The Spring Socialist Network is pleased to announce that its second BIPOC Leadership Development Program will begin in January 2022 and last for 28 weeks.
We are currently seeking applications from BIPOC members of Spring who are interested in participating in the 2022 program.
More information about the 2022 program, participation criteria, and how to apply is listed below. We have also included some words of encouragement from participants of the inaugural BIPOC Leadership Development Program, which took place from 2020 to 2021.
On behalf of the entire organization, the Spring Coordinating Committee would like to express our continued gratitude to last year’s participants for their amazing and inspiring contributions to the Program. Spring continues to be transformed by this critical work and we look forward to building on it in next year’s program.
About the Program
Spring’s BIPOC Leadership Development Program is based on this proposal, which was discussed and unanimously endorsed by Spring members at Spring’s annual convention in June 2020.
The same principles and vision of the original proposal inform this one. The only differences will be in the start and end times and in the particular content, tasks, and projects that are developed for the 2022 participants. The Program aims to engage participants based on their skills and interests, as well as their needs and aspirations, and to develop its content accordingly.
Briefly, the BIPOC Leadership Development Program is based on the recognition that:
Spring is not immune to the legacy of white supremacy and normalized subordinations that exist in society generally and – by extension – within revolutionary socialist organizations, unless addressed specifically and deliberately [and with an intention to change].
In addition to the “muck of ages” that shapes consciousness, there are real, material constraints that operate more generally on Black, Indigenous, and racialized workers that can reinforce pre-existing dynamics of white supremacy and normalized subordinations.
Therefore, addressing white supremacy and normalized subordinations requires more than just an ideological struggle inside and outside the organization. It also requires thinking systematically about how to relieve material constraints and address invisible burdens carried by Black, Indigenous and racialized workers in order to create conditions in which their leadership can flourish.
To that end, Spring’s BIPOC Leadership Development Program is a key ongoing priority that seeks to support and develop BIPOC leaders as well as the membership in its entirety.
In 2020-21, the Program was based on a routine of seven hours of activity per week. The main activity was to plan, organize, and lead a series of six educational meetings over the full course of the Program. A total of three participants took on all aspects of organizing the meetings: organizing logistics and promotions, reading and researching the topics, preparing and giving the presentations, and leading the discussion and answering questions.
Each participant was responsible for co-presenting two topics, which allowed them to cover a total of six topics:
- Capitalism: How the economy works (or doesn’t) (October 22, 2020)
- The state is not neutral: Canada’s violent history of genocide and oppression (November 19, 2020)
- Why the international working class? (December 10, 2020)
- Building power: Centering anti-racism and anti-oppression practice (January 28, 2021)
- Getting organized for revolution (February 18, 2021)
- Revolutionary journalism (March 25, 2021)
A seventh meeting was organized in response to discussions that emerged among participants:
- Socialists and elections: What brings change? (January 31, 2021)
The Program provided participants with dedicated time, resources, and support to deepen their understanding of each topic, but also to incorporate their own insights, knowledge, and experiences. In the process, they helped transform Spring’s collective understanding of each topic and made original and lasting contributions to revolutionary theory and practice.
At the end of the Program, participants embarked on a final project: interview a leading BIPOC activist and publish the interview in Spring, amplifying their work and profile. One interview has already been published, while others are in the works.
Participants attended at least one Program meeting per week, in addition to other regular Spring meetings and activities. Members of the Coordinating Committee were available to attend Program meetings and provide ongoing feedback, mentorship, and support to participants.
The 2022 Program aims to develop a similar routine of activity, although the topics may vary and other activities and projects may be considered.
Based on the success of last year’s program, as well as Spring’s 2021 Fund Drive, we have enough resources to expand the number of participants from three to four.
Spring encourages all BIPOC members who have any interest at all in the Program to consider applying. Our aim is to make the Program as accessible as possible.
To that end, we propose the following minimal criteria to apply:
- Be a dues-paying member of the Spring Socialist Network
- Have a basic understanding of Spring’s politics
- Participate in at least one Spring activity per month
- Be prepared to commit a minimum of five hours of work per week to the Program for the full 28-week period
Before you apply, we encourage you to read the original BIPOC Leadership Development Program proposal, which explains more fully the vision and purpose of the Program.
Program Participants will receive an honorarium amounting to $3,500 for the full 28 week program. This represents the equivalent of $25 per hour for 5 hours per week, paid on a monthly basis, for their participation in the Program.
For clarity, this is not an employment contract, but rather an honorarium for training. It is intended to allow participants to forgo other forms of paid employment and/or to supplement existing income in order to free up time to read, lead, and contribute to the Spring’s theoretical development and the body of socialist ideas.
The general breakdown of weekly Program activity is as follows:
- 1 hour to attend weekly Program meetings
- 3 hours to read, prepare, plan, and conduct the work of the Program
- 1 hour of flex time saved/used to attend monthly Justice for Workers meetings (usually 2 hours) and for those weeks when educationals take place
- TOTAL average hours per week = 5 hours
How to apply
BIPOC members may apply by completing this short online application form.
The application provides members with the opportunity to express why they’re interested in the Program and what they hope to get from it. It also allows members to confirm their understanding of the Program’s expectations and their availability to participate.
The deadline to apply is Friday, November 26 at 5:00 p.m. EST.
Spring’s Coordinating Committee will be responsible for selecting and notifying the participants by Monday, December 6, 2021, when the results will be announced to the rest of the organization.
For more information, email email@example.com.
Reflections from past participants
“After being accepted as part of Spring’s BIPOC Leadership Development Program, it soon became more than just time well spent in forwarding my activism and all I’ve learned about socialism. It was a great one-of-kind opportunity to reflect on why I identify as a socialist, literally helping me realize and be bold enough to announce that I am a revolutionary journalist at the core. Also, it was so uplifting to be able to practice leadership skills and to share in a place where others were eager to learn from my personal experiences as a BIPOC person living in Canada. I would definitely recommend this experience to other BIPOC comrades.”
- Loretta Fisher, 2020-21 participant
“Spring’s BIPOC Leadership Development Program was an excellent opportunity for me to match my lived experience with theory and to share my own insights with others who are passionate about making the world a better place. In particular, it allowed me to link one of the largest mass movements in the 21st century to our political practice as leftists in the Canadian state, and to access mentorship and connections with experienced activists who taught me some of the ropes of political organizing.”
- Mariam Agra, 2020-21 participant