In order to keep a record of all the past work and ideas that have gone into Beyond Resistance, we’ve decided to post our original How We Work/Constitution from the 2009-2012 period here (rather than delete it completely). This is currently under revision and does not necessarily represent the present collective.


BEYOND RESISTANCE

Beyond Resistance will be made up of both Individual members and Locals across Aotearoa / New Zealand.

We operate on the free agreement between those who think it useful to unite and co-operate. Individual members and Locals have a moral duty to support the enterprises undertaken as a collective as a whole, and to do nothing that would go against its accepted aims, principles and constitution. Full autonomy, full independence and thus full responsibility of the individual and Local to the collective is needed to be effective.

3 or more Individual members in one location will constitute a Local.

A Local will have autonomy over its internal functioning and activities, within the scope of the guidelines and strategies of Beyond Resistance. Locals will delegate their own Secretary and Treasurer, and any other roles that may be needed.

Beyond Resistance as a national collective will have a National Secretary and National Treasurer. At this stage these roles will be fulfilled by the Christchurch Local, but this is only temporary and may change/rotate as more Locals grow.

A national hui of the entire membership will take place once a year. Ideally all members should be present, but if hardship occurs, decisions can be passed on and advocated by a delegated member of their Local.

Any important decisions such as changing the Aims & Principles, How We Work etc can only be made at the national hui, and needs a quorum of the entire membership to make any decisions. Decision making at hui will follow the decision making guidelines set forth below.

Dues will be paid by an Individual member or Locals into their own fund, to be used at the Individual / Local’s discretion. Once a month a percentage of the total monthly dues will be transfered into a national fund, to be used for expenses pertaining to national matters only (such as the national hui, costs of membership packs, a national paper etc). As of November 2010 that percentage is set at 40%.

MEMBERSHIP

There are three ways to be involved in Beyond Resistance:

1. Friend of Beyond Resistance

2. Individual Member

3. Member of a Local


1. A Friend of Beyond Resistance is an interested person who wants to help the collective in some way, but are not ready / interested / able to commit to being a member. Support can be flexible and varied according to the individual’s ability and willingness.

Friends of Beyond Resistance can come to meetings and hui, have input at them, but do not have decision making rights.

Very regular attendance to meetings and other Beyond Resistance activities may suggest membership as being the more suitable type of involvement.

People interested in becoming a Friend of Beyond Resistance can obtain the Membership Pack which contains all the relevant information — including current positions, How We Work and membership form.

2. Individual membersmust read and agree to the Aims & Principles of Beyond Resistance.

Individual members are accountable to the national collective as a whole when acting in the capacity as a member of Beyond Resistance.

Individual members are valued and have equal status with Members of a Local when it comes to national hui.

Individual membership requires a commitment to be active in their own locality, and be involved in the life and activity of the national collective. This includes input in the internal organising Forum, attending national hui and events, and keeping in regular contact with other members of the collective. They can also be added to the nearest Local’s internal email list if requested.

Because it’s advantageous to be working collectively, it is in the best interest of Individual members to encourage the formation of a Local in their area.

Individual members will pay 1% of their income as dues, which should be kept locally to aid that member in their own organising efforts. If payment of dues creates financial hardship, members can liaise with the National Treasurer to organize a lesser payment. Once a month a percentage of the total monthly dues will be transfered into a national fund (as above).

People interested in becoming an Individual member can contact the nearest Secretary, or the National Secretary. They will be asked to share a bit of information on themselves, why they want to join the collective, and be encouraged to meet up with other members (if possible). Unless there are any objections from the collective, he/she will then receive a Membership Pack and will be able to access the national internal forum etc. After an introductory period of 6 weeks, in which she/he can get a taste for the collective, the individual will be asked if they want to become a dues paying member, if they haven’t already.

3. A Member of a Localmust read and agree to the Aims & Principles of Beyond Resistance.

Local members are accountable to other members of their Local and the national collective as a whole when acting in the capacity as a member of Beyond Resistance.

Each member is valued as a unique individual and has equal status.

Membership requires a commitment to being involved in the life and activity of their Local, and the national collective. This includes input in the internal organising Forum, attending national hui and events, and keeping in regular contact with other members of the collective.

A Local requires input and decision making by all members of that Local. Normally this would entail members attending as many meetings as possible, with exceptions given for health reasons, the needs of children, and other circumstances that affect us as human beings.

The reason for the requirement to attend as many meetings as possible is because face to face communication is valued over all other forms of communication (such as email). This also takes into account the fact that many people still do not have access to computers or find them a problematic way of communicating.

Local members will take turns at the jobs and roles required by the Local such as facilitation, minute taking, accounting, blog management etc. Everyone is required at some stage to have a go at these positions so as to learn skills and dissipate power.

Local members will be able to access internal organizing email lists where everything can be discussed openly, have access to minutes and accounts, have full decision making abilities, and therefore, have full responsibilities.

A Member of a Local will pay 1% of their income as dues to their Local. If payment of dues creates financial hardship, members can liaise with the Local’s Treasurer to organize a lesser payment. Once a month a percentage of the total monthly dues will be transfered into a national fund (as above).

Becoming a Member

An individual can apply or may be invited to become a member of the collective. Depending on their location, they will either become an Individual Member with an introductory period of 6 weeks; or if a Local exists, after she/he has attended three consecutive meetings.

Applying members will be sent/given the Membership Pack which will contain all the relevant information including current positions, How We Work, and membership form, to be perused at leisure.

Someone wishing to become a member of a Local should have the opportunity to present her/his self to the group at a subsequent meeting and some members may want to learn more about her/him by asking some questions. It is important that the potential member feels welcomed and comfortable rather than interrogated in this process.

There may be a need for members of a Local to get together to discuss the new membership without the prospective member present so that that an open discussion can be held without embarrassment to anyone. If there are no objections, the member will be notified of their new status as quickly as possible.

Objections

If there is an objection to the new person’s membership, it will be discussed thoroughly by the collective.

It would need to be deemed that her/his membership would be detrimental to (a) the collective and its aims and principles, (b) to a current individual within the collective, or, (c) the gender or cultural balance of the collective.

If there is a serious or valid objection and the majority agrees, the person applying for membership of a Local will also be asked to refrain from coming to meetings for the time being, if appropriate. Where a Local does not exist, Individual members will be notified of their membership status by the National Secretary.

Ideally, this decision will be conveyed to the applicant as quickly as possible, to maintain (a) their respect as a person, and, (b) the integrity of group as an entity.

The applicant could be invited to reapply as a member of the group at a future date if that seems feasible.

Leaving Beyond Resistance

Any member who breaks in a serious way the ethics of Beyond Resistance and its Aims and Principles can be asked to leave.

The process is:the facts are brought to the attention of the collective. They are discussed in a non-violent and productive way and may include following the conflict resolution process.

If they are an individual member, they will be informed of the collective’s decision and be asked to cease their involvement. That member can come and defend his or her point at the next national hui, and the decision will be readdressed.

If they are a member of a Local, it may be collectively decided that the member not take part in meetings and activities until the situation is rectified. This would entail that the member ceases day to day activities within their Local and she/he will be removed from its internal email list.

If the member is not present she/he will be notified of any decisions immediately.

If there is no resolution or the breach is serious enough, an expulsion motion will be brought up at the next meeting or national hui. The motion must explain the reason/s why the member must leave. The member can come and defend his or her point at the meeting or hui, and a decision will be made.

Any member of the forces of repression, any collaborator with the forces of repression, any person who joins Beyond Resistance with hostile motives, will automatically be expelled without any other formality. In such a case, the person will still be free to come and explain him or herself to a meeting or national hui and ask again to join the group if they judge that their expulsion was wrong.

Resignation

Any member who chooses not to fulfill their membership responsibilities for more than three consecutive months would indicate resignation. This member will be contacted to be informed that if she or he does not rectify the situation within a set period of time, she or he will lose their membership status.

The collective expects a high level of commitment to the group, but members may leave or change to a Friend of Beyond Resistance at any time. Individual members considering this need to contact the National Secretary. Members of a Local need to voice their decision to their Local at a meeting, or, if they are not comfortable with this, then to another member or in writing. They are expected to help with the transition of jobs and any difficulties their leaving may cause.

Dues will not be reimbursed upon leaving the collective.

HOW MEETINGS ARE RUN

Meetings are generally split into two halves, with an internal and external focus, and are facilitated by a different member of the Local each meeting. A desired end time is set, the minutes from last meeting are read out, followed by a round where everyone is able to share ideas, concerns or items for the agenda. The facilitator’s role is to also record the minutes, and to write them up for the internal mailing list before the next meeting. This may change as membership grows.

We operate in meetings and national hui according to our safer spaces policy. Members should be aware at all times the ways in which their behaviour and words could effect others in the collective, aim not to dominate meetings, and to respect each other and their point of view (see our Safer Spaces Policy).

DECISION MAKING

Members make the decisions in Beyond Resistance.

It is the spirit in which these decisions are made that is the most important criterion in the decision making process.

If there is a lack of goodwill, even the best process in the world can be thwarted. (For example, a person with lack of goodwill and cooperation could use the consensus process to block a good idea supported by the rest of the group.)

Consensus Decision Making

This is the process whereby an idea is floated by a member or members and it is discussed and debated thoroughly by all present. If the idea is not, or is only partially supported by others, it is discussed further. The idea is changed if necessary, and ultimately everyone ends up agreeing, or the idea is discarded.

This process only works well when everyone present is valued and no power dynamics are occurring. An ideal group would have equity amongst all and no power struggles. We acknowledge we are reflections of a far-from ideal society, therefore any processes we use could be flawed.

There must be room for individual members to dissent and there must be no pressure from others to agree on all ideas put forth – especially ideas coming from those who may hold positions of power – perceived or real.

With this in mind, decisions are ideally made using the ‘consensus process’ which is embraced with goodwill and with power dynamics held foremost. Some people will simply agree to ‘stand aside’ so that the group can move forward in its endeavours.

Any important decisions must be made with a quorum of the core membership present.

Direct Democracy

If needed, decisions can ultimately be made by voting, via direct democracy.

A quorum of the membership must be present.

A quorum is at least two thirds of the membership.

Three quarters of these members agreeing will signify a decision.

ROLES

Local and national roles are shared and regularly rotated amongst members. In a Local, the facilitator/minutes taking role is the responsibility of a different member each meeting, while more long-term roles (see below) are rotated every year. No one member can fulfill a role for more than one year at a time — they are to be shared equally — and all members in these roles can be subject to recall by a two-thirds majority of the membership if that role is abused.

Local Secretary: checks and shares emails, sends meeting reminders, corresponds with other Locals, and is the general point-of-contact for the Local. The may be delegated to represent the wishes of the Local at yearly hui.

Local Treasurer: keeps tabs on dues, funds and monetary aspects of the Local, books and pays for meeting spaces, and can be consulted on any other financial matters.

Other specific roles such as website management, media etc, may be added as they arise.

National Secretary: performs similar roles as the Local Secretary, at a national level. This involves keeping tabs on membership, sending membership packs to prospective members, liasing between Locals etc.

National Treasurer: performs similar roles as the Local Secretary, at a national level. This involves managing the national fund and associated expenses.

SAFER SPACES POLICY

Safer Spaces

Meetings and events organised by Beyond Resistance aim to be safer spaces. Violence, harassment and abuse will not be tolerated in any form.

This can be based on gender, sexual preference, race, socio-economic status, political beliefs, physical abilities, class, age, physical appearance, religion, and a myriad of other factors. If we wish to enact social change, we must implement that change in our daily behaviour.

There can be no definitive list of behaviour / comments / situations which make people feel uncomfortable. The main thing is to concentrate on how your actions are affecting others, and modify your behaviour as appropriate. Try to remain open to discussion of ways to improve communication within any space, and continually question the privilege you have (e.g. from being older, from being more experienced, from your ethnicity, from your gender, etc). It’s YOUR responsibility to ensure you aren’t taking up too much ‘space’, and devaluing or disregarding the opinions and experiences of others.

This includes, but is not limited to: speaking loudly and over the top of others, interrupting others speech, dominating conversation and not allowing others to speak, explaining concepts condescendingly, making assumptions about the experiences and lifestyles of others, starring at others in a manner which makes them uncomfortable (i.e. ‘checking them out’) and invading the personal space of others during conversation.

Responsibilities

  • Everyone’s physical and emotional boundaries are different. Always ask consent before touching someone in a manner that could be considered intimate, and check if people are comfortable discussing certain topics that may be triggering (e.g. sexual abuse, sexual experiences, physical violence, or encounters with the police).
  • Pay attention to body language, as people often use non-verbal clues to communicate a lack of consent (e.g. not making eye contact, making excuses to move away from you, not responding to your physical advances).
  • Take responsibility for your own actions, and consider how your behaviour and speech affect others remember that not everyone reacts the same way.
  • Respect other’s thoughts and opinions. This doesn’t mean we all have to agree, but that we do not resort to prejudice or personal insults in discussing ideas.
  • At times, you might feel comfortable using language which some may find offensive or derogatory. Beyond Resistance activities, meetings and events are not the appropriate space for this. You do not know who will overhear you, and how they will react to this.
  • Talk about the influence of alcohol and other drugs on yourself and others, and think about limiting your use if you know that you become violent or disrespectful under their influence.
  • Be aware of yourself and how you are feeling. If you need assistance, do not be afraid to ask someone or call a friend. Removing yourself physically from a situation can be a great help.

Remember, you are responsible for articulating 100% of your needs 100% of the time. For example if you feel intimidated during a conversation you can try to end the conversation by saying something like ’I feel uncomfortable, can we stop talking about this?’ The other person might not know that you are feeling intimidated. Speaking up can be scary, but there are ways we can support you in doing this.

Check out our our Conflict Resolution process for dealing with greviences.

Enacting a Safer Spaces Policy

By attending Beyond Resistance events, and participating in our activities, we ask you to abide by these guidelines. Those engaging in violence (including sexual violence and harassment) will be asked to leave the space in which we are holding an event or to cease involvement with the group. This may be temporary or permanent depending on the severity of the situation and the wishes of the survivor of abuse.

We are a survivor-oriented group and organise activities with this in mind. If someone is feeling unsafe, their concerns will be treated seriously.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION

All groups and individuals experience conflict. It is very unhealthy for a group to ignore difficult issues that inevitably occur.

If conflict is seen as an opportunity to grow and learn then it is going to be less painful. There are processes that make conflict less confusing and more manageable.

Firstly, the problem must be somehow tangible.

The conflicting parties could write down or verbalise their issues.

This must be able to be done in a “Safer Space” (see our Safer Spaces Policy above) so that all parties are comfortable. Sometimes this requires support people being there for individuals in a meeting.

Some space and time between parties may be needed (a cooling off period) before a face to face meeting happens.

If the issues can be thought through and listed beforehand, in their own time, people are less likely, in anger, to say things they don’t mean. It also clarifies the issues in people’s own minds as this can be a barrier to some (trying to separate emotions from the matter at hand).

The listed issues are then shared between the conflicting parties, their support people and a mediator if necessary.

Sometimes, if the issues are personal, it requires a relative amount of confidentiality and cannot be shared within the whole membership or elsewhere.

The conflicting parties will then have some time to respond in writing or verbally to the issues raised. After issues have been listed it diffuses the situation and often people will concede to their errors or misunderstandings quite quickly.

This phase of the process could take a longer time though, as some to-ing and fro-ing could occur. However, it is imperative for the health of the group that actual progress is being made.

A degree of goodwill of both parties will be required to systematically work through issues and ultimately resolve them.

Problems must be addressed and then have closure.

Continued conflict about group tactics or decisions may signify a person is not suitable as a member of Beyond Resistance and may be asked to leave so as to allow the group to continue with its goals.

CHILD-FRIENDLY SPACES

Tamariki /children are our future and have a special place within our community. We attempt to make all Beyond Resistance events child and family friendly.

Beyond Resistance will attempt to provide a safe, welcoming and friendly space where tamariki can explore, play, learn, discover, have fun and be themselves. We encourage tamariki to express themselves and their needs, and join in activities if they want to.

At smaller events like discussion groups, film nights etc, Beyond Resistance will have a person delegated to liase with parents/carers of tamariki as to how best to meet their needs.

As we are a small group we don’t provide full chidcare as such. We do however work with and support parents/carers and tamariki to help ensure that everyones comfort and needs are met.

At larger events like regional meetings and larger gatherings, Beyond Resistance will organise and provide safe, positive childcare.

Toys, books, music and art supplies are available for tamariki at all events. There will also be cushions and blankets for rest or moe /sleep, if the event calls for it.

A first aid kit and someone with first aide knowledge will also be present if needed.

Waiata, Kaui, Peke, Oma /Sing, Dance, Jump, Run — play!

— last updated November 2010