This article was originally printed in THE S & M NEWS vol 4/#3 (March 1997)
Copyright Carter Stevens 1997 All rights reserved. But there were so many requests we have posted it here online for our net readers.
Is there only one born per minute?
By Carter Stevens
Lately I have been spending way too much time on the Internet. In trying to keep current on the international BDSM scene I have taken to surfing the alt.sex.almost.everything.kinky newsgroups.
This week I ran across an innocuous enough message about information on starting your own BDSM group. I e-mailed for instructions and received back the following:
Start your Autumn's Season Chapter!
To be considered an Autumn's Season chapter, you must be willing to abide by our protocol according to the following:
Item I - Name and Location
The name of your chapter shall be AUTUMN'S SEASON (YOUR LOCATION)
CHAPTER located in City, State
Item II - Objectives
- Provide free and comprehensive BDSM education by the following:
(1) Selling/distributing the "Autumn's Season Guide to Bondage and Discipline" by Rusty Haway. This book was written to help new people in exploring this lifestyle. The book governs the common sense aspects of a safe, sane and consensual BDSM relationship in addition to public protocol.
(2) Provides free weekly BDSM classes.- Network and exchange information with all BDSM clubs and organizations.
Item III - Membership- Chapter membership can not exceed 250 members.
Item IV - Dues and Fees
The following are the financial requirements to be an Autumn's Season Chapter:
- Purchase from headquarters in a twelve (12) month period
- 25 "Autumn's Season Guide to Bondage and Discipline" books authored by Rusty Haway
- 10 9-inch Autumn's Season patches
- A franchise fee of ten percent (10%) of your chapter's monthly gross, minus the cost of promotional products purchased from the International headquarters, will be collected from each chapter each month.
Each chapter is responsible for their financial interest. Each chapter must file the necessary tax form, pay any required fees and taxes and provide adequate insurance.
A new chapter forming receives a credit for the first year for the purchase of the books and patches. Headquarters will review purchases on a monthly basis. If the required purchases are not made, the chapter will have the option of making purchases or dissolving from Autumn's Season.
Item V - FunctionsYour Autumn's Season chapter is required to sponsor
Item VI - Delegates
Each chapter must provide one or more delegates to network and promote with other BDSM clubs within a 30 mile radius of the chapters playroom or the chapters' home office.
Item VII - Ways and Means
Autumn's Season chapters can not manufacture or distribute any non recognized Autumn's Season's promotion products.
Autumn's Season chapters can encourage vendors to solicit their chapter and members. The vendors must provide a BDSM benefit. Vendors must be approved by the board. Vendors are required to contribute a 10% commission to the local chapter that is generated by any sales from our membership.
Item VIII - LegalEach chapter is responsible to investigate their city's, county, and state laws and adhered to those laws established in their area. In the event legal situations arise and the chapter has remained within these laws, Autumn's Season headquarters will help provide a legal fund raiser. The money raised will be use for attorney fee(s) for the trial and any appeals. The money is not to be used for fines or bail.
Item IX - Endorsements and SponsorshipsAny Autumn's Season chapter or member can use the Autumn's Season's logo for non commercial purposes. Any identity wishing to use the Autumn's Season's logo for commercial purposes must present their request in writing for permission from headquarters.
(MAJOR SNIP OF ORGINIZATIONAL BOILERPLATE)
Newsletter Director- This position must have e-mail and access to the Internet newsgroup. - Must post twice a month on the Internet in the newsgroup "alt.bondage" a message of your public function. The header should by,"Autumn's Season" followed by "the date" and then the "city and state." Then proceed with the details of the function. - To provide chapter's newsletters at all functions and to all delegates for distribution.
We, the undersigned, agree to the terms outlined above and will do our best to comply with all rules and regulations. We understand that the name "Autumn's Season" and the Autumn's Season "logo" is a registered trademark and on loan to us as long as we observe, practice and enforce the above rules.
Now after 25 years in the BDSM scene I've seen a lot of bald faced scams and half baked visionaries. I don't know which one this guy is but after asking around I haven't found anyone on the national scene who ever heard of him or his group.
What his qualifications are to write a "how to" book on BDSM is I have no idea. I have extended an invitation (na, lets call it what it is, a challenge) to him to send us a copy and I will have an impartial person of national stature review it for correctness and validity. So far no response. (Boy, am I surprised.) Until then I have to assume his book, like his organization is at best one hell of a way to cash in on the hapless scene members who want so much to belong, and will pay almost any amount to be recognized as "ligit" members of the scene hierarchy.
Oh, yea and by the way buy 25 copies of all our magazines per year, 10 of our new "I'm a sucker" patches, do all the work setting up an S&M NEWS SPWFC chapter (SPWFC = Stupid People Working For Carter), send me 10% of everything you earn and I will be glad to print you up a pretty charter to hang on your wall. Of course, all the forgoing is just my opinion, but you knew that if you've ever read this paper before and if you don't agree I'm sure Mr. Rusty Haway would be glad to sell you his pipe dream organization along with his book (but only with 25 copies or more)
My advice: find or start a local NLA chapter or some such reputable or recognized BDSM organization that doesn't try to sell you their self penned manifesto.
Since writing the above , I have been in further communication with this group and it seems that it isnít a scam at all, its a "franchise" and I quote:
opions vary and our houston, ft worth, corpus christi, austin and san antonio chapters are working very well. The "scheme" they are involved in is getting them members and ALL members are networking with each chapters and therefore growing faster than most clubs can handle.. I am sure that an intelligent man/woman as your self understands how a franchise works.... oh wait... thats right... you donít have a clue... you think a franchise is a scheme.... P.S. Let me know when you finish high school
feel free to print ANYTHING you wish...why? a) there is no such thing as bad press b) we are to strong and too many in Texas for you to hurt us c) our book (the only you laughed at) will be in stores nationwide by this summer d) the books will create chapters e) the chapter will create members f) and everyone but one (you) understands how a frachise works have a good day g) I will never respond to this address again
to which I replied:
A kinky sex franchise. Oh, I like that. Marketing BDSM like hamburgers, what an interesting concept. However I still feel your approach to be totally misleading. With many real and legitimate support groups available (like the NLA) why would anyone want to join an organization that promotes the single minded approach of a lone vision of BDSM. Your entire set up smacks of Dianetics and Scientology and even if your organization grows to be their size its still a variation of a cult and will attract the same mentality.
g) I will never respond to this address again
Your lose. We have over 18,000 readers per month nationwide, plus a very popular web site and if your organization was ligit and could stand the scrutiny of an impartial "expert" you wouldnít have any problem with our reviewing your book. So we will wait till its out in the bookstores and see if your publisher would like it reviewed. Have a nice life. Carter Stevens
P.S. I should graduate high school about the same time you make it out of the 5th grade. (see I can trade silly insults too)
In closing I can only ask myself why every nut cult seems to be blossoming in Texas nowadays? Is Southern California full? Is Mr. Haway another Wacko from Waco? Or is he the L. Ron Hubbard of BDSM? Is Roy Krok turning over in his grave wondering why he didnít franchise BDSM rather than hamburgers? Should I reconsider and really start to franchise SPWFC chapters? After all if there is a market for semiliterate BDSM messiahs from Texas, surely thereís room for a wise assed New York Jew boy to make some money off the BDSM organizationally challenged?Carter Stevens
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Click here for June 96 article "The Labeling Law"
Click here for July 96 article "Fling Party" *real BDSM
Click here for Nov 96 article "Hidden Assets" *real BDSM
Click here for March 97 article "Autumn's Season"
Click here for May 97 article "Condoms II"
Click here for August 98 article "Cigars"
Click here for September 98 article "The Dungeon's Dusty - Music"
Click here for October 98 article " Erotic Thoroughbreds Show - A Review " *real BDSM
Click here for June 99 article "Serious Shit" *politics and BDSM
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