Introduction

The Spokescouncil Model and Structure is a working document. It is a vision, a proposal and idea on how we could work together to encourage neighborhood organizing with the aim to Keep Portland Powerful in the face of Trump. We aim to reclaim our power over our urban surroundings and make our cities directly democratic nodes of resistance against the Trump regime and beyond. It is a structural vision of where we hope to take the Portland Assembly in the months and years to come. Let’s Run Rip City!

Portland Assembly aims to support the growth of networks of resistance and self-organization — in our neighborhoods, our workplaces, and the institutions that surround us. To help us move forward under Donald Trump’s regime, we are proposing structures to make community organizing practical and accessible. We aim to move into an offensive position against the forces of alienation, government, and white supremacy in Portland and beyond while building and connecting networks of support that meet needs in tangible ways.

To do this, we have several elements that we hope will work together smoothly. This document is a rough draft, and we expect the structure of Portland Assembly to evolve quickly as we discover together what works and what does not.

 

An Idea

Our goal is to support the growth of neighborhood organizing in the city of Portland. We hope to develop neighborhood assemblies and action councils across the city so that all can have a voice in a system of participatory direct democracy and build an alternative node of power that engages in city-wide direct democracy. At the same time, these councils can work to support our communities, put pressure on elected officials, and can foster the realization of a different way to run our city – based on people power, as opposed to relying on the good faith of elected officials who often disregard the needs of our communities. 

Portland Assembly will center the desires and strategic visions of those most affected by the overlapping historical atrocities that continue to shape daily life in our city and beyond — namely, settler-colonialism, African enslavement, white supremacy, wage labor, patriarchy, ableism, gentrification, and compounding processes of gendering, dispossession, domination, and racialization.

To this end, the Frontline Advisory Council will consist of self-selected individuals who know such historical harm first-hand and feel empowered to share their experiences with developing neighborhood assemblies. Sharing such insights is vital if we are to make history, rather than be victims of it.

We will also have an Intergroup Roundtable to channel the great strength that many established community organizations have to address certain issues such as labor, the environment, and the housing crisis. These groups will be able to collaborate together on their own efforts and also inform the wider Portland Assembly, pulling from years of institutional memory. Portland Assembly can also act as a space for groups to request the aid of the wider community.

To ensure accountability, direct communication, and innovation, Portland Assembly will also have Internal Committees and Incubator Organizing Groups.

The Internal Committees of Portland Assembly are concerned with maintaining forward momentum, organizational cohesion, accountability, and communication between the various groups who organize through Portland Assembly.

Advisory/Guidance Groups

PA Frontline Council

This society systematically oppresses peoples and groups to undermine resistance. To better guide our collective liberation, Portland Assembly will have a council comprised of members of frontline communities, specifically Indigenous, Black, non-Black People of Color, Queers and Femmes and the Houseless. This council will have its own seat at the Neighborhood Confederation Spokescouncil, and will be given priority and opportunity in outlining strategic needs and aims. It will work to give voice to targeted communities and provide the structure for them to guide the energy and resources of the PA to solidarity efforts on behalf of their communities. Each of its subcommittees may also have a seat and function with the same powers as any of the Neighborhood Confederation spokes with the ability to bring proposals and vote. New subcommittees within the Advisory Council can be created at the discretion of the advisory council itself as a larger body.

Intergroup Roundtable

The Intergroup Roundtable is a space for established organizations and community groups to coordinate on projects and connect with wider populations. These groups may come up with collaborative efforts outside of the realm and the banner of Portland Assembly. Each member of this group may bring proposals to the Neighborhood Confederation Spokescouncil or they can act as a larger collective body. Any initiative for these groups to take on under the Portland Assembly name must be approved by the Neighborhood Confederation Spokescouncil. The PA Infrastructure Committee will also have a seat at this spokescouncil, if so desired. 

New additions to the Intergroup Roundtable must be approved by the Neighborhood Confederation Spokescouncil. No political parties or groups that have a party structure will be members of this advisory spokescouncil.

Primary Decision Making Body

Neighborhood Confederation Spokescouncil

Portland Assembly works for the creation of a directly democratic Portland Metro Area. We envision the creation of neighborhood-based power. Our vision entails the formation of neighborhood assemblies who will cooperate with one another via a regular spokescouncil where each assembly will send a directly recallable delegate to represent its interests.

The Neighborhood Confederation Spokescouncil is the primary decision making body of the Portland Assembly. All of the Portland Assembly’s activities will ultimately be approved of or guided by the decisions of this body.

Participating groups in the Neighborhood Confederation Spokescouncil will be PA Neighborhood Assemblies that represent the various regions of the city and the various Neighborhood Action Councils in the Portland Metro Area.

PA Neighborhood Assemblies

Neighborhood Assemblies will be based on five neighborhood sections of Portland: North, NE, Westside, SE, and East Portland within the Portland Area to start, but may encompass other defined physical spaces within the Portland Metro area in the future. It will also include one specifically for the houseless.

Individuals will be placed in the neighborhood assembly districts that they see fit.

Each Neighborhood Assembly will have no less than 2-5 people bottom lining the group and engaging its membership. They will have their own space set up within the PA online Hub and will maintain their own contact lists.

The Neighborhood Assemblies will work to bring together the different community organizations, interest groups, and NACs within their section. They may host regular section-based open meetings or assemblies to better coordinate these efforts and also to foster bigger projects on their section scales.

Neighborhood Action Councils (NAC)

Neighborhood Action Councils are self-organized neighborhood groups which organize on a smaller scale than the neighborhood section-based Neighborhood Assemblies. They may often be organized around a particular neighborhood like Lents, Montavilla, Cully. Or around a particular block, housing complex, group of friends in the area, or more. There may be many different Neighborhood Action Councils within a Neighborhood Assembly section.

Individuals may form Neighborhood Action Councils at their discretion and join in any of the regional neighborhood assemblies or the PA at large.

NACs are cooperative communities of resistance, founded on neighborhood affinity and formed to provide immediate services and protection for politically targeted communities through Direct Action (acting, directly). NACs operate from a platform of Direct Democracy (open, consensual, and accountable decision making), Solidarity (understanding that our struggles are unified), and Mutual-Aid (caring for each other).

At their most simple, they are groups of neighbors, allies, friends and families living, organizing and acting together. From this firm footing, they are then a vehicle for projecting the power of everyday people into society — the power to build a better, more just and inclusive world for all – and the power to defeat the forces of fear, hatred, greed and oppression that Trumpism represents.

Affiliated Neighborhood Associations

Official City Neighborhood associations may vote to become members of the PA Neighborhood Confederation Spokescouncil.

Advisory Groups

The PA Frontline Council and Intergroup Roundtable may participate as full members of the Neighborhood Confederation spokescouncil, as well as any of its associated subcommittees.

Infrastructure Group

The PA Infrastructure group will have one vote/seat at the table in any Neighborhood Confederation Spokescouncil.

Infrastructure Subcommittees

The Neighborhood Confederation Spokescouncil will serve as Portland Assembly’s main decision making body. To oversee the implementation of these initiatives and policies, and to maintain organizational cohesion, Portland Assembly will have several internal committees that are directly accountable to the decisions made by the Neighborhood Confederation Spokescouncil. For right now, the PA already has set members in the Infrastructure committee that came together to kick this project off. New members can be voted in by the Neighborhood Confederation Spokescouncil, and all current members will have to be re-voted in during January of 2018 if they wish to stay on the committee.

Infrastructure Group

This committee will ensure that mid-term, long-term, and ongoing goals of Portland Assembly are met, and that the decisions/strategic initiatives of the wider spokescouncil are achieving benchmarks. This is achieved through following up with member groups about their commitments.

It will ensure connectivity between various organizing groups and the neighborhood assemblies that are directly associated with Portland Assembly.

The vision of Portland Assembly is best served by promoting Portland Assembly in the community and building connections. This includes speaking at community events and working towards the further development of associated neighborhood assemblies and the establishment of new ones.

Members have the ability to orchestrate fundraising efforts on behalf of Portland Assembly and organize community social events if so desired.

The Infrastructure Committee will consider suggestions and criticisms and will propose solutions. They will have access to the passwords of the PA email account. They are responsible with continuing to check the email list of Portland Assembly and will follow up with inquiries, and will ensure that information gets passed along to the proper groups.

These individuals are tasked with organizing the various spokescouncil sessions. They will coordinate with the social media members to post event pages and updates around the times and locations of these meetings. They will send out emails and coordinate the best times and or locations for these events (if the events do not occur on a regular basis with a continuing dependable location). They will be in charge of soliciting meeting agendas ahead of time for each spokescouncil.

The infrastructure Committee  will meet no less than once per month to discuss its own business.

The Infrastructure Committee may represent the PA at speaking engagements, media interviews, and educational events, and will foster and develop community ties. They may also bring proposals and concerns to the Neighborhood Confederation Spokescouncil.

This committee is comprised of directly recallable delegates who are elected by vote at the Neighborhood Confederation Spokescouncil.

This committee will hold its own regular meetings to make decisions. All meetings will have notes taken that can be made available by request to any spokescouncil member.

This committee may also bring in community members to help with certain tasks and to attend meetings, depending upon a vote of other infrastructure committee members. These individuals will not have access to privileged information such as the passwords of bank accounts.

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