Can a founder be fired from a motorcycle club?
Motorcycle clubs are institutions whose members engage in lifelong brotherhoods, bound by a shared passion for motorcycling culture and membership in an overarching outdoor family.
The local environment where several MC nations visit is known as the MC Set. The set includes all clubs, bars, parks, gathering places and other areas of activity where these clubs meet, greet and associate.
MC nations are loosely governed by a universally accepted set of spoken but largely unwritten laws known as MC Protocol. This protocol binds all clubs to associate freely as different organizations in peaceful co-existence. This peace is maintained because MC protocol requires mutual respect and common courtesy to all MCs and their members. In general, if the MC protocol is followed, it works and peace is well maintained.
Internally, MCs operate under a set of laws called bylaws. Unlike MC protocol, bylaws are almost always written. The bylaws are the contract between the MC brotherhood, full brothers, prospects and associates of the club. Bylaws generally follow the same unwritten MC protocol that governs recruitment, but also defines the operations, traditions, rights, responsibilities, and privileges specifically within the fraternity. These themes can vary radically from club to club. For example, unwritten MC protocol requires that all MC officers be elected to office by club vote and stand for re-election each year. But the rules of the IC may allow such elections to be held more or less often.
Where MC bylaws are consistent with MC protocol, brothers are generally content and enjoy prosperous and successful careers within the MC. However, when MC bylaws conflict with accepted MC protocol, internal problems often arise to the point where clubs experience conflicts, civil wars and ultimately club splits.
This is the case when the founders of today’s pop-up MCs create bylaws that promote their agendas, not necessarily the agendas of their clubs. This has become a recurring symptom often seen in the explosion of new clubs on the scene lately. Many new so-called founders have abandoned the spirit of the rulebook that projects MC greatness to instead try to hold on to their status, titles and privileges forever, instead only as long as the club continues to vote them into office. They often catch unsuspecting brothers-to-be unaware of basic MC protocol when they join these new clubs and are not savvy enough to thoroughly check the rules or ask the questions that would expose this nonsense before join.
One of the tactics used by these rogue founders is to secretly trademark the MC name and logo under their names rather than the MC corporation name. Then when confronted by the members who may choose to remove them from power, they go to court and stop the brothers from removing them, or legally force the brothers to turn in their colors and kick them out of the club instead! In this way they try to hold the reins of power in the MS for lying.
Understand that this is not the MC protocol way. Protocol dictates that the club is governed by a democratic vote and all matters must be before the voting brethren. It really doesn’t matter if a brother was a founder, “First Nine”, “Original 7” or whatever. These are titles for the front of the clipping. They should be recognized only as what the brothers may have done to help the MS prosper. These patches will never match the colors of the back patches which signify what the club stands for and who its members are. Unless the MC decides that there are no “presidents for life” and the MC never “belongs” to the founder, even if he co-created everything, designed the patches, and made it all happen. When the founder(s) offer the MC to others, it becomes property of the collective and no longer belongs to them. The founders must realize that their “baby” became our “baby” when they brought us into the club.
So yes, the founder(s) are subject to discipline. Yes, the founder(s) are subject to release from the club and no, the founder(s) are not allowed to take MC away from members. This may not be true from a legal perspective, but it is true within the MC protocol. Prospectives would do well to research how their prospective clubs are structured before joining, and brothers who are in clubs configured as such should pressure management to change these bylaws until they are changed. to reflect what is correct according to MC Set protocol.
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