Over the last month or so there has been quite a bit of discussion within IOPS on interim goals. Most recently Michael Albert posted a blog titled "2,500 and Climbing". Central to Michael's proposal is a recruitment drive over a six month period that would take the membership level from the current 2500 to 10,000. Michael also speculates that such efforts, combined with a commitment to meet with other members in the area, should result in the establishment of 50 to 100 local chapters.
So to summarise, as a platform on which to launch IOPS, Michael wants:
- 10,000 members.
- (Hopefully) 50 to 100 chapters.
- within 6 months of launching the recruitment drive.
Michael also puts forward the proposal that:
"If we cannot or do not by our efforts attain at least 7,500 members (or, at any rate, three quarters of whatever our full goal turns out to be) by May 1, 2013 - we strategically reassess the future of IOPS including the possibility that our conception is fundamentally flawed."
I do like this proposal but I also fear that it lacks sufficient substance as a platform on which to launch IOPS. I think this for two main reasons:
- The 50 to 100 chapters are not clearly stated as an actual condition to be met before IOPS can launch - and therefore, it seems to me, that there is no guarantee that on meeting this criteria of 10,000 members we will have any meaningful organising at the grassroots level.
- There also seems to be no criteria that guarantees that these members will be spread across a satisfactory geographical area at the international level.
Due to these concerns I would like to make the following modifications to Michael's proposal.
First I would like to replace the hope of 50 to 100 local chapters with an actual figure. The number I would like to propose as an interim target is that a minimum of one tenth of the over all membership be engaged in local chapter activities. This would mean that in addition to recruiting 10,000 members we also need to reach a level of local organising involving a minimum of 1000 members. It might also be helpful to say what such activities could be. Here is a list that I proposed in an earlier blog (Interim Goals):
- For these members to be regularly organising face-to-face meetings at the local chapter level, practicing self-management etc.
- For these chapters to be engaged in self-education in which members develop a good understanding of IOPS key documents - our values, vision, structure, etc.
- For these chapters to be engaged in recruitment drives to ensure that (1) the membership is increasing, and (2) they are attempting to build a membership which reflects the community in which they are based in terms of race, gender, class, age, etc.
- For these local chapters to be doing outreach within their community and workplaces, raising awareness of IOPS, etc.
- For these local chapters to be networking with other local chapters within their region in preparation for the establishment of National branches.
- For members and chapters to be engaged, in solidarity with the broader left, in existing campaigns for social justice.
- For chapters to be posting regular reports on the IOPS website on organisational issues for others to see and comment on.
- For chapters to be implementing some sort of membership dues system as a means of raising funds for activities, including the formal launch of IOPS.
In addition to the above change I would also like to propose an addition to Michael's criteria. To ensure that the active membership is not geographically clustered too closely together I would like to propose that we also make it a condition that the 1000 members need to be organising within a minimum of 10 different countries / National branches.
Summary of new proposal...
So to summarise I propose the following criteria for our interim targets:
- A minimum of 10,000 members
- A minimum of 1000 members engaged in local chapter activities.
- A minimum of local chapter activity in 10 different countries.
Timeframe and process...
I would like to propose that we give ourselves 12 months to meet this criteria and, in-keeping with Michael's proposal, on reaching half our targets - 5000 members / 500 active members / in 5 countries - we launch a project that looks at organising a convention to formally launch IOPS.
Also in-keeping with Michael's proposal I would like to suggest that if we fail to meet these targets within the given timeframe that we reevaluate the future of IOPS based on this experience.
Replacing the target of 50 to 100 local chapters with the goal of 1000 members committed to local chapter activities will better guarantee IOPS has some grassroots organising before we launch. Adding the 10 countries to the criteria also guarantees that IOPS has some international credibility.
I therefore claim that these revisions to Michael's proposal constitute a more sound basis on which to launch IOPS.