Resistance Lab Constitution

Name

The name of the group is Resistance Lab.

Aims

The aims of Resistance Lab are:

  1. To create a space for the communities most affected by state violence to work with researchers and technologists.
  2. To work together to resist the increasingly data-driven architecture of state oppression.
  3. To research and disseminate information on state violence in creative partnership with our partner organisations.
  4. To pursue a world free of state violence.

Powers

In order to achieve its aims, Resistance Lab may:

  1. Organise workshops and events.
  2. Fundraise and apply for funds.
  3. Pay group members and contractors to do work towards our aims when needed.
  4. Work with other groups and exchange information.
  5. Actively support partner organisations by providing access to data and reports, and by publicising and attending their events.

Leadership

  1. Resistance Lab is a non-hierarchical organisation that uses consensus decision making wherever possible. To facilitate the management of the group, we have agreed the following roles:
    1. Two elected co-chairs. For the academic year 2019-2020, these are Kim Foale and Remi Joseph-Sailsbury. The co-chairs convene meetings, manage the email list, and generally keep group momentum going. These roles are agreed at a main group meeting. Each year, new co-chairs can volunteer for this role.
    2. A management group that meets roughly monthly. This group helps plan events, write documents like this one, work up proposals into documents that can be discussed in the full group, and generally ensure the group is continuing to effectively achieve its aims. The management group may also take the decision to suspend or remove a member. Proposals for new working groups should be brought to this meeting to allow a full discussion before suggesting a proposal to the larger group. The management group is open to any group member willing to attend two meetings out of every three. The powers of the management group include:

Membership

  1. Our goal is to operate as a relatively closed group, with members who all know each other. We do this to ensure the safety of the group members, and to create a sense of community to discuss difficult issues. Practices for joining Resistance Lab work towards this aim.
  2. Any prospective new member of Resistance Lab must be referred (or vouched for) by a current member. The current member must put forward the potential member’s name during a meeting or on the listserv. If there is no objection from any other current member, the new member will be added to the listserv.
  3. New members should introduce themselves and share their reasons for joining ResistanceLab on the listserv. These introductions will be archived, in order to produce a complete record of all current and former members of Resistance Lab.
  4. Resistance Lab will not share a platform with the police, nor invite active or former police to join the group.
  5. Harassment on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical appearance, ability, race, colour, religion, national origin, class, age, or profession will not be tolerated. Engaging in any such harassment is grounds for removal from Resistance Lab.
  6. Any member of Resistance Lab who chooses to leave the group for any reason should notify the group of their decision, and should then be removed from the listserv.
  7. Resistance Lab maintains an official list of groups we partner with. Whilst members join Resistance Lab as individuals, they may also choose to represent a group. Likewise, groups may formally partner with Resistance Lab through a representative.
    1. We recognise that many members of Resistance Lab are bringing their knowledge and skills to multiple organisations. To that end, we welcome creative collaborations with partner organisations, in pursuit of our shared goal of ending state violence. This includes (but is not limited to) sharing resources, jointly authoring reports, and jointly hosting events.
  8. Membership entails a commitment to contributing to Resistance Lab. To that end, members shouldn’t just passively receive emails. Whilst we recognise that everyone’s circumstances are different, and contributions take different forms, members should commit to attending 1-2 meetings per year (including the AGM), and to taking on one responsibility (e.g. joining a working group, drafting a report, leading a workshop).
  9. Members may choose to leave the group for any reason. In the interest of making Resistance Lab a safer and more inclusive space, we invite (but don’t require) members who choose to leave to share their experiences and reasons for leaving with the management group. Members who leave should ask to be removed from the listserv. They may choose to take any work they’ve done as part of the group with them or to leave it behind. They are welcome to rejoin whenever you like using the normal joining procedure.
  10. It may be required from time to time to suspend or remove a member from the group if, for example, they breach the code of conduct or turn out to work for law enforcement. This decision will be taken by the management group, who will then report back to the larger group, if appropriate, on what steps have been taken.

Organisation

  1. Each group is trusted to work on behalf of Resistance Lab, and so will make decisions between meetings and relay them back at the meetings.
  2. We are a slow group who focuses on the health and wellbeing of our members and our ongoing collaboration over everything else. As such, our internal deadlines depend on members’ ability to meet them whilst remaining well. We will not rush to meet an external deadline except in extreme cases.
  3. Resistance Lab currently consists of the following working groups:
    1. Management group: see ‘Leadership’.
    2. Data group: this working group is tasked with accessing, monitoring, analysing, and storing data on state violence.
      1. Once Resistance Lab data are made publicly available, we actively encourage partner organisations to use these resources in furtherance of their own work.
    3. Communications group: this group disseminates Resistance Lab’s activities and reports on social media, maintains the website, authors blog posts, identifies opportunities to share our work, and responds to media requests. This group is also responsible for developing and revising Resistance Lab’s general media strategy.
  4. Additional working groups may be formed on an ad hoc basis to pursue specific projects.
    1. Working groups may include creative partnerships, in which Resistance Lab shares the work of producing reports and/or hosting events with partner organisations. Whilst authors of reports are listed as individuals, authors may also choose to list their group affiliation alongside their name.

Funding

  1. We are a grassroots group and in the first instance participation is voluntary. Where a group member’s work is funded, this does not change their relationship to the group.
  2. Whenever possible we have a travel and sustenance fund to enable people to attend meetings who otherwise couldn’t attend. Please don’t hesitate to ask if this fund would enable your participation.
  3. In pursuit of the group’s primary aims, we will aim to raise funds through direct giving and funding bodies. We will not accept funding from the police or prison services. We will not accept any funding that would compromise our independence as a collective.
  4. We are aiming to set up a Resistance Lab bank account in due course.
  5. If dissolved, any potential remaining budget will be donated to member groups.

Annual General Meeting

  1. Attending the AGM is part of the minimum commitment of membership in Resistance Lab.
  2. Tasks at the AGM will include electing new officers, reviewing the past year’s work for each working group, reviewing any outstanding funding, and setting goals for the next year.
  3. We will revisit the constitution at each AGM. Members will have the opportunity to propose amendments to the constitution and to revisit items that may no longer be applicable to Resistance Lab.

General Meetings

  1. All members are welcome to attend Resistance Lab meetings. Invitations are sent on the email list. Meetings are conducted according to the Chatham House Rule. That is, you may share what’s been discussed at Resistance Lab meetings, but you may not attribute it to any specific person.
  2. Members should be mindful that meetings are held via unencrypted video calls. With that in mind, they should not say anything during a meeting that puts themselves or another person at risk.
  3. Meetings take place online using the Google Meet link attached to each event.
  4. At each meeting, the members present will set the date and time for the following meeting. We recognise that everyone has different work schedules, family life, transportation needs, and other constraints on meeting times, and will alternate dates and times if necessary to maximise participation in Resistance Lab.
  5. A call for agenda items will be circulated before each meeting, and a final agenda will be circulated one day before each meeting. The previous meeting’s minutes will be circulated alongside the agenda.
  6. Each working group will report back at each meeting where there is something to report.
  7. Working groups will bring matters of general interest to all members. Whenever possible, decisions of general interest will be agreed by consensus at meetings.
  8. Members volunteer to facilitate meetings and take minutes. We make an effort to share this responsibility. In the absence of another volunteer, a member of the leadership team will facilitate a meeting.
  9. The frequency of meetings varies based on our own availability and the tasks at hand. We aim to meet at least once per month, but during busy periods we may meet as often as once per week.

Dissolution

  1. Resistance Lab may be dissolved at any time, if agreed by two-thirds of the current membership. In the event of any dissolution, any assets remaining after all debts have been paid shall be donated to another group with similar aims.