The AF is a membership organisation. To become a member you must have read, agree with, and abide by the constitutional documents of the AF; have your request for membership sponsored by a Group or Regional Secretary; and begin paying a subscription fee at the following rates:
BAND 5: Earn more than £2000 per month take home – pay at least 2.5%
BAND 4: Earn £1000-£2000 per month take home – pay between 1.5% and 2.5%
BAND 3: Earn less than £1000 per month take home – pay between 0.75% and 1.5%
BAND 2: Unwaged/students – pay between £1 and £5 a month
BAND 1: Under 19 year old with no income or benefits: nominal annual sub of £1
In addition levy for IFA membership of +£0.00-0.50 for Band 1 & 2, and +£1 for BAND 3 and above is required.
Members agree to participate in the internal democracy of the federation though the Internal Bulletin, a quarterly update containing reports from groups & officers, proposals for activity, articles for discussion, and other announcements. Members will endeavour to attend each FDM and Summer Camp, or if unable to attend will mandate an appropriate delegate to carry their views to these meetings. Our members are also members of the IFA and agree participate in its democratic structures and undertakings as required. A lack of communication from a member for an extended period will be the basis for removal from internal communications lists (such as mailing lists and message boards).
The following groups of people may not become members:
- Police and prison officers
- Those who have the power to restrain or imprison in detention centres of all varieties
- Full-time trade union officials
- Members of political parties
- Those who have ultimate power to hire and fire or those whose primary role in the workplace is to hire and fire
- Those who have the ultimate power to remove benefits
Any member joining one of the above groups, in doing so, has resigned from the AF.
While the AF is a membership organisation, we recognise that the main activities our members will be involved in will focus on their immediate home area, forming into groups so as to work on locally decided collective goals and implement decisions made as part of the federation.
A group can be formed by three or more members living within a defined geographical area with the purpose of coordinating activities and resources together. Formation of a group must be proposed in the IB and approved by an FDM. While groups maintain their own autonomy and are responsible for their own affairs they agree to organise in a directly democratic fashion with rotation and recall of specific duties, provide a report of group activities to each IB, send a delegate to each FDM, and mandate the following posts to two of their members at any given time:
Group Secretary: Responsible for receiving mail and answering enquires, notifying members of meetings and activities, ensuring that members have access to minutes of meetings and maintaining contact with individual members in their area.
Group Treasurer: Responsible for keeping financial records, maintaining any group accounts, collecting dues, and keeping financial records open to the group for inspection.
Groups may act to collectively propose and second a motion or submit content for an IB and may collectively submit amendments to proposals or comment to discussion. Groups may also work to publish material in their own name (blogs, pamphlets, stickers, etc), and should be supported in these endeavours by the federation. If a group does not submit a report in two consecutive IB’s then their Regional Secretary (RegSec) will make contact to identify any issues the group is having and provide assistance if requested. If they do not submit a report for a year then the group will be disbanded.
Groups are encouraged to co-ordinate activities not only on a local or a federation-wide level but also on a region-wide level when practical. To facilitate this an FDM may mandate two members to act as the RegSec’s for a particular region. The RegSec’s will look to maintain regular contact with all members and potential members in the defined region, ensure communication between groups in the region is taking place, and help facilitate regional meetings. Regions may work to publish material in their own name (blogs, pamphlets, stickers, etc), and should be supported in these endeavours by the federation.
While the AF is opposed to oppression we recognise that being raised and living in an oppressive society can lead to oppressive attitudes and behaviours in members of the AF. In order to combat this members of the AF who are oppressed according to gender, sexuality, ethnicity, ability, or who are subject to a particular set of oppressions in wider society may wish to caucus in order to address issues within the AF. This requires private space in which members of oppressed groups can talk amongst themselves in confidence. A caucus can also look to development of new strategies for the AF to undertake to combat oppression in society at large.
A caucus is made up of three or more members who face oppression for a specifically defined reason or reasons. Formation of a caucus must be proposed in the IB and approved by an FDM. Upon request a caucus will be provided with private message board as part of the internal communications of the AF. A caucus must be given time and privacy to meet at each FDM if it is requested. Those involved must be given the opportunity to report back upon this meeting to the FDM and adequate time given to discuss any matters they raise, though they are not obliged to make any report.
Caucuses may act to collectively propose and second a motion or submit content for an IB and may collectively submit amendments to proposals or comment to discussion. Caucuses may also work to publish material in their own name (blogs, pamphlets, stickers, etc), and should be supported in these endeavours by the federation.
While the AF has an agreed level of tactical and theoretical unity, this still allows for many different currents of thought to exist side-by-side. Sometimes members will feel the need to formalise a position within the AF by creating a faction. This should be done in good faith to foster an environment where we can have an open and healthy debate and aid in the development of new ideas and practice.
A faction is made up of three or more members who share a specific political outlook and wish to work to promote it both within the AF and beyond. Formation of a faction must be proposed in the IB and approved by an FDM. Factions may act to collectively propose and second a motion or submit content for an IB and may collectively submit amendments to proposals or comment to discussion. Factions may also work to publish material in their own name (blogs, pamphlets, stickers, etc), and should be supported in these endeavours by the federation. When a faction holds ideas that conflict with the agreed practices and policies of the AF they agree to work in solidarity with the wider federation and not undermine its decisions and activities.
An FDM can mandate members as officers to fulfil specific federation-wide tasks and oversee working groups. Federation-wide officer roles will be open to two members at any given time. This allows for members to support one another in learning new roles and shares the workload of any given set of tasks. The AF will mandate members to act as the Federation Secretaries, Regional Secretaries, Membership Secretaries, Prisoners Secretaries, Internal Bulletin Secretaries, and Federation Treasurers.
A member will will not hold an office for more than two years and will not hold the same role for an intervening period of two years. Officers may be in a post longer if no other candidate comes forward however every effort must be made to rotate duties. No member may hold more than two federation-wide officer roles at any given time.
All officers are subject to the mandate of the FDM, which can instruct them to fulfil specific tasks. They are required to provide a report to each IB. A proposal to recall an officer can be made as per the decision making process. Officers are suspended from their role at the point the proposal has been raised with the membership for consideration (either in the IB or as part of an interim or emergency decision making process), up until a decision has been taken on the matter.
The AF is member of the IFA. In order to maintain contact and build good relations with groups overseas the AF maintains an International Secretariat. It’s members are elected and accountable to the FDM in the same way as any other officers. Those with appropriate linguistic skills are strongly encouraged to be involved. The IntSec will make report to each IB, including listing publications received (copies being made available on request). Secretaries are responsible for sending AF publications to groups/individuals on an exchange basis.