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(en) Ireland, Workers Solidarity Movement* Autumn 2005 conference - Constitution

Date Sun, 13 Nov 2005 19:07:33 +0200


PREAMBLE
The world's wealth is produced by us, the working class. We ought to enjoy the benefits.
We want to abolish the system of capitalism which places wealth and power in the
hands of a few, and replace it with workers control and socialism. We do not mean
the farce called 'socialism' practiced in Russia, China, and other police states -
the system in those countries is no more than another form of capitalism.
We stand for a new society where there will be no bosses or bureaucrats. A society
which will be run in a really democratic way by working people, through councils
in the workplaces and community. We want to abolish authoritarian relationships
and replace them with control from the bottom up - not the top down.
All the industries, all the means of production and distribution will
be commonly owned, and placed under the management of those
working in them. Production will be organised and planned by the
federation of workers councils, not for profit but to meet peoples'
needs. The guiding principle will be "from each according to ability,
to each according to need".

We are opposed to all coercive authority, we believe that the only
permissible limit on the freedom of the individual is that they do not
encroach on the freedom of others.

We do not ask to be made rulers nor do we intend to seize power "on
behalf of the working class". Instead we hold that socialism can only
be created by the mass of ordinary people. Anything less is bound to
lead to no more than replacing one set of bosses with another.

We are opposed to the state because it is not neutral, it can not be
made to serve the interests of workers. The structures of the state are
only necessary when a minority seeks to rule over the majority. We
can create our own structures, which will be open and democratic, to
ensure the efficient running of everyday life.

We are proud to be part of the tradition of libertarian socialism, of
anarchism. The anarchist movement has taken root in the working
class of many counties because it serves their interests - not the
interests of the power seekers and professional politicians.

In short we fight for the immediate needs and interests of the
working class under the existing set up, while seeking to encourage
the necessary political understanding and activity to overthrow
capitalism and its state, and lead to the birth of an anarchist society.
CONSTITUTION
1. Name:

(a) The name of the organisation is the Workers Solidarity
Movement.
2. Membership:

(a) Membership of the organisation is open to all who agree to work
and argue for its policies in their public political activity, abide by its
constitution and pay dues

(b) Members are responsible to their branch and to the National
Conference for their political activities.

(c) Branches may suspend the membership of any member, such a
suspension to be notified to all members through the Internal
Bulletin. If the branch does not lift the suspension, the member
concerned may appeal to the National Conference which will decide
whether that person is to retain membership.
3. Branches:

(a) The basic unit of the organisation is the branch, which consists
of at least three persons in a given area or workplace.

(b) Where no branch exists in an area, members will be attached to
the nearest branch and considered full members of it.
4. National Conference:

(a) Members meet in National Conference at least once every six
months to review their activities, decide policy, elect the National
Officers and delegate other responsibilities. Conference be held in
March and September of each year. The March conference to deal
primarily with matters of policy and development of 'position papers'
& 'policy statements'; the September conference to deal primarily
with election of national officers, perspectives and activity plans for
the coming year. Both conferences shall open with a discussion of
perspectives and will take reports from national officers and
committees. Matters inappropriate (e.g. proposed new 'position
papers' at a September conference) will not be dealt with until the
agenda of appropriate items has been finished. Conference may, by
majority vote, modify or suspend the agenda.

(b) All members are entitled to attend and vote at National
Conferences.

(c) National Conference is the supreme decision making body.

(d) Prior to National Conference all members will receive an agenda.

(e) Where members are unable to attend, they may have a proxy
vote cast on any specific issue they wish.

(f) Proxy votes may only be cast when they clearly correspond to a
specific item on the agenda.

(g) Any branch may call an extraordinary National Conference if at
least four weeks notice is given in the Internal Bulletin.
5. The Delegates Council

5.1 The Delegates Council is responsible for the day-to-day
co-ordination of the organisation's work between conferences. The
Delegates Council is made up of delegates from each branch.

5.2 National Secretary is responsible for the co-ordination of the
Delegate Council. Each branch selects and mandates its delegates to
the Delegate Council. Delegates are recallable by the branch if they
fail to obey their mandate. Branches are encouraged to rotate their
delegates. When a branch changes its delegates, the National
Secretary must be informed. No member is allowed to remain a
member of the Delegate Council for more than 12 months
consecutively.
Notice of Delegate Council meetings

5.3.1 The Delegate Council meets at least once a month or more
often if necessary. All members are entitled to attend and speak at
the Delegate Council meetings, but only branch delegates have
voting rights.

5.3.2 An agenda will always be circulated at least 10 days prior to
meetings. Branches should arrange to meet and mandate their
delegate in the week before the Delegate Council meeting. Items can
be placed on the agenda by any
a) WSM branch,
b) an individual submitting it in writing to the National Secretary up
to 11 days before the meeting.

5.3.3 Normally at least ten days notice of Delegate Council meetings
should be given. However, if an urgent issue arises, which requires
an emergency meeting, this requirement can be waived. Special
meetings may be called
i) through a motion passed by a branch.
ii) through petition by one third of the membership,
iii) at the request of one third of the delegate council delegates,
iv) at the request of any two national officers.
Holding the Delegate Council meeting

5.4.1 The National Secretary will attend all Delegate Council
meetings. The National Treasurer and International Secretary need
not do so unless
i) they have not provided a detailed, written report in the three weeks
before the Delegate Council meets,
ii) a branch has requested they attend the meeting.
None of the National officers has a vote at the Delegate Council
meeting.

5.4.2 For a meeting of the Delegate Council to be quorate, at least
50% of delegates must be present (attendance at such meetings can
be via telephone conferencing where necessary).

5.4.3 Each branch of the organisation able to provide the needed
infrastructure will host the Delegate Council in rotation. The host
branch will provide the minute taker for the meeting in addition to
their delegate.
Delegate Council decision making

5.5.1 Decisions made by the Delegate Council must reflect policy as
decided by the National Conference.

5.5.2 The Delegate Council may initiate discussion with a view to
encourage discussion of particular issues in branches or with a view
to changing policy at the National Conference.

5.5.3 The Delegate Council can set interim policies. These interim
policies must be compatible with the general section of existing
position papers. A vote of 2/3 of a Delegate Council meeting is
needed to delete the short-term perspectives section of a position
paper. A simple majority is sufficient to add section to the short tem
perspectives section of a position paper. These votes are subject to
ratification by a cumulative total of 51% of members attending their
next branch meeting. The National Secretary is responsible for
co-ordinating and tallying this vote with the assistance of Branch
Secretaries.

5.5.4 All branches are required to implement decisions made on
items contained in the agenda circulated 10 days before the Delegate
Council meeting. The Delegate Council may discuss items that are
not on the agenda and make non-binding suggestion to branches.
These should be returned to at the next Delegate Council meeting,
after branches have had the chance to mandate delegates, and either
be overturned or upgraded to decisions.

5.5.5 The National Conference may overturn any decision of the
Delegate Council.

5.6 Minutes of all Delegate Council meetings will be circulated to
National Mailing lists and included in the Internal Bulletin.
6. Commissions/Working Groups

Commissions/Working groups may be established to co-ordinate
activities in various spheres of the organisation's work.

These Commissions/Working Groups may be established in one of 3
ways:-

(i)by a motion passed by National Conference

(ii) by a motion passed by National Committee

(iii) by a group of interested members

Commissions/Working Groups may develop draft policies to present
to National Conference but may not alter or delete any existing
policy without the agreement of National Conference.

Commissions/Working Groups may be established to co-ordinate
the organisation's work in specific campaigns

Any interested member may join a Commission/Working Group.
7. Organisational principles:

(a) All decisions are taken by majority vote.

(b) No position within the organisation, either at local or national
level, may be held by the same member for more than three years in
succession.

(c) Minutes are kept of all meetings and are available to any member
for inspection.
8. Minority rights:

(a) Official policy is that agreed at National Conferences.

(b) Minorities who disagree with any policy or members who wish to
act on an issue for which no policy exists, have the right to act as
they see fit as long as they make it clear that their position does not
reflect that of the organisation, and as long as such a position does
not take them outside the constitution of the WSM.
9. Internal Bulletin:

(a) The IB will be produced at least once every quarter by the
National Secretary.

(b) It is sent to all members, and at the discretion of conference to
sympathisers.

(c) The IB contains reports from Branches, Commissions, National
Officers, etc. as well as proposals and discussion articles submitted
by members.

(d) Members with an email address will be added to the WSM
internal email list and can post to this list within whatever volume
restrictions are agreed by the list. No message can be forwarded off
this list without the permission of the sender - any member who
forwards without permission will be removed from the list by the list
maintainer.
10. National officers:

(a) Conference elects a National Secretary, Treasurer, one or more
International Secretaries. It may create and fill other national
positions as it sees fit.

(b) All national officers are subject to recall by the Delegate Council.

(c) The responsibilities of the National Officers are:
National Secretary

(i) To be the first spokesperson for the organisation.

(ii) To keep a record of all national correspondence.

(iii) To produce the Internal Bulletin.

(iv) To place a report in each IB.
National Treasurer

(i) To keep a record of all funds and financial transactions at national
level.

(ii) To place in each IB a financial statement.
International Secretary

(i) To establish and maintain contact with similar organisations
abroad, and to send them our publications and news of our activities.

(ii) To organise the translation of articles from foreign papers, and to
be responsible for the writing of articles when requested by contacts
abroad.

(iii) To place a report in each IB.
Internet Secretary

(i) to be responsible for maintaining the WSM mailing lists and web
pages.

(ii) To place a report in each IB
11. Publications:

(a) Conference elects the editorial groups for all the WSM
publications and can mandate these groups as it sees fit.

(b) Where an article submitted for publication is rejected the author
may request an explanation to be given in the IB.

(c) The responsibility for any other national publications is also
decided by conference.
12. Finance:

a) Membership dues are from 1% to 5% of income according to the
number of people financially dependent on the member concerned.
An actual figure will be worked out in consultation with the branch
treasurer.

(b) Any member more than three months behind in their dues is
deemed to have resigned.

(c) Half of this money is retained by the branch, and half is sent to
the National Treasurer for the use of the organisation at a national
level.

(d) National Conference, or in its place the Delegate Council, may
place a special levy on members to finance specific projects.
13. Organisation policy

13.1 The policy of the WSM is first and foremost the position papers
as drawn up and amended by national conference. All other policy
decisions must be compatible with these position papers and are
changed or reversed by any subsequent motions passed by national
conference. Position papers lapse after three years unless they are
ratified by national conference. The National Secretary is responsible
for ensuring that Position Papers due ratification are included in the
agenda of national conference

13.2 Position papers are divided into a general section and a short
term perspectives section. The general section contains the
theoretical position of the organisation on the question and should be
framed in a way that will not allow it to become quickly dated. The
short term perspectives section outlines the organisations policy on
immediate questions and the tactics we intend to implement. This
section lapses after two years unless it is ratified by national
conference.

13.3 Between national conferences Delegate Council can set interim
policies. These interim policies must be compatible with the general
section of existing position papers. A vote of 2/3 of a Delegate
Council meeting is needed to delete the short term perspectives
section of a position paper. A simple majority is sufficient to add
sections to the short term perspectives section of a position paper.
These votes are subject to ratification by 51% of people attending
their next branch meeting. It is the responsibility of each individual
branch to mandate their delegate in advance of NC meetings and to
ensure they reports back afterwards and have complied with that
mandate. After Delegate Council meetings minutes will be circulated
to members within seven days.

13.4 Individual branches can define their own policy on particular
areas providing it is compatible with the Position Papers and
decisions of Delegate Council. It is expected that this will be used to
customise general tactics for local use and to generate policy tailored
to specific local issues.

13.5 Individual members are free to engage in any political activity
which does not contradict existing policy. In general they are
expected to argue for and implement organisational policy in their
public political work. Where they disagree with existing policy they
are free to argue within the organisation for a new policy.

13.6 If they are speaking as a WSM member at any event they are
expected not to contradict existing policies. This does not apply of
they are speaking as a mandated delegate of a union or campaigning
group. It also does not apply if they are speaking in an individual
capacity at a debate or public meeting but in this case they should
indicate that they are disagreeing with the policy of the WSM.

13.7 In Trade Unions and campaign groups members are expected
not to argue against whatever tactics the WSM has agreed as a
strategy for that issue. Again this does not apply where they carry a
mandate from a section of that group or union.

If delegates are unmandated they are free to vote as they please
provided their vote does not go against long term WSM policy.

As Amended Oct 2005 - subject to ratification by Nov/Sec 2005
Delegate council
=======================================
* WSM is an anarchist federation
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