On December 17, 2011, BASICS Community News Service held its second Annual General Meeting (AGM), just a little over a year after launched as a formal mass organization with a constitution in 2010.
The main tasks of the AGM included reviewing the successes of the past year, putting forward suggestions for the upcoming year, and electing a new executive.
In the realm of media work, highlights from the past year include:
- Maintaining our weekly radio show on CHRY 105.5FM, producing over 40+ radio shows
- Producing 5 print editions (Issues 23-27) with a total print run of over 30,000 copies
- Launching a new website
- Beginning to make regular use of Facebook and Twitter for the organization
- Building up a public list-serv to almost 1500 subscribers, and circulating a regular online newsletter
We also took important steps toward launching the School of People’s Journalism by holding two workshops, one on how to use google to improve our methods of investigative journalism, hosted by Tim Groves; and another on the inner workings of City Hall. In 2011, we also made preparations to fully launch the School of People’s Journalism in 2012, which we anticipate will consist of introductory and more advanced modules on journalism to be deployed across racialized working class communities throughout Toronto, as well as public events and study groups on important issues in working class communities.
Our organization also held two organization-wide educationals in 2011, one on how to make our news content better reflect the most advanced ideas of the people, and another on the relationship between imperialism and the corruption of labour leadership.
BASICS CNS also sponsored various community organizing initiatives, including a “Know Your Rights” event in Jane and Finch on police brutality, that just happened to be organized two days after the massive ‘Project Marvel’ raids centered on Jane and Finch. The event provided residents with the opportunity to voice their experiences about a long history of police terrorizing their families and breaking into their homes with little to no cause.
In the realm of Arts and Culture, we collaborated with community organization Barrio Nuevo for their Rebel Diaz 4-City Tour (Waterloo, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal) in early 2011. We also collaborated with the Anarchist Black Cross organization in Toronto to organize a book launch for Defying the Tomb by Kevin Rashid Johnson, the Minister of Defense of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (a black or ‘New Afrikan’ revolutionary communist prison-based organization, not to be confused with the cultural nationalist ‘New Black Panther Party’).
We continued to advance our alliance work as well by participating in International Women’s Day organizing, advancing May Day organizing in the May 1st Movement and playing a leading role in the founding of the Canadian Chapter of the International League of People’s Struggles. We also sent three delegates to ILPS 4th International Assembly in the Philippines, and reported from there.
At our December 2011 AGM, the results for the elections to the Executive Committee were as follows: Martin Cook (Editor) and Shafiqullah Aziz (Social and Cultural Officer) were re-elected to their positions; J.D. Benjamin (Assistant Editor) and Pragash Pio (Finance Officer) were elected to new posts; and Marianne Lau (Education Officer) and Louisa Worrell (Secretary) are newly elected members to the Executive Committee. BASICS thanks its outgoing Executive Committee members, Greg D. (Distribution Officer), Steve da Silva (Education Officer), and Noaman Ali (Assistant Editor) for all their efforts in 2011, who did not stand in elections in order to play more active roles at the base of the organization. The Distribution Officer was not contested at the AGM, but was later filled by Kabir Joshi-Vijayan.
In the upcoming year, in addition to continuing our strong community journalism we will be ramping up our School of People’s Journalism into a series of people’s journalism modules to be deployed across multiple working class neighbourhoods in Toronto. We hope that the SPJ will allow us to continue improving the relevancy of our content; expanding to new mediums (such as video podcasts); and increasing the number of people our news reaches (both in print and online formats). We are committed to increasing our membership and also ensuring that our membership becomes increasingly based in the working class communities that we ground our work and content in.
Any one or organization interested in joining the BASICS news team or in the School of People’s Journalism may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.