RampART/constitution

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rampART collective Constitution and Articles of Association (see also statement of principles and mission statement which form part of this policy document)

1. Name

The name of the group shall be ‘the rampART collective’, which may be abbreviated to ‘the rampART’. The building or project itself shall be known as ‘the rampART creative centre and social space’ - also abbreviated to ‘the rampART’

2. Aims & Objectives

The rampART is a private members club, a politically motivated resource for campaign groups and artists working on social justice and environmental issues in what might broadly be termed the politics of the radical non- authoritarian left.

The rampART enables and empowers DIY culture and independent grassroots organising with a view to bringing about positive social change, by providing a venue, equipment, resources, information and skill sharing.

The rampART provides a non-commercial venue hosting cultural and political events, including but not limited to; film festivals, art exhibitions, benefit concerts, political discussions, public meetings and workshops.

Everyone is a volunteer but not charity or social workers. It is not a job, there are no bosses and no clients or customers. Nobody gets paid for their efforts or time although out of pocket expenses may be covered when agreed.

All activities are free or by donation. This is both to ensure opportunities for people to take part in activities from which they may previously have been excluded, and also to demonstrate alternatives to the predominant culture of commodification and capital.

The rampART collective, or others as agreed by the collective, may financial support projects and campaigns which share similar progressive political motivations. Money raised at the rampART is intended purely for social benefit, never for personal financial gain.

3. Powers

In furtherance of the above objects, the rampART may.

Squat or rent buildings or land.

Raise funds for payment of utilities or purchase of capital items.

Raise funds, or grant permission to others to raise funds, for other projects and campaigns sharing similar and compatible political motivations.

4. Membership

Membership will be free or by voluntary donation.

Members may resign at any time in writing to the membership secretary or verbally at a meeting.

Members can be expelled and banned permanently on the basis of a major decision.

Membership is open to all who support the aims of the group, participate in its activities and in the communications and decision making processes. The term 'the collective' refers only to these 'full' members engaged in these processes.

Users of the building who do not fully support the aims of the group or engage in it's communications and decision making structures may be considered only as associate members without 'voting' rights within the discussion making process.

Every visitor or user of the building automatically becomes an associate member unless they indicate otherwise in writing or by email.

5. Officers and committee

Where possible, to avoid hiarchy and structures which may lead to abuse of power, there are generally no official roles within the collective.

However, some roles may become necessary for legal or administrative purposes:

a) A treasurer may be elected by the group in a decision treated as a major decision and shall be responsible for maintaining accounts.

b) A secretary may be chosen and rotated on the basis of a regular decision and be responsible for the taking of minutes.

c) A chairperson may be chosen and rotated on the basis of a regular decision and be responsible for the facilitating meetings.

6. Meetings

The rampART is run collectively. Any one is free to get involved or make proposals relating to use of the space by come along to one of the pre-announced collective meetings. Attempts are made to make all major decisions relating use of the space by building a consensus, both out of a desire to avoid the abuse of power often found in hierarchical systems and also in recognition that decisions are more likely to be carried out when decided by consensus.

It is recognised that such open organising structures can themselves be open to abuse. People attending a meeting as a one-off, or without any genuine support for the aims and objectives of the project, may attempt to disrupt or change new proposals or existing decisions on which everyone else agrees. One way in which the rampART attempts to avoid this danger is to make decisions on the basis of a model known as “Unanimity minus one” which is designed to reduce the risk of self- interested or malicious intent. It means that one person may not block a decision by themselves. In order for a decision to be blocked, at least two people must oppose it.

7. Decision making procedures

There are three types of decisions made by rampART

1. Major decisions include things like irreversible structural alterations to the building, approving expenditure of funds on capital items etc. Major decisions must be made at a collective meeting and must be announced by a full member at least a week in advance at the previous meeting. If a proposal is made without prior notification and is considered to be a major decision, then it can be discussed but final agreement will have to wait to the following week. The quorum for major decisions is three fully members.

2. Regular decisions include things like proposals for work that needs doing, booking rooms for events on a specific date, and granting permission to somebody to stay as a guest. If possible, regular decisions should be made at a collective meeting and do not need to be announced in advance. However, when it is not possible to take such decisions to a meeting due to time constraints, regular decisions may also be made after sufficient consultation within the collective, either in person or by email in a similar way that minor decisions are made. There is no quorum for regular decisions.

3. Minor decisions include such things as cleaning the toilets, changing a light bulb, putting up a poster, moving a computer, placing a new item of furniture, and enforcing previous decisions. There is no need to delay progress or burden meetings with every decision which instead can be made by talking to over members of the collective who are generally around the building to get an idea of whether the issue might be controversial. If somebody objects then it becomes a regular decision and must be decided at a meeting. The minor decision making process is based on trust of individuals judgement and is intended to allow progress to happen unhindered.

If consensus cannot be reached, the following options exist:

1. If only one person is blocking full consensus, the group may decide to accept or over-ride the block.

2. If two people or more are blocking consensus, the group may decide by consensus to try again at a future meeting. If the group cannot reach consensus to try again, then the decision is considered “dropped.” Dropped decisions may not be raised again for at least six months and those members who opposed it must be notified before the meeting in which it will be discussed again so they have an opportunity to raise their objections.

If consensus is reached, then the decision should be written down in the minutes and copies of those minutes should be made available to members.

8. Finances

All money raised by the collective in the name of the rampART will be spent solely on the objects of the rampART as laid out within this document.

Records of such income and expenditure will be maintained by the Treasurer and a financial statement made available at each meeting.

All money raised (after out of pocket expenses), as a result of activities taking place in the building, should be spent solely for social benefits compatible with the aims and objectives of the rampART as laid out within this document.

9. Amendments to the Constitution

Any proposal to amend the constitution will be considered a major decision. Additionally, any changes agreed in this way should be further announced at the following meeting and reversed if consensus does not remain.

Any proposal to amend the statement of principles is also also treated as a change to the constitution and will be considered a major decision. Changes agreed should be announced at the following meeting and reversed if consensus does not remain.

10. Dissolution

Dissolution shall be considered a major decision. Additionally, an agreement to dissolution should be further announced at the following meeting and reversed if consensus doesn’t remain.

The rampART collective shall be considered dissolved by default if less than three people attend three consecutive meetings or no meetings attended by three or more people take place within a period of one month.

If it is agreed to dissolve then all collective resources and remaining money, once outstanding debts have been paid, will be donated to projects with similar aims and objectives. Details of which projecs get what will be agreed at the meeting following the one which agrees the dissolution.


Statement of Principles, Mission Statement, Building Policy and Acceptable Use

(this document is to be considered part of the rampART constitution and as such can only be changed through the same processes required to make changes to the constitution) Accessibility

All events are free or by donation. Nobody should be turned away on the basis of refusal or inability to donated at entry. (see also: membership policy)

There should be no discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability, sexuality, age, and due consideration given to people of differing political, philosophical or religious beliefs and opinions. The RAMPART should be open to all on the basis of equality for all. People who do not believe in such equality regardless of age, sex, race or religion etc. will not be welcome. Such people may be asked to leave.

Drug abuse, drug dealing, or any activity (such as aggressive behaviour, violence, or stealing) while is likely to be detrimental to other peoples use of the space, or local community, should not be tolerated. Such people may be asked to leave.

Any event which involves catering should ensure the food is vegan or at least vegetarian with a significant vegan option. Exceptions to this general policy may possibly be made by prior agreement if there are extenuating cultural or religious reasons why meat should be served but even then there should be reasonable provision made not to exclude those who do not wish to consume animals.

Money

This is a non-commercial project. Nobody gets paid - this is not a business. We are not charity workers or social workers - everyone is a volunteer. No money raised should constitute a wage or similar payment. Out-of-pocket expenses for bands and other performers etc. may be covered.

Residency and overnight stays

In order to maintain a productive project space that is accessible and non intimidating, we aim to avoid as much as possible the problems that seem to be associated with combining residential elements into communal project spaces. Limited residential use of the building may be agreed by the collective - decisions about who may be resident and which rooms will be used for these purposed constitute a major decision.

There is also provision for crash space which is intended to provide overnight accommodation for people who have travelled to London to attend events at the rampART or other similar activities elsewhere in London. The crash space is available on the following terms.

Out of town guests

  • Subject to prior agreement, accommodation may be provided for individuals or groups visiting london - they would normally be expected to have some kind of referral.
  • This is not a homeless hostel and our policy is not to provide crash space for people who are currently homeless.
  • Unless by prior agreement with large groups, crash space is limited to the one room assigned to the purpose.
  • Length of stay must be agreed in advance AND the maximum stay is ten days within any calender month.
  • The accommodation room remains communal and does not becomes the property of any single person just because they happen to be using it at for a period of time.
  • Personal possessions, bedding and any other ‘mess’ must be cleared away by midday so that the room is available for use for the rest of the day. In the evening, meeting etc which may use the rooms have priority over use of the space.
  • Guest are expected (without messing up their own plans) to get involved in the project and contribute in some way.