The new organisational poll from Znet and the reaction both here and further afield is interesting and I think the debate has much to recommend it, from critics and supporters.
There is I think clearly a need for a genuinely non sectarian, pluralistic, and pragmatic organisation capable of articulating and popularising libertarian socialist ideas, and supporting and publicising mass struggle against capital and oppression.
There are a huge number of people across the globe already attempting this, they go by many labels and many organisations and many go by anonymously. Many visit Znet even if it is only to read an article or two, or simply to check the headlines now and again, the fact is its audience reach is broad if not as deep as it should be (though I struggle to think of anything deeper). Still I think Michael Albert’s comment on his own blog that if it gets up to 5000 respondents we can form a fair picture of where to go next is reasonable.
If we get those respondents and more, and the percentages remain similar where do we go next?
I would advise that the advisory committee look at establishing sub-committees for each continent, that can look at developing online hubs for the project which use the predominant languages in that continent to further promote it, including developing similar polls that can be accessed by people who do not speak English.
Where it can be done, national branches and local or regional chapters should be established at the same time, and they should be given delegate seats on the sub-committees. Structures should while guaranteeing a minimum of libertarian socialist/participatory level should be left fairly fluid and loose for now.
However individual membership should be established using a common global form from the beginning, it can always be changed later – but I would propose that local chapters and national branches are compelled to adopt a subscriptions system, set by them at locally acceptable levels and then pay a given % (say 20%?) to the continental hub which then pays a given % to the global hub. The global hub should be controlled by the global advisory committee which of course is made up of all the continental sub-committees and which is among other things empowered to distribute funds back down as well as spending on global requirements.
While our we should be aiming for a grassroots bottom up structure, this recognises the unevenness and indeed patchy nature of any international at first, and allows for a combination of bottom up where possible and top-down where required.
At some point once this has been set up – one of the aims should be to draw up a five year plan which could culminate in a series of continental or regional conventions which elect delegates to an international convention which can formally review progress and decide on whether to formalise structures, continue with the current format, or indeed dissolve the project.
Strategy and vision must be up for debate at all times within certain parameters which should emerge from the discussions here and elsewhere initially and then from the global structure we initiate.