I got a message asking about life in a Motorcycle Club, and their disciplinary actions, in response to my post about diapers in a Biker TV Show in the AB/DLism in popular culture thread.
After I answered it I thought some of you may find it interesting too.
Club life varies widely from one Club to another. Even within a Club the individual charter, or chapter, may be practically autonomous within the larger organization. Also there are different types of Clubs like;
1% Clubs -hardcore bikers
Family Clubs – more family oriented, but don’t think you can just show up with the children
Social Clubs – much more laid back and loosely aligned with fewer obligations.
There are riding clubs like the Honda riders club. In a riding club a member may or may not show up, and no one really cares as long as they pay their annual dues.
You may notice that I capitalized the word club in all instances except that of the riding club and here is why. In riding clubs you pay money and buy a patch to sew onto the back of a jacket and look pretty. Within a traditional Club a member starts as a “Hang Around” until he gets to know a member well enough to sponsor him to join the Club. Once sponsored he then becomes a “Prospect” and has to learn all of the rules the Club has, show that he can follow them, and prove to every member that he will make a good addition to the Club. At some point the “Prospect” comes up for a vote by the membership and will become a “Full Member” upon a 100% positive vote. Upon receiving that vote you earn your Colors and that patch is your membership card, birth certificate, and the culmination of anywhere from months to years of your blood, sweat, and tears as you worked to prove that you belong in the brotherhood
With any Club you have offenses that a member commits and offenses that a non-member commits, and as I’ve said earlier even within the same Club different charters may look at the same offence differently. Lets look at internal offenses first. There is a Club with charters in 30 states. The charter in Florida may catch a member stealing from another member and beat the living crap out of him, up to throwing him out and cutting the Colors off his back. All the while a member of a charter in Maine gets caught doing the same thing, and gets told that he will pay if he does it again.
External offenses are a whole new animal. I doubt any Club is going to take crap from Joe on the street, but things get really hairy if Joe is stupid enough to screw with a 1% Club. One percenters are the hardcore hell bent for leather guys that will be nice to you until you disrespect them, and more importantly by disrespecting them you have just disrespected their Club. As an outsider you either just earned yourself a beating or signed your death warrant.
As for my Club we are a hybrid and while we are not a 1% Club we see redeeming value in a good bit of their structure to model our “Probate” process after their initiation structure and have the same sense of brotherhood for our members. We draw the line at breaking any federal or state laws and a member could loose his Colors if he broke the law. Discipline in our organization may be anything from having to pay the Club in service hours, performing some team building task with a brother if the two of you can’t get along, up to the most serious punishment for any member is to either have his colors suspended or loose them altogether, although, ... you may think otherwise if you pissed of my president bad enough.