21 February 2015 – minutes
Saturday 21 February 2015
Progress Centre, Manchester
Present: Isis (facilitator), Cilla, Mick, Sameea, Elena, Sophie, Molly (new member), Habiba (new member)
Apologies: Aderonke, Happiness, Heathar, Adam
- Lowering amount applicants can apply for to £3,000
There were some thoughts that it was a shame that we can’t give £5,000 as some groups need it, but we don’t currently have the funds to allow that. Some felt that £3,000 was still a significant amount of money and that offering funding over a longer period was more important than larger grants.
- Change in funding application questions
Also add to question 2 about working with other groups, “if so, who?”
- Edge values
We should have a preamble that explains that the challenge between being inclusive and being clear about radical values, also that the statement is not set in stone.
Glossary of Terms and write in plain English as standard and the political/academic language in brackets e.g “many years of a greedy, money-focused society (capitalist & oppressive)”
- Recognise the importance of the power of language, empowering
- This will never be final, ever evolving
- Aims to clarify our shared purpose/vision and diversity
- Intersecting oppression
- Awareness that identity is fluid and ever changing
The change we need:
- Something clearer on our ‘shared vision’ – what alternative do we propose? vs self-determination, don’t blueprint. Add into 2nd paragraph “we don’t have answers/blueprint but we know we need change. We believe in self-determination”
- Something about not just treating symptoms but going for causes (how to say this clearly -what defines a cause & how can it not become too removed from the injustice people experience?)
How we work together:
- Bringing people together: can we do more of this?
- Shall we say that the funding meeting is about this? Make it more explicit
- Highlight how amazing it is that we celebrate each other’s successes
- Transparency of Edge reduces competitiveness
- Comes across at the moment like capitalism is the big issue, whereas other oppressive systems just as significant and they all feed off each other
- Could we change ‘planetary boundaries’ so clearer we mean not harming the planet?
- Opening sentence about “oppressive global capitalist system” not easy to understand
- Some people creating new system may not identify with language
- Perhaps we could describe what capitalism is within a sentence, eg “capitalism, which puts profit before people and planet, xxx”
- “Post-capitalist” implies capitalism is THE issue
- Could we say we want a world that is equitable, just and sustainable and that we do not believe capitalism can achieve this
- Working with those in power can create small changes, but gives them more power – change around
- Do we want to take the power from the powerful? It’s not about swapping places and being in their shoes with their power. Take power away from them and transform it; create our own power where we all have an equal say.
- Some people have to work within the system, ie asylum seekers
- Need a glossary. Hover over word for description?
- Open up conversations – not separate or secondary
- Divide people/create barrier
- Modern world = inequality & injustice, framed by capitalism, people divided by xx > unite people
- Change all forms of oppression that thrive under capitalism. Symbiotic relationship/reinforce
As well as having a glossary to explain the terms we could also:
- Assuming we go ahead with the idea that we ask funded groups to write blogs for our website about their work/ community, we could tag blogs using terms used in values statement (capitalism, white supremacy etc)
- Create a simple video with Edge members explaining the terms in their own words, eg “capitalism is about profit before people”
Add an introduction that provides context to statement (not final, different opinions etc)
Make the language more accessible and provide a glossary
Make clear we seek to address all systems of oppression, not just capitalism, and that all are equally significant
Facilitating Group and others who want to take part, to look at notes from Manchester and London and work on statement some more.
- Systemic change
- Does it need to say ‘real’ democracy, as it already says ‘participatory’?
- Concerns raised that it was too aggressive, too distanced from grassroots and seems to exclude more subtle ways of creating change such as political education (rather than protest, direct action). Needs to be clear that we appreciate there are many ways to create change. It’s too narrow.
- Could we talk about systemic change meaning something different to different people?
- Is a term other than systemic change useful? Perhaps revolution implies just going round in circles and replaying the same systems. Transformative change? Metamorphic?
- Terms in the statement come across as white and Euro-centric, such as ‘democracy’ which is seen by some groups as a white term.
Start at the paragraph half way through “Edge believes…” Get rid of the rest.
Give examples of the systems we want to change, such as capitalism, white supremacy etc
State that we are looking for group working to bring an end to these systems
We appreciate there are different ways of doing this
Also note that there are oppressions within anti-oppression movements, such as racism within the feminist movement
- We’re not just working to end capitalism, should include other oppressive systems
- Some of the language is confusing
- We need links to more info, blogs etc
- Perhaps we could write a blog about what radical is
- Statement is the end product, possibly too narrow as it fails to tic other more subtle approaches to systemic change
- Make it clear that we recognise there are different approaches/processes
- Named example of systemic change & name oppressive systems
- Identifying oppressions w/i radical movements
- What type of work do we support?
- Capitalist > “unequal structure” / “structures & practices of inequality & oppression like patriarchy, capitalism & white supremacy”
- The evidence of 2008 ?? > current system isn’t working (except for an elite minority)”
- Add a reading/resources list link : “if you want to read why we believe this…”
- Does the question make us confused? Or is it acknowledging complexity? Would preamble dirt this out or a bit more context?
- Add preamble ” we don’t have all answers the answers etc”
- Re-write last bullet to be clearer: ” Edge therefore supports groups trying to change these systems. We recognise the issue is, should we be seeking to reform or replace…?”
- Application of ethos
- subsume into 1 above?
- Very repetitive: collapse into number 1
- Some good wording eg ” revolutionaries that are radically innovating” < this is at the heart & following sentence
- [confusing structure]
- Who do we support?
- Does the new statement invisibilise some groups eg only working on systemic change?
- Add “and/or people reimagining/ providing alternatives based on justice & equality / sustainable, equitable & just
- What is radical?
- Too much info
- Links to blogs & specifically to a new blog encompassing this text. Radical means different things for different groups & in different contexts… Etc
Statement needs to be less wordy
Rephrase the end… Succinct & less informal (but don’t be too formal)
Remove language that is slang (eg rock the boat)
Be careful with language: “tinkering around the edges” (patronising), “less elitist” (but still some?), “scared” > hesitant/lack of imagination or resources (time is a privilege)
On merging the 2 funding categories, the general feeling was that they both appeal to different types of groups so merging them would probably mean only appealing to either community-led groups or radical systemic change groups – one category could probably not appeal to both. Important that we are clear that we’re looking for radical groups with systemic political analysis as well as a more inclusive category for groups that may not identify with that language.
- Staffing proposal
- Could we have organising posts based around specific issues, eg an organiser working specifically around white supremacy and patriarchy?
- Would it be ok to exclude people from new posts if they are white and middle class?
- Important we have staff to do outreach work to find new members, groups to fund and work with funded groups, but also to support current members. Could members support each other better?
We need 3 or 4 staff – administrator, plus organisers in different regions
Staff should be representative, both in terms of issues and regions
The current proposal, with 1 co-ordinator and 3 regional co-ordinators, means 63% of funds will be spent direct on funds. Ideally should be 70%, but need to invest in Edge for it to grow so happy with this level for a year, to be reviewed.
Sophie to think about whether she’d be happy to take an admin/ internal communication role.
- Scoring system
- a) Members score out of ten, without having to distribute a set amount of points.
- b) Members have the opportunity to meet to discuss applications before scoring
Agreed on trial basis, as long as it’s optional and well facilitated so people aren’t unduly influenced.
- c) New system for how scores determine short-list – Reweighted range voting
People struggled to understand how the system works. It may be a fairer system mathematically, but is it fair if people don’t understand it?
Check whether the system could disadvantage groups. For example, if a member scored lots of applications, more of their scores would be reduced, would this mean that applications they scored would be penalised?