The official version of these bylaws can be downloaded as PDF.
Article I. Name
The name of this body shall be The Horizon Federation, (hereinafter referred to as “Horizon”).
Article II. Purpose
Section 1 - Vision.
Horizon is an organization of radicals and organizers who believe that libertarian socialist values are the fullest embodiment of a socialist vision.
We take libertarian socialism to encompass those parts of the socialist movement (including syndicalists, council communists, anarchists, cooperativists, and municipalists, among many others) which have historically seen the surest path to socialism as residing in the creation of independent institutions in civil society that give the working class and ordinary people direct power over their lives.
We believe in the socialist principles of common ownership and that worker control over workplaces can only be advanced through the creation and support of worker-owned firms, radical trade unions, workers’ and neighborhood councils, popular assemblies, credit unions and alternative banking systems, community land trusts, and other directly democratic non-state institutions. The power of socialist parties and socialist governments should be subordinate to these more immediate grassroots formations.
Horizon operates on three shared principles we see as inseparable from libertarian socialism:
FREEDOM refers to the positive capacity of all individuals and communities for self-determination. We believe that the freedom enjoyed by individuals is an inalienable social good and can only be strengthened through solidarity and democracy.
SOLIDARITY refers to the understanding that all oppressed people—both the economically exploited and the politically marginalized—share a common struggle towards a free and equal society. We aim to organize our movements accordingly, providing mutual aid and support to one another and deferring to the initiative of those most affected by decisions, on the principle that an injury to one is an injury to all.
DEMOCRACY refers to collective decision-making free from hierarchy, domination, and coercion. Democracy is a social relation between free individuals that should not be reduced solely to institutions or elections. We believe that democracy is always a “work in progress” to be altered or improved by communities according to their needs.
In accordance with these three fundamental values, Horizon is critical of centralized forms of governance and decision making processes that undermine freedom, solidarity, and democracy. Instead, we wish to promote the ability of individuals and communities to set their own priorities. Governing authority is illegitimate in itself and can only be justified if it is delegated by and subordinated to a democratic assembly. It is our belief that all political institutions must be held to the highest standards of accountability, transparency, and direct-democratic recall. We believe this vision can only be realized through the abolition of classes, common ownership of the means of production, and its democratic management to meet the needs of all.
Our particular vision of a libertarian socialist society—and the specific path we intend to take to get there—will emerge out of the discussions and activities of Horizon itself. We believe radical democracy is an ongoing participatory process of deliberation, renegotiation, and collective self-determination. It is for the people themselves to decide what the world they wish to live in is to be. Our inability to describe the precise contours of the liberated society is rooted in the simple fact that democracy is inherently a work in progress, continually created and recreated by its participants.
In short, wherever domination exists—of bosses over workers, of men over women and gender nonconformists, of states over subjects, of whites over people of color, of human society over the rest of the web of life—we seek to replace it with equality, cooperation, love, and mutual respect. Ours is a vision of total liberation, not just in some far-flung revolutionary future but here and now.
Section 2 - Role.
Horizon will focus on fulfilling four key roles:
- Clearing House - Horizon will seek to connect and inform libertarian socialists of social struggles happening around the country. It is absolutely necessary that libertarian socialists stay in regular communication and dialogue with each other as we organize to build the free association of free producers.
- Political Education - Any libertarian socialist organization needs to focus on creating and developing new radicals. Towards that end, and to further Horizon’s work in other arenas, it will focus on developing and educating radicals in political and organizational theory.
- Group Formation - Equally as important to the development of new radicals is the development of new affinity groups, new organized bodies of radicals based on trust, collective responsibility, and mutual accountability. Horizon will do what it can to materially and organizationally support its members and its affiliated Sections and Circles as they come together to advance the cause of libertarian socialism.
- Social Insertion - The role of libertarian socialists is to participate in social movements, to advocate for libertarian solutions and libertarian organization, and to pose the problems of the state, private property, and bourgeois ideology. Social insertion provides the framework for libertarian socialists to engage authentically with social movements without reproducing instrumental and bourgeois logics. Horizon will organize its members into fronts capable of participating in social and political movements.
Article III. Membership
Section 1 - Eligibility.
Horizon membership shall be open to anyone who is sympathetic to the ideals of libertarian socialism and agree with the purpose of Horizon, as outlined in Article II. Horizon Sections and Circles may choose different membership criteria, and membership in National Horizon shall be open to all members of Horizon Sections and Circles. Those who work to uphold or defend the carceral and militarist state, or wield state or capitalist power to enforce systems of oppression shall not be permitted membership in Horizon at any level. Ambiguous cases can be brought before the General Assembly for a decision.
Section 2 - Participation Level.
Participants may join at two levels: Associate and Member. Someone may join as an Associate by signing up with Horizon, declaring that they are sympathetic to the Horizon Points of Unity. A Member is a Horizon Associate who is an active participant in a Horizon Circle, a Horizon Committee, or a Horizon Section.
There shall be no penalty for changing membership level, which may be done at any time. Membership level changes immediately when a person meets or no longer meets the requirements for being a Member.
Section 3 - Removal of Members and Observers.
Members, Associates, and observers may be asked to leave meetings if they engage in disruptive behavior, or will not abide by the Horizon Community Agreements. Removing someone from a meeting may be done with a simple majority vote.
An individual may be removed from Membership of Horizon, or barred from observing if they are not a Member, if they could have been excluded from Membership pursuant to Article III Section 1, if their actions otherwise prove to be inconsistent with the Horizon Points of Unity, or if they are found to be working against the interests of Horizon. Revoking a person’s membership will require a ⅔ (two-thirds) majority vote by the Members.
A Member in good standing of Horizon may submit a motion to the General Assembly or for asynchronous vote with no fewer than three co-signers to strip someone of Membership by presenting a list of charges against the accused to Horizon. The vote will proceed pursuant to the methods as outlined in Article VII. Once removed, a former member may not rejoin without a vote to rescind the previous decision.
Section 4 - Dues.
Horizon will determine what its financial needs are, and establish the necessary officers and structures to be sure that it is carrying out its democratically decided work.
Section 5 - Standing.
A Member is deemed to be in good standing if the following conditions are met:
- They have attended at least two meetings in the last six months;
- They are an active participant in a Section, a Circle, Committee, or Section;
- They are participating in any active accountability or mediation process they are involved in.
An Associate is deemed to be in good standing if the following conditions are met:
- They have attended at least two meetings in the last six months;
- They are participating in any active accountability or mediation process they are involved in.
Members and Associates must be in good standing to vote in Horizon business, or co-sign a proposal or motion.
Article IV. General Assembly
The highest decision making body of Horizon will be the General Assembly, the democratic assembly of its Members. The Horizon General Assembly will be responsible for voting on bylaws changes, officers, guiding documents, creating new working bodies, and carrying out the work of Horizon.
Section 1 - Voting and Procedure.
All Members and Associates of Horizon may participate in the General Assemblies and have the right to speak. The General Assembly will be run according to procedures approved by the Members and articulated in Article VII. Members and Associates may make motions for business to be discussed and submit proposals to be voted on.
Voting may take place between meetings of the General Assembly according to the process laid out in Article IV, Section 8.
Section 2 - Quorum.
Quorum for General Assemblies will be set at ⅔ (two-thirds) of the Active Member Number. No decision shall be made by the General Assembly without a quorum in attendance.
Section 3 - Officers of the Meeting.
A Facilitator and a Note Taker shall be selected for each General Assembly, and effort shall be made to ensure a rotation of a diversity of members. In the event no one is willing to serve, a member of the Standing Committee will be selected. No member of Horizon shall serve as an officer at more than two General Assemblies in a row, or more than two General Assemblies a year. The selected meeting Facilitator is responsible for the following duties:
- Chairing the meeting, following procedures as outlined in this section.
- Determining that quorum is satisfied at the start of the meeting as detailed in Article VII, Section 3.
- Finalizing the meeting agenda at the start of the meeting. Approving the meeting agenda shall require a procedural ⅔ (two-thirds) of the respondents to vote in assent to pass.
- Recognizing speakers by way of progressive stack, when the medium of communication allows it.
Section 4 - Scheduling and Notice for the General Assembly.
The General Assembly will meet at least every three months, either in-person or virtual, to share reports from the Standing Committee, Circles, Sections, and Cohorts, and to fulfill the role of the organization laid out in Article II, Section 2. The General Assembly must be announced at least two weeks in advance, and the agenda must be sent out at least one week in advance.
Section 5 - Meeting Minutes.
Minutes from the meeting will be collected from the Note Taker and sent out to the membership no later than one week after the date of the General Assembly. The minutes will be stored by the Standing Committee.
Section 6 - General Assembly Mandate.
The General Assembly will be responsible for:
- Providing Reports from the Sections, Circles, Cohorts, and Special Assemblies to Horizon Members;
- Establishing Committees subordinate to the General Assembly to carry out the work of the whole Federation;
- Establish new Subcommittees on the Standing Committee;
- Set the direction of the Standing Committee;
- Issue and approve political statements on behalf of the Federation;
- Propose, amend, and approve operational policies for Horizon and the Standing Committee;
- Approve the affiliation of new Sections and Circles;
- Recall members of the Standing Committee and Mediation Committee;
- Establish Points of Unity;
- Other organizing as necessary to carry out the purpose of the organization as laid out in Article II Section 2.
Section 7 - Special Assemblies.
Horizon Members may call for a Special Assembly, a conference, regional or national, of Sections, Circles, or Members and Associates of a particular identity group to help develop strategies or coordinate action and support among them. The Special Assemblies will be called as needed and aim to be focused on specific issues or specific communities, be they Section or national, that do not fit in the General Assembly. The Special Assemblies may call for the General Assembly to adopt policies or discuss motions.
Subsection 1 - Calling a Special Assembly
A Special Assembly may be called by submitting a request in writing to the Standing Committee. The request should include a description of the Special Assembly’s proposed scope, and have the signatures of at least four co-signing Members (including the proposing Member) who agree to bottomline the event as the Special Assembly Organizing Committee. The Standing Committee may propose that the Special Assembly Organizing Committee join another existing Special Assembly Organizing Committee if more than one Special Assembly has been called with similar goals and a similar purpose.
A member of the Standing Committee will be appointed as a Liaison to the Plenum Organizing Committee to assist them. They will be considered a core member of the Plenum Organizing Committee.
Subsection 2 - Special Assembly Organizing Committee
A Special Assembly Organizing Committee will consist of those Members named in the request and the Standing Committee Liaison. The Special Assembly Organizing Committee will be responsible for making an agenda, soliciting reports and materials for the Special Assembly, arranging for accessibility needs if it plans on being in person, or maintaining digital security if it will be an online event. The Special Assembly Organizing Committee will conduct outreach to the relevant Sections, Sections, Circles, and Cohorts of Horizon.
Subsection 3 - Special Assembly Proceedings
A Special Assembly Organizing Committee will ensure that the Special Assembly has a Facilitator, Notetaker, and Stackkeeper. The Special Assembly Organizing Committee may establish participation requirements as needed to satisfy their needs. This may include limiting participation to Horizon participants, individuals from a particular background, individuals from a particular region, or other things of that nature.
Subsection 4 - Special Assembly Reportbacks
A Special Assembly Organizing Committee will ensure that the Special Assembly has minutes recorded, and that a Report Committee of between one and five participants in the Special Assembly will draft a summary of the Special Assembly and a report based on its discussion or recommendations. This report will be submitted to the Standing Committee, who will make it available to Horizon.
Section 8 - Asynchronous Voting.
Voting by the General Assembly outside of its meetings (“asynchronous voting”) shall occur in an official platform for electronic voting as outlined in Article VII, Section 5, Subsection 2. The stages of the voting process are as follows:
- A proposal to hold a vote must be made and seconded in an official Horizon communication channel.
- A seven day discussion period will begin if the proposal is seconded. During this period, the proposal can be debated.
- Members of Horizon may amend the proposal at the discretion of the initial member who proposed it. If a proposal is amended, the final vote shall be on the amended version of the language as it stands once the discussion period is concluded.
- During the discussion period, alternative proposals on the same topic may be added for consideration by a seconded motion in an official Horizon communication channel. If a member objects to the alternative proposal as off-topic, the Standing Committee shall adjudicate the matter. Alternative proposals may be withdrawn by their sponsors, and may also be amended as described in Step 3.
Upon the conclusion of the discussion period, a seven day voting period will begin via a poll created in the official Horizon communication channel for voting as outlined in Article VII, Section 5, Subsection 2. The poll will be emitted to all members of the Horizon for vote. If any alternative proposals were made, the vote shall be a ranked choice vote including each alternative along with “no action”. Members may change their vote prior to the conclusion of the voting period. The poll shall be timed to close at the end of the voting period.
- A vote of ¾ (three-fourths) of respondents in assent is required in order to pass the proposal, as outlined in Article VII, Section 2.
- A motion to extend either the discussion or voting period must be seconded and a procedural vote of ⅔ (two-thirds) of respondents in assent is required to pass, upon which voting stages outlined herein items i. through iv. shall be initiated, with exception of discussion and voting period times, which must be announced prior to beginning the voting stages.
- In a case of requirement of an expedited decision due to emergency vote or urgent occasions, the discussion period and the voting period can each be reduced. This requires a motion to reduce which must be seconded and without objection. If an objection is raised, a procedural ⅔ (two-thirds) vote shall be required to reduce either discussion or voting period, in a expedited voting period of 24 hours.
Neither the discussion period nor the voting period shall be reduced to less than 24 hours.
Quorum for Asynchronous votes will be set at ⅔ (two-thirds) the Active Member Number. For asynchronous decisions, no decision shall be considered valid without a quorum responding. Abstentions shall be considered responses.
Article V. Committees
The General Assembly is empowered to create Committees to organize its work. A Committee is a long-term structure that administers a specific activity of Horizon. Committees shall be regularly active, transparent, and accountable to the members of the LSC.
Section 1 - The Standing Committee.
A Standing Committee will bottomline the specific operational and administrative tasks required to produce and reproduce the organization. Only Members may serve as a Delegate to the Standing Committee.
Subsection 1. Membership
The Standing Committee will be composed of recallable Delegates of the following types:
- General Delegates - Eight (8) Members, selected by sortition, to represent the general Membership. The General Delegates serving must be no more than 50% white cis men, unless the demographics of the pool of candidates will not allow this, as per Article VII, Section 1, Subsection 1;
- Section Delegates - One Member, selected by sortition or election, from each Horizon Section. If a Section has 50 or more Horizon Members on the books, they shall instead select or elect two (2) Members to serve as Section Delegate;
- Circle Delegates - One Member, selected by sortition or election, from each Horizon Circle. If a Circle has 50 or more Horizon Members on the books, they shall instead select or elect two (2) Members to serve as Circle Delegate;
Standing Committee members will serve for six month terms, with staggered selections occurring quarterly to ensure continuity. The selections for all types of Delegate will take place in January, April, July, and October. Anyone selected who does not wish to fill a role may refuse, and a new person will be selected. No one who has served a term in the last six months is eligible to be selected unless there are no other Members in good standing who wish to serve, and no Member can serve no more than three consecutive terms.
Subsection 2 - Standing Committee Mandate
The Standing Committee will be responsible for:
- Organizing official channels of communication;
- Organizing the regular meeting of the General Assembly, and calling for extraordinary meetings if the need arises;
- Ensuring minutes are recorded for all meetings, any major decisions made are summarized, and any other updates are made available to all members of Horizon on a regular basis;
- Maintaining an up to date list of members of Horizon;
- Handle critical business between membership meetings;
- Develop and submit to the General Assembly an expense and finance policy.
- Organizing Subcommittees as needed to carry out the administrative and operational work of the Federation.
- Present a report of all votes that they took and the results, a Treasurer’s report (including current holdings, income, and expenses), and link to the Standing Committee’s Minutes to the General Assembly.
The General Assembly, with assistance from the Standing Committee and other committees, will develop a publication and/or e-mail or social media bulletin to inform members about upcoming votes and meetings, trainings, decisions, and the outcomes of meetings as well as projects conducted by circles, sections, and cohorts such as political education, dual power projects, and campaigns. This project will include news updates, help inform members about developments across Horizon, sustain deliberation, develop a shared political analysis, and foster collaboration between sections and circles as well as aligned organizations. The Standing Committee may develop a separate committee to accomplish this work. When practicable, the appropriate committee may use subscriptions to raise funds for the organization and the publication’s maintenance, pay individuals for their contributions, and develop a collective or cooperative structure to manage the publication.
Subsection 3 - Resignation, Recall, and Vacancy
A vacant position on the Standing Committee will be filled at the next General Assembly. The person filling the vacancy will finish out the original person’s term of office. Someone who has served as a replacement on the Standing Committee will not be held ineligible from being selected again by sortition.
Members of the Standing Committee may resign by written notice to the Standing Committee. Resignation shall be instant unless the notice sets some other date. Their replacement will be selected at the next General Assembly.
A Member may make a motion with no fewer than two other Members as co-signers for the recall of a Standing Committee member for any reason to be held via asynchronous vote. If the motion receives a simple majority in favor, the named members of the Standing Committee are recalled and new ones shall be selected. The recalled member or members may not be selected for the Standing Committee until after the date that their original term was supposed to expire, but otherwise suffers no loss of membership, standing, or rights within the organization.
The Standing Committee may declare a position of the Standing Committee vacant if the member in question misses three consecutive meetings of the Standing Committee. A new member will be selected to finish the term at the next General Assembly.
Subsection 4 - Standing Committee Meetings
The Standing Committee shall meet at least once a month, and extraordinary meetings may be called for as needed if four Standing Committee members call for it. Members of Horizon shall receive three (3) days notice in writing or electronically via email or text message of all Standing Committee meetings. Meetings and votes of the Standing Committee may be held remotely. A quorum shall consist of half of all its voting members. Standing Committee meetings are open to all Members as non-voting observers. Unless otherwise specified in the bylaws, all votes by the Steering Committee require a simple majority of votes cast.
Subsection 5 - Standing Committee Subcommittees
The Standing Committee is empowered to set up Subcommittees of its members to manage ongoing tasks. Two Subcommittee Coordinators are to be appointed to bottomline and report back to the Standing Committee the activities of the Subcommittee. Participation in a Subcommittee is open to all Members of Horizon, but they may only vote on Subcommittee business.
The following Subcommittees must be staffed at all times: Membership, Coordination and Finance, Communications, and Logistics.
Subsection 6 - Membership Subcommittee Mandate
The Membership Subcommittee will responsible for the following:
- Requesting membership lists from Horizon Sections, Circles, Cohorts, and other working bodies at least monthly;
- Working on membership mobilization, development, and engagement;
- collecting event data, and conducting a yearly census of Horizon;
- Developing new member engagement processes;
- Facilitating connections between Sections, Circles, and Cohorts
- Coordinating communication with and support of the Cohorts.
Subsection 7 - Coordination and Finance Subcommittee Mandate
The Agenda and Finance Subcommittee will be responsible for the following:
- Organizing and overseeing official Horizon officer and committee selections;
- Drafting agendas for all General Assemblies and Standing Committee meetings;
- Scheduling and bottom-lining all General Assemblies and Standing Committee meetings;
- Tracking and stewarding any funds and resources;
- Issuing regular reports to the Standing Committee and General Assembly on the finances of Horizon;
- Developing and recommending financial policies for Horizon;
Subsection 8 - Communications Subcommittee Mandate
The Communications Subcommittee will be responsible for the following:
- Record or archive the minutes of all General Assemblies, Special Assemblies, Standing Committee Meetings, Standing Committee Subcommittee Meetings and Mediation Committee meetings;
- Managing the official external communications channels;
- Collecting and archiving Horizon’s non-financial records. They shall have custody of these minutes, resolutions, reports and other official records of the Federation. They shall transfer official records in good condition to their successor. Official records shall include meeting minutes and member lists;
- Answering all correspondence and queries of Horizon, and administering effective communication between Section, Circle, and Cohort officers and the Horizon.
Subsection 9 - Logistics Subcommittee Mandate
The Logistics Subcommittee will be responsible for the following:
- Coordinating both in person and digital resources and security;
- Addressing and organizing around accessibility concerns;
- Maintaining a list of best practices for both online and in person safety;
- Managing digital security for official online accounts, e.g. email and social media;
Section 2. Mediation Committee
The abolitionist commitments of libertarian socialism demand that we approach accountability, mediation, and conflict resolution differently than the many organizations USian activists have experienced. Horizon understands that conflict resolution should be proactive, not reactive; pedagogical, not expert-driven, and the work of all Members, not the bailiwick of a chosen few.
Subsection 1 - Membership
The Mediation Committee (MC) will consist of eight (8) Members, with four (4) people selected four times a year for staggered six month terms. These selections via soritition will be held every January, April, July, and October. A Member may not serve two consecutive terms unless all eligible Members have served at least one term.
Subsection 2. Mediation Committee Mandate
The MC will be responsible for developing a Mediation and Conflict Resolution Syllabus, for serving as the designated mediators of conflicts that might arise, and for recommending best practices to Horizon.
Upon selection to the Mediation Committee, new Mediation Committee members will work through the Mediation Committee’s Conflict Resolution Syllabus with each other. They will attend Mediation Committee meetings, and participate in its work. The four Mediation Committee members who have been in the position longest will be the point people for conflict mediation, and organizing the Mediation Committee meetings. Those four members will take point during the Conflict Resolution Process.
The Mediation Committee will work with the Standing Committee, Circles, and Sections to ensure that transformative justice practices are incorporated into all Horizon meetings, spaces, and work. The Standing Committee and all Circles, Sections, Cohorts, or Special Assembly Organizing Committees may request that the Mediation Committee consult on their projects, administrative practices, trainings, and procedures to ensure these practices are incorporated.
Subsection 3. Code of Conduct
It is the duty of all Horizon Associates and Members to ensure a safe environment for all members. The Mediation Committee, in conjunction with the Standing Committee and the Members, will be responsible for creating that environment. Towards this end, the Mediation Committee will develop a proposal for a Code of Conduct, to be approved by the Members of Horizon. This code of conduct will be reaffirmed by vote or amended until it can be affirmed by the membership no fewer than two times a year.
Subsection 4. Process
Members of Horizon are encouraged to work to resolve their conflicts in the moment, or in one to one outside meetings if this is not possible. If an interpersonal conflict requires it, those members of Horizon may request Mediation by the Mediation Committee. The two of the senior members of the MC shall serve as the Mediators unless this is not acceptable to one or both the parties. If this is the case, the MC shall identify neutral mediation that is acceptable to all parties.
If one or both parties requests it, the Mediators will ensure that the mediation will be as confidential as possible.
Members may request mediation by emailing the official MC email account. In the event that mediation is deemed to be unsuccessful or insufficient, a member may initiate the process of membership revocation as pursuant to Article III Section 3.
Section 3 - Other Committees
The General Assembly may found new committees as it needs to in order to accomplish its work. To found a committee, a Member needs to bring a proposal to the General Assembly laying out the mandate for the committee, a method of selecting facilitators for the committee, and a membership policy.
Committees shall have facilitators, who act as point person(s) for delegating tasks and coordinating between Horizon and other Committees, Cohorts, Circles, and Sections. Facilitators shall be identified at the formation of a working group, and shall have term limits of no longer than one year, unless no replacement steps forward and the current facilitator is willing to continue for a consecutive term or otherwise specified.
Working group facilitators are responsible for:
- Organizing official channels of communication for all members of the working group, as outlined in Article VII, Section 5;
- Organizing regular meetings between members of the committee;
- Ensuring minutes are recorded for all meetings, any major decisions made are summarized, and any other updates are made available to all members of Horizon on a regular basis.
If a decision is reached by a committee that affects Horizon as a whole, or requires action outside of the members of the committee, the committee facilitator(s) are responsible for presenting the decision before the General Assembly for a vote.
Article VI. Horizon Working Bodies
Horizon recognizes that the movement towards libertarian socialism must involve the movement of the whole working class. To that end, it pursues federation with the active libertarian socialist core of the working class movement. The Horizon working bodies, the Circles, Cohorts, and Sections, are the vehicle through which it pursues federation, and the construction of an emancipatory network.
Section 1 - Definitions
Subsection 1. Circles
A Circle is a long-term body of Members with a political line that administers an ongoing activity of Horizon on a particular front (organizing among a particular community, in a particular industry, or using particular tactics) or in a particular organization (DSA, IWW, ATUN, etc.).
Subsection 2. Cohorts
The Cohorts will be organized bodies of Associates for the purpose of political education and group formation. A cohort will be set up with a few Member Mentors and Associates who will embark on study or exploratory work to grow and move towards political or social activity.
Subsection 3. Sections
A Section is a long-term structure that administers an ongoing activity of Horizon in a geographically defined area. Sections shall be regularly active, transparent, and accountable to the members of Horizon.
Section 2 - Bylaws and Membership
Horizon Circles and Sections may choose to adopt their own bylaws and membership criteria, as long as they reflect the principles of Horizon and do not conflict with the bylaws of Horizon. Horizon Cohorts may set membership standards. Unless otherwise stated, membership in a Circle, Cohort, or Section is confirmed by participating in two meetings in six months, at least one of which must be a working meeting. If no membership policy is put forward, any Member or Associate may join the Circle, Cohort, or Section this way.
Section 3 - Formation
Subsection 1 - Circles and Sections
Circles and Sections may be formed by any Associates or Members of Horizon that wish to organize together by submitting a motion at a General Assembly pursuant to the methods as outlined in Article VII. The motion must include at least seven co-signers, a mission document and draft bylaws. Unless otherwise specified, anyone present for the first meeting of a new Circle or Section is considered to be a member in good standing. Upon being ratified by the General Assembly, the new Circle or Section will appoint a Liaison and a Delegate.
Circles may organize Locals based on a geographic basis to carry out their ongoing work, build community, and grow their relationships with other Horizon Members. The Circle will notify the Standing Committee about the status of their Locals.
If one or more Circles have locals in the same geographic area, they are encouraged to form a Section together or join an existing Section in such a way that preserves the autonomy and the mission of each. If the Circles exist in the same geographic area as a Section, they are encouraged to join the Section in such a way that preserves the autonomy and the mission of each.
Subsection 2 - Affiliating an existing group as Circle or Section
Existing groups may vote to join Horizon as a Circle or Section if the following conditions are met:
- They agree with the Horizon Points of Unity;
- The members of the organization vote in favor of joining Horizon;
- A Horizon Associate or Member submits a motion to the General Assembly co-signed by at least seven other members of the other organization who are also Associates or Members of Horizon. This motion must include points of unity, a mission document, a copy of their bylaws, and a summary of the kind of activity that the group wishes to pursue.
Upon being ratified by the General Assembly, the new Circle or Section will select a Liaison and a Delegate. The new Circle will coordinate with the Standing Committee to incorporate its members into Horizon by providing them with access to the privileges and communication channels that Members should have.
Subsection 3 - Cohorts
A cohort may be formed by at least four Associates and Members, for the purpose of studying or exploring a new topic or project. Any Member or Associate may request a Cohort form by bringing a list of interested Associates and Members to the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee will work with the motivator to promote and support the Cohort.
Section 4 - Officers
Circles, Cohorts, and Sections will determine whatever officers or facilitators are needed for their internal work. All working bodies will establish a process by which they select a Horizon Liaison. Circles and Sections will select a Delegate to participate in the Horizon Standing Committee. The working bodies will make these selection processes available to their members and to Horizon.
Subsection 1 - Horizon Liaison
Each Circle, Cohort, and Section shall have a Horizon Liaison, selected or elected by its membership, who will act as point person(s) for communication between Horizon and the working body. Horizon Liaisons shall be democratically selected at the formation of a working body or its affiliation with Horizon, and shall have term limits of no longer than one year, unless no replacement steps forward and the current Horizon Liaison is willing to continue for a consecutive term. Upon a Liaison stepping down, the new Liaison or the Delegate will notify the Standing Committee of the change and connect them with the new Liaison.
Subsection 2 - Circle and Section Delegates
Each Circle and Section shall select a member to serve as a Circle or Section Delegate to the Standing Committee to represent their work. The working body may decide to elect the delegate by majority vote or select the delegate via sortition.
Circles and Sections may specify their own processes for recalling their Member Delegate in their internal bylaws. Otherwise, the membership of that working body may recall their delegate at any time by a simple majority vote at a meeting. Upon recall, the Horizon Liaison shall let the Standing Committee know that the Delegate has been recalled.
A Section that has not selected a Section Delegate may by a general membership vote, designate another Section as its proxy, provided that the Section Delegate of the receiving Section does not carry more than 3 votes through other proxy processes. This proxy only counts for votes on the Standing Committee, and may be rescinded at any time with a simple majority vote.
Subsection 3 - Facilitators
All working bodies will establish some method of accountable facilitation and are responsible for:
- Organizing official channels of communication for all members of the working body;
- Organizing regular meetings between members of the working body;
- Ensuring minutes are recorded for all meetings, any major decisions made are summarized, and any other updates are made available to all members of Horizon on a regular basis.
- Maintaining an up to date list of members of the working body.
Section 5 - Working Body Officer Mandates
Subsection 1 Liaisons
Horizon Liaisons are responsible for:
- Serving as a point of contact between Horizon and the Section, so that Horizon may plug new members into the working body;
- Maintaining an up to date list of members of the working body and making it available to the Standing Committee to ensure Horizon is able to plug Members into work.
Subsection 2 - Delegates
Circle and Section Delegates are responsible for:
- Attending Standing Committee meetings;
- Reporting back to the Section the goings on of the Standing Committee;
- Participate in the work of the Standing Committee.
Section 6 - Requirements
Subsection 1 - Circles and Sections
To remain in good standing, Circles and Sections shall ensure it is meeting the following requirements:
- Circles and Sections shall maintain active membership lists, and send a copy of the active membership list to the Horizon Standing Committee once every six months;
- Circles and Sections will let the Standing Committee know by what method the Delegate and Liaison they will send is: sortition or election. The working body will update the Standing Committee should this method change;
- Circles and Sections will send a Delegate to serve on the Standing Committee. If the working body is unable to select or elect a Delegate from its membership, it may designate a proxy according to the process laid out in Article VI Section 4, Subsection 2.
- Circles and Sections will identify a Horizon Liaison who shall remain in communication with the Federation
- Circles and Sections will hold a social event at least once every quarter. These social events can include but are not limited to movie nights, freeform discussions, social support and mutual aid gatherings, game nights, and potlucks.
Subsection 2 - Cohorts
To remain in good standing, the Cohort shall ensure it is meeting the following requirements:
- The Cohort shall maintain active membership lists, and send a copy of the active membership list to the Horizon Standing Committee once every six months;
- The Cohort will let the Standing Committee know if the Horizon Liaison steps down, and who the new Horizon Liaison will be;
- The Cohort will assemble a draft plan for its activities. This plan will include a timelines or a syllabus if required, and be regularly updated and submitted to the Standing Committee.
Section 7 - Disbandment or Disaffiliation
A Horizon Member in good standing may make a motion to the General Assembly with no fewer than nine co-signers to disband or disaffiliate from a Circle, Cohort, or Section. The motion must pass with ¾ (three-fourths) in assent at the Horizon General Assembly.
Circles and Sections of Horizon may choose to disband or disaffiliate at will as per their own bylaws. A Circle or Section that votes to disband must send a record of the vote and minutes from the final meeting to the Standing Committee.
Members of the dissolved Circle or Section remain Members of Horizon only if their other participation qualifies them as such. If it does not, they become Associates as laid out in Article 3, Section 2.
If a Circle or Section seeks not to disband but rather to disaffiliate from Horizon (continue existing as a separate entity from Horizon), the Circle or Section must vote on a motion to disaffiliate which must pass with ¾ (three-fourths) of the said working body in assent. A working body that votes to disaffiliate must send a record of the vote and minutes from the final meeting to the Standing Committee, as well as a list of their Members so that Horizon may update its records.
No working body that becomes disaffiliated from Horizon shall present itself as a member of Horizon nor use “Horizon” in its name, and disaffiliated Sections shall promptly cease doing so after disaffiliation.
Section 8 - Cohort Maturation
A Cohort may, at any time, vote to form a new Horizon Circle or Section with a simple majority in assent. The General Assembly must then vote to ratify this decision with a ⅔ (two-thirds) majority. If successful, the Standing Committee will appoint a member to facilitate and coordinate the development of the new Circle or Section.
A Cohort may petition to join an existing Horizon Circle or Section, provided they meet the requirements of membership for that section. The existing Circle or Section must approve the cohort joining them with a simple majority vote, and then work with the Cohort’s Horizon Liaison to develop an integration plan.
Article VII. Decision Making and Procedures
Section 1 - Sortition Method
Horizon will use the following sortition methods for selecting its Standing Committee and Mediation Committee: All current Members, as outlined in Article III, shall be included in the selection process, unless they have extenuating circumstances which preclude them from serving a six-month term. A communication will be sent to all Members at least two weeks prior to the selection gauging availability. If, after three attempts over two weeks, a Member does not respond to this communication, they shall be considered ineligible for that selection. The Standing Committee will always be selected for first, followed by the Mediation Committee. A member who is currently serving on the Mediation Committee is to be considered ineligible for selection to the Standing Committee.
Subsection 1 - Standing Committee General Delegate Diversity Requirement
If the selected General Delegates from this process would result in a more than 50% of the sitting General Delegates being white cisgender men, then the last names drawn will be removed from the process and new names drawn until the General Delegates reflect these proportions.
If the current demographics of the eligible Membership do not allow for these proportions, the Delegates will be seated, and the reason for this shall be presented to the next General Assembly for discussion and approval. The General Assembly may approve the composition of the Standing Committee with a two thirds majority vote. If they do not, a special selection will be held to fill the remaining seats. Only Members who would allow the Standing Committee to meet the diversity requirement will be eligible for this selection, and a new selection will be made using the standard process. The result of this selection will be the final selection and the new Standing Committee seated.
Subsection 2 - Other Selections
Horizon will use the following sortition methods for selecting all other sortition-derived officers: All current Members of the relevant bodies, as outlined in Article III, shall be included in the selection process, unless they have extenuating circumstances which preclude them from serving the term of office to be selected. A communication will be sent to all Members at least two weeks prior to the selection gauging availability. If, after three attempts over two weeks, a Member does not respond to this communication, they shall be considered ineligible for that selection.
Section 2 - Voting Thresholds
The following voting thresholds shall apply to all meetings, regardless of platform.
- Procedural motions (e.g. motion to end discussion, motion to table) shall require a ⅔ (two-thirds) vote in assent.
- Approval of a motion in meeting, after a vote to end discussion, shall require a ¾ (three-fourths) vote in assent.
- Approval of a motion in meeting without discussion shall require a 9/10 (nine-tenths) vote in assent.
Section 3 - Active Member Number
At least once per quarter, a poll will be sent electronically to all Members of Horizon. Quarters shall be considered every 3 months (Q1 = January to March; Q2 = April to June; Q3 = July to September; and Q4 = October to December). Members’ responses will be due seven days from when the poll is sent. This poll will include a question asking the Member whether they intend to be active within Horizon for that quarter. If the Member answers in the affirmative, they will be recorded as an active Member for that quarter. Should the Member answer in the negative, or provide no response to the poll by the deadline, they will be considered inactive for that quarter. Members who answer in the negative, or provide no response to the poll by the deadline, shall not be barred from voting in subsequent decisions. Active Members of Horizon will hold no privileges over inactive Members. No personally unique identifying information shall be required, collected, or tracked as part of this polling process. The number of respondents will be used only to calculate quorum.
At any time during the quarter, should a Member who responded in the affirmative no longer intend to be an active Member for any reason, that Member is highly encouraged to emit notice of such to the Standing Committee that conducts the poll, or via official channels of communication; upon said notice, the Active Members Number shall be decremented by one. Similarly, if a Member who previously answered that they would be inactive or who didn't answer the poll decides to change to active status and informs the appropriate body, the Active Member Number will be increased by one. The number of current active Members and current number for quorum will be made public to all Horizon Members.
Section 4 - Rules of Order
Rusty’s Rules of Order shall govern Horizon in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws. All Delegates on the Standing Committee shall be expected to familiarize themselves with the rules of order. Any working body of Local members, including the Standing Committee, may decide by a two-thirds majority vote to adopt different rules for their body or for the duration of any specific meeting.
Section 5 - Official Communication and Voting Channels
Subsection 1 - Official Communication Channel
The General Assembly shall select official channels of general communication. An official backup channel of general communication may be selected. All official communiques shall be sent by official channels of communication, except as indicated in this section.
Subsection 2 - Official Online Voting Platform
The General Assembly shall select an official platform for electronic voting. An official backup means of voting may be selected. All official votes shall be held on the official platform, except as indicated in this section.
Subsection 3 - Official Teleconferencing Platform
The General Assembly shall select an official platform for teleconferencing meetings. An official backup platform of teleconferencing may be selected. All official teleconference meetings shall be held on the official platform, except as indicated in this section.
Subsection 4 - Backup Channels
Should any primary channel or platform malfunction or be unavailable for use, the official backup platform may be used. Should any member of Horizon encounter difficulty voting, an alternative ballot shall be provided for them by any method available.
Section 6. Public Statements
Subsection 1 - Statements From Horizon
All statements made on behalf of Horizon shall be approved by the General Assembly or an asynchronous vote of the Members.
Subsection 2 - Statements from Horizon Subsidiaries
Statements made by Sections, Circles, and Cohorts shall be published on Horizon public-facing channels (e.g. a Horizon website) after being approved by a vote of the General Assembly.
Subsection 3 - Dissenting Statements
Statements of dissent from official Horizon statements shall be published on Horizon public-facing channels (e.g. a Horizon website) upon petition by 1/5 (one-fifth) of the Active Members Number. Horizon shall prominently disclaim such statements as the opinions of the signatories, and that such statements cannot be construed as official statements of Horizon.
Section 7. Fund Guardianship and Accountability
The General Assembly will develop and approve a policy for financial accounting of funds belonging to Horizon. Should an individual be chosen by Horizon to undertake said accounting, or act in any other way as an agent of Horizon for legal purposes, said individual shall be delegated to reimburse, purchase, and otherwise allocate Horizon funds in a process which shall be defined by Horizon.
At every General Assembly, the amount of funds will be announced, along with the ways that money was spent. Line items may be used, and can be called whatever they need to be.
Article VIII. Changing the Bylaws
Section 1. Amendments
Any member of Horizon in good standing may propose an amendment to the bylaws. The proposal must be co-signed by another member. The proposed amendment must be submitted in writing and discussed at a General Assembly. The vote shall be conducted at the General Assembly immediately following the one it was submitted to. Amendments are approved with 3/4 (three-quarters) in assent.
Section 2. Re-Ratification
Beginning in 2023, every two years on January 1, the current bylaws shall be brought before Horizon for ratification at the General Assembly. Ratification requires a 75% majority of respondents to vote in assent. If the bylaws fail to be re-ratified, amendments will be considered and voted on until a final set of bylaws is approved.
Article IX. Dissolution
In the event of the dissolution of Horizon, all remaining funds and assets are to be released to such other organizations that are organized exclusively for the promotion of social welfare and that will operate to further the common good and general welfare of the community, as selected by the members of Horizon at a General Assembly. This release will happen within sixty days of dissolution.
Horizon Sections and Circles that wish to continue forward independently may do so according to their own bylaws.
The official version of these bylaws can be downloaded as a PDF.