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NPC Conference Call
9-23-11. 4pm EDT/1pm PDT.

Participants (name and org)

Jamie, Alfredo (MF/PL), Jackie (Sw/oB), Stephanie, (ProjSo), Michael (GGJ), Jamala (FRSO), Walda, Jerome (LRNA), Rosalinda (CSJ), Maureen, Marian (MWRO), Tanya (WILPF), Darryl (AFSC), Brooke (Jubilee), Fred, Oya (DLOC), Monica (Poverty WG), Sarita (JWJ), Ife (EMEAC), Flo (IJAN), Jen (PPEHRC), Derrick (PISAB), Karlos (CMJ), Rose (observer), Sylvia

Unable to be on call: Sara (IJAN), Victor (MINH)

Documents emailed ahead of call for reference:

(1) Proposals for NPC 9/23/11 [Proposals A and D]
(2) USSF 2011 Budget Proposal [Proposal B]
(3) USSF 2012 Processes Budget Proposal [Proposal C]

* Welcome; note takers?
* Roll call (by east to west time zone); new reps?
* Updates/Proposal A: Transition Team reports and proposal; and Call for NPC Position Papers
* Updates: PMA's and 2012 local/regional social forums.
* Updates/Proposal B: 2011 Post-USSF Budget and Temporary Hires
* Feedback/Proposal C: 2012 USSF processes budget
* Proposal D: NPC survey results and in-person meeting dates
* Verbal Proposal E (written proposal coming soon): USSF data sharing and usage 
* Anything else? 
Welcome new reps to NPC
  • Tanya Henderson, Women’s Int’l League for Peace and Freedom (replacing Odile)
  • Ife Kilimanjaro, East Michigan Environmental Action Council (replacing Diana)

Updates - Transition Team proposal and report (Walda)
  • Think it's time to take stock of current political moment. What our relationship is to global social movements.
  • What is organizational form of another USSF?
  • Administration and organizational infrastructure - how does that process serve moving forward in political context?
  • Some organizations are interested in writing short position papers about moving forward with USSF process. If submitted by end of November, can be circulated before NPC face-to-face meeting.
  • People should come after consulting with their orgs before coming to the NPC meeting.
  • Also proposal for how Transition Co-lead team would work with staff.

Additional comments:

  • Maureen -- transition team has not been active, but everyone has been holding different pieces of work.
  • Ife -- At this point we should only spend time on what is necessary to move forward.

Wrap Up Committee (Maureen)
  • Did about 90% of work it was asked to do.
  • Have a couple of wrap up documents they can circulate for review. About 5-6 organizations did not give feedback.

Evaluation and Synthesis (Jackie)
  • Didn't accomplish everything we wanted.
  • Data includes pre, during and post USSF
  • Have most information for during the USSF. On the wiki notes. Please look at Wiki site for summary reports of surveys and workshop observations and other reports on the research and documentation we have done so far. Send any updates you want added or integrated here to Jackie (jgsmithATpittDOTedu):
  • Paring down the notes from last January's logistics debrief meeting. Want to summarize key lessons. Should be ready for January meeting.
  • A major concern of the social forum was when the USSF ended, the transition committee was not able to maintain contact with the first nation community. The linkages built during the USSF were not maintained. The wrap up team reached out consistently to ensure that first nation commentary was included in the debrief process. There was no one to maintain contact and hear remarks from this constituency and they were not a part of the wrap up.

Political Security Committee Proposal (submitted via email by Sara)
  • They have a proposal for moving forward that includes bringing some tools and orientation/training to the January NPC meeting and will work with the Transition Team on where and how it fits into the January agenda. More info to come.

Transition Team changes (Sylvia)
  • Looking for affirmations from the NPC: Several committees have published worked and we think solicitation of the political position papers will aid us in moving forward, especially if we are going to consider another national social forum in the future.
  • Feedback from Strategy Committee: They were responsible for pulling together for putting together conference call and ensuring US representation at the World Social Forum. They are also moving forward with the assembly work.
  • Call for affirmations to move forward with the proposals with a special emphasis on the political position papers as we move towards the in person meeting. Further questions, concerns? Consensus to move forward with Transition Team proposed changes was agreed upon.

Budget, Accounting (Salimah, Sylvia)
  • 2011 Budget (copies sent out): a combination of 2010 budget extension, some previously approved items and September-December 2011. Victor/Salimah trying to come up with actuals.
  • The Praxis Project (fiscal sponsor) account in D.C. is holding over $100,000 in USSF funds. Victor has $9000 in Detroit funds. And $7,500 from Jesse Smith Noyes was recently received.
  • Salimah: we did get the $7,500 grant for the upcoming planning meeting. Not much activity since January. There is about $9,000 in Detroit. Paypal is charging us $30/month, though there hasn't been much activity. The 2010 audit is finished and it is in the Praxis Project audit. Tax returns have been filed for 2010. There is a section on our 990 for the USSF.
  • Question/Statement: Praxis had a good audit process in place. Victor/Salimah did a spreadsheet on the account -- the auditors took the information from Victor, saw the information was accurate. The information stored in 2 cities...much work, was done successfully.
  • 2011 Budget - Sylvia highlighted some things in yellow. These were approved from 2010 to carry over. But there hasn't been much spending in the line items. One that is the most unclear is the line item on appreciation. Not really used.
  • Comment: Is there a status Victor getting some compensation for his work? And Sylvia too for carrying this work forward? This is the item Michael will speak to.
  • Comment: When we reach the point where we write the big report on the USSF, there should be something on the financial area. So we can show how the funds were used.
  • Kudos to Salimah for the USSF finance reference manual that came out of the social forum. This document is important for the process as a whole and the audit.
  • Salimah: We had 2011 Praxis Project board meeting in August...the USSF fiscal policy management section was accepted. Salimah will pass it on to the next transition team.

Proposal for Personnel/Staffing (Michael)
  • The other good news: We ended up with a surplus again - Should feel good about that
  • Staffing Proposal -- to manage a base of operations that we need through the end of the year (and through the NPC meeting) -- 2 contract positions:
1) Sylvia coordinate the logistics and gather the process together
2) Victor continue bookkeeping through the end of the year
  • Contracts to wrap-up in Detroit are finished
  • Short term discretionary grant of $7500 from Jessie Smith Noyes (JSN) is for the purposes of funding the NPC meeting. Submitted another grant for $15,000 for future funding.
  • Questions / Concerns: Marian -- Who is charging $30/month? Paypal. Move to get that off the books
  • Sylvia: Can we let the Resource Dev Committee look at the Paypal? There have been reasons we've used it for fundraising appeals in 2011, we may continue to need it. Also to look into alternatives?
  • Marian: Yes, let's look into potential alternatives.
  • Sylvia: We'll look into other suggestions / Walda supports
  • There is a line item about documentation/printing. Are we waiting until January for clarification? Just need a process for accessing it and producing documentation.

2012 Budget (Michael)
  • We put this together in order to submit for JSN - We wanted to get NPC feedback.
  • There's not money in this budget for another US Social Forum in 2012.
  • There are line items for local, regional social forums as well as PMAs.
  • A little line item for support on communication/database maintenance, etc.
  • Money available for Working Groups/Committees to meet.
  • Money for coordinator/accountant/benefits.
  • Need a process to submit for access to the line-items.

PMA Process Update (Stephanie)
  • PMA working group has been moving forward. Sent out to the NPC/TT some updates. We committed to pull together people from the different assemblies. We came together in February. There is still low capacity to coordinate this effort - decentralized and yet connected to one another. But a high capacity to organize the assemblies, whether local, local-national, sectoral, etc. The PMA process is getting used. Detroit came back together and had a successful one in April.
  • Biggest Q's: how do we do it? how does it work? Need different ways to describe it. Detroit was such a good example, we produced a video in conjunction with the organizers there. It was sent out. We'll get it on the website. Also, sent an update of the assemblies in motion - formerly incarcerated - or those that are going to happen. The assembly to end poverty, for example. Priorities - to build up web presence. Give as many examples as can.
  • Structure is loose but functional. Want to have an annual meeting of the coordinators.
  • We've been running this out of the anchor organizations. Would be great to pay for the toolkit to get printed and sent out.
  • East Bay Social Forum trying to come together.
  • Project South working with partners to build a possible SE social forum.
  • A glitch on website that hopefully will get fixed. Want to make sure that people can link to this and post on it.
  • In March, the PMA process was asked to hold conversation about the USSF database/listserv. We held this at the end of March. April we sent a mass update out to the full USSF list announcing PMAs & National Actions. We are trying to keep up with the political moment and supporting PMA anchor organizations to do these assemblies.

  • Ife: A question about the 2012 budget -- How can set a budget to support actions that we don't know are going to take place?
  • Sylvia: Good question. We are just looking for feedback. Political analyses that influence this budget are still in the works.
  • Michael: there should be some kind of process for a 2012 budget and we need people to start thinking about what we need.
  • Sylvia -- maybe what we can leave with is general support for the budget and clarify more in the near future.
  • Marian -- sounds good.
  • Steph -- approve the budget as a general forecast. But work out a process over the next few months so that we are clear moving forward.
  • Michael - this is a starting point for people to react to and the next group can take it and build on it.
  • Sylvia: we still have money in the budget in the current budget of $12,000 for working groups, local and regional meets, etc. There is not a process for accessing the money. The PMA folk have used about $3,000; the remaining funds are not used and I have not seen a formal proposal or requests for the funds.
  • Jerome: in the 2012 budget, we might want to put a line in there on preparations for the next USSF. We visited the different cities for possible USSF sites. We might want a line item in there for that travel in 2012.
  • Sylvia - do we have general support for the budgets and using the proposed 2012 budget as a starting point for looking at budget for next year? Further questions, concerns? We have consensus on 2011 and 2012 budgets and temporary staffing.

NPC Survey (Sylvia)
  • On of the docs sent out includes a summary of the information received on NPC Survey. We are in a good space to start updating the NPC information.
  • Many orgs indicated that they could write one or more position papers. Sevral orgs indicated they could continue on the NPC in 2012 but several others need more info on the direction of the NPC before they can decide.
  • A majority of organizations indicated the best date for an in-person meeting is January 6-8, 2012. There are still about 18 organizations that Sylvia hasn't heard from but is following up with. Can we commit to a date?
  • We still need some feedback on the location. 6 organizations were nominated or volunteered to host the meeting. SWU (San Antonio) and MWRO (Detroit). The recommendation is to finish out in Detroit. For political reasons and history of the work we are doing, many thought that Detroit would be good.
  • Maureen: If you want to see a continued assault on working people, then you come to Detroit. We can see if we can get some space in a retreat house (St. Paul’s) so we don't have to leave. Or we can go someplace downtown. We (MWRO) would be glad to make the inquiries and have it work.
  • Will there be travel assistance for this?
  • Sylvia: There are some monies set aside for it. We need to clarify the priorities/criteria for this. There will be something and we need to let people know.
  • Rosalinda: Agree, should be in Detroit.
  • Sylvia: Further questions, concerns? I'm going to go with consensus -- next NPC meeting in Detroit, MI, Jan 6-8, 2012.

Registration Data Sharing (Stephanie)
  • Sylvia: There is a verbal proposal on using the registration data for mobilization and outreach. What we are trying to do after a lot of conversation is get to a place to use this valuable resource for the work now and for building the USSF in the future.
  • Responsibility to use wisely and protect people's personal information.
  • Stephanie: Protect the participants. And have something on the front end so that people can choose what information gets shared.
  • Request that NPC offer to share the database with PMA and manage it. The database is only as useful as it is updated and cleaned up. The planning committee of the ussf could have access if they are working on planning for the ussf. We went through a pilot process in April. We drafted up different pieces of this.
  • Need a general affirmation that we are using the database, getting it cleaned up, get the protocol developed to keep it safe and useful. Want to know that we are moving in the right direction.
  • Sylvia: Many pieces of the information will be shared with local and regional organizers. And people can connect with a national list if they doing national work. People asked if NPC could have access to ussf data? It was affirmed at NPC in Jan 2010 but we didn't come up with protocol. Other questions: Do we keep two different lists? How to keep it updated? And so on.
  • The proposal would be that the PMA take over this role. And that the NPC can access the data.
  • Maureen: Concern -- The poverty working group has morphed into the Assembly to End Poverty. Trying to organize a march to Washington. We've been talking about what the right role is and how to get permission from the NPC to get on the USSF e-blast list. We want to request about $2 from each person to help offset the cost of calls and other activities. The assembly will need some help financially. How can we get some help from the people on the list.
  • Steph: want to put out what the process is. This initial stage we are trying to figure out how to use this list. The guidelines may include that you can't fundraise directly. But there may be a link to what the assembly is doing so that the people on the list could access information. The database stays on one place and the database is updated and managed. And if people are using regional or local list, they can return the updated/cleaned up list. And there should be a way for people to unsubscribe from the list. We need to work out some nuts and bolts first. There are some questions, and we need help thinking through the final proposal.
  • Sarita: Was part of a group that raised this question...we've been building the USSF infrastructure with names/contact information of who can mobilize around some of the key issues of the moment. does the USSF and PMA process fit into these efforts that come about because of the many crises that are coming up. I am in support of this. I am willing to be a part of the conversations. Angst around best connecting people who are transformed by the forum processes to take action. There are protocols that need to be developed, yes. But it is worth taking the next steps to explore the potential.
  • Question: What would be the best process? Who can be a part of this? Jaime, Oya, Brooke, Michael, Maureen, Sarita, Steph, Sylvia are willing to be a part of the conversations.
  • Question: The list is being centralized under the PMA? No. It is centralized with USSF-NPC and it should stay there. We could have a written proposal by the next meeting.
  • Further questions, concerns? Affirmation: we will move forward on this proposal to share the USSF-NPC database with the PMA. Details to come.
  • Next NPC conference call? Possibly mid-November. Next meeting: 3-6 weeks. Keep this on your radar.

Political Position Papers
  • Political Position papers. Hopefully we will have some papers in by next NPC cal.
  • They will be due by end of November.
  • By October 1, Transition Team will try to have a process in place related to political position papers. At minimum we will have all of December to collect them and review them for January. Everyone needs to be ready to step up and move more quickly.
  • Comment: Shouldn't over-process this. Say that we want the papers to come in. Need to solidify it.
  • The TT co-leads will meet to clarify the questions that people will write on.
  • Comment: Agree that 2-4 pages and not longer.
  • Sylvia: we'll get something drafted and sent out. All writing should be in by the end of November.
  • Should have a deadline to get the call out by the end of September, we should have something ready. (the guidelines)

Additional Items?
  • Salima: Moving forward, need a conversation on the role of the fiscal sponsor. If the USSF wants Praxis to continue, should let them know or ask. Have a conversation with Makani.
  • Comment: We should put something in writing to make it official. Perhaps we can do it at the meeting in January. Perhaps the Resource Development Committee can start those conversations.
  • Maureen: Want to have it restated...what are the staff considerations starting today? If we are going to have Victor and Sylvia help organize stuff over the next few months, we want to make sure that they get paid. They both do a lot of work.
  • Rosalinda: The smaller organizations that are doing the work need a lot of support. The political situation will get worse. We should look at the resources and perhaps consider regional directors. 1/2 or 1/4 time regional organizers.
  • Jerome: The budget issue should be suggested in writing so that it can be considered in the 2012 budget. The issue of support.
  • Walda: The 2011 budget, the coordinator is 1/2 time September/October then it went to 1/4 time in November/December. But Michael said that we go through the NPC and we should revisit if quarter time is enough. The bookkeeper is quarter time too. The Resource Committee should revisit this.
  • Jerome: There has to be a proposal in writing that says it should be 'this' as opposed to 'that.'
  • Sylvia: staffing is a larger question that is related to overall infrastructure/logistics.
  • Maureen: Will put thoughts in writing with a rationale.

End of Meeting.