Chokwe Lumumba, radical mayor of Jackson, Miss., dies at 66. Jackson, Miss., Mayor Chokwe Lumumba delivers his inaugural address on July 1, 2013. The death of Chokwe Lumumba, the mayor of Jackson, Miss., interrupts one of America's most promising civic experiments still in its fragile beginning.
This type of Assembly is typically a democratic forum that is populated and driven by formally organized entities (i.e. political parties, unions, church’s, civic organizations, etc.) that mobilize their members to participate in broad open decision making sessions with members from other organizations and/or formations. What makes this different then a typical alliance or coalition is that the organizations and their leaders do not make the decisions on behalf of their members in these spaces; members make decisions as individuals within the general body. The main limitation with this type of Assembly formation is that they tend to remain “top heavy”. The various organizational leaders often to do not disseminate adequate information about meetings, or inform their members about decisions and activities of the Assembly. And there is the problem is that many organizations do not have consolidated members or a base that they can turn out, instead they are legitimated by their history, social position, or the charisma of their leadership.
2. Constituent Assembly.
This type of Assembly is a representative body, not a direct democratic body of the people in their totality. This type of Assembly is dependent on mass outreach, but is structured, intentionally or unintentionally, to accommodate the material (having to work, deal with childcare, etc.) and social limitations (interest, access to information, political and ideological differences, etc.) of the people. The challenge with this type of Assembly is that if it doesn’t continue to work to bring in new people (particularly youth) and struggle and strive politically to be mass in its character, then it tends to become overly bureaucratic and stagnant over time.
These should be co-constructed by the participants of the Assembly, and should be crafted at the start of an Assembly formation. These Norms and Codes should cover everything from how to facilitate a meeting, how to raise a question, how to raise an objection, how to keep the Assembly from being dominated by a few individuals, how check with various forms of privilege and power, and how to arrive at decisions and conclusions. The Norms and Codes should be visited and/or referenced at each Assembly event to ensure that all participants, old and new, know what they are and that they constitute the guiding operating principles of the Assembly that ensures that it is productive and truly democratic.
To the greatest extent possible, everyone who attends the Assembly should know the Agenda before the Agenda meeting. Even when this has been communicated, it is essential that the Agenda be reviewed at the beginning of each and every Assembly meeting so that all participants are clear on what it is and what the Assembly is seeking to accomplish.
Each Assembly event should be clear on what it is focused on accomplishing. It is trying to investigate an issue, is it trying to address an issue (as in trying to solve it), or is it merely sharing information for folks to start investigating and deliberating on a question. This is critical to not waste people’s time and energy.
• Frank exchanges of different views are welcomed, but shall not be done in a disrespectful and uncomradely manner.
• Promoting male supremacy, homophobia or chauvinism against other oppressed peoples shall not be tolerated.
• Attacks on individuals and organizations that go beyond the scope of objective and principled criticism shall not be tolerated.
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