Points of Unity – Structure

FAA Founding Documents Proposal REVISED

12 June, 2011

PART 1: Points of Unity

As members of the FAA,

I. We support RADICAL UNIONISM and RADICAL COMMMUNITY ORGANIZING. We affirm the universal and inalienable right of workers and communities to organize workplaces; to organize along industry and class lines; to collectively bargain for salary, benefits, working conditions, and other demands; to carry out strikes and other job actions (including sympathy/solidarity strikes); to demonstrate; and to educate. “Radical” as used here means organized on principles of direct democracy, autonomy, anti-authoritarianism, voluntarism, cooperation, class consciousness, anti-capitalism and other fundamental Anarchist principles outlined below. See also XV.

II. We endorse and promote the GENERAL STRIKE as a tactic for workers to win demands, and ultimately to expropriate property, capital, and the means of production and thereby achieve SELF CONTROL and SELF MANAGEMENT. Under Capitalism (See III), workers play a special role, in that they alone can shut down the system and move to replace it. See also IV.

III. We endorse and promote ANTI-CAPITALISM, meaning that we oppose Capitalism in all of its forms, including but not limited to the accumulation of public wealth in private hands; the wage system; the division of the human race into owning and producing classes; the exploitation of labor, exemplified by the concentration of private profits; the alienation of workers/laborers/producers from the products of their labor; and the commodification of the natural world, as well as of living beings and their labor/labor products/labor power. Capitalism has outlived any progressive character it may once have had. It is an evil that must be replaced.

IV. We stand in SOLIDARITY with the struggles of all oppressed communities, including but not limited to native/indigenous peoples, the homeless, women, LGBTQ and intersex people, and victims of colonialism.

V. We affirm the right of the individual and of the community to engage in SELF DEFENSE against repression and attack, including but not limited to invasion or assault (including sexual) of the person or home; violation/revocation of fundamental civil and human rights (See I and X); invasion of privacy; military invasion, occupation or attack; and police violence/violence of the gendarmes. Self defense must be reasonable, proportional, and directed at repelling attack and achieving safety—not to reverse repression/oppression and direct it at another group. Nonviolent means of resolving conflict and ensuring safety, whenever possible, are absolutely preferable to violent means. See VI.

VI. We endorse and promote NON-VIOLENT RESISTANCE, meaning we renounce violent forms of resistance, including but not limited to terrorism, assassination, kidnapping, arson, provocateur-ism, and torture. We neither endorse nor condone such activities. Big Capital and the State (See III and XII) have a far greater capacity for violence than the mass of people, and therefore violence is in principle not a viable form of resistance to state and capitalist oppression. As a last resort, limited violence may sometimes be necessary for self defense (See V), but it is never preferable.

VII. We promote MUTUAL AID and BUILDING PARALLEL POWER, including but not limited to forming cooperatives; freely exchanging necessary goods and services; charity; community self-reliance; community self-policing; and individual and community self sufficiency in food production, education, safety, and medical care. We call on workers to build the new society in the shell of the old, by learning and practicing Parallel Power and self-management, so that a free communal society can rise directly out of a General Strike (See II), without the need for intermediaries or transitional stages.

VIII. We affirm the fundamental and inalienable right of individuals and/or communities to AUTONOMY. We affirm the right of the individual and the community to resist and repel coercion or exploitation by outside groups, tyrants, bureaucracies, class relations/relations of production, corporations, Churches, NGOs, or States. See V and IX.

IX. We believe in FREE COOPERATION between individuals, communities, and groups. We live in an interconnected global community in which exchanging knowledge, goods, services, necessities, resources, labor power, etc is indispensible for mutual survival. Therefore, we call for freely arrived at cooperative arrangements between and among autonomous individuals/groups including but not limited to communities, cooperatives, workers’ councils, and unions. See VII and VIII.

X. We stand in OPPOSITION TO ALL FORMS OF ILLEGITIMATE AUTHORITY AND OPPRESSION, including but not limited to racism, sexism, homophobia, genderism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, xenophobia, scapegoating, exploitation, colonialism, imperialism, militarism, jingoism, cultural hegemony, capitalism and statism, including but not limited to state socialism. See III, IV, VII, and XII.

XI. We unconditionally affirm and demand that numerous CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS belong immediately and eternally to all individuals and/or communities. These include:

Freedom of Speech; Freedom of Thought; Freedom to Assemble; Freedom to Organize workplaces into unions, cooperatives, syndicates, and other labor organizations; The Right to Meaningful and Productive Labor; The Right of Laborers to Self Management; The Right to Keep and Bear Weapons; The Right to Education; The Right of Access to  Art, Science, and Knowledge; The Right to Healthcare; The Right to Live in Safety from Violence and Oppression; The Right to Nutrition and other basic necessities of Life; Freedom of Worship; Freedom from Displacement, Dislocation, Forced Migration, and Dispossession; Freedom to Inhabit and/or Develop Unused and/or Unoccupied Spaces; The Right to Autonomy; The Right to Freely Cooperate with and among groups and individuals; The Right to Free Love between consenting adults, regardless of race or gender identity; The Right to Alter Mental States, with or without psychoactive substances; Freedom from Illegitimate Authority and Oppression (See X); and The Freedom to Migrate and Travel without regard to borders.

Each individual and/or community has a basic eternal right to these liberties to the fullest extent possible without depriving the same liberties to other individuals and/or communities.

XII. We promote and endorse ANARCHISM, meaning that we stand in OPPOSITION TO THE STATE, and all State entities, as a form of illegitimate authority (See X). A State involves a professional class, party, or caste that, whether through representation or direct dictation, designs, dictates, and implements policies of governance over the people. Common features of States include a written legal code, a penal system, courts, legislatures, and a monopoly over violence, as exemplified by the military, police, and intelligence agencies. Historically, States have been instruments of suppression of one class by another class, specifically suppression of lower/producing classes by a ruling/owning class, or suppression of lower/producing classes by a ruling elite, caste, party, oligarchy, polyarchy, or autocratic tyrant. States, like Capitalism, are outmoded and regressive. They are an evil that must be replaced.

XII. We stand in OPPOSITION TO HIERARCHY as a form of illegitimate authority (See X). This does not imply rejection of all forms of elected leadership. For example, running a clinic may require that certain decisions be made by an expert. Generally, any leadership must be directly elected, temporary, recallable, and legitimated by popular consent.

XIV. We believe in DIRECT DEMOCRACY. The people must collectively make decisions for, and govern, themselves, rather than having their political affairs decided by representatives, subverted by private interests, or arbitrated by a State. See X and XII.

XV. We support DIRECT ACTION as a legitimate means of resistance and exercising of autonomy. Direct Actions include, but are not limited to, strikes, slowdowns, occupations, barricades, walkouts, sit-ins, marches, demonstrations, propaganda, graffiti “bombing,” leafleting, sick-outs, and various forms of civil disobedience. See V and VI.

XVI. We support SOCIAL REFORMS that alleviate the suffering of people and improve the quality of human life. In other words, we do not promote political absenteeism. At the same time, we do not promote voting for, funding, or endorsing candidates or parties whose positions contradict these points of unity, with special regard to III, X, and XII.

XVII. We stand in OPPOSITION TO WAR, affirming the conclusion of Justice Robert Jackson at the Nuremberg Trials: “To initiate a war of aggression… is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

XVIII. We affirm the Marxist principle: FROM EACH ACCORDING TO ABILITY, TO EACH ACCORDING TO NEED.

XIX. We affirm our REJECTION OF THE LAWS OF THE STATE, which are, among other things, a State monopoly on violence, and are by definition inferior to cooperative, freely agreed to and flexible community conventions. See XII.

XX. We believe in community self-management and SELF-POLICING. We reject the oppression of state police/the gendarmes. See X, XIII, XIX.

XXI. We support FEDERATION as a model for achieving high levels of social organization. Federation means that communities and groups freely, voluntarily, and cooperatively form larger NONCENTRALIZED POLITICAL GROUPINGS in which each member group retains its autonomy, integrity, internal democracy, and local organization, while cooperating with the other member groups in making decisions. Federation may be necessary to meet human needs over large geographical regions. See VIII, IX, X, XI.

XXII. We affirm that all communities have the right to LOCAL SELF ORGANIZATION AND SELF GOVERNANCE. See XII, XX, XXI.

XXIII. We hold that sustainable stewardship of, harmony with, and PRESERVATION OF THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT is necessary to ensure human survival and to protect the rights of future generations.

XXIV. We demand and insist on the most HUMANE TREATMENT OF ALL LIVING BEINGS, including but not limited to livestock and plant life, that is consistent with other points in these Points of Unity. We oppose the unnecessary destruction of life, including plant life and livestock.

XXV. Rights and Freedoms not explicitly denied by these Points of Unity, and not in contradiction or contravention to these Points of Unity, are assumed to be granted to the individual and/or the community.

XXVI.  We recognize that strategies, tactics, and positions taken may change depending on the times and objective/historical conditions. The mechanism for changing the group position will be democratic consent of the membership, as detailed in Part 2.

XXVII. We, The FAA, do not endorse or support any action taken by an FAA member in contravention or contradiction to these Points of Unity.

FAA Founding Documents Proposal

12 June, 2011

PART 2: Structure of the FAA

I. FOUNDING MEMBERS. The Founding members of the FAA are: (Names will not be listed online for security precautions).

II. DELEGATION AND VOTING PRODCEDURES. (a) The FAA is not delegated, and each person’s vote on a proposal carries equal weight, i.e. one person, one vote on any given vote. (b) All votes will be conducted by a show of hands or other transparent method (e.g. verbal “aye,” written ballot) depending on circumstances. (c) A majority vote of the membership shall set policy, except for the situation detailed in VIII. Here, and elsewhere in this document, “majority” means greater than or equal to 50 percent of the members plus 1 member.

III. JOINING. To join, a person must (a) Agree with the Points of Unity, and (b) Be voted in by a public majority vote of the membership, after public discussion with the prospective member.

IV. EXPULSION. A member can also be voted out of the organization by a vote conducted by the same procedure as in III.

V. AGENDA COMMITTEE. The FAA will have an elected Agenda Committee composed of 3-5 FAA members. To be on the Agenda Committee, you have to be voted in by a majority vote of the membership, as in III and IV. An Agenda Committee member can also be recalled at any time by a majority vote of the membership, as in III. The Agenda Committee will have ONLY the following powers, rights, and responsibilities:
(a) To propose times, dates, and locations for FAA meetings. These can be altered by vote or discussion at the meetings, but the Agenda Committee takes responsibility over ensuring that meetings take place.

(b) To inform members of any proposals made under the purview of (a).

(c) To propose agendas for FAA meetings to be sent out beforehand on the FAA Listserve. Members can propose changes, additions, or deletions to the agenda online or at the beginning of the meeting. The agenda for each meeting will again be discussed and ratified at the beginning of that meeting.

VI. RUNNING MEETINGS. At each meeting, any member may volunteer, and be either accepted or rejected by vote and/or consensus of the body, to perform the following functions:

(a) Chair. At each meeting the chair will keep stack to ensure orderly conversation, and also ensure that all agenda items get addressed, and that discussion stays on point.

(b) Note-Taker: The note-taker will record votes and major decisions and email a summary out on the listserve.

(c) Time-Keeper: The time-keeper watches the clock and makes sure that the meeting proceeds according to schedule. As needed, the members at a meeting may vote to restrict comments or discussion items to a certain time limit; if so, the time-keeper ensures that these limits are honored.

VII. PUBLIC PARTICIPATON. All are welcome, but only FAA members may vote at FAA meetings.

VIII. CHANGING THE STRUCTURE. This structure can only be changed by the consent (unanimous vote) of the entire FAA membership.

IX. DUES. Dues are not asked of FAA members. Each member will help and contribute in the manner that they can.

X. DEMOCRATIC CENTRALISM. The decision(s) of the majority of FAA members as established by public majority vote shall be binding to the collective (all FAA members), and must be acknowledged and affirmed as the official position(s) of the FAA. However, all members can hold their own beliefs and participate in their own motion/work/actions so long as they distinguish their position from the official FAA position. The FAA does not endorse or support any action taken by an FAA member in contravention or contradiction to the Points of Unity in Part 1.

 

AMENDMENTS ADOPTED 15 OCTOBER, 2011

I. Amendment to “FAA Founding Documents, Part 2: Structure of the FAA.” Add Item “XI. EXTENDED MEMBER ABSENCES. Any member of the FAA collective who is BOTH absent and uneachable (by phone, email, or other means) for 3 consecutive meetings of the FAA, may be placed on “Inactive Status” for voting purposes. A member may be placed on Inactive Status only by a majority vote of FAA members present at a scheduled FAA meeting. Inactive Status means that the Inactive member remains a member in all respects EXCEPT that they will be considered a non-member for voting purposes. Inactive Status may be lifted by a majority vote, i.e. by the same procedure by which the temporary suspension was enacted.

Placing chronically-unreachable members on Inactive Status will allow regularly-present members to vote and set policy in spite of extended absences coupled with unreachability by other FAA members. In the event that an absent member has a reasonable explanation for absence and unreachability (e.g. illness, personal tragedy, incarceration), FAA members may take a majority vote to decide how to deal with these unique circumstances. Three simultaneous responsibilities are assumed to apply to all FAA members: (1) Members present at a meeting (either all members or a democratically-chosen designee/volunteer) are responsible for communicating meeting notes to absent members, (2) All FAA members are expected to make a serious effort to both attend meetings and communicate with other members via the listserve, if able to do so, and (3) All members should make an effort, if possible, to assist the Agenda Committee in reminding other members of scheduled meetings.

 

II. Amendment to “FAA Founding Documents, Part 2: Structure of the FAA, II. DELEGATION AND VOTING PRODCEDURES.” Add item (d): “If a proposal and/or resolution is adopted by a majority vote of FAA members at an FAA meeting, it must be made available by one or more of the present members to all absent members for review and commentary as soon as possible after the meeting. If, after the proposal and/or resolution has been made available to absent members for review and comment, no objections have been raised or amendments suggested by any FAA member by the end of the following scheduled FAA meeting, that proposal and/or resolution shall become FAA policy. Any FAA policy may be brought up for discussion, review, amendment, or revocation at any FAA meeting, and proposals and resolutions will be voted on by the procedures outlined in this structure document, Item II. (a)-(c).”

 

III. Amendment to “FAA Founding Documents, Part 2: Structure of the FAA, III. JOINING.” Add Item (c): “Provide to FAA members (1) legal first and last name, (2) email address (if prospective member has one), and (3) phone number (if prospective member has one). If the prospective member does not possess an email address and phone number, they may be allowed, by consent of the majority of FAA members, to provide other contact information, such as a PO Box. We, the FAA, realize that some prospective members may be uncomfortable sharing such information, but we believe it to be necessary for the particular organizing model we espouse.”

 

IV. Amendment to “FAA Founding Documents, Part 2: Structure of the FAA, VII. PUBLIC PARTICIPATON.” Add “This Structure Document is only binding to the members of the FAA. It does not pertain to, or carry weight over, contacts of the FAA, supporters of the FAA, allies of the FAA, or any non-member of the FAA with whom the FAA is engaged in work. Therefore, item VII only pertains to votes that affect issues internal to the FAA Collective. Any individual, group, coalition, planning committe, subcommittee, or other body present at an FAA meeting may vote on any issue that does not directly affect the internal workings, or internal decisions, of the FAA Collective. In other words, the FAA will form constructive working relationships with non-member groups and/or individuals, but only FAA members may vote to set FAA policy.”

 

 

POLICY CHANGE ADOPTED NOVEMBER, 2011

 FAA members have elected, by majority vote, to contribute monthly dues on a purely voluntary basis. Each member voluntarily decides whether or not to contribute, and how much to contribute. Each dues-pledging member accepts responsibility for keeping track of how much they have contributed and how much they may owe. All accountability is maintained by the “honor system,” rather than by compulsion of any kind.

 

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