Consultation Momentum Hackney Draft Constitution

heather.mendick
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In response to the members meeting in February, we have codified our practice. The steering committee decided to call this a constitution because this will enable us to open a bank account and generally will help us put the local group on a firmer footing (other local groups have developed constitutions for these reasons). We will be led by our members on this so please feedback to us what you like and what you don’t like and why, what’s missing and what needs changing. Send responses to Heather Mendick at heathermendick@yahoo.co.uk by 11am on 22 April. We will discuss these in the May Steering Committee meeting and bring the matter to a members meeting on Tuesday 9 May.

 

Momentum Hackney is an official local group of People’s Momentum. We share the national organisation’s goals, stated in its constitution:

  • To work for the election of a Labour government;

  • To revitalise the Labour Party by building on the values, energy and

  • enthusiasm of the Jeremy for Leader campaign so that Labour will become an effective, open, inclusive, participatory, democratic and member-led party of and in Government;

  • To broaden support for a transformative, socialist programme;

  • To unite people in their communities and workplaces to win victories on the issues that matter to them;

  • To make politics more accessible to more people;

  • To ensure a wide and diverse membership of Labour who are in and heard at every level of the party;

  • To demonstrate how collective action and Labour values can transform our society for the better and improve the lives of ordinary people; and

  • To achieve a society that is more democratic, fair and equal

We believe that the way we organise, the relationships and culture we create as we work together towards these goals, should as far as possible on all occasions, prefigure in the present, the society we are are working to achieve in the future. Specifically:

  • Momentum Hackney is organised as a space of difference and negotiation, in which people can grow individually and collectively;

  • Momentum Hackney is a space for learning and hence for self-transformation and relationship building. Our various initiatives and meetings must be designed with a view to how best to make them a learning experience to which participants will want to return for more;

  • We welcome activists form a variety of backgrounds and generations – the labour and trade union movement, social movements such as Occupy that have developed in the last twenty years, working class community movements, and the liberation movements that emerged from the 1960's onwards. We will continually experiment to enable these different political cultures to cross-fertlise rather than to clash or simply co-exist.

  • We seek to work with the tensions that this diversity will entail, not necessarily 'finally' resolving them: to be both 'inside ' and 'outside' Labour; to embody both 'old politics' and 'new politics'; to acknowledge our differences together with what we share;

  • Well organised and regular popular education meetings open to all the membership will be an important part of the life of Momentum Hackney.

In sum, the means are closely tied to our aims and we will attempt consciously to adopt means which prefigure our aims.

We have two categories of membership:

  1. National members are members of People’s Momentum who live in Hackney.

  2. Associate members are people who share our aims and values and who are not a member of an electoral competitor to the Labour Party but who are not members of Momentum nationally. They must live in Hackney and pay a membership fee directly to Momentum Hackney, which will be set at the level of 90% of the national membership fee.

There will be no practical distinctions between these two categories at local level but only national members can play a full part in Momentum, for example, voting for regional representative on the National Coordinating Group.

Note: This allows people who cannot join Momentum nationally, for example, because they are not allowed to join Labour, to be full members of Momentum Hackney. Members of rival political parties (such as the Green Party and the Socialist Party) cannot be associate members.

We have a Steering Committee consisting of:

Two organisers (at least one woman)

Two social media managers (at least one woman)

Data manager

Hackney South Labour Engagement Officer

Hackney North Labour Engagement Officer

Two Community Engagement Officers

Three members without portfolio

Note: This is the current Steering Committee. We suggest changes to this: We feel one organiser should take on the role of Treasurer and one of Data Manager. In place of the three members without portfolio we suggest introducing: secretary, fundraiser and political education officer.

The role of the steering committee is to act as a resource and facilitator for the membership according to the principles outlined above. They do not debate and decide policy issues. This is the role of the membership. The Steering Committee meet monthly.

They will be elected annually at a members meeting during an AGM in September via Single Transferable Vote and with email ballots available on request for those members who cannot attend the meeting. On agreement of the AGM, posts can be taken as a job share. At least half of those elected will be women. Any member can stand for election to the Steering Committee by submitting a nomination form two weeks prior to the meeting.

There are members meetings roughly every two months.

There are regular political education sessions open to all for which the steering committee or whoever they delegate to carry out the task is responsible.

This constitution can be changed each year at the AGM by a majority vote of members. Any member can propose a change. Each year, the Steering Committee put out a call for proposals to amend it at the same time they put out a call for new members of the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee works to support a process of deliberative democracy within Momentum Hackney regarding changes to the constitution.

Note: We hope we’ll get a good constitution through this initial consultation, but see it as a developmental process. We have tried to make it straightforward to change.

Role Descriptions

The Organisers offer leadership to the Steering Committee and to Momentum Hackney more generally. They have overall responsibility for the day-to-day running of the group. They handle internal and external communications (including with the national organisation) keeping the Steering Committee as well as the wider membership informed. They organise and make sure that the various Momentum Hackney meetings and activities are run productively and efficiently.

The Data Manager is responsible for directly handling the Hackney segment of the central People’s Momentum database. They ensure that we comply with Data Protection legislation. They handle relevant queries from members promptly consulting centrally as needed. They compile and send the weekly local supporter emails, sliaising with the rest of the Steering Committee to make sure all our activities are covered. They arrange phonebanking sheets, filtering data as needed, and input the data and feedback from phonebanks into the database. They also send out Steering Committee minutes to members each month and other mailings as required.

The Social Media Managers run Momentum Hackney's Twitter and Facebook accounts. This involves posting about our activities, campaigns we support, local and national demonstrations and relevant news articles and opinion pieces. They also respond in a timely manner to any direct messages received via social media, post photographs of our meetings and events, publicise meetings including via Eventbrite and share any blog posts on our website through our social media accounts. As social media usage changes, they will develop new ideas for online engagement.

The CLP Engagement Officers use email and social media to keep members and supporters in touch with key issues in the Labour Party locally and nationally e.g. AGMs, councillor selections, NEC elections. They maintain a list of contacts in each branch of Momentum Hackney members who can welcome new people and guide them through Labour Party practices. They also organise public meetings to help people learn how they can get more involved in the Labour Party. They do not organise slates of candidates. However, like Momentum nationally, the Steering Committee can endorse candidates in local internal Labour Party elections. When Momentum locally or nationally have endorsed candidates in an election, they organise to support these.

The Community Engagement Officers’ role is first and foremost, to make connections with campaigning organisations, social movements, trade unions, community groups, co-operatives and other social enterprises and cultural initiatives with a view to working together on shared goals. This involves paying close attention to the issues facing the citizens of Hackney and on which any group of citizens is taking action and would welcome wider support. More specifically, they aim to initiate public meetings to be agreed by the membership, which can raise consciousness about issues on which wide alliances are necessary to achieve victories. For example, defence and expansion of council housing and practical support for and solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers. They encourage links between trade union and community organisations and organisations of the unemployed or precariously employed. Where appropriate, they initiate collective inquiries into politically relevant social and economic trends where as a local group we have insufficient information to develop a strategy. They organise such inquiries as participatory processes that could also be means of organising and could help develop policy. They work closely with the Labour Engagement Officers to ensure that campaigning issues are raised in local Labour Parties.

Note: Momentum Hackney is still evolving. In these role descriptions, we have tried to make explicit what we currently do. We need feedback on whether these are clear or if anything important is missing.