DSA should dramatically expand our training capacity, with a goal of training 5,000 member organizers across the country’s chapters. These members would be trained in the fundamentals of relational organizing, identifying and developing leadership, building a strong chapter structure, and engaging in strategic coalition work and recruitment. They would also be given a basic introduction to key concepts of political education and socialist theory, so they can participate on a more equal footing with fellow members and more experienced leftists, and can develop strategy and orientation that makes sense for their context
DSA should take serious, concrete steps toward becoming a truly representative, working class organization. At the moment, our membership is predominantly White, and disproportionately made up of what might be characterized as the downwardly mobile middle class. This is but one section of the working class that we must organize if we are to be effective, and we must be able to listen closely and speak resonantly to the working class that we know to be the crucial agent of revolutionary change. We recognize that the struggle to organize across ethnic and racial divisions, and in a way that dismantles the patriarchy and racism that shows up within our communities, is among the most difficult challenges that the left has faced across generations. We want DSA to dedicate itself seriously to addressing the challenges of building multi-racial working class solidarity, in a way that is respectful of different communities’ histories and struggles, while also building an internal culture capable of effecting personal and collective transformation and interdependence. We propose to engage in a deliberate process to identify strategies that make sense at the chapter level to attempt to become more deeply rooted in and representative of the composition of the working class.
DSA should expand on and develop the ‘mobilizer’ system that has been initiated by the NYC and Philadelphia chapters, and help it spread nationally. As an organization committed to radical democracy and collective power, we need structures and deep relationships to live our values and harness our members’ power at the scale of our aspirations. The mobilizer model will work towards ensuring that for every ten members of the organization, there is a volunteer-organizer (‘mobilizer’) whose primary job is to build relationships, welcome new members to the organization, deepen their engagement in ways that make sense for them, and ensure the retention of our expanded but less-connected new base.
DSA should develop a base within our membership and across the organization that can meaningfully participate in workplace and sectoral organizing. All successful socialist organizations have engaged deeply in the critical work of building worker power on the shop floor (and in the best cases also in the fields, and among the domestic workforce), and within the structures and institutions of US industry. At a time when the labor movement’s survival cannot be taken for granted it is our responsibility, and a critical opportunity, for DSA to engage in helping build worker power across our chapters. We propose to expand the capacity to train chapter members as workplace organizers, to develop and deepen the membership’s political perspective and strategic thinking on workplace organizing, and to begin building connections among communities of workers based on industry sector. These communities can form the basis for meaningful interventions in workplace organizing.
Dues & Money
If DSA is to keep faith with the hopes raised by its growth in membership, we will need to raise the funds to develop, extend and deepen our organization at all levels. At a minimum, an amendment to allow for monthly dues- annual dues are currently mandated in the constitution- and giving the NPC some flexibility in developing dues and financial management systems is a no-brainer.
Beyond that, the following are several general principles and specific possibilities that the members of this slate agree on:
We advise that the convention keep it simple in terms of any resolutions passed regarding money. We should not be mandating specific amounts or revenue sharing or fundraising practices that would tie the hands of the future NPC, which needs time and flexibility to restructure DSA’s financial systems and staff to respond to our growth and create robust projections for future years' income based on the discussions at convention.
We strongly support a clear mandate that the national organization is the conduit to direct resources to our rural/small town/red state chapters, without which we’re just another coastal organization treading the same ground.
We believe that any change to our dues structure should be made at the point of renewal; that these changes should provide straight forward options; that income based dues, annual payment and automatic deductions should remain optional should remain optional for the term of the current NPC.
We recommend specific fundraising campaigns for specific projects: e.g. a Legal Defense Fund.
Finally, we believe that one of the first priorities of the new NPC is to grapple with the immediate need to design and carry out a Dues Renewal Campaign among our members. This would entail, at a minimum, ensuring we have
A robust, easy to understandable monthly dues options
A communication plan with locals to coordinate renewal calls
Adequate additional staff to run a coordinated, strong campaign
Coordinate with our Media and Social Media groups to create the materials required to show our members how much we have accomplished in just one year.
DSA should be good at internationalism.