It has been keenly apparent to anyone who is at all aware of what has been going on in this world, that we are losing our freedom to make our own choices. No matter which way we turn, new laws are in place or are being proposed that restrict our very lifestyle. Those groups of people who choose to live a somewhat different lifestyle than what is considered to be the norm in their particular society are even more heavily restricted. Such groups not only suffer under more intense legislative pressure but are also burdened with more severe judicial penalties and law enforcement practices as well.
In the 1970's motorcyclists, like many other groups, began to recognize the fact that theirs was a group that had better start to protect it's interests. This realization ultimately led to the formation of many Motorcyclists Rights Organizations (MROs) designed to fight for the rights of all motorcyclists. Many of these MROs were started by patch holding members of clubs, who soon determined that it would be preferable, politically, to turn the leadership of such organizations over to non-club related motorcyclists.
In the mid 1980's many of the MROs, seeing the massive size and power of the opposition, began to unite with one another. They knew that they had to develop a network of communication and cooperation if they were to stand up against the massive resources available to the insurance companies, governmental agencies, etc.
In the late 1980's after experiencing much negative judicial pressure, some members of the patch holding clubs in Southern California felt that they must once again step forward and rejoin the fight to secure their freedoms. A few farsighted club leaders decided that the most productive way to add their support to the cause was to form an organization of patch holding clubs which would focus on judicial issues and also provide financial support to those causes which the MROs dealt with on their behalf. This seemed a good alternative, as it would add a judicial front to the already effective legislation one provided by the MROs; and thus, the Confederation of Clubs of Southern California was formed in 1988. In and of itself, this was a significant milestone in motorcycling history. For the first time motorcycle clubs joined together in a united effort to protect the rights of all motorcyclists.
If accomplishments and growth can appropriately be used to determine the value of this idea, then it seems that it was and is a very valuable one. For example, since it's inception, the Confederations of Clubs have fought and won most, if not all, of the judicial issues regarding discrimination that they have undertaken. On numerous occasions, they have provided funds to MROs and even independent attorneys to file lawsuits in local, Provincial and Federal Courts, to stop legislative encroachment on the rights of all motorcyclists. Some of these suits have had great effect in gaining these rights back. Also, in a short seven years, growth has occurred in two areas. First: the Confederation of Clubs of Southern California has added members continually until almost every club in that are is now a participating member. Second: numerous other Confederations have come into existence and appear to be making a very significant impact in their areas.
Although the common goal of all the Confederations is, to fight for it's member clubs rights through the Courts, against biker discrimination, governmental intrusion and harassment; each of these Confederations is totally independent of one another. Their structure, methods of operation and specific goals are, completely based on their own decisions. Each area covered by a Confederation had it's own unique situations to live with and therefore must remain free to deal with them as they see fit. However; this does not mean that there is no communication between the different Confederations. Every Confederation has, of it's own choice, joined NCOM along with many other MROs, Clubs and Associations. At least twice each year the representatives of these organizations gather at a national and regional NCOM Convention where they get to know each other and share what is going on in their particular areas. The hope of many is that these encounters will eventually develop into an effective network of communication, which will result in an even stronger unity between all the freedom fighters across the country and even the world.
The Confederations major focus is in the area of biker discrimination. In many areas businesses refuse to allow colours to be worn in their establishments. Likewise, as anyone who wears colours can tell you, the law enforcement authorities treat patch holders more severely in many cases. The confederations consider such acts to be discriminatory and want it known that they will use every legal means possible to stop such practices.
In their effort to achieve this goal, the member clubs gather regularly to discuss incidences which have occurred to members of participating clubs. The facts are laid out and discussed then, if it seems appropriate, a vote is taken as to whether to pursue the matter, even through the courts, if necessary. If affirmed, litigation is embarked upon.
At these meetings, clubs are also advised as to how to appropriately talk to proprietors, police officers and how and when to file complaint forms. The legal approach is stressed as the only method appropriate to any situation.
The requests for help from MROs and others who fight on the front lines for the rights of motorcyclists, legislatively and judicially, are considered and voted upon at these meetings as well. If affirmed, the support is provided.
All of this requires financial backing. The Confederations gather their funds in a number of ways. They may set up an annual dues which is paid by each member club, they may sponsor regular events such as, poker runs, parties, swap meets, etc.; and/or, they may propose special donations for a specific purpose and vote on these issues.
As you can see, the goals of our confederations are very simple: We are united and dedicated to legally fight against any encroachment on our freedom to choose our lifestyle by law enforcement authorities, insurance companies, local proprietors or any other special interest group. We mean to do this legally, through the courts if necessary; and, in cooperation with and in support of the MROs and any others who fight for the rights of motorcyclists.
Our confederations know that the war will be long, perhaps none of us will ever see the end of it, but we are united in our dedication to fight every battle and win every one we can. The enemies of motorcycling will learn, if they haven't already, that the harder they fight us the closer and more united we become.