Article I. Name and Territory.
Section 1. Name.
The name of the Local Chapter shall be the San Diego Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (National DSA), hereinafter referred to as DSA San Diego or as the Local Chapter. National DSA is a not-for-profit corporation.
Section 2. Territory.
The Local Chapter shall conduct activities in the County of San Diego within the territory defined by the charter granted by the National Democratic Socialists of America to DSA San Diego.
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. Individuals may not be members of the Local Chapter without being members of National DSA.
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.
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. Voluntary Donations.
As mandated by the National Constitution and Bylaws, the Local Chapter may establish a Local Chapter pledge system of voluntary donations for its members. The payment of a Local Chapter donation shall not be a requirement for voting or for holding Local Chapter office.
Section 4. “Good Standing.”
Members are considered 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 be members in good standing of the DSA.
Section 5. Socialist and Democratic Code of Conduct.
In keeping with the general mission of our organization and our chapter, all members must observe a code of conduct that exemplifies solidarity and mutual aid — the cornerstones of democracy and socialism. This means, firstly, that members are to be held in good faith as comrades. As comrades, members make the effort to understand each other and where others are coming from, and are patient with differing viewpoints even in moments of heightened tension. 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 the “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.
Subsection 5.1 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 the democratically articulated political Mission and Principles, as stated in these bylaws, as a
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 campaign 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 two campaign proposals with the most votes 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. Regular General Assembly Meeting
Open to all membership, the Leadership Council shall organize quarterly General Assemblies where membership will be provided with presentation of on-going DSA activities, and where membership can provide input and make decisions on the direction of the Chapter’s activities.
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. The Leadership Council will be responsible to query membership in order to draft the agenda.
These meetings must happen at least quarterly, but at the Leadership Council’s discretion can be held more often.
Section 3. 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 4. 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 General Assembly.
General Assembly Quorum: Shall be five (5) percent of the Local Chapter membership (but not fewer than six (6) persons. Beginning May 29th, 2023, the quorum for the General Assembly shall be ten (10) percent of the Local Chapter membership (but not fewer than six (6) persons).
Article V. Branches.
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,an institution (such as a worksite or school), or language. It is expected that branches be able to carry out as much of the pillar functions of the Chapter for their members as necessary for their logistical purposes. Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) chapters within the geographic area defined by Article 1. Section 2. may affiliate as a branch of DSA San Diego.
Section 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 General Assembly 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 General Assembly Meeting.
Section 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 Chapter bylaws. Each Branch shall be responsible for electing its Branch leadership, including the position of Branch Chair. Branch leaders shall be responsible for scheduling and organizing meetings and actions of their Branch. In the event of vacancy of a Branch leader, the Branch may vote to elect new leadership.
Section 3. Dissolution.
A Branch may have its status revoked by a majority vote of the membership at a General Assembly. A Branch may also choose to dissolve itself by means specified in its Branch bylaws.
Section 4. Splitting of a Branch.
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.
Article VI. Governance.
Section 1. Rules.
The Local Chapter may elect to adopt standing rules, which shall not be inconsistent with these bylaws, to administer the process and procedures of Local Chapter Meetings.
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern all Local Chapter Meetings to which they apply. If Robert’s rules are inconsistent with these bylaws or standing rules, then these bylaws or standing rules will apply.
Any action taken by a Local Chapter Meeting in contravention of these bylaws is null and void.
Section 2. 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 a 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 2.1 Membership Control of Agenda.
Generally speaking, the Leadership Council (see Article VII) 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, excluding signatures), and provide an explanation of the proposed action, be it an amendment of these bylaws, a reversing of a Leadership Council action, or an affirmative action.
The petition must be issued to the Leadership Council by emailing it to the General Secretary. Once the email is sent to the General Secretary the petition will 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 at least 2% of the Local Chapter membership (but no fewer than five (5) persons) 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 2.2. Membership Call for Special Meeting.
Membership of the Local Chapter may call for a Special Meeting of the General Assembly via petition by submitting one to the General Secretary with item(s) to be heard and deliberated on. The petition must achieve the signatures of 5% percent of the Local Chapter membership (but not fewer than ten (10) persons) in order to be considered a successful petition. If a petition calls for a Special Meeting but achieves 2% or more signatures, but does not achieve 5% or more signatures, the Leadership Council must treat it as a successful petition under Section 2.1
Subsection 2.3. 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 10 days 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 2.4. 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. the Local Chapter is asked to endorse an event or coalition as it is — the Local Chapter either does or does not endorse), or in emergencies.
Subsection 2.5. 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 member in good standing to act as 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.
Subsection 2.6. Voting majority.
Unless otherwise specified in these bylaws, a simple majority of members in good standing and current in their dues is required to transact business.
Article VII. Leadership Council.
The Leadership Council (LC) is the core oversight body of the Local Chapter composed of elected officers and delegates of Working Groups of the Local Chapter.
Section 1. Administration.
The Leadership Council shall administer the daily activities of the Chapter, including setting agendas for the Annual Convention, General Assembly Meetings, and Special Meetings, as well as reviewing the work performed by the various Officers and Working Groups.
Section 2. Meetings.
The Leadership Council shall meet at least once a month. Leadership Council meetings are open to all DSA San Diego members in good standing, however the Leadership Council may call for an executive session to close the meeting only to Leadership Council officers and delegates.
Section 3. 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 executed by Working Groups, consistent 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 Article X. 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.
- Approve or reject proposed Working Group Charters before they can be considered by the General Assembly. If rejected, the Leadership Council must specify what criteria the proposed Charter must meet in order to be approved.
Section 4. 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.
Section 5. 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.
Article VIII. Officers.
Section 1. Officers and Terms.
The Leadership Council officers of the Local Chapter will be the Co-Chairs, the General Secretary, the Internal Organizer, the Education Secretary, the Communications Secretary, and the Treasurer. The Term of these Officer positions is 1 year.Elections for Officer positions shall occur at the Annual Convention.
No member may serve in the position of Chair for more than two consecutive years. No member may serve as any other officer position for longer than three consecutive years.
Section 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 General Secretary prior to a scheduled Leadership Council meeting. The General Secretary shall be responsible for monitoring attendance of LC officers at Leadership Council meetings.
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 Leadership Council and can be subject to removal as articulated in Section 6. Recall 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.
Section 3. Elections.
All officers shall be elected in an online election. Rank choice voting shall be used to elect each officer position. Candidates will present at the Convention, with the online election being conducted shortly thereafter. The voting period shall be two (2) days.
Subsection 3.1. Election of Treasurer.
The election for treasurer shall take place 60 days 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.”
Section 4. Vacancies.
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 (30) 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.
Section 5. Officer Positions and Responsibilities
Subsection 5.1 Co-Chairs.
There will be two Co-Chairs of the Leadership Council.
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 5.2. 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, distributing copies of minutes and agendas to members for General Assembly meetings, 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 5.3. 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 General Secretary, the Treasurer will be responsible for ensuring that membership dues are paid up-to-date. The Treasurer will prepare the annual Local Chapter budget and deliver the Local Chapter financial report to the General Assembly 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 5.4. Internal Organizer.
The Internal Organizer is responsible for chairing the Internal Organizing committee and tracking Working Group Mentor attendance at its meetings (see Article X, Section 1). 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 Internal Organizer is also responsible for interviewing members interested in forming a Working Group, as well as helping them to develop a Charter proposal during the Organizing Committee phase (See Article X, Section 1).
The responsibility of the Internal Organizer is to develop the organizing skills of the Local Chapter’s membership, to foster participation in the Local Chapter through methods including membership outreach and social functions, and to help the Internal Organizing Committee do the same. The Internal Organizer (along with the General Secretary and Communications Secretary) will be responsible for facilitating communication within the chapter.
Subsection 5.5. Communications Secretary.
The Communications Secretary will facilitate the Local Chapter’s work to develop mass communication, 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 XI, Subsection 3.1.) (unless some other point of contact is designated by the Working Group), who shall have the responsibility to take next steps.
Subsection 5.6. Education Secretary.
The Education Secretary will encourage participation in internal education and trainings by leading the Education Committee (see Article X, Section 3). They ensure the Education Committee meets at least once per month.
The goal of the Education Secretary is to ensure all interested members are trained in the proper subject matter, as well as in the responsibilities of each position they may hold.
Subsection 5.7. 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 5.8. 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 General 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.
Section 6. Recall of Officers.
Any officer of the Local Chapter may be recalled for malfeasance or failure to fulfill their duties or obligations as an officer.
Subsection 6.1. Recall by Vote of the Membership.
In order to recall or remove an officer or delegate, a member in good standing must formally refer a request to the Leadership Council to remove said officer, which will set a date of a General Assembly Meeting for deliberations on the accused officer’s removal. The officer in question must receive written documentation of the specific reasons for the removal request and notice of the meeting a minimum of two (2) weeks before the meeting takes place. The accused officer will be given a chance to speak in their own defense at this meeting. Removal of an officer requires a two-thirds (⅔) vote of the General Assembly Meeting.
Subsection 6.2. Recall by Vote of the Leadership Council.
The Leadership Council may motion to remove an officer, by a two-thirds (⅔) vote 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.
This action must be reported at the next General Assembly Meeting, at which time members in good standing may overturn the vote.
The 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 a case, the motion to remove will be heard at the next General Assembly meeting. The LC delegate in question must receive written documentation of the specific reasons for the removal request. The accused delegate will be given a chance to speak in their own defense at this meeting. Removal of a delegate requires a two-thirds (⅔) vote of the General Assembly Meeting.
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.
Article IX. Delegates and Nominees to Local, Regional, State, and National Bodies.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 3. Method of Voting.
Following Article V, Section 5 of National DSA’s Constitution, delegates to the National Convention must be elected by secret ballot. And, “No election for delegates to the National Convention shall be held more than four months, or less than forty-five days, prior to the opening of the National Convention. No election for delegates shall be conducted before the apportionment of delegates.”
Following Article VI, Section 3, of National DSA’s Bylaws, Local Chapters “may determine their own method of election of delegates to the Convention except that a petition from 10% of a Local Chapter’s membership or a motion supported by 15% of those present and voting at the Local meeting which determines the method of election will require the use of the Hare system in that Local’s election of delegates to the National Convention.”
Article X. Standing Committees
Internal Sub-Committees are subcommittees of the Leadership Council, organized for the purpose of accomplishing the basic logistical tasks and internal development of the Chapter. Committees may be formed and dissolved at the prerogative of the Leadership Council with a simple majority vote. 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.
Section 1. Internal Organizing Committee
The Internal Organizing Committee (IOC) is a 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
- 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 composed of the Internal Organizer, an elected officer on the Leadership Council (See Article VIII, Subsection 5.4.) and Working Group Mentors (See Article XI, Subsection 3.1), which are a requirement for working groups. Branches, caucuses, and other bodies in the chapter can optionally elect or appoint a mentor to the IOC.
The IOC meets monthly, and all working group Mentors (See Article XI, Subsection 3.1) 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.
Section 2. Communications Committee
The Communications Committee is a committee responsible for maintaining the Local Chapter’s internal and external communications systems, including but not limited to: social media accounts, video communication software, text-based internal communication platforms, physical or digital newsletters, and the chapter website.
The Communications Committee is chaired by the Communications Secretary. The Communications Committee shall work closely with the Leadership Council to observe best practices in terms of account and password security.
Section 3. Education Committee
The Education Committee is a committee responsible for educating members through political education, internal education, and trainings.
The Education Committee shall organize events to introduce members and the general public to socialist theory. The committee shall endeavor to organize discussions that are approachable but with enough depth to be valuable for people familiar with the subject matter.
The committee should work closely with working groups and/or caucuses to help develop educational materials, discussions, and classes relevant to their specific focus.
The Education Committee will create a quarterly syllabus that will be approved by the General Assembly. The Education Committee will do its best to make sure that the proposed syllabus is reflective of the rest of the chapter politically. They will make every effort to bring in all various sectors of the chapter. The Education Committee will conduct work in accordance with the syllabus.
Article XI. Working Groups.
Working Groups (WG) are chartered bodies within the Local Chapter that organize around specific functions for the chapter or external campaigns. A chartered working group may determine its own officer positions, but are required to have at least one Chair, one Delegate to the Leadership Council (See Article VII), and at least one Mentor to the Internal Organizing Committee (See Article X, Section 1).
Section 1. Working Group Formation
A Working Group may be established by introducing a charter to the General Assembly to be ratified by a simple majority vote. There shall be an intermediary phase for the formation of a Chartered Working Group that requires a formal interview with the Internal Organizer or with a representative of the Internal Organizing Committee, and the formation of a WG Organizing Committee. During this period, the charter shall be created and must be approved by the Leadership Council before introduction to the General Assembly.
Subsection 1.1. Interview Phase
Members who are wishing to start a working group in the Local Chapter must first make their intention clear by contacting the Internal Organizer.
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
- Working Group 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?
Subsection 1.2. Organizing Committee Phase
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 need to develop a WG Charter and Campaign Proposal that addresses the following criteria:
- A Working Group Charter for their respective Working Group
- Working Group name, 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.
- Officer positions, including at least 1 Chair, 1 Delegate to the LC, and at least one Mentor, and their term durations (Either six months or one year). Delegates, Mentors, and other non-Chair positions may be appointed, rather than elected, but the Chair(s) must be elected.
- A Working Group Organizing Campaign Proposal, which 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 and other bodies of the Local Chapter. The committee chairs are encouraged to attend Leadership Council meetings as often as possible to provide updates on the progress of the Organizing Committee’s work. The Leadership Council will then provide guidance and suggestions on how to best develop their WG charter & organizing campaign proposal.
The Internal Organizing Committee will be in intimate dialogue with the organizing committee in order to provide guidance, leadership, and suggestions in the creation of the working group. They will help with and facilitate the creation of the WG charter & organizing campaign proposal.
The Organizing Committee will announce its creation to the whole of the chapter during a General Assembly 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.
Subsection 1.2.1. Working Group Organizing Committee Restrictions
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 WG has been chartered.
Subsection 1.3. Working Group Charter Ratification
Members who wish to form a committee must submit a proposed written charter to the Leadership Council that includes:
- Working Group name, mission statement and objectives
- If necessary, a proposed budget that shall include any planned fundraising;
- List of at least five prospective members signed or affirmed by those members;
- Statement of whether the proposed Working Group is to be of indefinite duration or if it is to expire at a certain time or upon the occurrence of a specified event
- Statement of 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 the Leadership Council, the Charter
s for the proposed Working Group must be agendized for the following General Assembly meeting and relevant documents must be distributed to membership prior to the General Assembly. Proposed charters may not conflict with these Bylaws or with the charters of currently Chartered Working Groups. The Working Group will be officially chartered when the motion to approve it is passed by the General Assembly.
Section 2. Chartered Working Group Requirements
Working Groups will need to meet the following requirements while chartered:
- Have a General Meeting every 60 days at minimum
- Have an Organizing Campaign
- Have an average of four members per meeting, over a three meeting period. Working Group Delegates will report meeting attendance at Leadership Council Meetings, and Working Group Mentors will report meeting attendance to the Internal Organizer.
- Have at least 1 Chair at all times
- Have at least 1 Delegate to the Leadership Council
- Have at least 1 Mentor assigned to the Internal Organizing Committee
Working Groups who do not meet these requirements will be suspended, under which they will meet with the Internal Organizer to develop a plan for how to meet WG requirements.
Working Groups suspended for more than a 3-month period will need to go through the chartering process again. They will not be able to work under their original Working Group name until they’re re-chartered.
Subsection 2.1. Working Group Organizing Campaign
Chartered Working Groups will be required to have an organizing campaign. Organizing campaigns for Chartered Working Groups will follow the same structure laid out in Section.1 Working Group Formation.
Chartered Working Groups will have 4 months to develop an organizing campaign and submit it to the Leadership Council to be agendized for the next General Assembly meeting — if they do not have a campaign currently.
Section 3. 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 the Leadership Council (See Article VII). 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 3.1. Working Group Mentors.
Chartered 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 between the Working Group and the 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, barring unforeseen circumstances, and are allowed to send substitutes. The Internal Organizer will be responsible for tracking attendance at IOC meetings. Working Group Mentors who consistently miss Internal Organizing Committee meetings without notice or substitute could lead to a temporary suspension of their Working Group. Mentors shall also help represent their WG’s needs for the purposes of chapter mobilizing. Mentors are responsible for reporting Working Group meeting attendance to the Internal Organizer.
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.
Section 4. Duties and Responsibilities.
The members of a Working Group are responsible for executing their respective body’s strategy in fulfillment of its objectives. The Working Group Chair or Co-Chairs 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.
Section 5. Chartered Working Group Record Keeping.
Working Groups are required to keep official records of meeting dates, attendance, and meeting notes, including votes and their results, which must be made available to the membership upon request by the Leadership Council. 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.
A Working Group’s activities shall be reviewed by the Leadership Council at Leadership Council
its meetings, and meeting minutes and other Working Group documentation, as well as all financial receipts and statements, shall be turned over to the Local Chapter’s General Secretary and Treasurer respectively, for record keeping purposes. Working Groups shall report on their activities to the membership at General Assembly Meetings.
Section 6. Chartered Working Group 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 General Assembly Meeting. Notice of a proposed Working Group dissolution or an amendment to a Working Group’s charter must be given to the membership by email or other electronic means 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 turn over those records to the General Secretary.
Section 7. 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.
Article XII. 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 XIII. Electoral Participation Rules.
Section 1. Definitions
The electoral endorsement process applies specifically to campaigns for individual candidates running for public, elected office.
Section 2. Endorsement Process
Chapter endorsement 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 endorsement by the San Diego Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America if and only if they have been 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 endorsement to be voted on at the next General Assembly.
The electoral working group (or the Leadership Council in its absence) shall publish the list of proposed candidates for endorsement 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 endorsement 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 endorsement 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 endorsement. No members of chapter leadership — officers, working group chairs, or delegates to the Leadership Council — are eligible to seek endorsement. 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 (or Leadership Council in its absence). Based on the responses from the candidate-in-question, the electoral working group (or Leadership Council in 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 endorsement.
Endorsement of 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.
A successful endorsement vote means that the chapter formally endorses the candidate-in-question and allows the electoral working group (or the Leadership Council in its absence) to request material assistance and support from the chapter. A successful endorsement vote 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 endorsement 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 3. Voter Guide
The electoral working group has the ability to form a voter’s guide independent of chapter endorsements. The electoral working group may put endorsed candidates in the voter guide without debate. Endorsement allows the electoral working group to indicate in the voter guide that the candidate-in-question has received a chapter endorsement.
Any procedures not mentioned in this document about the voter guide is under the authority of the electoral working group to develop.
Section 4. Revoking Endorsements
If the General Assembly deems it necessary, for any reason, it may choose to revoke endorsement by a two-thirds majority at a General Assembly meeting with online voting included or by emergency election called by the Leadership Council and pursuant to chapter rules for quorum. Revoking an endorsement may occur when the candidate-in-question either acts in ways that might tarnish the reputation of the Local Chapter and/or acts in ways that go against the DSA political platform. 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 XIV. Bylaws Amendments.
Proposed amendments to these bylaws must be made by written resolution, endorsed by five (5) members in good standing of the Local Chapter, and submitted to the Leadership Council at least twenty-one (21) days in advance of a General Assembly Meeting as defined in Article VI.
The Leadership Council is required to provide the Local Chapter membership with at least ten (10) days physical or electronic notice of the proposed amendments. The General Assembly Meeting may adopt amendments to these bylaws proposed under this article by two-thirds vote.
No amendment to these Bylaws may be in conflict with the national DSA Constitution and Bylaws.
The Local Chapter will provide the amended Bylaws to the DSA national office.
Article XV. Coalitions and Partnerships
Section 1: Invitations for San Diego DSA to support non-DSA events
When asked for endorsement and support of events, the Local Chapter lays out the following policies for participation, which falls into 2 categories: endorsement and support. 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 the Local Chapter 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 San Diego.
Subsection 1.1: Endorsement
Endorsement means the Local Chapter affirms that the politics of the event are in line with the values of the Local Chapter, and may use Chapter social media platforms to further the publicity of the event. The Local Chapter may also encourage 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 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 the Local Chapter might give includes but is not limited to logistical support, participation during planning, mobilizing 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 the Local Chapter being among multiple supporting organizations, the following terms are conditions for the Local Chapter’s support:
- The Local Chapter will be acknowledged alongside all other supporting organizations, during all acknowledgements.
- The Local Chapter will have a seat at the planning table equal to any other supporting organization.
- The Local Chapter will have an opportunity for public speaking at the event that is equal to any other supporting organization, which may or may not be accepted.
- In the case of San Diego DSA being the only supporting organization, the following terms are laid out for DSA’s support:
- San Diego DSA will be acknowledged publicly during the event for its support.
- The hosting organization will meet with San Diego 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 San Diego DSA member has stepped up to bottom-line coordinating support for the event.
- The General Assembly or the Leadership Council votes.
Section 2: Inviting other organizations to support San Diego 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 request 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.
Article XVI. Harassment Policy.
The Local Chapter will follow the Harassment Policy of National DSA
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.
Section 1. Scope
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 attention, 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.
- Such conduct is unallowable anywhere, whether it takes place in DSA spaces, in the wider community, or online.
Section 2. Harassment Grievance Officers (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.
Section 3. Harassment Grievance Officer Terms
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.
Section 4. 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.
Section 5. Harassment Grievance Process.
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 speaking 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 of 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.
If mediation is deemed appropriate by the HGOs, both parties must participate in good faith.
Good Faith will be defined as, participating with sincerity and with the intention of resolving the conflict at hand, and in participating in the grievance process to do so.
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 from DSA San Diego, 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.
Section 6. 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.
Section 7. 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.
Subsection 7.1. Suspension
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.
Subsection 7.2. Expulsion
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.
Article XVII. Prohibited Activity.
DSA San Diego will not engage in activity prohibited by the IRS guidelines established for 501(c)(4) organizations or similar rules established by the state of California. Nor will the Local Chapter engage in any activity prohibited by resolutions adopted by DSA’s National Convention or DSA’s National Political Committee.
Article XVIII. Local Chapter Dissolution.
A proposal to dissolve the Local Chapter must be made by written resolution, endorsed by five (5) members in good standing of the Local Chapter, and submitted to the Leadership Council at least twenty-one (21) days in advance of a General Assembly Meeting as defined in Article IV. The Leadership Council is required to provide the Local Chapter membership with at least ten (10) days physical or electronic notice of this resolution. The General Assembly may adopt a resolution to dissolve the Local Chapter under this article by a two-thirds vote.
Upon dissolution of the Local Chapter, any residual assets shall become property of the national organization of Democratic Socialists of America.