February 15, 2011
This document outlines the organisational structure of Haringey Solidarity Group, and how to contact us about a particular area.
Membership and joining HSG
HSG does not have a formal membership. Anyone who lives or works in the borough, and who broadly supports our aims (see below) can come to meetings and go on the HSG contact list for monthly mailouts. People outside Haringey can also be added to this mailout. If there is a similar group to HSG in their locality we suggest they get in contact with them. We encourage people to come to either the main HSG meetings, one of the subgroup meetings or any of the events we put on or activities we take part in. We try to circulate the tasks of running HSG, so that we share knowledge and skills, and so that a small number of people don’t end up taking on everything.
Nobody speaks “on behalf” of HSG unless it has been agreed at one of the main HSG meetings that they can do so for a specific purpose. Likewise, nobody can say at some event that HSG can or will take some particular action, unless this has already been agreed. (This would be to commit other people to actions they have not discussed.) However, any of us can say “I/we will take that back to HSG and see if they/we will get involved”. Of course, we are all at liberty to make committments of our individual support.
There are no leaders in HSG, we do not believe in hierarchy. Although some people may take a lead role in an activity, decisions are made collectively. Nor do we believe in voting and the majority ruling the minority. We aim to find a consensus, where not everyone may agree but there are no strong objections.
Aims and Objectives
Although individuals may have contacted us through interest in a particular issue or campaign, we are not a single-issue campaigning group. Nor are we a political party, or connected to any political party. (We do not have a “party line” and we believe in individual critical thinking.) We want people to have control over all aspects of their lives. We can’t rely on politicians or leaders to do things for us – we have to organise and do it ourselves.
Haringey Solidarity Group is a collective of local people who want to get rid of the current system which places profit and power before people’s real needs. The only effective way to do this is for people to get organised, fight back and take over the decision-making in communities and workplaces. To that end we support and participate in local campaigns, spread ideas and help create effective opposition to the powers that be.
Monthly HSG Meeting
This is where HSG makes key decisions (e.g. whether or how we are going to get involved in a local campaign; changes to the way the group works). These meetings are open to anyone on the HSG mailing list or who lives or works in Haringey. Anyone at the meeting can put an item on the agenda for discussion. To suggest something for the draft agenda, you need to email agenda [AT] haringey.org.uk The meetings start at 7.30pm (till around 9.30pm) on the first Tuesday of each month, and usually at the Phoenix Millennium Centre on West Green Road. Someone volunteers to take minutes, and someone else to facilitate. We are happy to chat to anybody who would like more information beforehand. Please contact info [AT] haringey.org.uk.
This carries news about what we’re doing, resources and links for campaigning (such as leaflets and booklets), and back issues of our newsletter. There is also a calendar of local events and information on our past activities. Anyone can suggest information for the website. To contact the webmaster, email info [AT] haringey.org.uk.
Each month we send to those on our mailing list paper copies of the minutes of HSG meetings, a list of coming events, and other items, including our newsletter, leaflets for Haringey Independent Cinema and other local and national campaigns. Anyone in HSG can distribute items through the mailout – within reason. The mailout session takes place on the third Tuesday of each month. To suggest material for the mailout, or to let us know about a change of postal address, contact mailout [AT] haringey.org.uk.
The [hsg] email list
We send out information about HSG meetings and activities and details of relevant local/national campaigns on this list. It goes to over 150 people, so we try to keep the volume of messages low – announcements not discussions. Anybody on this list can post to it. To be added to the list contact info [AT] haringey.org.uk.
We have an email address (info [AT] haringey.org.uk) where people can contact us. We have a post office box (PO Box 2474, London N8) where all our mail is sent. And we can also be contacted by phone (0845 223 5270).
Discussion Evenings and Strategy Days
From time to time we also hold discussion evenings, to allow us to talk over issues at greater length than is possible in main meetings. These are limited to people in HSG (unless specifically invited) and normally notified some weeks in advance in our mailout and elist. Once every year or two we have a day-long meeting to discuss longer term directions for the group and strategy.
Although the monthly HSG meetings are where all the major decisions about HSG are made, it would be impossible to organise all our activities at these meetings. So most of the “nuts and bolts” work is done in what we call subgroups. A subgroup is formed at a main meeting for a specific task or campaign. Subgroup meetings are arranged when and where members of the subgroups think they should happen, and these meetings are usually notified on the main HSG elist. Subgroups have a number of “core” members, but anybody on the HSG mailing list can join any/all the subgroups. Some subgroups are open to people outside HSG. Each subgroup makes decisions on details, but the main direction and major decisions are agreed at the main HSG meeting, which is kept informed of subgroups’ activity.
HSG produce a newsletter titled Totally Indypendent, issued 3 or 4 times a year. We distribute 4,000 copies in Haringey (e.g. at street stalls, events, at tube or bus stations etc). The newsletter subgroup organise the entire process of producing the newsletter – discussing ideas for articles, doing research, writing the majority of articles, editing, and organising distribution. Although people can get involved for just one issue of the newsletter, we encourage people to stay with the process for a longer period so we get continuity. An email is sent out on the main elist announcing the initial meeting of the subgroup for each issue. To find out more, contact newsletter [AT] haringey.org.uk
Housing Action Group
This group aims to build a self-help network of people willing to support each other to overcome their housing problems. We hold one casework meeting every month (on the second Monday) and a general meeting (on the third Thursday of the month). Meetings are open to all, including outside HSG. The email address is housingaction [AT] haringey.org.uk
We are an independent group, so most of our money comes from donations, which are always gratefully received. Some people make monthly donations by standing order, others annually, or when they can afford it. We produce annual accounts which are approved at a monthly HSG meeting. Most of the money that we raise, we spend. Running costs are for a photocopier, stationery, postage for the monthly mailouts (we send out to around 100 local people), printing the newsletter, costs of meetings and stalls, and putting on events. For more information, email info [AT] haringey.org.uk.
Our photocopier is available for use by people in HSG, and other groups we support. However, this is in someone’s home, so access is limited. We charge a small cost for copying non-HSG stuff. To use the copier, email info [AT] haringey.org.uk.
No person within HSG gets paid for any work they do. We do sometimes pay for people’s expenses if they require it and it is in relation to work agreed by the HSG main meeting. We reimburse people if they spend money on behalf of HSG – e.g. they pay for a stall we run or buy stationery for us.
Category: about us