National Training

Our National Training Strategy unpacks the secret sauce of a wide array of organizing skills and tactics so members develop the skills to pursue their own politics.

With our explosive recent growth, DSA has gained a unique visibility, nationwide potential, renewed encouragement, and a truly impressive membership of skilled organizers, experienced leftists and eager new recruits. Our ability to build power, expand, and gain transformative wins depends completely on how we integrate our new members into the organization and position ourselves as a platform for meaningful people-led change. The task before us is to channel that energy, organize that membership and continue to build momentum and power, and to transition from an organization that represents a very particular subsection of the working class to one that is deeply rooted and respected within the many diverse communities of the working class.

To us, that looks like a mass movement of versatile member-organizers. In place of the narrow, staff-capacity-limited power of the institutional progressives, we see the development of a massive, constantly growing nationwide community of committed member-organizers as critical to fighting for transformative reforms, for worker power, and for democratic socialism.

If DSA is serious about building the power of working people of whatever race, gender, citizen status or region, we must re-build the spine of the Left to be both strong and flexible. If we want to exercise power nationally, we need regional-specific trainings to build our strength outside the traditional progressive enclaves on the coasts. If we want to confront the state-level political power of the right, while also confronting the neoliberals in the Democratic Party and the non-electoral organized power of the capitalist class in the economy, we need to build strong state level infrastructure of organized and active members capable of winning effective and visionary local campaigns.

To that end, we propose that the NPC prioritise a comprehensive national strategy to provide robust and meaningful training and development to approximately 5000 core and activist members of DSA by the end of 2018.

A serious commitment to strategic leadership development and base building requires an investment of resources.  

  • Immediate need: 1 experienced full time Member Development Coordinator whose sole responsibility is to lead a member needs assessment, plan the regional roll out, coordinate teams for the initial trainings, then transition into focusing on curriculum development.

Approximate cost including salary & other personnel and overhead costs: est $70,000

  • As DSA rolls out the deeply necessary regional organizer structure detailed in, for instance, the dues proposal that will be discussed at convention, leadership for rolling out the regional trainings will move to these staff people and the Member Development Coordinator will focus on curriculum development.

  • Travel and accommodation for 5 trainers to visit each of the 5 regions twice to train the regional team and assist with the initial content delivery.

    • 5 x 5 x 2 x est $1000: $50,000

  • Space, meals and materials for 1 training per region, per month from October 2017 to December 2018.

    • 5 x 14 x est $1000: $70,000

In summary, in order to meet our goal, the National Training Team will commit to training some 300 DSA members every month for 15 months. The approximate new cost of this program will be $190,000 and the outcome will be a core of 200 highly experienced trainers and 5000 well trained leaders and organizers to carry forward DSA’s work in 2018 and beyond.