Solidarity Federation Constitution
(last amended, November 2020)
Section 1: Affiliation to the Solidarity Federation
1a) Conditions of Affiliation
Affiliation to the Solidarity Federation is conditional on agreement to abide by the Aims, Principles and Constitution and on the payment of all applicable subscriptions.
Certain workers have roles and interests that are incompatible with the aims and principles of anarcho-syndicalism and are barred from membership. These include:
police and prison officers
those who have the power to restrain or imprison in detention centres of all varieties
bailiffs and landlords
full-time trade union officials (see Appendix)
officers or holders of executive positions in political parties
those who have ultimate power to hire and fire or those whose primary role in the workplace is to hire and fire.
1b) The Aims of the Solidarity Federation
The Solidarity Federation is a revolutionary union initiative, a working class organisation which seeks the abolition of capitalism and the state. Capitalism because it exploits, oppresses and kills working people and wrecks the environment for profit worldwide. The state because it can only maintain hierarchy and privilege for the classes who control it and their servants; it cannot be used to fight the oppression and exploitation that are the consequences of hierarchy and the source of privilege. In their place we want a society based on workers' self-management, solidarity, mutual aid and libertarian communism.
That society can only be achieved by working class organisations based on the same principles – revolutionary unions. These are not trades unions, only concerned with “bread and butter” issues like pay and conditions. Revolutionary unions are means for working people to organise and fight all the issues, both in the workplace and outside, which arise from our oppression. We recognise that not all oppression is economic, but can be based on gender, race, sexuality or anything our rulers find useful. Therefore, revolutionary unions fully support and encourage organisation in all spheres of life that consciously parallels that of the society we wish to create; that is, organisation based on mutual aid, voluntary cooperation and direct democracy, and opposed to domination and exploitation in all forms.
We are committed to building a new society within the shell of the old in both our workplaces and the wider community. Unless we organise in this way, politicians, some claiming to be revolutionary, will be able to exploit us for their own ends.
The Solidarity Federation consists of Locals and Industrial Networks which support the formation of future revolutionary unions and are centres for working class struggle on a local level. Our activities are based on Direct Action, action by workers ourselves, not through intermediaries like politicians and union officials; our decisions are made through participation of the membership.
We welcome all working people who agree with our Aims and Principles, and who will spread propaganda for social revolution and revolutionary unions. We recognise that the class struggle is worldwide and are affiliated to the International Workers' Association whose Principles of Revolutionary Unionism we have adopted.
1c) The Principles of Revolutionary Unionism
i) Revolutionary unionism, basing itself on the class struggle, aims to unite all workers in combative economic organisations that fight to free themselves from the double yoke of capital and the state. Its goal is the reorganisation of social life on the basis of libertarian communism via the revolutionary action of the working class. Since only the economic organisations of the proletariat are capable of achieving this objective, revolutionary unionism addresses itself to workers in their capacity as producers, creators of social wealth, to take root and develop amongst them, in opposition to the modern workers’ parties, which it declares are incapable of the economic reorganisation of society.
ii) Revolutionary unionism is the staunch enemy of all social and economic monopoly, and aims at its abolition by the establishment of economic communities and administrative organs run by the workers in the fields and factories, forming a system of free councils without subordination to any authority or political party, bar none. As an alternative to the politics of state and parties, revolutionary unionism posits the economic reorganisation of production, replacing the rule of man over man with the administrative management of things. Consequently, the goal of revolutionary unionism is not the conquest of political power, but the abolition of all state functions in the life of society. Revolutionary unionism considers that along with the disappearance of the monopoly of property, must come the disappearance of the monopoly of domination, and that no form of state, however camouflaged, can ever be an instrument for human liberation, but that, on the contrary, it will always be the creator of new monopolies and new privileges.
iii) Revolutionary unionism has a two-fold function: to carry on the day-to-day revolutionary struggle for the economic, social and intellectual advancement of the working class within the limits of present-day society, and to educate the masses so that they will be ready to independently manage the processes of production and distribution when the time comes to take possession of all the elements of social life. Revolutionary unionism does not accept the idea that the organisation of a social system based exclusively on the producing class can be ordered by simple governmental decrees and maintains that it can only be obtained through the common action of all manual and intellectual workers, in every branch of industry, by self-management of the workers, such that every group, factory or branch of industry is an autonomous member of the greater economic organism and systematically runs the production and distribution processes according to the interests of the community, on an agreed-upon plan and on the basis of mutual accord.
iv) Revolutionary unionism is opposed to all organisational tendencies inspired by the centralism of state and church, because these can only serve to prolong the survival of the state and authority and to systematically stifle the spirit of initiative and independence of thought. Centralism is an artificial organisation that subjects the so-called lower classes to those who claim to be superior, and that leaves in the hands of the few the affairs of the whole community – the individual being turned into a robot with controlled gestures and movements. In the centralised organisation, society’s good is subordinated to the interests of the few, variety is replaced by uniformity and personal responsibility is replaced by rigid discipline. Consequently, revolutionary unionism bases its social vision on a broad federalist organisation; i.e., an organisation stemming from the bottom up, the uniting of all forces in the defence of common ideas and interests.
v) Revolutionary unionism rejects all parliamentary activity and all collaboration with legislative bodies because it knows that even the freest voting system cannot bring about the disappearance of the clear contradictions at the core of present-day society, and because the parliamentary system has only one goal – to lend a pretence of legitimacy to the reign of falsehood and social injustice.
vi) Revolutionary unionism rejects all political and national frontiers, which are arbitrarily created, and declares that so-called nationalism is just the religion of the modern state, behind which is concealed the material interests of the propertied classes. Revolutionary unionism recognises only economic differences, whether regional or national, that produce hierarchies, privileges and every kind of oppression (because of race, sex and any false or real difference) and, in the spirit of solidarity, claims the right to self-determination for all economic groups.
vii) For the identical reason, revolutionary unionism fights against militarism and war. Revolutionary unionism advocates anti-war propaganda and the replacement of standing armies, which are only the instruments of counter-revolution at the service of capitalism, by workers' militias which, during the revolution, will be controlled by the workers' unions; it demands, as well, the boycott and embargo of all raw materials and products necessary for war, with the exception of a country where the workers are in the midst of social revolution, in which case we should help them defend the revolution. Finally, revolutionary unionism advocates the preventive and revolutionary general strike as a means of opposing war and militarism.
viii) Revolutionary unionism recognises the need for a production that does not damage the environment, that tries to minimise the use of non-renewable resources, and that uses, whenever possible, renewable alternatives. It does not admit ignorance as the origin of the present-day environmental crisis, but the thirst for earnings. Capitalist production always seeks to minimise costs in order to gain more earnings to survive, and it is unable to protect the environment. To sum up, the world debt crisis has speeded up the tendency toward commercial harvests to the detriment of subsistence agriculture. This fact has produced the destruction of the tropical forest, starvation and disease. The fight to save our planet and the fight to destroy capitalism must be joint or both of them will fail.
ix) Revolutionary unionism asserts itself to be a supporter of the method of direct action, and aids and encourages all struggles that are not in contradiction to its own goals. Its methods of struggle are: strikes, boycotts, sabotage etc. Direct action reaches its deepest expression in the general strike, which should also be, from the point of view of revolutionary unionism, the prelude to the social revolution.
x) While revolutionary unionism is opposed to all organised violence, regardless of the kind of government, it realises that there will be extremely violent clashes during the decisive struggles between the capitalism of today and the free communism of tomorrow. Consequently, it recognises as valid that violence may be used as a means of defence against the violent methods used by the ruling classes during the struggles that lead up to the revolutionary populace expropriating the land and means of production. As this expropriation can only be carried out and bought to a successful conclusion by the direct intervention of the workers’ revolutionary economic organisations, defence of the revolution must also be the task of these economic organisations and not of a military or quasi-military body developing independently of them.
xi) Only in the economic and revolutionary organisations of the working class are there forces capable of bringing about its liberation and the necessary creative energy for the reorganisation of society on the basis of libertarian communism.
Subscriptions are payable monthly to the Local to which a member is affiliated. Rates are set by Locals, which pay £3 per month per member to the Solidarity Federation as an affiliation fee, including an amount for IWA affiliation.
Section 2: Rights and Duties of Members
2a) The Status of Members
All members have the right to:
free expression of their ideas
have their physical and moral integrity respected
attend all events organised by the Solidarity Federation
have full access to information about all Solidarity Federation decisions and activities
remain in disagreement with decisions and activities of the Solidarity Federation, so long as they abide by the Aims, Principles and Constitution.
All members have the duty to:
participate in, defend and support the Solidarity Federation, the International Workers' Association, their Aims, Principles, Statutes and affiliates to the fullest extent of their ability
follow and discuss fully issues facing the Solidarity Federation and the IWA in their Networks and Locals, and using the Internal Bulletin (IB)
adhere to the conditions of affiliation.
All affiliates are accountable to the Solidarity Federation for their actions as individuals. This applies to members of Locals and Networks affiliated to the Solidarity Federation. Clear, deliberate, consistent or repeated breaches of the conditions of affiliation may lead to disaffiliation.
2b) Locals and Local-in-Formation
A Local consists of three or more members in a defined geographical area, who should meet at least once a month. A new Local must be accepted at Federal Conference. This will occur at the start of conference, allowing new locals a full vote if accepted. If any three or more SF members wish to form a new Local, the following three-step procedure applies.
First, the prospective Local should publicise details about the potential group in the IB, including how many members and prospective members it has, where they are based and the industries they’re employed in (or if they're students, unemployed or retired).
Second, once this has been done, they may request to be added to the website as a “Local-in-formation”.
Finally, in order to become formally accepted as a new Local, they should submit a report on their activities and plans to the IB. They can then apply to be accepted at Federal Conference (the activity report can be included with the application).
All disputes between members in the area (including two “rival” Locals), will be resolved by Federal Conference if agreement cannot be reached locally. Locals must fulfil their obligations under Section 2a), but otherwise are expected to use their own initiative in pursuing their activities. However, where there is clear evidence of propaganda or practices contrary to the Aims, Principles and Constitution, this may lead to disaffiliation.
Locals must elect their own Secretary and Treasurer, who should be mandated, accountable and subject to limited tenure of office on the same basis as Federal Officers. The Secretary is responsible for providing reports at least quarterly, written credentials and mandates to the Solidarity Federation. The Treasurer is responsible for paying subs to the Solidarity Federation, providing a quarterly list of members and issuing and updating Membership Cards to all members of the Local.
When there is membership of a Local in a defined geographical area, with potential for a separate Local to be formed in the future, a Local-in-formation may be set up.
Where a local has either: had fewer than 3 members for 1 year, not held a formal meeting during the period between two federal conferences or has failed to make contact with the federal organisation for two conferences (paying subscription fees is counted as ‘contact’ for these purposes), the local will be considered defunct. The remaining members should decide whether to become a local-in-formation, align to the nearest local, or to completely dissolve the local. Where contact cannot be made, it falls to the federal treasurer to attempt to make contact and work out the best course to take.
2c) Industrial Networks
Networks group together members of the Solidarity Federation who work in the same Industry. Networks must have at least three members. All Network members must also be members of a Local. Networks must be accepted by Federal Conference. Because of geographical spread, national meetings may be infrequent, but must be convened at least twice each year, to fit in with the internal democracy of the Solidarity Federation. Network propaganda may be supported by Solidarity Federation funds, according to the mandate of the National Treasurer. Network propaganda and activities must not be contrary to the Aims, Principles and Constitution.
There are three general networks covering public sector, private sector and unwaged. Anyone not in another network is automatically a member of the one that fits their situation. These general networks mandate a person from each sector to act as co-ordinator for their particular network. Members who do not exactly fit one of these general networks, or their situation applies to more than one (e.g. third sector workers or vocational students) should choose the network which best matches their situation.
2d) Isolated Members
All SF members exercise their voting rights through their nearest Local. That Local must also ensure that all such members receive the Internal Bulletin and other relevant publications and is kept informed of SF activities throughout the year. At a minimum, the Local's Secretary must ensure that they are involved in decision-making processes, and the Local's Treasurer must collect their subs.
In addition, the Local should make specific efforts to support those members who cannot regularly attend meetings due to their distance from its area; by organising meetings and actions to suit them, and also by planning activities which will assist them to take steps to form their own Local, as far as possible.
The Federal Secretary is to be informed by each local about their isolated members with a view to instigating the formation of new locals when there is a sufficient density of individual members in a given area.
Section 3: Decision-making
3a) Federal Conference
Federal decisions are made at the twice yearly Federal Conference. The function of Conference is to facilitate the work of the Federation, and to share ideas and tactics, not to impose policies on Networks and Locals, which are autonomous, although they must abide by Conference decisions.
Conference decides mandates for those commissioned by the Solidarity Federation to carry out duties on its behalf between Conferences and elects Locals to carry them out. It also decides matters of principle and of a constitutional nature, including issues of affiliation, such as new Locals or Networks and affiliated groups in arrears with their subs. Federal matters to be decided at Conference include:
questions of affiliation and disputes between affiliated groups
receiving the reports of, mandating and electing Federal Secretary, Federal Treasurer, Direct Action Collective, etc.
organisational and constitutional issues; international business, including receiving the report of, mandating and electing the International Secretariat and delegates to the IWA Congress
discussion of international issues
discussion and debate about issues facing the Solidarity Federation and its strategy
allegations of propaganda and practices contrary to the Aims, Principles and Constitution, and to the Principles, Aims and Statutes of the IWA.
Federal Conference decisions can only be changed by another Federal Conference. All proposals for Federal Conference must be sent to the Internal Bulletin two months in advance (the last but one IB before Conference) when those proposals involve changes in the Constitution and one month in advance (the last IB before Conference) when those proposals do not involve changes in the Constitution. It is the responsibility of Locals or Networks making proposals to circulate all relevant papers, documents etc. two months in advance via the Internal Bulletin. It is the responsibility of Locals to fully discuss the issues and to properly mandate their delegates. It is the responsibility of the Federal Secretary to facilitate this process by highlighting issues which need resolution in their report to all federal meetings and to publicise the deadline for Conference proposals.
Discussion of current issues should take place all year round, to ensure the drafting and discussion of proposals on which delegates can be properly mandated.
Decisions should be made by seeking consensus in the first instance. However, where a vote needs to be taken a two thirds majority is required for a motion or amendment to be carried. Abstentions are not counted. Voting is on the basis of one Local, one vote, but only Locals present at Conference can vote.
Where the wording of resolutions needs to be amended at Conference, unless an amendment is accepted by the proponents and notified to all Locals at least one month in advance of Conference, a delegate from each of the interested Locals will form a Conference Commission which will draft a final version. This draft will be circulated to the delegates of all Locals in time to be decided as the first item on the agenda of the final session of Conference. All constitutional proposals must detail, in the motion, the wording that they propose to change or add in to the Constitution.
The Federal Secretary should arrange for a confirmed Conference date within three months of the expected Conference date, to ensure the timetable for the submissions of Locals can be adhered to. Where there is an urgent issue which requires a decision, an Emergency Federal Conference, on that issue only, may be called by a minimum of three Locals and/or Networks. All relevant papers and documents must be supplied to the Federal Secretary with the request.
Where a Local considers that its delegates have acted in breach of their mandates, they must inform the Federal Secretary within three months and include details of the mandate. Where such actions have affected the outcome of a decision, the Federal Secretary must convene an Emergency Federal Conference on that issue.
The Federal Secretary will then immediately arrange the meeting and give two months’ notice via the Internal Bulletin. It is permissible to hold an Emergency Conference on the same basis as the International Conference.
Only delegates and those with Federal Mandates, as appropriate, should speak at Federal Conference, with the exception of Discussions which do not require a vote by delegates or where an individual is required to contribute to a debate (e.g. to account for their conduct). While different individuals may be delegated to speak by their mandating body, they must speak as delegates of that body and not express individual opinions, except as indicated above.
All delegates must be named by their mandating body and should have written credentials and mandates. Delegates must adhere to their mandate and submit a written report detailing how they carried out their mandate and points of immediate interest to the next meeting of their mandating body. A Local should send up to three delegates to Federal Conference and may have an unlimited number of observers. No individual should be mandated by more than one body (e.g. a Local and a Network). Credentials will be established by the Federal Treasurer, as will voting rights. Delegates from any Local in arrears with subs may speak and vote with the agreement of Conference. However, the onus is on the Local to demonstrate that it has genuinely made every effort to pay its subs. Requests for this must be included, with reasons, in a Local's report for Conference in the pre-Conference Internal Bulletin.
The Federal Secretary is responsible for the taking and circulation of minutes of Federal Conference. During each session of Conference, minutes will be taken by a named individual. The Federal Secretary will keep a record of which session's minutes were taken by which individual. Minutes must be an accurate record of any decisions taken, resolutions passed and mandates given. It is the responsibility of the Chair to clarify decisions and to ensure that the meeting and the minute-taker understand the agreement reached. The minutes must also summarise accurately the main points of debate but should not be a verbatim record. Record of Discussions should be fuller and reflect all viewpoints expressed. Minutes will be circulated as a supplement with the Internal Bulletin within two months. All minutes of federal meetings must include as standard: the agenda of the meeting broken down by session; the date, period and number of each session of the meeting and attendance; a record of chair and minute-taker for each session; an accurate record of mandates given; the final text of any resolutions carried alongside the record of debate and voting; a full record of discussions.
3d) IWA Congress
Conference also mandates and elects up to six delegates to the IWA Congress. One of these delegates should have attended the previous IWA Congress and one should have attended the previous IWA Plenary, where possible. One delegate will also attend the next IWA Plenary, where possible. Two delegates should attend the full session of the Congress at all times, where possible; others may be needed to participate in Commissions at Congress. Where proposals have been put forward by the Solidarity Federation, one delegate should be assigned to lead on the proposal. The delegation should act collectively, rotating attendance at sessions where possible. The delegation will submit a report to the next Solidarity Federation Conference. Delegates are accountable to the Solidarity Federation for their behaviour and must adhere to their mandate.
Section 4: Federal mandates
4a) Federal Officers
Federal Conference will give mandates to Locals to carry out the administration of the Solidarity Federation and to handle its external relations. The Local will name an individual who will be responsible for ensuring the tasks mandated are carried out. The Local will then support this individual and name another if they should be unable to continue between Conferences.
Mandates are given for a two year period and will be reviewed fully at Conference. Failure to carry out, or breaches of, a mandate will lead to recall of the mandate by Federal Conference. If a Federal Officer's conduct has been challenged by any other member, Local or Network, or, in the case of the International Secretary, another Section of the IWA, they may seek the backing of Federal Conference through a vote of confidence. This should be included in their report.
The Federal Officers are:
i) The Federal Secretary
The Federal Secretary is responsible for organising Federal Conference and any extraordinary federal events. This includes securing appropriate venues, giving six months' notice and publicising deadlines for proposals and agenda items. The dates and venue of Conference must be confirmed three months in advance; the agenda and proposals must be circulated to Locals and Networks two months in advance; reports, amendments and all relevant papers and documents must be circulated one month in advance. Responsibility for organising Federal Conference may be delegated to a named Local, but overall responsibility for making sure it happens remains with the Federal Secretary. The Federal Secretary is also responsible for compiling and circulating the Internal Bulletin on the 1st day of each month, but may commission a named individual to carry it out. The Federal Secretary will update, compile and circulate the Member's Handbook. The Federal Secretary is responsible for updating the Constitution and publishing it, but may delegate this to a named individual.
ii) The Communications Delegate
The Communications Delegate is responsible for dealing with membership enquiries and external contacts, as well as communicating with relevant and sympathetic organisations, in the geographical area which the Solidarity Federation covers, when necessary. This will involve requesting that the Publicity Commission circulates relevant materials as required. Ideally membership enquiries should be dealt with within 24 hours and forwarded to the relevant Local. The Communications Delegate should also make use of websites, forums and social networking to publicise Solidarity Federation events and publications as appropriate, in addition to dealing with contacts and requests from the media, both mainstream and radical, in line with Solidarity Federation policy.
iii) The Federal Treasurer
The Federal Treasurer is responsible for collecting and accounting for all subscriptions, donations, credit notes and pledges. This includes opening and administering a bank account, and circulating payment details to all members. The Federal Treasurer will produce a financial report each quarter, including a breakdown of subscriptions paid and arrears. This information will be used to maintain membership records, and to issue membership cards annually and as appropriate. The Federal Treasurer will correspond with Locals, Networks and members in arrears about their payments and membership situation. The Federal Treasurer will pay dues to the IWA quarterly, at the rate of €3 per member. The Federal Treasurer has discretion to allocate federal funds to subsidise the publication and distribution of local or federal propaganda at the request of a federally mandated officer or commission, or of a Local.
iv) The Federal Training Co-ordinator
The Federal Training Co-ordinator's role is to co-ordinate and develop a national syllabus of training on different topics useful to anarcho-syndicalist militants. The workshops are available to all members via the request of their Local or Network.
4b) Equalities Secretariat
The Equalities Secretariat consists of all Locals holding officer roles responsible for addressing specific inequalities within the Federation. The Equalities Secretariat aims to grow and include officer positions for all relevant oppressions. The role of the Equalities Secretariat is to develop equalities officer roles within the Federation and to promote and monitor equality across the Federation.
The officer positions within the Equalities Secretariat are currently:
i) The Women’s Officer
The role of the Women's Officer is to act as a point of contact for women within SolFed. This will include to act as a point of contact should a woman feel the culture of her local is disadvantaging her because of her gender. In these cases the Federal Women's Officer will then arrange support from women in another local. The Women's Officer helps ensure a buddy system is available for women members to support each other – pairing each female member with another to provide mutual support (inside the local where possible, with a member from another local when appropriate). The Women's Officer will liaise with the Federal Training Officers to ensure training that promotes gender equality is available to all members. The Women's Officer will act as liaison with other feminist and women's groups where appropriate.
ii) The LGBT* Officer
The role of the LGBT* Officer is to work within the Equalities Secretariat to:
develop oppression-related roles within the Solidarity Federation;
actively support comrades who plan to transition gender in their transition within the Federation, e.g. providing advocacy, putting together a plan, coming along to their local to support them, notifying other officer roles;
be the person to whom homophobic and transphobic behaviour can be reported to, and to support locals in dealing with these incidents;
help ensure a buddy system is available, pairing LGBT* people from across the Federation together for mutual support;
liaise with other LGBT* or Queer groups where appropriate;
support locals in LGBT* awareness.
4c) International Secretariat
The International Secretariat is responsible for all international relations. Federal Conference will mandate a Local to carry out these duties for two years, to be reviewed at Federal Conference. The International Secretary will be a named individual, as will any other officers the mandated Local determines should take on specified tasks under the mandate. The International Secretary is responsible for:
maintaining contact with the IWA General Secretariat and circulating all documents and minutes to the membership;
providing a written report, credentials and mandates for delegates to IWA Congress and Plenaries;
ensuring delegates attend IWA meetings, carry out their mandates and write reports;
sending proposals, agenda items and documents for circulation for IWA Congress to the General Secretariat six months in advance;
sending agenda items and documents for circulation for IWA Plenaries to the General Secretariat three months in advance;
organising an SF International Conference as required, to mandate delegates to the IWA Plenary, based on the agenda and documents for the latter, which will be circulated two months in advance;
translation of all documents to and from Spanish and English as appropriate;
translation to and from other languages as appropriate;
collection and payment of the annual affiliation subscriptions to the IWA General Secretariat;
accounting for and arranging payment of travel and publishing expenses incurred on international business;
circulating an activity report to the IWA at least twice-yearly.
4d) Vice Officers
Federal Conference will give mandates to Locals, other than the Local mandated for the primary post, for vice roles within the federal organisation. The vice officers’ role is one of preparedness; the primary officers’ role is to keep the vice officer abreast of current situations, functions, computer log-in details and any relevant developments. The vice role is one of support and cover or, should a recall or permanent breakdown in the correct functioning of the primary officer role occur, as a temporary stand-in until a replacement is elected at the next Federal Conference.
The Local will name an individual who will be responsible for ensuring the tasks mandated are carried out. The Local will then support this individual and name another if they should be unable to continue between Conferences. Mandates are given for a two year period and will be reviewed fully at Conference. Failure to carry out, or breaches of, a mandate will lead to recall of the mandate by Federal Conference. If a vice officer's conduct has been challenged by any other member, Local or Network, or, in the case of the International Secretary, another Section of the IWA, they may seek the backing of Federal Conference through a vote of confidence. This should be included in their report.
Vice officer mandates cover the officer roles of:
i) Federal Secretary
ii) Communications Delegate
iii) Federal Treasurer
iv) Federal Training Coordinator
v) Women's Officer
vi) LGBT* Officer
vii) International Secretary
Section 5: Publications
The Federal Secretary is responsible for compiling and updating a Handbook and for circulating it to all new members. The Handbook will include the following information for members:
the Aims, Principles and Constitution
details of how the SF is organised
ideas on how to get a Local set up.
5b) Approval of Federal Propaganda
Locals are free to produce material which is in line with Solidarity Federation’s politics and positions; all such material is to be circulated to all locals, e.g. via the Internal Bulletin; conflicts and disagreements about material produced in other Locals could be taken to Federal Conference. This model works on the “trust first, deal with exceptions later‟ model. The Publicity Commission (elected at Federal Conference as one local for a two year term) is responsible both for the production of federal propaganda and for the adapting of local propaganda for use nationally.
5c) Solidarity Federation Website
Federal Conference will mandate and elect a Local to be responsible for maintaining and publishing the Solidarity Federation web pages, including internal pages. The mandated Local will be accountable and will elect named individuals to carry out this mandate, and for the publication and contents of these publications, to Federal Conference. The mandated Local has the ability to co-opt members of other Locals to assist in this work. The mandated Local will present a report to Federal Conference.
Section 6: Internal Communications
6a) Internal Bulletin (IB)
The Federal Secretary will be responsible for compiling and circulating the Internal Bulletin each month. All discussion and debate contributions to the Internal Bulletin must be passed on by their Local or Network. Opinions of individuals, Networks or Locals may be expressed, but if the opinion is not that of the Local or Network this must be specified. There is a limit of three individual submissions per month with a word limit of 200 words for each. To facilitate discussion, submissions may be made via the website and be visible to members immediately, whilst also being compiled into the monthly IB.
The structure of the IB should include the following sections:
a contents index with page numbers
reports from Locals, Networks, national officers, collectives
Conference agendas and minutes
discussion documents from Locals, Networks, national officers, collectives
discussion contributions from individual members
international notices and reports
notices, calls and any other business
calendar with events and deadlines
list of contact points (mandated officers, collectives, local secretaries…).
All contributions must list the contributor, date, which Local, Network or individual it has been submitted by and all those to whom it has been sent at the top. If no submissions are received for a given section, the section should simply read ‘no submissions’, serving as a placeholder and reminder to members that the IB is the right place to look for such information.
6b) SF Calendar
The SF website includes a calendar of public and internal events. Federal events (including deadlines for Conference submissions) should be submitted to the website by the Federal Secretary (but may be delegated), while other events will be added by Locals and Networks. The Media Collective will add submission deadlines and publication dates for our publications. The upcoming events from the calendar will be included in the IB.
6c) Informal Channels of Communication
SF members communicate amongst themselves by a number of informal means. Participation in these is optional, voluntary and informal, and has no relevance for decision making. Members have full rights of free association and discussion, but any matters arising requiring decision making or affecting the Federation or its parts should go through the formal channels (Locals, Networks and the IB). SF provides the following informal channels for its members to peruse:
i) The federal discussion email list – all members may post and all subscribers may receive all messages to the list.
ii) The internal forums – all SF members are entitled to a login for the national website, which, amongst other things, grants access to the internal forums. Locals, Networks and Collectives/Commissions may choose to have their own forums if they wish.
iii) The federal announce-list – only mandated officers of the Federation or Locals and Industrial Networks may post to this list; it is intended to facilitate urgent announcements and appeals for solidarity.
We define a full time trade union official as one who is employed by the union and accountable to the union bureaucracy rather than the rank and file. In addition we would include anyone who has the ability within the union structure to control access to resources and backing. This does not include workers on facility time, especially where they are recallable by the union members. Any union position attracting facility time may well have its own problems, but these should be examined on a case by case basis, should someone wish to join.