Debating the rules

How Hopi's constitution was discussed

Tina Becker (CPGB) moved the draft constitution. She argued that the constitution must be flexible, democratic and transparent, and the minutes of the steering committee openly available. Tami Peterson put forward two amendments. The first was to include LGBT struggles among the aims (as in the founding statement) and this was accepted.

The second was that the campaign should to aim to have 50% women on the steering committee. Comrade Majedi argued that there should be no positive discrimination for the steering committee, while Sachin Sharma said that conference should elect the best people for the job instead of basing their choice on gender. Comrade Thompson said she hoped she would be elected to the steering committee on her own merit, not by virtue of being a woman. Comrade King, however, argued that such an aim was something socialists had now been urging on trade unions, and so on, for some years. The proposal was defeated.

Nick Rogers proposed that we add: "Hopi aspires to build a national network of autonomous, self-activated branches that can respond quickly to international political developments." He pointed out that some branches have already been established; they should have a place in the constitution. This amendment was passed. Also passed was a proposal from comrade Machover to clarify the provision for observers attending steering committee meetings by limiting this right to Hopi members.

David Mather put forward an amendment to change the first sentence of the draft constitution, where Hopi is described as a "solidarity campaign within the international anti-war movement". This should read: "an anti-war campaign in solidarity with the Iranian people", he emphasised. Yassamine Mather said the original phrasing was an error on the part of the drafters of the constitution, but a serious mistake nevertheless. It had been agreed from the outset that Hopi should be an anti-war campaign committed to solidarity, not a "solidarity campaign", of which several already existed. Comrade Kia agreed with her on this. The amendment was passed. The conference then voted to accept the constitution as amended.

With the constitution passed, the next task was to elect a steering committee, for which 17 names had been put forward. Though some comrades felt that this number was too large, the majority of the conference agreed that at this stage we should try to involve all the different trends in the campaign, and the conference voted by a large majority to accept the 17 people proposed as the steering committee.