By the Coordinating Committee: Krisna S, Jesse M, Valerie L, Peter H, Pam F, Lisa D, James C, Dave B
When Spring was founded a year ago, the membership created a three-person leadership team, the “Coordinating Committee,” which was tasked with implementing the collective, democratic decisions of the membership and with dealing with the day-to-day and week-to-week tasks of the organization in between membership meetings. At the time, the three members of the Coordinating Committee included these positions:
- Website/publication editor
Valerie Lannon took on the role of Convenor, which organizes all Spring’s meetings, manages communications, and stays in touch with the membership.
Lisa Descary took on the role of Treasurer, which manages and tracks Spring’s finances and spearheads fundraising.
Jesse McLaren took on the role of Editor, which proposes, manages, helps create, and organizes content on the website/publication.
As Spring began to grow, and as we began to do more things (producing more content on the website/publication, organizing more meetings, participating in more social movement activity, etc.), it became clear that we needed more people to help carry the day-to-day work of the organization. Over the last year, the Coordinating Committee has expanded to include five more Spring members. Two of them are Spring’s part-time paid staff members: David Bush and Krisna Saravanamuttu. The three others are Spring members who have organizing and leadership experience from their time in the International Socialists: James Clark, Pam Frache, and Peter Hogarth.
The primary role of the Coordinating Committee, as its name suggests, is to coordinate the activity of the organization. That includes all the tasks that are associated with the original division of labour, as well as sharing in the labour of building and maintaining Spring’s growing infrastructure (both virtual and real), centralizing and sharing all news and information with the membership, providing support to members as they engage in Spring activity, and taking responsibility for all the work that takes place in between Spring meetings.
The current Coordinating Committee generally meets (by Zoom) once a week, usually on Saturday or Sunday, for three hours or so. This is in addition to attending regular Spring meetings, whenever possible, as well as meetings and events in the social movements, where each of us are active. Like most Spring meetings, these meetings begin with a general discussion about the political situation in the world and in our own localities, and then turn their attention to the practical tasks of “what is to be done” from week to week and who is going to do it. The Coordinating Committee operates on the basis that it mainly organizes the work, based on the political direction of the membership, but that the entire membership is involved in carrying it out.
That’s why we’re always trying to share skills (what we bring to Spring, what we learn from each other, what we come up with together) so that all of us can be leaders: leaders in Spring, leaders in our unions and workplaces, leaders on our campuses, leaders in our communities, leaders in the movements, and so on.
At the Spring 2020 convention, we will vote on the membership of the Coordinating Committee for the coming year, which we propose to do formally on an annual basis, with the flexibility of expanding the Coordinating Committee, as needed, in between conventions.
The following Spring members have agreed to stand for election to this year’s Coordinating Committee::
- Krisna Saravanamuttu
- Mina Rajabi Paak
- Jesse McLaren
- Peter Hogarth
- Pam Frache
- Lisa Descary
- James Clark
- David Bush
If any other Spring members are interested in being a member of the Coordinating Committee, and are prepared to participate in its weekly meetings and day-to-day organizing work, please email Lisa Descary: firstname.lastname@example.org. There will also be a last call at the convention itself for any Spring members who are interested in joining the Coordinating Committee.
There will be a more detailed discussion at convention (see the agenda here) about how we conceive of and practice “leadership” in a revolutionary organization: in short, all of us are leaders. Therefore, we need to organize in a way that allows all of us to develop as leaders, gain confidence, learn new skills, and create an open and welcoming environment in which it is okay to make mistakes and learn by doing.
At the convention, we propose to vote on next year’s Coordinating Committee in the following way: all members will be able to cast a vote for each of the candidates who stand for the Coordinating Committee. Each candidate will be required to get a simple majority of votes (50% + 1) of all members voting in order to be elected to the Coordinating Committee.
For example, if a total of ten members stand for the Coordinating Committee, and a total of 30 Spring members vote in the election, each candidate would need to receive a minimum of 16 votes (50% + 1 of 30 voting members) to be elected. This is different from a slate system, in that members will have the chance to cast a vote (or not) for each of the candidates standing for the Coordinating Committee.
Finally, the current Coordinating Committee would like to thank Valerie Lannon, who has recently stepped down from the Coordinating Committee, for the amazing and critical contribution she has made to Spring in the last year, and for all the support and mentorship she provides each of the members. Spring would not be the organization it is today without all Valerie’s insights and contributions. Thank you, comrade! We are happy to know that Valerie plans to continue building Spring in all the areas she has been active since we launched the organization.
The current Coordinating Committee is also really happy that Mina Rajabi Paak has agreed to stand for election to the Coordinating Committee. Mina is a long-time Toronto-based activist and organizer in the post-secondary sector and labour movement, and has been active in Spring since it was founded. Thank you, Mina, for agreeing to stand for the Coordinating Committee.