In response to some to the comments posted by comrades, in particular by Richard and Geoff, this revision of my version of the draft constitution contains a number of alterations. The most significant are as follows:
I have inserted ‘radical’ and deleted ‘of the means of production distribution and exchange’ (sob) in section 2 (aims).
I have added two new clauses to 3a (eligibility for membership) to deal with a minimum age and membership of other organisations.
I have in effect folded the conference arrangements committee into the standing orders committee.
I have changed the basis of representation on the National Council from branch to regional delegates. Having read Richard’s comments, it became clear that having branch delegates would make the NC too unwieldy (and expensive). However, I think that Richard’s formula for the distribution of regional places would result in too few rank and file delegates and puts into the body of the constitution a formula for regional delegations that is based on a very rough guesstimate of the distribution of current signatories to the original appeal rather than a realistic assessment of our actual likely membership in twelve months time.
I think that it is important that the constitution gives clearly defined powers to National Conference or other relevant party bodies rather than getting clogged up with lots of necessarily transient figures into it. For example, what is important is that National Conference has the power to set subscription levels, and that is what should be in the constitution rather than what the levels should currently be. Once the constitution is in place, Conference can then set subscriptions (or the number and distribution of regional delegates etc.) whenever it wishes on the basis of a simple resolution. My form of words would give us a viable NC for this year with a clear majority of regional delegates and would enable future National Conferences to allocate places on a more rational basis without having to go through the necessarily rather cumbersome process of changing the constitution every time.
I have added my model standing orders as an appendix (although they could simply become a new section on the face of the constitution instead). The safer spaces policy document is, to put it charitably, something of a parson’s egg, and I think that these model standing rules incorporate its spirit while being much more concise and, well, standing orders that could actually be used to run meetings.
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