When building and mobilising for a rent strike you are going to have meetings. Depending on how well these meetings are organised and facilitated they can end up being super productive and empowering! The point of meetings is to discuss and decide what stuff needs to be done, when it needs to be done, who should do it and how. In particular it is important to discuss the aims and politics of your group and have space and time to talk these things through. As a facilitator (or chair) your job is to facilitate the discussion of the whole group. This means:
- Keeping the group on topic.
- Making sure people don’t talk over each other.
- Making sure the meeting doesn’t run over.
- Making sure minority opinions are given a fair hearing.
- Ensuring that actions are decided on and distributed.
Unfortunately classism, racism, patriarchy, and other forms of oppression are learned and manifested in all parts of our life - institutionally and in our day-to-day action. Given this reality it is important to consider the following:
- Are you letting marginalised voices be heard enough? - Is the group as a whole neglecting marginalised voices and opinions?
- Is the group dominated by structurally privileged people (middle-class, white, cis male, heterosexual)? -And how is this impacting on the discussion and the focus it is having? - Are people saying hurtful and/or discriminatory things?
Here are some resources that can guide you on how to best organise and facilitate!
https://www.seedsforchange.org.uk/shortfacilitation - Seeds for Change is a UK group that provides support with facilitation, consensus based decisions making, and mediation.
http://studenthandbook.ourproject.org/book/c1.html#holding-a-meeting - This is an extract on facilitating meetings from the Student Organisers Handbook.
http://studentstrike.net/2-building-the-movement/direct-democracy/index.html - For large-scale meetings the radical and democratic student union ASSE in Quebec has a wealth of knowledge on how to hold good ones and make them highly participatory!