Constitution of the Revolutionary Socialist Party
[Adopted by the First Congress of the RSP, June 6-9, 2009.]
The Revolutionary Socialist Party is a revolutionary Marxist party, based on a definite program, whose central aim is to organise and lead the working class and its allies to overthrow the rule of the capitalist class and to build a socialist society. All of the party’s activities, methods and internal organisation are subordinate to this aim and designed to serve it.
The RSP bases its organisational structure and methods on the proven Leninist principles of organisation, summed up in the concept of democratic centralism. The history of the working-class movement has yet to provide a better example of the type of party that is needed for leading a proletarian revolution than the Bolshevik party of Lenin.
Democratic centralism is a dialectical concept which does not lend itself to rigid definition and application regardless of time, place and circumstance. But at the heart of this concept is the democratic principle of majority rule: all members of the party, in both their public political activity and in their participation in the internal life of the party, are required to abide by the decisions of the party, as determined by majority vote. Without the adherence to this basic principle by all its members the very existence of the RSP as a united and coherent organisation would be undermined. The party would degenerate into a loose coalition of individuals and groupings, each deciding for themselves what political activity they will engage in.
Just as the working class must be able to debate competing political ideas if it is to be really won to the program of Marxism, the revolutionary workers’ party itself requires the maximum possible discussion and exchange of ideas at all levels if it is to be able to chart a correct course through the often abrupt shifts of the class struggle.
However, democracy in a Leninist party such as the RSP is not reducible to the right to discuss the policies and activities of the party. It also includes such principles as that every party member has the same rights and the same obligations as every other member; that all decisions are determined by majority vote; that every member, no matter what their individual views, must loyally abide by the decisions of the party; that there are no bodies that make decisions that affect the policies and activities of the party that are not known and accountable to the party; and that all leadership bodies are elected by majority vote and subject to recall by their electors.The RSP is an organisation for revolutionary action, not a discussion club which debates interminably on any and all questions at any and all times without reaching a binding decision. The purpose of its internal discussions is to reach decisions for action. Once a decision has been made by majority vote, all members are required to loyally implement it. This procedure ensures that the party maximises the effectiveness of its efforts and fully tests out its decisions. A decision that is applied half-heartedly or by only a part of the membership is one that has not really been subjected to the test of practice. Those holding minority views are not asked to give up their views. They must simply await a new opportunity to present their views when internal discussion is again authorised by the official party bodies. Party democracy means not only scrupulous respect for the rights of minorities, but also the right of the majority to have its decisions carried out and tested in practice by the entire membership before they are re-discussed. The party is therefore entitled to set the time, form, and limits of its internal discussions.
The struggle to overthrow the capitalist ruling class and bring the workers to power is the most ruthless and demanding class struggle in human history. The entire experience of the labour movement demonstrates that the conquest of power by the working class requires the leadership of a politically homogeneous, centralised party of professional revolutionary activists. A loose-knit, politically heterogeneous, undisciplined, untrained organisation is utterly incapable of providing the necessary leadership in this struggle.
Centralism means the party has the right to determine the areas in which each of its members will be politically active. It means that all the activities of the party, including its internal life, are regulated by the elected leadership bodies of the party; that the party is organised on a strictly hierarchical basis with lower party bodies subordinate to higher party bodies; and that the party faces the outside world with a single policy, that of the majority.
The ability of the party to function in a centralised manner depends upon the existence of political homogeneity within its ranks, upon broad agreement on the party’s aims and general perspectives. Individuals or groups that have fundamental disagreements with the party’s aims and perspectives cannot be expected to work in a disciplined manner to build the party. This is why agreement with the aims of the party and willingness to work for their realisation is a basic condition of membership.As a voluntary union of revolutionaries, the RSP has both the right and the obligation to demand an unconditional loyalty to its aims and organisation from all members and all who seek admission to its ranks. Party loyalty is not an abstract idea, but a standard of political conduct. Loyal members always seek to defend and promote the party’s interests. They work to build the party. They seek to the best of their ability to abide by and implement its decisions. The RSP therefore selects its members on the basis of their loyalty to the party, as demonstrated by their acceptance of the party’s revolutionary program and willingness to work for its implementation.
Furthermore, the obligation upon members to actively engage in the work of the party is essential to the preservation of its democratic character. Workers’ organisations composed predominantly of passive “paper” members are more susceptible to bureaucratic manipulation by opportunist leaders and to ideological and other pressures exerted by the capitalist rulers than those that make active participation in the work of the organisation a condition of membership.
A democratic-centralist revolutionary party, if it is to achieve the unity in action for which the party exists, requires an experienced leadership which works together as a team and which has the confidence of the party’s membership. The value of a leadership team derives from the same source as the value of having a revolutionary party – the superiority of collective experience, discussion, decision and action over the isolated efforts of unorganised individuals. Without such a leadership team a revolutionary party cannot play its essential role of providing leadership to the working people in their struggle to conquer power and build socialism. One of the key functions of the Leninist organisational principle of democratic centralism is to make possible the development of such a leading team.
The organisational structure of a Bolshevik-type party and the concrete implementation of democratic centralism are not immutable. The organisational structure of the party and its application of democratic centralism are determined by the tasks to be accomplished at a given stage of building the revolutionary party and by the concrete political situation it faces at any given time. The RSP has forged its own specific forms and application of democratic centralism in the course of attempting to build a Leninist party in the context of concrete Australian conditions.
These specific forms are codified in the following articles, which define the organisational structure of the party, the rights and responsibilities of party units and of individual party members, and set out the rules governing their functioning.
Article 1. Name
The name of the organisation shall be the Revolutionary Socialist Party, herein after referred to as “the party”.
Article 2. Aims
The aims of the party are:
(a) To abolish the capitalist social order in Australia and, in collaboration with the international working-class movement, to eliminate poverty, national inequality, sexist oppression, racist discrimination, war and ecological destruction, through the construction of a classless, socialist society.
(b) To achieve this by educating and organising the workers and other oppressed social groups, on the basis of the party’s Program, for a revolutionary struggle to replace the capitalist government with a working people’s government.
Article 3. Membership
Paragraph 1. Every person who normally resides in Australia or is resident for an extended period, who agrees with the party’s aims, agrees to abide by this Constitution, and is willing to engage to the best of their ability in the work of the party, shall be eligible for admission to membership of the party.
Paragraph 2. Each applicant for party membership, upon being approved by majority vote of the branch executive to which they are applying (or by a national party body in the case of former members or at-large applicants) will become a provisional member for a period of no more than six months and no less than three months.
Paragraph 3. Provisional members shall be required to fulfil all the obligations of party membership, including paying dues and levies. They shall be entitled to participate with voice only in branch general meetings and any other meetings of party bodies to which they are assigned or invited, and to purchase internal party bulletins. Provisional members shall be required to familiarise themselves with the party’s Program, Constitution, norms and methods of functioning and it shall be the responsibility of branches to organise such an educational process for their provisional members.
Paragraph 4. Provisional members shall not be entitled to:
(a) Move motions or vote in party meetings.
(b) Nominate, or be nominated as, candidates for election to leadership bodies of the party, including the party Congress or delegated district conferences.
(c) Elect, or be elected to, leadership bodies of the party.
(d) Submit written contributions to the party’s internal discussion bulletin.
Paragraph 5. At the end of the minimum three-month period of provisional membership, the branch general meeting (or a national party body in the case of former members and at-large applicants for membership) may take a decision, according to the provisions in Article 3, paragraph 7 of this Constitution, on the applicant’s admission to party membership. If no action is taken by a branch on an application for membership at the conclusion of the maximum six-month period of an applicant’s provisional membership period, the applicant’s status as a provisional member shall automatically lapse.
Paragraph 6. The national party bodies shall be empowered to waive the period of provisional membership in individual cases and to admit such applicants directly to party membership.
Paragraph 7. Action on admission of provisional members to membership of the party shall be dealt with by a general meeting of the nearest party branch, or by a national party body where there is no branch easily available to the applicant. Discussion and action on the application shall take place in the absence of the applicant.
Paragraph 8. Where applications for membership are dealt with by a national party body and the applicant is admitted to membership, the national party body concerned may assign the member to an existing branch.
Paragraph 9. Where no branch is easily available to an applicant, the national party bodies shall be empowered to grant member-at-large status. The political activity of such members shall be under the direction of the national party bodies, or of a lower party body that has been assigned jurisdiction over the member-at-large by the national party bodies.
Paragraph 10. Applications for readmission to the party by former members shall be dealt with by a national party body.
Paragraph 11. All members shall pay dues as determined by the national party bodies. Membership dues shall be forwarded to the national office of the party.
Paragraph 12. A member who is three months in arrears in payment of their dues shall cease to be in good financial standing. A member who ceases to be in good financial standing shall lose their voting rights and their right to be elected to, or serve on, leadership bodies of the party, and should be so notified.
Paragraph 13. A member who is six months in arrears in the payment of their dues shall be deemed unfinancial and their membership of the party shall lapse.
Paragraph 14. Special compulsory levies may be imposed by the national party bodies or by other party bodies provided that such levies are approved by a national party body. Any member who fails to pay such a levy in full by the date set for payment shall cease to be in good financial standing. Any member who is three months in arrears in the payment of a levy shall be deemed unfinancial and their membership of the party shall lapse. Payment of a levy may be waived in individual cases of financial hardship by the party body that has imposed the levy.
Article 4. Rights and obligations of party members
Paragraph 1. Members of the party shall have the following rights:
(a) To participate in party discussions and in the formulation and application of party policy in accordance with the provisions set out in this Constitution.
(b) To make comradely criticisms in party meetings of any party body, officer or member in order to better enable the party to carry out its work.
(c) To address any proposal, statement, criticism or appeal to any party body up to and including the Congress, in accordance with the procedures set out in this Constitution and the relevant decisions of the constituted party bodies.
(d) To participate in all meetings of party bodies to which they belong, or to which they are elected or assigned, and to freely express their opinions within such meetings as to how best to implement the party’s political line and work.
(e) To move motions and vote on matters discussed by those bodies.
(f) To elect members, and to be elected, to the leadership bodies of the party in accordance with the provisions set out in this Constitution.
(g) To appeal against any decision with which they may disagree to the next higher party body, while fulfilling their obligation to abide by that decision.
(h) To be treated in a comradely manner by other party members and to have the Constitution applied equally to all party members.
(i) To form a faction, an internal grouping based on declared platforms to promote changes in the political line or activity of the party and in the composition of the party’s leadership bodies. A faction shall have the right to select its members on the basis of their agreement with its platform. The faction’s platform shall clearly spell out the faction’s aims, its basis for membership, its structure including its leadership bodies and the powers of those leadership bodies. The faction shall inform the national party bodies of its platform, its members and leaders at the time of its formation, and of any changes to these after its formation. Secret factions shall not be permitted.
Paragraph 2. Members of the party shall have the following obligations:
(a) To be loyal to the party and its aims.
(b) To place all of their political activity under the direction of the party and to engage in the work of the party to the best of their ability.
(c) To carry out their political activity in accordance with the party’s Program, Constitution, policies and the decisions adopted by official party bodies.
(d) To publicly defend the party’s Program, policies and decisions to the best of their ability.
(e) To endeavour to safeguard the security and property of the party.
(f) To conduct themselves in a manner which does not bring the party into public disrepute.
(g) To pay their dues and levies in full and on time.
Article 5. Rules of procedure
Paragraph 1. All decisions (including all elections to leadership bodies) shall be made by simple majority vote, except where otherwise specified by this Constitution.
Paragraph 2. Voting on proposals concerning the party’s policy and activities shall be by show of hands, or by show of delegate cards. Voting on the membership of elected bodies and on party officers shall be by secret ballot, except where a motion has been unanimously carried to hold a vote by show of hands or by delegate cards.
Paragraph 3. Mandating of the votes of members in internal party meetings is prohibited. At all such meetings members shall be free to cast their votes according to their individual convictions. Proxy voting shall also be prohibited. No member shall have the right to cast a vote on behalf of anyone but themselves. Absentee votes may be submitted by members to branch general meetings and district membership meetings, but shall only be counted if the reason for the member’s absence from the meeting has been accepted by the party body concerned.Absentee votes by delegates to district conferences or the party Congress shall not be permitted.
Paragraph 4. Votes on proposals for action by party bodies shall be taken after an appropriate period of discussion in which the members of those bodies shall have adequate opportunity to express their opinions on the proposed action.
Paragraph 5. The time, form and limits of discussions within party bodies shall be determined by those bodies.
Paragraph 6. Decisions by higher bodies shall be binding on lower bodies, and on every member of those bodies.
Paragraph 7. All elected party bodies shall be accountable to those who have elected them and shall submit reports on their activities at regular intervals to the party bodies that have elected them.
Paragraph 8. Any member violating this Constitution may be subject to disciplinary action by the party body having jurisdiction over that member.
Paragraph 9. In general, where a party body considers that a member under its jurisdiction has violated this Constitution in a minor way, the member should not be subject to disciplinary action, but should have his/her mistakes pointed out to them by a representative or representatives of that party body.
Paragraph 10. In the event of a party body finding a member guilty of violating this Constitution, the following disciplinary actions may be applied:
(a) Censure and warning against repetition of the violation.
(b) Removal from an elected position within the party.
(c) Suspension of voting rights and/or right to attend party meetings for no more than six months.
(d) Expulsion from the party.
Paragraph 11. The process of disciplinary action must be in accordance with the following provisions:
(a) Disciplinary procedures shall be initiated through the presentation of written charges against the accused member or members to the party body of which the initiator of the charges is a member. Where the accused member (or members) belongs to the same party body as the initiator of the charges, that party body shall deal with the matter. Where the accused member (or members) does not belong to the same party body as the initiator of the charges, the matter shall be dealt with by the next higher party body that has jurisdiction over both the initiator of the charges and the accused member (or members). Charges may also be filed and heard in a higher party body that decides to act directly in a disciplinary case.
(b) The party body dealing with the disciplinary case shall furnish a copy of the charges to the accused member (or members) at least seven days in advance of the disciplinary hearing as well as notifying the accused of the date when that body will consider the charges.
(c) The party body dealing with the disciplinary case shall appoint a commission to investigate the charges and make a recommendation to be acted on by the party body. Every member under the jurisdiction of the party body dealing with the charges shall be obliged to furnish the investigation commission with any information it may request. The accused member (or members) shall have the right to submit oral or written statements to the investigation commission in response to the charges.
(d) Where the accused member (or members) does not belong to the party body dealing with the disciplinary case, the accused shall have the right to submit a written statement regarding the charges to the meeting of the body which considers the charges. The accused may also request that body’s permission to attend the meeting that will deal with the charges.
(e) Once a decision on a disciplinary case has been made by a party body, it shall notify the initiator of the charges, the accused member (or members), and the next higher party body of its decision within seven days of the decision. Disciplinary action deemed improper by a higher party body may be changed by direct intervention of that higher body.
Paragraph 12. Disciplinary charges against members of the National Committee shall be dealt with only by the national governing bodies. National Committee members may only be expelled from the party by decision of the Congress. The National Executive may suspend the membership rights of National Committee members found to have violated party discipline, with the exception of their right to participate and vote at plenary meetings of National Committee.
Paragraph 13. In the event of a threat to the security or property of the party the National Committee or the National Executive may bypass the provisions set down in Article 5, paragraphs 11 and 12 of this Constitution and take immediate disciplinary action to protect the security of the party or its property. When disciplinary action is taken against any member under this provision, the national party body concerned shall make a report on its decision to the first meeting of the next higher party body.
Paragraph 14. Any member subject to disciplinary action shall have the right to appeal against such action to the next higher party body up to and including the Congress, provided such appeal is submitted to a party body within 28 days of the date on which the disciplinary action took effect. Appeals shall be dealt with in accordance with the provisions set out in Article 5, paragraphs 11(c) and 11(d). Pending action on the appeal, the disciplinary action imposed by the lower party body shall remain in full force and effect.
Paragraph 15. A Control Commission consisting of three members elected by the Congress and a non-voting chairperson appointed by the National Executive or by the National Committee shall investigate disciplinary or other matters referred to it by the national governing bodies, including all appeals made to the national governing bodies against disciplinary actions imposed by branches or district party bodies. On completion of its investigation, the Control Commission shall present its findings and recommendations for action to the appellant or charged member and to the National Executive or, where appropriate, to the National Committee or the Congress.
Paragraph 16. In any meeting of a constituted party body the following standing orders shall be observed:
(a) The meeting shall elect by open show of hands or delegate cards a chairperson and a minutes secretary.
(b) The chairperson shall read out the proposed agenda and ask if there are any proposed amendments to the agenda. If there are none, the proposed agenda shall be put to a vote by the chairperson. If there are proposed amendments the procedure set out in Article 5, paragraph 16(g) dealing with amendments shall be followed.
The agenda shall specify the items for discussion and the reporters on those items. Where the meeting deems it necessary the agenda shall also specify the amount of time to be allocated to each report and discussion on it. Where no time limit has been set for such discussion, discussion shall cease upon the adoption of a procedural motion to close discussion. The meeting may also decide the amount of time speakers in the discussion shall be allocated.
(c) At the conclusion of their reports or in their reply to discussion on their reports, reporters shall specify the motion or motions pertaining to their reports that are to be voted on by the meeting. Upon the conclusion of the reporter’s reply or, if no reply is made, upon the conclusion of discussion on a report, the chairperson shall call for a vote on the motion or motions moved by the reporter.
(d) Motions may be moved by any member of the party body concerned. Upon a non-procedural motion being moved, the chairperson shall call for discussion on the motion unless a procedural motion to proceed immediately to a vote is put and adopted, or the motion has been discussed during the allotted discussion period following a report to the meeting.
(e) No member shall address the meeting unless called upon by the chairperson. The chairperson may rule out of order any speaker or motion he/she considers not to be addressing the agenda item being considered at the time. In the event of such a ruling by the chairperson, the speaker or mover of the motion may move a procedural motion to dissent from the chairperson’s ruling which if carried shall over-ride the chairperson’s ruling.
(f) In the case of procedural disputes, except where a meeting decides otherwise, discussion shall be limited to two speakers, one for and one against, with each speaker limited to two minutes.
(g) Where an amendment to a motion has been moved, the mover of the motion shall be accorded time to state his/her acceptance or rejection of the amendment. If the mover of the motion accepts the amendment, the amendment shall not be voted on, but shall be incorporated into the original motion. If the mover of the motion 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. Branches
Paragraph 1. The basic unit of the party shall be the branch, chartered on a territorial basis by the next higher party body.
Paragraph 2. Every party member shall belong to and be active in a party branch, except where a member has been granted member-at-large status by a national party body. Where special circumstances prevent or make it difficult for a member of a branch to participate in the activities and work of the branch, the branch may relieve such a member of their obligations to engage in the activities and work of the branch. The duration and conditions of such exemptions shall be specified by the branch. Requests for such exemptions for durations of 12 months or more shall be submitted to the national party bodies.
Paragraph 3. Any member desiring to transfer from one branch to another shall notify the next higher party body having jurisdiction over both branches. A member-at-large desiring to transfer to a branch, or a member of a branch desiring to transfer to an area where there is no branch, shall notify the national party bodies. A transfer shall take effect upon approval of the transfer by the higher party body to which the notification of transfer was submitted. Any member refused a transfer may appeal the decision to the next higher party body, which shall decide the matter.
Paragraph 4. The duties of a branch shall include:
(a) Directing the work of party members in non-party organisations and movements and among the broad masses of working people in accordance with the Program, policies and decisions of the party.
(b) Winning new members to the party.
(c) Educating and training the members under its jurisdiction in the party’s Program, Constitution, policies, methods and norms of functioning.
(d) Raising finance for the party.
(e) Distributing the party’s publications.
Paragraph 5. The governing body of the branch shall be the general meeting of branch members, which shall be held at least once a month. Decisions of the branch general meeting shall be binding upon all members of the branch.
Paragraph 6. Branch general meetings shall be open to all members of the branch and only members of the branch shall have the right to vote in that branch’s general meetings. Except for designated representatives of higher party bodies, persons who are not members of the branch may attend the branch’s general meetings as observers only by agreement of the branch.
Paragraph 7. Between branch general meetings, the governing body of the branch shall be the branch executive. The branch executive shall be responsible for:
(a) Ensuring the implementation of decisions of the branch general meetings.
(b) Convening the branch general meeting, and preparing the business for each branch general meeting, including the proposed agenda and reports.
(c) Directing the work of the branch between its general meetings, including designating subordinate committees for this purpose.
Paragraph 8. The branch executive shall be elected at least once every six months from among the branch members at a general meeting of the branch. Upon the adoption by a branch general meeting of a motion to hold an election for the branch executive, all branch members shall be notified of the decision before the next branch general meeting, at which such an election shall be conducted.
Paragraph 9. The branch secretary and any other branch officers shall be designated by the branch executive from among its members. The branch officers shall be subordinate to the branch executive.
Article 7. Districts
Paragraph 1. The national party bodies may constitute two or more branches as a district. Once a district has been constituted by a national party body, the governing bodies of the district shall have the power to alter the number and membership composition of the branches within the district.
Paragraph 2. The governing body of the district shall be the district conference which shall be convened at least once a year by the district committee, by a national party body, or on the demand of a majority of members in the district, as determined by a poll taken at branch general meetings within 14 days of such a poll being requested by the majority of the membership of at least one branch within the district.
Paragraph 3. The basis of representation at the district conference shall be proportionally based on the branch membership in good standing as specified in the call for such a conference, which shall be issued at least 28 days before the conference is to convene.
Paragraph 4. If not elected as regular delegates, members of the district committee and members of the National Committee within the district shall attend the conference as consultative delegates.
Paragraph 5. Between district conferences, the governing body of the district shall be the district committee, which shall be elected by the district conference from among the members of the district. It shall be the right and responsibility of the district committee:
(a) To co-ordinate and direct the work of the branches in the district.
(b) To designate from among the members of the district committee the district secretary and other district officers who shall be responsible for carrying out the district committee’s decisions and work.
(c) To designate subordinate committees and to determine their powers and responsibilities.
(d) To issue the call for the district conference, which shall include the date and venue of the conference, the basis of representation and a proposed agenda.
Paragraph 6. All branches and party members within a district shall be subordinate to the district party bodies, which in turn shall be subordinate to the national party bodies. The budgets and finances of the branches in any district shall be under the control and direction of the district committee.
Article 8. Fractions
Paragraph 1. Members of the party working in non-party organisations and movements may be organised by the party bodies having jurisdiction over them into fractions for the purpose of coordinating and strengthening the party’s work with these non-party organisations and movements.
Paragraph 2. The work of each fraction shall be under the direction of the party body that has organised the fraction.
Paragraph 3. Decisions of fraction meetings shall be binding upon all party members organised in that fraction only when the party body that has organised the fraction has ratified such decisions or when the party body has delegated to the fraction the power to adopt binding decisions on specific areas of the party’s work.
Article 9. Congress
Paragraph 1. The highest decision-making body of the party is the Congress, which shall be convened at least once every two years.
Paragraph 2. The functions and powers of the Congress shall be the following:
(a) To approve and revise the party Program.
(b) To approve and amend the party Constitution.
(c) To determine the number of full and candidate members of the National Committee and to elect the National Committee.
(d) To discuss and decide upon any other matters accepted by a majority of the Congress as business for the Congress.
Paragraph 3. The National Committee shall issue a call for the Congress at least 90 days before the day on which the Congress is to be convened. The call for the Congress shall include the date and venue for the Congress, a proposed agenda, the final date for election of delegates, the basis of delegate representation, the basis for election of members of the nominations commission, and the dates on which oral and written pre-Congress discussion may begin.
Paragraph 4. During the authorised national pre-Congress discussion period, each branch and district shall make provision for adequate oral discussion among its members on the party’s policies and activities. The National Committee shall make provision for the publication, in the party’s public press or in an internal bulletin, of its documents, documents or amendments proposed by other party members for consideration by the Congress and written discussion contributions. The National Committee shall set a limit to the length of such discussion contributions.
Paragraph 5. All documents prepared by the National Committee or by other party members that are proposed as the basis for platforms for the election of Congress delegates shall be made available to the party membership not less than 14 days before the final date for election of Congress delegates.
Paragraph 6. Delegates to the Congress shall consist of party members elected by the branches or, where branches are constituted into a district, by a district membership meeting. The basis of representation at the Congress shall be proportionally based upon the branch, or district membership in good financial standing as specified in the call for the Congress issued by the National Committee. Any branch unable to meet this basis sufficient to elect at least one regular delegate shall elect one member as a consultative delegate.
Paragraph 7. Only members who are in good financial standing and who have paid any levies imposed by the national party bodies to finance the Congress shall be eligible to nominate, vote for, or be elected as, Congress delegates.
Paragraph 8. The procedure for electing Congress delegates shall be as follows:
(a) A vote shall be taken in each branch or district membership meeting on the platform issued by the National Committee for the election of Congress delegates, and any counterposed platforms for the election of Congress delegates.
(b) Where there are two platforms, the number of delegates the branch or district is entitled to elect shall be apportioned between the majority and the minority in proportion to the number of votes received by each platform. The fraction of the vote received by the majority multiplied by the number of delegates to which the branch or district is entitled shall be rounded off to the nearest whole number to give the number of delegates to be elected by supporters of the majority platform. The remainder shall be elected by supporters of the minority platform.
(c) If there are three or more platforms, those platforms which have too few supporters to elect a delegate shall be eliminated first, beginning with the smallest. That is, if the fraction of the vote received by a platform is multiplied by the number of delegates to which the branch or district is entitled, and the number is zero when rounded off, this platform shall not be considered and its votes shall be subtracted from the total vote (Rounded off means 0.5 and above become 1, below that, it becomes zero). After such platforms have been eliminated, the delegates shall be apportioned to the remaining platforms beginning with the platform that received the highest vote. Using the new vote total, the fraction received by the platform with the highest vote is multiplied by the number of delegates to which the branch or district is entitled and rounded off. The platform shall then be assigned a number of delegates equal to the whole number reached by this method. The same procedure shall be repeated with the platform which received the second-highest vote, and so on, only assigning delegates to those platforms which received greater than one by this method. If there are any remaining delegates not assigned, the platform with the highest fraction left over shall be assigned the delegate, or in the case of several delegates, the two highest remaining fractions, and so on.
(d) In the case of a tie in the situation dealt with in Article 9, paragraph 8(b), and where there is an odd number of delegates, the branch or district may assign one extra delegate position to make up the difference. In the case of a tie in the situation dealt with in Article 9, paragraph 8(c), and where the number of delegates does not permit the assigning of a delegate to each or all of the tied platforms, the branch or district shall assign one or more extra delegates above its formal entitlement if the fractions remaining are 0.5 or greater. If the fractions are less than 0.5, the branch or district shall not assign any delegates to the tied platforms.
(e) In all cases where a branch or district assigns more or less delegates than it is entitled to elect, the Congress shall ratify or overturn the arrangement after considering the particular circumstances.
(f) Following the apportionment of delegate positions between the different platforms, the supporters of each platform shall meet in separate caucuses to elect the Congress delegates to which they are entitled. Members not voting for any platform shall not be eligible to participate in the election of Congress delegates.
(g) Each caucus shall elect a returning officer. After allowing a suitable time for nominations and discussion on the nominees and upon the adoption of a motion to close nominations, the returning officer shall conduct the election. Eligible members shall vote for the Congress delegates by writing the names of the preferred nominees on the ballot paper. Nominees shall be declared elected as Congress delegates in accordance with the first-past-the-post principle.
(h) Only members of the caucus who have been nominated at the caucus meeting and whose names have been recorded by the returning officer shall be eligible for election as Congress delegates. Ballot papers containing more names than the number of delegates to which the caucus is entitled shall be treated as invalid.
(i) Following the election of the delegates, each caucus shall elect a ranked list of alternate delegates no more than the number of its regular delegates. These alternate delegates shall replace, in order of rank, the caucus’s regular delegates who fail to be present at the beginning of any Congress session.
(j) After each caucus has elected its Congress delegates, the branch or district meeting shall reconvene and the returning officer from each caucus shall inform the branch or district which of its members have been elected as Congress delegates.
Paragraph 9. Following the election of Congress delegates, each branch or district shall conduct a ballot to decide which of its regular delegates shall serve as its representatives on the nominations commission of the Congress, in accordance with the number of representatives it has been allocated in the Congress call. Every branch or district member in good financial standing and who has paid any levies imposed by the national party bodies to finance the Congress shall be eligible to nominate candidates for the ballot from among the branch’s or district’s regular delegates and participate in the vote for nominations commission representatives.Paragraph 10. If not elected as regular delegates to the Congress, members of the National Committee shall be seated as consultative delegates, with the right to speak, move motions and cast an indicative (non-decisive) vote.
Paragraph 11. At its first session the Congress shall:
(a) Appoint a presiding committee to be responsible for the procedure and conduct of the Congress.
(b) Adopt an agenda and rules of order.Paragraph 12. The outgoing National Committee shall assign a reporter for each agenda item. Where Congress delegates have been elected on the basis of counterposed platforms, the Congress shall allocate equal speaking time on relevant agenda items for reporters representing those platforms that have at least one-tenth of the delegates. Each such platform may hold caucus meetings of supporters during the Congress.
Paragraph 13. The nominations commission, consisting of regular delegates elected by each branch or district as specified in the Congress call and a non-voting chairperson appointed by the outgoing National Committee from among its members, shall:
(a) Meet during the Congress to consider nominations and motivations on those nominations for the membership of the incoming National Committee. Such nominations and motivations for those nominations may be made by any regular branch delegate and consultative delegate and shall be strictly confidential, to be discussed only among members of the nominations commission.
(b) Discuss the various nominees and draw up complete lists of nominations for all of the positions on the incoming full and candidate membership of the National Committee. In the course of its deliberations, the chairperson of the nominations commission or the commission as a whole may seek advice from the national officers of the party. Where delegates to the Congress have been elected on the basis of rival platforms, the nominations commission shall accord representation of the platforms on its list of nominations for the full membership and candidate list of the National Committee in proportion to the number of delegates voting for the main resolution each platform has submitted for vote by the Congress.
Paragraph 14. The Congress session dealing with the election of the National Committee shall be conducted according to the following procedure:
(a) The delegates, from among their number, shall elect a ballot committee, including a returning officer who shall supervise the conduct of the election.
(b) Following the election of the ballot committee, the nominations commission chairperson shall present a report on the commission’s list of nominations for the full members of the National Committee and on its list of nominations for the candidate members of the National Committee. Each delegate shall be issued with a numbered copy of these two lists.
(c) Following the nominations commission chairperson’s report, the nominations commission shall cease to exist and all Congress delegates, including those who served on the commission, shall be free to make further nominations which shall be recorded by the returning officer.
(d) After allowing for a suitable period for discussion of the nominations and upon the adoption of a motion to close nominations for the full membership of the National Committee, a ballot shall then be conducted for the full members of the National Committee. Delegates shall vote by writing the names of the nominees they support on the ballot paper.
(e) Following the election of the full members of the National Committee, the returning officer shall open the floor for nominations for the candidate membership of the National Committee. The same procedure as set out above in paragraph 14(d) shall be followed in conducting the ballot for candidate members of the National Committee.
(f) Only members of the party who have been nominated on the floor and whose names have been recorded by the returning officer shall be eligible for election to the National Committee. Any ballot paper that contains more names than the number to be elected to the full or candidate membership of the National Committee shall be treated as invalid.
(g) In the event of two or more nominees recording a tied vote for final positions for either the full or candidate membership of the National Committee, a run-off election shall be held to fill those final positions.
Paragraph 15. An extraordinary Congress shall be convened at less than 90 days’ notice upon the adoption of a proposal for such an extraordinary Congress by a majority of votes in a national referendum of party members. A referendum on a proposal to convene an extraordinary Congress shall be conducted within 28 days of the presentation of the demand for such a referendum by at least one-third of the full members of the National Committee or at least one third of the party’s branches. The basis for delegate representation, agenda, date and venue for any extraordinary Congress shall be specified in the proposal to be voted on in the referendum.
Article 10. National Committee
Paragraph 1. The National Committee shall be the highest decision-making body between Congresses, and its decisions shall take precedence over decisions of lower party bodies.
Paragraph 2. The National Committee shall meet at least twice a year. Meetings of the National Committee shall be convened by the National Executive.
Paragraph 3. The National Committee shall be composed of full members with decisive vote and candidate members with indicative vote. The number of full and candidate members of the National Committee shall be determined by the Congress. The outgoing National Committee shall present a recommendation to the Congress on the size of the incoming National Committee.
Paragraph 4. The powers and responsibilities of the National Committee are:
(a) To ensure the implementation of the party’s Program and Constitution, and the decisions of the Congress.
(b) To provide political leadership for the party and to direct the activities, work and administration of party affairs between Congresses.
(c) To draw up proposals to be submitted to the Congress for changes in the party’s Program and Constitution.
(d) To introduce any change or modification in the structure and functioning of the party. Where such change or modification would contradict this Constitution, it shall take effect only upon its being approved by a two-thirds majority of votes cast in a referendum of all party members.
(e) To decide the size of, and elect, the National Executive from among the full members of the National Committee, and to direct the work of the National Executive.
(f) To elect, from among the members of the National Executive, the National Secretary, who shall be responsible for convening meetings of the National Executive.
(g) To elect other national officers of the party and to determine their powers and responsibilities.
(h) To act on any matter that is prescribed in this Constitution as within the power and functions of the national party bodies other than those specifically reserved to the Congress under Article 9, paragraph 2.
Paragraph 5. Vacancies occurring among the full membership of the National Committee during its period of tenure may be filled from the candidate membership of the National Committee by vote of the full members of the committee.
Article 11. National Executive
Paragraph 1. The National Executive shall be the highest decision-making body of the party between meetings of the National Committee, and its decisions shall take precedence over decisions of lower party bodies.
Paragraph 2. The powers and responsibilities of the National Executive are:
(a) To ensure the implementation of the party’s Program, Constitution, and the decisions of the Congress and the National Committee.
(b) To provide political leadership for the party and to direct the activities, work and administration of party affairs between meetings of the National Committee.
(c) To draw up proposals to be submitted to the Congress for changes in the party’s Program and Constitution.
(d) To introduce any change or modification in the structure and functioning of the party, so long as this does not contradict the Constitution.
(e) To appoint subordinate officers and committees to supervise and direct the political, administrative and editorial work of the party, and to determine their powers and responsibilities.
(f) To act on any matter that is prescribed in this Constitution as within the power and functions of the national party bodies other than those specifically reserved to the Congress under Article 9, paragraph 2, and those specifically reserved to the National Committee under Article 5, paragraph 14, and Article 10, paragraphs 4(e),4(f), 4(g) and 5.
- Program of the Revolutionary Socialist Party
- Capitalist Economic Crisis & Finance Capital – By Doug Lorimer
- Why capitalism canít save the environment – By Allen Myers
- How to make a revolution in the United States (1969) – By Peter Camejo
- Marxist Economic Definitions – A handbook of basic definitions by Allen Myers