GRP iChapters Proposal by Maha Visnu Gray (July 27, 2021)
TITLE: THE GRP iCHAPTERS
PROPOSAL SPONSORS: Maha Visnu Gray Eileen Sheehan
VETTING COMMITTEES: Adcom
FLOOR MANAGER: Maha Visnu Gray
SHEPHERDS: • GRP Co-chair (Maha Visnu Gray) • iCHOC Director
SUMMARY: Instituting the GRP iChapters program in our Party will enable the GRP to grow faster and more effectively across all demographics, particularly the younger generations.
BACKGROUND: The GRP iChapters Program is critical to both the expansion of the GRP itself and the fulfillment of the Party’s purpose, which is to get GRP candidates elected to office. Listed are the current challenges the Party faces which the GRP iChapters Program is uniquely suited to solving.
Current GRP Challenges:
a) Bureaucratic processes that stifle expansion.
b) Bureaucratic processes that stifle active engagement.
c) Bureaucratic processes that are cumbersome and ponderous.
d) Bureaucratic processes that establish an unnecessarily high bar for entry.
e) Inability to engage younger generations where they congregate (online) and in their comfort spaces (tech/social media/internet).
f) The complete lack of growth in the number of Chapters across the state and the membership in those chapters.
g) The inability of the GRP to function as a truly grassroots organization.
h) The inability of the GRP to be truly diverse in relation to gender, ethnicity, age, socio-economic status etc.
i) The inability to operate based on the 10 Key Value of Decentralization.
j) The inability to identify and recruit potential candidates.
k) The inability to give candidates a credible platform to immediately and effectively begin developing a local grassroots organization for their campaign.
How the GRP iChapters Program will tackle these challenges:
a) Provide an organizational space suitable for young generations to immediately and effortlessly engage with the GRP in a manner that is suitable to them.
b) Will enable the GRP to more easily take root anywhere in the state of Massachusetts.
c) Will be the obvious and natural precursor (the “step one”) to the development of a physical Chapter anywhere in the state.
d) Will enable members of the GRP to actively participate and even lead in both local and Statewide GRP initiatives from anywhere in the State.
e) It will create a method for easy, immediate and credible entry into the GRP.
f) It is inherently, by its very definition, a grassroots organization.
g) It will cut the many unnecessary and daunting bureaucratic hurdles to active GRP engagement and inclusion.
h) It is, while still being credible, inherently decentralized.
i) It will give prospective candidates an immediate and credible GRP platform to begin their campaigns.
j) Facilitates the easy formation of miniature “Caucuses” within the GRP.
TEXT OF PROPOSAL:
The GRP should immediately begin implementing the iChapters programs.
iChapter Basic Structure & Requirements:
1) A single individual can start (and maintain) a GRP iChapter.
2) The individual who starts a GRP iChapter can be known as its President/Director.
3) The GRP iChapter President must:
a. Be/become an enrolled member of the GRP. (This must be an essential requirement for GRP iChapter Presidents).
4) The GRP iChapter must:
a. Pay $50 annual Recertification Fee.
b. Pay monthly $10 iChapter dues.
c. Have an internet presence on any two of the following platforms or media.
ii. Dedicated website
d. Regularly post/share the GRP newsletter to its online sites/pages/media.
e. Regularly post/share GRP announcements and Co-chair statements to its online sites/pages/media.
5) If a GRP iChapter has more than one individual it must meet monthly (online/onsite).
6) A GRP iChapter can exist anywhere in the state whether or not there is a physical GRP chapter in the region.
7) GRP iChapters are fully and wholly independent of the local GRP Chapter.
8) GRP iChapters must be certified by iCHOC.
9) GRP iChapters must be recertified by iCHOC annually.
10) If a GRP iChapter is decertified by iCHOC it can appeal to AdCom. If AdCom upholds the decertification then an appeal is automatically put on the agenda for the next StateCom meeting. If StateCom upholds the ruling of the iCHOC then the decertification holds.
11) Definition of Decertification:
a. The iChapter President is ineligible to lead a GRP iChapter for the period of a year.
b. Individual members of that particular iChapter remain eligible to lead a GRP iChapter.
12) iChapter Oversight Committee (iCHOC) Basic Function and Structure:
a. iCHOC must have a minimum of three members.
b. The Directorship of iCHOC is an elected position, has a seat on AdCom and has the same rights and privileges of other Directors (i.e. Communications, Fundraising).
c. iCHOC is responsible for overseeing and monitoring whether or not each GRP iChapter is following the requirements.
1) Adopt the GRP iChapters Proposal.
2) Task ComCom with disseminating information on the GRP iChapters Program.
3) Task ComCom with sending out an Email blast encouraging people to apply for the Directorship of iCHOC.
4) Elect the first Director of iCHOC at the upcoming State Convention.
5) New iCHOC Director staffs iCHOC.
6) iCHOC, in conjunction with MemCom and ComCom, begins promoting the GRP iChapter program.
FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS: Depends on the nature/method of the promotional campaign.
Showing 10 reactions
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1) Let’s not pigeon hole why someone would form an iChapter, or assume that an iChapter could only serve as a single issue entity. I think limiting what we believe an iChapter could or would be good for undermines its potential from the outset. We have no idea what will come if we empower people in this manner. But say, hypothetically, it turns out that being a single issue entity is what iChapters are good for. Imagine 10 iChapters in the city of Boston, all working the single issue-initiative that is the focus of that particular iChapter. I would bet that those 10 individual iChapters would accomplish more, on those 10 issues, than a single conventional Chapter. Let’s not pigeon hole what these iChapters may possibly become or what they can do.
2) My proposal doesn’t give iChapters a seat on AdCom. The iCHOC director is an elected position for which anyone can run, whether that person runs an iChapter or not. The iCHOC Director and iCHOC are what provides the checks and balances, the certifications, for the iChapters. iCHOC makes sure that iChapters don’t go off the deep end. Chapter representatives are on AdCom, it makes sense that AdCom would need to keep its finger on the pulse of the iChapters.
3) I don’t believe iChapters would fragment the party any more or less than regular chapters. I think the iChapters would provide a measure of compartmentalization that would actually insulate silliness from one iChapter “infecting” the entire GRP. The iChapters are the perfect manifestation of two Key Values: Decentralization and Grassroots Democracy. The iChapters will actually better and more effectively spread and disseminate GRP values and initiatives into the nooks and cranny’s and back alleys of the entire state than our conventional regional Chapters. They would still be simultaneously connected to the whole through certification, iCHOC, and an iCHOC Director elected at State Convention. I don’t see fragmentation, I see an ever-questing tentacles of an octopus!
4) I am not dismissing concerns. This proposal is loaded with unforeseen consequences. We have no idea what course corrections we will have to make along the way. Let’s view all possibilities and take into account all the potentialities.
• Trying to educate and obtain support from an existing GRP entity is a very healthy and productive exercise for an issue group. I wonder if a typical iChapter group would have any interest in the other parts of the party (the “bureaucratic” entities). I am concerned that this could further fragment GRP support and lead to more, not less frustration (e.g. StateCom is ignoring our iChapter’s priorities. Why didn’t the iChapter support our chapter’s demonstration at Worcester City Hall?)
• I do not think that iChapters should be given a seat on AdCom. A single-issue entity does not have the broad commitment to all key values that is expected of an AdCom member. Someone with a pet issue could organize multiple iChapters and take over AdCom.
• If the attitude is to avoid “bureaucracy”, then the GRP will never have the strong and resilient infrastructure needed to survive as a political party. It will devolve into a debate society that cannot comply with the regulations and infrastructure-building required to participate in the electoral process. Our current problem is lack of commitment to doing the basic work of party building, some of which falls into the “thankless” category. This work does not go away when we declare that it is too burdensome. We need to do the necessary work while expanding the ways in which people can get involved.
• iChapters might be more appropriate as discussion groups, each with their own comm channel (listserv? Facebook page?). Activity could be monitored to see if the iChapter is active. If the iChapter wants to see the GRP endorse their common priorities, they should engage with the defined infrastructure of the Party.
1. I think we can and should charge less than $50/yr + $10/month. How about $15/yr + $5/month?
2. I think that there should be more than just one ichapter director to start an ichapter – three people working together seems good to me as a minimum – It would reward the critical skill of working together as a group, and help sift participants.
3. There may be additional social media sites worthy of recognition, beyond Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, Facebook, etc.