Article I. Name.
The name of the Local Chapter shall be the San Diego Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (National DSA). National DSA is a not-for-profit corporation.
Article II. Purpose
Section 1. Preamble.
We are socialists because we reject an economic order based on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power, discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability status, age, religion, and national origin, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo. We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality and non-oppressive relationships. We are socialists because we are developing a concrete strategy for achieving that vision, for building a majority movement that will make democratic socialism a reality in America. We believe that such a strategy must acknowledge the class structure of American society and that this class structure means that there is a basic conflict of interest between those sectors with enormous economic power and the vast majority of the population.
Section 2. Mission and Principles.
To promote the organization and resistance of the working class and the broader block of the oppressed in order to abolish relationships of domination and exploitation. Stated plainly, socialism. Ours is a mission of abolition of capitalist relations: we desire to break free from the oppressive relations of power that define what we are in order to see what we can become.
We engage in this process through a democratic procedure and through a conduct of solidarity and mutual aid.
At the root of our socialism is a profound commitment to democracy, as means and end. DSA fights for reforms today that will weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people. For example, we support reforms that:
- decrease the influence of money in politics
- empower ordinary people in workplaces and the economy
- restructure gender and cultural relationships to be more equitable.
We are activists committed to democracy as not simply one of our political values but our means of restructuring society. Our vision is of a society in which people have a real voice in the choices and relationships that affect the entirety of our lives. We call this vision democratic socialism — a vision of a more free, democratic and humane society.
Article III. Membership.
Section 1. Qualification.
Membership shall be open to every dues paying member of the DSA who resides or works in San Diego County.
Unless otherwise requested by the member, every dues-paying member of DSA who resides in San Diego County. shall be a member of the San Diego Chapter. In special circumstances, membership may be granted to a non-resident.
Subsection 1.1. Ban On Law Enforcement Officers
Law enforcement officers and their functionaries are banned from DSA, including officers, or employees of any police, sheriff, FBI, CIA, U.S Marshals, DHS, CBP, and ICE agencies, any prison guards, and those of the city attorney, district attorney, or U.S attorney’s office involved in criminal prosecution.
Section 2. Dues.
Dues are set by the DSA National and must be paid to the DSA National office. Voluntary member dues may be established on behalf of DSA San Diego, but their nonpayment may not restrict membership status or eligibility to participate in the General Assembly or serve in Working Groups, or Branches.
The General Assembly may consent to pay the dues on behalf of its members on a case-by-case basis, ensuring the fair and equitable treatment of all Chapter members.
Section 3. “Good Standing.”
Members are considering in “Good Standing.” provided that they are considered in good standing with DSA National and may participate in all decisions or activities of the Chapter on the provision that they act in accordance with the mission and principles as articulated in Article II, and observing the code of conduct in the following section.
All persons participating in the activities of San Diego DSA Working Groups or Branches, or exercising any other decision making role in the Chapter, must, after a possible brief introductory period, be members in good standing of the DSA.
Section 4. Socialist and Democratic Code of Conduct.
In keeping with the general mission of our organization and our chapter, all membership must observe a code of conduct that exemplifies solidarity and mutual aid — the cornerstones of democracy and socialism. This means, firstly, that our members are to be held in good faith as comrades. And as comrades, we struggle to understand where we all are coming from and to be patient with these sometimes tense viewpoints. Comrades are to treat each other with utmost respect, at all times, and exemplify socialist and democratic ideals -.
However, if a member promotes a toxic environment or consistently and repeatedly betrays the principles outlined here or in our “Mission and Principles” section, then their good standing is subject to revocation by either the General Assembly or any mediating/conflict resolution body/organ (and its process) established by the Chapter (see subsections 4.1 and 4.2).
Subsection 4.1. General Dispute Resolution
The 2018/2019 Steering Committee is Directed to Draft a proposal for this section to be Passed, Amended or Rejected by the General Assembly. The first instance of making the General Dispute Resolution process may be passed as a simple resolution and need not meet the super-majority normally required to amend these bylaws.
Subsection 4.2. Harassment Policy.
In line with the DSA Harassment Policy passed by Resolution 33 at the August 2017 national convention, DSA San Diego follows a democratically-adopted policy for investigating and resolving harassment grievances. Our policy attempts to correct for majoritarian biases by devolving decisions to groups directly impacted by a range of common harms — non-men for sexual abuse and gender harassment; people of color for racial bias, insensitivity, and harassment; and queer/trans individuals for cishet discrimination. We recognize that whorephobia is often overlooked, and that is why our policy explicitly supports sex workers. We also recognize the reality of generalized aggression and look to this policy and its implementers for remedies there as well.
Firm as we must be in responding to threats to member safety, DSA San Diego hopes the net result of this policy is a positive atmosphere in which members recognize our potential for continual improvement at the levels of the individual and the collective.
Adopted directly from DSA National Harassment Policy, passed as Resolution #33 at the 2017 National Convention.
- Prohibited behavior – identity-based. Members shall not engage in harassment, defined in (d) below, on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical appearance, disability, race, color, religion, national origin, class, age, or profession, or status as a sex worker.
- Prohibited behavior – other protected classes. A member who feels they are a victim of harassment based on identity not of a category listed in section (a), can ask the HGOs to evaluate their complaint as an identity based complaint. The HGOs will have a discretion to treat the case as identity based.
- Prohibited behavior – Non-identity based. Members shall not engage in harassment or abusive behavior, such as bullying, violence, intimidation, and gaslighting of other members, regardless of identity. We recognize that political disagreement can become heated, and that we don’t have to like each other to organize together, but if a dispute crosses over from polemic or insensitive into harassment or abuse, then it can be addressed by the HGO process.
- Harassing or abusive behavior, such as unwelcome attention1, inappropriate or offensive remarks, slurs, or jokes, physical or verbal intimidation, stalking, inappropriate physical contact or proximity, and other verbal and physical conduct constitute harassment when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a member’s continued affiliation with DSA;
- Submission or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for organizational decisions affecting such individual; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating a hostile environment interfering with an individual’s capacity to organize within DSA.2
- Such conduct is unallowable anywhere, whether it takes place in DSA spaces, in the wider community, or online.
1 “Unwelcome” means in the sense that the member did not solicit or incite it, and in the sense that the member regarded the conduct as undesirable or offensive. See Henson v. City of Dundee, 682 F.2d 897, 903 (11th Cir. 1982).
2 A “hostile environment” is one in which the harassment is sufficiently severe or pervasive as to alter the conditions of membership and create an abusive organizing environment. See Meritor Sav. Bank, FSB v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57, 67 (1986). Whether harassment is severe enough to reach this level is determined by whether a reasonable person would be offended by the conduct. See id. at 77. Further, in evaluating the severity and pervasiveness of harassment under this standard, DSA representatives should focus on the perspective of the victim. See Ellison v. Brady, 924 F.2d 872, 878 (9th Cir. 1991). This means critically analyzing, among other things, the different perspectives of those in a protected class. See id.
Harassment Grievance Officer (HGO) Appointment Procedure
Appointment of two Harassment Grievance Officers will take place as a discussion, and then vote at an HGO appointment meeting dedicated to this purpose meeting. The date and location of the appointment meeting will be communicated to the full chapter at least 30 days in advance.
Participants of the HGO appointment meeting must be members in good standing. Eligible voters must comprise a minimum two-thirds of people who are not men or who identify as a member of a marginalized identity. If more than one-third of the group is non-marginal identity men, the men must exit the meeting space to discuss which will participate in the discussion. This is designed to keep non-majority voices and experiences at the center of these decisions.
HGOs will serve one-year terms. Should an HGO leave the chapter before the end of their term or resign from HGO responsibilities, a caucus organized around affinities of marginalized identity or, should such a caucus be unable or unwilling, the Leadership Council will convene a special meeting to appoint a partial-term HGO.
An HGO for DSA San Diego cannot hold a position on the Leadership Council while also holding the billet of HGO.
Harassment Grievance Officer Responsibilities
Harassment Grievance Officers are responsible for responding to grievances that occur within the chapter. Grievances are filed when a member fills out the form available on the DSA San Diego website in the “Harassment Grievance” section, or completes the PDF version of the form and submits to firstname.lastname@example.org. HGOs will receive, acknowledge receipt of, and process filed reports. Within seven days of receiving a report, they will respond to the Filer and explain the next steps. Respecting the privacy of both parties, HGOs will not discuss grievances with chapter members or leadership beyond the minimum threshold necessary for just and restorative decisions.
In most cases, at that point the Filer will have the opportunity to decide whether to continue in the grievance process, knowing the limits of the process based on what their grievance is (for example, whether or not to enter mediation). The Filer must make their decision within a week.
In cases where particularly severe behavior is alleged, the HGOs should move forward regardless of the Filer’s willingness to participate in the grievance process. Reports of abuse on social media or in conversation may constitute grounds for HGOs to begin an investigation.
Once the filer of a grievance is briefed and agrees to proceed, the HGOs are then responsible for initially gauging credibility through fact-finding. HGOs should assess if the grievance in question is retaliatory or otherwise an abuse of the grievance process. Their fact-finding process should center survivors. Preliminary investigation may include interviewing other people with direct experience with the specific grievance, requesting further documentation, and speak to the Filer and Subject of the grievance. The goal is to gauge credibility — not gather every fact. The preliminary investigation will take no more than a week, regardless Subject cooperation or the availability of evidence.
The HGOs should then determine whether a grievance may be resolved via direct or indirect mediation in a sensitive manner — with the consent of the Filer — or if a grievance warrants suspending the subject and convening an ad hoc panel accountable for determining disciplinary action. Guidance for assessing the severity of the alleged behavior is provided below.
If mediation is deemed appropriate by the HGOs, both parties must participate in good faith. The Filer may choose at any point to appeal to the ad hoc panel and skip the mediation process.
If the Subject does not participate in the preliminary investigation or mediation in good faith, they will be suspended while an ad hoc panel is formed to determine disciplinary action. In the case of identity-based grievances, panels will be at least three-fifths constituted by members of the indicated identity. If the Filer becomes absent or unavailable for participation, the HGOs will decide whether to convene an ad hoc panel to continue the process.
A mediation will be considered concluded when both parties agree to the terms for conclusion. Should either party revoke their agreement with the resolution decided by mediation, the HGOs will immediately continue the grievance process by convening an ad hoc panel.
When an ad hoc panel makes its decision, the HGOs are responsible to implement that decision, potentially giving directions on the disposition of the Subject’s membership to the Leadership Council, the Chapter, and other relevant parties.
Once the investigation is concluded by either the HGO or the ad hoc panel, the HGO will document the recommended remedies. Documentation will be transferred from HGOs rotating out to new appointees, to assure accountability beyond HGO terms and a reference record of repeat offenses.
Members have the right to appeal identity-based HGO decisions to the DSA National HGO, a staff member vetted and appointed by the National Political Committee. Local expulsions for any reason may be appealed to the National Political Committee.
Ad Hoc Harassment Grievance Panel
Panel and Panel Makeup:
- HGOs may assemble a panel to make disciplinary recommendations on an ad hoc basis, with panel members chosen in line with the individual grievance and per identity traits self-disclosed by volunteer panelists. The purpose of the panel is to provide further assistance decision-making on the outcome of grievance cases where the HGO determines the grievance is irresolvable via direct or indirect mediation.
- The panel will vary based on the specifics of the grievance. It is the goal of DSA San Diego to form panels of people who self-identify in similar ways to the aggrieved. This is meant to make the person who filed the grievance feel more comfortable, as they know that their case will be heard by people who understand their unique struggles. Some of the suggested guidelines for panel selection based on hypothetical harassment scenarios are listed here:
- Racial harassment 3⁄5 people of color
- Cishet discrimination 3⁄5 queer voices
- Sexual harassment 3⁄5 non-man voices
- Disability-based harassment or discrimination, 3⁄5 non abled bodies
- To serve on a panel, one must be a dues-paying, active member of DSA San Diego.
- Serving on a panel will be voluntary. To volunteer, a member can sign up on a Google form that will be created by the HGOs and shared with the general membership. This form will ask members to self-identify if they feel comfortable doing so, so as to be able to form panels that consist of people who can identify with the aggrieved.
Results of HGO Decisions (Suspension and Expulsion)
Grievances that are brought to the HGOs will fall into three categories after an investigation has concluded:
- No justified grievance found
- Suspension: harassing member must perform specified tasks (e.g., training) in order to return to full participation in chapter activities
If a grievance is not found to be justified, no further action shall take place.
If a grievance is found to be justified once the investigation has concluded, further action will be taken by the panel. It may be decided that a suspension of a member or members is necessary while they complete further actions before they return to full participation in DSA San Diego. This may include sensitivity training, anger management training, or other programs meant to encourage personal growth and learning.
If it is decided by the HGOs and the panel that expulsion of a member or members is necessary, the member or members have the right to appeal to the national HGO for further review of the case.
Subsection 4.3. Political Discipline.
DSA San Diego is a multi-tendency organization without expectation of political unity or an ideologically proscriptive obedience. Members are nonetheless asked to regard our democratically articulated political Mission and Principles, as stated in these bylaws, as our shared yet diversely understood praxis. Behavior clearly contradicting or obstructing progress toward the Mission and Principles as stated in these bylaws, or in violation of the Socialist and Democratic Code of Conduct may subject a membership to sanction up to and including expulsion by the Leadership Council.
Procedure. The 2018/2019 Steering Committee is Directed to Draft a proposal for this section to be Passed, Amended or Rejected by the General Assembly. The first instance of making the General Dispute Resolution process may be passed as a simple resolution and need not meet the super-majority normally required to amend these bylaws. The language is to include procedure for the Steering Committee or some other body to bring and hear sanction charges, with right of defense and appeal for the person being charged.
Article IV. Meetings.
Section 1. Annual Convention
Open to all membership of the Chapter and shall be organized by the Leadership Council to be held once a year. The Annual Convention will provide membership with presentations of all ongoing campaigns and receive input from broad membership.
Given limited resources and capacities, membership will also decide which campaign committees are to be prioritized by the most active members, and that these campaigns receive maximum effort and are allocated sufficient resources in order to be successful.
While the Leadership Council is responsible for drafting agenda, it must also query membership for any additional motions or discussions that wish to be passed.
As the foundation of the chapter, the Leadership Council and all other committees are subject to the direction and critique of the assembly.
The Annual Convention shall be considered the “Annual Meeting” where local or state law may require.
Subsection 1.1. Major Campaign Selection.
At each Annual Convention members advocating a major will present their proposals for Major Campaigns for the coming year(s). The various proposals will be discussed, critiqued, and modified. Ultimately, the various proposals will be voted on by the Assembly and the top two vote getters will be selected.
Major Campaigns, being approved by the membership should be privileged in resources, space at meetings, and budgeting by the Leadership Council.
Section 2. Leadership Council
Composed of a) elected Leadership Council officers (2 branch chairs, the General Secretary, the Internal Organizer, the Treasurer, and the Communications secretary); and b) delegates (see section VI.5.) sent from Working Groups.
Leadership Council shall meet at least once month. Leadership Council is responsible for overseeing the cross-organization coordination of the Chapter, and for preparing forums and assemblies.
Leadership Council meetings are open to all DSA San Diego members in good standing, however the LC may call executive session to close the meeting only to LC officers and delegates.
Section 3. Working Group Meetings.
Working Group meetings are where things get done at DSA San Diego and are to meet at least once a month. Working Groups are open to anyone and can be formed membership please and require at least three members to form (unless otherwise stated by the Leadership Council). These are subject to the critique of the Leadership Council and the general assembly.
All Working Groups must elect at least one co-chair who oversees the execution of tasks within the committee and who will be tasked with maintaining communication with the Leadership Council and/or attending Leadership Council meetings.
Internal Working Groups, Resource Working Groups, Leadership Council-Subcommittees, and Caucuses are those that ensure the reproduction and growth of the organization. These include conflict resolution committees, internal communications, research, etc.
Campaign Working Groups are geared towards campaigns that the execution of the Chapter’s socialist strategy. Any member belonging to the San Diego Local Chapter may join a campaign committee, including branch members.
Section 4. Regular General Assembly Meeting
Open to all membership, the Leadership Council shall organize quarterly assemblies where membership will be provided with presentation of on-going DSA activities, and the most active members and elected leadership will be provided with input and get direction from a wider membership.
These spaces will also be used as a place for the wide membership to bring suggestions, questions, and grievances to the Chapter as they please. Leadership Council will be responsible to query membership in order to draft agenda.
These meetings must happen at least quarterly, but at the Leadership Council’s discretion can be held more often.
Section 5. Branch Meetings.
A branch is a subgroup formed to facilitate participation in the Local Chapter in a logistically convenient way. branches may be defined by geography (such as a neighborhood), membership, in an institution (such as a worksite or school), or language. It is expected that branches by able to carry out as much of the pillar functions of the Chapter for their members as necessary for their logistical purposes. The chair of a branch shall hold membership in the Leadership Council of the Chapter. Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) chapters within the geographic area defined by a DSA Chapter may affiliate as a branch of that Chapter, in which case the local YDSA chapter may send a representative to the Chapter Leadership Council.
Subsection 5.1. Branch Formation.
Branches may be formed when five (5) or more members of the Local Chapter, in good standing may request to be recognized as a Branch. They must apply to the Leadership Council in writing. Their application must include names of its members; a description of purposes, functions, and membership criteria; and any other information deemed necessary by the Leadership Council. A majority vote of the general membership at a GA Meeting shall be required to establish a Branch. YDSA chapters need only show proof of being an officially recognized chapter of YDSA as part of a generic request to be recognized as a Branch of the Local Chapter, subject to approval by a majority vote of the general membership at a Meeting.
Subsection 5.2. Structure, Membership, and Elections.
Each Branch shall have its own bylaws explicitly defining its purpose, functions, and membership criteria in detail. Such bylaws may establish the Branch’s methods and structures as long as they do not violate these [Chapters] bylaws. Each Branch shall be responsible for electing its Branch leadership and Leadership Council representation. Branch leaders shall be responsible for scheduling and organizing meetings and actions of their Branch. In the event of vacancy of a Branch leader or Leadership Council representative, the Branch may vote to elect new leadership or Leadership Council representation.
Subsection 5.3. Dissolution.
A Branch may have its status revoked by a majority vote of the membership at a Quarterly Assembly. A Branch may also choose to dissolve itself by means specified in its Branch bylaws. In the event that a Branch chooses to split into several new Branches, each new Branch must apply for membership through the same method as creating any Branch, although the Leadership Council may choose to waive requirements for certain documentation if it is identical to the prior or parent Branch.
Section 6. Special Meetings.
The Local Chapter Leadership Council or five percent of the membership may call a Special Meeting of the Local Chapter on at least seven days’ notice when an urgent and important matter requires deliberation. No matters other than those listed in the meeting notice may be brought to or raised from the floor at a Special Meeting.
Section 7. Quorum.
Given the multiplicity of spaces, standards of quorum will range across spaces.
Leadership Council Quorum: quorum for Leadership Council shall be half the total number of Working Groups rounded up, or 5, whichever is greater.
Working Group Meeting Quorum: Shall be set by the application for forming the Working Group, and approved by the Leadership Council and ratified by the GA.
General Assembly Quorum: Shall be 40 percent of the average attendance from the previous quarter. Attendance of members in good standing shall be taken at each meeting and averaged quarterly to determine quorum for the next quarter.
Article V. Governance.
Section 1. General Assembly.
The General Assembly is any meeting of the general membership, either in Annual Convention, the Quarterly Meetings (or more frequently as the Leadership Council may schedule), or special meeting. The General Assembly is considered to be the body with the highest decision making authority in the Chapter. However, given that the General Assembly is also the body that requires the most participation administrative tasks are delegated to the Leadership Council, Officers, and Working Groups.
Subsection Section 1.1. Membership Control of Agenda.
Generally speaking, the Leadership Council (see section “2” below) will set the agenda for meetings of the General Assembly, however if a significant portion of the membership would like to agendize an item which the Leadership Council cannot or will not agendize the general membership or a portion thereof may place an item on the agenda for the next General Assembly meeting by petition as follows.
The petition shall be no more than 10 pages (11 point font), and provide an explanation of the proposed action, be it an amendment of these bylaws, a reversing of a Leadership Council action, an affirmative action.
The petition must be issued to the Leadership Council by emailing it to the Secretary. Once the email is sent to the Secretary the petition may be circulated to membership for signature. The signature period shall last for 13 weeks or one quarter of a year.
If a number of members amounting to 10% of total which voted in the last election for Leadership Council officers sign the petition within the signature period, then the agenda item will be placed on the next meeting of the General Assembly. The Leadership Council can, if it elects to, call a Special Meeting, as described by these bylaws, to address the issue. The agenda item shall be circulated to the membership as all agenda items regularly are. The motion will be heard as any other motion, subject to normal rules.
Subsection Section 1.2. Membership Call for Special Meeting.
A petition as set out in Section 1.1 above may call for a Special Meeting for the item(s) to be heard and deliberated on. However to call a Special Meeting the petition must achieve the signatures of 20% of total which voted in the last election for Leadership Council. If a petition calls for a Special Meeting but achieves 10% or more signatures, but does not achieve 20% or more signatures, the Leadership Council must treat it as a successful petition under Section 1.1.
Subsection Section 1.3. Voting Agenda Availability
DSA San Diego implements a special rule of order to set the agenda of voting items in advance of the general assembly meeting in which they are considered.
Resolutions, including bylaws amendments, must be announced to membership 1 week before the meeting. The Leadership Council must specify deadlines for requests or petitions to add resolutions to this agenda announcement. These deadlines must be 48 or fewer hours before this announcement.
Amendments to resolutions, including amendments to bylaws amendments, must be announced to membership 2 days before the meeting. The Leadership Council must also specify deadlines for requests or petitions to add to this agenda announcement. These deadlines must be 48 or fewer hours before this announcement.
As the scheduling body, the Leadership Council must make its procedure for agendizing resolutions and amendments to resolutions available to the membership.
Resolutions and amendments to resolutions proposed after these deadlines can only be added to the agenda by suspension of the rules.
Subsection Section 1.4. Online Voting
For immediate decisions needing to be considered before the general assembly can meet, such as endorsement of an upcoming action or new coalition, the Leadership Council may hold an online referendum to consider the issue, with a minimum voting period of two days. Online voting is for decisions where the available options are tightly constrained (e.g. we are asked to endorse an event or coalition as it is — we either do or do not), or in emergencies.
Subsection Section 1.5. Absentee/Proxy Voting
Members fulfilling DSA duties on the day of the general assembly meetings, such as security, childwatch, or other DSA work, who want to vote on any issue being considered, can do so by emailing the Leadership Council with their conflict, and their position on each voting item, and their vote will be counted as if they were there. They can also choose a proxy voter to cast their vote for them, specifying that member’s name in the email. Members are allowed to proxy vote for only one person at any given time.
Section 2. Leadership Council.
Leadership Council is the core oversight organ of the Local Chapter composed of elected officers and delegates of Working Groups of the Local Chapter.
Subsection Section 2.1. Administration.
The Leadership Council shall administer the daily activities of the Chapter, including setting agendas for the Annual Convention, General Meetings, and Special Meetings, as well as reviewing the work performed by the various Officers and Working Groups.
Subsection Section 2.2. Powers.
The Leadership Council is given the following specific powers:
- Execute the duties of the various officers, as set out in these bylaws.
- Execute the directives of successful motions of the General Assembly, which are not called to be execute by Working Group, in conformance with these bylaws and the relevant motion of the General Assembly.
- Create committees for the performance of the tasks assigned to the Leadership Council and the various officers (Sub-Committees of the Leadership Council, described in section VI.7. of these bylaws.), in conformance with these bylaws.
- Raise and allocate funds, in conformance with these bylaws, and executed by the Treasurer.
- Call for reports and information from Officers, Working Groups, Branches, and Sub-Committees.
Subsection Section 2.3. Policies.
The Leadership Council shall be tasked with drafting policies to address day to day activities and gaps in these Bylaws. The Leadership Council shall have the power to draft and pass regulations dealing with the following:
- Information Policy governing the Leadership Council, Officers and Subcommittees.
- Rules of decorum of the meetings of the Leadership Council, and Subcommittees.
- Delegation of its authority to its various sub-committees.
The Leadership Council is invited to develop and present regulations and policies dealing with the following items to be passed, amended or rejected by the General Assembly:
- Information Policy governing Working Groups and Caucuses.
- Rules of Decorum covering the meetings of Working Groups, and the General Assembly.
- Use of the Chapters website and social media accounts.
- In concert with the Electoral Working Group, criteria for Endorsement, and other forms of symbolic or material support of Electoral Candidates.
Subsection Section 2.4. Develop and Propose Bylaws Amendments.
The Leadership Council will be some of the most active members of the Chapter, and members most embedded in the governance of the Chapter. As such, Leadership Council members will have valuable insights on how to make the governance of this Chapter more effective. The Leadership Council is invited to develop and present proposed amendments to these bylaws to be passed, amended, or rejected, as called for by these bylaws by the General Assembly.
Section 3. Officers.
Subsection Section 3.1. Officers and Terms.
The Leadership Council officers of the Local Chapter will be the Branch Chairs, a General Secretary, the General Secretary, the Internal Organizer, and the Treasurer). The Term of these officer positions is 6 months, except for the Treasurer, who has a term of 1 year. 6 month terms are broken down yearly into the time periods January 1 – June 30 and July 1 – December 31.
No member may serve in the position of Branch Chair for more than two consecutive years. No member may serve as any other non-Branch-Chair officer position for longer than three years. Term limits will begin to apply in the 2020/2021 year. Service as an officer prior to the 2020/2021 term will not count for the purpose of this term limit.
Exception can be made with a motion passed by the General Assembly to extend any one of the officerships term limit by one year, if the General Assembly finds that filling the position will be difficult to fill otherwise. Under such context an vice officer must be appointed to shadow and support the officers work — and thereby be trained to be able to run for the position in the following term.
Subsection Section 3.2: Attendance
Officers of the Leadership Council have a duty and expectation to attend and contribute to all meetings set forth by the Council, because LC officer duties are crucial to the functioning of the chapter infrastructure.
To be excused from a Leadership Council meeting, LC officers are required to send written, telephone, or electronic communication as an excusal to the Leadership council prior to a scheduled Leadership Council meeting.
Any LC officer who misses, without excusal, 50% percent of regularly scheduled meetings in a three-month period will be referred to review by the committee and can be subject to removal as articulated in Subsection 3.12. Removal of Officers.
The Leadership Council may consider extraordinary reasons for absence, provided that an officer submits a written request for consideration of the Leadership Council.
Delegates to the Leadership Council from each Working Group are expected to attend at least 50% of Leadership Council meetings. However, if the average attendance to meetings of a working group is less than 5, it is understood they may not have capacity to send a delegate, though they are still allowed to.
Subsection Section 3.3. Elections.
All officers will be elected in an online election. Rank choice voting will be used to elect each officer position. Candidates will present at the Convention, with the online election being conducted shortly thereafter.
Subsection Section 3.3.A Election of Treasurer.
The election for treasurer will take place about two months before the current treasurer leaves office. During this transition period, the newly elected treasurer does not replace the current treasurer immediately, but occupies the position of “treasurer elect.” The following procedure will go into effect whenever the current treasurer announces they will not seek re-election; or, announces they are resigning from the office of treasurer before the next election. In either of these cases,
Subsection Section 3.4. Vacancies.
Vacancy Policy for 2018/2019 through 2020/2021: In the event that there are not sufficient candidates to fill the various officerships (four positions including Internal Organizer, Treasurer, Communications Secretary, and General Secretary), those roles will remain open and can be elected at any meeting of the General Assembly by motion. In such event the various roles of unfilled officerships shall be distributed among the Leadership Council members. However, the Leadership Council must have at least two officers. If this two officer threshold is not met, a special meeting must be held to bring to the General Assembly the question of resolving the deficit in Leadership Council officers. In the event of a vacancy occurring in any officership, by resignation, removal or due to incapacitation, a special election for the remainder of the vacant member’s term shall be triggered within thirty (45) days after the opening of the vacancy if regular elections are not to be held within sixty (60) days of the vacancy. Special elections may coincide with a Regular Meeting.
Vacancy Policy beginning 2021/2022: In the event of a vacancy in any Local Chapter office, a special election for the remainder of the vacant member’s term shall be triggered within thirty (45) days after the opening of the vacancy if regular elections are not to be held within sixty (60) days of the vacancy. Special elections may coincide with a Regular Meeting.
Subsection Section 3.5. Co-Chairs.
There will be at least two Co-Chairs.
The Leadership Council Co-Chairs will be the elected branch chairs of each respective branch of DSA San Diego
The Co-Chairs will preside over Local Chapter and Leadership Council meetings or will appoint a substitute to assume the powers and duties of the presiding officer as specified in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised. The Co-Chairs will be the official public spokespersons for the Local Chapter and will facilitate such actions and policies as the Local Chapter’s general welfare may demand. They will be responsible for facilitating communication between the chapter & local communities, representing the views of the membership that elected them in the greater left community, as well as helping to advance the goals of the Local Chapter generally. They will be responsible for facilitating communication between the chapter, other local chapters of DSA , & between National DSA.
The Co-Chairs will report to Local Chapter Regular Meetings on the business of the Leadership Council Meetings, at which time a copy of the minutes of those meetings will be available for inspection.
Subsection Section 3.6. Secretary.
The Secretary (aka General Secretary) will be responsible for answering all correspondence and queries of the Local Chapter, for maintaining an up-to-date membership list of the Local Chapter, distributing copies of minutes and agendas to each Leadership Council member, and assuring that corporate records are maintained for legal status. They will ensure effective communication with national DSA, including the filing of any amendment to these bylaws. They will temporarily assume the responsibilities of the Co-Chair if neither Co-Chair is able to do so. The Secretary will be responsible also for the taking of minutes of all Local Chapter and Leadership Council Meetings, the collection and maintenance of Committee charters, notes, and meeting minutes, and making copies available to members promptly. They shall have custody of these documents, and of the resolutions, reports and other official records of the Local Chapter, and shall transfer official records in good condition to their successor. Official records shall include the documents necessary for continued functioning of the Local Chapter, such as member lists, and all documentation necessary to provide, to the general membership, transparent accountability of Local Chapter actions and decisions to the greatest reasonable extent.
Subsection Section 3.7. Treasurer.
The Treasurer will be responsible for the funds and financial records of the Local Chapter. All funds collected by the Local Chapter will be turned over to the Treasurer, who shall deposit them in a bank account under the name of the Local Chapter. In cooperation with the Communications Facilitator, the Treasurer will be responsible for ensuring that membership dues are paid up-to-date. The Treasurer will chair a Finance Sub-Committee of the Leadership Council if one is established by the Leadership Council; will prepare the annual Local Chapter budget and deliver the Local Chapter financial report to the General Meeting of the Local Chapter, as well as periodic progress reports as requested by the Leadership Council of the Chapter; will provide basic information to National DSA related to the operations and finances of the Chapter.
Subsection Section 3.8. Internal Organizer
The Internal Organizer is responsible for chairing the Internal Organizing committee (see Article VI: Working Groups Section 9: Internal Organizing Committee). They ensure it meets regularly and coordinates with the Mentors (See Article VI: Working Groups, Subsection Section 2.1: Working Group Mentors) to organize the chapter.
The goal of the Internal Organizer is to develop membership and participation in the Chapter, and help the Internal Organizing Committee do the same. The Internal Organizer (along with the Secretary) will be responsible for facilitating communication within the chapter. Internal education for new members and generally, social functions, and skill sharing will be the focus of the Internal Organizer.
Subsection Section 3.9. Communications Secretary.
The Communications Secretary will facilitate the Chapters work to develop mass communication functions both internally and externally. This shall include but not be limited to: email, Slack, and mass text for internal communication. It shall also include but not be limited to: social media accounts, and the production of media for external communication. The Communications Secretary will develop a media strategy to increase internal connectivity and external reach. The Communications Secretary will work with the Secretary to coordinate response to inquiries on the various communication accounts and channels developed and maintained.
Inquiries for any working group or caucus on the chapter’s social media or communications platforms shall be forwarded by the Communications Secretary or the Communications Committee to the Mentor of that working group (See Article VI: Working Groups, Subsection Section 2.1: Mentors) (unless some other point of contact is designated by the Working Group), who shall have the responsibility to take next steps.
Subsection Section 3.10. Additional Duties
The Local Chapter Leadership Council may assign additional temporary duties to an officer of the Local Chapter, so long as such assignments do not conflict with the designation of responsibilities outlined in these Bylaws.
Subsection Section 3.11. Board of Directors
For the purposes of meeting the requirements of local and state incorporation laws, the Chapter shall have a “Board of Directors” consisting of officers of the Leadership Council assigned for the purpose as logical and required by law. (For example, if the law requires a “Secretary” then the Chapter’s Secretary is a logical fit.) Officers of the Leadership Council so appointed do not gain any new or additional powers or responsibilities except those strictly required by law.
Subsection Section 3.12. Removal of Officers
Any Officer or Leadership Council delegate may be removed with the vote of the membership as follows. Membership seeking the removal of an officer(s) or LC delegate shall circulate a petition, which must state the following: (1) the name of the Officer and or LC delegate who the petition seeks to remove; (2) if the person is an officer, their office and duties as stated by these Bylaws; (3) a brief (no more than 1,000 word) explanation of the reason for the proposed removal. The petition must be issued to the Leadership Council by emailing it to the Secretary. Once the email is sent to the Secretary the petition may be circulated to membership for signature. The signature period shall last for 13 weeks or one quarter of a year.
If a number of members amounting to 20% of total which voted in the last election for Leadership Council sign the petition within the signature period, then the motion for removal must be heard at the next meeting of the General Assembly. If the motion is carried by 60% of the voting members (but no less than 50% of the members in attendance), the Officer or LC delegate is removed.
If 30% of total which voted in the last election for Leadership Council sign the petition the Officer(s) or LC delegate is suspended from zer duties as an officer or LC delegate, and a Special Meeting must be called within 30 days, at which time the motion for removal will be heard. If the motion is carried by 60% of the voting members (but no less than 50% of the members in attendance), the Officer or LC delegate is removed. If the Officer or LC delegate is not removed ze is no longer suspended.
Petitions for removal can be circulated online, or in person. Petitions may be circulated at official DSA functions without retaliation, so long as the act of circulating is not disrupting a meeting (such the folks leading the meeting could ask that the circulation take place before or after the meeting, but cannot ask the member circulating the petition to leave).
The Leadership Council may motion to remove an officer, by a simple majority of the Leadership Council for any of the following: (1) consistent failure to attend Leadership Council meetings and duties; (2) consistent failure to perform officer duties. Leadership Council may move to remove a LC delegate for the following: (1) consistent failure to perform agreed upon LC duties; (2) disruptive or deleterious conduct in LC. In such case the motion to remove will be heard at the next General Assembly meeting. If the motion is carried by 60% of the voting members (but no less than 50% of the members in attendance), the Officer or LC delegate is removed.
If an Officer or LC delegate is found to be suspended or expelled under this Bylaws’ Harassment Policy or Political Discipline Policy they are removed.
Removal of an officer means their position becomes vacant, and removal of a delegate means that member cannot serve as delegate for any Working Group for a period of 1 year.
Section 4. Delegates and Nominees to Local, Regional, State, and National Bodies.
Subsection Section 4.1. Annual National Convention.
Local Chapter delegates and alternates to the National Convention will be elected by members in good standing of the Local Chapter of DSA. Elections for the National Convention delegation shall be held on the schedule announced by the national organization.
Subsection Section 4.2. National Committees.
In the event that a national committee is being formed and the national DSA asks local chapters for nominees to serve on that committee, the Local Chapter Leadership Council shall notify all members in good standing and request volunteers. The names of all those who volunteer shall be forwarded to the national DSA for consideration, or if a limited number of nominees are requested, an election shall be held.
Article VI. Working Groups.
Section 1. Working Group Formation
The Chapter may establish Working Groups to organize around specific functions for the chapter or external campaigns. Members who wish to form a committee must submit a proposed written charter to the Leadership Council that includes a group name; a mission statement and objectives; If necessary, a proposed budget that shall include any planned donation drives; a list of at least five prospective members signed or affirmed by those members; a statement of whether the proposed Working Group is to be a standing committee of indefinite duration or a temporary committee to expire at a time certain or upon the occurrence of a specified event; whether membership in the Working Group is to be open to all members in good standing or limited, and if membership is to be limited, the number of members the Working Group shall have and the means by which members will be selected.
Once approved by Leadership Council the Charters for proposed committees must be distributed to the membership in the manner all other agenda items are distributed prior to the meeting, and may not conflict with these Bylaws or with the charters of other active committees. The Working Group will be officially chartered when the motion to approve it is passed by the General Assembly.
Members who are wishing to start a working group in DSA-SD must first make their intention clear by contacting the Internal Organizer. This can be done by either messaging them on the slack by direct message, by posting in 01-ask-sc, or by emailing the chapter email.
The Internal Organizer will then set up an interview with the comrades proposing the creation of the said working group. The members must perform this interview with the internal organizer or designated members of the Internal Organizing Committee in order to move forward with the chartering process.
The interview will function as a way to:
- Clearly communicate the processes, requirements, & responsibilities of creation of a working group.
- Organizing committee creation
- Working Group charter creation
- Organizing proposal creation
- WG elections once charted
- Assess the experience & knowledge of the prospective working group members.
- Any prior organizing experience?
- Any other organizations they were a part of in the past?
- How long have they been in DSA-SD (Dues paying members)?
- Amount of help they will need in creating a successful organizing project?
Once the interview has been conducted the members in question will then fall under the direction of the Leadership Council and will form an organizing committee. This organizing committee will function as a sub-committee of the Leadership Council
This Organizing Committee will need to develop the following:
- A Working Group Charter for their respective Working Group
- Mission statement and objectives
- List of at least five prospective members signed or affirmed by those members.
- Define if a Working Group is to be of an indefinite duration or a temporary one.
- Whether membership in the Working Group is to be open to all members in good standing or limited, and if membership is to be limited, the number of members the Working Group shall have and the means by which members will be selected.
- Co-chair positions and their term duration
- An Organizing Campaign Proposal. This Organizing Campaign Proposal shall have written:
- A specific Organizing Campaign relevant to the work of the proposed Working Group
- Specific Goals of the Campaign
- How the group intends to reach those goals. (Tactics & Actions)
- How the chapter will need to assist, for this campaign’s success
- Reasons why this campaign is relevant to a socialist vision
Once the Organizing Committee is formed, they will then elect committee co-chairs who will act as a liaison to the Leadership Council & the rest of the chapter. The committee chairs are encouraged to attend Leadership Council meetings as often as possible to provide updates on the progress of the organizing committees work. The Leadership Council will then provide guidance and suggestions on how to best develop their WG charter & organizing campaign proposal. Participation levels in Leadership Council meetings will be considered when deciding to charter.
The Internal Organizing Committee will be in intimate dialogue with the organizing committee in order to provide guidance, leadership, & suggestions in the creation of the working group. They will help with & facilitate in the creation of the WG charter & organizing campaign proposal.
The organizing committee will announce its creation to the whole of the chapter during its general meeting or branch meeting. Whichever comes first. They will then provide updates and reports on their progress in chartering to become an official WG at branch and general assembly meetings.
Once a working group charter & campaign proposal are created. The working group may then submit their charter to be ratified by the general assembly, but before their charter is allowed to be voted on, the SC will need to inspect the campaign proposal & charter made by the organizing committee.
Members who are in the organizing committee phase, cannot organize under the name of the WG being created or under the DSA name in general. The organizing committee can not endorse events under the name of the wg being created or under the DSA name in general. The organizing committee will not be allowed to endorse events on their own since they fall under the purview of the Leadership Council and will act as a sub-committee of it. Chapter Funds will not be given to the organizing committee for any type of organizing projects until the current organizing proposal has been completed and the WG has been chartered.
All wg’s who are currently organizing under the name of a wg but have not yet chartered will need to comply with the requirements of a working group within 6 months. This means providing a charter to be ratified & an organizing campaign proposal to be created. If this is not done within the next 6 months of this bylaws amendment’s creation, then the wg will cease to organize under the name of the said working group, form an organizing committee, and will automatically fall under the purview of the Leadership Council.
Section 2. Membership and Election of Working Group Leadership.
Membership in a Working Group shall be open to all Chapter members in good standing unless the Working Groups’ charter limits membership, in which case the terms of the charter shall control. Working Groups shall maintain an official membership list. After the committee is created, but by no later than the committee’s second meeting, the Working Group shall hold elections for a chair, co-chairs, or the officers called for by the Working Groups charter. Terms shall be for either six months or one year at the committee members’ choosing, and incumbents may stand for reelection. Non-DSA members may participate in the work of Working Groups but cannot hold leadership positions, or vote on official decisions of the Working Group.
All Working Group Chairs will be expected to report to the Leadership Council on the work of the respective Working Group
Working Groups shall send a delegate to Leadership Council (See: Article V: Governance, Sections 2 and 3). Delegates must be a DSA member in good standing and demonstrably involved in the working group being represented. Any further qualifications may be specified in the charter and can be specific to the working group, such as being elected or appointed. Working Groups are expected to send delegates to at least 50% of Leadership Council meetings.
Subsection Section 2.1: Working Group Mentors
Working Groups are required to elect or appoint one “Mentor” who attends Internal Organizing Committee (see: Article VI: Working Groups, Section 9: Internal Organizing Committee) meetings and is a point of contact for that committee. The process for choosing a mentor shall be specified in the charter and can be specific to the working group, but defaults to simple appointment for a 1 year term.
Mentors are expected to attend the monthly Internal Organizing Committee 100% of the time, barring unforeseen circumstances, and they are allowed to send substitutes. Mentors shall also help represent their entity’s needs for the purposes of chapter mobilizing. The Internal Organizing Committee exists to help individual entities in addition to working on the shared chapter infrastructure.
In the case that a Working Group has an average attendance less than 5, the mentor shall prioritize raising the attendance to 5, and shall be assisted by the Internal Organizing Committee to do so.
Branches, caucuses, and other entities in the chapter can optionally elect or appoint a mentor.
Section 3. Duties and Responsibilities.
The members of a Working Group are responsible for executing their respective body’s strategy in fulfillment of its objectives. Co-Chairs, if elected, are responsible for organizing their respective body’s members, running meetings, acting as liaisons to the Leadership Council, and serving as the Working Group’s points of contact to the membership.
The Leadership Council can ask that a Working Group keep official records of meeting dates, attendance, and meeting notes, which must be made available to the membership. This power is provided to the Leadership Council so that if there is a controversy about the conduct of a working group the Leadership Council and general membership can have access to information about the activities of said working group. This power should be used judiciously so that unneeded burden is not placed on the activities of our most active members in Working Groups. The Leadership Council should draft procedures to this end and propose then to be passed to the General Assembly.
When a working group’s proposed activities relate to the mission of another Working Group, the co-chairs of that Working Group shall be notified by the Chapter Secretary. Should a dispute arise between two or more Working Groups that cannot be resolved between them, it shall be resolved by an investigation of the Leadership Council (or a sub-committee thereof), which will provide a recommendation to be voted on at a meeting of the General Assembly (Quarterly Meeting or Annual Convention).
A Working Group’s activities shall be reviewed by the Leadership Council at its meetings, and meeting minutes and other Working Group documentation, as well as all financial receipts and statements, shall be kept up to date with the Local Chapter’s Secretary and Treasurer respectively. Working Groups shall report on their activities to the membership at the Annual Convention or more frequently at Quarterly Assemblies.
Section 4. Modification and Dissolution.
Working Groups may be dissolved or may amend their charters, including changes to the committee’s budget, with the approval of a majority of the votes cast at an Annual, Regular, or Special Meeting. Notice of a proposed committee dissolution or an amendment to a committee’s charter must be given to the membership by email or other electronic means at least at least two weeks prior to the meeting.
Additionally, working groups that are chartered as temporary working groups for a limited time or particular purpose shall dissolve automatically upon the expiration of the certain time or the occurrence of the particular event specified in their charter.
Upon dissolution, the member(s) maintaining custody of the committee’s records shall provide copies of those records to the Communications Facilitator.
Section 5. Major Campaign Working Groups.
Major Campaigns Working Groups are the committees formed to execute the campaign which are selected as major campaigns at the Annual Convention.
Major Campaign Working Groups are approved by the membership at the Annual Convention, and therefore do not need approval of Leadership Council to form, but do need their charter approved by the General Assembly. The Leadership Council should provide guidance with the process of drafting Major Campaign Working Group’s charters.
Section 6. Campaign Working Groups.
Campaign Working Groups are organized around an organizing campaign or field of struggle.
Section 7. Resource Working Groups.
Resource Working Groups are organized around specific skill and needs that can then work with other committee to provide necessary expertise and labor to aid other committee. Examples could be the existing social media working group, or a potential fundraising working group, or a legal committee, or a tech working group.
Section 8. Internal Leadership Council Sub-Committees.
Internal Sub-Committee are subcommittees of the Leadership Council, organized for the purpose of accomplishing the basic logistical tasks and internal development of the Chapter. These Committee may be formed and dissolved at the prerogative of the Leadership Council. For example, the Leadership Council may want to form a subcommittee for planning and doing the work of holding quarterly meetings such, that more members can join in doing that work and coordination, or the treasurer may want to chair a subcommittee devoted to fundraising, etc. Sub-Committees are technically a function of the Leadership Council, and are therefore not “Working Groups” but are described here because they provide another avenue for entry and participation of membership.
Section 9. Internal Organizing Committee
The Internal Organizing Committee is a special committee empowered by the Leadership Council to engage in Internal Organizing, including but not limited to the following functions:
- New Member Outreach
- Spoke Mobilizing Campaigns
- Mobilizing Calls
- Social Events
- Internal Education and Trainings
- Help develop new and current Working Groups
Although the Internal Organizing Committee exists to bottom-line this work, its goal shall always be that every member of DSA San Diego be involved in internal organizing work, and that it not be siloed in this committee.
The IOC is comprised of the Internal Organizer, an elected officer on the Leadership Council (See Article V: Governance, Subsection Section 3.8: Internal Organizer). The IOC meets monthly, and all working group Mentors (See: Article VI: Working Groups, Subsection Section 2.1: Working Group Mentors) are expected to attend and represent their working group’s needs.
In the event that a Working Group has an average meeting attendance of less than 5, the Internal Organizing Committee shall prioritize assisting Working Groups in developing their participation, especially with training and strategizing.
Article VII. Caucuses.
Any group of 5 or more members may form a caucus by submitting a proposal to the Leadership Council. The Leadership Council must recognize all such groups as caucuses as long as they align with the Chapter’s purpose (see Article II). Such recognition shall not be construed as having authority to officially act on behalf of the Chapter. Caucuses must be permitted to announce their meetings using the communication channels the chapter uses to announce Meetings of the chapter. Caucuses may dissolve themselves by notifying the Leadership Council. Caucuses can be organized around shared identities, or political identities, etc.
Article VIII. Electoral Participation Rules.
Section 1. Definitions
There shall be two tiers of endorsement within the San Diego Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America: Affirmation and Advocacy.
Section 2. Affirmation
Affirmations will be considered the weak form of chapter endorsement and will be formulated by an electoral working group (or in the absence of an existing electoral working group, of an electoral committee of the Leadership Council). The affirmation must be passed by a simple majority—or 51%—of those voting in a General Assembly meeting and/or via online voting.
The electoral working group (or the Leadership Council in its absence) shall publish the list of proposed affirmations 15 days prior to the General Assembly meeting in which the endorsement will be decided.
A successful affirmation means that the chapter informally endorses the candidate-in-question. If an electoral working group is in existence, the affirmation allows the electoral working group to develop material support for the candidate-in-question, if it so chooses, using only the internal resources of the working group. The working group may not request material assistance from1 the chapter for a candidate that has only been given the chapter’s affirmation. Nor are organs of the chapter e.g. Leadership Council, sub-committee, working groups, branches, caucuses, etc. able to provide this material assistance of their own volition. With the affirmation, the electoral working group must forge its own path.
The affirmation endorsement cannot be advertised on the chapters external communications networks (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and the candidate cannot be made aware by the chapter that they have received the affirmation. The candidate who receives a affirmation does not have the right to use the San Diego Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America’s name on their promotional material nor do they have the right to advertise the affirmation endorsement if they are made aware of it.
1 What is meant by material assistance are resources which the Leadership Council and/or other working groups, sub-committees, branches, and/or caucuses would have to spend money on and/or go out of their way to obtain. Things readily available and already existing in the chapter e.g. tables for tabling, banners, etc. should be made available to the electoral working group.
Section 3. Advocacy
Advocacy will be considered the strong form of chapter endorsement and can only be sought directly by a candidate explicitly seeking an endorsement from the Democratic Socialists of America.
Candidates seeking elected office for the Presidency of the United States can be considered for an advocacy endorsement by the San Diego Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America if and only if they have granted an endorsement from the national organization of the Democratic Socialists of America. If this endorsement has been granted by the national organization, then an electoral working group (or in its absence the Leadership Council) may formulate a resolution for advocacy to be voted on at the next general meeting. The electoral working group (or the Leadership Council in its absence) shall publish the list of proposed candidates for advocacy 15 days prior to the General Assembly meeting in which the endorsement will be decided. Any candidate that has been endorsed by the national body will automatically be considered for advocacy if the electoral working group (or Leadership Council in its absence) chooses to seek endorsement for the candidate-in-question.
Candidates running for office in the California state races e.g. the Governorship, State Attorney, State Treasurer, etc. and candidates seeking election in the U.S. Senate to represent the State of California may be considered for advocacy by an electoral working group (or in its absence the Leadership Council) by formulating a resolution to present to the General Assembly. This may be done independent of the national body.
Candidates seeking elected office in any local governments of San Diego County, the State Assembly, and/or candidates seeking election in the US House of Representatives must seek an endorsement from the San Diego Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America in order to be considered for advocacy. The electoral working group (or Leadership Council in its absence) will send the candidate-in-question interested in endorsement a questionnaire to be filled by the candidate and sent back to the electoral working group. Based on the responses from the candidate-in-question, the electoral working group (or Leadership Council it its absence) may choose to invite the candidate to speak before the General Assembly and present their case for endorsement to the membership. The answers to the questionnaire shall be made public to membership and the candidate must appear before the General Assembly and present their case for endorsement to the membership in order to be considered for advocacy. If a candidate-in-question fulfills the aforementioned requirements, their resolution for endorsement will automatically be considered a vote for advocacy.
Advocacy for a candidate must be passed by a three fifths majority—or 60%—of those voting in a General Assembly meeting and/or via online voting. If an advocacy vote fails, then the electoral working group (or the Leadership Council in its absence) may seek a affirmation vote for the candidate-in-question.
A successful vote of advocacy means that the chapter formally endorses the candidate-in-question bestows all of the rights to the electoral working group (or the Leadership Council in its absence) as a successful affirmation vote. In addition, a successful vote of advocacy allows the electoral working group (or the Leadership Council in its absence) to request material assistance and support from the chapter. A successful vote of advocacy also means that the chapter and other working groups belonging to the chapter may use any and all the resources at their disposal in conjunction with the electoral working group (or Leadership Council in its absence) with the goal of helping to elect the candidate-in-question. The successful vote also means that the candidate-in-question has established formal ties with the San Diego Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America and may advertise their endorsement from the chapter in their campaign material.
Upon a successful advocacy vote, if no campaign strategy has been attached to the endorsement resolution then the electoral working group (or the Leadership Council in its absence) has the authority to pursue the campaign strategy it deems fit for working with the candidate-in-question.
Section 4. National Endorsements
The electoral working group may participate in limited campaigns (e.g. phone banking, developing materials, etc) for candidates and/or issues endorsed by National DSA and/or at the request of another local DSA chapter in races falling outside of San Diego DSA’s jurisdiction.
For these limited campaigns the electoral working group may not use any materials from the chapter and is not permitted to brand themselves as San Diego DSA if the candidate and/or issue has not been endorsed by San Diego DSA; they must use the branding of the national body and/or the chapter that made the request.
The electoral working group may only participate in limited campaigns without the chapter’s endorsement for candidates and/or issues falling outside of the chapter’s jurisdiction. The electoral working group must seek an endorsement to work on campaigns using the chapter’s materials and branding in races under the chapter’s jurisdiction: candidates running in city and county elections in San Diego County; candidates running for State Assembly, State Senate and/or Congress representing a district within San Diego County; state elections e.g. Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Attorney, US Senate representing the State of California, etc; and candidates running for national office e.g. the Presidency.
Section 5. Voter Guide
The electoral working group has the ability to form a voter’s guide independent of chapter endorsements. A candidate who has received either form of endorsement allow the electoral working group to put the candidate-in-question on the voter guide without debate. Both the affirmation and advocacy form of endorsement allows the electoral working group to indicate in the voter guide that the candidate-in-question has received a chapter endorsement without distinction.
Any procedures not mentioned in this document about the voter guide is under the authority of the electoral working group to develop.
Section 6. Revoking Endorsements
If the chapter deems it necessary, for any reason, it may choose to revoke any type of endorsement — affirmation or advocacy — by a two-thirds majority at a General Assembly meeting with online voting included or by emergency election called by the Leadership Council with no less than 50% of the membership participating in the vote. Revoking an endorsement rescinds all rights granted by an endorsement to the electoral working group (or Leadership Council in its absence), chapter, and candidate-in-question.
Article IX. Amendments.
Proposed amendments to these Bylaws must be made by written resolution, endorsed by five members of the Local Chapter, and submitted to the Leadership Council a month in advance of a Quarterly Assembly. The Leadership Council shall take at most one week to process the amendment and must then provide the Local Chapter membership written or electronic notice of the proposed amendments. The amendment must be approved by a 60% supermajority vote at a Quarterly Assembly, but not less than 50% of the total members in attendance.
Proposed Amendments to bylaws must be published at least 30 days prior to the GA Meeting in which the Amendment will be decided.
Article X: Coalitions and Partnerships
Section 1: Invitations for San Diego DSA to support non-DSA events
When we are asked for endorsement and support of events, we lay out the following policies for our participation, which falls into 2 categories: endorsement and support. Our working groups may independently choose to materially support events, and this section does not address that. This section only addresses what happens when support or endorsement is requested from us by an outside organization.
Events in this section include any that are predominantly led, formally or informally, by other organizations (called the hosting organization). A supporting organization is any organization participating in the event that is not the hosting organization, providing an amount of support comparable to the amount requested from DSA.
Subsection 1.1: Endorsement
Endorsement means we affirm that the politics of the event are in line with our values, and use our social media platforms to further the publicity of the event. We may also encourage our members to attend.
To begin the process of an endorsement, a representative of the hosting organization must request an endorsement from DSA San Diego through any of our official communications channels. Any San Diego DSA member can forward a request for endorsement to the Leadership Council for consideration.
The vote to endorse will be considered at the next general assembly meeting or branch meeting if the following are true:
- The request is made at least 1 week before a general assembly meeting or branch meeting, so advance notice can be given to the membership.
- The event in question takes place after said meeting
- The delay of waiting for this meeting is not disruptive to the event.
Otherwise the Leadership Council will vote on the endorsement.
Subsection 1.2: Support
Support we might give includes but is not limited to logistical support, participation during planning, mobilizing our membership to the event, providing speakers or outreach, serving as security, and fundraising.
When the chapter considers a request for support, the following occurs:
- The hosting organization makes a request for support, as defined above. They are encouraged to be specific as to what kind of support is requested.
- In the case of DSA being among multiple supporting organizations, the following terms are laid out for DSA’s support:
- DSA will be acknowledged alongside all other supporting organizations, during all acknowledgements.
- DSA will have a seat at the planning table equal to any other supporting organization.
- DSA will have an opportunity for public speaking at the event that is equal to any other supporting organization, which we can accept if we choose.
- In the case of DSA being the only supporting organization, the following terms are laid out for DSA’s support:
- DSA will be acknowledged publicly during the event for its support.
- The hosting organization will meet with DSA members before the event to explain the event plan, answer questions, and consider feedback.
- The hosting organization agrees to all terms.
- At least one DSA member has stepped up to bottom-line coordinating DSA support for the event.
- The appropriate body votes.
The vote to endorse will be considered at the next general assembly meeting or branch meeting if the following are true:
- The request is made at least 1 week before a general assembly meeting or branch meeting, so advance notice can be given to the membership.
- The support requested is to be given in a time period after said meeting, not before.
- The delay of waiting for this meeting is not disruptive to the event.
Otherwise the relevant working group will vote on the endorsement. If there is no relevant working group, the Leadership Council shall vote.
Section 2: Inviting other organizations to support DSA events
When we ask other organizations to participate or support our events, we provide them the same provisions we request in Subsection 1.2: Support. We must provide the following (at a minimum)
- A specific ask for support from their organization and clear terms for participation, including the following.
- A seat at the planning table leading up to the event, allowing for at least 1 participant from the organization in every committee, voting alongside any of our member participants, as well as an advisory position during leadership meetings if desired.
- During the event
- Acknowledgement of the supporting organization, commensurate with every other supporting organization.
- Opportunities for speakers, commensurate with every other supporting organization.
Working groups can decide which organizations to invite to support independently.
Section 3: Coalitions
Coalitions constitute events and ongoing organizing structures in which DSA is an equal participant to all other involved organizations.
A working group must vote to join a coalition, and can do so independently. This is a provisional decision which must be ratified at the next general assembly. Until then, the working group can participate in the coalition as normal.
These bylaws place no general restrictions on these coalitions, as long as they meet the definition of coalition given above and are in line with bylaws Article II: Purpose, Section 2: Mission and Principles.
The participating working group can vote to leave the coalition at any time. Any DSA member can petition to add leaving a coalition to the agenda of a general assembly meeting by the procedure outlined in Article V: Governance, Subsection 1.1: Membership Control of Agenda.
When in coalitions, the working group shall provide reports on the status of the coalition work upon request of the Leadership Council.