New Member Resources

Helpful Links

Slack Guide

What is Slack and how do I use it?

 

Chapter Documents

Includes the official bylaws that govern our chapter, our code of conduct, our grievance procedure, and a sample bylaws template you can use if you’re starting a committee.

If you believe one of our members has violated our code of conduct, contact our Grievance Officers at sadsagrievanceofficers@gmail.com.

 

Suggested Reading

A list of suggested articles, essays and books compiled by our membership.
 

Membership Survey

Let us know a little bit about yourself. The information collected in our survey will only be used to get to know our members better and gauge their interest in certain types of organizing.

FAQ

Have questions? We have answers.

 

What is DSA?

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is the largest socialist organization in the United States. DSA’s members are building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly democratic socialist presence in American communities and politics. We are socialists because we believe that work and the economy should be organized for the collective benefit of those who do the work and create products, not for the profit of the bosses. We struggle for a socialist, feminist, and anti-racist transformation of our society for the benefit of the many, not the few.

San Antonio DSA consists entirely of its members — we are an all-volunteer group. Aside from a skeletal staff at the national level, that’s true for every chapter. Anything that’s being done, from phone banking to strategic planning to organizing, even building this page on the website, happens because someone made the time for it, alongside demands from work, our loves, and our homes.

We are various ages, races, and genders. We have diverse backgrounds, interests, and skills. We engage with the work, contributing our time and labor each as we are able. Some are veteran activists and some of us are just beginning. We share a vision of a just and equitable society, and we are building power across San Antonio and beyond to achieve that vision.

 

How do I become an official member of DSA?

  • Go to https://dsausa.org/join and fill out the form.

  • You can sign up and pay dues on a monthly, annual, or lifetime basis. 

  • Please note that you are able to pay dues based on your income-level. If you cannot afford to pay dues, know that DSA does not turn away anyone for lack of funds. Fill out the dues waiver form if you are unable to afford dues. 

  • If you sign up for monthly dues, the chapter gets a share of your dues!

  • You must be a dues paying member of DSA to vote in chapter elections at the Local Convention.

 

How (and why) do I pay local dues?

  • Just like a labor union, we are supported by dues-paying members, which means that we are accountable to ourselves, rather than large foundations or grant money. No establishment politician, corporation, or non-governmental organization (NGO) can dictate what we do or how we organize, or threaten to cut our funding. This gives us autonomy. Many members pay monthly local dues. We then use those funds for actions, agitations, education, and events.

  • Here is the link for local monthly donations.

  • Here is the link for local non-recurring donations.
     

What do local dues pay for?

Local dues go toward funding meeting spaces, internal costs like maintaining our website and technologies we use to keep in contact with membership, regular chapter activities, and new projects and initiatives proposed and adopted by the general membership.

 

I’m new here and I don’t want to read this whole page. What should I do first?

  1. Visit our website. We have a public calendar and everyone is welcome to attend any of our events, actions, committee meetings, general meetings, etc. 

  2. Sign up for our mailing list. This is the most reliable way to find out news, events, actions, and volunteer opportunities.

  3. Attend a New Member Orientation. Check our calendar for the next available orientation where you can meet new comrades, find out about our chapter, and ask any questions you may have.

  4. Attend a General Meeting. We host General Meetings every other month, usually the last Saturday of the month. This is where we discuss chapter business and have an education event or an activity for members to participate in. Check our calendar for the next General Meeting.

  5. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

 

Getting Involved

How do I get involved with organizing that's currently happening?

  • We send out bi-weekly emails with campaign updates. Subscribe to our mailing list to receive regular updates from our chapter.

  • Join our Slack.

  • Check out our calendar and join us at an upcoming event.

 

How do I find out about meetings?

  • You can find our full calendar on our website.

  • Meeting reminders, agendas, and minutes will also be posted in the appropriate Slack channels for any committee. Check out our committees here.

  • You can also find events on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

What happens at a committee meeting?

  • Committee meetings are where most of the work of the chapter happens.

  • Agendas are posted in the Slack channel the day of the meeting.

  • Every committee has a different way of arranging their meetings, but all of them use meetings to plan for upcoming events, discuss strategy, vote on actions, etc.

 

What happens at a Local Council meeting?

  • Local Council meetings are where administrative decisions get made.

  • Local Council meetings are open to all dues paying members.

  • Committee stewards report on ongoing activities, events, organizing, etc.

  • The Local Council plans General Meetings and helps coordinate any work between committees. 

  • New business is voted on, including any resolutions that will go before the general membership.

 

What happens at a General Meeting?

  • General Meetings are regular chapter wide meetings.

  • We’ll hear updates from our various organizing efforts.

  • We’ll include some political education or discussion.

  • We’ll take up formal business and make collective decisions about the political work we are doing.

 

What happens at the Local Convention?

  • Local Convention happens every year in the first six months of the year.

  • We vote to elect Co-chairs, Secretary, Membership Chair, Treasurer, and At-Large Members to Local Council.

  • We may take up amendments to our bylaws.

  • We may take up electoral endorsements.

  • We may take up formal business about the political direction of our chapter in the coming year.

 

Roles and Responsibilities

Who is in chapter leadership?

  • You are! DSA’s highest decision-making authority is the general membership.

  • Big decisions are voted on by membership at General Meetings, Special Meetings, and our annual convention.

  • We also elect a Local Council, which is made up of officers, at-large representatives, and committee stewards. The Local Council takes care of the administrative business of the chapter. Want to chat with the Local Council? Email us at sanantoniodsa@gmail.com

 

What do At-large Local Council members do?

At-Large members of Local Council serve to coordinate projects that aren’t happening within a specific committee but with the membership as a whole. At-Large members also serve in a supporting role to elected officers (Membership Chair, Co-Chairs, Secretary, Treasurer) and are encouraged to bring a vision or project to the role that they would like to focus on during their time on Local Council.

 

What is a committee? 

A committee is a dedicated organizing space within our chapter, usually focused on an issue or set of issues. Committees must carry out a program as described by their Statement of Purpose and bylaws. Committees define their own leadership per their bylaws, and have one steward on the Local Council. Check out our committees here!

 

What are our current committees?

  • Labor

  • Membership Engagement

  • Municipal Action

  • Mutual Aid

  • Red Rabbits

 

How do I join a committee?

  • Join the committee's channel on Slack. 

  • Introduce yourself!

  • Look for meeting times in the channel or on the calendar and come to a meeting.

 

How do I start a committee? Do I need to?

Committees are for standing or ongoing projects or fronts of organizing. If you’re looking to start work that is long-term or involves larger projects a committee might make sense. To start a committee:

  1. Check whether a committee exists where the work you're proposing would fit. E.g. Any electoral work would take place within the Municipal Action Committee.

  2. Write a Statement of Purpose to propose the creation of the committee and have 10 members in good standing sign the proposal.

  3. Present to the Local Council for addition to the next General Meeting agenda.

  4. Present to General Membership for a vote.

  5. If approved, work with committee members to write bylaws.

 

Committees must be created or disbanded by vote of the general membership, must elect leadership including a steward to the Local Council, and must operate by internal committee bylaws. Each committee has a dedicated channel on Slack, our internal digital organizing space. Committees organize their own internal elections. Some committees are extremely active, and some are more or less defunct, but until and unless the committee is abolished by the general membership, it remains an organizing space within our chapter.

 

What's a caucus? How do I start one?

Caucuses are independent, unofficial formations of members. Caucuses do not require any formal recognition from the Local. Members may self-organize into caucuses temporarily or permanently according to shared interest, affinity, or political goals. If you would like your caucus to be officially recognized by the chapter, have five members in good standing sign a mission statement that includes the name and purpose of the Caucus and present it to the Local Council for recognition.

 

How do I run for leadership in a committee?

Committees hold elections on their own schedules, and according to their own bylaws. Upcoming committee elections will be called by committee leaders and announced in committee meetings, on committee channels on Slack, and in General Meeting.

 

How do I run for chapter leadership?

Officer elections are held during our Local Convention. In order to run for an officer role you must be nominated by another member, then a member of Local Council will reach out and ask if you’d like to accept the nominations. Local Council will announce the date of Local Convention and the nomination period.

 

General Questions

What is progressive stack?

  • We use “one mic” principles, this means if you’d like to speak, raise your hand and the chair or facilitator will recognize you and call on you.

  • The stack keeper will keep a list of names of those who’d like to speak. This list is the “stack”.

  • Progressive stack means that the facilitator or stack keeper will prioritize people who haven’t spoken and people from marginalized communities.

  • This has the effect of meaning that not everyone will speak in the order they raised their hand or asked to be added to stack, in order to balance the conversation and favor other voices.

 

How can I get something posted on chapter social media?

  • Find the committee that organizes around the statement or event you want to amplify.

  • Check recent discussion and meeting minutes to see if there has already been a discussion around what you want posted.

  • If nothing has been discussed, pose the question of posting  in the committee Slack channel. 

  • The Committee Steward will coordinate the post with any social media officers.
     

How do I get training to be a better organizer?

  • Our chapter offers training through all of our committees. Check the calendar for upcoming training sessions or reach out on Slack in #questions-for-the-local to inquire about upcoming training opportunities.

  • DSA National hosts training and events regularly too. Check out their calendar for upcoming events.

 

How can I get involved with DSA National?

DSA National has several priority committees, working groups, work committees, and caucuses members can participate in, including:

  • Medicare For All

  • Democratic Socialist Labor Commission

  • Green New Deal

  • National Electoral Committee

  • Abolition Working Group

  • Afrosocialists and Socialists of Color Caucus

  • Anti-Fascist Working Group

  • Disability Caucus and Working Group

  • Ecosocialist Working Group

  • Housing Justice Commission

  • Immigrants’ Rights Working Group

  • International Committee

  • Mutual Aid Working Group

  • Queer Socialists Working Group

  • Religion and Socialism Working Group

  • Socialist Feminist Working Group

  • Veterans Working Group

  • Communications Committee

  • Design Committee

  • Political Education Committee

  • Tech Committee

 

Find out more about national committees and working groups on their website.

 

How does San Antonio DSA make endorsements for candidates or ballot measures?

Per our chapter bylaws, electoral endorsement votes require a quorum of ⅔ of the average attendance of members in good standing of the last five consecutive General Meetings and must be made during the Local Convention or a Special Meeting. 

 

Unless otherwise authorized, members or committees of San Antonio DSA are forbidden from campaigning as representatives of DSA for candidates or ballot measures that the Local has not officially endorsed.

Have a question about something that wasn’t covered? Email us at sanantoniodsa@gmail.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

© 2020 San Antonio DSA

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