IOPS was founded in the belief that serious organizational decisions must “await more members, more experience with chapters and program”, and a “methodology suited to self- management” that would be established by a founding convention. In the interim, the “Interim Consultative Committee” (ICC) would make, or guide, all decisions that, in their view, needed to be made in the interim phase . Subsequently, we, the membership, with the guidance of the ICC, quantified “more” to mean 3,500 members and 20 active chapters distributed among 5 nation states, and we gave ourselves one year to achieve these “preconditions” .
The deadline ends Thursday, June 12, 2014, and, although we have increased our membership, and have several active chapters, we have not yet achieved what we wanted to achieve before holding a founding convention, and are very unlikely to do so. This failure to meet our deadline must be acknowledged. It also raises the question that many of us have been discussing for quite some time: “What now?”
The possibility that we might face the situation we face today was discussed in late 2012, well before the preconditions had been determined. At that time, there seemed to be general agreement that, if we were unable to reach our goals within the set time-frame, we should “strategically reassess the future of IOPS[,] including the possibility that our conception is fundamentally flawed" , and “reevaluate the future of IOPS based on this experience." . We did not, and have not since, identified precisely the mechanism for that reevaluation process. We need to do that now. We understand that the ICC has the matter under consideration, and that we can expect to hear from them soon, when they have finished their deliberations. In the mean time, it might be helpful to ask ourselves a few questions. Here are some suggestions.
At least part of “our conception” back in those days was, of course, the assumption that IOPS would be launched following an international founding convention. Another was a desire that IOPS should be taken seriously. For that, we felt, we needed “credibility.”
“[F]or a left international organisation to have any credibility it must meet some basic criteria before launching. For example its founding membership needs to have some international representation as well as reflecting the constituents within its localities – in terms of class, race [sic], gender etc – at least to some extent. Six wealthy white guys from America / Europe can not launch a left international organisation and expect to be taken seriously. The same goes for sixty, six hundred, etc.” .
So, assuming we did not have “credibility” a year ago, one question we might ask ourselves at this point is, “Do we, despite not having met our goals within the set time-frame, still feel we lack ‘credibility’ at the international level?” What about our local or regional levels? What does “credibility” mean, in concrete terms, to us as members? How does “credibility” relate to organizational capacity, and where are we presently in terms of organizational capacity? What does “launching” mean to us as members? What does not “launching” mean?