WSM membership & Engagement

Date:

This position paper outlines WSM membership and how we engage with spheres of people interested in the WSM.

Modified by WSM National Conference, July 2017

We recognise that the amount each member can contribute to the organisation will be different and that we want to be able to include as members people who have limited free time because of other commitments. But membership of the WSM is also based around some minimum level of activity which should include attending branch meetings and some level of external work.

1 Active members
Attend WSM branch meetings and National Conference Ideally are part of a WSM priority working group

Members on Leave of Absence
Members who are unable to carry out the above for a period of more than a couple of months can go on leave of absence for up to 9 months. This is intended to help members who find their free time greatly reduced due to to working full time and having heavy education or family commitments. It is also intended to allow members who feel burnt out to take an organised break from activity.

To take a leave of absence they should inform their branch secretary and the national secretary in writing that there are doing this and give the month in which they intend to resume active membership.

Members on Leave of Absence should try and attend some of the educational events organised by the WSM. They should maintain contact with the WSM and follow its development through looking at the web site. They do not have a proxy vote at meetings but can end their leave of absence at any meeting and vote at that meeting. They are required to continue paying subs to their branch.

2. Dormant members
Any member who has not been an active member for two or more months but who has not taken a leave of absence will be considered Dormant. Their branch secretary should inform them of this in writing and ask them to either return as an Active Member, take a Leave of Absence or resign from the WSM.

If they fail to reply within a month the branch secretary will inform the national secretary who will write to them again. If they have failed to reply within a month then the national secretary will put forward a motion to the next DC noting they have de facto resigned from the WSM. They will be informed of this in writing and their account will be removed from the internal web site. To become an Active Member in the future they will need to go through the membership procedure.

3. Out of country
Members who are leaving the country for an extended period of time will be subject to the above unless they apply for out of country status. Out of country members must have previously been members of the WSM. They
a. retain access to the internal web site
b. are willing to report on local events for Workers Solidarity and attend local anarchist events on behalf of the WSM
c. do not have a proxy vote in the WSM
d. contribute at least 50 euro a year to the WSM
e. distribute at least 5 of each issue of the magazine

4. Becoming a Member or Supporter

To join the WSM as a member, a person is required to attend 3 meetings, or in the case of those where there isn’t a WSM branch, to have extended contact with several members of the WSM who can vouch for them. What counts as a meeting here is foremost WSM branch meetings, but also events such as a Joining the WSM meeting, Points of Unity discussion, or a Conversation on Anarchism. This is to demonstrate the commitment of the prospective member, to have an opportunity to establish compatibility or incompatibility, and to allow better integration if they join. Supporters are encouraged to do the same, but at the least the WSM should have some contact with them, having a discussion of the requirements of joining the WSM and getting an idea of how compatible we are, at the minimum via computer or phone. That is to say someone cannot simply tick a box and join as a supporter.

5. Engagement

1. We recognize that different people with different life circumstances will have different amounts of time and other resources they can dedicate to the WSM.

2. We recognize that the successful building of a revolutionary organization with a mass outreach requires a significant number of members with a very high level of dedication to that collective project - this is people willing to dedicate significant amounts of their time and other resources.

3. WSM membership should require some minimum level of commitment, membership is not the equivalent of signing up to a Facebook group. But that level cannot be so high as to de facto exclude a large section of the working class. Therefore we offer a range of ways for people to engage with the WSM and to become members of the WSM that seek to balance our need for a core of very dedicated members with the requirement that involvement with the organisations at some level be possible for just about everyone.

Contacts & supporters

4) The WSM implements an ongoing Engagement Process aimed to ensuring we have an agreed collective approach towards discussions with people who are interested in us. The exact details of this process are found in our internal Engagement Sphere document which is updated and maintained by Engagement committee, the outline is below. The aim of this process is both to encourage people towards becoming WSM members and to ensure a good working relationship with those who are not (yet) interested in membership.

4. Followers are people who have made an effort to maintain regular contact with the WSM. We aim to identify these people and encourage them into a closer and long lasting relationship up to and including becoming members. 

5. Contacts are people who have been asked to give us their direct contact details in the form of a phone number or email on the understanding that we will be informing them of events, sending them regular news updates and talking to them about our activity. Contacts are not required to agree with our Points of Unity.

6. Supporters are people who have agreed to make regular donations to the WSM, agreed to be contacted about helping with our work in areas that they are interested in, receive free copies of WSM publications, have access to some internal WSM discussion and can ask to be given observer rights at internal WSM meetings. We seek to utilize supporters knowledge, experience and skills on an ongoing basis and involve them in discussion with WSM members and contacts. This will include a regular internal WSM meeting open to all supporters. Supporters are required to confirm that they are broadly in agreement with our Points of Unity and will respect the confidentiality of internal WSM processes and other information they are given access to

Collectively Agreed Activity 

7. There is a wide range of activity and tasks that a revolutionary organisation needs to undertake, these require a wide variation of skills & experiences. The list that follows is not exhaustive but gives a sense of what what sort of activity and tasks the WSM often requires. In general we will always try and match the interests, experiences & training wishes of individual members to the work required in order for the WSM to function: attend organising meetings, union meetings, activist meetings, working groups and editorial committees: write articles, layout papers, design posters and fliers, conduct interviews for our publications or for pod-casts, write public speeches, prepare internal educational, put up posters, distribute leaflets and papers, organise fundraisers, meetings & conferences, maintain our web-pages, provide support for meetings through childminding, food preparation or facilitation, attend marches, pickets, demos, produce radio shows, run bookstalls, and much much more.

Members

8. WSM members are the organisers essential to keeping WSM internal and external work on track.  Depending on their resources WSM members commit to being an organiser for one or more internal and/or external tasks - that is to be the person responsible for organising that work and reporting on it to the rest of the organisation.    New members are expected to take on at least one organiser role once they have completed WSM basic training.

9. Members agree with the basic politics of the WSM as outlined in the join document, attend WSM meetings, and donate 2-4% of their income to the WSM.  They help train members & contacts and help produce articles and other material for the WSM publications.

10. We anticipate that as their life circumstances change members will become supporters and supporters become members on a regular basis.  Ideally individuals will notify the internal secretary and branch secretary in advance of any change of status but failing that the branch secretaries and the internal secretary will conduct an audit every 3 months and adjust individuals statuses on the basis of that audit.  These audits should be timed to include an audit between 8 & 4 weeks before each national conference in order to determine who can submit motions & amendments as well as who has voting rights at conference.  Decisions can be appealed to Delegate Council  and/or at the standing orders sessions that begins each conference.

Developing our Engagement model

The Engagement committee is an island wide body tasked with monitoring and maintaining our Engagement and taking initiatives to build each sphere and promote movement between spheres.  It consists of the National Secretary, Internal Secretary, all branch secretaries, all isolated members in the process of building a branch and any additional members involved in the administration of the system.  The members will be involved in ongoing contact online and will meet either online or physically at least every two months nationally.  Prior to each meeting the National Secretary will post a draft report on activity around Followers & Contacts and the Internal Secretary will post a draft report on activity around Supporters & Members.  A final report will be posted after the meeting by the Internal Secretary

This position paper was modified October 2014


 

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