Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Updated NOII Membership Policy/Basis of Unity

Membership policy
No One is Illegal Ottawa welcomes anyone who agrees to and understands our Basis of Unity. The degree to which an individual participates depends on their own commitment and availability. We prioritize membership of women, trans*, and gender variant people of colour in the organization and those that have lived experience of immigration policies. As such, it may take some people longer than others to be able to become core members.

We have three categories of members: core, network, and general. There are different requirements/processes to join each category of membership.

To become a core member, you will need to meet in person with other core members to discuss your interest in joining the organization as a core member as well as attend an education/orientation workshop to learn about the structure, policies, and practices of NOII Ottawa. You may be asked to get involved at a general and/or network level prior to gaining core status in order to familiarize yourself with the group's policies and practices. Core members are privy to sensitive information arising from the support work we do with directly affected community members. Core members also have exclusive decision-making power in the group.

To be a network member, you will need to attend an education/orientation workshop to learn about the structure, policies, and practices of NOII Ottawa. At the orientation meeting, new members will learn about our basis of unity, how to attend meetings, and how to participate in actions, planning, and discussions. A network member does not have decision-making power in the group but can attend meetings to express their opinions. Network members can also take on organizing responsibilities for events, meetings, and campaigns.

To be a general member, all you have to do is come to NOII Ottawa events/public meetings and sign up for our mailing list. If you wish to volunteer with event/campaign support tasks (such as postering, etc.), you can get in touch with one of the core/network members who will follow up with you. All network and core members must agree to the following points:

  1. You agree to and understand the Basis of Unity for NOII Ottawa. 
  2. You agree with the principles and values of No One is Illegal as a movement for self-determination for migrants but also for global justice that seeks to dismantle capitalism, colonialism, and all forms of power and control.
  3. You understand that NOII Ottawa works with allies so being involved with NOII also means being involved in and supportive of other movements of justice such as Indigenous sovereignty, Palestinian solidarity, queer/trans liberation, prison abolition, etc and acting our solidarity in accordance with the understanding that these struggles are intrinsically linked. 

In addition, core members must agree to the following points:

  1. You commit to being involved in the ongoing work of the group in some capacity. For core members, this generally means attending a minimum of 1-2 meetings per month in order to facilitate collective decision-making and planning. Core members are always free to step back as needed. Core members are asked to let the group know they are stepping back and how they would like their membership adjusted. 
  2. You agree to the decision-making, membership, and safe space policies of NOII Ottawa. 
  3. You agree that core members who have not attended a meeting for six months will be moved to network member status -- meaning they will no longer have decision-making power in the group.  
Decision-making policy
No One is Illegal Ottawa strives for consensus in our decision making but allows for majority voting to move processes forward. First a decision is attempted to be reached through consensus. If that is not possible, we move to voting. For decisions that do not affect our group's core policies and practices, we consider 2/3 of core members present at the decision-making meeting to be a majority. For decisions affecting our Basis of Unity, policies (including the safe spaces policy), group structure, or principals/values, we consider 80% of the whole core membership to be a majority. Quorum must be met to make decisions.
Quorum will consist of a majority (50% +1) of the total core members.

Safe spaces policy
No One is Illegal Ottawa strives to create anti-oppressive spaces in our meetings and events. If one of our core/network members creates unsafe spaces for others or violates our core values (as stated in the Basis of Unity and in other policies), we will follow up with a facilitated meeting with that member to decide on a course of action that may include asking the member to leave NOII Ottawa. The course of action put forward at the facilitated meeting will be voted on by the group following our decision-making meeting.

Basis of Unity
No One is Illegal Ottawa is a group of newcomers, settlers, and allies guided by anti-oppression principles that advocates and fights for the dignity and self determination of immigrants and refugees as well as those living without status. We work to oppose racist immigration and border control policies as well as the international economic policies designed to exploit and marginalize migrants. We believe that we must work to oppose the economic, social, and environmental conditions created by capitalism that force migration, which includes supporting the struggles of Indigenous peoples in their fight against displacement and the ongoing theft of their land. We envision a world free from oppression, where all life is valued, and where people are able to provide for themselves and their families. We strive and struggle for the right to remain, the freedom to move, and the right to return for all.