Spring is growing relatively quickly and there exists an urgency in sharing existing knowledge quickly in order to equip as many members as possible with the traditions of socialism from below. In this regard, students and workers are important audiences for socialist ideas and leadership development.
However, as a new organization 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.
In addition to the “muck of ages” that shape 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 create a leadership development program for Spring members that would prioritize Black, Indigenous, and racialized leadership.
- To provide each participant with an honourarium * equivalent to 7 hours per week, for 32 weeks (approximately 8 months).
* This honourarium is not intended to be a “job” or to replace the voluntary commitment expected of all Spring members, but rather to either supplement members’ existing income or allow members to forgo hours of work in order to free up time for reading, writing, leading, and organizing as members of Spring.
Proposed time frame and cost
32 Weeks: September 14, 2020 to April 26, 2021
Weekly: $175.00 – Per participant: $5,600.00 over the 32 weeks
Total cost for 3 leaders: $16,800
Cost for 2020 = $8,400 & Cost for 2021 = $8,400
The Spring Coordinating Committee would develop a curriculum of 6 introductory, stand-alone classes or reading groups (and associated readings) to serve as introductions to the basics of the Spring Socialist Network. The classes could be run monthly for 6 months, then repeated. Each class or reading group would be a stand-alone session, open to all members (and interested non-members).
Once the curriculum has been developed, participants in the leadership development program would be expected to read for, lead, and organize the classes (with support, from the Coordinating Committee).
Feedback and insights gained in the process would then be used to improve, modify, or maintain the classes, and re-offer them in the future. It is hoped that graduates of the Spring leadership development program would continue to help lead the courses in the future and support leadership program participants in subsequent years.
Leadership training requires more than merely book-learning; it requires a variety of skills development as well. At the same time, Spring needs a systematic means of disseminating existing knowledge about traditions of anti-Stalinist, revolutionary socialism from below. We also need to create space for BIPOC comrades to theorize their own experiences and create new knowledge with which to enrich the socialist tradition.
By combining these projects, Spring could provide targeted leadership development opportunities for BIPOC comrades to read, lead, and organize the classes. It would be a modest, self-contained project where leaders would get experience building, promoting, planning for, carrying, conducting, and assessing the classes.
Crucially, this experience would also be a source of new knowledge and contributions to Spring’s political education, as participants would be in a position to develop and share their own insights, thereby enriching our collective understanding of working-class struggle from the perspectives of BIPOC comrades.
This process of knowledge creation would be enhanced with dedicated time for reading, writing, and analysis. The process of organizing and leading the classes would mean building peoples’ confidence intervening politically and at the same time the technical and logistical aspects of the project means sharing skills with Spring and with each other, including new social media platforms. It might also mean skills in preparing agendas and leading (“carrying”) meetings. And it could offer a chance for everyone to practice longer-term work planning and collective assessment skills.
This pilot project would give participants a clearly delineated set of responsibilities and expectations. At the same time, it would be a crucial and therefore meaningful contribution to urgently-needed infrastructure for Spring. And as mentioned above, it would give participants an opportunity to enrich our collective knowledge as we all learn from the experience of the participating leaders.
- Undertaking this program will require a commitment from all Spring comrades, particularly white comrades to help raise money to fund this important program.
- We would have to ensure that we raise at least as much money in 2021 as we did in 2020 – approximately $20,000.00.
Proposal for Spring Basic Education Programme
That Spring develops 6 stand-alone classes (lasting about 2 hours each class) for Spring members that would be run on a monthly basis, and that could be run twice per year in the future.
Suggested introductory Spring classes:
- Revolutionary journalism: Website as organizer
- Capitalism: How the economy works (or doesn’t)
- Why the international working class?
- Building power: Centering anti-racism and anti-oppression practice
- The state is not neutral: Canada’s violent history of genocide and oppression
- Getting organized for revolution
Over the course of the 32 weeks, each participant would be expected to:
- Publish in Spring magazine an interview with a prominent figure
Each program participant would have a “program project” due by April 26, that would consist of a publishable interview with a prominent figure.
Over the course of the 32 weeks, each participant would be expected to do some research into the political views of the person they intend to interview, develop a set of interview questions, initiate contact, conduct the interview, and prepare it for publication.
Possible interviewees: Pam Palmater; El Jones; Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor; Nick Estes; etc.
- Jointly lead two classes (all six courses would be led in pairs)
- Attend all the classes themselves, regardless of whether they were presenting or not
- Undertake the associated readings for all classes
- Attend Spring meetings as possible (as expected of all Spring members)
- Attend Fight for $15 & Fairness monthly organizing meetings whenever possible
- Meet weekly (1 week with a CC member, the next by themselves) in order to work together to:
- plan and choose the dates for each monthly class
- plan and prepare promotional resources for each class (such as: Facebook events, sample emails, Instagram, etc.)
- strategize to promote the classes to Spring members and their own networks
- talk about the readings they are doing and share learnings as they go
- choose their interviewees and develop questions for their program project
Responsibilities for the Coordinating Committee
- Each program participant would have 2 members of the CC assigned as mentors who would work with each participant on their various assignments, including their term interview project.
- Each semester, CC members would take turns meeting with the group at bi-weekly intervals.
- Each CC member would take responsibility for working with the participants on one of the 6 classes
32 Weeks: September 14, 2020 to April 26, 2021
- August 16: Earliest the proposal could be adopted by Spring convention
- August 28: Application deadline
- August 31: Selections announced
- September 14: Program begins
- September 21: Schedule of monthly courses determined by participants
- October: First course runs in October, then every month through March.
- April: Focus on preparing and finalizing interviews
Participants would meet bi-weekly with a CC member (beginning week of Sept 14)
Participants would meet bi-weekly by themselves (beginning week of Sept 21)
Weekly expectations for participants
In addition to attending Spring meetings whenever possible, participants would be expected to set aside the following hours each week:
- 2 hours to attend weekly participants’ meetings
- 3 hours for reading, preparing, planning, and executing assignments
- 1 hour of flex time saved/used for those weeks when courses take place or when $15 and Fairness meetings are taking place
- 1 hour of flex time saved/used for conversations with CC mentors
- TOTAL Average hours per week = 7 hours *
* This would be in addition to regular Spring activities from writing to attending Spring meetings as possible.