Common Struggle - Libertarian Communist Federation Constitution

Common Struggle - Libertarian Communist Federation Constitution
Updated September 2011

1. Name

The Name of the organization is Common Struggle - Libertarian Communist Federation / Lucha Común - Federación Communista Libertaria

2. Membership

2.1 Membership of the organization is open to all – within or outside of the northeast region – who agree to work and argue for its policies in their public political activity, abide by its constitution, and pay dues regularly. However, if the applicant resides within the area of another regional federation which subscribes to the Anarkismo statement, Common Struggle will refer the applicant to that regional federation. Those who wish to join are to contact the nearest Local Union or, if not residing or working in an area with a Local Union, the National Secretary, who will provide them with contact information and open a line of communication. After attending several meetings, they will be considered for trial membership. Those with no Local Union or at-large members in their area will be considered for membership by the Delegate Council.

2.2 A trial member is anyone who agrees with the positions and orientations of the Federation and who wants to become a member. All potential members must go through a trial period. They have the same rights as a supporter (an indicative vote), but the same responsibilities as a member. Trial Member status can be approved by either the Delegate Council, or the closest Local Union. The Trial Member period is 3 months.

2.3 Members are responsible to their Local Union and to the National Conference for their political activities.

2.4 Local Unions and the Delegate Council may suspend the membership of any member for cause. If the Local Union or Delegate Council doesn’t lift the suspension, the member concerned may appeal the suspension to the National Conference. If the National Conference doesn’t lift the suspension the concerned person is no longer considered a member.

3. Supporters

3.1 Supporter status is open to all people who agree with the Aims & Principles of the organization and wish to work with and assist it but either cannot or do not wish to fulfill member responsibilities at the time. Supporters are expected to pay regular dues and can serve as references for people interested in the organization in their area. Supporters have access to the organization's e-mail lists and have the right to cast advisory votes at the National Conference. Supporters receive organization publications free of charge and are encouraged, but not required to take bundle orders of publications for distribution in their area. Supporters are adhered to the organization by the nearest Local Union. Supporters may be suspended by the same procedure as are members. Those desiring to join as supporters need not attend as many meetings as potential members.

4. Local Unions

4.1 The basic unit of the organization is the Local Union, which consists of three or more members in a given area or workplace.

4.2 Members who live and/or work outside of these areas will be members-at-large.

5. National Conference

5.1 Members meet in National Conference annually to review activities, decide on tasks and policies, elect national officers, and delegate other responsibilities as deemed appropriate.

5.2 In the event that a member is unable to attend, he or she may delegate to have a proxy vote cast on a specific issue before the Conference. Proxy votes may only be cast when they correspond to specific items on the Conference agenda.

5.3 An Emergency National Conference may be called by any Local Union by giving four weeks notice in the Internal Bulletin, or by petition of 25% of the membership.

5.4 Quorum for the National Conference shall be 50%+1 of members.

5.5 The National Conference is the supreme decision-making body of the organization.

5.6 Whenever possible the site of the National Conference should be rotated among the Local Unions.

6. Delegate Council

6.1 The Delegate Council is responsible for the day-to-day co-ordination of the organization's work between conferences. The Delegate Council is made up of delegates from each Local Union.

6.2 The National Secretary is responsible for the co-ordination of the Delegate Council. Each Local Union selects and mandates its delegates to the Delegate Council. Delegates are recallable by the Local Union if they fail to obey their mandate. Local Unions are encouraged to rotate their delegates. When a Local Union changes its delegates, the National Secretary must be informed. No member is allowed to remain a member of the Delegate Council for more than 6 months every year.

6.3 Delegate Council Meetings

6.3.1 The Delegate Council meets at least once a month. All members are entitled to attend and speak at the Delegate Council meetings, but only Local Union delegates have voting rights.

6.3.2 Motions to the Delegate Council can be made either by a Local Union or by an individual by submitting them in writing to the National Secretary at least 11 days prior to the Delegate Council meeting.

6.3.3 Normally at least ten days notice of Delegate Council meetings should be given. However, if an urgent issue arises which requires an emergency meeting, this requirement can be waived. Special meetings may be called:
i) through a motion passed by a Local Union.
ii) through petition by 25% of the membership,
iii) at the request of one third of the delegate council delegates,
iv) at the request of any two national officers.

6.3.4 The delegates have the discretion to accept amendments to proposals. Those amended proposals as passed must then be submitted to the membership for ratification. Ratification of amended proposals shall be done based on tallying of individual votes of each Local Union and members-at-large within two weeks of submission to the organizational listserv. Any votes not tallied will be considered abstentions. A quorum of the membership must vote. The National Secretary is responsible for receiving and tallying the votes of members-at-large and Local Union delegates.

6.4 Holding the Delegate Council Meeting

6.4.1 The National Secretary will attend all Delegate Council meetings. The National Treasurer and International Secretary need not do so unless
i) they have not provided a detailed, written report in the three weeks before the Delegate Council meets,
ii) a Local Union has requested they attend the meeting.
None of the National officers has a vote at the Delegate Council meeting.

6.4.2 Quorum for Delegate Council meetings is 50% + 1 of delegates. No quorum of votes is required. Local Unions are expected to have vote on all motions submitted on time to the Delegate Council.

6.4.3 Each Local Union of the organization able to provide the needed infrastructure will host the Delegate Council in rotation. The host Local Union will provide the minute taker for the meeting in addition to its delegate.

6.5 Delegate Council Decision Making

6.5.1 Delegates shall be responsible for casting the votes according to what was cast by their Local Union, which may include split votes of some members for and some members against.

6.5.2 Decisions made by the Delegate Council must reflect policy as decided by the National Conference.

6.5.3 The Delegate Council may initiate discussion with a view to encourage discussion of particular issues in Local Unions or with a view to changing policy at the National Conference. Individuals can propose motions that all Local Unions discuss some item in the same way that other motions are made. If passed, it is the responsibility of each Local Union secretary to see that this issue is discussed in their Local Union before the next Delegate Council.

6.5.4 The Delegate Council can set interim policies. These interim policies must be compatible with the general section of existing position papers. A vote of 2/3 of a Delegate Council meeting is needed to delete the short-term perspectives section of a position paper. A simple majority is sufficient to add section to the short term perspectives section of a position paper. Delegate Council cannot amend the long-term perspectives section of position papers. The National Secretary is responsible for co-ordinating and tallying this vote with the assistance of Local Union Secretaries.

6.5.5 All Local Unions are required to implement decisions made on items contained in the agenda circulated 10 days before the Delegate Council meeting. The Delegate Council may discuss items that are not on the agenda and make non-binding suggestion to Local Unions. These should be returned at the next Delegate Council meeting, after Local Unions have had the chance to mandate delegates, and either be overturned or upgraded to decisions.

6.5.6 The National Conference or a membership referendum may overturn any decision of the Delegate Council by a majority vote.

6.5.7 Treasury and/or Defense Fund disbursements of less than $100, or emergency funds of less than $400, do not need to be brought to the Delegate Council as long as the request is posted to the internal list-serve three days before the disbursal is made and no objections are raised. If objections are raised, the request will be decided by the Delegate Council.

6.6 Minutes of all Delegate Council meetings will be circulated internally.

7. Working Groups

7.1 A working group may be established by the National Conference, the Delegate Council, or a group of interested members. A Working Group may develop draft policies to be presented to the National Conference for decision; it may not alter any existing policy.

8. National Officers

8.1 The National Conference elects a National Treasurer, a National Secretary, an Internal Bulletin Editor, and an International Secretary

8.2 All national officers are subject to recall by the Delegate Council or a general membership referendum.

8.3 The responsibilities of the National Officers are:

National Treasurer

(i) Keep a record of all funds and financial transactions at the national level.

(ii) Collect dues from at-large members.

(iii) Submit a financial statement for each IB and Delegate Council meeting.

National Secretary

(i) Maintain contacts with Anarkismo, allied, and similar organizations in the US and Canada

(ii) Keep a record of all national correspondence.

(iii) Coordinate the Delegate Council and ensure that its mandates are recorded and carried out.

(iv) Coordinate the National Conference and ensure that its mandates are recorded and carried out.

(v) Keep all federation documents up to date.

(vi) Write a report on the National Conference for external distribution.

Internal Bulletin Editor

(i) Produce and circulate the Internal Bulletin no later than three weeks prior to each National Conference.

International Secretary

(i) Establish and maintain contact with similar organizations abroad, and to send them our publications and news of our activities.

(ii) Keep a record of all international correspondence.

(iii) Organize the translation of articles from foreign papers, and to be responsible for the writing of articles when requested by contacts abroad.

9. Organizational Principles

9.1 All decisions are taken by majority vote.

9.2 All meetings are open to all members and supporters.

9.3 Minutes shall be taken of all meetings and circulated to all members and supporters.

9.4 No post within the organization may held by the same member for more than two consecutive years.

10. Minority Rights

10.1 Members may not act contrary to the established policy of the organization. However, minorities who disagree with any policy have the right to express their disagreement publicly so long as they make clear that their position does not reflect that of the organization. Members who wish to act on an issue for which no policy exists have the right to act as the see fit so as they make clear that their position does not reflect that of the organization.

11. Internal Bulletin & E-mail List

11.1 The Internal Bulletin shall be produced annually, no later than three weeks prior to each National Conference.

11.2 The Internal Bulletin will be sent to all members and supporters.

11.3 The Internal Bulletin shall contain reports from Local Unions, Working Groups, at-large members and national officers as well as proposals and discussion articles submitted by members.

11.4 Each Local Union shall submit a report to the Internal Bulletin and at-large members are encouraged to submit reports, also.

11.5 All members with e-mail addresses shall be entitled to post and receive messages on all internal e-mail lists. No message shall be forwarded off-list without permission of the sender. The Delegate Council moderates the e-mail list.

11.6 Paper copies of the Internal Bulletin and Pre-Conference Bulletin shall be provided to members and supporters on request.

12. Dues

12.1 Members and trial members will be required to pay regular dues, collected quarterly.

12.2 A guideline for dues payments is follows: a member shall pay 1% income of the first $20,000 a year, 2% on income between $20,000-$40,000, 3% between $40,000-$60,000, 4% between $60,000-$80,000 and 5% on any income above that. Those who wish to contribute a higher percentage are encouraged to do so.

12.3 The exact amount paid shall be decided by the member and local treasurer with accommodations made for ability to pay, dependents, and any unavoidable financial burdens.

12.4 In the event of extenuating circumstances (such as unemployment or incarceration), a member’s dues may be reduced further or eliminated by vote of the Delegate Council or National Conference.

12.5 Supporters shall pay exactly half the dues of members.

12.6 Failure to pay dues will be handled in this way:

(i) Have the treasurer compile a list of people who have not paid dues in over 1 year, and past quarters owed.
(ii) Have the treasurer contact these people giving them a deadline to pay.
(iii) Terminate the membership of all those who have still not paid (nor have been in contact with the treasurer to claim hardship) after the deadline.
(iv) Have the treasurer and delegate council ensure that the appropriate names have been removed from membership and email lists.

12.7 Of total dues collected by National Treasurer 20% goes towards the Defense Fund.