DSA Conference Call: November 23, 2016
At the outset of the call, there was a brief discussion of conference call technologies that might be considered, Peg from National had offered a couple options of which the technology we used was one. Megan pointed out that Slack has a video conference call option.
Jeremy set the ground rules for the meeting including muting phones when not speaking to avoid background noises interrupting the call. Jeremy asked each person on the call to say a bit about what they have been working on since the last meeting.
Jeremy has been coordinating this call and working on other issues related to the Coordinating Committee and the campaign team.
Ari has been working on questions of membership recruitment through the Outreach and Recruitment Committee. The Outreach Committee has its first committee meeting planned for December 3 at 10 a.m. He has also been working on planning the role Outreach and Recruitment Committee activities can take at the next member meeting on December 10.
Mary Virginia has been working with Jeremy on the campaign team. The campaign team will be meeting on December 3 at 10 a.m.
Dan has been working on the Education Committee. There is still a Doodle awaiting input but the Education Committee meeting will likely be this Sunday. There is a tentative plan to have the "ABCs of Socialism" be the first text the Education Committee will focus on.
Artem has been working on the Coalition Building Committee. The team is working on setting up a meeting for next Tuesday evening. He is also working on supporting the SEIU Nnovember 29 event and would like to get information from this group on how to best turn out DSA members for that event. Jeremy suggests we makes sure to come back to the November 29 event before the end of the call.
Michael says that he and Erik are planning on scheduling a Strategy Committee meeting for whatever day is left and plans to touch base with Erika about this later. He also raises a question about some need for clarification of the difference between the roles of the strategy team and the campaigns team.
Ben reports working with Ari on the Outreach and New Member Meeting doing secretary stuff (transcribing notes).
Norma reports that she hasn't done much so far due to a cold but has propagated a Google Sheet with committee information and is working on putting out an email to the Events Committee.
Jeremy asks if Norma and Tim are in touch.
Tim tells the group he's been sick for the last two weeks but is here now and has been working on tasks related to First Friday table for next week. There is a question about shifts and sign ups/set up/takedown and a plan to discuss concrete things like the Table, the Banner and other stuff with Karl.
Jeremy invites Tim to ask people in the group if there is something he needs and there is some clarification of who to ask.
Karl has been tasked with finding a location for the December 10 event as the upwards of 100 people expected is too many for his house. Amy is looking into the Marsh as a possible location, and there is work being done to hunt down a Berkeley or Oakland location. He has a table and banner and First Friday stuff but notes that there is a literature question that needs to be addressed in this meeting.
Ari notes that Michael Nye has offered to bottom line finding a meeting space for the December 10 event and hopes he and Karl can work on that together.
Karl states that he will keep working on the space question.
Megan reports that she is recovering from the recent procedure (wisdom teeth) that kept her out of the most recent meeting. She has no committee yet to work with but has a strong interest in how we are doing social media and has offered to take over the Facebook account. She has professional history in that area. She reports that Shannon is interested in having a similar role for Twitter. She states that she thinks a system is needed for adverts for specific stuff (meeting reminders and other events) and notes that social media coulee help with turnout and organizing for all committees.
Tim asks Megan a question about contact with the San Francisco group and notes that they had a strategy of promoting articles first and then their meeting and that they seem to have about 700 responses to their meeting coming up on December 1. Megan has plans to connect with the San Francisco group and a strategy for working the Facebook algorithms to our favor. She suggests four categories of posts: local chapter, local news, national DSA, and national news.
Karl points out that another consideration is how active the state of California is becoming in terms of DSA chapters growing and forming. He suggests that a state category might be worth considering in the Facebook strategy.
Jeremy asks about pressing questions within the group about how we are organizing and whether there is any confusion at this point about who is responsible for what.
A question is asked from the group of what else is on the agenda. The agenda includes clarification of team leader roles, discussion of upcoming events, a question of who will coordinate these calls as Jeremy will have to step back, and the email drafted by Ari regarding the December 10 meeting and the list that has been built of email addresses.
Jeremy goes on to explain that his neck injury is being exacerbated by the emailing and calls and asks who can step up to coordinating these calls. The question of frequency is raised, and the idea that they could be every two weeks is floated. Tim offers to coordinate them. An idea is floated that they could occur at a regular time instead of requiring a Doodle to agree on a time for each call.
Jeremy notes that there are there events coming up that raise major resource questions: the December 10 event, the First Friday event, and the SEIU action.
Ari discussing his ideas about the resources in place and needed for December 10. His understanding is that
- Michael and Karl are in charge of the venue
- Ben and Ari will work on membership recruitment for the event through the Membership Committee
- The event will include a new member breakout session and a not-yet-a-member breakout session
- Contact sheets will play a role in the meeting
- There should be a speaker for the meeting: Gus Newport or Jesse Arreguin would be good? Karl recommends not being too Berkeley-oriented and suggested that Gus can probably give a larger picture of the political landscape. Ari asks Karl to invite Gus to give a "short rabble-rousing speech."
- Help is needed with organizing refreshments through a potluck spreadsheet. Tim offers the Event Committee for this role.
Jeremy discusses the 160-person email list that we currently have and asks for a summary of the turnout strategy and the roles.
Ari discusses the plan to phone bank, and use first friday for turnout. Ari has scheduled a phone bank for Thursday, December 8, to help with turnout for the December 10 event.
Tim plans to do a refreshments email and include asking people to volunteer for setup and breakdown for the December 10 event. The backup plan is to press gang the events committee if there is a shortage of responses.
Ari is the contact person for the December 10 event.
Megan will assist with the Facebook events page.
Karl asks a question about how to make the email list from Google (different, but overlapping with the one discussed earlier) available to Ari.
Tim suggests getting in touch offline with Ari about this to figure out what is needed.
Norma asks about a literature committee and how literature can be coordinated with events.
Jeremy asks whether there is a huge need for new content.
Tim suggests that literature needs seem sporadic but also has some plans to write up some literature this weekend. Norma and Tim will chat after the call though Norma clarifies that the chat cannot happen tonight.
Jeremy puts forward the idea that specific campaigns might have different needs and that the campaign team can draft petitions. Different people can produce different materials as they see fit.
Karl stays with the question of literature suggesting that there is information about DSA that can invite new membership. He tells the group about a quarter-sheet developed by Norma that would be good for First Friday. He also emphasized the need for something that gets peoples names, for example a "resist Trump" sign on sheet, and a document with DSA positions. He notes that national DSA has a good "socialism over barbarism" factsheet and that it is important as we do literature development not to reinvent the wheel.
Someone agrees that there is not a need to write up too much new stuff.
Tim says something about having literature under control.
Ari returns to the topic of the December 10 event and asks about someone giving a short speech about DSA. There is an idea that this could be either Karl or Susan, like an overview followed by something else, ideally a history, then a recap of the past month and then orienting towards the future.
Mary Virginia suggests that this could be Susan and then a new member.
Susan is not on the call to agree or turn down this idea.
Norma asks about the time for the December 10 event. The idea for now seems to be 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. or 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and she notes that it is a lot do put into two hours. She also notes that whatever literature we do develop needs to also go up on the website.
Jeremy asks about who is taking on the website. Tim is happy to do the website but contact with Jessie hasn't happened yet and he thinks he can do something in that area. Jeremy recommends that Shannon, Megan, and Tim be in touch.
Megan notes that she also has a professional web developer friend in Davis who is eager to get involved.
Artem offers that he can help with the website too.
Jeremy moves the group discussion to the question of the overlap between the Campaign Committee and the Strategy Committee.
Jeremy and Mary Virginia have the idea of involvement on two long-term California campaigns: single-payer and rent control, but also possible work on sanctuary state issues. In the near term, there is the idea of working on quicker campaigns for the push for Keith Ellison at DNC and maybe getting involved around the governor's race in 2018. The Campaign Committee with these would not be focused on overarching strategy but something now that can bridge to strategy later.
Michael suggests an offline chat about this as there is a question of what is the overarching strategy about. How will things work together and how will things step up? As campaigns move forward, how do we delimit roles?
Mary Virginia suggests considering that the Campaign and Strategy Committees be the same at first until they can split and roles can be differentiated. She notes that some research is needed to start and that the converation should continue offline.
Jeremy asks for a plan for that conversation to happen later. He then refers back to a topic raised earlier by Karl of contact with DSA branches.
Mary Virginia asks about what the other DSA chapters are thinking. What's the sense of the landscape that they have?
Artem suggests that getting the answers to this could be part of the work of the Coalition-building Committee.
Karl reports back on conversations with DSA in Los Angeles who reports that they have had a large influx of new members mostly between ages 29 and 40. They've had three events since the election. He also discusses the need for some activity coherence and for considering a date for a meeting in Fresno in a month or two.
Jeremy notes a difficulty around too much focus (not sure what my note meant here) and Artem states that he can get the contact info for each state chapter and start some coordination. Artem agrees to be the person making contact with the other state groups.
Norma suggest a coordinating meeting could involve all state groups and occur regularly and Mary Virginia suggests that this might be good to aim for as a monthly occurence.
Artem states that he will work towards a statewide call.
Ben notes that a small piece of work around collaboration is happening with inviting Jack from the San Francisco leadership to the New Member Committee meeting to see if we can offer some support.
Karl plans to go to the San Francisco meeting.
Jeremy asks about whether DSA money can be used for printing.
Karl states that while a treasurer might be needed in the future, currenlty the system is for receipts to be given to Karl for reimbursement.
Norma suggests looking ahead to potential need for a treasurer in the future.
Karl suggests that we approach this similarly to the discussion of campaigns and strategy and that we differentiate as we need to.
Artem notes that more member participation would be needed for assignment of roles like treasurer.
Karl notes that a bylaws conversation is needed.
Jeremy clarifies that the December 10 meeting is too soon for elections and that perhaps we should plan on the next meeting (January) being the meeting where bylaws are discussed. Karl has a copy of the bylaws that can be put up on the website and there's an idea about sending these to Megan.
Mary Virginia floats the idea of a January 7 general meeting.
There is a discussion of how for the past 10–20 years the second week in December has been a party and informal meeting, traditionally at Niebyl-Proctor, which is still an option if all else fails.
Jeremy notes how the new influx of members means that the December 10 meeting is too many people for a general meeting. An idea is floated that January 14 might work better than January 7 for the next general meeting.
The idea of what will happen at the December 10 meeting is returned to. An idea comes up that people should be encouraged at the December 10 event to sign up for committees. Breakout groups are recommended for the committees to coordinate new people towards their interests. The question arises of whether committee chairs can have breakout sessions.
Karl states that a committee tree and schedule are needed and the hub idea is returned to (from previous meetings) that there can be one general meeting a month and that committees can report back to that meeting. He notes that a framework is needed.
Mary Virginia asks about whether Slack can be used to make a shared calendar and no one thinks it can.
Artem asks about sending out the SEIU flyer on the email that is being sent out to members.
Mary Virginia asks about the calendar and whether committee meeting names and locations can be put in a shared calendar.
Artem plans to write a blurb about the SEIU event to include in the email going out soon to members and Ben will take up contacting all committee chairs about presenting on December 10.
Megan asks that we let her know about any events so that these can bel part of the Facebook presence. Also Megan's girlfriend is a designer and makes flyers so together they can help with physical and digital media.
Karl asks about getting a DSA shirt designed and Megan will talk to him about this offline.
The meeting adjourns here.