As approved by the Assembly 10.09.11

  1. What is Claiming our Future? ‘Claiming our Future’ is a national,
    broad-based, nonparty-political, social movement which is working to bring about
    a radical transformation of Ireland into a society based on the values of equality,
    environmental sustainability, participation, accountability and solidarity. Claiming
    our Future has emerged as a response to the range of crises currently confronting
    Irish society. These include crises of the economy, of unemployment, of environmental
    sustainability, of international reputation and finally of deepening social inequalities.
    We believe that these crises result not just from poor policies but from a failure
    of the underlying model of economic and social development and the values thathave
    informed it. 

    Claiming our Future aims to:

    • Identify alternative approaches to achieve economic and social development
    • Build popular support for these alternatives and the values that underpin them
    • Build a movement which demonstrates this support
    • Undertake actions which further this programme

    Claiming our Future comprises individuals and organisations from a wide range of
    sectors including: environmental, community , equality, social justice, enterprise,
    trade union and those concerned with culture and global justice. It aims to identify
    and build upon the values held in common by these individuals and organisations
    from all sectors of civic society. The crosssectoral composition of Claiming our
    Future is reflected in its values, governance and activities.

    Claiming Our Future’s first National Event in October 2010, brought together over
    1,000 people for a full day of detailed discussion, during this event participants
    identified 6 core values and 6 core themes which will drive and shape our activity.

    The values (equality, environmental sustainability, participation, accountability
    and solidarity) will inform action on each of the themes.

    The 6 themes are:

    • A sustainable economy which serves society
    • Reduced income inequality
    • Change in the way we govern ourselves
    • Decent and sustainable jobs
    • Radical reform of the banking system
    • Reform of our public services
  2. What has Claiming our Future done so far?Claiming our Future has undertaken a number of actions to date. These fall into
    six linked forms of activity: National Events; On-line deliberations; Targeted campaigns;
    Local activities, Movement building and Establishing a voice for alternatives. 

    1. National Events: Claiming our Future has organised two major national events:
      • The first National Event took place in October 2010 in the RDS Dublin and brought together over 1,000 people from a wide range of backgrounds for a day of in depth discussion on the state of Irish society and the priorities which should inform
        Claiming our Future itself. This event established the 6 core values and 6 core
        themes set out above.
      • The second National Event took place in Galway in May 2011 and focused on steps to reduce income inequality. This event brought together over 300 people and established a range of campaign proposals to broaden awareness of this issue and bring about greater income equality.

      These Events are cross sectoral and feature an innovative form of small-table deliberation
      and consensus forming, which reflects the core value of participation embedded in
      the way Claiming our Future works.

    2. On-line Deliberations: In the run-up to the National Events, Claiming our Future organised structured on-line fora to initiate discussion, learning and
      the formulation of proposals to be decided upon at the Events.
    3. Targeted Campaigns: Claiming our Future engaged in two specific targeted campaigns
      • Opposition to the cut in the minimum wage. Reflecting the core concern of ‘income
        inequality’, at the end of 2010 Claiming our Future’ campaigned against the proposal
        from the then Government to cut the national minimum wage. The campaign involved
        both a web-based petition and street protests. The campaign resulted in a new special
        purpose alliance on the issue: The Low Wage Coalition
      • Women’s representation in politics. Reflecting the core concerns
        of equality and political reform, during the 2011 election, Claiming our Future
        organised an e-mail lobby of General Election candidates supporting withdrawal of
        public funds to political parties which do not nominate sufficient female electoral
        candidates. The campaign contributed to a commitment in the Programme for Government
        to implement this proposal.
    4. Local activities: Claiming our Future has established local co-ordinating groups in a number of counties/areas. These local groups have a high level of autonomy framed within our values, core themes and strategy. Actions taken by local organisations have included: raising questions in the 2010 Donegal By-election; public discussions on the economic crisis, preparatory meetings for the National Events.
    5. Movement Building: Claiming our Future engaged in a range of activities
      to draw together different elements of civil society to work together and share
      resources towards common goals. We have communicated about Claiming our Future through the media used by these different sectors, we have organized briefing events for
      leaders within the different sectors and we have mobilized contributions of funds
      and personel from the different sectors. 

      We have built a contact list of over 6,000 drawn from these sectors and beyond.

    6. Established a voice for alternatives: Claiming our Future has contributed
      to public debates on a range of issues through producing documents and fact-sheets,
      establishing a web-site, Twitter presence and Facebook page, publishing articles,
      providing speakers for events and by putting forward spokespersons to broadcast
  3. What does Claiming our Future plan to do? Claiming our Future is in the process of building a broad-based social movement capable of delivering the radical transformation we seek.Programme from Summer 2011 to End
    of 2012

    National Events: We will hold three more National Events:

    • ‘Economy for Society’ a look at the alternative models of economic development’
      to be held in Cork in the Autumn.
    • ‘Changing the Way we Govern ourselves’ to be held in Dublin in early 2012.

    On-line Deliberations:

    • We will hold on-line deliberations in the run up to each of the National Events
    • We will use our web-site to promote debate on the other Claiming our Future themes and relevant topical issues

    Targeted Campaigns:

    • Initiate actions on income equality arising from the Galway event
    • Develop a targeted campaign in the build up and response to the 2012 Budget.
    • Initiate actions on foot of national events on an economy for society and on changing the way we govern ourselves.
    • Translate our themes and values and the action points arising from our National
      Events into a single short document which sets out the key ideas which we believe
      should guide the national response to the current crisis
    • Seek support and endorsement for this document from key organisations and the public

    Local activities:

    • We will support the development and operation of local groups in every county
    • Local groups will be encouraged and supported to
      • Prepare a short activity plan
      • Engage in any by-election to promote our values and themes
      • hold ‘hustings’ during the Presidential election to promote our values and themes
      • hold an ‘annual review’ meeting with elected TDs in Spring 2012

    Movement Building:

    • Deepen our relationship with Cultural, Global Justice and Youth organisations, including inviting a representative of each sector to participate in our ‘Quarterly Expanded
      Coordinating meetings’.
    • Develop a series of initiatives to deepen the engagement of organisations from the different sectors of civil society in Claiming our Future and to support their commitment
      to cross sectoral cooperation.
    • Distribute a monthly email newsletter to all engaged with the movement
    • Develop effective systems of support and communication between national and local level structures and activities.
    • Established a voice for alternatives
    • Develop and upgrade our web-site and social media presence in order to :
      • Become a promoter of other progressive activities
      • Become a core resource for all concerned with debates on alternative approaches to the crisis
      • Support an engagement in targeted campaigns.
      • Build the movement.
      • Develop our media work (including a media strategy and agreement on Claiming our Future spokespersons)
  4. How will decisions be made in the initiative? There will be five elements to the Governance structure of Claiming our Future
    • Local Groups: The aim of local groups is to mobilise people and to organise events and actions which advance the aims of Claiming our Future in a practical way which is relevant to local realities and priorities. They will develop their own work programmes and plan their own activities working within the values and themes of
      COF and within the priorities of this strategy. There will be an ongoing interaction
      between the coordinating committee and the local groups to share information and
      to ensure the pursuit of shared priorities. The local groups will inform the co-ordinating committee of their plans for the purposes of overall coordination.
    • Thematic groups: The aim of these groups is to develop thinking and action on the given theme. They will be open to all who subscribe to our values and who are committed to progressing debate and action on the theme. the Co-ordinating Committee may initiate Thematic groups either as a result of National Events or by its own decision… Thematic Groups will strive to have a balanced membership which reflects the cross-sectoral nature of Claiming our Future. Thematic groups have been established on “Political Reform”; “Income Inequality”, and “Models of Development.” For reasons of resources, priority and the nature of the themes, it is not proposed to proactively seek the formation of further thematic groups in the coming 12 months.
    • Co-ordinating Committee: The aim of the Co-ordinating Committee is to (i) co-ordinate the activities of the other elements (ii) to undertake other cross-cutting projects (ii) raise resources and make decisions on the deployment of resources (iv) provide overall leadership (v) ensure implementation of the strategy document. The Co-ordinating Committee will comprise a balanced group of individuals reflecting the local groups, thematic concerns and work programme of Claiming our Future. Each member will be actively involved in one of the activities of Claiming our Future. At least one person from each Thematic Group shall be a member of the Co-ordinating Committee. A regular audit will be undertaken to ensure that each of the perspectives and sectors which Claiming our Future aims to bring together and each of the parts of the governance structure (i.e. local groups, thematic groups and advisory group) is actively represented. Pro-active recruitment to the Committee will seek to address any gaps and ensure gender balance.
    • Extended Co-ordinating Committee:The aim of the Extended Co-ordinating Committee is to provide a periodic opportunity for reflection on our work and to provide a specific point of interaction with the sectoral organisations which are part of the movement. These meeting will take place every three months, where the ordinary membership of the Co-ordinating Committee will be augmented by representatives from the key organisations and formal sectors which are engaged with Claiming our Future (currently ICTU, SJI, TASC, CP, IFL, Environment [name]). Sectoral organisations which have not yet engaged and which are identified as crucial to our development and share our values and objectives will be invited to join, as set out in the action plan.
    • Assembly: The aim of Assembly is to provide a space for those engaged in the work of the movement to reflect on the previous periods work and help shape the actions and priorities of the upcoming period. Assemblies will take place at least every 12 months. Anyone who has a track record of active involvement in at least one Claiming our Future activity during the previous 6 months will be entitled to attend.
    • Chair: The selection and function of the Chair of the coordinating/extended coordinating committee of Claiming our Future will be in keeping with the values of the organisation. The Chair will be selected by the extended Co-ordinating Committee at the first meeting of each calendar year. The term of office of the Chair will be one year, with no individual serving more than three consecutive terms (starting from the adoption of this Strategy). The chair is expected to convene the meetings of and to drive the work of the coordinating committee.
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