Original Working Document (1987)

Attached is the "first" ACT UP Working Document. It is not included in your packet. The first one you have was the first revision and spoke specifically tot he composition and some of the duties/responsibilities/powers of the coordinating committee. The first document had one very important aspect that was the foundation of the way ACT UP operates - it is in the last section - specifying what the coordinating committee is "not" authorized to do. This part was not intended to be altered by the first revision.


Proposal to Create a Co-ordinating Committee


To create a coordinating committee which would streamline the administrative functioning of ACT UP without usurping the power and energy residing in the body as a whole.

Why we Need a Coordinating Committee?
In the weeks since its creation, ACT UP has had considerable victories. We have focused the media's attention on the drug development bottleneck which exists within our government and on the greed of Burroughs Wellcome. We have shown governmental agencies that we are watching: they will be held accountable. And we have brought new energy and hope to the lesbian/gay community.

We can do much, much more. With planning, we'll have 600 angry people at our next demonstration, not 300. and the demonstration after that will have 1200 people. As our numbers grow, our power will grow. We can continue to shed light on the drug situation and bring new insight to AIDS education, insurance discrimination, and other aspects of the AIDS crisis.

But to accomplish these goals - to continue to grow - we need more structure. We need to know who is authorized to make decisions in a crisis, who can spend money between meetings. and we need to ensure, on a day to day basis, that fundraising, outreach, publicity and other increasingly important tasks are handled consistently.

Each of us became involved with ACT UP because of frustration and anger with the U.S. government and its lack of interest and leadership in the AIDS crisis. We can't afford to squander the energy we've developed. But we will if we allow ourselves to become bogged down by details at weekly meetings. We need to trust ourselves enough to give up some administrative authority to permanent standing committees which will be better equipped to handle these details.

Let's spend our valuable meeting time on the most crucial items: our issues and the demonstrations through which we present them.

Who will be on the coordinating committee?
The committee will consist of the following people:

A. One representative of the following five committees. Each committee will select its own representative to the coordinating committee. Alternates should also be selected to attend coordinating committee meetings if the regular representative can't attend.

Outreach: committee works on increasing the diversity of our organization involving people of color, women, and others affected by AIDS. Ensures that these groups' concerns are discussed at meetings.

Logistics: committee publicize demos, interacts with police and works with outreach committee to ensure that demos are attended by all interested parties. Activates the phone tree.

Issues: committee researches and reviews our demands. keeps in contact with health care providers and policy makers to keep abreast of new developments.

Media: committee ensures consistent and accurate coverage of our events.

Fundraising: committee coordinates all fundraising activities.

B. The following four people would be selected by the group as a whole:


Secretary: keeps the minutes. makes sure our phone and mailing lists are up to date. Serves as historian.

Treasurer: Keeps all financial information. Signs checks.

At-Large members: two others selected by the group. These two should be people we want involved in the decision making, but who are not representatives of any committee.

How will the committee work?
The committee would meet as frequently as need to ensure that all necessary work is being completed. Meetings would probably happen on a weekly basis. the coordinating committee would work by consensus. Issues that the committee can't come to consensus on would be decided by ACT UP as a whole. Of course, all coordinating committee meetings would be open to all.

What are some of the specific things the committee would do?
Examples of what the committee might do are:

A. Expense authorization. Okays expenses between meetings.

B. Review Literature: Flyers, posters, and other publicity items would be read by the committee to ensure that our message is presented strongly and clearly.

C. Coordinate committees: Ensure that committees are not repeating each other's work. Acts as a resource if a committee needs additional input. Ensures that committees are functioning and helps to recruit new members if a committee needs more.

D. Plan agendas: Plans the agendas for general meetings, ensuring that all our business is given time to be discussed. Also ensures that there is time fo new business.

Terms of office
Representatives of the five committees stay on the coordinating committee for as long as the committee they represent wishes. It is suggested that responsibility be shared, however, to involve as many people as possible and to avoid burnout.

The two At-Large members, secretary and treasurer are elected for six month terms. If a vacancy arises in one of these four spots, the body as a whole shall elect a new member.

Time for Proposal
May 4. Proposal accepted by ACT UP. the five committees arrange to meet within the next two weeks and select their representatives and alternates.

May 18. The At-large members are elected at gerneal meeting. Representatives of the five committees should be selected. co-ordinating committee arranges to meeting within next week.

May 25. Coordinating Committee gives its first report to the general body.

What is the Coordinating Committee not authorized to do?
Examples of some of the things the committee would not do are:

A. Elect officers. There will not be a President, Chair, or other executive in charge.

B. Decide Policy. All general policies will be decided by the body as a whole. the coordinating committee will ensure that policies are developed if needed, but will not have the power to adopt them for the group as a whole.

Amended version, May 4, 1987


Current Working Document 2003


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