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Organizing Committee Meeting, Project South, Atlanta, GA

Organizing Committee Meeting, October 22, 2009

at Project South, Atlanta, Ga

What is the role/difference between the NPC and Organizing Committee.

Organizing Committee is made up of reps from the National Working Groups and the Detroit Local Organizing Committee. It mostly addresses the logistical needs of organizing the USSF. The OC assures that all of these groups are coordinating with each other. It also requires a higher level of commitment to the work.

The National Planning Committee (NPC) guides the overall political direction of the USSF. Members may not be able to contribute the same level of work to organizing the USSF, but it is important that their voice is represented in the process.

In July the NPC created a division of labor between the NPC and OC. The NPC will decide overall political decisions like the plenaries, themes and budget. The OC will handle most of the logistical decisions that will need to be made on a regular basis.

In July there was also a proposal to create Constituency Groups.

A lot of logistical decisions are also political. For instance,

Sticking points are decision-making and access to resources. If NPC is intended to be large, it would need strong proposals that come from the working groups and OC.

Communication is really essential. There are detailed security notes that have gone on the wiki. No one has responded. How do we use the tools at our disposal to communicate?

We need to clarify the process for budget and expenses.

How are working groups formed? Is it an open process or is it like the WSF International Council where there are only 5 or 6 commissions?

Maureen: NPC is like Board of Directors that decides policies. Decisions about overall policies is decided there. The Organizing Committee implements. Don't support working groups submitting proposals to NPC. This implies that Resources WG will raise the money. Everyone should be responsible for raising money.

How do we manage and coordinate all of the different fundraising efforts that will happen.

Tammy: There is more work to do than the time to do it. The function of the OC is 1) to lay out all of the political discussions that need to happen, 2) coordinate the overall work. All of us as a body are responsible for raising funds and doing outreach. ID discussions that need to happen and decisions that need be made. ID when a discussion is larging than the working group or OC. Is concerned about forming constituency groups based on identity. It could further fragment us.

Diana S: We need to have an understanding of how many is raised and allocated. Volunteers should feel appreciated for the work that they are doing.

Tom: Money is raised for a specific function.

Michael: One of our main tasks this week is to decide on our spending priorities. We have tried to do a participatory process to develop the budget but WGs are viewing this as proposals that will be funded by the NPC. We are trying to prevent political fights later and staff from being blindsided by funding requests. So we need to determine what are the priorities, the process for making ongoing spending decisions, authorize folks to make those decisions and back them up.

Sylvia: We need to establish a process and move on. It won't be a perfect process. (Sylvia will add concerns about Interim C-Team centralization, accountability. Questions about if all WGs, committees are equal and are budget issues also equal)

Will: As coordinator, need to be clear where certain decisions get made. For instance does the DLOC make suggestions about agenda items for the OC and NPC? Being sure to also identify questions and decisions that DLOC needs to be consulted on. If new working groups form, what are their responsibilities? Limitless things that could be formed, how does that connect with the NPC and the budget?

Cindy: This conversation is bringing up the role of the NPC. Make space to have political conversations. Set political tone and overall frame of the forum - ideologies, the practice, the forms of organizations, etc. We need to send time this weekend to understand the paticipatory budgeting process. What are the principles and protocols on fundraising and how money gets decided on. What are the things that have broader implications that we are responsible for? Need to give autonomy for folks to do the work but also need to ID what are the conversations that require broader buy-in. We also need to determine what is accountability, what is quorum? Participation by folks in the C-team and different working groups has been inconsistent.

Dianne: need to break up in smaller committees to hash out some of these questions, to provide proposals for the NPC (working groups, fundraising protocols, etc.)Need to plan political discussions. If we structure those in, that will be a good way to create the level of trust that we need to have.

Sustainability: Food, water, bikes, but more than just logistics.

Sylvia: The DLOC committees started before some of the WGs, and the national and local groups have not all linked up. One question we have to address is how the DLOC and WGs integrate.

Steph: let's flag what we do need to discuss, how does accountability work with something this massive. Some of these questions are really new. Last time we only had 1 staff person. We had Health and Healing group that never got added to the national WGs. We need to determine work priorities and then the spending priorities follow. What do we want to land over the next 3 days so we leave feeling really good.

Tom: sustainability means moving forward environmental health and integrity as well as social justice

Reg: What is the working group, what are committees, what are constituencies group. In February and June this will all look different again

Quentin: How would groups be able to come in and be part of the working groups or the NPC?

Current structure: Do we affirm this? Yes, unanimous. Woohoo!

Reg: Now how are we going to make this work?

What do we want to address this weekend?

  • Money, communication, decision-making authority, accountability for making sure the work gets done, differentiate between Working Groups, Constituency Groups and Committees and definitions
  • Leaving this weekend with a clear understanding of the frequency of the meetings
  • How often we meet face-to-face - OC may need more face-to-face time and NPC may not need to meet as often--functionality

Will, Alicia, Oya, Cindy, Stephanie, Rocio, Michael will develop recommendations for NPC to make decisions. Review documents that already exist and are being developed.

Alicia: Vetting of the agenda? Program/Culture Working Group has a proposal to extend the time of the discussion for the consulta.

Sylvia: we may not be able to extend more time on discussion items but rather need to insert new items to the agenda