wiki:projects/leadership-committee/democracy/lc-concerns

Version 3 (modified by Jamie McClelland, 6 years ago) (diff)

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Leadership Committee Democracy Proposal

MF/PL's Organizational Structure

May First/People Link is a democratic, membership-based organization. MF/PL has a federated structure consisting of multiple organizations that share technology and are united politically by a single leadership committee.

MF/PL's scope and vision

May First/People Link is an Internet organization and a movement organization.

The Internet defines the scope of our political analysis and vision: through direct experience providing Internet services to our membership, our task it so define the political contours of the Internet and advance political positions consistent with our statement of unity.

MF/PL's direction is based on the priorities of the broader left struggles in the communities and countries in which we work and on the organized international struggles that are aligned with our statement of unity.

Membership

The membership has the ultimate power in the organization. All decisions should be made and implemented based on the direction of the membership.

The membership meets once a year. At least one in-person meeting is hosted by each organization at the same time. All locations are linked via the Internet and participation is made available remotely to people not able to attend in person.

At the membership meeting:

  • The membership is introduced to the leadership committee members, the work teams and the staff and is recruited to participate in one of the work teams;
  • The out-going leadership committee is responsible for organizing the meeting;
  • The outgoing leadership committee and each active work team is responsible for reporting on their work, and having their work evaluated by the membership;
  • The membership identifies the broad goals for the coming year;
  • The membership elects the new Leadership Committee to direct the implementation of these goals.

Decision making process

The membership meeting votes for leadership committee members from a selection of nominated candidates with the top 15 vote getters filling the leadership committee. A quorum equal to 10% of total active membership is required for the vote to be valid. Broad goals are collaboratively chosen by participating members in a fashion decided on by the outgoing Leadership Committee.

Leadership Committee

The Leadership committee meets face-to-face once a year no more than 4 months after the membership meeting. The LC schedules phone calls as needed, and communicates by private email list.

The Leadership Committee's responsibilities are to:

  • discuss and approve work plans submitted by work teams at the face-to-face meeting;
  • evaluate member disputes with the activities of any work team and ensure each work team is operating in a way consistent with the MF/PL statement of unity;
  • choose one director per organization. The directors job is to support and provide direction to the active work teams in the director's organization, resolve disputes, represent the organization in the media, and make emergency decisions on behalf of the organization that cannot wait for LC approval;
  • choose one or more chairs that are responsible for organizing the work and shaping the direction of the leadership committee
  • evaluate the work teams and the director(s)
  • stop any work team activities that is deemed to be inconsistent with the mandate of the LC
  • approve budgets submitted by the work teams
  • approve financial transfers between participating organizations to ensure all work team budgets are met
  • ensure each LC member participates in at least one work team

Decision making process

Voting

  • Quorum: The Leadership Committee requires a quorum of 50% for decisions to be valid.
  • A good-faith attempt will always be made to reach unanimity. If the LC is not unanimous, then proposals must be approved by more than 2/3 of the leadership committee members who vote. Abstentions are allowed and count toward quorum.

Participation

All members are encourage to attend and participate in all Leadership Committee meetings, however, only Leadership Committee members may vote. Any LC member may request a private session restricted to just LC members to discuss sensitive topics (such as personnel).

Work Teams

Work teams are groups of members organized to carry out work needed by MF/PL, such as the technical support team, internationalization team or outreach team. Work teams are empowered to make any decision necessary to carry out their work provided it is consistent with their work plan.

In addition to tasks particular to the work team, all work teams must:

  • prepare an annual plan to be discussed and approved at the LC face-to-face meeting

  • prepare a written report and evaluation of the work team activities for the anual membership meeting
  • publicly publish meeting times and information on how members can join

Decision making

Work teams may choose their own form of self-organizing and decision making.

Participation

Work teams are primarily volunteer. All MF/PL member are strongly encouraged to participate on a work team. Any MF/PL members can propose and form a new work team.

Staff

MFPL staff is a special work team composed of people from all the federated organizatoins.

Staff make themselves available on regular, weekly basis to perform labor for the organization and participate in weekly staff meetings. Staff may be volunteers or be paid.

The staff meets weekly (in-person and by phone) and via an email list.

The staff's responsibilities are to:

  • perform the day-to-day operations of the organization
  • provide support to the other work teams and help initiate new work teams
  • ensure that the day-to-day operations of all federated organizations are consistent and in sync.

Concerns

diversity

Concern:how do we make sure that MF/PL as a membership organization reflects the diversity of our membership? In particular, we are concerned about having decisions made predominately by white men and technologists, who are often in positions of power.

Response: The diversity of our membership has never been adequately represented by the members of the staff or work teams. However, the leadership committee has historically been mmuch more reflective of the membership. While eliminating the leadership committee would be a dramatic step away from embracing decision-making by a race and gender diverse body, continuing and strengthening it is a way to continue building on our work toward a more intergrated organization willing to fight oppression both inside and outside the organization.

accountability

Concern: how can MF/PL membership hold decision-makers accountable for their promises and their actions? What does this mean for members? For workers? For decision-makers? Response: The main decision makes in this proposal are the leadership committee members and the members of the work teams. The membership meeting is where each work team and the LC report on progress from the previous year in writing and in person. Members should be able to ask questions (also in writing and in person) and receive answers to their queries. Members should also be invited to join work groups and give feedback in person and to participate in the Leadership Committee meetings to give feedback.

As for accountability - votes and discussions on the LC should be made public and be available for review by members when choosing new LC members. In addition, the LC should be responsible for holding work teams accountable the the statement of unity.

transparency

Concern: how can MF/PL members (and allies, and prospective members) be aware of what is happening in the organization? how does the organization engage members so that they want to know?

Response: We need an outreach team charged with engaging not only new members but existing members. We also need more regular and consice communication. And we should actively encourage all members to attend the face-to-face leadership committee meeting. We also need a broader commitment to not only taking notes, but organizing all decisions and notes on our wiki so they are easy to peruse.

communications

Concern: how can MF/PL members make sure their voices are heard and respected during the decision-making process? how does the organization actively encourage members to make suggestions, advocate for positions, give feedback, or participate more generally?

Response: See above. We also should think of the membership meeting as a year-round event - with prep work happening shortly after the last membership meeting.

democracy

how do MF/PL members get a voice in the operation of the organization? What should a member who is unhappy with things do to improve matters? How does the organization respond to the needs and politics of its members, including (especially?) those members who are short on money, time and other resources?

With this proposal, there are a wide variety of ways members can get involved. Starting with the simplest - they can review a list of LC candidates and vote. They can also attend a membership meeting or LC meeting and voice their concerns. They can also join a work group to address a particular matter.