Bylaws of the Sacramento Local of the Democratic Socialists of America
The name of the Local shall be the Sacramento Local of the Democratic Socialists of America, also known colloquially as DSA Sacramento or Sacramento DSA.
The Sacramento Local of the Democratic Socialists of America seeks to facilitate the transition to a truly democratic and socialist society, one in which the means/resources of production are democratically and socially controlled.
DSA rejects an economic order based solely on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power, discrimination based on race and sex, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo.
DSA envisions a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, gender and racial equality, and non-oppressive relationships.
Our conception of socialism is a profoundly democratic one. It is rooted in the belief that human beings should be free to develop to their fullest potential, that public policies should be determined not by wealth but by popular participation, and that individual liberties should be carefully safeguarded. It is committed to a freedom of speech that does not recoil from dissent, to a freedom to organize independent trade unions, women’s groups, political parties, and other formations – recognizing these as essential bulwarks against the dangers of an intrusive state. It is committed to a freedom of religion that acknowledges the rights of those for whom spiritual concerns are central.
We are socialists because we are developing a concrete strategy for achieving that vision. In the present, we are building a visible socialist presence within the broad democratic left. In the long run, we hope to build a majority movement capable of making democratic socialism a reality in the United States. Our strategy acknowledges the class structure of the U.S. society.
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.
Sacramento DSA will hold a minimum of four General Membership Meetings annually. The General Membership will elect Local officers and may adopt an annual budget. In general, it is the highest legislative body of the Local.
The Steering Committee will set the agenda for General Membership Meetings.
The Steering Committee may call an Emergency Meeting of the General Membership on five days notice when an urgent and important matter requires deliberation.
A quorum of 10% of the membership is required for all elections.
A quorum of 5% of the membership is required for all votes of the General Membership and other business meetings. If a voting quorum is not met during the time of a general membership meeting where such a quorum is required, voting shall be conducted through an online poll sent out to the general membership via email. The poll in question shall be open for at least 48 hours following said meeting.
Co-chairs are charged with drafting the agenda for all Steering Committee business meetings and all General Membership meetings. They assume ultimate responsibility for the actions and operations of the local chapter.
Both Co-chairs are expected to attend all Steering Committee and General Membership meetings. At all meetings, one Co-chair must assume parliamentary responsibilities while the other runs the meeting.
Co-chairs are allowed two consecutive excused absences from meetings, with the expectation that they will appoint a substitute to assume their duties at the meeting.
At least one Co-chair must be a self-identified woman.
The Treasurer maintains the DSA Sacramento bank account and finances. The Treasurer delivers financial reports to all Steering Committee meetings and all General Membership meetings. The Treasurer also delivers a yearly detailed treasurer’s report to the Steering Committee and General Membership.
The Treasurer is allowed two consecutive excused absences from meetings, with the expectation that they will appoint a substitute to assume their duties at the meeting.
The Treasurer chairs the Finance Standing Committee. The Finance Standing Committee will determine an expenditure amount that must be voted on by the General Membership. The Finance Standing committee is charged with developing an annual budget and financing plan, to be approved by the General Membership, in accordance with the Accounting Policies and Procedures Manual.
The Secretary is charged with taking meeting minutes at all Steering Committee and General Membership meetings. The Secretary is charged with maintaining consistent communication with new and existing members of the local chapter. The Secretary must demonstrate this consistent communication to the Steering Committee. The Secretary maintains an organizational chart, tracks committees, and enforces bylaws. The Secretary must become a member of the Communications standing committee formed by the Communications Director. The Secretary is charged with performing or delegating all internal communications tasks including but not limited to membership texting campaigns, membership phone banking campaigns, and ballot creation.
The Secretary is allowed two consecutive excused absences from meetings, with the expectation that they will appoint a substitute to assume their duties at the meeting.
The Communications Director is charged with forming a Communications Standing Committee.
The Communications Standing Committee handles all internal and external communications. The Communications Standing Committee is expected to direct all relevant media inquiries to the appropriate campaign and/or committee leadership. The Communications Director is charged with performing or delegating all external communications tasks including but not limited to monthly newsletters, mass emails, graphics creation, and social media management.
The Organizer is charged with sponsoring and assuming ultimate responsibility for the actions and operations of select committees. The Organizer is a liaison between the Steering Committee and select committees assigned to them. Four Organizers will be elected to the Steering Committee.
All organizers will have the shared duties of hosting a quarterly New Member Orientation, and recruiting members to help execute the following tasks:
At least 2 organizers will be tasked with overseeing internal mobilization efforts which include: (1) Cutting monthly lists of new members (2) Reaching out to new members to have 1:1 organizing conversations to plug them into the chapter based on their interests (3) Reach out to members w/ expired dues and (4) Lead Dues/Membership Drives.
At least 2 organizers will be tasked with overseeing external outreach efforts which include: (1) Monthly nationbuilder/collective contacts data entry, (2) Follow up with new sign ups on a monthly basis, (3) Tracking tabling materials and (4) Ordering and printing literature.
The Organizer is allowed two consecutive excused absences from meetings, with the expectation that they will appoint a substitute to assume their duties at the meeting.
All members in leadership roles, including but not limited to Steering Committee and co-chair positions, are required to undergo anti-oppression training that addresses anti-racism, socialist feminism, disability justice, and other topics critical to our collective liberation. These trainings must occur within the first three months of leadership, and failure to complete these trainings will result in leadership benefits, such as voting rights, being revoked.
An ad hoc working group will be formed to further determine the content of this training and will present an overview of the final content, materials, and potential facilitators of these training sessions to the general body before being adopted and shall be reviewed every 2 years.
This requirement retroactively applies to current leadership, who should fulfill the requirement within 3 months of the completion of training materials.
The requirement applies to each new Steering Committee, including recurring Steering Committee members who may have completed past training.
The Steering Committee consists of two Co-Chairs, one Secretary-Treasurer, one Membership Coordinator, and three Organizers. After September 2017 Elections the Steering Committee will consist of two Co-chairs, one Secretary, one Treasurer, and three Organizers.
The Steering Committee must hold one in-person or virtual business meeting per month. Business meetings must be publicized to the General Membership, and be open for attendance by the General Membership. An agenda should be made available to the General Membership at least 12 hours in advance. Approved notes from each Steering Committee business meeting must be made available to the General Membership following the meeting.
If any officer misses two Steering Committee business meetings in a row, a referendum will be called. If the Steering Committee does not hold a meeting, it counts as one absence for the entire Steering Committee.
The Steering Committee reviews all committee expenditures and campaigns, and agendizes such motions for ratification at the General Membership Meeting. The Steering Committee reviews urgent committee actions that cannot be brought before the General Membership, and approves of such motions by consent. The Steering Committee has 24 hours to object to urgent committee motions. If no objection is made, the committee motion passes.
The Steering Committee determines the allocation of resources to all committees.
The Steering Committee may also recommend the dismantling of any committee to the General Membership.
If any member of the Steering Committee resigns from their post, the remaining Steering Committee members will select an Interim Officer to assume the role until elections can be held.
The Steering Committee is responsible for considering and responding to all chapter requirements and action requests as dictated by the DSA National Organization, being responsive to such requirements/requests, and communicating these requirements/request to the General Membership.
The Steering Committee motions need to pass by majority of the Steering Committee membership.
Formation of Committees
Ideas for committees must be proposed in front of the General Membership. At that time, three dues-paying members in total must come forward, stating their willingness to participate in the committee. An Organizer must also come forward, stating their willingness to sponsor and assume responsibility for the committee. If and when these requirements are met, the group is assigned “working group” status. The group then is tasked with the following, to be completed by the next general membership meeting:
- Hold a meeting and elect a committee chair (committee chairs may not be Officers)
- Prepare a presentation to be given in front of the general membership, outlining the purpose and intent of the committee
Following the presentation, the General Membership will vote to ratify the proposed committee. A committee needs to acquire a simple majority vote in favor in order to proceed.
Committee leadership must notify their assigned Organizer of all committee business. Committee leadership must invite their assigned Organizer to all committee meetings and events. Each Committee will establish and monitor a committee email.
Committee leadership will send one representative per month to a Steering Committee meeting. The committee representative will communicate with the Steering Committee and other committee representatives about their committee’s upcoming events and what resources or support they require from the broader Chapter.
Committees must bring all committee expenditures and campaigns before the Steering Committee, so such actions may be scheduled for the General Membership Meeting.
Committees must seek the approval of the General Membership for all campaigns. Committees must report all actions and campaigns to the Media Committee for publicity.
In the event that a committee faces a time-sensitive motion that cannot be brought before the General Membership before action is required, that committee may bring the motion before the Steering Committee for approval by consent.
A vote of the General Membership may dismantle committees, brought about by: recommendation of the Steering Committee; or recommendation by any General Member, for reasons such as violating DSA Sacramento bylaws. Committees may also self-dismantle at any time.
Committees are expected to help manage press inquiries regarding committee business.
Committees must conduct yearly, publicized elections. Elections should be publicized at minimum of 2 weeks in advance.
Ideas for Working Groups must be proposed in front of the General Membership. At that time, two dues-paying members in total must come forward, stating their willingness to participate in the working group. The purpose of the working group, as well as the expected end-date of the project, must also be stated.
Following the proposal, the General Membership will vote whether or not to give permission to proceed with the working group. A working group needs to acquire a simple majority vote in favor in order to proceed.
Working groups must report to the Steering Committee. All working group actions must be brought before the Steering Committee for consent.
Working groups must report all actions and campaigns to the Media Committee for publicity.
Working groups may seek a deadline extension by vote of the General Membership.
Working groups may be dismantled by a vote of the General Membership, brought about by: recommendation of the Steering Committee; or recommendation by any General Member, for reasons such as violating DSA Sacramento bylaws. Working groups may also self-dismantle at any time.
Members of the Sacramento DSA are those individuals whose dues to national DSA are paid in full. It will be the responsibility of members to approve policies and guidelines for the operation of the local chapter, to elect delegates to the national convention, to vote on matters related to national policy, and to make recommendations on issues and other matters to the National Political Committee of DSA.
Individuals whose dues to national DSA are unpaid may still participate as non-voting volunteers. These non-voting volunteers may not hold office, may not chair committees or working groups, and may not count toward quorum.
If a member is found to be in substantial disagreement with the principles or policies of national DSA, or if that member is found to be consistently engaging in undemocratic, disruptive behavior, or if that member is found to be under the discipline of any self-defined democratic centralist organization, the Local may vote to expel her/him from DSA. In order for such a finding to be made, another DSA member must formally prefer written charges against the member in question to the Local Steering Committee, which shall set the date of a Local meeting for deliberations on the charges. The member in question must receive a copy of the written charges and notice of the meeting a minimum of two weeks before that meeting takes place. Expulsion of a member or affiliate member requires a two-thirds vote of the Local meeting. An expelled member may appeal to the National Political Committee of DSA.
Voting and Election Procedures.
Above-stated quorum requirements must be upheld for all votes and elections.
Voting in all elections will be conducted by secret ballot, also known as the Australian ballot, either on paper or digitally.
Other votes not specified above may be conducted as the parliamentarian sees fit.
Above-stated quorum requirement and voting procedures apply to officer elections and delegate elections.
At the time of each vote, it must be reiterated that non-dues-paying volunteers must refrain from voting.
Within 24 hours of each election result, the full voting totals must be released to the general membership.
DSA Sacramento shall not engage in activity prohibited by the IRS guidelines established for 501 (c) 4 organizations or similar rules established by the state of California. DSA Sacramento shall not engage in any activity prohibited by resolutions adopted by DSA’s National Convention or DSA’s National Political Committee.
DSA Sacramento will maintain an environment free of discrimination and harassment as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Bylaws can be amended as needed by a 2⁄3 majority of Voting Quorum at a General Membership Meeting with 30 days notice or at an annual chapter convention.
In order to be voted in a General Membership Meeting, bylaw amendment proposals must be signed by at least 15 members in good standing and submitted to the Steering Committee or designated body 30 days for consideration. The Steering Committee shall provide the Local membership with at least two weeks written notice of proposed amendments.*
The Local Convention will be the highest deliberative body of the Local to amend its structure and decide the political priorities of the Local between Local Conventions.
It shall be convened once per every calendar year and requires a Voting Quorum.
The Steering Committee is required to facilitate an annual Local Convention[*]. All convention rules shall be written by ad hoc working group, be posted to the entire membership 30 days in advance of a Local Convention, be amendable, and require ratification by 2⁄3 majority at the commencement of the Local Convention.
Rules of the Local.
The Rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall govern this Local in cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws. Consensus decision-making is desirable where feasible, but meetings must submit to Robert’s Rules of Order upon the request of a member.
Any action taken by an officer or member of the Local in contravention of these Bylaws is null and void.