/Ronin Magistrate (elected) Treasurer (council elected)

Ambassador (appointed) Deputy (Sheriff – appointed) Seraphim Guild (appointed) Scribe/Keeper of the Scrolls (appointed)

The Order of The Black Marble, first established in 2002, is dedicated to maintaining peaceful relations (The Pax Vampyri) between all Courts, Communities, Orders and Societies.

The Black Trinity is a collection of three covenants by which The Order of the Black Marble is governed.

I.Recognize and respect all Vampire Courts, Communities, Orders and Societies.

II.Resolve rather than create conflict.

III.Revel in our shared heritage.

(reproduced by permission)

There is no doubt that there is a large influence of formality in this model, however, think on this, formality breeds respectful conversation, discussion and debate. From those two things come realistic and achievable goals.

 

The second way in which a Council can be formed is by bringing a body of individual groups together and having each one nominate a “Council Member” as a member organisation. This manner ensures that the interests of all the member groups are represented and each has an equal, one vote, at any decision making time. The one drawback here is that it needs to be decided how a deadlock will be broken if such a thing occurs. Do you maintain an uneven number of member groups, thereby making a deadlock very rare unless an organisation abstains from voting (hey, stranger things have happened at sea right?)

The only other way you could break deadlock is to have one person be the “conscience” of the Council and hold the power of the deciding vote (Oh, the possibilities for corruption…!)

Either way you look at it the “Council” concept is one that seems to represent a true equal representation of all member bodies while, at the same time, being open to individual manipulations and corruption.

Img. source: woman – the nest

The “Counselors”

A second method is to have “Counselors”, in a body that the majority of member bodies will pay attention to in the event of a decision of some description being needed. It’s a concept that has been in the forefront of everyone’s thinking for a long time and there have been, and still are, organisations that exist in which this method is used.

The idea is that each member organisation can, by going through individual Counselors, or Representatives, approach other organisations, join together in projects, take part in round-table discussions and debates while under the watchful, NON-INTERFERING eye of a Counselor whose sole role is to facilitate the process so the best outcome between all involved parties can be reached.

As our esteemed friend Saint-John Hawke points out,
“Always have an independent person who possess the ability to be non-judgemental as well as being able to piece all sides of the puzzle to make the perfect picture. In other words, find people in each house that have observed what’s going on, not people in leadership, the average member and get their input. But these must be dedicated members, not whiners. And you might want to promote these people to a position of counselors.

In any house, the leadership is the A frame, but you will not have a stable house if your center beam isn’t strong.”

In response to the question, “Would you think these “counselors” would then be in a good position to form a “Community round table” of counselors to provide common guidance?” he opines,

“Yes, given that they would act according to the benefit of the organization, they may be outstanding advisors.”

The hardest part about being a “Counselor” in this situation is maintaining complete neutrality and complete impartiality. Again, the spectre of personal bias and the possibility for corruption is a factor that must be considered and would need to be controlled, rigidly, by the governing body of the Counselors.

Img. courtesy of Vampire Court of Dallas

Mike Burgess, the Leader of the Vampire Court of Dallas, kindly agreed to spend a few minutes with a couple of my questions, his replies were, as always, insightful and most welcomed;

RVL: What is the best path to gain a level of co-operation between different bodies within the modern culture?

MB: Personally I don’t think there is “best path” available although there are a good amount of ideas and potential within the community for cooperation and collaboration between organizations of all sizes and statures. Personally, the Dallas/Fort Worth court has benefitted highly from cross-promotional exercises and even social media projects with our neighboring organizations in Texas but really all of these actions start with an open mind, communication, and a freedom from the difficulties that ego can bring. No one wants to work with someone who will allow their ego to take over professionally, why would that be any different here? To add further to this point, the survey posted by several OVC forums asking for the “Largest Problem in the VC Currently” resulted in participants choosing Ego – by far – as their choice…by discarding a measure of ego…communication would grow, allowing for the flow of ideas and the realization to come about that each organization reflects and is best suited for their local area. Each person, like a diverse workplace, brings their own strength and points of view to the whole of our culture. Just because Organization A is larger or more well-known, does not mean that its model and functions will work in Area-B…and why should it? With each organization and locality being profoundly different, why not use those fundamental differences in local culture and goals as a strength rather than a weakness?

With the growth of social media as a primary communication tool between organizations, it has never been easier to reach out across boundaries and find not only common ground, but learn about our fellow organizations in a profound way. Once these conversations get flowing, anyone can quickly realize why cooperation is beneficial to all by leveraging these different paths to bring us all to the same end.

The second question I nagged him with, “Would this path best be served by having Councillors, Counsellors or Consultants available to each organization?”

MB: Personally, I think while having an officer or specialist within an organization will do wonders – if size permits – or some capable of performing these duties, without tackling the culture of the organization itself and having the belief within the organization that: “Our way isn’t the best for Area-B” or “We are better by embracing most paths – in so long as they don’t present a danger legally or ethically,” communication and the sharing of ideas will be hampered.  This is not an easy thing to do…many who like me, work cooperate leadership as well…we have seen numerous large firms spend millions of dollars on consultants to simply learn this seemingly simple point: diversity of ideas and people is the best way to progress forward. If the organization culture and leadership does not embrace this, then any member that volunteers to lead cooperative efforts will be profoundly hindered.

Img. source: quora.com

The “Consultants”

Which brings us to consultants… a concept that is very widely used in RL, is relied on by businesses, corporations and elective bodies the world over. Consultants are engaged to advise on matters related, in the main, to operational conduct and the achievement of aims and goals for an organisation, or group of organisations. The Consultant, much like a Counselor, needs to be impartial, neutral and confine their advice to operational matters. In this fashion a Consultant sits outside and apart from the ultimate decisions of their “client”. It’s also important to note that such consultants need have a broad knowledge base, an appreciable amount of experience “in the trenches” so to speak, and that they be non-partisan – that is, not be a member of any House, Temple, Group or other “vested interest” organisation. Conflict of interest is the most important thing to avoid here, in fact (and much as you might not like the term) the Ronin of the culture would, by very definition, make the best consultants.

 

Which is the most effective?

To begin comparing the three we must recognise that every situation, for every organisation, is different. No two groups operate, internally, in the same way entirely but the focus here is not on individual organisations, rather it is on collectives of organisations.

A “Council” will only ever be as effective as the number of bodies that inhabit it and its reach will only ever extend to those individual member parties. For a Council to declare that they “run the show” for everyone is the height of arrogance and will draw condemnation from all whom do not wish to be member groups. If such council tries to enforce their “edicts” beyond their own sphere they will, by the very nature of people, meet with stiff resistance and will most likely face the rise of opponent “Councils” each declaring themselves to be the “one true path”… kinda like religion in a way.

 

A body comprised of Counselors will likely find an easier time of it since they will not be attempting to enforce edicts but will, rather, be seeking to mediate and engage with a wide array of groups and individuals to foster co-operative efforts toward achieving goals.

Two examples of modern culture “Counseling” based bodies are Madame X’s Dark Nations and the Voices of the Vampire Community (VVC).

In the Dark Nations model there are a body of facilitators to which member organisations are assigned and the task of the facilitator is to engage, mediate and advise. That simple. Non-interference within a closed system.

Lady Sylvere Ap Leanan of the VVC summarises their operations thus;
“The VVC is the first and only organization that has ever accomplished that goal. We do it by focusing on being an informational network. We take pains to ensure that we do not act in any way, nor are we perceived to act in any way, as a governing body. We allow each group to deal with its own internal issues as it sees fit with no outside influence from us.

If a group requests it, members of the VVC are always happy to help in whatever capacity we can without betraying our pledge of non-interference. That’s why we are group exclusive to LEADERS of groups rather than open to anyone and everyone.

We can and do help each other by acting as an informal support network, which more or less boils down to “Whatcha need, bro? I got your back.”

Not that every member of the VVC gets along with all other members. We most certainly don’t. But there are enough of us that there’s always a support system if one is needed.

We also have the benefit of being the only group where members of groups that can’t stand each other can verbally go at each other until we resolve our issues. I have personally done so with people I formerly despised and now we get along fairly well.

So I would say that the VVC is the best path to take, especially since we’ve been doing it for over a decade. No other group can say that. Other groups have tried to imitate us and failed. Repeatedly.”

Img. source: LDS.org

As I mentioned earlier, impartiality and neutrality need be the cornerstones of either of these types of overseeing body, if we consider the “Consultants” option, utilising Ronin members of the culture, then we can see that this might well represent the most impartial method of looking at “the big picture”. Consultants who have no vested interest in decisions that are made by groups, either singly or collectively could represent a strength of mediation and engagement that would withstand any claims of bias or favouritism, elitism or exclusionary practices.

However, there’s always a ‘BUT’…

Many of the drawbacks that might be encountered with either of these three methods I have already mentioned, I’d like to summarise those here.

Taking the “Council” concept firstly;
1) Open to individual bias and corruption

2) Open to charges of exclusionary practices and “elitism”.

3) Has limited reach that extends only over member groups.

4) Any Council will be functional only in as much as individual organisations are willing to be part of “the program”.

The “Counselor” concept then;

  • Individual Counselor reputation and history may well mar efforts.
  • Counselors need to be overseen by a governing body and in this manner may not be able to act as truly independently as required under certain circumstances.
  • Counselor burn-out, individual Counselors may reach a point in proceedings (some of which may be half achieved) where they decide, “The hell with this shit…!” – Personal stress on Counselors must be taken into account.

The Consultant –

  • The “Consultant” runs the risk of, at the end of the day and after hours and hours of work, of being ignored and their recommendations discarded.
  • The Consultant needs to be able to demonstrate sufficient practical knowledge and situational experience to be taken seriously.
  • The Consultant may make mistakes and the information and recommendations they provide should be, in the first instance, backed up by solid factual evidences and, in the second place, be able to be easily verified by the organisation they work for. It’s a big job that can take weeks or months to complete.

“Hmmmm…”
img. source: worldartsme

 

In conclusion:

What is in the best interests of the concerned parties, or in the case of the modern living Vampyre culture, the entire culture?

Is it preferable to have a Council of, dare I say it, self-appointed leaders and elders who believe they are the best people to dictate the “right” way to do things and who may well decide to ostracise any who don’t agree or comply with their proclamations?

Is it preferable to have Counselors, mediators and the like who will try to bring about a peace between parties, or co-operation between parties that really, in essence have way too much “history” between them to achieve meaningful and lasting resolutions?

Can Consultants offer truly binding and meaningful solutions in organisations that they have not been a part of, which they are getting their first glimpse of and in which they have, in reality, no stake in whatever happens either way?

 

These are questions that have been asked over and over through the history of the modern Vampire culture but the biggest question now is, do we really need anything or are we doing just fine as we are? It’s in this last question that we realise, and consider, our own personal opinions of the “state of the nation”.

Copyright RVL and contributors, 2018

Grateful acknowledgement goes to Lady CG, Saint-John Hawke, Lady Sylvere Ap Leanan, Mike Burgess, Elder Kage Adamant-O’Mallie Asotus, Prince-Lord Shaolin Asura MacPhee and Lupa Gunnr MacPhee Lykaios

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