Updated: Mar 3
802 Freedom Network
To provide a safe, secure and effective gathering place for Vermont patriots and free thinkers to find others of like mind and find/lend support, advocacy, and resources/information.
We believe that all people are created free and equal
We believe human beings possess unalienable rights
We operate under the authority of our individual higher power and the sovereignty of the individual, as one understands it
We believe in honesty and transparency
We believe in doing no harm
We believe in the right to self and community governance
We believe in positive energy and positive vibes
We believe in informed consent
We believe in supporting and advocating for our fellow person, should they be in need of it and with their express consent
We believe in respecting our fellow person’s right to choose how they live their respective lives
We believe in the importance of community
We believe in distributed power in this collective
We believe in strategic, direct nonviolence and self determination
We believe in welcoming and collaborating with anyone interested in and acting in accordance with the mission and principles of this network, while staying focused on such
802 Freedom Network
Assume best intentions – We are all working towards the same goals; as such, we work to welcome the variety of individual expressions and actions with curiosity and comradery.
Constructive feedback is welcome – We encourage consistent individual and group reflection, discussion, and feedback in a reciprocal fashion.
Wholeness – We bring our whole selves to this collective and respect the often emotional nature of social justice work and collective process. We agree to set aside our egos in order to respect and appreciate everyone for who they are and the unique things they bring to this collective.
Collective decision making – We value the importance of including everyone’s input to encourage expansive investment in the growth and effectiveness of this collective.
Teams – We welcome the freedom to work in small groups because they can provide accountability, enthusiasm, an assortment of ideas, and the opportunity to experiment with creative methods of organizing.
Visionary – We will not allow appeasements to distract our focus from the larger vision of a free and prosperous future.
Improvement – We regularly strive to train and educate ourselves to improve in this network and ourselves.
Structured for growth – We use flexible structures that plan for growth and create space for new people to engage quickly and easily.
Flexibility – We don’t use our guidelines, structure, or precedents to oppress people.
Fight Collective Inertia – We continually analyze this network, its processes, these principles, and creatively work to improve it
802 Freedom Network
For making decisions, we use both the advice and consensus systems. The advice system is used for most day to day decisions while consensus is used for bigger decisions. Typically, verbal and written proposals are used for both systems. Written proposals are encouraged and preferred for decisions related directly to this collective.
Any person can make any personal decision within or regarding this network after seeking advice from:
Anyone who will be meaningfully affected, and/or
People with expertise in the matter
Advice received must be taken into consideration. With the advice and perspectives the decision maker receives, they choose what they believe to be the best course of action. The goal is to access collective input in pursuit of a sound decision, rather than create a compromise that accommodates the wishes of all.
The Consensus System is a cooperative process in which network members develop and agree to support a decision in the best interest of the whole, when said decision relates to the network. A decision may not be everyone’s personal preference, but is something that all can agree is worth trying. The input of the network is utilized through active listening, shared purpose, preparation, deliberation, and a focus on issues and solutions.
Consensus proposals are typically sent out twice before the final decision is reached. This is so the proposals are clear and that everyone is informed and has a chance to participate in the decision.
Proposals for advice and consensus are often sent out at least twice before the final decision is reached. This is so the proposals are clear and that everyone is informed and has a chance to participate in the decision.
Questions, concerns, and disagreements can be discussed in more detail at designated meetings.
The proposal is amended to reflect the advice received and then is usually sent out again. Notes about in-person discussion can be included for context.
If someone later disagrees with a decision (whether they participated in the decision or not) they can submit a new proposal to make a new decision.
If an urgent decision is needed on a faster timeline than usual, reasonable adjustments to the process can be made for a faster decision (such as seeking advice only digitally), but never to purposefully exclude people.
If sensitive information is involved then it can be omitted from the proposal process and/or just the Coordination Team can be consulted.
802 Freedom Network
Teams are empowered to make decisions with advice they gather from the other teams, individuals, and the general collective. Some decisions may be complex enough that a team chooses to seek advice and/or consensus from the Coordination Team or whole collective.
Each team has conveners who are responsible for scheduling the meetings, inviting people to attend, starting an agenda, and generally just making sure the team meets and does things. The convener roles can rotate as the team sees fit.
802 Freedom Coordination Team
The Coordination Team is the main place for in depth discussion of internal matters and ensures the overall healthy functioning of the collective. It is responsible for:
Facilitation – Making all 802 Freedom discussions easy and constructive (Organizing gatherings, maintaining website, managing email lists, supporting internal communication)
Nurturing – Supporting people in 802 Freedom to work together in a healthy way (Promoting healthy group dynamics, welcoming new people, fun internal events, conflict resolution)
Communications – Promoting 802 Freedom in the community (Maintaining website, social media, creating public materials, connecting 802 Freedom with the outside world)
Logistics – Ensuring 802 Freedom has the materials and resources it needs (Tracking money, fundraising, managing internal resources)
Recognizing 802 Freedom Projects – Inviting network groups to become official 802 Freedom Projects when it’s in line with mission/principles and the network is excited about it.
Editing the structure – Making edits to the mission, principles, security, and structure documents after getting advice from the full collective.
Group outreach – Reaching out to and connecting with other community organizations to collaborate on joint projects when appropriate.
Other things that aren’t covered by another team will be added to this list as they become clear.
Because of the nature of the Coordination Team, security is a concern, so it will not be open to the public or whole collective like the other teams and projects. Members of the Coordination Team will invite people in the network to join that are active, trustworthy, and connected with the community.
Why a coordination team?
As having a group like a coordination team could be potentially problematic, transparency and accountability will be prioritized. We believe the benefits outweigh the risks.
Here are some of the reasons why we think it will be helpful:
Gatherings are primarily a space to get plugged into the network and to cross-pollinate between the network teams, projects, and varied groups. Decision making happens outside the gatherings within the affected groups/teams, and so the Coordination Team functions as the space where full group decisions can be made.
It’s important that decisions about public projects and structural changes be made by people who are active in the network with a stake in its healthy functioning.
It’s helpful to have a group responsible for responding and adapting to complex situations and to ensure the overall healthy functioning of the network.
To be able to discuss potentially sensitive topics with a smaller group of trusted, vetted individuals.
Good security culture means that only those who need to know should be involved in the conversation, not everyone needs to know everything. This is the culture in practice.
Leadership and potential power imbalances exist in all groups, even “leaderless groups”. By claiming “leaderlessness”, there is no structural accountability of the decision/policy makers to the full collective. By recognizing and acknowledging the need for a coordinating body, we can take steps to be transparent, accountable, reduce the power imbalances, and provide a clear path into the team for those interested in sharing in the work.
Coordination team transparency and accountability
Before making any major decision, the coordination team will look to see if there is any other group that could make it so it does as little as possible.
Major decisions regarding the whole network are made by consensus after seeking advice from the internal gatherings, the full network, teams, and/or affected individuals so as many people are involved as is reasonable.
The coordination team will publish meeting notes and newsletters to the full network so everyone knows what is happening.
The size of the team is not limited. Active people connected to the community will continually and intentionally be invited to ensure broad participation and diversity of perspectives.
802 Freedom Network Teams
Network Teams will function like the Coordination Team, but on a smaller scale and regarding whatever projects/events/missions that they decide on as the need arises. Any 802 Freedom Network member can start a team and carry out the actions as they see fit.
Network Teams work in collaboration with individuals not in 802 Freedom and community groups as they see fit
802 Freedom Network
Together, we work creatively to facilitate positive change in the community.
We prioritize projects/events/missions that:
1) Serve and educate the community
2) Give people a sense of their own power; and,
3) Shift power from government and corporations to people and communities.
802 Freedom Projects/Events/Missions – Projects that are publicly associated with 802 Freedom. They will often arise naturally from collective group projects that align with the mission and principles and already have a lot of passion and energy from those in the network or Coordination Team. The Coordination Team will propose official 802 Freedom projects after seeking advice from the internal gathering. Ideally, new projects will have at least two people excited to convene it.
Network Team Projects/Events/Missions – A network team is a small group who works together autonomously on direct action or other projects. Network teams challenge top-down decision-making and organizing, and empower those involved to take creative direct action. Network team projects that align with the 802 Freedom mission and principles could be invited to become a public 802 Freedom project by the Coordination Team..
Money and Expenses
We are clear and transparent about how money donated to 802 Freedom is used so we can ensure that it is used well. We allocate funds and make decisions about money based on trust and the advice process. More detailed information about money decisions and a record of all expenses are published internally.
802 Freedom Network
The safety and security of this network is of utmost importance, and includes but is not limited to physical, social, psychological, mental, emotional, bodily and spiritual wellbeing of its members.
Information shared among the Coordination Team is not to be shared without explicit consent, preferably in writing. This includes but is not limited to events, event locations, member personal information, general private information and all information shared with the expectation of privacy. This also includes information shared inside of the Coordination Team/Internal gatherings and Admin/Moderator chats. Network Teams decide amongst themselves how/where information is shared or not shared.
Members should conduct themselves in a way that is harmonious with healthy and productive interaction and action.
Network Members should not harass, bully or stalk Coordination Team Members. Likewise, Coordination Team Members should not harass, bully or stalk Network Members.
Unless otherwise indicated, members act on their own behalf or on behalf of their respective groups or teams, where indicated. Not all actions and items under the 802 Freedom Network are official 802 Freedom actions and items
802 Freedom Coordination Team is not responsible for the actions of individuals in the network. However, individuals in the Coordination Team and Network must conduct themselves in accordance with the 802 Freedom codes of conduct and guiding principles and general human morality to remain in good standing and involved in the network.
We strive to work in accordance with our mission statement and guiding principles, however, it must be stated that:
We encourage nonviolent, lawful participation in community growth, safety and prosperity. 802 Freedom Coordination Team and network absolutely do NOT endorse harmful, toxic, illegal or criminal activity or behavior. Violations of our guiding principles, any threats or behavior otherwise unbecoming or unlawful against 802 Freedom Network members, the 802 Freedom Coordination Team, against the public or public officials may result in removal of the offending party from the network without notice or warning.
802 Freedom Network
We want to manage conflict well, for tensions between members to be healthy and contribute to personal and network growth. We build a culture of robust debate, honesty, and care.
Conflict Resolution Principles:
We engage to the best of our ability to resolve conflict, and seek help when needed.
Resolve conflicts as close as possible to the people involved. Begin with the people directly involved, and expand from there as needed.
We have mutual responsibility and care for each other.
We act in good faith and work to be constructive, empathetic, and honest.
We resolve conflicts with both our individual needs and the needs of the collective in mind.
We view each other through this lens:
This person is a hero, whole and complete
They have goals, dreams, and a desire to make a difference
They have their own answers
They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect
Disagreements can inspire discussion and learning. However, if a disagreement is blocking progress, is hurtful, or is harmful, then a resolution needs to be found.
Anyone affected by a conflict can move an issue to the next resolution step if it is not being resolved at the current level of engagement.
Resolution means the parties involved feel heard, the agreed outcome or change is clear, and normal decision-making and activity within the network is possible. If a conflict continues to negatively impact an individual or the team, it is not resolved.
Regular practices avoid conflict before it starts.
At meetings and gatherings, we may introduce our principles, communication systems, culture, and conflict resolution process.
Regular team process check-ins to reflect on our systems and raise any issues.
We continuously focus on smooth, effective, empathetic communication. We create a culture of giving direct constructive feedback, listening to one another, and asking for help when needed.
Conflict Resolution Steps
Generally, the process will start at step one and move from there as needed. However, someone could begin at a later step after seeking advice that it would be appropriate to the specific situation.
Ideally, the Conflict Resolution process is initiated with all conflict participants. But, if some parties are unwilling, the resolution process could be started with just one.
If you notice conflict between others that doesn’t seem to be on the path to resolution, empower yourself to draw their attention to it. If necessary, you can suggest they engage the Conflict Resolution Process.
Step 1 – Personal reflection & individual support – Think through what happened. If you feel confused, overwhelmed, or are experiencing strong emotions, take time and space to process and clarify your thinking. Talk to a trusted friend or comrade, to work through your own perspective and experience. Ask yourself what part you played in it, what you could have done differently, and what your needs are. If you feel you need to go beyond individual work to resolve the problem, move to the next step.
Step 2 – Direct communication – As long as you feel safe, and the power balance and tone is conducive to constructive discussion, approach the person in question and talk it out. Be mindful of picking a good time and place (privacy, lack of time pressure, mutually agreed location, etc). Harassment does not equal a healthy, productive approach. If you don’t feel like you can work it out one-on-one for any reason, move to the next step.
Step 3 – Supported communication – Bring in a mutually trusted third party to host a conversation with the people involved. If the third party feels insufficiently resourced (time, energy, or skill), or you’ve tried and it didn’t resolve the conflict, move to the next step. Mediation Guide.
Step 4 – Facilitation Team – If the previous steps have not resolved the conflict, reach out to the Facilitation Team. They will try to find a mutually agreeable next step, such as hosting a mediation themselves, or inviting an external mediator or other expert in.
Step 5 – Coordination Team – Conflicts should rarely reach this point, but if nothing else has resolved the conflict then it has escalated beyond an interpersonal level and is a concern for the whole collective. Irresolvable conflicts may lead to someone leaving/being removed from the organization or a systemic/structural change to the network.