1. Mission Statement
- The mission and purpose of the Coders For Labour community is to further the interests and values of the Labour Party and to help lead the Labour party to victory and beyond.
2. Guiding Principals
The following principles should guide the work done within this community:
- Grassroots action - One of the many strengths of the Labour Party is the large grassroots movement it has inspired. This community should focus on creating projects that promote grassroots political action.
Accessibility - The work created in this community should be as inclusive as the Labour Party itself. In line with this best practices for accessible software should be followed.
- Positivity - the advocation of positivity within the community throughout all work achieved
- Acknowledgement - when any member of the community has contributed in any way, we aim to credit that member appropriately.
- Open Source - all applications created and supported by Coders for Labour will be Open Source and governed by the MIT license.
- Membership in the Coders For Labour community is open to all who are interested in supporting the Labour Party through the use of technology within the bounds of our code of conduct. All members must be Labour Party members or supporters, or be eligible to become members of the Party.
4. Our values
As progressive Labour supporters we believe in the need to fight for:
- Opposition to austerity and privatisation
- The promotion of equality and meaningful participatory democracy
- Strong collective bargaining and trade unionism
- More social housing and more affordable homes for those who want to purchase
- Drastic and immediate action on climate change
- No more illegal wars
- Public ownership of the industries that have been built by the taxes of the public
- An end to scapegoating of the most vulnerable in society
- Research-based policy-making
- An end to consequentialist politics, taking responsibility for our actions and behaving with principle and ethics acknowledging that the way that we create the world is as important as the end product.
- Transparency of government and political organisations.
- Ethical procurement and an end to exploitation of workers.
- Coders for Labour is committed to supporting the Labour Party winning elections and entering government in 2020, and seeks positive and productive engagement with Constituency Labour Parties and trade unions.
- All members are encouraged to join a trade union as well as to become full members of the Labour Party.
5. Our identity
- Coders for Labour (previously Coders for Corbyn) was established on August 15th, 2016 to support Jeremy Corbyn in his bid to remain leader of the Labour Party. During the leadership campaign we will maintain an informal close relationship, but remain independent and autonomous and our output should be treated as such. The campaign however is keen to work with us and we have already collaborated on a number of projects.
- We are also working individuals from the Progressive Coders Network - and members of Coders for Labour are encouraged to also join this organisation.
- Following the leadership election, and regardless of the result that is announced on the 24th September ‘Coders for Corbyn’ became ‘Coders for Labour’. Many of the projects that are already being discussed and worked on are intended to be run long term and will continue following the leadership election. No changes will be made to our values other than the required changes in the text following the name change.
6. Our Structure
- Hierarchy is great for maintaining predictability and repeatability. It simplifies planning and makes it easier to control a large group of people from the top down.
- As an organisation made up of some of the most intelligent, creative, innovative and talented people within the Labour Party (who are volunteering their time) - creating unnecessary bureaucracy creates barriers that will only stifle our potential. We are innovators, and that means maintaining an environment where ideas can flourish.
- We operate within a flat management/reporting structure. Opportunities are yours to create, reach out to the network, form working groups via Slack and collaborate. The flat structure removes any organisational barrier between us developing projects and getting them to activists to use. There is no red tape, no approval process. Any member has the power to greenlight a project.
- How do we decide what is a good idea to work on?
- The same way we make all decisions - by waiting for someone to decide that it’s the right thing to do, and then if necessary, letting them find the help they need to complete the project. We believe in each other to make these decisions.
- We actively encourage people to work together and share the workload on projects - but members are welcome to work solo if they prefer. It’s often useful to have someone to test ideas and solve the inevitable problems that will emerge. We aim not to make assumptions on how members, party members, or the wider public will interact with our creations - where possibly adopt an evidence based approach to work, or at the very least consult other members of C4L especially when moving into unknown territory.
- How do I find out what projects are currently underway?
- The best way is to ask. Speak to people in the group on Facebook or on Slack and find out what people are working on. There is often a backlog of ideas of projects on Trello that require someone to pick up or require some assistance in getting it off the ground. Message the person who has initiated the project and see how you can help.
- People are also welcome to send out requests for help on Facebook or Slack - so if you see a request for some skills, get in touch with the poster and see how you can help. Even if it is only providing one-hour of your time - it’s always greatly appreciated.
- Lots of people within C4L want and need to know what you care about, what you’re good at, what you’re worried about, what you’ve got experience with - the way to get the word out is to start telling people all of those things.
- What is the process for creating a project?
- An absence of a central structure does not mean that structures within projects are not necessary. Both a planning structure and organisational structure is suggested, but if members involved in the project find it more appropriate to adopt an alternative structure they are able to modify as they see fit.
- Form a Cabal
- Cabals are multidisciplinary project teams. They could include coders, graphic designers, web designers, activists, etc. The Cabal could be just one person - or many. These groups form organically - if someone has an idea and others are interested they are encouraged to get in touch and collaborate.
- Spend time discussing both the wider topics like what you want the project to achieve, how it will do this; but also the details: Who will work on what aspect, what can each individual contribute, where are the gaps in expertise, etc. Often these early discussions may be just Facebook chats or could be Google documents that members work on collaboratively.
- Some members of the Cabal may contribute a lot, others may contribute less. All input is appreciated and considered useful. Every member of the Cabal however is someone who is responsible for carrying out the work that they are planning. These sessions need to be structured towards producing a tangible outcome and are not endless brainstorming discussions with members who have no interest in undertaking the work that they are suggesting.
- Team Lead
- In the first instance, the team lead(s) will be the project initiators. If the project initiator is not prepared to take on the project (and also depending on their involvement in Cabal) the Cabal is then required to allocate the role of Team Lead to one of their members.
- The Team Lead is not the manager of the project, but is rather tasked with the role of ensuring that work is delivered on time and to facilitate communication between members involved on the project and third parties when required.
- Structures will form within the project as it develops. People will ask for help and will take on temporary ‘jobs’ or ‘roles’ within the project. Temporary forms of hierarchies may develop as one member takes on the role of overseeing a larger section of work within a project and allocates duties to willing members. These forms of organisation are inevitable as we begin to work on bigger and more experimental projects. We are not averse to this, but problems show up when hierarchy or codified divisions of labor either haven’t been created by the group’s members or when those structures persist for long periods of time.
- We believe those structures inevitably begin to serve their own needs rather than those of the organisation and the political project that we are a part of, stifle creativity and put unneeded pressure on individuals who are volunteering their time.
7. So how do I become a member?
- We do not require people to pay a monthly fee, or provide any commitment to the group other than to agree to the terms within this document.
- In order to become a member you need to agree to the values and guiding principles of Coders for Labour and agree to abide by our terms by signing the form here.
- As we do not have elected roles within the organisation no member is able to speak on behalf of Coders for Labour other than those who have taken on that responsibility in managing the social media accounts.
- If individual members wish to make a comment (either in the media or on social media) about a project that they have worked on - they are required to do so in a personal capacity and not speak on behalf of the organisation.
- This manifesto (and the code of conduct) may be amended by a two thirds majority vote of the membership with a cutoff date of exactly one week after voting opens.
- Any member of the Coders For Labour community can propose amendments given that they have the backing of at least one other member.
- Any amendments must be in line with the values of the Labour Party.