MADSA Vision Meeting – How to submit visions and proposals.

MADSA is a member-driven organization. We depend on you to make our magic happen and thus want to invite you to bring your ideas to the membership. We have our working groups and you can do all sorts of things there, but if you think your idea should be something the whole chapter works on or you have an idea for how to organize the chapter better, our Vision meeting is a great place to do that. (Proposals can be submitted anytime for consideration by the membership, it might take a few months to get on the floor though!)

We’ve included instructions, questions to consider, and a sample vision statement and proposal.  

Instructions

We really want to hear from you so we’ve created two types of submissions. Taking the time to think through your ideas and anticipate questions will make it much more likely that your submission is voted in by the membership.

Vision Statement

This is where you let us know a direction you think the chapter should take in the next year or so. If adopted, we can all work together to figure out how to make the vision become reality. These can be up to one printed page in length.

Proposal

This is a more concrete document where you tell us exactly what you think we should do to make a vision become clearer. These can be external facing (the work we do in the community) or internal facing (how can we better operate to achieve our goals). These can be up to two pages long.

Steps:

  1. Write out your vision or proposal. These can be created individually or can come from a group of people.
  2. Submit to the executive committee at least one week in advance of the meeting. You can email it to us, info@madsa.ga or post it in slack or the forums. Make sure we acknowledge your submission.
  3. Choose someone (if not you) to present the proposal at the meeting. This person should be prepared to answer questions from the floor and respond to comradely critiques.

If your submission isn’t accepted by the membership, that doesn’t have to be the end! Feel free to rework it and bring it back to the membership after a while.

Questions to consider:

It’s okay if you don’t know. Just say that.  

Visions and Proposals:

What do you want to happen?

Why is it important that this happen?

Who would benefit from this? Is there a way to include them in planning?

Why is it important that WE be the ones to work on it?

How does this get us closer to a socialist future?

Proposals:

How do we do this? What steps would we need to take?

What resources might we need to make this happen?

What are some of the opportunity costs or what are some of the things we might not be able to do if we focus on this?

Who are possible coalition partners in this effort?

What strategies do you have to help us build capacity to do this?

Examples:

Vision Submission

In 2019 MADSA should find ways to focus on the well-being of puppies in the greater Atlanta area. We should find ways to support these voiceless creatures and advocate on their behalf. We should also find ways to provide material support for them. This is important because puppies are very cute and there really is no limit to how good their lives should be.

This fits into MADSA’s larger mission of standing up for the oppressed. Puppies are creatures who never asked to be born into dependency on humans and therefore it’s important for us to shift the human-puppy power dynamics in favor of puppies. By challenging the dynamics of dependency we open space for people to think about their own relationships to each other and through this expansion of imagination challenge capitalism itself.

Locally, we’ll be able to form relationships with other people who feel the same about puppies, many of which are working people of all kinds, and thus strengthen our ties with the community.

We should include puppies in our actions by testing them with a small group of puppies and adapting to feedback from them.

Proposal Submission

Introduction

I propose that MADSA push for kitten adoptions at all events and set up pop-up kitten cafes throughout the year. As Democratic Socialists, we stand for the dignity of all living beings and stand against the commodification of these creatures. By creating concrete systems of kitten adoption and joy, we create alternative economic and social structures to the pet store and shelter hegemony.

While most liberals might see shelters as a viable alternative to pet stores, this neoliberal solution only perpetuates the ideologies supporting individualism over collective action. They beg people to take animals cast aside by selfish humans and kill the creatures if no one steps up. No-kill shelters exist but are a farce as only a few animals are saved and the rest sent to traditional kill shelters.

By taking a stand as MADSA, we show ourselves to be comrades of kitten kind and work directly to show solidarity with them. We also show ourselves in solidarity with other kitten supporters in this important work.

Program

This proposal will call on our members to become fosters of kittens in their homes and bring these kittens to all events to encourage their permanent adoption. We will need to create a system for setting up kitten friendly spaces at our events for them to enjoy the proceedings with the rest of us. We will also need volunteers to monitor the kittens and answer questions about the adoption program. We will also need to provide coupons for free spaying and neutering, vaccines and routine veterinary care for those who adopt and even free food for those who would otherwise not be able to afford a kitten.

Additionally, we should set up pop-up kitten cafes in random coffee shops, tea houses and union halls around the greater Atlanta area. This will allow us to increase kitten to worker interaction and help build solidarity between kittens, workers and even between workers through their shared love of kittens.

Resources

This proposal will be somewhat resource intensive and will require consistent fundraising. The price of caring for and transporting the kittens should begin around $1000 a month and could grow from there.

Costs:

Food for kittens $400/mo

Medical care during fostering: $200/mo

Medical care coupons after adoption: $200/mo

Printing of promotional materials: $50/mo

Maintenance of Kitten Cubicle: $50/mo

Kitten Cafe materials: $100/mo

(One time Kitten Cubicle setup costs: $300)

Fundraising:

We can offer items at kitten cafe’s, suggest donations for those adopting, write grants to secure funding from foundations, do public interest campaigns to raise small-dollar online donations and more. We will likely need startup funding from the general coffers, however, to get the program going. $1000 should be enough to start.

Volunteers:

To make this successful, we would likely need to activate more of our membership and grow our membership to sustain a program like this. One idea would be to do kitten play days and invite members we haven’t seen for a while to play with the kittens and talk about Marx over sun tea and scones. Those who wish, can stay for training on basic kitten care and even take a kitten home with them to foster or adopt on the spot. Those fostering will have a reason to come to our events so they can bring the kittens with them. We can also do training to help volunteers learn to talk to the public about kitten adoption.

Allies

Natural allies for this effort would be PETA and the Humane Society. This will be a great opportunity to develop solidarity with animal rights activists as well as bring a material analysis to our joint work.

Possible Drawbacks

By focusing on this program we might not be able to raise funds as effectively for other programs given the cost. We will have to dedicate some significant chapter fundraising efforts to this as it equal our current general operating budget.  Also, some will be allergic to the kittens and we’ll need to set up no-kitten areas for those people. I think both of these issues are surmountable challenges for a well-run chapter like ours.

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