In an earlier post entitled "Why We Should Set Up an IOPS" I presented my thoughts on what I feel and believe to be the most important reasons for setting up an International Organisation for a Participatory Society. If these feelings / beliefs are correct we then have to work out how to go about setting up such an organisation. Below I have laid out some practical suggestions for how we could go about this.
IOPS Website - This could be achieved in one of two ways -
- Sponsored by ZCom. Overseen by Z Staff with regular feedback from ZSustainers via ZForums.
- A group of ParSoc advocates (probably ZSustainers) who want to set up an IOPS pool their resources and create a website.
Networking Facility - The primary function of the website would be to facilitate the coming together of people who are interested in developing and organising around participatory knowledge, vision and strategy at the local, regional, national and international level. This networking facility could be simultaneously incorporated into the website in two ways -
- Chapters - These are geographically based groups: Regional, National, International. As well as allowing us to see areas of organisational growth this facility would encourage people within the same areas to meet / organise etc.
- Projects - These can be initiated and undertaken by either members of a single Chapter or individual members of a variety of Chapters: Media, Educational, Campaigns etc. This Project work constitutes the main material and activities of the organisation.
There would obviously be a lot of overlap, intertwining and blurring between these two networking facilities.
Self-management - All Chapters / Projects are self-managed inline with our participatory aspirations -
- Decision-making in proportion to the extent members are effected by the outcome.
- Empowering tasks to be shared out amongst participants.
Funds – As all Chapters and Projects are self-managed we could say that all costs, fundraising and other money matters are the responsibility of those involved in these activities. The benefit of this approach is that it avoids time consuming administrative duties and stifling bureaucratic tendencies. However we also may want to organise the IOPS so that members pay a subscription. If so this requires further consideration.
Membership Subs – First of all membership subs should be related to annual earnings. So we might have (say 4) categories for members to sign-up to. Members sign-up to the category that their annual income falls into. Membership fees therefore increase in proportion to earnings.
A more pressing consideration has to do with how we decide how this money is used. I would suggest that we agree that the funds raised exclusively from members subs should primarily be used to finance an IOPS annual general meeting (AGM). Any left over cash can either be put aside for next year or put into new projects – a decision that would be made at the AGM.
IOPS-AGM – Annual General Meetings are attended by members of the various National chapters. Each AGM is hosted by a National Chapter. Therefore the location of the AGM will change from year to year. General IOPS business is discussed here, including -
- Reports on ongoing projects.
- Proposals for new projects.
- Proposals for organisational changes (website design / features etc).
- Submissions for financial assistance for IOPS projects.
All of the above relies on sufficient numbers in membership if this organisation is to function. So, for example if we reach our target of 1000 members within the first year (as estimated in Why We Should Set Up an IOPS) then this would generate $100,000 (based on yearly subs of $100). This, I think, is a modest calculation given that some members subs would fall into a higher category due to their higher annual income. If we reach our 5 year target we could be looking at generating $1000,000 – again based on a modest calculation. The basic point is that this creates a means by which we can generate serious recourses for serious organising.
Whether or not we have such numbers remains unknown at this time. However, this does not mean that we have to wait for such numbers before we implement the above suggestions. This proposal should be understood as nothing more than a first stage of development – but importantly one with built in features for organisational changes and growth. As the organisation grows the internal mechanisms will no doubt become more sophisticated – but we have to start somewhere!