Rough ideas

Table of Contents

Mapping ACORN's structure

Started working on this here: mapping acorn page.

  • Want to create a resource that explains ACORN's structure, legal status, rules, etc.
  • work out the things that ACORN provides us like legal insurance (? forgot name for this)
  • explanation of democratic processes that I know many members intend to use to reform ACORN
  • making this will make it possible to get clarity on questions like:
    • is ACORN reformable using its democratic processes
    • what would a branch be losing if they decide to disaffiliate from ACORN (e.g. doing what ACORN Lancaster did or splitters in ACORN Manchester did)

Making youtube documentary on ACORN Oxford

ACORN Oxford (before it was destroyed) was described to me as being a very active branch with 200 members and 60 active members (! this is a lot for ACORN branches). The only information I've come across about how it collapsed is word-of-mouth and the demand letter that they put out before collapsing.

I want to find out what happened to ACORN Oxford and make mini-youtube documentary, maybe interviewing people who set up ACORN Oxford and made it so active and also why it collapsed.

I think same thing could be done for ACORN Aberyswythe, Lancaster, basically every branch where there has been a significant split or mass exodus of members which also includes (AFAIK) Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.

Money questions

making it obvious to all members where the money is being spent

I want to find out how ACORN spends its money, maybe as part of the mapping acorn page. Its almost £1,000,000 per year, where does this all go? Heard someone mention that in previous conference there is pie-chart breaking it down, but like really this should be easily accessible to any member who is interested.

what could the money be used for?

Given ACORN UK is barely growing and uses paid staff for things like door knocking which they could easily be using volunteers for, I am suspecting they are wasting the money. The people who get the top jobs are all friends with each other, and there is not a lot of turn over of people doing these top jobs (AFAIK).

who are the third parties funding ACORN?

Another point, ACORN is not (AFAIK) transparent with where their money is coming from as a big chunk is not from member dues. Are there strings attached to this money? What are the institutions paying us? Been told the Rosa Luxembourg Institute are one example.

Coming up with ideas of things I think could be changed to improve ACORN

In my opinion, most of these suggestions couldn't happen without first democraticising ACORN because many of the reasons ACORN functions so poorly is deliberate (or at least I suspect), but leaving that aside I have list of things I think could make ACORN run better:

ACORN Handbook, Bylaws, and Legal Advice shouldn't be on a Google Doc

Keeping all important and useful information on Google Docs is not the way. A lot of it does not make sense to be kept private, or the reasons for keeping it private are massively outweighed by problems this creates. For example, legal advice to avoid us getting sued. Its nightmare actually finding this. There was a google doc for it but the link randomly changed. The only way for a member to find this is to ask a committee member for it, and like this is a big hassle. Even when you have a link to it it can just randomly change.

Only use staff for things staff need to do

Currently it seems staff are used for door-knocking. Like this seems like a waste of resources

Make a free-tier way to join as a member

Have a free-tier for people to be involved without having to pay for membership

How ACORN handles member defense cases that can be improved

  • explain hot take about things that seem obviously counterproductive about how ACORN member defense cases work.

I'm pretty sure ACORN is doing committees wrong

I'm not against committees, but I have intuition that way that committees work in ACORN is not remotely how its meant to work.

In branches I've seen

Not sure how this would work, but there

For example, sole function o Currently the sole responsibility for agitprop falls f

As far as I know there is big gap in type of training that we do for

Separate the person from the function that they are meant to be doing. The way ACORN currently

How do atomised ACORN members organise?

If ACORN National is actively hostile to attempts amongst members to democratise the organisation (maybe to hold onto the privileged positions and cushy jobs that make them feel important) then it seems unlikely that they will want members to

This is actually a difficult problem

What happened to the 2023 ACORN conference?

Reform or just split?

This breaks down into multiple questions, like can ACORN be reformed? There are

Is Wade Rathke a (union) landlord?

This seems like could be fun & effective rhetorical device, like painting people who sit at the top of unions and enjoying benefits from this position as being form of landlord.

This is a parallel of what happens to NGOs, and why so many NGOs are ineffective. It is also something heavily theorised

This is also topic I'm assuming has been heavily explored by Marxist/Anarchist theorists in explaining why unions

, to draw a connection between the rent that someone like Wade makes jet setting around globe, drawing a salary from an NGO.

discussion on social media and WhatsApp

I love the cosmonaut article "The platform is the message". It describes some of the difficulties of organising using social media. They use the idea from media studies theory that the "medium is the message": the structure of a communication platform massively shapes the message.

In ACORN context, the only meaningful communication that most members can take part in happens in AMMs.

would be cool to have ACORN newsletters

Create a news letter that is Member Led. Every few weeks we could publish new News Letter through FB, WhatsApp, email, whatever. The newsletter could be very casual informal content like thoughts people have, suggestions, artwork, whatever. It would be edited together to make something that should inform both peripheral Acorn members as well as non-Acorn members (e.g. if we shared on FB).

This would be a good supplement to how we already inform people of what we've been up to, which is having them explained during an AMM.

Content

  • An "Events" page that is dates that will happen over next 2 weeks.
  • what we've been up to section
  • any other user submissions
    • suggestions, feedback, constructive criticism, etc.
    • news that is important to tenants