How a Dues Drive Could Organize DSA

By Ari Marcantonio, East Bay DSA

Comrade Sean Monahan’s piece The Case for Monthly Dues does a great job of explaining why switching from annual to monthly dues would benefit DSA, but doesn’t have the space to detail specifically how such a transition would take place and what benefits the process could offer. That’s what I endeavor to do here.

We are entering a new chapter in both the history of our organization and socialism more broadly. To ensure that we make sound decisions and invest our limited resources appropriately, it’s essential to first know what we are working with; where does power lie within the organization? Which chapters have successfully self-organized? Where will we face our most pressing structural challenges? Who needs support and how?

These are just some of the questions we must answer to effectively lead our organization through the next two years and into the socialist future we all desire. To begin answering them, we need to find ways to test and develop DSA chapters across the country with quantitative metrics and productive outcomes. Continue reading “How a Dues Drive Could Organize DSA”

Spring Platform Amendment to our Provisional New Chapter By-Laws Amendment

By DSA Spring Platform Crew

After receiving feedback from delegates and members across the country, we are submitting an amendment to our Provisional New Chapter By-Laws Amendment.

If this amendment is passed along with the entire constitutional amendment, the Standard New Local Constitution would still automatically be used by new chapters. However, rather than being required to wait 6 months to make amendments, chapters may amend their Constitution at any point.

Under this new system, new locals will still be relieved of having to go through the arduous process of developing and/or ratifying a constitution when they are just getting off the ground. But if they are unhappy with the standard constitution, or if they prefer to develop their own, they are free to make changes or ratify a new constitution at any point. Continue reading “Spring Platform Amendment to our Provisional New Chapter By-Laws Amendment”

Dues Kickbacks: We Need Solidarity, not Local Fragmentation

By Jeremy Gong

Sean’s proposed monthly dues amendment and his proposal about how exactly the next NPC should implement this has received a lot of positive and negative feedback. Recently, Sean also proposed a resolution, to be voted on separately from the amendment, to incorporate some of the feedback while clarifying some confusion around the proposal itself.

One key response to Sean’s amendment, which has now taken the form of a separate amendment calling for a 50% kickback of national dues money to chapters, has gotten a lot of attention as well. In response to comrades who argue for this 50/50 dues split, I wanted to explain why I support a lower kickback percentage such as Sean’s suggested 80/20 split. While I will not try here to address some other questions why dues are important in the first place, I hope that by answering this question–why should we give most of the dues money to DSA National while the chapters do most of the organizing work?–I can also shed some light on my general support for Sean’s amendment and resolution. Continue reading “Dues Kickbacks: We Need Solidarity, not Local Fragmentation”

Statement on March on Washington

By Jeremy Gong

DSA Momentum has released a statement about our revised position on the proposed national Medicare for all campaign priority:

The internal DSA opposition to the March on Washington tactic has been thoughtful and articulated in good faith. Members have raised concerns about how smaller and newer locals, or locals far from Washington, would contribute. They have questioned how this march would be different from the cascade of other Marches on Washington this year. And many expressed that they would like to work with us on a national campaign so long as it did not center on this specific tactic. Continue reading “Statement on March on Washington”

Why a dues resolution?

By Sean Monahan

I’ve submitted a resolution concerning monthly dues, in addition to the amendment I’d already submitted. The text of the resolution is below. I know it may sound strange to try to put an amendment and a resolution up for a vote if they’re on the same topic. But let me explain the reasoning. The amendment and the resolution do different things.

The amendment establishes general principles: now our standard form of dues will be monthly, rather than yearly, we’ll have a separate dues category for low-income members and for brand new members, and so forth. The things that are written in a constitution and bylaws should be general, not specific, so there’s a lot of flexibility for the policies that are actually put in place. The elected leadership—the NPC— are tasked with figuring out the best ways to apply the principles put in place in the constitution and bylaws taking into account all kinds of moving pieces: the size and shape of the organization itself, the priorities of the organization, and the changing political and social forces we’re interacting with. To get too specific in the constitution and bylaws is to put binding requirements on a DSA that may encounter very different circumstances in the two years until the next conference when such rules can be changed again. That’s a big mistake under normal circumstances, and it would be an especially big mistake now, given the unusually high degree of flux our organization’s probably going to be in over the next two years. Continue reading “Why a dues resolution?”

The Case for Monthly Dues

By Sean Monahan, Rhode Island DSA

I’ve just submitted an amendment to DSA’s constitution and bylaws that would switch our dues system from yearly to monthly. The DSA constitution and bylaws are the rules that govern how the organization works, and every two years, the members elect delegates who have the opportunity to vote to amend the constitution and bylaws. At these biennial conventions the delegates also elect a National Political Committee (NPC), which represents our membership and makes decisions for the organization between conventions. My amendment would switch DSA to a monthly dues system and lay out some general principles by which the incoming NPC can develop and implement a specific plan. At the upcoming convention in Chicago on August 3–6, the delegates will have the opportunity to approve, modify, or reject that amendment (read the text here). I’m writing to explain to my fellow DSA members what I have in mind and ask you for your support for the proposal, or for your ideas to improve it ahead of the convention.
Continue reading “The Case for Monthly Dues”

Spring Platform – Part 2

The following proposals have been added to the Spring Platform as of July 6th, 2017. They were developed by a collaboration between the Spring Platform Crew, Jared Abbott of Boston DSA, and Sean Monahan of Rhode Island DSA.

  1. Petition Process for Debate: This amendment to the National DSA constitution creates a mechanism wherein 20% of locals or 8% of members can petition the NPC to take up an important issue and debate it out in the open, with reports back to the membership. This will give the membership of the organization a much greater say in the running of the national organization between biannual conventions, while increasing transparency and helping to keep the NPC accountable to members and locals. Importantly, the process of petitioning and publicly debating issues across locals and among national leaders will foster a culture of internal organizing and transparency, while also encouraging members to be more engaged and national leaders to be more inclusive with important decision-making processes. Finally, such a culture of open and inclusive debate and deliberation will contribute to the education of members in DSA politics and strategy, so they know why we are taking this or that course of action, and are equipped to critique and protest if needed. Continue reading “Spring Platform – Part 2”