Can a Founder Be Dismissed From the Motorcycle Club?
Motorcycle clubs are institutions whose members pledge themselves to life-long brotherhoods bound by a shared passion for the motorcycle riding culture and membership in an all-encompassing external family.
The local environment where several MC Nations frequent is known as the MC Set. The Set comprises all the club houses, bars, parks, gathering spots and other areas of operations where these clubs meet, greet, and associate.
MC Nations are governed loosely by a universally accepted set of spoken, but vastly unwritten laws known as MC protocol. This protocol binds all clubs together to freely associate as disparate organizations in peaceful co-existence. This peace is maintained because MC protocol demands that mutual respect and common courtesy are shown to all MC’s and their members. Generally if MC protocol is followed, it works and peace is well-maintained.
Internally MC’s operate by a set of laws called bylaws. Unlike MC protocol bylaws are almost always written. The bylaws are the contract between the MC brotherhood, full patch brothers, prospects and associates of the club. The bylaws generally follow the same unwritten MC protocol that governs the Set but also define operations, traditions, rights, responsibilities and privileges within the brotherhood specifically. These subjects may vary radically from club to club. For example, unwritten MC protocol demands that all MC officers are elected to office by a club vote and will stand for reelection yearly. But an MC’s bylaws may allow such elections to take place more or less often.
Where MC bylaws run along the lines of MC protocol brothers are usually satisfied and enjoy prosperous and successful careers within the MC. However, when MC bylaws run afoul of accepted MC protocol internal issues often arise to the point where clubs experience conflict, civil wars and ultimately club splits.
Such is the case when founders of today’s pop-up MC’s create bylaws that advance their agendas and not necessarily the agendas of their clubs. This has become a repeated symptom often seen by the explosion of new clubs on the Set in recent times. Many new so-called-founders have abandoned the spirit of bylaws that project the greatness of the MC, to instead attempt to hang on to their status, titles, and privileges forever, instead for only as long as the club will keep voting them into office. They often catch unsuspecting prospective brothers by surprise who are not familiar with basic MC protocol when they join these new clubs and are not savvy enough to thoroughly vet the bylaws or ask the kinds of questions that would expose this silliness before they join.
One of the tactics employed by these scurrilous founders is to surreptitiously trademark the MC’s name and logos under their names and not in the name of the MC corporation. Then when they run afoul of the members, who may elect to remove them from power, they run to court and stop the brothers from removing them or legally force the brothers to turn over their colors and instead kick them out of the club! In this way they try to hold on to the reins of power within the MC for lie.
Understand that this is not the way of MC protocol. Protocol dictates that the club is run by democratic vote and all matters must come before the voting brothers. It really doesn’t matter if a brother was a founder, “First Nine”, “Original 7” or any of that. Those are titles for the front of the cut. They should only be recognized as what brothers may have done to help the MC prosper. Those patches will never equate to the back patch colors that signify what the club stands for and who its members are. Unless the MC deems it there are no “Presidents for Life” and the MC does not ever “belong” to the founder, even if he put it all together, designed the patches, and made everything happen. When the founder(s) offers the MC to others it becomes the property of the collective and no longer belongs to one. Founders must realize that their “baby” became our “baby” when they included us in the club.
So, yes the founder(s) subject to discipline. Yes the founder(s) are subject to dismissal from the club and no the founder(s) does not have the right to take the MC from the members. This may not be true legally but it is true within MC protocol. Prospects will do well to investigate to find out how their prospective clubs are setup before they join, and brothers who are in clubs configured as such should mount pressure upon the leadership to change these bylaws until they are changed to reflect what is right, according to MC Set protocol.