MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK

The Constitution
of the

MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK
(Constituted March 2012)
A. The Body Being Constituted
The Body being constituted is called the Malawi Freedom Network,. (also “MFN” for the purposes of this document). This title shall be used on all correspondence and documents issued by the Network.

The body may also be known verbally by the terms:
B. The Purpose of the Malawi Freedom Network
B.1 We seek to encourage the development of a sustainable and non-exploitative society through non violent activist activities, liaison with environmental protection and social development organisations, the selection and concerted support of political leaders, community-based governance, and the initiation of empowerment projects.

B.2 Through the establishment of this Network, the members of the Network shall:

2.1. Promote the sharing of news, views, and information from citizens with others all over Malawi.

2.2. Share ideas for creating more sustainable and wealthier local communities.

2.3. Share information in the interest of the Rights of Citizens of Malawi.

2.4. Facilitate the expression of concerns, claims of right, and mobilization by citizens in defence of human rights, and for sound governance of the nation.

2.5. Facilitate the expression of the citizens’ will by linking on-the-ground Referenda held by representative People’s Local Constituent Associations of the MFN and other community groups, on local issues and on issues affecting the nation of Malawi.

2.6. Assist inter-community trade and exchange between local community co-operatives, and where required, facilitate emergency or socio-economic assistance in natural disasters, or times of need.

2.7. Provide a Link between the People of Malawi and the outside world and a communication network to outside activists and news networks.

B.3 The MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK shall be able to sue and be sued in its own name.
C. Newsletter of the Malawi Freedom Network
The official Newsletter of the Malawi Freedom Network shall be called the The Networker. Other suggestions may be forwarded and ratified at a Congress)
D. Values of the Malawi Freedom Network
The protection and preservation of the natural world, gender equality, social justice, non-violence, participatory "grassroots" democracy, human spirituality.(See Values of the MFN and definitions.)
E. The Confederation of Local Constituency Associations
The Malawi Freedom Network is a Confederation of Local Constituency Associations, (LCAs). (See Inter-Constituency Association Meetings of the Federation for a description of the conferences.)
F. The Local Constituency Association
F.1. The Local Constituency Association is the fundamental political, economic, and social unit of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK.
F.2. The LCA is defined by electoral boundaries. It may encroach on neighbouring wards only when there is no active LCA in that ward. LCAs may form alliances to follow bioregional boundaries. Community Based CAs may transcend electoral boundaries. (E.g. universities, special interest groups, etc.)
F.3. The LCA is the basic decision making body of the MFN, insofar as it acts in accordance with this constitution. The LCA is autonomous with respect to its finances, choice of leadership and local candidates, strategies, response to local issues, choice of decision making process, and other matters not specified in this Constitution as the express responsibility of the MFN.
F.4. In the event that the LCA fails to put forth a candidate for political elections by the time the writ is dropped the responsibility to select a candidate defaults to the leader of the MFN in consultation with the local CA and any Election co-ordinating committee.
F.5. The LCA will have a minimum of five members who are members of the MFN. One will be the President of the LCA and one will be the Chief Financial Officer. (C.F.O.) of the LCA
F.6. LCAs may be decertified at the AGM of the MFN.

G. Membership in the Malawi Freedom Network
G.1. Any resident of Malawi, and by invitation of a Malawian member of the MFN, any other global citizen, is eligible to be a member of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK.
G.2. A member is registered within an LCA, and also with the Membership Secretary or via the Facebook Group for international and ex-patriate members.
G.3. Membership by minors and their inclusion in the activities of MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK shall be provided for and promoted.
G.4. Membership will be revoked upon the written request of the member, the president of a LCA or at the direction of an AGM or APC.
G.5. Membership fees shall be _________________ per month, payable annually in advance.
H. Officers of National Executive Council of the Malawi Freedom Network
H.1. The following legally required offices of the MFN network as a whole will be elected at the AGM.
• Leader,
• Secretary,
• Treasurer.

H.2. The following MFN officers for the network as a whole will also be elected at the AGM:
• Membership secretary,
• People’s Policy co-ordinator,
• Fund raising co-ordinator,
• Newsletter co-ordinator,


H.3. The maximum number of members of the executive council shall be 13.

H.4. Officers serve on the Executive Council of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK.. The responsibilities of each of the offices and Executive Council are outlined in Responsibilities of the officers of the Malawi Freedom Network.
I. Candidates
Local members of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK may elect and support Candidates for political positions and roles in government. These Candidates must be members of the MFN.
J. Finance of the Malawi Freedom Network
All Financial Statements of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK will be made available to all members of the MFN.
K. Values of the Malawi Freedom Network
(For a more detailed discussion, see Section 3: The values of the MFN members)
The Protection and Preservation of the Natural World
We feel that the well-being of life on Earth has value that is independent of its usefulness to humankind. We have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital needs. The natural world is, and must be the foundation of our basic economic, technological, socio-political and ideological structures. People and human rights should be protected, irrespective of ethnicity, sex, sexuality, age, and physical or mental ability. The values of caring, co-operation, nurturing and sharing must be encouraged to replace the values of materialism, selfish status and gain, competitiveness, domination and aggression which have characterised society for so long. This means that we shall actively support the empowerment of every individual in our policies, our organisation and in our society rather than relying on legislated 'equal opportunity', racially biased 'affirmative action', or token participation.
Non Violence
Ghandian non-violence means literally "clinging to the truth", the greatest truth being the unity of all life. Although social change can be accomplished on a piecemeal basis, the most effective change requires constructive effort in every sphere of life: individual, social, economic, and political. Our goal is to help people acquire sufficient strength and resourcefulness to be able to offer non-violent resistance against organised violence and to work together cooperatively instead of competition with each other. The practice of non-violence in the political sphere involves the development, with patience and industry, of a new non-violent and inclusive and resilient social and economic order.
Spirituality
We recognise the need for diverse expressions of a natural human spirituality. We recognise that scientific research and spiritual insights can combine to give a better understanding of our place in the Universe. We recognise that we are but one of a multitude of beings on this Planet. We recognise the rights of an individual to choose their spiritual path, and the value of spiritually-based ethics in everyday life, and in artistic and cultural expression.
L. Inter Constituency Association meetings of the Federation (Conferences)
L.1. Annual General Meeting:
The MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK will meet for one day during the Spring for an Annual General Meeting (AGM). At this meeting the MFN will rule on all matters relating to the constitution, LCA’s, officers, financial undertakings, actions taken in the name of the MFN, and any other matters relating to the federation that have been raised by LCA’s in the previous year.
L.2. Annual Policy Conference:
The MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK will meet for one day during the Winter for the Annual Policy Conference (APC). At the APC the MFN will formally adopt or reject matters relating to policies of the MFN and any other matters relating to the federation that have been proposed and forwarded by the LCA’s in the previous year.
L.3. Dissent from Inter-CA Decisions:
This constitution will be understood as a basis of unity within which a plurality of political approaches may flourish. It follows that dissenting opinions need not be grounds for de-recognition. Dissenting or unratified policy statements must not be publicly presented as policy of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK.
L.4. Meeting Procedure:
When available, any person who chairs a provincial or major regional conference or other meeting should have demonstrated competence at smaller committee meetings and/or mini-conferences or equivalent.
L.5. Participation:
Only members in good standing for the previous month are eligible to vote, or count in quorum.
L.6. Quorum:
Quorum for scheduled conferences will be 10% of members.


L.7. Resolutions:
All resolutions presented to a plenary of an AGM or APC must:

L.7.1. Be signed by three MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK members in good standing and published in the MFN Networker. After publication, resolutions can be presented to the federation of LCAs that constitute the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK and can then be modified and changed by further communications and caucus across the Network.

L.7.2. Be discussed at a workshop of an AGM or APC.
L.8. Voting:
All members will have one vote. 60 % carries a motion. All voting (except straw votes) will be by ballot.

L.9. Consensus:
The MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK does not use Roberts Rules of Order in order to make decisions; instead, we use consensual decision-making. If possible, we work to make a motion acceptable to all participants, not a simple majority. MFN Members believe that amendments to a motion strengthen it, as opposed to the traditional belief that they dilute the motion's strength. This does not mean that members require total agreement on everything. If a person is unhappy with a motion but is not sufficiently opposed to stop it proceeding, that person may stand aside if he or she believes it is the will of the group. If a person is sufficiently opposed to a resolution as it stands to stop it proceeding, that person may block the resolution, at which point it is either tabled, amended, referred to a committee for further work or a vote is taken. MFN members are not opposed to voting if more consensual means of decision making have been exhausted.
L.10. Definitions for Consensus
L.10.1. The consensus building process: In the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK it involves LCA discussions, resolutions, mini conferences, the publishing of resolutions, workshops, and finally plenaries. All of these steps are open to all members of the MFN. Reaching a consensus on an issue does not take place at a conference. Ratification and adoption at a conferenceshall require and be the result of much hard work and commitment from members of the MFN between conferences.
L.10.2. Facilitator: The facilitator moderates discussion of resolutions; does not block or vote; decides how long an issue will be discussed before a vote.
L.10.3. Co-facilitator: The co-facilitator is the opposite gender of the Facilitator and keeps the speakers list. This person is available to relieve the facilitator.
L.10.4. Recorder: The recorder reads resolutions and records whether they were passed or defeated. The recorder is responsible for the taking of minutes. Minutes will record members present, LCAs present, resolution of motions.
L.10.5. Time keeper: The time keeper keeps track of how long individuals speak and how long the group has spent talking about a given topic.
L.10.6. Straw vote: This vote is not binding on a decision. They are used to make a rough determination of the will of the group.
L.11. Procedures for Consensus
L.11.1. Resolutions are presented through process as outlined in Inter Constituency Association meetings of the Federation: Resolutions
L.11.2. The facilitator presents the motion.
L.11.3. The facilitator asks for a moment of silence during which the motion is considered.
L.11.4. The facilitator asks if an explanation is required. The resolution's sponsor makes clarifications. Clarifications are noted and incorporated.
L.11.5. Discussion takes place in a circle. Every member is given a limited opportunity to speak. Discussion continues until consensus is reached or it becomes obvious that no consensus can be reached.
L.11.6. The length of time spent in discussion is at the discretion of the facilitator.
L.11.7. If consensus can not be reached a vote will be taken. Subject to that vote the resolution will be accepted or withdrawn or modified.
L.12. Officers of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK
L.12.1. All positions will be reviewed yearly.
L.12.2. There is no limit on the number of terms an individual may hold office.
L.12.3. If a candidate exists, positions will be rotated in the interests of gender balance.
L.12.4. Nominations for all functionary positions must be published in the MFN Networker prior to the AGM, and a call for nominations must be published in the issue before that.
L.12.5. All functionaries and officers of the MFN must be members paid in full for three months prior to their nomination and remain members in good standing for the duration of their terms.
M. Responsibilities of the Officers of the Malawi Freedom Network
M.1. Leader
M.1.1. To fulfil the legal requirements of the Leader subject to the limitations of this constitution.
M.1.2. To act pro actively as a spokesperson of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK and articulate MFN policy decisions arising from the CA caucus to as wide an audience as possible.
M.1.3. To organise the AGM.
M.1.4. To appoint a facilitator at the AGM.
M.1.5. The leader has the right to participate in choosing candidates and to propose policy for the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK but THESE MUST BE RATIFIED BY VOTE.
M.1.6. To seek consensus on all issues and not impose his/her will on the federation of LCAs.
M.1.7. The leader may propose resolutions to the AGM but THESE MUST BE RATIFIED BY VOTE.
M.1.8. The leader is subject to recall if requested to do so by 51% of the LCAs.
M.2. Secretary
M.2.1. Write and convey Correspondence with outside organisations Iand offices of the State, including the Independent Electoral Commission, as required by law.
M.2.2. Maintains minutes and resolutions from previous conferences.
M.3. Chief Financial Officer
M.3.1. Fulfil the legal requirements of the treasurer as required by law.
M.3.2 Open and maintain, with the necessary co-signatories, a Bank account in the name of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK.
M.3.3. Disperse funds only as directed by the AGM.
M.3.4.. Publish the financial statements of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK at the AGM.
M.4. Membership Secretary
M.4.1. To record the members of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK.
M.4.2. To record active LCAs of the MFN.
M.4.3. To allocate the names of members to the president of the corresponding active CA of the MFN.
M.4.4. To maintain the confidentiality of the names of members.
M.4.5. To print a monthly set of labels of active members for the Newsletter Co-ordinator.
M.5. Policy co-ordinator
M.5.1. Organise the Annual policy conference.
M.5.2. Solicit policy from members of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK.
M.5.3. To organise, publish and distribute the approved policy documents of the MFN.
M.5.4. To organise political and civil campaign material.
M.6. Fund raising co-ordinator
M.6.1. To maintain an organised method of fund raising for the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK.
M.6.2. To be responsible for the implementation of an effective fund raising campaign for the federation.
M.6.3. To forward all funds raised to the C.F.O. of the MFN.
M.7. Newsletter co-ordinator
M.7.1. To ensure the timely editing, publishing, printing and distribution of the Networker.
M.7.2. The Networker is the official record of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK and will print resolutions, announcements, minutes, proposals and any other document that furthers the aims of the MFN.
M.8. The Executive Council
M.8.1. The Officers of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK will serve on a National Executive Council which will meet by conference call, e-mail, mail, or in person, in order to manage the affairs of the party and the networking of Local Constituent Associations between Conferences. "Non-executive" members are encouraged to serve on the council to promote equitable gender, geographical and activist representation, and MFN officers may opt out of serving on the Executive Council. All Executive Council positions will be reviewed each year at the AGM.
M.8.2. One member of the Executive Council that is not the leader will serve as Chairperson. If meetings are not held by e-mail, then the Chairperson will ensure quorum is established, will appoint a councillor to maintain minutes of each meeting, and will oversee the timely distribution of minutes, by e-mail when possible. When possible each councillor will respond to items discussed through e-mail. The Executive Council will report its activities in every MFN Networker.
M.8.3. The Chairperson is responsible for the proper functioning of the Executive Council. In order to ensure a smooth transition and the uninterrupted activity of the Executive Council, an outgoing Chairperson must announce his/her intention to vacate the Chair position and call for volunteers or nominations to appoint a replacement.
M.8.4. The Executive Council shall:
M.8.4.1. Act proactively to ensure the orderly functioning of the party within the framework and spirit of the Constitution of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK,
M.8.4.2. Ensure that all functionary positions are filled,
M.8.4.3. Ensure that all functionary responsibilities are undertaken in a timely and expeditious manner, and
M.8.4.4. Engage in long term planning.
M.8.4.5. Have all their votes and decisions published in the subsequent MFN Networker complete with information as to subject, who voted and how.
M.8.5. The Executive Council cannot:
M.8.5.1. produce policy.

Section 6: Appendices
• Appendix 1: Glossary of Terms
• Appendix 2: Organizing your Local Constituency Association (LCA)
• Appendix 3: A sample constitution for your LCA
• Appendix 4: Proposal of Resolutions to the Annual General Meeting or Annual Policy Conference

Appendix 1: Glossary of Terms
Alternative vote
the single transferable vote applied to the filling of one place or the selection of one choice, as in a mayoral election or the selection of a councillor or MPP from a single-member ward or constituency.
Approval vote
the method in which each voter may give one vote only to as many candidates as he or she considers acceptable, and the single candidate with the most votes wins election.
Drop quota
the number obtained by dividing the total number of valid votes cast in a constituency by a number which is one more than the number of places to be filled (members to be elected) and increasing the result to the next whole number.
Gregory transfer
the method of transferring surplus votes by transferring all of the candidate's but giving each vote a fractional value equal to the number of surplus votes divided by the candidate's total number of votes, so that s/c x c = sc/c = s, thus making the number of votes transferred to each remaining candidate the same however many times the count is repeated.
Single transferable vote
the method in which each voter allocates a rank or preference number to as many candidates on the ballot as he or she wishes or the law prescribes, and where there is more than one place to be filled (member to be elected) in a constituency, a quota is established, and initially any candidate having a number of first choice (rank or reference number 1) votes equal to or exceeding the quota is elected and any surplus ballot papers bearing surplus votes for such candidates are transferred to the candidates of next preference number on the ballot paper, and after the transfer of surpluses, the candidate with the least number of first choice plus transferred votes is dropped from consideration, and that candidates ballot papers are transferred tot he candidates having the next preference rank on each ballot, and the process continues until the required number of candidates either meets the quota or has more votes than the single remaining alternative.


Appendix 2 - Organising your Constituency Association
"

MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK

- Organising your Local Constituency Association
(Appendix 2 of the Constitution of the Malawi Freedom Network)
"
Who?"

When the critical mass of MALAWI FREEDOM NEWORK members in your area reaches 5 you are able to organize into a Local Constituency Association. (LCA.) You will then have constituency association status at conferences of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK

"Why?"

For 3 reasons.
1. To directly influence the implementation of MFN policies by participating in the networks of the MFN, and to promote them via the political platform or forum of the MFN network
2. To link up with other supporters of the MFN in your area, and to work together with them at a local level for the political and social changes that you seek.
3. To raise money for your constituency association. Your LCA must use these funds as outlined in the election finances act and to further the goals of the MFN. For further information contact the Chief Financial Officer of the MFN.

"How?"

1. As a member you can contact the Membership secretary of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK and ask for the names of members in your area.
2. As a member you can prepare a resolution to the AGM or APC to instruct the secretary of the party to instruct the Election finance commission to grant you LCA status (where applicable).
3. Prepare a constitution of your local group. Appendix 3 is an outline you can use to help you prepare your constitution.
4. Your LCA will require a President, a Financial officer and at least 3 additional members.





MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK


Sample Constitution for Constituent Associations
(Appendix 3 of the Constitution of MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK.)



A group is encouraged to write its own Constitution.

This is a guide and changes are to be expected.

Refer to the Constitution of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK for details on Local Constituency Associations of the MFN.




MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK

Constitution
of the
[_________________________________]
Local Constituency Association

[__________________________________________________________________]
is a constituency association of
the
MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK,
and operates in accordance with the Constitution of the same.

Objectives

The members of the

[______________________________________________________________________]
Local Constituent Association are part of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK which seeks to promote the protection and preservation of the natural world, gender equality, social justice, non-violence, participatory "grassroots" democracy, spirituality,. (See Values of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK and definitions.)





MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK

To this end, the members of the

[____________________________________________________________________________
Local Constituency Association of (Town) ____________, Ward___________
1. Shall, with mutual respect and good will, work together with other members of the Network towards upholding the rights, development, fulfilment of needs, subsistence, quality of life, and equity among members of the MFN and for the community as a whole.

2. Shall select and support candidates for the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK in elections where such candidates run to promote the policies of the MFN, and work in projects that popularise and put into practice the policies of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK.

In pursing these goals the members of the MFN of
[_________________________________________________________________]
shall promote the principles upheld by the Constitution of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK and shall strive to develop the abilities of all members to fulfil functions reserved for leaders in traditional hierarchical organisations. This includes striving for gender parity and fair representation by age and ethnicity in relation to the composition of the membership.
Membership Criteria
Membership is open to any person who agrees with this constitution.
Annual membership fees are to be set by the general membership.
Membership can be revoked by a general membership meeting for non-compliance with this constitution.
Members holding voting membership in other MFN Local Constituency Associations may not vote except in the case of an issue arising with direct bearing on a project in which the member concerned is participating where this project is not a joint project in the home constituency association.
Functionaries and Committees
Functionaries and Committees will be mandated by and responsible to the general meetings.
Decision Making Process
Decision will be made by general membership meetings with the following exemptions:
• A committee or functionary mandated by the general membership meeting may make decisions where specifically mandated to do so.
• In matters requiring immediate attention, a telephone poll of members conducted by a mandated functionary may substitute for a general meeting.
• The normal decision making process at meetings will be by consensus. Refer to the Constitution of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK for definition and procedures.
Signed on this _________day of _____________________in the year _____________


PRESIDENT
Name



Address ID number Signature
FINANCIAL OFFICER
Name



Address ID number Signature
MEMBERS
Name



Address ID number Signature
Name



Address ID number Signature
Name



Address ID number Signature



MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK

MEMBERSHIP LIST
of

__________________________________________________Constituency Association


A Local Constituent Association of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK

Name



Address ID number
Name



Address ID number Signature
Name



Address ID number Signature
Name



Address ID number Signature
Name



Address ID number Signature
Name




Address ID number Signature

Appendix 4: Procedures for proposing a resolution to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) or Annual Policy Conference (APC)
Participation is fundamental to the success of our political party. All members are encouraged to bring resolutions to either the AGM or APC. Any member, including the leader of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK is allowed to propose a resolution to the MFN.
Consensus building Procedure
1. Organise a mini conference (M.C.) with at least 2 other members of the MFN. A mini conference need not be an elaborate affair. It can be as uncomplicated as a conference call between 3 members or as elaborate as a province wide General meeting. It is up to the individual organising the conference and the interest in the issue being discussed.
2. An announcement of the mini conference (M.C.)must be published in the MFN NETWORKER and the M.C. must be open to all members of the MFN
3. Forward the results of your M.C. to the editor of the MFN NETWORKER for publication on this form.
4. At the AGM or APC there will be workshops to discuss your resolution. You should be there to lead or at least participate in the workshop.
5. The purpose of the workshop is to come to a consensus about the resolution. Suggestions should be expected and incorporated into the resolution.
6. At the plenary of the AGM or APC the resolution will be discussed and voted on.
7. If accepted it becomes part of the policies and or procedures of the MFN and will be recorded by the secretary of the party for future reference.
8. If rejected it can go back to a workshop for additional work or can be brought up at a future conference.
It is imperative for the success of this network that members participate. Please take the initiative.
The Annual General Meeting of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK is held on the first Saturday of October.
The Annual Policy Conference of the MALAWI FREEDOM NETWORK is held on the first Saturday of June.

Please mail this form to the convenor of the appropriate conference and the editor of the MFN NETWORKER.
Mini conference held on: _______________________
Published in NETWORKER: _______________________
Members Endorsing:
1:__________________________________Sponsoring member
2:__________________________________
3:__________________________________
Purpose of Resolution:
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
Resolution: Use attached sheet if required.
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________


Sponsored by __________________________

Appendix 4: Functionaries
Interim coordinators:
Suleman Atupele Chitera phone number email address
The Last Word
Domestic policy has roots in institutional structures; only in limited ways does policy reflect the personal preferences and commitments of particular individuals who happen to hold office. Institutional structures fix policies within bounds which will be determined by people representing centres of concentrated power, people who in their institutional roles, will not be swayed by moral appeals but by the costs consequent upon the decisions they make. Those who are serious about inducing changes in public policy will therefore consider ways to modify this calculus of costs.

Ordinary citizens who are excluded from this private system of domination and control must exercise whatever power they possess. Those who own and manage society want a disciplined, apathetic and submissive public that will not challenge their privilege. The ordinary citizen need not grant them this gift. Organizing and political engagement is itself a threat to power, a reason to undertake it quite apart from its crucial importance in itself as an essential step towards social change.

The ground work for great social movements of the past were laid through many years of searching, intellectual interchange, social experimentation, and collective action, organising and struggle. The same will be true of the coming stages of social change. Whether one sees oneself as dedicated to reform or revolution, the first steps are education of oneself and others. There will belittle hope for further progress unless there is an enhanced networks of local organisations, media, and publishers who do not bend to state and private power. Optimally this will be based in the community, workplace or other points of social interaction.

As activities undertaken in such domains, including conventional political action, extends in scale, effectiveness, and popular engagement, it may well provoke state violence, one sign that it is becoming truly significant. There are no magic answers, no miraculous methods to overcome the problems we face, just the familiar ones: honest search for understanding, education, organisation, action that lays the basis for institutional change - and the kind of commitment that will persist despite many failures and only limited successes, inspired by the hope of a brighter future.

Hacked from the last 3 pages of Noam Chomsky's Turning the Tide. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (P.O. Box 6322, Washington, D.C., 20015)