What is a caucus?
A caucus is a group of people who self-identify within the same specified parameters, in the case of CATU caucuses this means belonging to a systemically oppressed minority. Belonging to a caucus carries the same weight in terms of national representation as a local group; you elect a national representative as well as any committee or steering roles within the caucus that may arise, but there are no inherent responsibilities. For example, an LGBT+ caucus may wish to get active on LGBT+ related housing and community issues but it is not obliged to
We acknowledge the external burdens that many of our members, particularly those who are a part of oppressed minorities, face and believe they deserve representation regardless of their capacity.
What is meant by systemic oppression?
CATU as of its first AGM has adopted an anti-capitalist outlook. As an organisation oriented towards working class communities, we understand oppression exists generally under capitalism. Systemic oppression relates specifically to those who suffer disproportionately under the current system. There are segments of people who experience oppression in a sharper way because of their background or their identity and these people are generally an underrepresented minority both in wider society and the union.
Some criteria that may indicate systemic oppression include (but are not limited to):
- Fewer job opportunities (including not having a right to work), lower wages, unsafe working conditions, mistreatment at work etc.
- Discrimination in housing access or social housing/welfare payments, being forced to live in overcrowded or unsafe conditions etc.
- The assigning of stereotypes and characteristics to people based on their background or nationality.
- Stigmatisation because of someone’s background.
- Living with less access to services like healthcare, education, transport etc.
- Dealing with violence because of someone’s identity or how others perceive them – whether that be physical or emotional violence
- Coming from a background which has a higher-than-average rate of mental health issues, suicide, or incarceration, or coming from a community with a lower-than-average life expectancy.
- Inability to communicate in one’s preferred tongue, and lack of language accessibility.
The first pilot caucus group based on response will be the LGBT+ caucus. Further caucuses will be built based once membership numbers in that area have hit a desired figure (15 members) and approved by the currently sitting national committee to vet they are in line with the principles and ethos of the union.