Self-management is one of the fundamental values to those organising around participatory society. The nested council structure proposed in par-polity and in par-economics is a model that facilitates self-management, so those affected by decisions can influence them. It also encourages participation as those at the root level participate in discussions, vote and propose policy.
How can we best structure ourselves now according to self-management given the number of participants we have and their level of commitment?
PART 1: REVIEW
Local Chapter Decision Making
Currently, we have local groups that have been created with varying sizes and levels of activity. The idea being for activists living near to each other to meet in person and organise together in their area. Anything relevant to the local group is discussed and decided by the group.
Project Decision Making
Projects can be created that allow participants from across the U.K to collaborate together on joint ventures promoting Participatory Society ideas and practices. some examples include an I.T team, a newsletter group, outreach materials, introduction video, etc. Anything relevant to the project group is discussed and decided by the group.
National Decision Making
So far, decisions affecting everyone have been made in an informal consensus basis as pps-uk gradually evolves, in the forum, in online chat sessions, in local groups and in further detail at national events. All members are encouraged to help formulate the agenda and are invited to attend these national events.
PART 2: CRITICAL ANALYSIS
* Currently we have nothing written down as a formal document outlining our decision making structure. A working group was created to do this but so far nothing has materialised.
* Those who are unable to make national meetings or who are not part of a local group and unable to send a delegate don’t take part at national gatherings.
PART 3: PROPOSAL
Mark E has proposed we design our sign up system so that a member automatically falls into a regional group, in effect creating three levels: a local (optional) level, a regional and a national level for the u.k. I’d like to propose extending this idea with regards to decision making.
1.) We re-design the site to have a ‘chapters’ page and have two sub-pages for ‘local’ and ‘regional’ chapters that have their own forums that have a forum category ‘policies’.
2.) we create a new national forum section called ‘national policies’.
3.) proposals that affect the relevant level are made at either the local, regional or national level.
4.) Local chapters can debate and vote on proposals in person at face to face meetings.
5.) For regional or national decisions we have two options that I can see currently:
A.) online voting – after a proposal is made on a regional forum or the national forum it is discussed there and in the online chat room, a newsletter (there can be a national newsletter and regional ones) can be sent out to all relevant members to ask them to vote on the proposal within a set time frame.
B.) delegates meet in person – we could send delegates from lower levels to attend a regional meeting or a national meeting. They debate the proposals further and vote. this allows for greater face to face deliberation.
All passed policies would be listed on the website.
Option a) would be the most desirable as it would allow for face to face deliberation at each level, however, can we expect this to realistically function well considering the stage of pps-uk now and level of activity? Option b) would be easier and remove the issue of anyone having to travel to meetings, however, it would also remove the face to face interaction as we would only be communicating online.
Say i want to propose that pps-uk affiliates with a broader left movement. how do i do this?
I would first bring up the proposal either at my local chapter group if i am a member of one or straight to the regional level forum ‘regional proposals’. the proposal would be discussed, perhaps modified and passed up to the next level until it reaches the national forum ‘national policies’. The decision would finally be made using either of the above methods – a national online vote by all members or at a meeting of regional delegates.
So, firstly what to people think of this proposal? how can it be improved, is there a better way?
Secondly, which option for making regional and national decisions do you think is better to adopt currently a.) online voting or b.) delegates at meetings. or are there other options you think better?