Constitution of the Workers League (WL)
The Workers League (WL) is a socialist organisation, whose central aim is the overthrow of capitalism and the building of a classless society on a worldwide basis. It aims to establish a worldwide federation of workers’ republics; however this goal is subordinate to the variable progress of the class struggle internationally. The central task to enable the realisation of this aim is the construction of Marxist vanguard parties based on Leninist-Trotskyism.
The WL operates on the basis of democratic centralism, the organisational form pioneered by the Bolshevik party before and during the October Revolution of 1917. Amongst other things, democratic centralism means that members have the right to internally discuss all issues in relation to the work of the organisation, the right to put forward proposals, and to have them voted on. It also means that the decisions arrived at by the organisation by majority vote should be carried out by all members to the best of their ability.
The WL is an organisation centred on political action, and is therefore not a discussion or debating club. Discussion and debate takes place in order to facilitate action. This does not undermine the necessity for discussion and debate in order to arrive at a political position, or to come to a decision. We are confident that workers will understand the need for these and other similar organisational measures.
Article 1. Name
The name of the organisation shall be the Workers League (WL).
Article 2. Aims
(a) The aim of the WL is the abolition of the capitalist order on a worldwide basis, and the building of a classless, socialist society.
(b) This will require the establishment of a workers republic, or a workers state, in Australia. However, this aim is subordinate to the overall goal of world socialism.
(c) A successful workers revolution, which includes the seizure of state power, requires the formation of a Marxist vanguard party, predominantly composed of workers. The WL aims to assist in the task of creating such a party.
Article 3. Membership
(a) Any person who agrees with the outline of the Prospectus, and is willing to work towards its aims, shall be eligible for membership of the organisation.
(b) Each applicant for membership of the organisation shall undergo a period of provisional membership. Provisional membership will continue up to a maximum of 12 months, during which time other members can assess the suitability of the applicant for full membership, based on their activity for the organisation, and the development of their political understanding.
(c) Provisional members will have the rights and obligations of full members. Provisional members have full speaking rights during all meetings. However, provisional members do not have the right to move motions or to vote in meetings.
(d) Members have the obligation to financially contribute to the party at least on a monthly basis. Members whose financial status is in arrears by one quarter (three months), shall lapse as financial members. Lapsed financial members may still be included in party activities, depending on circumstances. However, lapsed financial members do not have the right to vote, or to move motions.
Article 4. Rights and Obligations
(a) All members have the right to take part in discussions, while all full members have the right to move motions, and to vote on proposals.
(b) Full financial members have the right to make comradely criticisms of the political decisions of the organisation, or of the actions of a particular member or members, in relation to the political tasks of the organisation. Where necessary, this should be done in the form of suggesting an alternative.
(c) Full financial members have the right to propose a different course of action, or a different political orientation for the organisation, in relation to particular issues.
(d) Members have the right to form political groupings or factions. However, the faction must be declared (i.e. secret factions are not allowed), and it must have a platform. The amount of time and resources devoted to factional political discussion shall be decided by the party as a whole.
(e) Members have the obligation to be loyal to the organisation and its aims.
(f) Members have the obligation to place all their political activity under the direction of the organisation, and to take part in the activity of the organisation to the best of their ability.
(g) Members have the obligation to pay dues.
(h) In general, the WL does not accept dual membership. That is, membership of another political organisation as well as the WL. An exception may be made in such cases as, for example, membership of an international pro-working class political organisation.
Article 5. Rules of Procedure
(a) All decisions are to be made by majority vote.
(b)Votes are to be taken after an appropriate discussion has taken place, where all members have been given the opportunity to express their opinions on the proposal.
(c) Votes are binding on all members, and members shall carry out the organisation’s decision to the best of their ability.
(d)All leaders and leadership bodies shall be accountable to the membership as a whole. They shall report to the membership all significant activities, plus other activities at the request of members.
(e) A member shall be notified of a possible violation of the Constitution in the first instance, in writing.
(f) If the membership finds a member guilty of having violated the constitution, the membership may administer one of the following:
- Warning against repetition of the breach
- Removal from an elected position
- Suspension of voting rights and/or withdrawal of the right to attend meetings
- Expulsion from the organisation
(g) A member has the right to appeal any disciplinary action taken against them, providing the appeal is received in writing within 21 days.
(h) The membership will meet and decide on the appeal within 28 days.
(i) The following standing orders shall apply to a meeting of members:
- The meeting shall elect a chairperson and minute taker.
- The chairperson shall read out the proposed agenda, and ask for any proposed amendments or additions to the agenda. If there are none, the agenda will be put to a vote. Amendments and additions will be discussed and voted on. Time limits for agenda items and reports may be applied.
- In general, a report to the meeting should include subsequent motions to adopt. This does not apply to educational or information only reports.
- Motions may be moved by any member, and do not require a seconder. The chairperson shall call for discussion on the motion, unless it is a case of a procedural motion to move straight to a vote, or discussion has already taken place during the agenda item.
- No member shall address the meeting who has not been awarded the call by the chairperson. The chairperson may rule out of order a speaker or a motion which they consider to be not addressing the agenda item at the time. In such a case, a procedural motion may be raised from the floor to dissent in the chairperson’s ruling. If carried by the meeting, this shall override the chairperson’s ruling.
- Except where a meeting decides otherwise, a procedural motion should be addressed by two speakers, one for and one against.
- An amendment to a motion may be submitted during the meeting. If the amendment is accepted by the mover, the amendment is not voted on, but incorporated into the motion. If the mover rejects the amendment, the amendment shall be voted on before a vote is taken on the motion. If the meeting adopts the amendment, it shall be incorporated into the motion to be voted on.
Article 6. Leaders and leadership council
(a) All leaders and leadership councils shall be elected by the membership. The members have the right to recall any leader or leadership council after a period in which the issues have been extensively discussed and assessed by the membership as a whole.
(b) Leaders and leadership councils may speak for, and make decisions on behalf of the organisation, in between meetings of members. However, leaders and leadership councils are always accountable to the members, who have the right to query any decision, any financial matter, and any document or publication of the organisation, and propose changes.
Current as at: November 13, 2016.