Utah People's Party

…proclain liberty through out all the land….(Leviticus 25:10)

Meetings

This page explains how People’s Party meetings differ from the meetings conventional political parties hold and why the differences help the People’s Party to nominate consistently candidates who stand for the right better than do the candidates of conventional parties.

People’s Party members reserve to themselves more influence and authority over their party than the members of a conventional party reserve to themselves. In a conventional party, the leaders can take the party in a direct the members oppose, but in the People’s Party, the leaders cannot take the party in a direction the members oppose. People’s Party members realize that to keep their control, they must take part in the party’s decision making on an ongoing basis.When party members debate and vote on proposals, they must do so in an environment that does not allow any elite person or group to get what they want by cheating or manipulation. Rather, party members must make the Party’s key decisions and party leaders responsible to make proposals must exert their influence over party members by honest and open persuasion.

One reason why the leaders of conventional parties might be tempted to try cheating or manipulation is that their party rules do not provide any opportunity for any party leader to engage in open and honest persuasion. For example, officially, the candidate selection process they use is waiting for candidates to enter races on their own initiative, then expecting party leaders to stay neutral while the candidates compete for the support of the party’s delegates. If a well know and well funded candidate were hiding a criminal background and party leaders knew that, officially the leaders would be out of bounds to recommend that the delegates chose another candidate. The People’s Party does not have this problem of only having leaders who are duty bound to stay neutral. If the situation described above arose in the People’s Party, the party members would expect the Candidate Nominating Committee to recommend a better option than the well funded and famous candidate with much to hid.

And they did not walk any more after the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses; but they did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God, continuing in fasting and prayer, and in meeting together oft both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord. (4 Nephi 1:12)

In the People’s Party, member meetings are not just about voting or even about debate and voting. Meetings are also about hearing the word of the Lord and about feeling the spirit of the Lord. Our meetings are educational and inspirational. To bring the Spirit, we pray at our meetings. We also sing hymns. Before the party members speak or vote on any business we ask our Heavenly Father to help us make the right decisions.

And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith. And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.(Moroni 6: 4-5)

These things Moroni tells us about the church that existed among the Nephites are applicable to the modern People’s Party as well. We keep records of our party members and nourish them with the word of God. Party members work to keep each other in the right way. We remind each other to pray and to rely on the merits of Christ. We have educational and inspirational content at our meetings because party members live in a society where wrong ideas and distracting perspectives reach them every day. Party members aspire to learn, believe and act consistently on ideas that please the Lord better than many of the ideas taught on TV shows and other media. Reaching our goal requires frequent meetings with others who share this aspiration. We have educational and inspirational content at our meetings because party members make decisions at our meetings and we want those decisions to please the Lord. Our decisions are most pleasing to the lord when we make them with an eye single to His glory. Once the party members present at a meeting are in a proper frame of mind and feel the Spirit, they are ready to make decisions.

The power of the assembly

Except as the rules of a society [organization] may provide otherwise, its assembly (that is, the members attending one of its regular or properly called meetings) has full and sole power to act for the entire organization and does so by majority vote. (Roberts p549)

At least for some years after we get our ballot line, meetings of party members, not meetings of delegates or meetings of any executive committee or executive board will make decisions. The assembly [of the party members] decides the will of the party.

Generally, a board has more authority than a committee. A committee considers a matter and then reports its recommendations to the assembly. Typically, the assembly makes a final decision for the organization. In contrast, a board considers a matter and then makes a final decision for the organization that elected it. An “executive committee” is an exception to this generality. “Executive committee” and “executive board” are both labels for a group of leaders who have authority to make some final decisions and direct the organization on a range of business and are not limited to only a particular aspect of the organization’s affairs. An executive board is the only kind of board mentioned on this Website. Because we want to have the party members make our final decisions as explained on the Members Page, we will avoid having any executive board or executive committee if possible and if such a board exists, we will keep its authority as small as possible.

Executive Board

Except in the simplest and smallest local societies, or those holding very frequent regular meetings, it is generally found advisable to provide in the bylaws for a board to be empowered to act for the society when necessary between its regular meetings, and in some cases to have complete control over certain phases of the society’s business. Such a board is usually known as the executive board….(Roberts p464-465)

Roberts advises us that a society (organization) usually needs an executive board unless it

•    is a small, simple, local society or
•    holds very frequent regular meetings (of its general membership).

Because we do not wish to stay small and local, to avoid the need for an executive board, we will hold frequent meetings of our general membership.

The amount of regular power delegated to an executive board under the bylaws varies considerably from one organization to another. If the society as a whole meets less often than within quarterly time intervals (p88), or if its main purpose is other than to transact business, the entire administrative authority of the society is best left to the board between the society’s meetings. Usually in organizations meeting monthly or oftener, and some times in those meeting quarterly, the board is not given so much power, since the society can attend to much of its business at its regular meetings….(Roberts, p ?)

Even if the party members decide that they should delegate some power to an executive board so that they do not have to attend in person to all aspects of the Party’s business, having meetings of the society’s general membership at least once every quarter will make it possible to minimize the power delegated to the board and therefore minimize the potential corrupting effects of that power and maximize the control that party members can keep. Leaving important business in the hands of the assembly of party members may be vital to keep party members coming to the meetings.

If formed at all, the Executive Board will be substantially smaller than the party to relieve most party members of the details they do not wish to handle themselves. On the other hand, to avoid concentrating power into a tiny elite club that might not even know what the party members want, the Board will be larger than a typical committee. At twelve or fewer people, a typical committee can include a range of opinions on the narrow range of subjects the committee is responsible for but the board will need to include a range of opinions on a lot of subjects since the board’s jurisdiction would extend to whatever matters the assembly of party members does not wish to handle itself. If we need an executive board at the state level, then we will elected that board by multiple plurality as we do the leadership committees. The Board will number fifty persons if possible and if not it will number at least more than twelve persons.

If a board exists, then the will of the board might conflict with the will of the assembly. When a clash of wills occurs between the assembly (the party members) and the elites (the board in this case) then our rules must make sure that the will of the assembly becomes the official action or decision of the party. On the Members Page we explain why.

Reporting Rule

…Any board can appoint committees to work under its supervision or according to its specific instructions. Such committees of the board always report to the board.(Roberts p468)

If a board exists, it will not have any power to appoint officers or committees that report to the assembly. Any officers or committees appointed by the board are creatures of the board and must therefore report to the board. Only if the assembly elects an officer or committee will that officer or committee report to the assembly. If a board exists, its members are persons of elite status in the society who can make at least some decisions for the society. Whenever there is a clash of wills between the party members and an elite person or group, we will not allow the elite to trick the party members by having any person the elite supervise speak as if he were on the side of the party members. For a committee to be appointed by and subject to an executive board but report to the assembly would create a dilemma for the committee members. Should they side with the board or with the assembly when the two conflict? This rule is important because it protects the assembly from any cheating or subtle manipulation that the board might attempt. One of the key problems with rare meetings is that they do not stick consistently to the Reporting Rule stated above.

Some important Committees other than leadership committees.

A leadership committee such as the Candidate Nominating Committee, develops proposals for the party members to consider. When a leadership committee offers a proposal, the committees discussed below should help the assembly deliberate on the proposal without allowing an elite few to herd the party members into anything those elites wish.

In state or national bodies where one session–usually called a convention– is held annually, biennially, or at less frequent intervals….(Roberts, bylaws chapter, Meetings article)

Thus we see that a society may call a meeting of it members a convention because such meetings occur only once a year or less. When meetings are that rare, an elite few necessarily have influence over the convention outcomes because that elite plans and prepares for the convention either in person or through its hand-picked minions.

The principal parliamentary functions most directly connected with the formal organization of a convention itself are performed by three committees, each of which has been appointed by the president or the board as prescribed in the bylaws. These three committees are: (1) the Credentials Committee, which prepares and certifies to the convention the list of officers, delegates, and alternates that it has registered after finding them entitled to accreditation; (2) the Committee on Standing Rules, which drafts rules of operating procedure specially required for the particular convention; and (3) the Program Committee, which works out a convention program combining a suitable order of business…with special features designed to promote and develop the association or society as a whole. (Roberts 588-589)

The quotation above mentions three committees essential to the organization of a convention.

•    Credentials
•    Rules
•    Program (or Agenda)

In most organizations whose members meet once a year or less, an elite few appoint the members of these committees. In addition to these committees, in most organizations. An elite normally appoints the vote counters. Each of these committees can potentially influence the outcomes of conventions as explained below.

Credentials Committee

When a person arrives at a party member meeting, a Credentials Committee judges whether the person is a party member and thus entitled to speak and vote at that meeting. The committee also judges whether the person is an honorary member and thus entitled to speak but not to vote at that meeting. The committee should give a person credentials if party records show he is a party member. The committee should not give a person credentials if party records do not show he is a party member.

If members of the credentials committee have more loyalty to an elite person or group than they have integrity, then they might give a favored person a credential to vote at a party member meeting who was not a party member. Thus having a credentials committee with excessive loyalty to any elite could result in persons voting who were not entitled to do so.

Before we resume discussing the Credentials Committee, let’s quickly review something explained in more detail on the Members Page. According to Roberts Rules, it is possible for persons to have elite status within a society without being members of the society.

In most societies it is usual to elect the officers from among the members; but … it is possible for an organization to choose its officers from outside its membership. In many legislative bodies the presiding officer is not a member of the body. (Roberts Rules, p 431)

Most organizations allow their presiding officer to break ties only if he is a member of the assembly.

If the presiding officer is a member of the assembly, he can vote as any other member when the vote is by ballot(see also p 400). In all other cases the presiding officer, if a member of the assembly, can (but is not obliged to) vote whenever his vote will affect the result….(Roberts, p 392-393)

Thus we see that an organization may not allow one of its officers to vote at meetings of the organization’s members. “If the officers are members of the assembly–as they usually are in ordinary societies….” (Roberts, p 21) This quote hints that the offices (in general, not just the presiding officer) of an organization may not be members of the organization. This hint appears in the same paragraph that states the minimum officers a deliberative assembly needs to conduct business.

So the question is, if officers or others with elite status are not members of the party and thus not entitled to vote at a party member meeting but they would like to vote anyway and they can appoint and supervise the credentials committee then how likely is it that the committee would stand firm and refuse to include such non-member elites in the list of people allowed to vote at a party member meeting? Or would those elites simply dismiss the committee members who rejected them and replace them with more cooperative people? We expect, as explained on our Members Page, that in the People’s Party, the persons most likely to have elite status but not party membership are government officials not party officers or members of leadership committees, but even so, if we need a credentials committee, we need a committee that can consistently reject the will of high status persons.
Program (Agenda) Committee

Most conventions must operate on a closely controlled schedule and transact a large amount of business quickly–often with rented facilities available only for a prearranged length of time …. Maximum effort toward a well-organized convention is therefore essential.

The work of organizing and preparing for a convention normally begins weeks or months in advance and involves many committees, under the general direction of the officers and the board of the association.(Roberts, p ?)

There often are many important decisions to make at a convention because such meetings occur only rarely and important decisions stack up until a convention finally arrives. Therefore, a convention often faces a traffic jam as many proposals vie for attention. If the members wish to debate a particular proposal more than the schedule allows then they must be rushed into a premature decision on that issue or another proposal scheduled for debate later in the convention must lose some of its planned debate time which means the members must be rushed into a premature decision on that later proposal. Because of the potential for a traffic jam of this kind. Real world conventions often are tightly controlled and members do not really have much opportunity to wonder far afield from what the elite in the organization planned. Scheduling less than enough time for debate of any given proposal gives the elite few the ability to push proposals through that the members would reject if the detractors had adequate time to explain their concerns and to block proposals that the members would approve if the supporters had adequate time to explain and justify their proposal before the final vote. That is the problem.

Here is the solution. In the People’s Party, there is a committee called Program committee but this is a different usage of the label, “Program Committee”. In the People’s Party, a “Program Committee” typically deals with educational and inspirational presentations at party member meetings not scheduling of debates and voting as explained on the members page. In the People’s Party, the meetings of the party members at the state level will be once each three months not once a year or less so there will not be a great traffic jam of business. A committee that schedules debates and votes will likely not be needed at all. If we do need a committee that schedules debates and voting, we may call it “Agenda Committee” because the title Program Committee is already being used otherwise. If needed, party members will elect the Agenda Committee so that no elite unduly influences committee members.
­­­­­­­­­­­­­­
Tellers Committee

Minimum officers. The minimum essential officers for the conduct of business in a deliberative assembly are a presiding officer, who conducts the meeting and sees that the rules are observed, and a secretary , or clerk…. (Roberts, p 21)

This passage shows what a “presiding officer” does as described in Roberts Rules of Order New Revised, 10th edition.

During meetings, whoever is presiding is said to be “in the chair” (whether standing or seated at the time), and he is also referred to as “the chair.” The phrase “the chair” thus applies both to the person presiding and to his station in the hall from which he presides.(Roberts, p 21)

This explains that the term “chair” can refer to the presiding officer. Now note the use of the term chair in the following quote.

Balloting Procedure. In balloting in a meeting where the voting is in the same room as the meeting, the chair appoints tellers to distribute, collect, and count the ballots, and to report the vote. (Roberts, p 400)

This quote shows that in most organizations that have persons specifically selected to count votes, an elite person chooses those vote counters. The People’s Party does not follow this custom because we do not place trust without reservation in those who hold high-ranking positions in the party. When the Party grows enough that we have need of anyone specifically chosen to count votes, then People’s Party members will choose those who count the votes of party members. To understand how important the role of counting votes is, we should all remember the following words attributed to the communist dictator, Joseph Stalin. “It does not matter who votes. It matters who counts the votes.”

When party members choose the members of any of the four committees

  • Credentials
  • Rules
  • Agenda
  • Tellers (vote counters)

that can potentially influence the outcomes of conventions in subtle ways, they pick them by multiple plurality so that the elites do not have any special influence over these committees. On the other hand, at least some of these committees will not be needed, for a long time, because party members meet frequently.

Recall Vote Rule

Obviously, a party decides what candidates to lend its ballot line to for the various federal, state and county offices. Our greatest disappointment with conventional parties is that when one of their candidates wins a public office and then governs contrary to the principles the party members believe, the conventional party still renominates him for another term, again and again. Conventional parties are essentially incumbent protection machines which is bad because it means that conventional parties prevent concerned citizens from holding government officials accountable for their conduct in public office rather than assisting the citizens in holding their representatives accountable. It is the duty of citizens to see to it that they are well represented. The wisest citizens will choose a party that helps rather than hinders them in the performance of this duty. One of the key design goals of the founders of the modern People’s Party was to build an organization that would help party members shove disappointing government officials off the party’s ballot line. The most important concrete step we have taken to accomplish this is the creation of the Candidate Nominating Committee. This Committee will help to replace a disappointing government official by gathering all the discontented party members to one challenger, thus giving that one challenger enough support that he, not the incumbent, wins the party’s ballot line. If the opposing party members still arrive at the meeting divided among two or more challengers, then they will find the following rule helpful.

When party members gather to decide on their nominees for public offices and an incumbent government official stands for reelection opposed by two or more challengers, the recall vote rule applies. If a recall vote applies to a race, the recall vote happens first in the consideration of candidates for that office. There is no debate, and no speech before the recall vote. If recall passes, that removes the incumbent from the field of candidates. On a majority vote, recall passes.

When an incumbent has disappointed his previous supporters, the process of selecting his replacement should begin with removing the incumbent himself from consideration. If the incumbent can contrive to divide opposing party members among two or more rival challengers, then the party should still replace that incumbent as its nominee. Removing him from the pool of potential nominees at the beginning of the process will allow the time of the nominating meeting to be spent on choosing the successor rather than on listening to a candidate (or to his supporters) who has already shown that he will disappoint. Past performance is a more reliable guide to future performance than anything a person may say.

If the party members like an incumbent’s performance, then it is unlikely that a majority of members would remove that incumbent from consideration for another term before turning their attention to the challengers.

We have explained above that a party member meeting educates and inspires party members and that a party member meeting makes decisions for the party. In addition, a party member meeting educates and inspires any interested person who is not yet a party member.

And behold, ye shall meet together oft; and ye shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together, but suffer them that they may come unto you and forbid them not; (3 Nephi 18: 22)

Voting at party member meetings is a privilege reserved exclusively to party members, but we encourage investigators to attend our meetings and participate in the work of the party as a standard part of the process of becoming a party member.

A person might be a journalist who is doing a story on the party or even hostile candidate’s  agent. In such cases, we remember the words of Nephi son of Lehi. “For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness.” (2 Nephi 26:23) We are not ashamed. We have nothing to hide. Our meetings are open to all, even those hostile to us provided that they merely observe. The privilege of participating in any way may be limited to those who have done something to earn that privilege.

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