Founding statement and constitution of The Socialist Network

4 Jan

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CONSTITUTION FOR THE SOCIALIST NETWORK
(Agreed at the Istanbul Conference 24-26th August 2012)

Name
The Socialist Network

Founding Statement
1 The name of the organisation will be ‘The Socialist Network’

2 The purpose of the Network is to work on every level for the advancement of socialist ideas. Such work to include:
– Analysis and discussion of today’s Capitalist society and possibilities of action to transform it into a Socialist one
– Exchange of ideas and coordination of activities of socialists on an international level
– Participation in the mass struggles of the working class and other oppressed groups

3 Today the world is ripe for socialism. The only two things needed are:
a) The nationalisation under democratic control of the banks and the big companies that dominate the economy in order to make possible the rational planning of the economy. Under this general planning smaller enterprises and businesses will continue to function under private ownership subject to basic protection of the workers.
b) That the bourgeois state repressive apparatus should be dismantled and democratic control by the people should be extended to all spheres of social interaction.
To achieve these changes, the wide support of the working class and other oppressed groups is needed in order to gain political power and be able to defend it. Winning such support to the need for socialist transformation is the most important task of the Network.

4 Membership is open to everyone who agrees with the basic principles of the organisation, abides by its rules and pays membership fees.
Groups or Individuals should be actively involved in the struggles and political activity of the working class and other oppressed groups.

5 The Network is not a substitute for and does not work in opposition to the broad organisations of the working class. On the contrary, it participates in their struggle and strives for the widest possible unity of working class organisations. It is only through them that socialist ideas can become a mass force that can change society.
The Network does not hide its ideas and does not refrain from criticism of any leadership or policy of the working class organisations which it considers wrong or inadequate. While remaining loyal to the common cause and displaying solidarity in the common struggle, it fights for the change of wrong policies and the replacement of inadequate leaderships where it considers that to be necessary.

6 The Network is not an organisation that imposes bureaucratic discipline on its members. Free expression of ideas is unconditional.

7 The Network provides ideas, discussion and help but does not issue commands to its Groups and Individual members, which retain their independent existence and the right to act in accordance to their own decisions.

8 The work of the Network is coordinated by an International Coordinating Committee elected or appointed by the members in Conferences or Groups. The ICC is not a political leadership in the traditional sense. Its task is to implement procedures and coordinate activities in the most efficient way possible, compatible with the independent existence of its members.

9 Functional bodies and functionaries (editorial boards, editors, treasurers etc.) will also be elected or appointed in order to carry out practical tasks.

10 The Network will hold regular conferences and public meetings and events to develop the discussion on how to advance towards socialism and decide upon policies and activities.

11 The Socialist Network has no interests separate and apart from those of the working class as a whole.

Conference
Powers: The Network’s Conference is the overriding authority of the Network. Its decisions are binding on the Co-ordinating Committee. It must decide the policy and overall operation of the Network, elect its Office bearers, approve its Reports and control all constitutional matters.
Office bearers: The Conference will elect a Co-ordinator, Treasurer and a paid Web Editor. Chairs for each meeting to be elected by that meeting. The Conference will also elect other Office bearers that it deems necessary.
Timetable: The Conference will normally be held every year at a venue decided by the preceding Conference or failing that by the Co-ordinating Committee. The date of each Conference will be notified on the Internal Forum at least three months in advance of the Conference and a call made for receipt of motions, constitutional amendments and nominations to be received six weeks later. An Agenda for each Conference will then be notified on the Internal Forum at least six weeks in advance of the Conference. This Agenda will include all resolutions, constitutional amendments, nominations and Office bearers’ Reports.

Decisions: Every effort should be made to achieve consensus in voting. Where consensus cannot be reached the feelings of the various Groups should be taken into consideration.

Membership
There shall be two types of member:
Individual: Anyone who generally subscribes to our Objects, Aims and Manifesto, and accepts our Constitution and Code of Conduct is entitled to apply for membership. Their application must be approved by the Co-ordinating Committee.
Individual members living in the richer countries must pay a minimum of €20 (or equivalent in another currency) per year to the Network’s central account. Those living in the developing countries must pay a regular amount that they can afford.
Group Membership: Any Group which generally subscribes to our Objects, Aims and Manifesto, and accepts our Constitution and Code of Conduct is entitled to apply for membership. Their application must be approved by the Co-ordinating Committee and confirmed by following Conference. Where there already exists a Group in the same country, the Co-ordinating Committee will inform that Group (or Groups if there are more than one) of the application and ask for comment which it will take fully into account when deciding whether to approve the application.
Groups will agree an appropriate annual affiliation fee with the Co-ordinating Committee.
Any Member or Officer of the Network may resign their membership. However, Office bearers doing so should inform the Co-ordinating Committee in writing.

Co-ordinating Committee

Committee Membership: This will consist of the Office bearers elected at Conference. In addition, each Group is entitled to two representatives on the Co-ordinating Committee.
Committee Quorum: Meetings can only take place when a minimum of three members are present. One of these three must be an Officer.
Committee Meetings: These must be held at least every two months and are open to any member who wishes to attend and speak although voting will be Committee members only. Committee meetings can be held in person or online as the Committee decides. Notice of each meeting must be circulated on the Network’s Internal Forum and sent out seven days in advance. Voting at Committee meetings shall be by simple majority. Where voting on any issue is equal the Chairperson is entitled to decide the outcome.
Sub-Committees or Working Groups: The Committee has the power to set up Sub-committees or Working Groups as deemed necessary which shall be accountable to the Committee and Conference. Individual Members also have the right to form Working Groups with the aim to conduct specialist research, discussion and work.
Transparency: Minutes of each Co-ordinating Committee will be recorded and sent out on the Internal Forum within a month of the meeting.

Code of Conduct

All members of the Network are bound by a Code of Conduct the terms of which are agreed by Conference. This Code governs the way that members debate with each other and treat each other. Members who break this Code can be suspended by the Co-ordinating Committee but will have the right to appeal against suspension to the subsequent Conference.

Amendments to the Constitution
This Constitution can only be amended by a two-thirds majority vote at Conference.
Dissolution
The Network can only be dissolved by decision of 75% of the membership either by Conference vote or by referendum.

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