The West Philly branch’s structure is based on David’s proposal that was adopted at the February 2015 branch meeting.
The West Philly branch of Philly Socialists is an autonomous group within Philly Socialists. It exists to further the aim of Philly Socialists—building a working-class organization capable of exerting political power to bring about a more just, democratic, and sustainable society. The branch is the building block of the organization. It recruits new members to Philly Socialists, supports and empowers members of the branch, and seeks to grow its capacity to make meaningful change.
In keeping with the present organizational model of Philly Socialists, the West Philly branch administers projects that Serve the People and Fight the Power. These projects should provide opportunities for branch members to develop their leadership capabilities, connect with unorganized members of the working class, and experience the kind of solidarity born in political struggle.
In addition, the West Philly branch prioritizes its development as a social resource for its members. Getting to know one another and forming bonds outside of our work provides our members with the endurance needed to wage the long, difficult fight to which we are committed.
Branch Meetings and Socials
The work to be carried out by the West Philly branch will be determined by branch members in branch meetings. The West Philly branch must select or suspend its projects with two-thirds approval of voting members. Existing projects may be continued by a majority vote of voting members. The branch may also suspend its present project-oriented focus with a two-thirds vote.
The West Philly branch will meet once a month, at minimum. Agenda items for meetings may be submitted by any branch member prior to the meeting to secretary elected at a previous meeting. The secretary will oversee the organization of the agenda and determine time limits for each item. Branch members may also introduce an agenda item at the start of a meeting. The item may be added to an agenda so long as one-third of members in attendance wish to have it discussed. To protect the right of expression for individual branch members who are unable to gain one-third support for an agenda item, a brief period must be allotted in each meeting for an open discussion of any issue a branch member wishes to bring up. At the end of a time limit for an agenda item, discussion must move to the next topic. However, the time limit for an agenda item may be extended by a majority vote of the meeting.
Meetings will be facilitated by a chair elected at a previous meeting and will utilize a stack procedure for acknowledging speakers and allotting speaking time. The secretary will keep track of stack.
The number of times a member has spoken at a meeting will be noted by the secretary or an additional timekeeper, and those who have spoken less often should be given the right to speak before a speaker who has spoken more often.(This was replaced with some language, that I don’t have, that says they will keep track of who speaks the most and least, but do not need to count the number of times)
The meeting chair is authorized to use their discretion to ensure discussions are fair and participatory. The meeting chair will take care to prevent discussion from being monopolized by those more comfortable addressing groups and work to encourage members to express their views. The meeting chair is authorized to limit a person’s speaking time if they believe the speaker to be unfairly monopolizing meeting time.
The meeting chair must operate with the awareness that socialization has privileged those who identify as male and white with more comfort in political, group, and leadership settings. The meeting chair will take special care to ensure that members who identify as a historically oppressed gender or sexuality, or identify as being a member of a historically oppressed nationality, are not subtly excluded from discussions due to the talkativeness of those with privilege.
The decisions of the meeting chair may be overruled by a seconded motion that gains support of the majority of voting members of the meeting.
The voting members of a branch meeting may empower people to take on tasks as they see fit, electing said persons by a majority vote.
The branch must have a social event for its members each month.
The branch will elect a project leader by a majority vote to be responsible for a project. The project leader may be any member of the branch. The project leader will be authorized to develop the project’s strategy in consultation with branch members and project participants. The project leader will bear responsibility for the successful execution of the project and must ensure the work of the project is carried out based on the consensus of those participating in it. Failure to adequately execute the project’s work or failure to carry that work out democratically are both adequate grounds for the suspension of the project leader by a majority vote of a branch meeting. The project leader is required to make a brief monthly report to members of the branch on project progress. The project leader must submit to questions from branch members at branch meetings.