Edinburgh University Anarchist Society Constitution
This constitution was written at the behest of the university and does not necessarily represent the views of all participants of the Edinburgh University Anarchist Society. It at best aims to outline where we as a group conjoin in some of our beliefs. This statement is open to revision by any members but is not indicative of anything binding to individuals views.
The main aim of the society is to pursue goals conducive to a free and equal anarchism in wider humanity. We hold and wish to promote the values of equality, liberty and respect, and these are the foundation ideas upon which the society is based:
We wish to encourage the abandonment of unhealthy consumerist and capitalist ideals. We see each human being to be worth the same, and reject capitalism on the grounds that we do not see material wealth, and the ability to gain material wealth, as valid measures of a human being’s value. Additionally, we see capitalism as a catalyst for oppression and violence. As such we reject capitalism. Furthermore, we believe that as humans are fundamentally equal, no justification exists for the authority of State, other than to preserve an unequal status quo. We reject the State on these grounds. We will reflect our view of equality in our meetings by making clear that the office-bearer positions mandated by the University do not give authority above that mandated by the compulsory clauses for an Edinburgh University society, and by the fact that all views will be taken into account with equal consideration.
We differ from other left-wing societies in our acknowledgement of the State as the unjust use of force by one set of people upon another. We do not acknowledge the right of any governing body, elected or otherwise, to sacrifice the liberty of individuals for what they see as the greater good. As such we are not and do not wish to be affiliated with any political party. We believe in the freedom of every human being to act as they will, providing that they do not infringe the liberty of others. We believe that this liberty is best preserved by a system of decentralised small-scale council-style governance. We will reflect this in the running of our society, reaching our decisions by consensus.
We acknowledge that the ideals of equality and liberty in a free anarchist society are not feasible without the idea of respect, both for other human beings in our community and for the world in which we live. We believe that the ideals can be achieved by treating other people with the same respect we would wish for ourselves. We are a non-violent society, and believe that constructive social change in the direction of a free, equal and peaceful society cannot be achieved by harmful or violent means. We believe that the means are as important as the ends.
We are willing to consider any and all points of view at our meetings, and welcome anyone interested in the ideas we hold, whether or not they immediately identify as anarchists themselves. We acknowledge the bad publicity that anarchism has suffered in the public mindset, with the word being connected with destruction and violence, and wish to promote the truth of anarchism as a constructive and human-centred societal plan of action.
We aim for the society to function as a meeting point for students with anarchist beliefs, as we feel that it is a viewpoint much in the minority. A recognised Edinburgh University Society provides an easy-to-find group for anarchist students to meet and discuss the ideas we hold in common. In promoting our ideals of equality, liberty and respect, we will do so through awareness-raising and educational activities, which can be a number of the following:
- Leafleting: We can hand material directly to students promoting anarchism in general, or our viewpoint on a particular issue that is of concern to students. As such, people may consider anarchism as an alternative to conventional political standpoints and partisan organisations.
- Handing out free food/drink: We can do this to demonstrate that mutual benefit can occur without capitalist transaction, and also to facilitate discussion with the wider student body.
- Film viewing/discussion/lectures: We can show anarchist films, and follow them with a discussion, open to any visitors who wish to join us. We can also host lectures for prominent speakers on the subject of anarchism and other topics of interest to the society.
The society can campaign on issues that matter to students, through the public boycott of certain consumer products that we believe particularly contravene our values, as well as through raising awareness in such activities as were mentioned above. Being an Edinburgh University society will also allow us to use spaces set aside for societies for our activities. If we demonstrate on an issue we feel strongly about, we shall do so peacefully and in accordance with our values mentioned above. All new activities shall be decided upon by consensus at meetings.
Administration and Decision-Making
- All decisions shall be reached by consensus among all members present at the meeting. Debate and discussion on these decisions will be essential in cases of a split in opinion, but a final decision must be supported by all members.
- The President, Secretary and Treasurer shall hold no formal powers except those mandated by the University.
- Membership of the society shall be free of charge for all.
- The society shall abide by any applicable laws, bye-laws and guidelines of the Edinburgh University Students’ Association in relation to recognised societies.
- We are willing to work with other organisations that share our values.
These clauses are mandated by the University for a recognised society and are agreed with and supported by the Anarchist Society.
- Membership shall be open to all matriculated students of Edinburgh University.
- Membership shall be at least 75% matriculated students of Edinburgh University.
- All members who are not matriculated students of Edinburgh University shall pay at least twice the annual subscription.
- The President, Secretary and Treasurer of the society shall be matriculated students of Edinburgh University.
- The President shall be ultimately responsible for the conduct of the society.
- The Secretary shall be responsible to the President for the administration of the society.
- The Treasurer shall be responsible to the President for the finances of the society.
- All office-bearers shall be subject to election annually.
- All members who are matriculated students of Edinburgh University shall be entitled to stand and to vote in elections.
- All members must receive at least 14 days written notification of the annual general meeting and of elections not held at the AGM.
- The society shall also inform the Societies’ Centre of the date, time and place of the society’s AGM.
- Constitutional amendments shall require a two-thirds majority at a general meeting open to all members; 14 days notice of which shall be given.
- The AGM of the society must take place between week 7 and week 11 of semester 2.
- The quorum of a general meeting shall be two thirds of members.
- The society’s cheques must require two signatories; one must be the Treasurer and the other President or Secretary.
- The society has taken and will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure that our meetings, events and socials are accessible to all, irrespective of any disability.
- The society has ensured and will continue to ensure that it complies with any relevant data protection legislation.
- The society believes that discrimination or harassment, direct or indirect, based on a person’s gender, age (except where it relates to licensing laws), race, skin colour, nationality, religious belief, socio-economic background, disability, HIV status, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, family situation, domestic responsibilities or any other irrelevant distinction, is detrimental to the society, the University and wider society, and will not be tolerated.