UKtoStay in the EU is built around a series of empowering values. Structurally, it sits atop three pillars: a traditional unincorporated association, a hierarchical top-down framework and what we call ‘swarm work’ from our volunteers. These are all equally important, but fill completely different needs:
- Being an unincorporated association guarantees our legal foundation, allowing us to accept donations (donations page coming soon!), while also enabling our elected executive committee to uphold our constitutional aims and run our General Meetings.
- Our hierarchical framework allows us to distribute resources and associated mandates from the executive committee throughout our organisation, enabling quick decisions for effective opinion building and other operative work.
- Our swarm work is the essential (and often spontaneous) work done by our network of volunteers which forms the backbone of our campaign activism.
Our volunteers empower each other through the following values:
We make decisions. We aren’t afraid to try out new things, new ways to shape opinion and drive the public debate. We make decisions without asking anybody’s permission, and we stand for them. Sometimes, things go wrong. It’s always okay to make a mistake in UKtoStay, just so long as you are capable of learning from that mistake. If three UKtoStay volunteers are in agreement that some kind of activism is beneficial to the campaign, they have the authority to act in our name. They can even be reimbursed for expenses related to such activism, as long as it is reasonable and we have enough funds (wood sticks, glue, and paint are reasonable; computer equipment and jumbotrons are not).
We are courageous. If something goes horribly wrong, we deal with it then, and only then. We are never nervous in advance. Everything can go wrong, and everything can go right. We are allowed to do the wrong thing, because otherwise we could never do the right thing.
We advance one another. We depend on our cohesion. It is just as much an achievement to help other volunteers achieve their aims as it is to show solitary brilliance.
We trust one another. We know that each and every one of us wants the best for the UKtoStay in the EU campaign.
We take initiatives and respect those of others. The person who takes an initiative gets to run it most of the time. We avoid criticising the initiatives of others, as those who take initiatives do something for our campaign. If we think the initiative is pulling our campaign in the wrong direction, we compensate by taking an initiative of our own more in line with our own ideals. If we see something we dislike, we respond by making and spreading something we like, instead of pointing out what we dislike. We need diversity in our activism and we strive to achieve
We respect knowledge. Helping people get the facts on the UK’s relationship with the EU and its benefits goes to the heart of our campaign. In discussing a subject, any subject, hard measurable data is always preferable. Second preference goes to a person with experience in the subject. Knowing and having experience takes precedence before thinking and feeling, and hard data takes precedence before knowing.
We respect the time of others and the focus of our campaign. If we dislike some activity or some decision, we discuss, debate, disagree, and/or start an initiative of our own that we prefer. On the other hand, starting or supporting an emotional conflict with a negative focus harms our group as a whole and drains our overall focus, energy, and enthusiasm. We therefore respect the time and ideas of our co-activists, as well as the overall the focus of our campaign. We dampen potential internal conflicts by encouraging positive communication. When we see something we dislike, we produce and distribute something we do like. We work actively to spread love and respect, and to dampen aggression and distrust. We always communicate positively. If we dislike a decision we make our point about why we dislike it without provoking anyone, or, better yet, we explain why an alternative would be better. We campaign outward and cohesively, not inward and divisively.
We act with dignity. We always show respect in our shaping of public opinion: respect towards each other, towards newcomers, and towards our adversaries. We act with courtesy, calm, and factuality, both on and off the record. In particular, we’re never disrespectful against our co-activists (one of the few things leaders within the UKtoStay group have zero tolerance for).
We represent ourselves. We depend on a diversity of pro-EU voices to be successful. None of us speaks on UKtoStay in the EU’s behalf on our own blogs, on social media or in public: we’re a multitude of individuals who identify as activists who want the UK to stay in the EU. This diversity gives us a broad base to campaign from, and having multiple role models helps inspire and recruit new volunteers. Within our meetings we are also just ourselves, and never claim to speak for a larger group: if our ideas gain traction, that’s enough; if they don’t get traction, the number of people agreeing with those ideas is irrelevant.