Christian Council for Monetary Justice
MINUTES of the CCMJ AGM Preparatory Meeting
held on Wednesday 4th May 2016 from 4pm at Friends House Euston.
John Courtneidge (chair), Simon Mouatt, Janos Abel, Gian Andreone, Mary Fee (notes): we began with general introductions and statements of what people wanted to achieve at the meeting. Apologies: Peter Challen, who had sent in his Moderator’s Appraisal.
2. STATUS OF THE MEETING
The booking for CCMJ’s Annual Appraisal to be held at St John’s Church Waterloo on Saturday 14th May 2016 had been cancelled due to a poor response to Peter Challen’s invitation, the reason – which only later come to light – being that an individual had offered to under-write the cost, and donations from the few who had promised to attend were unlikely to cover the booking fee for the room. Those present had agreed to attend a meeting in preparation of a future AGM (which according to CCMJ’S constitution would normally held between September and November).
3.1. Earlier Papers: from http://www.ccmj.org – in particular, a list of topics at: http://ccmj.org/proposals.htm was noted – material that needs redefinition and renewal if the organisation is to continue – and it was agreed that a major archiving task, of CCMJ’s history, before and after Social Credit, needs doing. We hoped that Peter Challen will be willing to assist with this.
3.2. The 2013/14 two-day appraisal had called for re-organisation, but with a team working together: see • Invitation: https://ccmj.org.uk/wp/basic-ccmj/annual-appraisal-201314-march-8th9th-options • Preparatory Notes: https://ccmj.org.uk/wp/basic-ccmj/annual-appraisal-201314-preparatory-notes • Proposals: https://ccmj.org.uk/wp/basic-ccmj/annual-appraisal-201314-notes – but alas there are no actual minutes on record.
3.3. The 2014/215 – The Preparatory Notes place monetary reform in the wider context of systemic house-keeping: https://ccmj.org.uk/wp/basic-ccmj/annual-appraisal. The Presentation also moots the idea of a name-change for CCMJ: https://ccmj.org.uk/wp/basic-ccmj/annual-appraisal-201415-presentation. Peter’s Report mentions an “overlapping distinction between CCMJ, its Open Table, the specific action-oriented 2015Consitutionalists initiative and Critical Thinking”: https://ccmj.org.uk/wp/basic-ccmj/20145s-annual-appraisal-report. Minutes of this meeting, only circulated at the time to those present record robust discussions, calling for more active participation of members of CCMJ: https://ccmj.org.uk/wp/basic-ccmj/annual-appraisal-201415-report-mf
3.4. The 2015/16 Appraisal: It was noted that Peter Challen’s appraisal for the current meeting: https://ccmj.org.uk/wp/basic-ccmj/annual-appraisal-201516-from-the-moderator, illustrated that setting up a Constitutionalists Party (ICUK) had continued to dominate the agenda, and that matters relating to CCMJ have been neglected. At least one member who contributed to the 2015 appraisal, has specifically stated that he cannot be involved in CCMJ until it disengages from ICUK.
4. INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
4.1. Members noted the following response received on Tuesday May 3rd from Michael Sinclair:
|Dear Friends in the U.K.,
Greetings from Toronto. How I wish that Canada’s largest city was much closer to London, so that I could easily join you tomorrow as well as on 14 May (and on many other occasions past and future). I have followed your correspondence with interest. A few quick thoughts:
(1) Progress towards monetary justice is I think substantial in the U.K., compared to elsewhere, and CCMJ’s efforts over the years have contributed a lot. Your successes should be documented for posterity, including in influencing and “nudging” others; and the “lessons learned”. And how can they be adapted to remaining and ongoing work? (Perhaps a graduate student could be encouraged to do thesis-related research on this?)
(2) More specifically, two fairly recent monetary reform organisations in Britain – Positive Money, and The Finance Innovation Lab – have had notable success. And the New Economics Foundation (NEF) continues to do excellent work. What has been CCMJ`s contribution to same?
(3) The wealth of material in the weekly “Matters in the Air” emails — on which Peter has toiled mightily — should be preserved.
(4) You might consider reflecting on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300, as inspiration for future CCMJ activities, and their relationship to monetary justice – including perhaps what is lacking in the SDGs. (Just a thought.)
I hope the above might be helpful, though scarcely address your pressing organizational concerns as reflected in your draft agenda for the meeting tomorrow. Keep up the good work. There is no “equivalent to the CCMJ in Canada.
Very best wishes.
Michael (Michael Sinclair, Ph.D)
(a) Òngoing info on the COMER (Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform) lawsuit against the Bank of Canada can be found in the links here: http://comer.org/ .
(b) New monetary reform website by The Hon. Paul Hellyer (Peter met him in London a few years ago) – http://www.canadianbankreformers.ca/ – Also https://www.facebook.com/CanadianBankReformers/?notif_t=page_invite
4.2. Gian had acknowledged Michael’s email, and researching COMER’s website had also discovered this report on a UK cross-party debate on monetary matters from 18 months ago: Backbench Business: Money Creation and Society: Today’s House of Commons debates — Thursday 20th November 2014 – see http://comer.org/content/UK_MoneyCreation.htm – and video (two and a quarter hours): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBSlSUIT-KM
4.3. It was agreed that both Michael’s input, that of COMER, and the report of the above debate in the UK parliament, deserve thorough study to inform our discussion at the next meeting.
5. ORGANISATIONAL MODEL for CCMJ
It was noted from the moderator’s reports of the two most recent annual appraisals, that although no minutes of the decision were on record, CCMJ had evidently “placed its constitution on hold” and moved from the earlier model of a formal organisation, being an “unincorporated association”, to what Peter described in his most recent Moderator’s Report as a “mutual chaplaincy” model. It was felt that the way CCMJ had been working in practice was unsustainable, in that too much depended on one person’s efforts, currently without sufficient collective support. Simon suggested that, going forward, CCMJ could be interpreted as a co-chaplaincy of all those interested in monetary justice.
6. ROLE OF THE GLOBAL TABLE
All agreed on the vital importance of the work Peter Challen does in publishing Matters in the Air and hosting the London Open Global Table (LGOT), and we hope that he will long continue in this work. However we were concerned that the current version of the description CCMJ at the foot of the notes he had supplied, which appear on Matters in the Air, pre-empt the work that this group would be doing in appraising the role of different organisations who contribute to CCMJ as a council, and would wish to advise on how such wording would in future be phrased. In addition it was agreed that as a group we should contribute regular reports to be included in Matters in the Air, which would keep CCMJ and monetary justice on the agenda.
7. POSTS OF RESPONSIBILITY
7.1. Constitutional Roles: It was noted that the current constitution of CCMJ requires a “chairman, a vice chairman, a secretary and a treasurer. The officers will form the Executive of the Council and shall have the right to co-opt such persons as they deem necessary for the fulfilment of its work”. It was also noted that the current constitution states that the purpose of the AGM shall be: “to elect officers for the coming year, receive reports from retiring officers, and attend to any matters brought to the meeting for consideration. Financial accounts for the previous year shall be presented to the meeting, but shall be audited before being approved by the Council”. Those last serving in those positions had resigned prior to the 2013/14 appraisal, leaving one individual in post, who then evolved the idea of “chaplaincy” to describe his way of working.
7.2. Formation of this Group: All agreed in light of the above – and that putting the constitution on hold had not been a final decision, but could be reversed by a decision made at a future Annual Appraisal – that that we form ourselves into a collective to continue as a “CCMJ refreshment, review and archiving working group”. Much work would be needed on developing the website, which in addition to making it more accessible to members and associates would include archiving earlier documents – John suggested recording the “history of CCMJ – the first fifty years”, as well as sending out regular progress reports.
7.3. Roles of Group Members: It was recognised that detailed roles of members of this group would need to be defined to cover the necessary tasks, and it was agreed that Peter also be invited to define his job description as a member of the CCMJ collective who will carry out his vital outreach work as moderator of the Global Table. See draft roles added to the foot of these notes.
8. AIMS OF CCMJ
The need for CCMJ to continue as a faith witness in the field of monetary justice was affirmed, and it would be the main task of this group to reappraise and define our aims. As a foundational principle it was recognised by many that the transformation of capitalism is not the only issue that is needed to transform the planet, but that this organisation needs to focus on the issue of money, and develop ways of propagating its message more effectively. Gian asserted that CCMJ should transition with careful thought towards a learning organisation characterised by objectivity, empiricism, historical knowledge and non-partisanship.
9.1. Financial Report: It was noted from the Moderator’s Report that £78.41 was available in the current account of CCMJ, since the resignation of the Treasurer being managed by Peter Challen. The webmaster was encouraged to invoice for her expenses, and it was also agreed that a formal request should be made to Peter for the list of members and associates so that minutes of this meeting could be sent to them, with a request to renew subscriptions or donations.
9.2. Proposed Donation: Peter had mentioned in his Moderator’s Appraisal the possibility of an £250 donation if CCMJ remains an open, voluntary funded chaplaincy model. It would not be available for a formal organisation. It was unclear whether decisions made at this meeting would make CCMJ ineligible to receive these funds, and Simon offered to seek clarification on this.
10. FUTURE MEETINGS
10.1 – External Events that some of us would try to attend include: Monday 16th May 2016: Fixing Finance with Tony Greenham at The Great Room, The RSA, 8 John Adam St, London WC2N 6EZ, and also Saturday 21st May 2016: a Labour Party State of the Economy conference: organised by Momentum at Imperial College, London, SW7 2AZ, featuring Ha-Joon Chang, Richard Murphy, Anastasia Nesvetailova, Jonathon Portes, Adrienne Roberts, Anneliese Dodds MEP.
10.2 – CCMJ Meetings, John’s idea of several meetings a year in the House of Commons, focusing on the topics of Christian, Council, Monetary, Justice, as well as regional meetings were met with approval. However, we would need to prioritise work towards organising a formal AGM for CCMJ, which according to its constitution is normally held in the Autumn.
10.3 – CCMJ Core Group – It was also agreed that this group would meet on the first Wednesday of each month, at Friends House at 4pm, the next meeting being 1st June 2016. Given that it was unlikely that Peter would not be able to make a 4pm meeting on Wednesdays, it was also agreed that in preparation for the next meeting of this group, Simon would seek a meeting with Peter Challen at the Global Table on 18th May 2016 to go over the issues arising from this meeting.
JOB DESCRIPTIONS for COMMITTEE ROLES
Chairman: submitted by John
The role of a chair seems to be to facilitate the smooth, effective and efficient running of the organisation. This, for example, includes ensuring that meetings are properly called, that agenda items are requested, and that actions are followed through, reported, and reviewed. An important aspect of the role of chair is not only to liaise with active members of the organisation, but also to try and identify gaps, omissions and delays, whilst also being open to opportunities that arise. Overall, the chair’s role is to ensure that hierarchy, secrecy, and power inequalities do not grow, become embedded, or operate. Finally, such a facilitating chair needs to recognise that she or he has to be regularly replaced so that those embedded hierarchies are avoided.
Vice-Chairman: draft for Janos
To understudy as meeting chair if required. In addition, to focus on making knowledge available, both of publications past and present which are relevant to our task, arranging for books and papers to be reviewed and referenced, and making our own messages available to others in appropriate formats, in order to influence debate and propagation of good practice in all areas of monetary justice, including mitigation, the promotion of alternatives, as well as fundamental political reform.
Secretary: submitted by Simon
Taking minutes at meetings if required, and/or overseeing them before circulation to the committee. Setting of meeting agenda in consultation with the committee. Dealing with external communications, in transparency with others on the committee, including reports for publication on the Global Table’s “Matters in the Air” updates. In addition, advising on monetary and economic theory, and assisting with appropriate networking, especially amongst academia.
Treasurer: submitted by Gian
1. To ensure that the Council meets its financial obligations as Officers and complies with requirements of all applicable laws in managing its finances.
2. To maintain financial records and prepare monthly financial reports for the Officers. The reports must include any cash collected and spent during the period.
3. To prepare Annual Report and Accounts for audit in accordance with the requirements of all relevant laws or regulations.
4. To update records held at statutory agencies (e.g. Companies House), where applicable.
5. To prepare an annual budget forecast for submission to committee.
6. To advise the Membership Secretary of new members/membership renewals;
allocating membership numbers in case of new members.
7. To collect income and deposit at bank.
8. To maintain a petty cash fund.
9. To make all payments on behalf of the Council; either directly or by reimbursing an Officer who has made a payment .
10. To make gift aid claims and provide any information required by Inland Revenue; maintaining records necessary for this purpose
11. To maintain and update a schedule of assets
12. To purchase any necessary items authorised by the Officers.
13. To collect post from Post Box.
14. To ensure that appropriate arrangements are made for cover during any absence.
JOB DESCRIPTIONS for CO-OPTED POSTS
Moderator of London Open Global Table: drafted for Peter Challen
Representing CCMJ as host and chair of London Open Global Table, which offers open access at a venue in central London for all those who are concerned about monetary justice, as part of a wider agenda which includes political dialogue and earth jurisprudence. Referring particular correspondence relevant to CCMJ to the Secretary, for consideration by committee members, and onward dialogue and/or communication as appropriate. Receiving reports from the Secretary and publishing in Matters in the Air, both standing items on CCMJ and specific updates.
Webmaster: submitted by Mary
1. To set up and maintain relevant domain names and web-hosting in working order
2. To advise on, set up and maintain email and mailing lists etc, as required for agreed purposes
3. To diagnose requirements, propose (with costings), and set up development of these facilities
4. To obtain technical advice and/or support where required to maintain and develop the above
5. To create pages, or upload papers, as appropriate, to host documents submitted by members
6. To provide advice and training to officers and members to enable them to engage
7. To draft initial notes of meetings if required, for approval and circulation by the Secretary
8. To report on and claim expenses, on an annual basis, to cover necessary costs for the above
9. To maintain in safe-keeping succession information on the above to cover disability or demise
Gian Andreone has proposed the following headings to assist us in our task (review for next time):
i. Why should the CCMJ exist? History / Present / Future /& Christianity
ii. Structure • Internal (see constitution) • Relationship to existing activities e.g. LGOT.
v. Learning: Objectivity, empiricism and history? Non-partisan?
vi. A written strategy: A mission statement, goals and objectives?
viii. Under-represented demographics – e.g. women, younger generation and minorities
x. Anything else?