Minority Opinion Information

"The well-heard minority, therefore, is our chief protection against an uninformed, misinformed, hasty, or angry majority." Bill Wilson

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7thTradition Challenge - 17 years later

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A handout from the 2nd International Minority Opinion Service Meeting (IMOsm) in Dallas, TX, September 11-15, 2003.

The Challenge of the 7th Tradition -- 17 years later

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The challenge was to make G.S.O.'s service work self-supporting through contributions of the membership and to sell literature at cost to everyone.

1993-1994 AA Service Manual p S130

1986 Year 1

7th Tradition problem acknowledged and an effort to fix it in five years begins.

Literature profits account for 60% of income

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We all know the Seventh Tradition: Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions. And we know that it applies to our service centers as well as to groups.

Where we could once rationalize that money came from the A.A. member, whether by contribution or by purchase of books, we can no longer say that. More and more, publishing income has come from sales of literature to outside agencies.

We welcome this wider distribution of our message but can no longer overlook the fact that outsiders are providing financial help for our Twelfth Step work.

A natural question to ask is why the Conference has not restricted its requests for services to the amount available in group contributions. The reason is that the Conference and the General Service Board have always counted on the publishing income to help with the funding of needed services. An abrupt change is simply not possible without severe disruption of those services.

The Challenge of the 7th Tradition - AAWS, 1986

1991 Year 5

The plan is extended indefinitely and book are prices increased.

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In late 1989 the trustees' Finance Committee and the A.A.W.S. Board agreed to raise literature prices to previous levels to cover the increased expenses. The A.A.W.S. Board also decided to abandon the five-year plan to be self-supporting but would continue the effort over a longer period.

1990 GSC Report- Hugh Freyer, A.A.W.S. director

In conclusion, let's take the Seventh Tradition out of the limelight it has been in for the past five years and put it back with the other eleven, where it belongs.

1991 GSC Report Self Support Project Five Years Later- Jack MacManus, R.I. Delegate


1997 Year 11

Quietly and conveniently GSO decides that Bill's thoughts on Warranties can change the meaning of the Traditions and there never was a problem.

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Use of literature profits to pay for services does not present us with a Traditions problem. Bill W. covered this very well in the Second Warranty: "This net income to the groups and to A.A.'s General Services is actually the sum of a great many contributions which the book buyers make to the general welfare of Alcoholics Anonymous. The certain and continuous solvency of our world services rests squarely upon these contributions." The Challenge of the 7th Tradition - AAWS, 1986 -- (Twelve Concepts for World Service, p. 66)

1997 GSC Report- Donald W. Meurer, G.S.C. controller

In 1986 this violation of the 7th Tradition was widely recognized and a goal was set to sell literature at cost. To follow AA Tradition NONE of GSO income was to come from book profits.

Now, after 17 years to fix the problem MOST of GSO income comes from book profits and it is explained away as being quite proper. 56% of income comes from literature sales. No efforts to fix it are underway.

An AA group that paid it's bills by selling books for profit would violate Tradition and would be shunned. Today the GSO pays most of it's bills by selling books for profit and should be shunned until it stops.

Simply put, the GSO refuses to scale back to a level that contributions will support.

There is no GSO service or expense that is more important than our basic principles. years is long enough. GSO does not deserve our support until it follows Tradition.


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     In the long run, though, we shall have to rely mainly upon the pressures of A.A. opinion and public opinion. And to this end we shall need to maintain a continuous education of public communications channels of all kinds concerning the nature and purpose of our Traditions. Whenever and however we can, we shall need to inform the general public also; especially upon misuses of the name Alcoholics Anonymous. This combination of counter forces can be very discouraging to violators or would-be violators. Under these conditions they soon find their deviations to be unprofitable and unwise. Our experience has shown that continuous and general education respecting our Traditions will be a reliable preventive and protection in the years to come. -- Bill Wilson

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