North Carolina Chapter
Socialist Party, USA
Raleigh, NC, 2/12/00.
Members Present: Melvin Little, Vernon Kelley, Katherine Nicewander, Jennifer Lilley, Jason Prescott, Justin Greenberg, William "FaZe" Lipscomb, John Mahoul, JimmyHarkin, and Chris Johnson.
Jennifer Lilley volunteered to take notes for the later production of the minutes. The meeting began approximately 1:15 p.m.
Vernon Kelley relayed a message of support and good will from the National Secretary, Greg Pason.
State Chair, Melvin Little welcomed all members to the first SP North Carolina Chapter meeting and presented opening remarks.
Each member made a brief personal introduction to better familiarize the members with one another.
Report from SPUSA National Committee member Katherine Nicewander. Copies of the St. Louis National Committee meeting minutes were distributed. Comrade Nicewander, in briefly highlighting portions of the National Committee minutes, focused on international outreach efforts by members of the Socialist Party. Also noted was the Motion passed at National Committee meeting setting forth the Partyís position on the running of candidates for political office on tickets other than that of the Socialist Party, USA.
Various options for opening a non-profit bank account were discussed. Vernon Kelley, having gathered the initial information on various banks and their requirements, fees, etc., opened discussion regarding the available options. It was decided that more information needed to be gathered before selecting a final financial institution appropriate to the needs of the Party. Comrade Chris Johnson, later voted in as Secretary/Treasurer, is presently looking into institutions in the Raleigh area that would allow him easier access and therefore increase efficiency in handling SP financial matters. Comrade Little also reported that the SPNC had received a $25.00 donation from Comrade Earnest Morgan. Vernon Kelley, while noting that many banks required a minimum initial deposit of $100.00 to open an account, offered his donation of an additional $100.00 to put the SPNC inside banking requirements.
The necessity of a Post Office box was discussed. However, selection for the site of the PO Box was delayed until other decisions had been made with regard to election of officers, etc.
It was decided that a more professional web site was needed for SP North Carolina. In that regard, Comrade Prescott volunteered to work on improving the site, or simply creating another. Comrades Little, Johnson and Greenberg agreed to assist in his efforts.
In addition to the national dues, it was presented for vote, and passed unanimously, that a dues structure of a flat $5.00 per member would apply to annual membership in the North Carolina chapter of the SPUSA.
A number of fund-raising considerations were discussed, including the possible sale of t-shirts, bumper stickers, greeting cards, and other such promotional items. No definitive decisions were made. However, Comrades Greenberg, Prescott, Johnson, and Lipscomb agreed to work on developing slogans and/or finding quotes appropriate for such endeavors. It was also suggested that Comrade Nicewander sponsor a fundraising effort through the Ebay auction site, similar to the one recently embarked upon by the ACLU, by using a minimal amount of SPNC funds to invest in collectible items for resale and profit. Comrade Harkin offered his services in organizing a Raleigh fundraising event wherein his talents as a bagpipe player would be featured. This would not only assist in raising funds through donation, but would also facilitate the circulation of SP literature, as well as possible sales of promotional items as previously discussed. It was agreed upon that this event would be scheduled at a later date once the SPNC had opened finalized banking considerations.
Comrade Kelley reported on the McReynolds 2000 Campaign. Each member in attendance received flyers for distribution, copies of the write-in petition, and a McReynolds/Hollis campaign button. Comrade Kelley also explained the procedure required by the North Carolina State Board of Elections in the gathering of signatures. All members present agreed to help in the effort to gather the 500 signatures required to make McReynolds/Hollis eligible for write-in status. Comrade Kelley indicated that he would contact each of the members within a few weeks of the meeting to check on the status of the their signature gathering efforts.
Comrade Kelley initiated discussion regarding the possibility of bringing David McReynolds to North Carolina for speaking engagements in the late summer or early fall. Comrade John Marhoul expressed interest in these efforts as he has had previous experience in organizing similar political speaking engagements on college campuses in Texas. Specific action decisions were deferred until the next meeting so that more details could be gathered in the interim.
Also discussed was the necessity of drafting a Statement of Principals. The focus of discussion was whether to adopt either the National Partyís statement, Floridaís statement, or to draft one of our own. It was ultimately decided that we would begin drafting a new version, perhaps incorporating segments from both of the above-reference Statements of Principal. Comrade Chris Johnson volunteered to put together the initial draft proposal to be considered for the SPNCís Statement of Principals. This proposal is to be distributed via email and voted upon at a later date.
Although the drafting of a relatively brief platform for the SPNC was initially included in the agenda for the meeting, it was deferred until the next meeting due to time constraints.
The goal of producing a newsletter (The Tarheel Socialist) for the SPNC was discussed. However, Comrade Ken Meyer of Wilmington, who was initially approached about editing the proposed newsletter, was unable to attend the meeting. However, a number of members, including Jason Prescott, Justin Greenburg, Melvin Little, Chris Johnson, and Katherine Nicewander, volunteered to assist Comrade Meyer in this endeavor. Again, specific assignments and/or suspense dates have been deferred until a clearer picture of the SPNC goals with regard to a newsletter can be determined.
Several options for a SPNC symbol were considered. Upon being put to vote, it was unanimously decided that the SPNC symbol would be the "fist and rose."
Several considerations for outreach were discussed. While it was recognized that there are many issues of merit, it was decided that, in the initial stages of organization, more could be accomplished if the SPNC were to focus (at least at the outset) on only a few select areas for outreach efforts. In that regard, two primary outreach objectives were suggested. Based on previous activity and support already demonstrated by SPNC members with regard to death penalty opposition, this issue was chosen for outreach. Comrade Melvin Little agreed to prepare a letter of protest for submission to Governor Jim Hunt under SPNC letterhead. Comrade Chris Johnson suggested that the SPNC needed to improve our efforts at recruiting citizens of the working class and working poor. Specifically, Comrade Johnson stated that efforts toward recruitment of Spanish-speaking people were overdue. All members agreed with this assessment and Comrade Kelley was tasked to contact the National Office in search of literature printed in Spanish. Additionally, Comrades Johnson, Kelley and Lilley agreed to solicit new members through door-to-door efforts in neighborhoods of the working class/working poor.
The final action taken by the SPNC at the meeting was the election of officers. Melvin Little was elected as Chair, Jason Prescott as Vice-Chair, and Chris Johnson as Secretary/Treasurer.
The first SPNC meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m. and all members were apprised of an optional dinner gathering following the meeting.