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W. J. Sidis

1929 - 1930

[MS, presumedly unpublished, found in Helena Sidis's files.]

 

MODEL CONSTITUTION

        The sample constitution given below is intended to show the type of instrument that should be drawn up for the purpose of creating a group-form organisation. It is not intended to advocate any specific type or purpose of organising, and it is most especially not intended to advocate the formation of the particular organisation imagined in the model constitution.

Article I
Title and Purpose

                1. The title of this organisation is to be the New York Uptown Syndemiatric Association.

                2. The purpose of the New York Uptown Syndemiatric Association shall be to provide community medical service for its members and for their dependents residing with them, on a basis of hiring such for a fixed salary instead of by payment of medical fees.

                3. The New York Uptown Syndemiatric Association shall be an organisation of the group form, and meetings of any portion or unit of the Association shall be governed by the Geprodis Code of Group Procedure and any amendments thereto that such portion or unit of the Association may make for the conduct of its own meetings.

Article II
Groups

                1. The members of the New York Uptown Syndemiatric Association shall be organised into Groups, each Group consisting of not over 25 members, and an average of about ten per Group bring maintained by combining or splitting Groups, or by transferring members from One Group to another.

                2. Each Group shall elect a Delegate, subject to the Groupís instructions, and holding office until that Group decides to elect a new Delegate; these Delegates shall be grouped into Squad Committees, whose membership shall be subject to the same provisions as that of Groups, as provided above.

                3. Each Squad Committee shall elect a Delegate, subject to its instructions, and holding office until the Squad Committee decides to elect a new Delegate; all Delegates within a given Section Committee, whose membership shall not be over 25 Delegates, the membership of Section Committees being maintained as close as possible to an average of then by re-alignment of Section boundaries whenever requisite.

                4. Re-alignment of Section boundaries, or splitting or combining of Groups or Squads, or transferral of members from Group to Group or Groups from Squad to Squad, may be done by the Central Board of the Association at any time.

                5. If it be found necessary to so organise that any Squad should contain only a single Group, the entire Group shall also act as Squad Committee, and its Delegate shall be sent direct to the Section Committee.

                6. Should any Section contain only a single Squad, the Squad Committee shall act as Section Committee until another Squad can be organised within the Section, or until re-alignment of Section boundaries alters the situation

                7. Each Group shall be under instructions from the Squad Committee or the Section Committee to which it belongs; and each Squad Committee shall be under instructions from the Section Committee of its Section.

Article III
Central Board

                1. The Central Board of the New York Uptown Syndemiatric Association shall consist of a Delegate elected by each Section Committee, each such Delegate being subject to instructions from his or her Section Committee, and holding offices until the Section Committee decides to elect a new Delegate; and the five Association officers to be elected at each meeting of the Central Board.

                2. The Central Board shall meet at least once a month; all Section or Squad Committees shall meet at least twice a month; and all Groups shall meet at least once a week.

                3. The Central Board shall have power to adopt standing rules for the Association in so far as they do not conflict with this Constitution, and to give instructions to all subsidiary units of the Association which shall be binding on all such units, and to act on behalf of the Association in its relations with outside parties or with its Community Doctors.

              4. The officers of the Association shall be President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Membership Recorder.

                5. It shall be the duty of the President to supervise the general activities of the Association end the conduct of the remaining officers, to preside over the meetings of the Central Board, to set as Arbitrator in tribunal sections of the Central Board, and to supervise the relations of Community Doctors with the members of the Association.

                6. It shall be the duty of the Vice-President to act as President whenever the President is unable for any reason to carry out the duties of that office, and to assist the President in such duties.

                7. It shall be the duty of the Secretary to keep the minutes and records of the Central Board, and to carry on all correspondence on behalf of the Association.

                8. It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to take care of the Treasury of the Association, to keep accounts of receipts and expenses of said Treasury, and to render statements of such accounts to the Central Board.

                9. No subsidiary units of the Association shall be directly under control of the Central board, except in so far as the Central Board may delegate to any individual or portion of the organisation the authority to handle any such articles.

                10. It shall be the duty of the Membership Recorder to take charge of the admission of members, to keep the membership roll, to assign the members to groups and the groups to Squads, and to handle the details of any transference of grouping alignment within the Association.

Article IV
Membership

                1. No Group, Squad, or Section shall be authorised to admit its own members; but such authority shall be vested in the Membership Recorder and his authorised agents, subject to instruction and supervision by the President and the Central Board.

                2. Applications for membership shall be addressed to the Membership Recorder, and, upon being, received, the applicantís qualification shall be duly investigated, and, if no reason is found for excluding the application, a membership card shall be granted, and the applicant assigned to a Group in the proper Section, according to residence.

               3. The Membership Recorder may appoint a Section Agent from each Section as an assistant in handling membership applications and transferrals in that section; and, in such case, membership application shall be referred for action to the Section Agent for the Section in which their applicant resides.

                4. Members must be at least 18 years of age, and must reside in the district covered by the New York Uptown Syndemiatric Association; and, until the Central Board shall define said district otherwise, it shall consist of the Borough of the Manhattan north of 110th Street, and of the Borough of the Bronx west of the Bronx River.

                5. Rejection of membership applications maybe be appealed as follows: From a Section Agent to a plenary session of all Section Agents and presided over by the Membership Recorder; from this plenary session, or from the Membership Recorder, to the President; thence to the Central Board; in the course of appeal, any of these steps maybe be omitted, passing to a higher appeal directly.

                6. Members shall be required to pay dues of one dollar per month, due in advance on the first of the month; such dues to be evidenced bye dues stamps being affixed to the membership card by the officer receiving them.

                7. All dues shall be payable to the Treasurer, but Group, Squad, or Section delegates may receive dues on behalf of the Treasurer from members of the units they respectively represent.

                8. Any member in arrears of dues for over three months shall be dropped from membership, but may be re-instated thereafter on payment of all arrearages provided such arrearages are paid within three months after such removal.

                9. Members maybe be suspended or expelled only by election of a tribunal session having jurisdiction over that individual member.

Article V
Cross Groupings

                1. Members allied by common interests but not organised in Groups according to such interest may, under the supervision of the Central Board, be permitted to organise cross-groups, which should in turn be organised into cross-grouping squads and again into cross-grouping divisions or sections; each such unit sending delegates, with voice but no vote, to the committee of the lowest main-grouping unit of the Association having control of all members of the cross-grouping unit; or the Central Board, if no lower unit has such control.

                2. Similarly, Groups may be organised into cross-grouping squads, or Squads may be organised into cross-grouping sections or divisions; a cross-grouping division being an organisation of squads, whether of the main grouping or of a cross-grouping, cutting across recognised Section boundaries.

                3. All systems of cross-grouping shall be under strict supervision and control of the appropriate units of the main grouping, and all instructions and rules of cross-grouping bodies shall yield in precedence to co-ordinate bodies of the main grouping.

Article VI
Affiliated Organisations

                1. The New York Uptown Syndemiatric Association may contract affiliations for mutual aid and support with other organisations whose purpose is related to its own, and not in conflict therewith; and the Central Board may send a voice but no vote in the Central Board.

                2. The New York Uptown Syndemiatric Association may make arrangements of confederation with other organisations of the same form constitution and pursuing a similar object and purpose in districts outside that covered by the Association.

                3. The New York Uptown Syndemiatric Association may affiliate with other outside organisations employing Community Doctors in some form, by making affiliated organisation on the bases of each organisation paying a specified share of the salaries and expenses of Community Doctors employed simultaneously by those organisations; in case of such affiliation, the Central Board may send or receive delegates in the same manner as outlined in Provision I of this Article.

Article VII
Community Doctors

                1. Community Doctors may be employed by the Central Board, and may be neglected for the position by such officers, committees, or groups as the Central Board may authorise to act for the purpose.

                2. The duty of a Community Doctor is to give free medical service, to the same extent as would be required of a fully paid private physician, to all members of the New York Syndemiatric Association and to their dependents residing with them, at any place within the district covered by the activities of the Association; and to give free medical advice to all such persons within the said district for the purpose of preservation of their health.

                3. Community Doctors may also be employed as specialists, and other, persons maybe be similarly employed for services auxiliary to medical ones; and the duties of such persons shall be similar to those of regular Community Doctors, but limited to their own special field of employment.

                4. Community Doctors, including specialists and auxiliaries, shall be paid on an exclusively salary basis, and shall not be permitted to collect medical fees from anyone receiving service from them as provided for by their duty to the Association; the Association shall also pay for the maintenance of their office and for articles required for use in such office or in connection with their practice under the Association requirements.

                5. The Central Board may authorise the collection by Association (not by the Community Doctor) of a mileage fee when membership cases call for Community Doctor services outside the territory to which the Community Doctor is assigned, or of a fee to be charged when a Community Doctor is required to give outside service to persons not entitled to fee service as listed in Provision 2 of this Article; and the Central Board may further provide as to the disposition of said fees.

             6. Community Doctors shall become members of the Association automatically upon being employed as such, and shall be exempt from dues payment; they may also be admitted even though not resident within the district of the Association, in which case their Section shall be taken according to the location of the office provided for them by the Association within said district.

                7. A cross-grouping system for Community Doctors and their auxiliaries may be provided for the purposes of protecting their interests as such, and for the purpose of permitting them representation as such in the Central Board.

Article VIII
Tribunal System

                1. Complaints and disputes involving the rights and duties of members of Association shall be handled by tribunal bodies provided to hear and settle such disputes or complaints.

               2. Each tribunal body shall appoint an Arbitrator, who shall conduct hearings of disputes except where a plenary session is called for or appealed to, in which case the entire tribunal body, excepting such as are interested ties or partial in the case, shall hold the hearing.

                3. The Groups, Squads Committees, Section Committees, and Central Board shall be the tribunal bodies for cases not specifically given to other tribunal bodies; the corresponding bodies of cross-grouping shall also be tribunal bodies for settling questions coming within the purview of the particular subject for which such cross-grouping was organised.

                4. The tribunal body to handle a question in dispute shall be, where not otherwise indicated by the standing rules, the lowest body having control over all members or units which are parties to the dispute at the outset.

                5. The regular course of appeal shall be, within each tribunal body, from the Arbitrator to a plenary session; and from body to body as follows: from group to Squad Committee, then to Section Committee, then to the Central Board; but any steps in the course of appeal may be passed over to appeal directly to a still higher body.

                6. When the Central Board holds tribunal session, the President shall act as Arbitrator.

                7. Suspension or expulsion of members, or abridgement of membership privileges, may be ordered by a Group, Squad Committee, Section Committee, or Central Board acting as tribunal body upon complaint in regard to misconduct of such members, and after full hearing of such members thereon; but no expulsion shall take effect until after ratification by a two-thirds vote of a non-tribunal session of the same body; tribunal bodies consisting of cross-grouping units may similarly expel or suspend members from the cross-grouping system of which they are a part.

Article IX
Meetings

                1. A quorum of any body or unit within the Association, for non-tribunal session, shall be one-third of the voting membership of said body or unit.

                2. When a quorum is not present, no business can be done except to adjourn or to call a special meeting for a fixed time and place; the third successive non-quorum meeting of the same body may proceed as if a quorum were present, subject to reversal by a tribunal body on proof of connivance at the absences.

                3. In the case of all units of Association except the Central Board, the chairman shall be elected at each meeting, and the Delegate shall be the Secretary of the unit.

                4. If any meeting of the Central Board fails to set on election of officers, the incumbents shall be considered re-elected until the next meeting.

Article X
Amendments

                1. Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed by any Group, Squad Committee, or Section Committee of the main grouping, or by the Central Board. Thereupon it shall be announced to all Groups by the Central Board, and Group Delegates shall obtain the vote of their respective Group by polling each member (asking for their opinion for or against the proposal) and reporting to the Squad Committee, accounting for all non-voting members; the Squad Delegate shall total up the reports and pass it on the Section Committee, and in similar manner the Section Delegate shall total up the reports for all Squads and report to the Central Board, which shall total all Section Delegate reports on the subject; a majority total of the entire membership in favor of the amendment being required to put the amendment in effect as part of this Constitution.

                2. Groups, Squads, and Sections may draw up their own constitutions and provide for means of amending them; but in every case a constitutional standing rule of a higher unit shall prevail against the constitution or standing rules of a lower unit, in case of conflict.

 

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