2023-12-14 General Meeting

2012-12-14 General Meeting
Presentation
Recording
Transcript
Drive Folder

Attendance
Campaign Coordinator: @chima
Membership Coordinator: @HipGnosis
Treasurer: @Turcotte
Secretary: @Robert_H
Members: @Joanna @collectivestruggle +1 guest

Notice: I (@chima) think I messed up wiring the microphone/speaker into the laptop because there is no audio in the recording. I apologize for that.

Minutes of the Last Session
No modifications or changes to the minutes of the 2023-12-13 Steering Committee Meeting Minutes & 2023-11-27 General Meeting Minutes. Motion to approve the minutes; motion passed unanimously.

Reports of Officers and Committees
No reports.

Steering Committee Nominations
The following people (in alphabetical order) were nominated for a position. Bolds for positions nominees accepted.

  • Chris: Treasurer, Campaign Coordinator
  • Harpreet: Campaign Coordinator, Treasurer
  • Joanna: Membership Coordinator
  • Paolo: Secretary
  • Reilly: Membership Coordinator, Secretary
  • Roby: Secretary, Membership Coordinator

All positions were unopposed. @Robert_H made a motion for “where there be one nominee, we elect them acclamation collectively.” This motion was seconded and approved.

A motion was then made by @Robert_H to elect the nominees by acclamation. This was seconded by @collectivestruggle and unanimously approved by all the members present.

Tenant Union
The first TU meeting was moved to after mid-January to give us time to reach out to tenants ahead of time and involve them in planning out the first meeting.

Palestine
Announced a phone bank event on Sunday and a rally being held by 209forPalestine on Saturday

Reminder
“Emma’s Tender Hair Touch for Children” on January 6

After the meeting was over, we had a long discussion about some of the positives and negatives of our experience in WCU so far. We also set up a list of priorities for 2024.




POSITIVES

  • We started!
  • We have a structure/bylaws already in place
  • Meetings are accessible due to most meetings because either hybrid or online
  • We created a leftist organization in San Joaquin County; it may be the first socialist member-based organization in the county
  • Collaborated with other organizations, including TANC, NCVDSA, YDSA, PRIDE CENTER, OCRFI-Fourth International and Socialist Organizer, Clean-Up Stockton, Luis Magana and Corn Day, 209forPalestine
  • Made new friends
  • Canvassed for Tenant Union
  • Held a skill share
  • Cleaned up parks
  • We wrote a letter for OCRFI in response to their invitation to their conference

NEGATIVES

  • Too many meetings. Next year, we will move to one general meeting a month. The current schedule led to too much focus on short-term plans (meetings every 2 weeks meant we tended to only plan 2 weeks out). This also led to a focus more on meetings than action.
  • Overall, there is a lack of clarity on our short-term and long-term goals. Although we have good records (meeting recordings and minutes), there is no easy way to see what is being worked on and where people can plug in to help.
  • We need to use more project management techniques such as checklists, step-by-step SOPs, and kanban boards to see what is done, in progress or done
  • Bigger, fewer general meetings might help with recruitment if we discuss where we are in specific projects/goals during them
  • We need more video/audio content, even if it does not look professional
  • Connecting with people before asking them to take action; going to other people’s events
  • We need to put faces to WCU so we do not look like an anonymous organization when someone looks at our social media
  • Clearer instructions on what an event or action actually involves
  • We need fewer failure points where one person being out grinds things to a halt

PRIORITIES NEXT YEAR

  • Recruitment
  • Relationship building events
  • Clearer/lower barrier of entry to participate; it should not feel like volunteering
  • Delegation. Steering should make specific asks
  • Up-to-date schedule, track skill sets, do more 1 on 1s with members
  • Road map/kanban board for progress
  • Working Class Thursdays - trying to schedule WCU actions/events + GM + Reading Group Meetings on Thursdays and move campaign/side quest/committee meetings to other days. Thursdays should focus on action and participation.
  • Mondays after the General Meeting should be “Working Meetings,” where everyone is invited to hang out and work on whatever project/process needs to be worked on

TASKS

  • Steering committee needs to review the bylaws, per the bylaws
  • Renting out the street for the TU
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If I missed anything, or if you’d like to continue the discussion, please add it below!

POSITIVES:

  • checking in on members sick or in distress
  • getting the opportunity to try new things; being open to making mistakes & learning from them
  • meeting and speaking with people I may never have had the chance to otherwise
  • the moments before or after an event just joking around and getting to know a little bit more about one another
  • multiple members gaining the experience of leading a meeting

NEGATIVE:

  • multiple communication channels exist–without clear direction on how each should be used–instead of a centralized place for all discussions, coordination, notifications, votes in-between general meetings, etc.

In at least two places, our bylaws make mention of having communication channels authorized/approved by membership (See Article IV, Section 4 and Article VI, Section 4, Subsection 4.2). WhatsApp was never agendized and voted on at General Meeting. It was created, and then we were sort of just told that we should join it.

I raised my concerns during one of the non-General/non-Steering Committee Meetings that I thought adding WhatsApp would be problematic insofar as it had the potential to lessen the already low engagement with the Discourse Forum. And, at the time, I also didn’t have a smart phone to sign up for WhatsApp (*even if you have a laptop, WhatsApp requires you to sign up with your phone. You can then use it on another device like your laptop. But you have to pair it using the app on your phone first.). I worried that my inability to access it would leave me disconnected from the group. However, I was sympathetic to the argument that Working Class Unity members needed a more informal place to share funny memes and have casual conversations. Although, since its introduction, its use has grown outside of that purpose. It’s where people discuss their availability for events. It’s where people cast votes. And it seems increasingly like a place where WCU business is conducted.

I’m not suggesting that membership should use the forum if the majority of us just don’t want to have it as a platform. But I think we could have benefited from some debate & discussion around WhatsApp’s use, and revisiting possible alternatives like Discord, prior to its implementation.

In the future, I ask that we consider how things that are tools for some (especially technology) can be barriers to participation for others.

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NEGATIVE:

  • Steering Committee Meetings were cancelled or rescheduled either without advanced notice or very short notice. Article VI, Section 2 of our bylaws states, “The Steering Committee shall hold regular meetings open to the membership.” These meetings cannot be considered open to the general membership if the only people who know about them are Steering Committee members.
  • Membership Committee & Education Committe Meetings lacked structure (no agenda), and as a result, were mostly unproductive; had some dominating of the speaking space that did not always allow for all attendees to provide input
  • presentation slides not available for review before General Meetings and little detail is provided in Google Docs created during agenda planning
  • a lot of time spent on things (Ex: creating a flow chart during the first TU Zoom Meeting) that were ultimately never utilized/referenced or not of immediate need (Ex: learning how to track tenant engagement through various tools like Airtable & Zapier before we’ve even sorted out how to generate engagement) in comparison to more pressing issues like obtaining tax exempt status
  • the calendar is not regularly updated
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