CONSTITUTION

Basics Community News Service – Canada

Ratified at the Founding AGM of Basics Community News Service, October 23, 2010.

Background

Canada has one of the highest concentrations of media ownership in the world, with the vast majority of all media under the control of monopoly corporations.  These media monopolies own a range of television and radio stations, newspapers, magazines, and internet operations, and continue to buy up the remaining independent media outlets.  The media monopolies are also interconnected with monopolies in other sections of the economy, especially the banks and other financial corporations.  This small group of wealthy elite controls the flow of information, and they use that position of dominance to push their interests and the interests of their class generally.

For the working class to organize themselves, they need a media apparatus that reflects their needs.  We, concerned people’s journalists, bind ourselves together to create an organization that produces news and other media from a people’s perspective and in the people’s interest.  We shall uphold the democratic and socialist interests of workers, employed or not, with or without status; women; and oppressed groups, peoples and nations in Canada.  To effectively address the various types of exploitation and oppression experienced by the above mentioned  the self-organization of the working class is required. We shall tirelessly work to defend the rights, struggles and welfare of all toiling people. With these ideals, we hereby declare this the Constitution and By-Laws of Basics Community News Service.

The Constitution defines the mandate of the organization.  The By-Laws clarify the day-to-day operations of the organization and how the affairs of the organization shall be conducted.

Constitution

Article I. Name and address of the organization

Section 1. The organization shall be known as Basics Community News Service, hereby referred to as BASICS in the constitution and bylaws.

Section 2.
The organization shall be based at any place decided upon by the Executive Committee subject to the affirmation of the general membership.

Article II. Objectives and Purposes

Section 1. The mission statement of BASICS shall be:
“To provide independent media that encourages meaningful discussion and organization around the issues facing working class communities.”

Section 2. The objectives and purposes of BASICS are to:

a. Present news from a working class perspective;
b. Foster a united class-consciousness among the various sectors of the working class;
c. Win over middle forces, such as small business owners and professionals, to the side of working class struggle;
d. Expose and oppose Canadian imperialism at every level;
e. Promote the successes of people’s org
anizations and mobilizations, both locally and internationally;
f. Encourage the growth and maintenance of people’s movements in our areas of distribution and to cooperate with other people’s organizations around our common goals; and
g. Deepen our roots in the working class by involving the people in the creation and distribution of BASICS and other people’s media.

Section 3. BASICS shall be a strictly nonprofit organization, operated exclusively for the foregoing purpose, and no part of its net earnings shall inure to the private benefit of any  individual.

Article III. Membership


Section 1
. BASICS shall be open to all individuals who adhere to the principles and objectives set by the organization and who are prepared to adhere to the rules and actively work to meet the organization’s aims.

Article IV. Rights and Duties of Members

Section 1. All members have the right to:
a. Be informed and take part in any activities of the organization;
b. Be informed of any decision made by any bodies within the organization which shall affect the general membership and BASICS as a whole;
c. Elect and be elected to any position in the organization;
d. Express his/her opinions without prejudice in a manner respectful of fellow members of BASICS and the broader masses of people that BASICS serves;
e. Access to all records of the organization;
f. Access all forums and channels of communication for the general membership;
g. Receive all BASICS publications free of charge; and
h. Observe Executive Committee meetings.

Section 2
. All members have the duty to:
a. Abide by the policies set in this Constitution and By-Laws and by any other policies set by the Executive Committee subject to the approval of the Annual General Meeting;
b. Actively participate in the activities of the organization towards the achievement of the organization’s objectives;
c. Protect the integrity, dignity, and name of the organization;
d. Perform the tasks in line with the thrust of the organization given by the democratically elected officers of BASICS;
e. Pay the annual membership fee and the monthly dues regularly;
f. Participate in the collective educational programs of the organization; and
g. Engage in criticism and self-criticism.

Article V. Organizational Structure and Duties of the Executive Committee

Section 1. The General Members’ Meeting (GMM) is the highest-decision making body of the organization.  GMMs may be held as frequently as is necessary according to the discretion of the ExeCom, or may be initiated by one-third of the membership by means of petition.

Section 2. There must be at least one GMM held every year, the Annual General Meeting (AGM), which shall set the thrust and chart the direction of BASICS, approve the general plans and other major documents of the organization, and elect the Executive Committee of BASICS. It shall be organized every year on the date and venue that the ExeCom shall set.

Section 3. The Executive Committee is the highest decision making body in between AGMs. It shall particularize and implement the plans of the AGM and take care of the day-to-day activities of the organization.  It shall oversee the content, production, and distribution of all publications of BASICS. The ExeCom shall be accountable to the AGM and must provide a report on its work and the results of the plans set by the previous AGM. It shall be composed of the Chairperson/Editor-in-Chief, Vice Chairperson/Assistant Editor, Secretary, Education Officer, Finance Officer, Social & Cultural Officer, Distribution Officer, and any additional members as elected by the AGM.  The AGM should strive to elect an odd-numbered ExeCom.

Section 4. The ExeCom shall meet at least once a month or at any other time as needed.  In emergencies or extraordinary circumstances, the ExeCom may conduct its affairs by internet or telephone.  The ExeCom may hold private, in-camera sessions in extra ordinary circumstances.

Section 5. The ExeCom may appoint additional members, as deemed necessary for specific sections of the paper or functions of the organization from amongst full members in good standing.

Section 6
. The Chairperson/Editor-in-Chief shall:
a. Lead the organization in the conduct of its day-to-day activities and the
implementation of the plans of the AGM;
b. Oversee the political content of all BASICS publications to ensure consistency with the objectives and purposes of the organization;
c. Oversee the facilitation of the AGM and the meetings of the ExeCom;
d. Represent BASICS in any official functions that BASICS shall participate in; and
e. Perform other tasks which the AGM or the ExeCom might delegate to him/her.

Section 7. The Vice Chairperson/Assistant Editor shall:
a. Assist the Chairperson in the conduct of his/her duties;
b. Assumes the position of the Chairperson in case of absence, resignation, impeachment, death or any other instances where the Chairperson can not discharge his/her duties;
c. Perform other tasks which the AGM or the ExeCom might delegate to him/her; and
d. Head the Membership and Organizational Development Committee.

Section 8.
The Secretary shall:
a. Oversee the discharge of duties of the members and ensure the smooth operation of the committees of the organization;
b. Regularly update the organization’s roster of active members;
c. Keep all the records of the organization and its members;
d. Organize and take the minutes of the ExeCom meetings;
e. Perform other tasks which the AGM or the ExeCom might delegate to him/her.

Section 9. The Education Officer shall:
a. Head the Education and Research Committee of the organization;
b. Ensure the regular conduct of educational discussions and forums on issues which affect  the working class and its allies;
c. Ensure the proper reproduction and distribution of education materials for the members of BASICS; and
d. Perform other tasks which the AGM or the ExeCom might delegate to him/her.

Section 10. The Finance Officer shall :
a. Head the Finance Committee of the organization;
b. Ensure the payment of membership fees and regular monthly dues;
c. Keep a record of the organization’s finances and regularly update the ExeCom of BASICS financial status;
d. Lead the organization in fundraising activities, with the support and assistance of the Finance Committee and the ExeCom; and
e. Perform other tasks which the AGM or the ExeCom might delegate to him/her.

Section 11. The Social & Cultural Officer shall:
a. Head the Social & Cultural Committee of the organization;
b. Facilitate cultural trainings for the cultural development of the  organization;
c. Facilitate the recreational activities of the organization;
d. Lead the organization in any cultural activities or where a cultural presentation from the organization is required; and
e. Perform other tasks which the AGM or the ExeCom might delegate to him/her.

Section 12. The Distribution Officer shall:
a. Oversee and develop the distribution network of the newsletter, and any other publications of BASICS; and
b. Attend to all matters related to subscriptions and mail-outs.

Article VI. Elections, Candidate Eligibility, Quorum, Disqualification, and Recall

Section 1. Elections shall be held every year at the AGM by secret balloting. A duly constituted Committee on Elections (ComElec), which the ExeCom shall form before the AGM, shall facilitate elections. All ballot papers must not be signed or marked other than the names of candidates running for election. All ballot papers must be placed in a sealed ballot box. Counting and declaration of the new set of officers shall be done by the ComElec.

Section 2.
No candidate running for Executive office may run for more than one Executive office during the same election.

Section 3. All full members of BASICS, in good standing, who have been members for at least six months prior to the elections are eligible to run for Executive office. (See Article IV for Membership Duties and Responsibilties to determine good standing.)

Section 4.
A simple majority of 50% plus 1 of the total active members shall constitute a quorum for the organization.

Section 5.

a. Any elected officer can be disqualified and impeached due to loss of confidence, illness rendering them incapable of fulfilling duties, actions that cause damage to the integrity of the organization, or by any other reasons that the ExeCom, subject to the affirmation of the next GMM, should consider as valid grounds.

b. During the term of an ExeCom, a special GMM may be called to deal with the recall of any one elected officer or for the entire ExeCom, necessitating the provision of concrete reasons for recall in the text of a petition for the GMM.  A vote of 2/3 is required to recall the entire executive or impeach any given elected officer, the specific vote of which the members of the ExeCom will not have voting rights but will have rights to speak.  An Interim ExeCom will be elected until the next AGM.  This is the only process for recall.

Article VII. Committees

Section 1. The ExeCom and the AGM shall have the power to establish committees as needed to promote the aims of BASICS.

Section 2. All committees shall operate under the guidance of, and be answerable to, the ExeCom.

Section 3. There shall be four standing committees of the organization: the Education & Research Committee, the Finance Committee, the Membership & Organizational Development Committee and the Social & Cultural Committee.

Section 4. Committees may be formed on a temporary or permanent basis as requested and approved by the AGM or the ExeCom.

Section 5. Committees shall consist of those members who are committed to carrying out the mandate of the given Committee as set by the ExeCom or AGM.  Ad-hoc committees shall work to:
a. Integrate and maximize the involvement of their members in the work of BASICS;
b. Build BASICS’s membership and support;
c. Promote the purposes and objectives of BASICS at the organizational and/or local level; and
d. Integrate BASICS into the struggles of working class communities.

Section 6. Committees shall elect from their membership Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, and Secretary as well as such other officers as the committee considers necessary for its activities, and shall elect a delegate to the ExeCom, should the ExeCom deem a delegate necessary.

Article VIII. Dissolution

Section 1.
The organization may be dissolved by the AGM upon two thirds votes of all voting members and the remaining assets will be given to an organization or organizations with principles similar to BASICS upon decision of the AGM.  No private individual shall by virtue of such dissolution ever receive or be entitled to any assets of BASICS.

Article IX. Amendments

Section 1. This Constitution may be amended by a two thirds majority of votes cast during the AGM, provided that a formal notice of recommended amendments has been sent to all qualified members, at least one month before the AGM.

By-Laws

By-Law 1. Objectives and Purposes

Section 1. In seeking to fulfil the objectives and purposes as laid out in the Constitution, the organization shall work to:
a. Strengthen unity and camaraderie amongst the membership of BASICS;
b. Conduct education and information training for members on issues which affect workers in Canada and internationally;
c. Provide practical skills training related to people’s journalism and media production;
d. Educate members on the issues affecting the people domestically and effectively relate these issues to Canadian imperialism;
e. Provide assistance for the welfare of the active members of the organization;
f. Relate, coordinate and unite with other people’s organizations in Canada for the advancement of the rights and welfare of the working class; and
g. Unite in solidarity with people’s movements internationally that have similar objectives and purposes.

By-Law 2. Membership and Fees

Section 1
. Applications for membership may be accepted at any time except in the 30 days before the AGM.  An applicant must fill in a membership form and upon approval of the ExeCom and the payment of the membership fee there shall be issued a membership card, a copy of the Constitution and By-Laws, and any other key organizational documents.

Section 2
. In order to keep BASICS financially self-reliant, all members will pay an annual membership fee on a sliding scale from $10-$50 made payable at the AGM, and all members will pay monthly dues on a sliding scale of $5-$15, based on their, employment status, wage-rate, or salary level.

Section 3. An arrearage in payment of annual membership fees or monthly dues of more than six months shall deprive a member of the privilege of voting and taking part in the management of BASICS.

Section 4.
The ExeCom shall have the power to waive annual membership fees and/or monthly dues, in whole or in part, in exceptional cases, but such an exception may be rescinded by the ExeCom at any time.

Section 5. Honourary membership may be granted by the ExeCom to any individual for meritorious service to the people’s struggle and/or advancing the cause of independent media.  Honourary members shall have no rights or duties within the organization and shall not pay dues.

Section 6. An individual shall cease to be a member by:
a. Delivery of a written letter or email of a notification of withdrawal to the ExeCom;
b. An arrearage in membership fees continuing more than one year; or
c. Being expelled by the ExeCom.

Section 7. A member may be expelled from BASICS by the ExeCom provided that:
a. The ExeCom has informed the member in question of the resolution for expulsion and permitted them to attend and address the deciding meeting of the ExeCom before the resolution is put to a vote;
b. The resolution is accompanied by a brief explanation for the motivations for expulsions; and
c. The resolution is passed with a two thirds majority vote.

Section 8. Expelled members may appeal their expulsion at the following AGM.  Expulsions can be overturned by a general meeting with a simple majority vote.

By-Law 3. The Executive Committee

Section 1. No ExeCom member shall be remunerated for being or acting as an ExeCom member, but an Executive member may be reimbursed for all expenses necessarily and reasonably incurred by the Executive member while engaged in the affairs of BASICS, as approved by the ExeCom.  Executive  expenses shall be reported on to the general membership annually at each AGM.

Section 2. The ExeCom may assign delegates from the general membership to perform specified tasks as decreed by the ExeCom.  Such delegates may not be granted voting powers within the ExeCom.

Section 3. The ExeCom may co-opt one delegate from such other committees as are established from time to time by the ExeCom, provided that such delegates have been elected to participate in Executive meetings by members of their respective committees.

Section 4. The Secretary shall give due notice to all BASICS members of any ExeCom meetings.

Section 5.  General members may submit motions for consideration or reports or complaints for discussion at the next ExeCom meeting via the Secretary.

Section 6. Minutes from all ExeCom meetings shall be issued to all BASICS members within one week of each ExeCom meeting. Any private in-camera session must be recorded with start and end times.

Section 7. Each member of the ExeCom shall cease to be a member of the Execom upon:
a. resignation or retirement; or
b. ceasing to be a member in good standing; or
c. resolution for removal from their post by a two thirds majority vote of the ExeCom due to failure to carry out their duties or violation of the Constitution or By-Laws of BASICS; or
d. impeachment by the general membership at a duly called AGM. (see Article V, Section 1)

Section 8. If any ExeCom member ceases to hold office, the remaining ExeCom members may by simple majority vote:
a. call a general membership meeting to elect a replacement ExeCom member; or
b. appoint a member to take the place of the former ExeCom member until the following AGM; or
c. declare the former ExeCom member’s position vacant and reassign the responsibilities of the position amongst the remaining ExeCom members until the following AGM.

By-Law 4. Voting Rights

Section 1. Each member determined to be a member in good standing is entitled to one vote upon each question put to a general meeting.

Section 2. Proxy voting is prohibited.

By-Law 5. Publications

Section 1. The ExeCom is in charge of all publications of the organization.

Section 2. One copy of Basics Free Community Newsletter shall be sent to each member of BASICS.

Section 3
. Other publications that may be authorized from time to time by the ExeCom may be distributed for free or sold, according to the decision of the ExeCom.

Section 4. The Chairperson shall supervise all matters pertaining to BASICS publications, under the general direction of the ExeCom.

By-Law 6. Financial Matters

Section 1. No pecuniary obligation in excess of five hundred dollars ($500) shall be contracted in the name of BASICS by any Executive or Member of BASICS without express sanction of the AGM or ExeCom.  Such sanction is automatically conferred by approval of an Annual Budget submitted by the Finance Officer to the AGM. 

Section 2. The Finance Officer shall reserve the sum of one thousand dollars ($1,000) as an emergency fund for BASICS.  Funds may be deposited in a bank of the Finace Officer’s discretion, but shall not be invested without authority of the Executive Committee.

Section 3.
At each Annual General Meeting, the Finance Officer shall present to the membership for their examination a compilation of the financial records of BASICS, duly posted and balanced, for the preceding year, an assessment of the financial status of BASICS, and present a budget, or, in the event of financial uncertainties, a broad financial projection for the forthcoming year.

By-Law 7. Annual General Meeting

Section 1. The ExeCom shall circulate the draft agenda amongst the general membership for discussion and proposed amendments at least one month before the AGM.  Amendments to the agenda may be made until one week before the AGM, at which point the final agenda shall be circulated amongst the general membership.

By-Law 8. Amendments

Section 1. The By-Laws may be amended by a majority of fifty percent plus one of votes cast during the AGM, provided that a formal notice of recommended amendments has been sent to all qualified members, at least one month before the AGM.

*

Top