- Category: Documents
- Published on Thursday, 13 June 2013
- Written by Admin
International Socialist Network (hereinafter referred to as IS Network)
WHERE WE STAND
We are a network of activists who believe that the present capitalist system, rooted in inequality, exploitation and oppression, and driven towards crisis, war and destruction of the environment, must be replaced by socialism: a system of real democracy and co-operative production for human needs.
Those who produce the wealth under capitalism – the working class – have the power to overthrow it. The emancipation of the working class can only be the act of the working class itself. We stand for the self-activity of the oppressed and exploited, and for socialism from below.
Socialism and self-emancipation cannot be achieved solely by reforms to capitalism. The capitalist class will not give up its power willingly and therefore revolution is necessary to gain socialism.
To achieve this, an independent revolutionary organisation based in the working class – a party – is necessary. We are not that party, but work toward its emergence. This party must be non-sectarian and democratic.
We oppose all forms of oppression in capitalist society and fight against all their manifestations, including any within our class and our organisation. This includes racism, Islamophobia, sexism, disablism and trans, bi and homophobia. Our Marxism is feminist and ecological. We are internationalists who oppose imperialism and all forms of national chauvinism. Our loyalty is to the working class, not to nations or states. We struggle against capitalism’s destruction of the human and natural environment, particularly chaotic climate change that threatens human civilisation.
Membership is open to anyone who agrees with the “Where We Stand” section of this Constitution. The Complaints Group has the power to restrict membership as it sees fit under the Complaints procedure contained within this Constitution. If a member or prospective member has been expelled from another organisation for oppressive behaviour, the National Steering Committee shall refer the issue to the Complaints Panel. All members shall pay a subscription according to their means. The IS Network understands that some members may not have the means to pay any subscription. Members of the IS Network are free to dual-card with (be a member of) one or more other socialist or working-class movement organisations.
Decisions in the IS Network shall be made on the basis of a simple majority vote within properly constituted meetings. All decisions made shall be considered policy of the body which made them and shall be binding on all representatives and officers of that body, when carrying out their official duties All decisions of a National Members’ Meeting are also binding on the National Steering Committee.
Decisions are not binding on any individual member, except where that member has been elected to a representative role and then only when she is carrying out that role.
All positions within the IS Network shall be filled by election within the relevant body. Every member in an elected position is subject to immediate recall by the body that elected them.
Geographical branches are the main political unit of the IS Network. Members shall determine the geographical area to be covered by a branch, with regard to local circumstances. Branches may determine their own activity and elect their own officers, organisers and committees as they deem necessary. Each branch is entitled to be represented on the National Steering Committee by two branch members, at least one of whom must be a woman.
Any member elected to a branch position is subject to instant recall by that branch.
Branches may affiliate to any local socialist or working-class movement group or organisation which is compatible with the “Where We Stand” section of this Constitution.
ORGANISING TOGETHER WITHIN THE NETWORK
Members are entitled to join together to discuss the IS Network, its politics and organisation, at any time and in any forum they wish to.
Members who self-identify as belonging to an oppressed group may organise together as a caucus. A caucus may determine its own activity and elect its own officers, organisers and committees as its members deem necessary. Each caucus is entitled to be represented on the National Steering Committee by one caucus member. Each caucus shall make a report to each National Members’ Meeting
Any member elected to a caucus position is subject to instant recall by that caucus.
Members working in a particular national campaign, trade union or other activity may organise together as a fraction. At the NMM following the convening of a new fraction, the fraction shall report on the political necessity for its existence and the NMM shall determine if the fraction will continue. A fraction may determine its own activity and elect its own officers, organisers and committees as its members deem necessary. Each fraction is entitled to be represented on the National Steering Committee by one fraction member. Each fraction shall make a report to each National Members’ Meeting.
Any member elected to a fraction position is subject to instant recall by that fraction.
At any time, any group of at least ten members proposing that the IS Network nationally take a particular decision may organise together as a faction. A faction is temporary and may present a motion or motions, or a programme, to the next National Members’ Meeting. A faction may propose changes to the “Where We Stand” section of this Constitution.
A faction may hold its own meetings and produce its own literature. A faction shall be entitled to contribute at least one page to any publication the IS Network produces. A faction shall be entitled to publish at least one article per week on the IS Network website. A faction is entitled to have its documents circulated to all members once a week.
A faction is entitled to send a representative to attend and address any and all branch, fraction and caucus meetings (caucus attendance to be subject to an appropriate faction member’s being available or otherwise by agreement with the caucus).
Once the motion or programme has been voted on, the faction shall dissolve.
Members who wish to continue working together over the longer term on the issue may organise themselves as a platform.
Within the principles enshrined in the “Where We Stand” section of this Constitution there may be many different approaches proposed within the IS Network as to how best to organise and to participate in the working-class movement. Any group of members who share a particular perspective may organise together as a platform. A platform may continue for as long as its members want it to. A platform may hold its own meetings and produce and distribute its own literature and should clearly identify itself as a Platform within the IS Network when doing so.
NATIONAL MEMBERS’ MEETING
A National Members’ Meeting (NMM) shall be held at least three times in each calendar year. Additional NMMs may be convened at any time by the National Steering Committee or at the request of 10% of the branches or 20% of the membership by petition.
At least two months' notice shall be given of each NMM, except in the case where the National Steering Committee decides that events require a faster response from the full membership.
No more than two consecutive NMMs will be held in London.
All IS Network members may attend and vote at an NMM.
Each named officer of the National Steering Committee shall make a report to each NMM.
NATIONAL STEERING COMMITTEE
The National Steering Committee (NSC) shall consist of two delegates from each branch – at least one of whom must be a woman – one delegate from each caucus and each fraction, and six elected directly at each NMM.
There shall be three named officers:
elected specifically to each position on an individual basis at each National Members' Meeting. A further five members will be elected as a group from each National Members' Meeting. Among these eight nationally elected members, at least four shall be women.All NSC members are subject to instant recall at each meeting of the body that elected them.
The Revolutionary Socialists - the new organisation founded in 2013 by students and young people in Britain to fight oppression, capitalism and war - will be invited to put forward a representative of their choice to take a non-voting part in the NSC.
The Complaints Group (CG) will be directly elected from the membership and independent of the SC.
Nobody who sits on the SC should also sit on the CG.
The liberation caucuses will be invited to elect a representative to the CG.
5 additional comrades will be elected at an NGM.
5 nationally elected comrades plus representatives from the four liberation caucuses would mean a Complaints Group 9 people strong, which will be comprised of 50% women.
The elected chair of the committee would then have 8 other comrades to approach for each case.
The CG will have the right to co-opt other comrades on to the group if their specific expertise is required for a particular case.
Anybody elected to the CG must disclose anything they believe could impede their ability to work on specific cases at the first meeting of the CG and with the full confidentiality of the comrades involved. Note that this should include any previous convictions for violence, etc. – whilst we do not see this in and of itself as a barrier to participation, homophobic, sexist or racist violence, no matter how historic, would preclude comrades from participating in the CG.
Once disclosures are made, it is the decision of other members of the CG as to whether or not the person is able to remain part of the CG.
We believe that members of the CG should be open and honest with themselves about any pre-existing relationships they made have with comrades, and must recuse themselves from participating in a case where either party is known to them. Members of the CG will be open to challenge about pre-existing relationships by other members of the CG.
The CG will exist to determine whether or not it is safe and positive for comrades who are complained about to remain within the organisation – not to determine guilt or innocence in any case nor to apportion blame. This fact should be made clear to all comrades when a complaint is first brought to the group, in order that the limitations of the CG are made clear and that comrade know what they can expect from a CG hearing.
In all cases, determining safety should mean emotional safety, as well as physical safety.
A key part of the role of the CG should be to signpost survivors to services outside the network that have the skills and experience necessary to support people.
In cases where it is determined that it is physically or emotionally unsafe for a comrade to remain in the IS Network, support services should be sought for them, in order that problematic behaviour we do not find acceptable in the Network is not left unaddressed. This should be offered in addition to support services sought for complainant.
In cases where it is determined that it is safe and positive for the complained about to remain in the Network, the CG should undertake any necessary political education work as required or refer to external services if necessary.
The complaints group exists in order to resolve difficulties between comrades that cannot be resolved through informal channels. It should not deal with complaints informally.
If the CG is approached with a complaint, it should treat it as a formal complaint, unless vetoed by the complainant due to serious fears for their emotional or physical safety.
The CG is not always going to be able to give a time frame for dealing with a complaint in its entirety. This is in part due to the understandable ambivalence of complainants and other parties to the process – comrades may change their mind, and more than once.
The CG should set out time frames for hearings and communication with both the complainant, and the complained about. Both parties should be communicated with as regularly as possible, and one member of the CG should be nominated as a liaison point with each party in order to ensure consistency of communication. Both the complainant and the complained about should always know when their contact point on the CG will next be in contact, and should be able to contact said person in the interim if necessary.
Where appropriate, both parties should be given information about the stage the complaint is at, however the CG should not divulge information that should remain confidential. Each party is to be communicated with as regularly as each other in order to ensure maximum transparency and accountability.
The CG will make itself available to any comrade who wishes to intervene in a case whether for the complainant, or the complained about. No information will be provided to other parties, and it will be made clear that the CG can only listen to any contributions, and not comment about case progression or likely outcome.
Redress & Appeal
The Complaints Advisor is a role which will be directly elected by the caucuses. The Complaints Advisor will exist in order to ensure fairness of procedure.
The Chair of the CG will remain in communication on a regular basis with the Complaints Advisor. Any member of the CG or any party to a complaint can contact the Complaints Advisor at any point with concerns about the process.
The CG is primarily accountable to the membership. It is recallable at any time. The CG will give a report at annual conference. The membership will vote to accept this report, or reject it. The vote is not about the guilt or innocence of any of the complained about, as that is not what the CG is there to establish. The vote will rather be to establish whether or not the CG has fulfilled its functions of fairness and ensuring emotional safety.
The National Treasurer shall supply a summary report to every meeting of the National Steering Committee, and shall supply a full report to the National Members' Meeting.
This Constitution may be amended by simple majority vote at a National Members' Meeting.
The IS Network may be dissolved by a two thirds majority vote at a National Members' Meeting.