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Democratic Socialists

of America
Sacramento

2017
new member handbook

D E M O C R AT I C S O C I AL I STS O F A M E R I C A , S AC R A M E N TO 1
new member handbook
first edition
Democratic socialists of america sacramento
printed in
sacramento,
california
2017

2 new member handbook


new member handbook

Introduction 4l

Rules for Respectful Engagement 8l

Chapter History 10 l

Bylaws 12 l

Organization Chart 18 l

Committees & Working Groups 18 l

Anti-Racism Commitee

Environmental Commitee

Housing Commitee

Media Commitee

Platform Commitee

Socialist Education Commitee

Working Groups

How-Tos 21 l

Introductory Reading List 27 l

D E M O C R AT I C S O C I AL I STS O F A M E R I C A , S AC R A M E N TO 3
Introduction
What is DSA?
We are socialists because we reject an The DSA Constitution requires
economic order based on private profit, that eight slots of the NPC be reserved
alienated labor, gross inequalities for women and that at least four of the
of wealth and power, discrimination NPC slots be reserved for people of color.
based on race and sex, and brutality The NPC guides and leads the
and violence in defense of the status implementation of DSA’s major political
quo. We are socialists because we and organizational goals, which are
share a vision of a humane social order broadly defined every two years by
based on popular control of resources the delegates to the National Con-
and production, economic planning, vention. The NPC gives instructions to
equitable distribution, feminism, racial the national staff about how to carry
equality, and non-oppressive relation- forward DSA’s day-to-day work. The
ships. We are socialists because we NPC creates task forces and commit-
are developing a concrete strategy tees to guide particular areas of DSA’s
for achieving that vision, for building political work. The DSA Constitution
a majority movement that will make gives the NPC the power to charter
democratic socialism a reality in DSA locals and commissions, as well as
America. We believe that such a DSA’s Youth Section.
strategy must acknowledge the class The NPC conducts long weekend
structure of American society and that meetings three or four times each year.
this class structure means that there The NPC also elects a five-person NPC
is a basic conflict of interest between Steering Committee, which meets more
those sectors with enormous economic frequently, both in person and by con-
power and the vast majority. ference call. The Honorary Chairs and
(DSA constitution Article II. Purpose) Vice-Chairs are also elected at each
biennial National Convention and may
The National Political Committee also participate in internal governance
DSA’s primary political leadership issues through the NPC meetings. They
is the National Political Committee do so to a varying extent.
(NPC), a sixteen-person body which
functions as the board of directors of Electoral work
DSA and are elected every two years Democratic Socialists of America is
by the delegates to DSA’s National not a political party, nor are we an
Convention. Every DSA chapter is “arm of the Democrats.” Rather, we
entitled to send a certain number of view electoral politics as one of many
delegates to the National Convention, avenues for political change. Below
based on the chapter’s size. There are are the NPC’s 2017 guide to endorsing
also “at-large” delegates to represent candidates:
areas where there are no active “Instead of just endorsing can-
chapters. didates and providing a single large

4 new member handbook


donation from our PAC, DSA members endorsements. They can set their own
mobilize themselves to support fellow endorsement policies)
socialists. Our design team produces
graphics, our members help create We do not want to thrust candidates on
phone-banking scripts and dozens of unwilling members. National DSA should
chapters make calls to local voters, organize only for candidates who
canvass neighborhoods, and in many have the endorsement of their local
other ways help our socialist candidates chapter. Admittedly, this policy does
to win. We know the other side has have its limit. For example, since there
more money, so we can only counter is no DSA chapter in Mississippi, we
it with people power. Through relying could not endorse Chowke Lumumba
on our own members who must “buy despite heavy support of him by DSA
into” a campaign, we keep a demo- cadre. But this standard helps maintain
cratic accountability that other groups, democratic accountability and conserve
including progressive ones, do not. As valuable resources.”
Seth Ackerman wrote in “Blueprint for a
New Party” in Jacobin: Dues
These [liberal] groups monitor the
DSA is funded by our membership —
political scene in search of worthy
not corporate foundations or private
progressive candidates or legislative
companies. This ensures that DSA
causes, alerting their supporters with
members are in full democratic and
bulletins urging them to “stand with”
political control of our organization. By
whichever progressive politico needs
paying dues, DSA members self-fund
support at the moment. (Support, in this
our own tools for liberation. No one is
usage, usually means sending money,
turned away for lack of funds.
or signing an email petition.) Such
groups generally maintain no formal
standards for judging a candidate’s Membership A n n ua l D u e s
worthiness. Even if they did, in drawing Type Amount
up such standards they would be
Introductory $45.00
accountable to no one, and would have
no power to change those candidates’ Regular $60.00
policy objectives. Sponsor $85.00
DSA avoids this trap by requiring Family $110.00
that candidates meet the following Sustainer $175.00
three criteria before we make a national Student/Young $20.00
endorsement: Democratic Socialists
• Be an open socialist Low Income $27.00
• Be running to win – not just send Lifetime for 50 Years $750.00
a message
• Be nominated by a local DSA
chapter
(Please note: these criteria are not
mandated for chapters making local

D E M O C R AT I C S O C I AL I STS O F A M E R I C A , S AC R A M E N TO 5
Where does your money go?

D S A I n co m e f o r 2 0 1 6 : $ 8 3 7 , 0 0 0
Sources by percentage:

26% 22% 44% Dues


26% Member contributions
beyond dues

8% 22% Bequests
8%  Registration fees,
misc. etc.

44%

total e x p e n s e : $ 5 2 5 , 0 0 0
Expenses by percentage:

44% Staff
1% 9%
44% 27% Organizing and Education
15% 15% Supplies
9% Occupancy

4% Misc.

27% 1% Consultants
4%

6 new member handbook


Expense Revenue
$900k
$800k
$
$700k
$600k
$500k
-$
$400k
$300k -$ $
$200k
$100k
0
2015 2016

We have nine staff workers:


D S A S ta f f
Maria Svart, National Director | msvart@dsausa.org
David Duhalde, Deputy Director | dduhalde@dsausa.org
Elena Blanc, Database Manager | eblanc@dsausa.org
Claudia Cahill, Grassroots Organizer | ccahill@dsausa.org
Eileen Casterline, Administrative Coordinator | ecasterline@dsausa.org
Lawrence Dreyfuss, Administrative Assistant | ldreyfuss@dsausa.org
Ryan Mosgrove, Assistant Youth Organizer | yds@dsausa.org
Hannah Allison, Travelling Organizer | hallison@dsausa.org

D E M O C R AT I C S O C I AL I STS O F A M E R I C A , S AC R A M E N TO 7
Rules for Respectful
Engagement
DSA Guidelines for
Respectful Discussion
Meetings are more productive —
and more fun — when the conversation 2  now whether you need to
K
includes everyone. Respectful discus- “step up” or “step back”
sion guidelines are helpful for keeping
Help create a safe and inclusive
things focused too. You can read these
space for everybody. Please respect
before meetings and forums. (We’ve
others by recognizing how often,
sometimes asked for volunteers to read
much, and loud you’re speaking and
each one off.) This has been helpful at
whether or not you’re dominating the
DSA and YDS meetings, especially when
conversation. Step back to leave space
new people are present. We’ve also
for others to voice their opinions and
shared them with our coalition partners
feelings. If the facilitator of the meeting
as a useful resource.
asks you to wrap up, recognize that
you should step back. This especial-
1  ssume good faith in your
A ly applies to participants who have
privileged backgrounds. On the other
fellow comrades hand, if you don’t often speak up, we
Assume good faith in each other. encourage you to do so now!
Please try to speak from experience,
speak for yourself, and actively listen
to each other. When someone makes a 3  lease ask yourself
P
point, repeat what you heard, summarize, “Why am I Talking?”
and ask clarifying questions like “did you
We have a limited amount of time
mean X” or “what makes you say that” to
for discussion and to accomplish the
get more information. Encourage yourself
tasks before us. When in discussion,
and others to maintain a positive attitude,
please ask yourself “Why am I talking
honor the work of others, avoid defen-
(WAIT)?” Consider whether or not what
siveness, be open to legitimate critique
you want to say has already been said,
and challenge oppressive behaviors in
whether what you want to say is on
ways that help people grow. We want to
topic or if there’s a better time and
“call each other in” rather than calling
place to say it, and other methods for
each other out — in other words, if you
showing how you feel about the con-
are challenging someone’s ideas or
versation (nodding your head, etc.)
behavior, do it respectfully, and if you
are being challenged, receive it respect-
fully. Remember, mistakes will be made,
nobody is perfect.

8 new member handbook


4  lease recognize and respect
P
others feelings, background,
and cultural differences 6  espect the facilitator when
R
Many people have different levels they use Progressive Stack
of experience, knowledge, and feelings Progressive Stack is a form of
in social justice and radical activism leading discussions which involves a
and all participants should respect and facilitator keeping a list of names of
embrace this diversity. Many people people who wish to speak. The fa-
from different backgrounds have cilitator scans the group during the
different definitions of what it means to discussion, and if someone wishes to
be an “activist” or “radical.” While we all speak, they raise their hand and catch
don’t have to agree on everything, we the facilitator’s eye. The facilitator nods
should respect our diversity of opinions. and makes eye contact to indicate the
Recognize that everyone has a piece person is now put on the list to speak,
of the truth, everybody can learn, and and then the person can put their hand
everybody has the ability to teach and down so it does not distract other
share something. Don’t use language discussion participants. However, the
that’s clearly oppressive or hurtful. facilitator does not simply write a list
Please, refrain from using acronyms of names in the order that people raise
or complicated language that could their hand. Rather, if someone who has
exclude others. not spoken raises their hand, they go to
the top of the list. If someone who is of
an oppressed group raises their hand,
5  e have “one mic” so do
W they go to the top of the list unless they
not interrupt or speak while have already contributed significantly
others are talking to the discussion.
Many of us will have different
opinions on matters. However, speaking
while others are talking or adding
7 Have a sense of humor
Who said movement building can’t
comments when they cannot respond
be fun? This is a great opportunity for
appropriately does not build community.
people to get to know one another,
If you have a disagreement, wait for
building lasting friendships and rela-
your turn to address it. This is basic
tionships, to laugh, love, and build a
politeness.
movement.
And, as always, please inform
organizers of inappropriate behavior
immediately.

D E M O C R AT I C S O C I AL I STS O F A M E R I C A , S AC R A M E N TO 9
Chapter History
DSA Sacramento began as a support of the violent suppression of
DSOC (Democratic Socialist Organiz- left-wing liberation movements in the
ing Committee) chapter in 1978. The region by American trained and funded
chapter was founded by Bob Clause, right-wing terrorist militias.
Duane Campbell and Dolores Delga- Through the 1990s, Sacramento
do-Campbell, who were organizers for DSA worked closely with the Latino,
the United Farm Workers Delano Grape Anti-Racism, and African American
Strike and Boycott since 1972. In 1982, Commissions of DSA to publish Our
DSOC merged with the New American Struggle/ Nuestra Lucha, a quarterly
Movement (formed in 1971 by former journal of the national organization’s
members of the Students for a Dem- work opposing racism and xenophobia.
ocratic Society) to become the Demo- In the early ‘90s, Sacramento DSA,
cratic Socialists of America. as well as affiliated student locals at UC
Campbell and other members of Davis and Sacramento State, demon-
Sacramento DSA worked closely with strated against the neoliberal North
the Committee in Solidarity with American Free Trade Agreement. Sacra-
the People of El Salvador and other mento DSA was one of the most active
elements of the Central American DSA chapters who organized around
solidarity movement in the 1980s to immigration rights. During this time,
oppose the Reagan administration’s

students of u.c. davis and members of DSA. Year unknown. photo by unknown

10 new member handbook


many of Sacramento DSA’s campaigns In 2013, a new group of young
revolved around proposition work. In activists were elected to the board of
1994, DSA activists worked in oppo- DSA Sacramento, some of which were
sition to Proposition 187, which made previously affiliated with the Davis
undocumented immigrants ineligible to Democratic Socialists. They worked
receive public benefits. DSA activists closely with the OURWalmart campaign,
also pushed to pass Proposition 186, a UFCW-funded effort to organize
a proposition for single payer health- Walmart workers to demand better
care, which is similar to today’s SB working conditions. In 2013 and 2014,
562. In 1996, DSA activists from across DSA Sacramento mobilized its mem-
California worked (and failed) to defeat bership to participate with Walmart
Proposition 209, which banned affirma- workers in mass civil disobediences
tive action by California public institu- on Black Friday. In 2014, over a dozen
tions. Two years later, DSA joined labor DSA Sacramento members were
and civil rights groups to fight against arrested alongside Walmart employees.
Proposition 227, which banned bilingual At the heels of the Walmart workers
education in the state (until overturned movement was Fight for 15, another
by Prop. 58 in 2016). union-funded campaign for better con-
In 2005, current and former Sac ditions and wages for service workers.
DSA members formed the Progres- Once again Sacramento DSA volun-
sive Alliance, which was active in the teered its time and resources to help
Anti-War movement and continues to workers fight for a better world, culmi-
serve as a mechanism for electoral work. nating in Sacramento city raising the
While there were active DSA minimum wage in 2014 and a statewide
members in Davis in the 1990s, raise in 2016.
Davis was not particularly active until In 2014 and early 2015, DSA Sac-
several years later. 2011 witnessed the ramento worked with the national’s
emergence of the Occupy movement campaign to encourage the primary run
along with a nationwide discussion of of Bernie Sanders, and in the following
the U.S. class system. The following year, we used his candidacy to hold
year, members of Occupy UC Davis town halls about socialism. The election
formed the Davis Democratic So- of Donald Trump in 2016 brought an
cialists, which cut its teeth working explosive growth to DSA both nationally
on student solidarity campaigns with and locally, growing our chapter about
campus unions negotiating for better 300% within six months. We now have
contracts. The Davis Democratic Social- over 20,000 members nationwide, and
ists became an official Young Demo- more than 200 local members.
cratic Socialists (the youth branch of With this increase in capacity, we
DSA) chapter in 2012. Through its active have drastically increased our capacity
years, the Davis Democratic Socialists to work with other DSA chapters
worked closely with AFSCME 3299 and around California for a statewide
UAW 2865, and it supported many of single-payer health insurance plan,
the student campaigns around campus organize with tenants for rent stabi-
on a variety of issues. In addition, the lization and housing justice, and be in
Davis Democratic Socialists held educa- coalitions to support immigrant families
tional events to try to spread a socialist targeted by the new administration. 
analysis of relevant issues.

D E M O C R AT I C S O C I AL I STS O F A M E R I C A , S AC R A M E N TO 11
Bylaws
Bylaws of the Sacramento Local of
the Democratic Socialists of America
Upon ratification, the bylaws will in the belief that human beings should
take full effect, excluding those that be free to develop to their fullest
define Officer positions. DSA Sacra- potential, that public policies should
mento will uphold the previous bylaws be determined not by wealth but by
regarding Officer positions until popular participation, and that individu-
elections can be held in September al liberties should be carefully safe-
2017. Elections will be held for newly guarded. It is committed to a freedom
defined Officer positions, at which time of speech that does not recoil from
the bylaws will take full effect. dissent, to a freedom to organize inde-
pendent trade unions, women’s groups,
Name. political parties, and other formations
-- recognizing these as essential
The name of the Local shall be the
bulwarks against the dangers of an
Sacramento Local of the Democratic
intrusive state. It is committed to a
Socialists of America, also known collo-
freedom of religion that acknowledges
quially as DSA Sacramento or Sacra-
the rights of those for whom spiritual
mento DSA.
concerns are central.
We are socialists because we are
Purpose. developing a concrete strategy for
The Sacramento Local of the Dem- achieving that vision. In the present, we
ocratic Socialists of America seeks to are building a visible socialist presence
facilitate the transition to a truly demo- within the broad democratic left. In the
cratic and socialist society, one in which long run, we hope to build a majority
the means/resources of production are movement capable of making demo-
democratically and socially controlled. cratic socialism a reality in the United
DSA rejects an economic order States. Our strategy acknowledges the
based solely on private profit, alienated class structure of the U.S. society. This
labor, gross inequalities of wealth and class structure means that there is a
power, discrimination based on race basic conflict of interest between those
and sex, and brutality and violence in sectors with enormous economic power
defense of the status quo. and the vast majority of the population.
DSA envisions a humane social
order based on popular control of Meetings.
resources and production, economic Sacramento DSA will hold a minimum
planning, equitable distribution, gender of four General Membership Meetings
and racial equality, and non-oppressive annually. The General Membership will
relationships. elect Local officers and may adopt
Our conception of socialism is a an annual budget. In general, it is the
profoundly democratic one. It is rooted highest legislative body of the Local.

12 new member handbook


cesar chavez march, 2017, sacramento photo by alyssa De La Rosa

The Executive Committee will set assume ultimate responsibility for the
the agenda for General Membership actions and operations of the local
Meetings. chapter.
The Executive Committee may call Both Co-chairs are expected to
an Emergency Meeting of the General attend all Executive Board and General
Membership on five days notice when Membership meetings. At all meetings,
an urgent and important matter one Co-chair must assume parliamen-
requires deliberation. tary responsibilities while the other
runs the meeting.
Quorum. Co-chairs are allowed two consec-
A quorum of 10% of the member- utive excused absences from meetings,
ship is required for all elections. with the expectation that they will
appoint a substitute to assume their
A quorum of 5% of the membership
duties at the meeting.
is required for all votes of the General
Membership and other business At least one Co-chair must be a
meetings. self-identified woman.
T r e as u r e r .
Officers. The Treasurer maintains the DSA
Sacramento bank account and finances.
C o - chai r s .
The Treasurer delivers financial reports
Co-chairs are charged with
to all Executive Board meetings and
drafting the agenda for all Executive
all General Membership meetings. The
Board business meetings and all
Treasurer also delivers a yearly detailed
General Membership meetings. They

D E M O C R AT I C S O C I AL I STS O F A M E R I C A , S AC R A M E N TO 13
treasurer’s report to the Executive O r ga n i z e r
Board and General Membership. The Organizer is charged with
The Treasurer is allowed two sponsoring and assuming ultimate
consecutive excused absences from responsibility for the actions and
meetings, with the expectation that operations of select committees. The
they will appoint a substitute to assume Organizer is a liaison between the
their duties at the meeting. Executive Board and select committees
The Treasurer chairs the Finance assigned to them.
Standing Committee. The Finance The Organizer is allowed two
Standing Committee will determine an consecutive excused absences from
expenditure amount that must be voted meetings, with the expectation that
on by the General Membership. The they will appoint a substitute to assume
Finance Standing committee is charged their duties at the meeting.
with developing an annual budget and
financing plan, to be approved by the Executive Board.
General Membership. The Executive Board consists of
S e c r e ta r y two Co-Chairs, one Secretary-Treasur-
The Secretary is charged with er, one Membership Coordinator, and
taking meeting minutes at all three Organizers. After September 2017
Executive and General Membership Elections the board will consist of two
meetings. The Secretary is charged Co-chairs, one Secretary, one Treasurer,
with maintaining consistent communi- and three Organizers.
cation with new and existing members The Executive Board must hold one
of the local chapter. The Secretary in-person business meeting per month.
must demonstrate this consistent Business meetings must be publicized
communication to the Executive to the General Membership, and be
Board. The Secretary maintains an or- open for attendance by the General
ganizational chart, tracks committees, Membership. Notes from each Executive
and enforces bylaws. Board business meeting must be made
The Secretary is allowed two available to the General Membership
consecutive excused absences from following the meeting.
meetings, with the expectation that If any officer misses two Executive
they will appoint a substitute to Board business meetings in a row,
assume their duties at the meeting. a referendum will be called. If the
The Secretary is charged with Executive Board does not hold a
forming a Communications Standing meeting, it counts as one absence for
Committee. The Communications the entire Executive Board.
Standing Committee handles all The Executive Board reviews
internal and external communica- all committee expenditures and
tions. The Communications Standing campaigns, and agendizes such
Committee is expected to direct all motions for ratification at the General
relevant media inquiries to the appro- Membership Meeting. The Executive
priate campaign and/or committee Board reviews urgent committee
leadership. actions that cannot be brought
before the General Membership, and
approves of such motions by consent.

14 new member handbook


The Executive Board has 24 hours to to be completed by the next general
object to urgent committee motions. If membership meeting:
no objection is made, the committee
motion passes. • Hold a meeting and elect a
The Executive Board determines the committee chair (committee
allocation of resources to all committees. chairs may not be Officers)
The Executive Board may also • Prepare a presentation to be given
recommend the dismantling of any in front of the general member-
committee to the General Membership. ship, outlining the purpose and
If any member of the Executive intent of the committee
Board resigns from their post, the
remaining Executive Board members Following the presentation, the
will select an Interim Officer to General Membership will vote to ratify
assume the role until elections can be the proposed committee. A committee
held. needs to acquire a simple majority vote
The Executive Board is responsi- in favor in order to proceed.
ble for considering and responding to
C o m m itt e e O p e r atio n s
all chapter requirements and action
Committee leadership must
requests as dictated by the DSA
notify their assigned Organizer of
National Organization, being responsive
all committee business. Committee
to such requirements/requests, and
leadership must invite their assigned
communicating these requirements/
Organizer to all committee meetings
request to the General Membership.
and events.
Executive Board motions need to pass
Committees must bring all
by a majority of the board membership.
committee expenditures and campaigns
before the Executive Board, so such
Committees. actions may be agendized for the
DSA Sacramento will defer to General Membership Meeting.
Robert’s Rules of Order to distinguish Committees must seek the approval
between committees and standing of the General Membership for all
committees. campaigns.
Fo r m atio n Committees must report all actions
o f C o m m itt e e s and campaigns to the Media Committee
Ideas for committees must be for publicity.
proposed in front of the General Mem- In the event that a committee faces
bership. At that time, three dues-paying a time-sensitive motion that cannot
members in total must come forward, be brought before the General Mem-
stating their willingness to participate bership before action is required, that
in the committee. An Organizer must committee may bring the motion before
also come forward, stating their willing- the Executive Board for approval by
ness to sponsor and assume respon- consent.
sibility for the committee. If and when Committees may be dismantled
these requirements are met, the group by a vote of the General Membership,
is assigned “working group” status. The brought about by: recommendation
group then is tasked with the following, of the Executive Board; or recommen-

D E M O C R AT I C S O C I AL I STS O F A M E R I C A , S AC R A M E N TO 15
dation by any General Member, for Membership.
reasons such as violating DSA Sacra-
Members of the Sacramento DSA
mento bylaws. Committees may also
are those individuals whose dues to
self-dismantle at any time.
national DSA are paid in full. It will
Committees are expected to help be the responsibility of members to
manage press inquiries regarding approve policies and guidelines for the
committee business. operation of the local chapter, to elect
delegates to the national convention,
Working Groups. to vote on matters related to national
Ideas for Working Groups must be policy, and to make recommendations
proposed in front of the General Mem- on issues and other matters to the
bership. At that time, two dues-paying National Political Committee of DSA.
members in total must come forward, Individuals whose dues to national
stating their willingness to participate DSA are unpaid may still participate as
in the working group. The purpose non-voting volunteers. These non-vot-
of the working group, as well as the ing volunteers may not hold office,
expected end-date of the project, must may not chair committees or working
also be stated. groups, and may not count toward a
Following the proposal, the General quorum.
Membership will vote whether or not If a member is found to be in
to give permission to proceed with the substantial disagreement with the
working group. A working group needs principles or policies of national DSA, or
to acquire a simple majority vote in if that member is found to be con-
favor in order to proceed. sistently engaging in undemocratic,
Working groups must report to the disruptive behavior, or if that member
Executive Committee. All working group is found to be under the discipline of
actions must be brought before the any self-defined democratic centralist
Executive Board for consent. organization, the Local may vote to
Working groups must report all expel her/him from DSA. In order for
actions and campaigns to the Media such a finding to be made, another
Committee for publicity. DSA member must formally prefer
Working groups may seek a written charges against the member
deadline extension by vote of the in question to the Local Executive
General Membership. Committee, which shall set the date of
a Local meeting for deliberations on the
Working groups may be dismantled
charges. The member in question must
by a vote of the General Membership,
receive a copy of the written charges
brought about by: recommendation
and notice of the meeting a minimum
of the Executive Board; or recommen-
of two weeks before that meeting
dation by any General Member, for
takes place. Expulsion of a member or
reasons such as violating DSA Sacra-
affiliate member requires a two-thirds
mento bylaws. Working groups may
vote of the Local meeting. An expelled
also self-dismantle at any time.
member may appeal to the National
Political Committee of DSA.

16 new member handbook


cesar chavez march,
2017, sacramento

photo by
alyssa De La Rosa

Voting and Election Procedures. Amendments.


Above-stated quorum require- Proposed amendments to these
ments must be upheld for all votes and Bylaws must be made by written reso-
elections. lution, endorsed by five members of the
All contested elections must be Local chapter of DSA, and submitted
voted on by ballot. Contentious votes to the Executive Committee a month
may be done by secret ballot. in advance of a General or Regular
Other votes not specified above Meeting. The Executive Committee is
may be conducted as the parliamentar- required to provide the Local mem-
ian sees fit. bership with two weeks’ written notice
Above-stated quorum requirement of the proposed amendments. The
and voting procedures apply to officer amendment must be approved by
elections and delegate elections. a majority vote of two consecutive
At the time of each vote, it must be (Regular of General) Local meetings.
reiterated that non-dues-paying volun-
teers must refrain from voting. Rules of the Local.
The Rules contained in Robert’s
Prohibited Activities. Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall
DSA Sacramento shall not engage in govern this Local in cases to which
activity prohibited by the IRS guidelines they are applicable and in which they
established for 501(c)(4) organizations are not inconsistent with these Bylaws.
or similar rules established by the state Consensus decision-making is desirable
of California. DSA Sacramento shall not where feasible, but meetings must
engage in any activity prohibited by submit to Robert’s Rules of Order upon
resolutions adopted by DSA’s National the request of a member.
Convention or DSA’s National Political Any action taken by an officer or
Committee. member of the Local in contravention
DSA Sacramento will maintain an of these Bylaws is null and void.
environment free of discrimination and
harassment as defined by the Ontario
Human Rights Code.

D E M O C R AT I C S O C I AL I STS O F A M E R I C A , S AC R A M E N TO 17
Organization Chart
General Membership

Co-Chairs (2)

Secretary Treasurer Organizers (3)

Communications Committee Finances Committee Committee Chairs

Committees

Committees & Working Groups


Anti-Racism Housing
Missio n Missio n
This committee first recognizes the This committee was started to help
fundamental lesson from the history protect renters by fighting for rent
of earlier populist and leftist efforts to control and just cause evictions, to
make a more democratic society: that do advocacy on housing policy, work
class-based struggle cannot be waged on eliminating homelessness, and to
for long while ignoring race and that ensure that housing is accessible and
race-based struggle cannot be waged available to everyone.
for long while ignoring class. Raising
R e n tal C o n t r ol C a m paig n
both race and class consciousness is
The rent control campaign in Sac-
necessary for a democratic socialist
ramento is a collective effort between
movement to unfold from place-based
DSA, ACCE, Tenants Together and
communities. Only then can organized
other organizations. We are working
communities overcome the ideological
to help renters in Sacramento become
and material continuation of institu-
activists in order to get the city to place
tional-structural white supremacy in
protections for those for renters. We
both U.S. civil society and its social
want to ensure that no one loses their
geography. Our committee focuses on
home because of unfair evictions or
dialogue, education, coalition work, and
rent increase.
direct action that advances multiracial
solidarity as a crucial prerequisite to a
united working class.
Out of many colors, one class.
Chairperson: Benjamin Arriaga

18 new member handbook


H o u si n g No w Platform
Housing Now is a coalition of
statewide organizations that advocates Missio n
for housing policies that affect DSA Sacramento seeks to un-
everyone in the state. Issues include derstand the challenges facing our
legislation on tenant protections, communities and build avenues to
repealing laws that hurt tenants, and power with workers, tenants, and poor
fighting laws that give landlord more people. The Platform Committee studies
power. The groups also help others with successful campaigns and policies
campaigns to get rent control or just in other cities to inspire a socialist
cause eviction laws in their city. platform we can run campaigns around.
While we know that capitalism cannot
Chairperson: Rae Vander Werf be reformed into socialism, we also
acknowledge that meaningful reforms
Media are the result of the system conceding
to the demands of powerful social
Missio n
movements. The platform committee
To clearly and effectively com-
seeks to combine different demands of
municate the message of Democrat-
modern movements into a platform that
ic Socialism to all members of the
can orient us toward winning policies
community through graphics, video,
that empower workers and weaken
and audio to inspire them to take
capitalists.
action, fight capitalism and regain
power for all people. Chairperson: Andee Sunderland
The committee creates graphics to
better promote events and campaigns. Socialist Education
The committee also records events with One of the defining features of
photography and videography. socialism is the praxis, the meeting
If you have skills in any of these of theory and action. The Socialist
areas or would like to give support to Education Committee creates events
the media committee, please contact and materials to aid our members in
one of the Media co-chairs to get using the history and ideology of the
involved. socialist movement as tools in our day-
Co-Chairs: Sam Brown to-day organizing.
and Serene Lusano Socialist Feminist Reading Group
Every two weeks the Socialist
Education Committee holds the
Socialist Feminist Reading Group, where
we meet to discuss a broad range of
topics relating to the history and theory
of social movements both past and
today.
Chairperson: David Roddy

D E M O C R AT I C S O C I AL I STS O F A M E R I C A , S AC R A M E N TO 19
Working Groups
Healthcare Working Group Rojava Solidarity
DSA is working with a coalition of Rojava refers to an autonomous,
local groups and the California Nurses predominantly Kurdish region along
Association to fight for single-payer the northern border of Syria. Since the
healthcare. We are pushing to enact beginning of the Syrian civil war, the
SB 562, the Healthy California Act, people of Rojava launched a revolution
which would create a Medicare-for-All to create a cooperative, egalitarian
type system that covers everybody in democracy. This project is defended
California with no copays or deduct- by the People’s Protection Units (YPG)
ibles. We have been knocking on doors, and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ).
tabling at farmers’ markets, creating Our former co-chair Michael Israel died
memes, holding town halls, meeting in November of 2016 fighting with the
with legislators, and doing actions at Kurds.
their offices. The purpose of this committee
is to study and promote a popular
Environmental understanding the region’s history
The Environmental working group and project and support the people of
acknowledges that the boundaries Rojava and international volunteers in
of socialism are changing. In a world the region however we can.
where capitalism runs rampant and
greed and corruption are everywhere,
the effects on the environment are
often left as afterthoughts. All too
often, these effects overwhelmingly
affect low-income communities, indige-
nous communities, and people of color.
Meeting today’s needs without
jeopardizing future generations will
require new approaches to socialism.
The key goal of this committee is to
organize toward environmental justice
and protection..

20 new member handbook


How-Tos
How To Facilitate
Facilitating a meeting can seem like
an intimidating task, but some basic
guidelines can help you keep a meeting
running smoothly on the rails.

1 C
 reate a thorough agenda. Having an
agenda on hand will allow attendees 5 E
 nd the meeting in a timely way,
of the meeting to see the overall goals don’t let it go over the time you
of discussion and allow you to have a asked people to give to the meeting.
framework to guide the meeting. Summarize and synthesize the con-
tributions to the meeting. Make sure
2 H
 ave an introductory activity if there all responsibilities moving forward are
are new people at the meeting. It’s understood.
important to create a comfortable en-
vironment to encourage engagement.
3 G
 o through the agenda line by line. If
there are action items, make sure to Progressive Stack
include “what, how, who, when and Progressive Stack is a method of
where.” Make a note of deadlines and ordering comments that privileges
volunteers. those who have not yet spoken, as well
4 K
 eep an eye on the mood and energy as people who may face exclusion due
of the room. If people look disengaged, to their race, age, sexuality or gender.
it may be because there is a small All too often, white men in our society
group dominating the discussion or are socialized to dominate conversa-
it may be that the meeting is just tions. This is a method that checks this
dragging on. Make sure to include tendency and puts other voices to the
breaks. Group go-rounds and brain- front of the line.
storming sessions can encourage In a large meeting, a “stack-keep-
more involvement. er” will note everybody who would like
If there are “difficult” people in the to speak and ensure that the order
meeting, be sure to address their of speakers does not facilitate a few
behaviors in a manner that is not ac- voices at the expense of others.
cusatory. Set time limits for comments, We also encourage people to “step
go-rounds, and a reminder of the rules up” or “step back,” depending on the
of respectful discussion before the dynamics of a meeting.
meeting can all help mitigate disrup-
tive behavior.

D E M O C R AT I C S O C I AL I STS O F A M E R I C A , S AC R A M E N TO 21
How to Use Slack and H o w to j oi n S ac r a m e n to D S A
S lac k ?
Google Drive To join our Slack you must be
S lac k a n d G oogl e D r iv e invited by e-mail. Talk to or email one
At Sacramento DSA we use Slack of the Executive Board members or
and Google Drive for communications Committee Chairs to request access or
purposes and sharing files. e-mail dsasacramento@gmail.com.
After you’ve been sent an e-mail
What is S lac k ?
invite follow the e-mail’s directions to
Slack is team communication
set up an account and log in.
software for organizing conversations
according to project, topic, or team. S lac k ’ s O r ga n i z atio n
It is available for all major browsers, Slack’s messaging is organized
operating systems, and smartphones. according to channels and direct
messages. Channels house various
S ac D S A Us e s S lac k Fo r :
committees and conversation topics
• Internal communication and
and are named by a preceding ‘hashtag’
coordination for members and
#. Each channel serves a purpose that
committees
should be observed to the best of your
• Sharing useful and interesting ability. The two basic channels are
news, information, and viewpoints #general and #random, but all channels
relevant to organizing within DSA are public and you are free to join and
• Community building leave channels as you wish.
What W e D o n ’ t Us e S lac k Direct Messages are housed directly
Fo r : below channels and allow you private
• Binding and official decision one-on-one or group messages. Slack
making respects your privacy and anything
• Rude or offensive behavior said between two parties is confi-
• Business unrelated to DSA dential, but this should not give you a
• Planning civil disobedience or false sense of security. Slack remains
direct actions less encrypted than services such as
the chat encryption software Signal
and could be potentially listened to by
government agencies.
The chat window for a current
channel provides the ability to format
and send messages, upload files,
and use text commands to use more
advanced features.

22 new member handbook


B e st P r actic e s This hardly scratches the surface of
We have some rules of thumb that the features that are available to you
we ask all Slack participants to follow. with Slack. For more thorough Slack
guides and walkthroughs see https://
• B
 e respectful and assume good get.slack.help/hc/en-us/catego-
faith. It is easy to get our feelings ries/202622877-Slack-Guides
hurt with digital communication. G oogl e D r iv e
We strongly discourage antagoniz- Google Drive is a cloud-based
ing behavior and vulgar language. storage service. We find it incredibly
Participants who do not make their useful for committee work because
best efforts to restrain themselves of the integration with Google Docs
and conduct themselves politely and its team collaboration features.
with comrades may be warned and Currently we only provide access to
ejected from the service. our drive on an as-needed basis. Once
• A
 lways thread your conversations. you are working within a committee,
Slack chats can get cluttered the committee chair can provide you
quickly and important information access to the relevant folder. Our drive
can easily be hidden below banter. is a work in progress and, because we
Luckily there is a feature that helps are not using their paid service, there
us keep channels clear: threading. are limitations we have to live with
Rather than responding in the such has only rudimentary permission
main channel, you can hover your structures.
mouse over a message (or tap
and hold on phones) to choose the How Are Your Tech Skills?
option “Start a Thread”. This will We are always looking to improve
also notify precisely the partici- our technical abilities as a group and
pants who you are responding to enhance our practices. If you have any
and help focus your conversation. tech expertise and feel like sharing, we
Moderators will ask you to thread if welcome your help.
they notice you continue to hog the
main channel, so be courteous and
always thread.
• R
 eport any problems to a chair or
e-board member. As our organi-
zation grows it becomes increas-
ingly difficult to manage and track
problems. Whether the problem is
personal or technical we need to
know about it to ensure well-func-
tioning communications.

D E M O C R AT I C S O C I AL I STS O F A M E R I C A , S AC R A M E N TO 23
How to Call a Meeting
D S A S ac r a m e n to P r oc e d u r al G u id e to S e tti n g Up M e e ti n gs

A t - a - G la n c e :
• Issue a poll to help determine the optimal meeting date and time.
• Plan meetings well in advance in order to book meeting space.
• Make efforts to effectively publicize your meetings to the membership.
• Meetings should be ADA-accessible to the fullest extent possible.

Scheduling Your Meeting


Because DSA Sacramento is To achieve maximum attendance at
dedicated to democratic organizing, all all business meetings and elections, it
operational decisions should be made is recommended that meeting or-
before a quorum (a minimum number ganizers issue a poll to determine a
of members that must be present to date and time that works best for the
validate a meeting’s proceedings). The membership. Here are some easy ways
official bylaws of DSA Sacramento set to issue a poll:
a quorum of 5% of the membership
1. Issue a Doodle poll by email
for business meetings, and 10% of the
(http://doodle.com/)
membership for elections. However, it
is recommended that meeting organiz- 2. Create a poll on the Slack platform
ers aim to achieve the highest atten- by typing the following into the
dance possible. text field, then hitting “Enter”:
/poll “Question” “Option 1” “Option
2” “Option 3” “Option 4” “etc”

24 new member handbook


Finding a Meeting Space
Once an optimal date and time have O r ga n i z e S ac r a m e n to
been determined, you will need to search ( 1 7 1 4 B r oad w ay ,
for a meeting space. Finding an accept- S ac r a m e n to , C A 9 5 8 1 8 )
able meeting space may be the biggest Local non-profit Organize Sac-
hurdle in scheduling business meetings. ramento rents out their office to
Meeting spaces should be large enough community organizing groups, pending
to accommodate your entire group, approval from their Board of Directors.
should be ADA accessible, and should Organize Sacramento charges $20 per
ideally be quiet and orderly enough for meeting.
business discussions to be had. It is L ocal C oll e g e s a n d
recommended that you begin scheduling U n iv e r siti e s
all meetings well ahead of time, as some Local colleges and universities often
meeting spaces require several weeks’ have meeting rooms or group-study
notice before your event. Suggested rooms available at student centers and/
meeting places are as follows: or libraries, although each institution
Libraries has unique guidelines for use. Research
Sacramento public libraries have ahead of time before booking these
meeting rooms available for free to spaces.
community members. However, these L ocal R e sta u r a n ts , Ba r s ,
spaces typically have strict terms and Cafes
of use. For a list of library meeting Restaurants, bars, and cafes can
rooms, see: http://www.saclibrary. serve as acceptable ad-hoc meeting
org/Services/Meeting-Rooms. For the spaces, and most are ADA-accessible.
Sacramento Public Library’s Meeting However, these spaces are recom-
Room Policy, see: http://www.sacli- mended only as a last resort since
brary.org/About-Us/Policies/Meet- they can be too loud or crowded for a
ing-Room-Policy/. productive meeting to take place.
C o m m u n it y C e n t e r s
The following Sacramento Requesting Additional Support
community centers also offer meeting If you are struggling with any of
spaces: Belle Cooledge, Coloma, East the steps above, feel free to reach out
Portal Clubhouse, Evelyn Moore, George to any of the three elected Organizers
Sim, Hagginwood, Oak Park, Sam & at any time. Organizers can provide
Bonnie Pannell, and South Natomas. additional resources, information, or
Each community center has unique advice to help you arrange a success-
terms of use. If you intend to meet at a ful meeting.
community center, please contact staff
ahead of your meeting time.

D E M O C R AT I C S O C I AL I STS O F A M E R I C A , S AC R A M E N TO 25
May day, 2017, sacramento

photo by serene lusano

26 new member handbook


Introductory Reading List
We invite you to discuss, debate and Introduction to Socialist
learn from these key DSA documents
(as individuals or in study groups). DSA
Feminism:
does not have a “line” or a dogmatic Michele Rossi, “Democracy and Care
approach to political questions, but our Unbound: On Feminism’s Abiding
members share the belief that only by Political Relevance”
democratizing control over economic Find online at: bit.ly/CareUnbound l
and social life can we defend and
expand political and civil rights. Nancy Holstrom, “The Socialist
Key readings in democratic socialist Feminism Project”
theory and practice are listed below. Find online at: bit.ly/SocFemProject l

Where DSA Stands Today: Introduction to Queer Socialism:


Resistance Rising: Socialist Strategy in David McReynolds, “Queer Reflections”
the Age of Political Revolution Find online at: bit.ly/QueerReflections l
Find online at: bit.ly/SocStrategy l
Joseph deFillipis, “Common Ground:
The Queerness of Welfare Policy”
Introduction to Democratic Find online at: bit.ly/QueerWelfarePolicy l
Socialist Theory:
Jason Schulman and Joseph Schwartz,
“Toward Freedom: Democratic Socialist Introduction to Democratic
Theory and Practice” Socialism and Economic Justice:
Find online at: bit.ly/TowardsFreedom l “The Economic Justice Agenda”
Find online at: bit.ly/DSAEconJustice l

Introduction to Race and


Democratic Socialism: DSA History:
Cornel West “Towards a Socialist Maurice Isserman, “A Brief History of
Theory of Racism” the American Left”
Find online at: bit.ly/CWSocTheo- Find online at: bit.ly/HistAmerLeft l
ryRacism l
“Building the Next Left”
Joseph Schwartz, “The Politics of Race” Find online at: bit.ly/DSAStatement1995 l
Find online at: bit.ly/PoliticsOfRace l

“Justice for Undocumented


Immigrants”
Find online at: bit.ly/JustImmigration l

D E M O C R AT I C S O C I AL I STS O F A M E R I C A , S AC R A M E N TO 27
n e w m e m b e r handbook
D E M O C R A T I C S O C I A L I S T S O F A M E R I C A , S A C R A MEN T O