This post will end up a bit of a hodgepodge. That scattered quality may be inevitable in these times of way too much happening, left, right, and center.
A VISION PROCESS
In any case, one of the developments in question deals with a process long promoted by such At-Large Chapter members as ‘yours truly.’ It is a prerequisite to organizing and growing a group of ‘feral beasts’ such as our agglomeration of ‘wild cat’ writers. It adds up to a strategic planning process, the first step in any fulfillment of which is a wide-ranging, even comprehensive, discussion of what our vision is.
I have composed a ‘vision statement’ as part of this unfolding work. I’m sharing it with everyone below. It is long, perhaps more than a little unwieldy. Yet it appeals to me for its thoroughness and reach.
I’d like to hear back from folks about this. What are your responses to this vision? What are your own notions in this regard? I and other inquiring minds would like to know.
JIM HICKEY’S VISION STATEMENT
“I envision a million member union. I envision a million-member-minimum union of folks ready, willing, and able to stand up for the rights and benefits of working people anywhere. I envision a million-member-minimum union of creators, writers, and especially freelancers who are ready, willing and able—for the empowerment, enlightenment, rights, and benefits of all working people of the world—to stand up, and if necessary do battle. I envision a million-member-minimum union of creators, writers, and especially freelancers—in existence by 2025 and with ten thousand members by January 1, 2017—who are ready, willing and able—for the empowerment, enlightenment, rights, and benefits of all working people of the world—to stand up, and if necessary do battle, whose organization, moreover, facilitates daily their engagement and participation in creation, learning, action, and production. I envision a million-member-minimum union of creators, writers, and especially freelancers—in existence by 2025 and with ten thousand members by January 1, 2017—who are ready, willing and able—for the empowerment, enlightenment, rights, and benefits of all working people of the world—to stand up, and if necessary do battle, whose organization, moreover, facilitates daily their engagement and participation in creation, learning, action, and production that lead to and represent mediation for sustainable, socially and economically democratic societies everywhere on Earth. I envision, in other words, our becoming an arguably key link in the transformation of human affairs so that we may survive and thrive on our global home.”
DUES INCREASES & DEMOCRATIC DISCUSSION
As posted on Wednesday’s Daily Links, the Boston chapter’s leadership has asked for a clear, formal statement about the rationale for any dues increase. “The Steering Committee of the Boston Chapter directs Larry Goldbetter and the UAW to state in writing the basis in the UAW Constitution and the NWU bylaws for determining any dues increase and per capita increase.”
Union President Larry Goldbetter replied to this directive today. “I believe we have already addressed this in writing a few times in the past three or more months of discussion, in President’s reports and NWU’s(I believe he here means to write “National Executive Board calls”). But of course, we will address this again, as requested. At the same time, we want to continue scheduling chapter conference calls so we can discuss these issues and more with as many members as possible.”
And there we have another directive, this one addressed to us. Whether as a list-serve, a conference call, or in some other fashion—I am willing to collect member comments as e-mails if that is the easiest method—we need to ponder and articulate our response to two things. The first is a United Auto Workers mandate for a 25% dues increase, beginning more or less immediately. The second is the NWU-National-leadership’s recommendation for an additional 25% surcharge to support maintaining and making more sustainable NWU’s present process of ‘deficit financing.’
So what do you all think? Again, I and other inquiring minds would like to know. Here is a brief list of welcome input.
- A response to the UAW-imposed dues uppage.
- A response to the NWU leadership’s proposition for a further increase.
- Suggestions about how to conduct this conversation: i.e., conference call, list serve, e-mail, or some other method.
Folks should feel free to add to these bullet points anything that they’
Finally, as the Daily Links have posted, the Federal Communication Commission has extended the net-neutrality-docket comment deadline till Friday midnight, which permits interested ‘consumers’ and citizens to post either brief opinions or lengthier commentary . Though such statements are not nearly enough to bring about media democracy, they are one small step toward such a goal. Folks should consider posting their ideas on the FCC website as a result.
I encourage At-Large members to read the comments that I filed on Monday.
- I would especially like to know whether any of our members share a passion for using historical knowledge to put contemporary issues into perspective.
- I would also very much like to know if anyone else hopes that our union can lead discussions of such matters, both for ourselves and a larger ‘general public.’
If the answers to these two questions are negative, then I would desperately like to know what the naysayers would proffer as an alternative response to this period of apparent further media consolidation in private hands at the expense of grassroots power and citizen rights. How are we to proceed?
As always, I and other inquiring minds would love to find out. I hope that everyone, at this juncture, is familiar with the At-Large Chapter website: http://worldorganizationofwriters.org. I’d also request folks to ‘friend’ our FaceBook page, http://www.facebook.com/solidarityforevernwuatlarge. Whether through social media or the website, part of our work, as a Chapter that spans the globe, has to happen online. Maybe folks can ‘step up to the plate,’ so to speak, to help that happen.
Anyhow, let’s start talking about these things, as well as topics near and dear to writers’ hearts, such as how to make publishing breakthroughs, how to gain greater technical capacity, how to reach out and touch audiences both actual and virtual, and plenty more besides. I’ll hope to hear from loads and loads of the At-Large membership very soon!