Planning the 2018 MFPL Membership Meeting


#1

This topic covers planning the 2018 membership meeting covered in this wiki page:
https://support.mayfirst.org/wiki/projects/membership-meeting/2018


#2

To throw the idea out of left field first: What initially led me to May First / People Link was a search for an Internet home for People Who Give a Damn, a not-for-profit dedicated to making it possible for movements for justice and liberty to grow while keeping the people in the movement as a whole, not self-selected leaders, in charge. Ultimately, being in control of communication means being in control of a movement or group. The key technical hack to make shared control possible is random sampling of people to make the decision of when a message should go out to the whole group.

I still advocate that for MFPL, and any mass membership organization trying to be democratic, but in the context of the 2018 membership meeting, the random sample approach could be applied more directly. I’ve since learned this is called sortition, and there’s quite a few people advocating for it: https://www.sortitionfoundation.org/what_is_sortition

For the membership meeting, it could be inviting 8 or 12 members to participate and have a special role in framing initiatives, narrowing down resolutions, or other decision-making. The part of compensating for extra time put into making good decisions has always appealed to me, but i’m not sure how much that would be possible for MFPL. If nothing else it would give the occasion to educate 8 to 12 members directly to try to eliminate political confusion!


#3

Yikes, the photo on that page does not capture a random sampling of people at all. :man_facepalming:t6:
But I do think methodologies like these are interesting and I think there is merit to the usefulness of random sorting and concurrency to allow for more participation in discussion or decision making processes for large groups. In fact we do this all the time in small gatherings like the Technology and Revolution sessions . I think in a way these facilitation techniques have always been a part of popular education.

That said, I don’t find this appealing as an overall structure for this year’s MFPL membership meeting. Also we are looking for ways to encourage more participation, but I don’t think compensation should be the motivating factor. I’d like to see us foster an environment that allows members to establish deeper connections to the organization and to each other. I feel like identity and shared politics might be a key to that.


#4

Based on jamie’s initial proposal I would like to propose that we set a specific theme related to current movement struggles for each of the 8 meetings. Our membership includes a broad range of movements and there is a lot of ground to cover but I think we can pick out a few themes that provide an opportunity for inter-regional and cross border dialogs. I’ll start off with a few ideas that should be augmented, modified or refined.

  • Migrant freedom
  • Feminist organizing principles
  • Black and Afro-(Latinx/Indígena) struggles
  • Community responses to police brutality and militarization
  • Environmental justice
  • Fighting economic injustice and alternative economies

In all of these meetings we want to provide a forum for members doing similar work to come together and share their priorities. We also want to encourage members to reflect on the role technology plays both for and against their organizing and movement work. The goal of each session would be to produce a short list of general or specific ideas members would like to see May First / People Link prioritize and explore.


#5

I agree with Jaime (about the terrifying picture and the general merits of small groups contributing to the whole).

I also think the key to the success of the theme-based groups will be knowing exactly who from our membership we want to recruit to them (and recruiting them directly based on existing relationships) and framing the themes in the way most relevant to the current political environment.

Based on that… I think our strongest themes might be “Community responses to police brutality and militarization” (perhaps framed to include surveillance), “Fighting economic injustice and alternative economies”, “Migrant Freedom”, and I would add Reproductive Justice.


#6

Also… I just expanedthe workplan significantly. Feedback welcome.


#7

Good for the issues. I think we should add what related to:

  • Popular expressions, art and free culture

I think that the most important objective of our meeting is the dialogue and how it feeds us (organizations), for them it is necessary to share readings of the realities and thus arrive at the priorities in which PMEP can contribute.

Maybe we should have a small methodology of a couple of questions. What is the current context? and Where do we want to go? We must encourage people to feel totally free.


#8

The updated work plan looks good jamie. Schedule is tight though. Around which week are we hoping to begin meetings and in which week do we hope to have the last meeting ?

Also, I understand the benefit of recording the small meetings for members who couldn’t be there but I also think this can be intimidating for some people. I think the purpose of the recording should be announced at the start of each meeting with an option to stop recording upon request. Support staff can facilitate this easily by simply moving mumble recording bots out of room upon request. I also think recordings should only be made available via authorized login to https://share.mayfirst.org .


#9

I like pablo’s theme suggestion, I think we’ll have a lot of members interested in that topic.
I also agree with the objective and the plan to outline a small agenda and common questions for each meeting. Publishing those agendas ahead of time will let people know what they’re coming to.


#10

I’m not sure on whether recording the small group discussions is worth
it. In fact, the more I consider it, the more I think we should not record.

Most people who request recordings request it because they couldn’t make
the live version. However, anyone who can’t make a given small group
discussion, should try to make a different one rather than listen to an
old recording.

Also, I suspect very few people will listen.


#11

I’m not saying our members don’t get excited about more meetings but… without changing the seriousness of content or purpose, can we just call it the MFPL Membership Jam? :raised_hands:t5: :fireworks:
We can invite a guest DJ for the “dance party” mumble room for every session. :level_slider::microphone:


#12

I agree with Jamie in not recording small group conversations.

I think announcing that they will be recorded could dismiss the participation live.
I know that many people will intend to listen to it but maybe they do not have the time to invest in something that has already happened.

On the other hand, it seems to me that what we are looking for is interaction and quality in meetings.

I think it is better to bring the notes closer, someone who intends to contribute insurance will take the time.


#13

The idea of the Membership Jam… makes me wonder if we should organize one or two practice sessions for people who have never used mumble - which we could promote in a much more playful way (bring links to your favorite online radio station, etc).


#14

Hi all - I’ve tried to summarize our discussion into a concrete proposal here:

https://support.mayfirst.org/wiki/projects/membership-meeting/2018/schedule

It’s a more details description of what we are planning with concrete dates, etc.

What do you think? I’d like to present a version of this to the strategy team meeting tonight.


#15

I’m reviving this discussion since a lot of decisions have been made since the last comment. In short: this plan, as envisioned, didn’t work out due to lack of response from our membership.

We then organized an expanded leadership committee meeting and invited our membership. Thirty people attended an unanimously approved a vastly scaled down membership meeting. The structure of the meeting is: two audio calls via mumble (one during regular working hours and one during off hours) and a text-based discussion using this discourse tool.

The meeting will primarily focus on two proposals: one is to form a committee to explore changing our structure to a coop and the second is to form a committee to figure out how to significantly expand our membership.