At a meeting of the Young Fabian Executive for 2015/16, Martin Edobor was elected Chair of the Young Fabians for the year ahead. Topping the ballot of this year’s elections, Martin was previously the Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Social Officer and Chair of the Health Network at the Young Fabians.
Ria Bernard was elected Vice Chair; Unsa Chaudri, Treasurer; Ben West, Secretary and Ellie Groves, Anticipation Editor
These constitutional roles will formally be approved at the AGM on 21th November. Positions for the seven other elected members will be decided at the executive strategy meetings.
The following resolutions/motions have been submitted in accordance with the rules set out by the Young Fabian constitution. They will be voted on at the Young Fabian Annual General Meeting on 21st November.
If voted on and adopted at the AGM, the motions below that are being proposed would become incorporated into the current constitution. The constitution as it currently stands can be accessed here.
Motion A as submitted is a composite of a number of proposed amendments to the Constitution. Motions B-F contain some but not all of the changes contained in the new constitution, and are split across multiple motions so that each amendment can be discussed and voted on separately.
At the start of business, a preliminary vote will be taken on whether to discuss and vote on Motion A (the proposed new constitution as a whole), or whether to proceed to B-F so that each amendment can be discussed and voted on separately.
If AGM votes to discuss Motion A and it subsequently fails to pass, motions B-F will be deemed to have also failed, and will not be considered.
Motion A - Proposed new Young Fabian constitution
Proposer: Luke John (LJ) Davies Seconders: Martin Edobor, Ria Bernard, Nathaneal Amos-Sansam, Jun Bo Chan, Oana Olaru, Mohammed Ahmed, Rebecca Carpenter, Amrita Rose and Ian Kugler.
(If adopted, will this motion would replace the parts of the existing constitution specified at the link below)
The Young Fabians were founded in 1960 and we have a long and rich history. However periodically our governing documents need to be renewed and modernised for a future that promises to be just as vibrant. Over the last six months we have been consulting with many members on how our constitution can be updated to better reflect how the Young Fabians now operates and to refocus it more on the member-led approach the organisation now embodies.
Motion B - Gender parity on the Executive Committee
Proposer: Paulina Jakubec Seconder: Ellie Groves
(If adopted, will become a subset of current clause 5)
The Executive Committee of the Young Fabians should have gender parity. The candidate with the highest vote in the elections shall be the first elected the executive committee. The candidate of the opposite gender with the highest votes shall be second. Positions on the executive committee will then be filled by alternating between genders until all committee members are elected and half of them are female.
No ballots shall go out to the membership until at least half of candidates needed to create a full executive committee of each gender have been nominated.
Should a member of the executive committee resign or be removed by the membership they shall be replaced by the candidate with the next highest votes tally of the same gender.
The Executive Committee must also ensure gender parity amongst the four most senior roles on the Committee: Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Secretary.
Motion C - Data protection policy
Proposer: Paulina Jakubec Seconder: Ellie Groves
(If adopted, will form part of current clause 6)
The Executive Committee shall maintain and publish a data protection policy for the organisation. The Executive Committee shall nominate two Data Controllers, one of which shall be the Chair, and are responsible to the Executive Committee and Data Controller at the Fabian Society.
Motion D - Networks
Proposer: Paulina Jakubec Seconder: Ellie Groves
(If adopted, will form new clause 16)
Networks are sub-sections of the group devoted to and responsible for a specified policy area. The creation of or winding up of a network must be proposed to the Annual General Meeting which shall then vote on the matter.
Membership of Networks shall be open to any full member of the Young Fabians who notifies the Chair and/or Secretary of the Network that they wish to be a member of the Network.
Additionally the Networks shall have discretion to recruit members from outside the Young Fabians who have experience of or a professional or personal interest in the area the network is devoted to.
Only full members of the Young Fabians may sit on or vote for the members of the network's steering committee.
Any member of a network who is also a full member of the Young Fabians may sit on the network's steering committee. Each network must hold an AGM within three months of the Young Fabian's AGM at which they will elect a Chair, Secretary and at least two others to form the network Steering Committee. The committee may decide other roles as it deems appropriate.
Members who wish to sit on the steering committee may do so after the AGM. To do so they must notify the network's secretary in writing of their intention and attend two steering committee meetings as an ordinary member of the network. At the second meeting an election shall be held to approve of their accession to the steering committee by its existing members.
The steering committee must meet a minimum of once every three months and meetings shall be open to all members of the network. Members shall have the right to speak and propose motions at all meetings, but only the steering committee proper may vote on motions.
The time and place of all meetings must be advertised a minimum of fourteen (14) days before the meeting is held.
Networks shall be responsible for the running of events, publications, discussions, delegations and other member-led activities within the policy area to which they are devoted.
Motion E - Honorary positions
Proposer: Paulina Jakubec Seconder: Ellie Groves
(If adopted, will form new clause 17)
The organisation may choose to have an Honorary President and Honorary Vice Presidents of the Group.
The Honorary President and Honorary Vice Presidents of the Group, if any, may be elected at an annual or extraordinary general meeting on the nomination of the Executive Committee.
Motion F - Removal of officers
Proposer: Paulina Jakubec Seconder: Ellie Groves
(If adopted, will form part of current clause 18)
Executive Committee Officers may only be removed by an Extraordinary General Meeting called in accordance with clause 10 of the current constitution or by a vote of simple majority of elected members at any General Meeting of the Group.
On the same basis, a Vote of No Confidence in the Chair can be proposed at any General Meeting of the Group and pass with immediate effect, by a vote of simple majority of elected members.
Your elected executive for 2015 - 2016 are below with vote numbers.
Thank you to all those who put themselves forward and commiserations to the candidates who were not elected. The total number of votes cast were 285 a record number, the new executive will now meet next week to elect constitutional officers and will officially be voted in at the AGM on 21st November. To see the full results please click here.
The Young Fabians were founded in 1960 and we have a long and rich history. However periodically our governing documents need to be renewed and modernised for a future that promises to be just as vibrant. Over the last six months we have been consulting with many members on how our constitution can be updated to better reflect how the Young Fabians now operates and to refocus it more on the member-led approach the organisation now embodies. The new document has been drafted by Luke John Davies, founder and Chair of the Young Fabians International Network, who will be proposing the motion to adopt it at the Young Fabians Annual General Meeting on 21st November. The motion is being seconded by Martin Edobor, Ria Bernard, Ben West, Nathaneal Amos-Sansam, Jun Bo Chan, Oana Olaru, Mohammed Ahmed, Rebecca Carpenter, Amrita Rose and Ian Kugler.
The majority of the change has simply been to reorder the existing constitution so that similar clauses are now linked together as sub-clauses under main headings. This makes the document clearer and easier to understand.
There have however been some major changes, which are outlined below with the reasons why they are proposed.
Executive Committee Changes:
The Executive is to be gender balanced, Co-Options are to be scrapped and the Executive Committee is increased from 12 to 14 members.
The main changes proposed are to the way in which the Executive Committee is structured. The current constitution mandates that a minimum of four women be elected to the Executive Committee of 12 members, supported by up to five co-optees. The feeling amongst the members consulted was very strongly in favour of a balanced Executive Committee with a fifty/fifty split of male and female members. As a principled and renowned left-wing organisation the Young Fabians should be a place of gender equality and the Executive Committee should embody these ideals.
The model for ensuring gender balance is a “zipper” system based on similar models used by the Swedish SSU and London Young Labour. The person elected with the highest votes is elected first. The person with the highest vote total of the opposite gender is then elected second. This then alternates between genders until a total of 14, being 7 of each gender, are elected. In order to ensure this, no ballots can be sent out until a minimum of 7 candidates of each gender have been nominated.
There was a similar feeling amongst the members that the Chair appointing Co-Optees who have not been selected in a vote of the membership was undemocratic and against the principles of elected officers serving on the Executive Committee. As such it is proposed to scrap Co-Options to the Executive Committee. However the reason for introducing co-option in the first place was to increase the manpower on the Committee. As such it was felt the committee should expand from 12 to 14 elected members to provide them with the capacity necessary for the good governance of the organisation and broader spectrum of ideas.
Basic Governance Procedures.
Procedures for the resignation or removal of Executive Committee members.
The current constitution includes no procedures for internal governance in the situation that one or more members of the Executive Committee resigns, or if it is thought desirable for their removal. The proposed new constitution provides a clear and transparent mechanism for this, whereby an officer can resign and be replaced by the first “runner-up” in the elections. It also provides procedures for either nine members of the Executive Committee or 3% of the membership to call an Extraordinary General Meeting for the removal of an officer. These are basic governance procedures which allow for transparency and openness in the case of a resignation or if it is felt an Executive Committee member should be removed.
Networks and Alumni Relations
Networks are included and codified and the EC is mandated to ensure good relations with the Alumni.
Luke John Davies, Chair of the International Network, and Jun Bo Chan, Chair of the Education Network, have codified the practices by which networks run and these are included in the constitution for the first time, in order to reflect the way in which the Young Fabians now operate and the manner in which the majority of members now interact with the organisation.
Additionally the Executive Committee is now mandated to ensure the Young Fabians retain good relationships with the organisation's alumni, who are one of our biggest resources. The manner in which this is to be done is left open as this is likely to adapt and evolve over time and it was felt that there should be flexibility in this.
Opportunities to propose and vote for amendments will be available on the day of the AGM.
If you have any questions regarding the new constitution please contact us. You can contact Luke John Davies on firstname.lastname@example.org or Martin Edobor on email@example.com.
The final day of the Young Fabians International Network delegation to China started off with a meeting with the All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU). Zhang Guoxian, head of International Development, briefly summarized the roles and functions of the ACFTU that are aimed at creating a ‘harmonious’ workers- employers relationship. These included compensation and protection over health, travel and legal issues that are paid through the membership. Jessica Toale, Young Fabians Executive Member, then presented the history of the Trade Union movement in the UK before questions were exchanged. It was interesting to note the similar trends that both countries faced with membership sign ups. The rise of SMEs and self-employment has challenged the traditional purpose of trade unions and the demographics of membership indicate issues with reaching out to young people. Another noteworthy question asked by the ACFTU was around legal aid and the recent changes. Victoria Desmond, Co-Founder of Labour Campaign for Mental Health, provided her insights into the repercussions of Conservative policy changes to workers’ rights of representation.
Our second meeting of the day was with the Publicity Department of the Communist Youth League. The raison d’etre of the department is to reach out to the Chinese youth via social media platforms through campaigns and broadcasts. One such campaign was to get the Chinese flag trending on the Weibo platform, another patriotic campaign on Wechat had 89million take part in celebrating ‘martyrs and heroes’ of WWII. Regular broadcasts of state messages are also sent via social media such as warning young people about the dangers of smoking and food waste. It should be noted that they state having editorial independence mainly out of the party being too busy to micromanage all of their activities. The department staff members were interested in our thoughts in how they could best export a positive view of China to the world, although both sides also realised that this would be difficult as there is a divergence to the tone as well as the different use of social media platforms (with Facebook and Twitter blocked in China but predominately used in Western nations).
The final meeting of the delegation was with social entrepreneurs at the China Youth Daily (CYD). Xu Ge, the Editor of CYD, introduced the recent impetus on social entrepreneurship from Premier Li Keqiang to be seen as a path of ‘friendship and communication China and the UK’. Wei Heping, Secretary of CYD, raised the point that despite extensive research from 150 social entrepreneurs from 22 provinces , China can learn from the model of social companies in the UK. There was also an interest in Fabian ‘gradualism’ as a means to cultivate the desired culture and pioneering services.
The Young Fabians delegation was aptly timed before the arrival of President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UK this week as part of a Europe tour. As a follow up to his visit and the Young Fabian delegation, the Young Fabians will host an event on the 26th of October with Liam Byrne MP to discuss the subsequent steps for the UK-China relationship. To mark the end of an 18 month programme, delegates and contributors of the “ China-Ready: Equipping Britain for an Asian Future" pamphlet will provide their opinions alongside audience participation into what the two nations can learn from their relationship.
I would personally like to thank the Fabian Society, the Young Fabians, Jessica Toale for leading the delegation, Joel Mullan for initiating the programme, as well as fellow delegates, Fabian members and contributors to the Young Fabian China Programme.
By Junaed Khan
The third day of the Young Fabians delegation took us to the Chinese Youth University of Political Studies. We started the day with Professor Hou Xin, Vice Dean of the University’s School of Social Work and Junaed Khan, Young Fabians, speaking about social work. The former gave an insight into the marginalised communities in China and in particular the 'floating population' (economic migrants) and the latter gave the case for social work in the UK.
Hou Xin mentioned that social work was a recent development in China as it has only come into being in the last 30 years. It was interesting to note the community emphasis China base around social care, committing to a bold aspiration of having 1.4m social workers by 2020. Other policy ideas also emerged, such as having one social worker per street.
This is a prime example of differences between Western culture and Chinese culture as the UK model of social work is focused on the individual, whereas policies such as this come from the communal perspective.
Hon Xin also highlighted the many different cultures within China, the challenges this poses in ensuring everyone has adequate support and the difference in economic prosperity between Western China and the major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. She explained that people, much like in the UK, head for the cities for better opportunities.
We also learn about the 55m 'leftover' children, who are left to be looked after by their grandparents whilst their own parents leave their home to find employment elsewhere.
Victoria Desmond, Young Fabian and founder of Labour Campaign for Mental Health, asked what policies were in place for people who suffer from severe mental health issues. It became apparent that, much like other countries, the stigma around mental health is still prevalent in China and most people we spoke with seemed hesitant to engage with discussion on mental health, highlighting again potential similarities with the UK.
Dr Song Yanhui, who specialises in Youth Study and I, Unsa Chaudri, led the afternoon session on Generation Y (people born between 1980 and early 1990s) and Young Development.
Culture and personal identity were recurring themes and we were surprised to learn that the ice bucket challenge, Gangnam Style and Downton Abbey were so popular in both countries.
We learnt we had much in common with the young people in China and one of the students made a rather poignant remark about the perception older people tend to have. He said that Generation Y are not lazy or self-centred we just have different opinions to our parents, we value different things - but that does not mean we are any less.
The discussion soon moved on to the political involvement young people have and after describing the potential ways to become involved in the UK, the Chinese students wondered if they too can actually have an influence on policy.
Participation in politics for young people in China resonated with the thoughts many of us have in the UK. Young people were statistically more likely to take part if it was online, we are, after all, known as the technology generation.
We were then able to glimpse into the future of Chinese technology and social media through visiting New Space, an exciting innovation hub.
The day came to a close with a dinner with many influential guests including Madam Deng Yaping, six time Wolrd Champion and four time Olympic Champion table tennis player and a leading figure in the All China Women's Federation, Wu Jiasong the President of the Youth Federation and Wang Shengjiang, CEO of New Space.
We were all very thankful for our invite and it is safe to say everyone enjoyed a very delicious (hen hao chi) meal.
By Unsa Chaudri is a Young Fabians member.
Day 2- An Oriental Conference- Swapping Brighton for Beijing.
The Second Day of the Young Fabians in China saw the beginning of our official conference with the Chinese Youth University of Political Studies, a premier institute in China specialising in a broad range of social science topics, with a specific focus on youth engagement and participation- finely complementing the broad aims and aspirations of the Young Fabians.
The initial theme of discussion- “Sino-British Relations” saw Dr Chai Baoyang, Dean of Public Administration, and yours truly, Rishi Patel, Young Fabians, speak on how best we can achieve mutual trust and co-operation, fostering enhanced economic, cultural and human exchange.
Dr Chai’s realist take on the relationship rested on the idea that there is neither such a thing as an eternal friendship, or eternal enmity; and that like every relationship respect and tolerance are key. He welcomed the UK’s efforts to invest and dialogue with China, but stressed that for the relationship to be successful, the UK would be wise to put aside hang-ups about sovereignty, human rights and how to “handle” a multi-ethnic society.
Given Dr Chai’s views, I was hesitant to engage too openly about my own uneasiness with regards to the Tibet and Hong Kong issues. It’s clear that these are a complex issues intertwined in this nation’s price and psyche, and so I focused, perhaps chicken-heartedly, on investment opportunities and cross-cultural exchange, before looking at prospects and challenges for the future. We talked Brexit- I’m increasingly beginning to hear that the Chinese do view Britain as a good soft landing point for the European Union, and leaving would create more challenges than opportunities for us. Dr Chai’s final remarks were pertinent- the relationship will only improve through people to people dialogue, and it was reassuring to see his enthusiasm about the Young Fabians’ visit, as a key example of just that.
Our international relations morning moved to economic reform, and an insightful session with Mr Li Minghzi, Director of the Chinese Communist Party’s Economic Office, and how to prevent China from falling into a “middle-income trap.” Mr Minghzi described the almost neo-liberal stance China is increasingly taking with regards to removing public sector control of assets and industries. We touched on our own experiences and aspirations for the UK, and talked about the contemporary will for a responsible capitalism benefitting all sections of society, as well as alleviating inequalities. I think the overarching aim for the Communist party is to create an economic balance- between consumption and production, state and markets.
The final session looked at a subject close to all our hearts- opportunities for young people in both China and the UK. Again we are perhaps depressingly, faced with the same common challenges and themes. A chronic skills misalignment between the jobs available, and what young people are encouraged and qualified to do. Stereotypes from birth based on gender and prestige, where certain jobs are reserved subconsciously for certain members of society, and certain jobs are prized whilst others sneered at, showed the hurdles both China and the UK still face, when attempting to create a more equal society.
A silver lining was perhaps to hear about the innovative policies China is rolling out, such as encouraging and funding paid work for graduates in underdeveloped Western China, for example work allowing young people to use their digital skills to empower marginalised and rural communities to connect with China’s boom, through technology.
What really stuck with me however was a discussion we had with a bright Chinese student contemplating further study in the UK. She perplexedly asked, why don’t British people want people like me to put my skills and training into practice, at work? Lamenting recent crackdowns to the post study working visas, we replied with equal frustration, at the policy’s short-sightedness. This case of a bright student wavering in her choice to choose the UK for higher education demonstrates the profound implications this Government’s immigration policy has for the UK’s future economic prosperity, especially as the role foreign students developing cross-border enterprise and exchange relationships gathers increasing importance.
By Rishi Patel, Young Fabians
After close to two years of planning, we have just finished Day 1 of the first Fabian Society delegation to China for over three decades. After 13 hours, three meetings, one lecture and countless cups of coffee, we have developed and challenged our preconceived perspectives, but for now have only more questions rather than answers.
Lu Mai, Secretary General of the China Development Research Foundation and his senior team hosted our first discussion, providing a Chinese perspective on a number of key developments – including demographic challenges, the evolution of the one child policy, improving early childhood development, and the choice faced by China in balancing state and private contributions to social protection.
This was followed by an afternoon discussion on soft power and the UK-China relationship hosted by Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy and led by British Council China Director Carma Elliot, before a wide-ranging discussion with Christoph Pohlmann, from the Beijing outpost of FES, the German thinktank affiliated to the Social Democratic Party. We rounded off the day by joining a roomful of Chinese and international to hear the Dutch journalist Fokke Obemma talk about the lessons from his new book China and the West.
As we head tomorrow into the first of two days of conversations with students and academics at the China Youth University of Political Sciences, there are three questions I will be considering carefully.
Firstly – despite very different national contexts and political systems, what can each country learn from each other about tackling common challenges? As we began to explore some of the big challenges facing China we soon began to uncover more areas of common interest than previously appreciated. ‘Boosting productivity’ was quickly cited as a key imperative by the CDRF as a response to the China’s demographic challenge – a familiar refrain to anyone who follows the policy debate in the UK.
Secondly, how do we build meaningful relationships with our Chinese contemporaries? Without exception, everyone we spoke to stressed the necessity and importance of building people to people relationships if we are to have any chance of having meaningful dialogue, influence (particularly in areas where we fundamentally disagree) or even insight.
Thirdly, how do China and the UK perceive each other, how accurate are those perceptions, and how much does this matter? Several audience members at Fokke Obemma’s lecture criticised the sensationalisation of media reportage of China, whilst Obemma himself positions his book as at attempt to provide a more balanced analysis than the likes of Martin Jacques’ When China Rules the World.
Hopefully, other members of the delegation will be able to share some insights on these questions and others as the week progresses. For updates from the delegation follow #YFChina.
Written by Joel Mullan, Young Fabians Education Network Chair.
For more information about the Young Fabians China Delegation 2015 and latest updates, follow @youngfabians on twitter.
Last Sunday at Conference, the Young Fabians launched their “Future of the Labour Party” pamphlet – the culmination of a summer long listening campaign, which reached out to hundreds of Young Fabians members and young people around the country.
The pamphlet issues 5 challenges to the Party:
- Develop a new cadre of diverse leaders - The party must support leaders from all sections of society and increase diversity from the grassroots up
- Develop a compelling vision for the future of the country - We must stick to a clear and consistent message, one that can reach beyond our traditional base and be a clear alternative to the Conservatives
- Master the art of digital communication - Is the Party fully equipped to deal with the age of digital?
- Connect local activism to policy making - The Party must create mechanisms to re-connect the party leadership to the issues members care about at the grassroots
- Change the world from Opposition - We need to act now and use the powers we have from Opposition to build a better Britain now
The event showcased a number of big ideas from across Labour’s youth movement and encouraged audience members to engage with the key challenges of the pamphlet.
Ivan Lewis MP was asked to respond to the challenges. He criticised Labour’s poor record on diversity and encouraged us to think about what Britain will look like in 2020. He also inspired us with examples of when Labour had successfully changed the world from Opposition.
Steve Morrison, founder of the Use Your Voice campaign, spoke to us about increasing our agency. He used his experience to highlight the power of social media in engaging young people and the importance of connecting people from different sectors who can support each other in their goals.
Some of the big ideas pitched that were pitched by our other speakers include:
- Michael Rubin, Chair of Labour Student – Students are the future of the Labour Party. Go on to campuses and engage with students. Build national campaigns with them and give them the tools to become leaders of the future
- Beth Miller, Young Labour Women’s Officer – Parliamentary Candidates often struggle financially. They need to be supported, particularly if we want to encourage more women into the Party. We begin a consultation process which looks into options for supporting candidates financially. One option could be to pay candidates the living wage for 2 days per week then put a levy on their salary once they become MPs.
- Johnson Situ, Peckham Councillor – Politics and politicians need to originate from communities. We need to empower local wards so that we have community-based and diverse leaders and so that we are fighting on the right issues. We need to start from now to win the trust of communities.
- Josh Groves, Birmingham Labour Students Secretary & organiser for Jess Philips MP – Much of organising is boring; however we need to inspire volunteers, get them in and keep them in. We also need to really listen and understand what people really want not what we hope they want.
We then had breakout sessions to critically engage with the 5 challenges. Some of the issues that were raised include:
- Can you train someone to be a leader? How can CLPs change to encourage diversity?
- How do you respond to the increasingly fragmented nature of people’s lives and communities? How do you reach out and bring them together?
- Digital strategies need to be diverse and take advantage of different medium to meet people’s needs.
- What can we lessons can we learn about the effectiveness of community organising from the last election? Without a decent policy platform, is community organising an effective electoral strategy alone?
- It’s important to connect with the grassroots and people outside our usual comfort zone.
Now that we have issues these five challenges, the Young Fabians want to continue to develop our thinking on the Future of Labour Party.
The questions now it “What next?” How do we support the Party to take action to address these challenges for a brighter 2020.
Download the Pamphlet here: http://ow.ly/SSLpd