East Bay DSA Local Council Meeting, September 17, 2017
Approved October 27, 2017
The following are minutes of the September 17 East Bay DSA local council meeting. All members of the local council were present. The meeting was chaired by co-chair Molly Armstrong. The secretary was present and recording notes.
Present at the meeting:
- Mary Virginia Watson and Molly Armstrong, co-chairs
- Frances Reade, vice-chair
- Jeff Lee, treasurer
- Ben Fife, secretary
- Ari Marcantonio, Jess Dervin-Ackerman, and Jamie Gardner, elected external organizers
- Hannah Klein, Robbie Nelson, and Ahmed Kanna, elected internal organizers
- Jeremy Gong and Meagan Day, at-large representatives
Introductions and Opening Statements
The co-chair discussed the nature of the meeting and the changes planned for future decision making to begin to occur in the Internal Organizing Committee (IOC) and External Organizing Committee (EOC) once a structure for such is developed. Upcoming decisions will include devolving some of the decisions to, and approving budgets for, the IOC and EOC at the local council meetings.
The draft agenda was approved after the removal of item F1 by its motivator, Hannah Klein. The local council approved the agenda unanimously.
An audience member noted the lack of a requested item on the agenda and suggested more formal local council relationships with Cara, Urban Shield, and other local groups. This was noted but not agonized for this meeting.
Approval of Minutes
The local council approved the minutes of the previous meeting unanimously.
The secretary gave an update on the census and archive projects.
The treasurer gave an update on revenue from recent events and suggests a post-mortem on the recent fundraiser and a discussion of pledge drives and swag management. The treasurer discussed the total current financial picture of the organization.
External Organizing Committee
The labor social is coming up on September 28. Social events for district events have been successful and are scheduled for first week in October. There is a newly formed rap training team, and we are headed for more frequent rap trainings. The recent district canvass and the direct action committee events were a success. Bernie is coming to town. There is a proposal for a single-payer education event. The next EOC meeting is coming up on September 26 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Internal Organizing Committee
The mobilizer pilot is coming up. Training for mobilizers is one week from today. Motion from the Floor (a dance party event) was a success, as was last night's co-sponsored talk on how to Trump-proof the Bay. A Christian Parenti talk is happening next week, and there is an endorsements info meeting on October 2. The recent open meeting was successful and the next open meeting is September 27.
University of California, Berkeley, (Cal) Working Group
The first meeting was last week, and 25-30 people attended. Two-thirds of the people present had been to an East Bay DSA event already. An upcoming recruitment event is in the works. There is excitement in the Cal working group about being linked to East Bay DSA and not just a student group. The co-chair reminded attendees that the working group needs co-chairs.
Jeremy gave an update on the DSA National Political Committee (NPC). The first in-person NPC meeting is coming up in Chicago and is open to all members. The NPC just endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) Medicare-for-All bill with some qualifications regarding where the bill falls short. Lots of administrative work is happening at the NPC, but one major project the NPC is working on is getting a national Medicare-for-All campaign up and running.
All items on the consent calendar were approved unanimously.
Internal Organizing Appointed Organizers
The internal organizers proposed that the following members be appointed as lead organizers on the internal organizing committee.
- Andres Chirino
- Ian Miller
Initiation of 501(c)4 Application Process
Submitted by Jeff Lee, treasurer
- 501(c)(4) organizations do not pay taxes in general for donation revenue.
- 501(c)(4) incorporation appears in the minutes of various leadership meetings (2017.1.29, 2017.2.12, and 2017.4.23), but no concrete progress was made.
- 501(c)(4) incorporation procedures require official minutes declaring the intent to incorporate, the naming of officers (California law requires a president, secretary, and treasurer), the appointment of an agent for service of process (who receives lawsuits and official correspondence), and the approval of various prerequisite measures.
- EBDSA must pursue incorporation as a California nonprofit public benefit corporation before receiving a federal tax exemption under DSA USA's proposed (but still forthcoming) 501(c)(4) group exemption.
- Incorporation requires the drafting and approval of articles of incorporation that legally codify the corporation's purpose and board structure, but can be very general in nature. As an example, see SF DSA's articles of incorporation.
- DSA USA's group exemption status may or may not be realized by the tax deadline in April 2018.
Be it resolved:
- East Bay DSA will pursue incorporation as a California nonprofit public benefit corporation governed by the bylaws adopted on 2017.4.23, as well as a federal tax exemption under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.
- Without affecting day-to-day leadership responsibilities of the elected leadership, the following roles are designated for state reporting purposes:
- President: Molly Armstrong
- Secretary: Ben Fife
- Treasurer: Jeff Lee
- Initial agent for service of process: Jeff Lee
- Board of directors: the Local Council
- Finance Team is authorized to pursue any and all necessary prerequisites for the 501(c)(4) process, including but not limited to:
- Drafting articles of incorporation, to be reviewed, revised, and signed by the "board of directors".
- Filing of registration paperwork.
- If necessary, revising the chapter's EIN, bank account, and other official registrations. The treasurer will provide regular updates to the Local Council on significant milestones in the application process.
Authorization of Recurring Payments
Submitted by Jeff Lee, Treasurer
- East Bay DSA has a number of recurring monthly expenses.
- NationBuilder and the district canvass budget are the only recurring expenses explicitly authorized by the Local Council.
- As the chapter's organizing efforts mature, The Local Council should attempt to eliminate informal spending.
Be it resolved:
- The following ongoing expenses are retroactively authorized:
- First Friday table rental: ~$75/month to Oakland First Fridays
- Google Drive: currently $40/month, but up to $80/month is authorized
- Quickbooks: $15/month, paid in 6-month increments
- All future recurring payments, as well as those that are ongoing and not yet officially unrecognized, must be authorized by a Local Council vote.
- The treasurer may not unilaterally authorize recurring payments.
Proposal to Fund Jacobin Merchandise for September 22 Lecture by Christian Parenti
Submitted by Ahmed Kanna and Jeff Lee
Whereas, the EBDSA Local Council approved, on September 10, 2017, a proposal to organize a lecture by Christian Parenti on the topic of climate change and socialism (henceforth "the Parenti proposal")
Whereas, the estimated budget in the Parenti proposal was $550 ($500 to secure the venue, $50 miscellaneous costs, e.g. printing flyers, food and beverage)
Whereas, the Parenti proposal noted that we expect to recover a significant portion of this outlay via suggested donation at the door ($5-10), selling EBDSA swag, and cash bar
Whereas, the expected attendance for this event, as discussed in the Parenti proposal, is 100 – 200
Whereas, since the Parenti proposal was originally approved, LC members have contacted Jacobin publisher Bhaskar Sunkara about helping to promote the Parenti event by providing a Jacobin endorsement and Jacobin merchandise for sale at that event (the merchanidise in question being 25 copies of Jacobin's most recent, aka "climate," issue and 35 totes)
Whereas, Sunkara has agreed and has asked that EBDSA pay for cost of production of the magazines and totes, agreeing that EBDSA would keep the remainder of the funds generated by selling this merchandise
Whereas, the cost of production of this merchandise, per correspondence between EBDSA LC and Jacobin on 9/15/17, will total $355 (receipt for this is available)
It is proposed that the Local Council approve the further outlay of $355 for the aforementioned Jacobin merchandise
Pilot Project for Project-Specific Recording Secretaries
Motivated by Ben Fife, secretary
Submitted September 9, 2017
In an effort to broaden practices of note-taking to meetings beyond those of the local council, increase transparency in East Bay DSA, and document the many areas of work being done in our chapter the EBDSA secretary convened a small group of members, the archive team, to develop, systematize, and implement practices for taking notes at meetings of our Local.
An initial effort was made by team members to serve as archive liaisons to the IOC and EOC meetings. Liaisons reminded leaders in those meetings to designate a note taker and collected notes afterwards. However the format and nature of these meetings, which had a mix of educational and work activities and where activities occurred in breakout groups presented difficulties for taking meeting notes.
Discussion of the barriers to simply designating a note taker for every meeting lead to the following thought: that major projects, those which have LC approval, should have a designated member serve as an internal recording secretary for the project. This member would send documentation of the project (meeting notes, trello task boards, other documentation) to the secretary to be stored and when appropriate would share the documentation of the project on an EBDSA wiki designed for this purpose. (follow the link to see an example of what documentation might look like)
The secretary proposes a pilot project in which three internal recording secretaries would be assigned to 3 current major projects for the next 6 months. Adam Becker would be assigned to the Website team, Nicole Gounalis would be assigned to the socialist education project, and Miles Lincoln would be assigned to the district canvasses. Each of these members will document meetings and work being done by the aforementioned groups and will work with elected and appointed IOC leaders to determine what if any documentation should go onto the EBDSA wiki and will file documentation of the projects with the secretary. In 6 months, March of 2018, the project will be reviewed and an assessment will be made of the viability of extending this practice to all major projects of EBDSA.
Result: the proposal passed unanimously.
Member Meetings Proposal
Motivated by Robbie Nelson, internal organizer.
Whereas, our growing membership needs more spaces to meet, socialize, debate, and democratically decide on issues relevant to our Local.
Whereas, a number of members, both within the Local Council and among the general membership, have clearly called for more regular meetings.
Whereas, our Bylaws state that General Member meetings (in Convention or Special Meeting) are the highest legislative body of our Local
Whereas, it takes an intensive amount of labor, member volunteer time, and coordination to put on all-member meetings, and booking venues can be expensive and time-consuming.
Whereas, a regularized schedule of meetings will cut down on the work that it takes to put them on and provide predictability for members to plan around.
Whereas, the agenda for the General Meetings (Special Meetings and Conventions) is, as per our Bylaws, set by the Local Council.
Whereas, members are encouraged to collaborate with LC members to develop and submit proposals for agenda consideration. Members can submit requests for collaboration to firstname.lastname@example.org
Whereas, as is also outlined in the Bylaws, if there is any rank-and-file proposal that no LC member consents to motivate, rank-and-file members may automatically agendize an item if they gather the signatures of 10% of the membership in support. As of September 2017 we have 784 members, so currently this would require 79 member signatures.
Be it resolved, the Internal Organizing Committee is tasked with coordinating logistics for both a Bi-monthly Informational Meeting (BIM) and a bi-monthly Special Meeting, hereafter referred to as General Meetings. These two meetings will occur on alternate months, beginning after the upcoming endorsement General Meeting. The IOC should appoint at least one IO specifically tasked with bottom-lining the logistical coordination of each of these meetings.
Both the BIM and the General Meetings should occur, whenever possible, on a fixed time and day of the month (e.g. at 7:00 on the first Monday)."
Be it resolved, the BIM has dual purpose, which should be reflected in a bifurcated agenda: the first half of the meeting will be oriented towards educating members about EBDSA organizational basics, project updates, and opportunities to get involved in current work. The second half of the meeting will be oriented towards member engagement and education around political issues of local, national, and global relevance. The BIM will broadly serve the function of a New Member Orientation.
The space will be reserved for at least an hour following the BIM's adjournment, in order for members to meet, exchange ideas, organize and discuss the meeting outside the strictures of the formal agenda.
Be it resolved the Internal Organizing Committee is tasked with coordinating logistics for regular General Meetings. The Local Council is tasked with setting the agenda and coordinating facilitation of the meetings. Under our Bylaws, these would be classified as Special Meetings. and will take place at a regular interval of once every two months. Also per the Bylaws, 10% of total membership need to be present to meet quorum.
Be it resolved, the General Meetings shall include, at minimum, old business reports from officers and the Internal and External Committees, as well as new business proposals with ample time for debate and voting on each item. They may also include political education, such as panels or presentations, or skill-building events like organizing trainings.
Be it resolved, the LC will notify members of submission processes and dates as soon as possible. Meeting agendas will be posted one week before the meeting date.
Be it resolved, that the IOC will make every possible attempt to hold all meetings, especially voting meetings, in fully accessible venues, and provide supervised children's activities during meetings.
The IOC will provide printed, plain-language guides to the essential functions of Robert's Rules, in order for members to make motions, participate in debate, and understand the proceedings.
Result: The motion passed unanimously with amendments.
Single-Payer Educational Event
Motivated by Jess Dervin-Ackerman, external organizer
Whereas single-payer has been the primary campaign of East Bay DSA since January of 2017.
Whereas in the first half of 2018 we will meet in convention to decide the priorities of our local and wish to educate members on the issues we have been prioritizing.
Whereas the release of Bernie Sanders Medicare for All bill presents a unique organizing opportunity for the DSA and is precipitating a mass national movement towards a single-payer health program.
Whereas DSA national, at its August 2017 convention made single-payer its primary national campaign priority.
Whereas there is a need to present a strategic perspective on the current moment and the socialist demand for single-payer healthcare.
Whereas it is incumbent upon us to create spaces of mass appeal for the public to engage with East Bay DSA and its campaigns.
Therefore be it resolved that the EOC will host a single-payer campaign event for DSA members and the public addressing the following points:
- What is single-payer
- Why it is an important issue for socialists to fight for, morally and strategically
- The state of SB562, Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All bill and DSA national's endorsement of 5 healthcare principles.
The event will consist of a panel of three people plus a moderator. Pending availability the moderator will be from Physicians for a National Health Program and the panelists will be composed of Jeremy Gong, Michael Lighty and another representative from a major national organization advocating for single-payer on behalf of working class people. The EOC can make adjustments as needed in line with the spirit of the proposal.
Pending availability of space, the event will be scheduled for mid October.
A budget of up to $700 will be allocated for the event.
Result: The motion passed unanimously after discussion.
Website Team Proposal
Motivated by Frances Reade, vice-chair
Whereas the EBDSA website is currently not fully utilized as a tool for communication, debate, discussion, and community-building,
Whereas Facebook is an undemocratic and corporate platform dictated by algorithms that we do not control,
Whereas the chapter needs an online space to develop and publish members' opinions and debate about the ways EBDSA can and should build socialism and the ways socialism can and should build a new world,
Whereas the website serves as an important outward facing tool of recruitment for new members
Be it resolved that the LC will authorize the creation of a website team co-chaired by Ian Miller and Nathan Nicholson, and initially including Frances Reade, Wes Holing, Dominic Degradi, and Marley Alexander. The team will be housed within the IOC and authorized to expand content on the website in order to foster internal democracy, promote vibrant and comradely discussion and debate across the chapter, improve outreach public education and recruitment, build community among our membership, and contribute to the development of socialist political thought within the chapter and beyond.
Result: The motion passed unanimously.
East Bay DSA Member Facebook Group Policy
Two policies were initially proposed. One, which was to be motivated by Hannah Klein, was withdrawn by the motivator. The second, motivated by the secretary, Benjamin Fife, was discussed and voted on, and passed with one vote against, one abstention, and 11 in favor.
Motivated by the secretary, Benjamin Fife
Submitted September 10, 2017
Whereas East Bay DSA leaders have heard repeated reports from members that the East Bay DSA Members group on Facebook (henceforth known as EBDSA FBG) fosters a hostile environment that gives old and new members reason to avoid or postpone involvement with in-person EBDSA activities,
Whereas Facebook profits off of our conflict — the algorithm privileges posts with high levels of intensified engagement, thereby disproportionately highlighting controversy and divisive interactions that oftentimes run counter to our goals of building socialist community and engaging in transformative political education, while simultaneously burying uncontroversial, chapter news and calls for volunteers,
Whereas the EBDSA FBG is currently configured as a lightly regulated free market of ideas, and as socialists committed to democracy and practiced in progressive stack, we know to be skeptical of such a configuration,
Whereas moderating the EBDSA FBG demands an amount of time and energy from group administrators and moderators disproportionate to the group's utility to members, and inappropriately diverts time and energy from chapter business.
Whereas, online discourse is not a substitute for in-person organizing, socializing, and debate, and EBDSA is committed to increasing spaces for such activity in the coming weeks and months,
Whereas we cannot know if the information being shared on our private Facebook group is in fact private and/or secure, and we have good reason to believe that it is not,
Whereas EBDSA FBG can provide a convenient space to informally communicate with and connect with comrades,
Whereas EBDSA FBG can serve as a valuable resource for members who may encounter barriers to attending EBDSA events but who are still interested in building socialism with EBDSA,
Whereas EBDSA is currently still in the early stages of developing spaces for more thoughtful, comradely, and robust discussion and debate removed from social media platforms, which are ultimately at the service of capital,
Whereas the facebook group was created by a single member of the Executive Committee (precurser to the local council) who did not have the bandwidth to moderate it, without approval of the elected body and whereas moderation responsibilities fell to the secretary as part of the now defunct communications committee and
Whereas moderation responsibilities should be able to be divided by 2-3 people who can do the work of moderation in 45 minutes per day or less.
Be it resolved that the IOC convert the EBDSA FBG from an open discussion board to a bulletin board model, meaning:
- Users' posts will be subject to moderation before approval and public posting.
- On approving a post, moderators will disable comments.
Be it resolved that the IOC organize a rotating board of moderators. Elected leadership and/or appointed organizers will serve as rotating "on-call" moderators two months of the year. There shall never be fewer than 2 moderators at a time. Moderators will actively recruited and trained in advance.
Be it resolved that the IOC proposes that EBDSA FBG moderators operate under the following provisional guidelines, which will be summarized and communicated in a pinned post:
- Moderators will remove posts and comments that
- Provide misinformation about EBDSA
- Appear to the moderator to use ad hominem attacks.
- Target individual members or groups of members for harsh criticism or personal attacks
- Could compromise the safety of our members should they be shared outside of this group
If a moderator notes that a member is posting repetitive content, they will reach out to the member in a direct message on facebook and let them know that they should step back.
Moderators will translate and adapt the model of progressive stack for this space to prevent loud and persistent voices dominating EBDSA FBG. Moderators will review with special concern posts made by members who have submitted posts more than 3 times per week.
The first time a user submits inappropriate content or more than 3 posts in a week, the moderator shall notify the member that this is inappropriate. The second time, the user shall receive a second brief warning. The third, the user shall be suspended for 2 weeks from the EBDSA FBG. Two suspensions from the group will result in a permanent ban from the group.
There will also be a strict policy of "no blaming the ref." FBG moderation is thankless and undervalued emotional labor. Our moderators are here to enforce standards the community has agreed are essential. Blaming, flaming, or getting your friends to join the group to complain about mods will result in immediate banning for you, your friends, and anyone else who comes in to complain about the mods.
Be it resolved that the above moderation guidelines be modified to reflect the New Member Handbook (NMH) communication & behavior guidelines for members once the NMH is completed and approved, and that any moderation policy and changes to it will be posted publicly on the EBDSA FBG in a pinned post.
Be it resolved that in order to satisfy the requirement of a safe and facilitated environment to debate ideas and grow as socialists, the IOC will explore opening an alternate moderated discussion space to be made available for members at or before the first electoral endorsement information meeting. The newly formed Website Editorial Team will provide recommendations around the form, content, editorial policy, comment policy, and moderation policy of this space.
Be it resolved that the IOC proposes that The Website Editorial Team, and EBDSA FBG moderators active in 2017 will prepare a report before the 2018 EBDSA Convention recommending whether the work at hand demands the full attention of an elected EBDSA official to oversee.
Socialism 101 Class
Motivated by Ahmed Kanna, internal organizer
Whereas, A democratic socialist organization that doesn't have a rich and accessible internal educational life will not develop a core membership who can be public tribunes for socialism. Members won't stay committed to building a socialist organization unless they can articulate to themselves and others why even a reformed capitalism remains a flawed, undemocratic society.
Whereas, a focus on the political education of DSA members was central to both of the prominent platforms at the recent National Convention. Per the Momentum platform, "An intentional, systematic approach to political education would help to offset the process by which those with the most formal education, socialization into traditional forms of "leadership" behavior, or the most previous experience in social movements become the "natural," unquestioned leaders of the organization. We want to ensure that every member has the tools and knowledge to become a leader, someone with a voice in internal debates with the ability to speak confidently as a DSA representative in wide range of settings
Whereas, the EBDSA recently completed their first formal socialist summer school with overwhelmingly positive feedback. However given logistical constraints only approximately 40 of the most active members were able to attend the school. Many other members have expressed a desire to take part in a structured socialist educational program
Therefore, the IOC proposes to organize and conduct a "Socialism 101" class this Fall that would be open to the general membership with a format as follows:
Format: We propose for the class to meet once weekly in the evening for 1 hour. Generally we propose the class be 40 minutes of lecture and 20 mins for Q&A/discussion. We propose the course be 12 weeks long but broken down into three 4-week modules united by a similar theme. Importantly, members would sign up for each module separately without needing to have completed the previous module (i.e. no prerequisites). This way there is a point of entry for members every month and they are only committing to 4 weeks at a time which we believe will help prevent attrition.
Location and number of participants: Location TBD but Niebyl Proctor was our consensus first choice. We propose a manageable class size of 40 members. Priority in enrollment will be given to members who are not cis heterosexual white men.
Reading for the class: 1 assigned article (Jacobin-level) that could be read in under 15 minutes; and up to two optional supplementary articles, one of which could be a more challenging theoretical essay (ex. Socialist Register, NLR, Viewpoint), while the other may be a document with historical significance (Marx, Lenin, Rosa, etc).The lecture might draw on these optional readings but would not assume the members had completed them. We propose working with the Website team to post these reading to the EBDSA website.
Syllabus: Similar to summer school with some minor changes. The syllabus is still currently being developed however a final syllabus for each module would be submitted to the LC for approval. Example modules: Module #1 Class, Capitalism, and Crises; Module #2 What is to be done? The Socialist Party and Program; Module #3 Special topics (Race, Gender, Environment, etc).
Instructors: Ahmed Kanna, Robbie Nelson, Trevor Jackson, Dan Deck to start. We plan on developing new socialist educators by inviting members to participate as guest lecturers when appropriate and/or act as facilitators during the discussion/Q&A section. Point Persons: Ahmed Kanna, Dan Deck
Evaluation: We propose assessing the course at the end of each 4 week module and making adjustments accordingly. LC members will be invited to participate in the evaluation proposal and following each evaluation a report will be submitted to the LC. If all goes well, we propose running the course for 2 or 3 cycles, gauging continued interest, and adding in more advanced lectures/modules as needed. Eventually the goal would be to offer multiple concurrent modules at various levels but that is a longer-term goal.
Budget: Recurring charge for venue (cost of 1 hour at NPML per week); possible small up front costs to purchase a dry erase board, markers).
The Local council approves a budget of 700 dollars for the socialist school.
Result: The motion passed passes unanimously.
October Reading Group
Motivated by Hannah Klein, internal organizer
Whereas the month of October is upon us,
Whereas the centennial of the Russian Revolution is also upon us,
Whereas China Mieville's October can provide both an accessible entry point into understanding the Russian Revolution and a springboard into discussing its political implications for present-day socialist organizing,
Be it resolved that the IOC facilitates a space for members to discuss China Mieville's October in the month of October, and provide guiding questions for participating members.
Be it resolved that the IOC requests up to $400 for space rental.
Result: The motion passed unanimously.
Addendum 1: Candidate Questionnaire
On September 22, co-chair Molly Armstrong put forward the following proposal motivated by internal organizer Robbie Nelson for an email vote by the LC.
Whereas, the RPA Informational Meeting is coming up in less than two weeks, and we need to prepare the candidates so that we can get their perspective on a range of important political issues.
Be it resolved, we approve the language of these two candidate statements, and send them to Gayle and Jovanka as soon as possible.
Be it resolved, the Local Council may also send these questionnaires out (with names and RPA-specific questions altered) to other candidates running in AD15.
Result: The measure passed with ten in favor having been called as passing because of time constrains. 2 members voted belatedly in favor after voting was closed. 1 member abstained.
Addendum 2: Hurricane Relief Donation Allocation
On September 26, co-chair Molly Armstrong put forward the following proposal motivated by treasurer Jeff Lee for email vote by the LC.
Hurricane relief donation
Submitter: Jeff Lee
- The LC voted on 9/8 via email to authorize the commitment of one-half of the proceeds from the 9/14 fundraiser to hurricane relief, and agreed to vote on who would receive the donation within two weeks, i.e., by 9/28.
- After costs, the fundraiser net proceeds were $2090 (see breakdown). The donation total will be $1045.
- There are many possible organizations to donate to, the most relevant are:
- Houston DSA Harvey Relief: This fundraiser is well-publicized, and well-funded. Check out Houston DSA's Twitter feed for reports of ongoing volunteer work.
- The Irma Fundraiser, organized by a coalition of Florida DSA chapters: this is considerably less well-funded than Houston DSA's efforts, but there isn't much information here besides what is available on the donation page itself. Orlando DSA's Twitter feed does report some mutual aid activities, like food delivery for areas that lost power.
- Hurricane Maria Community Recovery Fund: US territories are not represented by DSA chapters, but this fund has been circulated in DSA social media. "One hundred percent of monies raised will be used to support immediate relief, recovery, and equitable rebuilding in Puerto Rico for the communities hit hardest by the storm." Damage in Puerto Rico has been catastrophic, and much of the island remains crippled.
- East Bay DSA will donate hurricane proceeds as follows:
- $300 to Houston DSA Harvey Relief. Houston was devastated by Harvey and the relief effort will be arduous, but Houston DSA is relatively well-funded, and EBDSA's donation will have a proportionately smaller effect.
- $200 to Florida DSA's Irma Fundraiser. Unlike Houston and Puerto Rico, Florida was thankfully able to avoid worst-case scenario damage. Regardless, the LC assumes a good-faith effort on the part of Florida DSA chapters to use donations to help those in need.
- $545 to the Hurricane Maria Community Recovery Fund. The LC recognizes Puerto Rico as the most urgently in need of funds, due to the scale of damage, the recency of the event, and the expected negative effect of austerity in the Puerto Rican public sector.
- Where there is an opportunity to place a public comment alongside an online donation, the text will read as follows: "East Bay DSA stands in solidarity with the people of <location>".
Result: The proposal passed with a unanimous vote of 13 in favor.
Addendum 3: Additional External Organizer
On September 27, co-chair Molly Armstrong put forward the following proposal motivated by Ari Marcantonio, external organizer, for email vote by the LC.
The external organizers move to appoint Dominic Dagradi as an external organizer.
Result: The proposal passes with 12 in favor and 1 abstention.
Addendum 4: Expenditures for Endorsement Meetings
On September 27, co-chair Molly Armstrong put forward the following proposal motivated by Robbie Nelson, internal organizer, for email vote by the LC.
Whereas, we have called an Informational Meeting on 10/2 and a Special Meeting on 10/29 to discuss and vote on EBDSA endorsement for Gayle McLaughlin and Jovanka Beckles
Therefore, EBDSA approves expenditures for the following items in the following amounts.
10/29 Rental for Oakland Peace Center: $200
Food for both meetings: up to $200
Printing and incidental costs for both meetings: up to $200 (though we will make every effort to use EBDSA members' printing capacity and not pay for it unless absolutely necessary)
Total: up to $600
Result: The measure passed with 9 in favor and 4 abstentions.
Addendum 5: Socialist School Syllabus
On October 4, co-chair Molly Armstrong put forward for approval by email vote of the LC the following syllabus and readings for the EBDSA socialist school.
EBDSA Socialist School
Module 1 "Marxism 101" Syllabus and Readings
Class #1: Class Struggle: The Motor of History
- Vivek Chibber "Why the Working Class?" Jacobin (5 mins, easy)
- Bryan Palmer "Uniting the Dispossessed" Jacobin (5 mins, easy)
- Eric Olin Wright "Class Analysis" chapter from Class Matters (30 mins, moderate)
- Ernest Mandel "The Theory of Value and Surplus Value" from An Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory (30 mins, moderate)
Class #2: Capitalism: Contradictions and Crises
- Ellen Meiksins Wood "Capitalism's Gravediggers" excerpt Jacobin (5 mins, easy) Use PDF
- John Molyneux "The Marxist Dialectic and The Contradictions of Capital" (10 mins, easy)
- Ernest Mandel "Capital and Capitalism" from An Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory (30 mins, moderate)
- Wolfgang Streeck 'How Will Capitalism End?" New Left Review (30 mins, moderate)
Class #3: Dispossession: Imperialism, Old and New
- David Harvey "Neoliberalism is Political Project" Jacobin (5 mins, easy)
- Ellen Meiksins Wood "Introduction" from Empire of Capital (10 mins, easy) Use PDF
- David Harvey "Accumulation by Dispossession" from The New Imperialism (45 mins, moderate) Use PDF
- Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin "Superintending Global Capital" New Left Review (30 mins, moderate) Use PDF
Class #4: The Superstructure: The State and Civil Society in Western Democracies
- Ernest Mandel "The Marxist Theory of the State" excerpt (10 mins, easy) PDF
- Perry Anderson "The Antinomies of Antonio Gramsci" excerpt New Left Review (5 mins, moderate) PDF
- Hal Draper "The State and Society" chapter in Karl Marx's Theory of Revolution Volume I (30 mins, moderate) PDF
- Ralph Miliband "State Power and Class Interests" New Left Review (30 mins, moderate) PDF
Antonio Gramsci "State and Civil Society" excerpts from The Prison Notebooks (1920-30's) PDF
Result: The syllabus was approved by unanimous vote of all 13 LC members in favor.
Addendum 6: Additional Internal Organizers
On October 4, 2017, the Internal Organizing Committee put forward nominations for two appointed organizers via email. Co-chair Molly requested an email vote.
Nate Nicholson and and Emma Erbach were approved as appointed internal organizers by a vote of 10 in favor and none opposed.
Addendum 7: Statewide Housing Working Group
On October 10, 2017, the following proposal was put to the LC for email vote by the chair. The proposal was motivated by external organizer Ari Marcantonio.
DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA, EAST BAY CHAPTER
RESOLUTION APPOINTING A LIAISON OF EAST BAY DSA TO A STATEWIDE DSA HOUSING WORKING GROUP
WHEREAS, at the statewide Renter Power Assembly, on September 23, 2017, in Alameda, California, informal meetings of DSA members representing local DSA chapters in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Long Beach, Santa Cruz, South Bay and East Bay, were held to discuss each chapter's vision and work around socialist housing, the role of DSA in the fight for housing justice, and the potential for statewide collaboration among DSA chapters in California; and
WHEREAS the meetings ended in a consensus that a valuable next step would be the appointment of a liaison by each chapter to a California Statewide DSA Housing Working Group; and
WHEREAS the Statewide DSA Housing Working Group is envisioned as a forum for ongoing discussions that could, among other things, (1) promote the development of a long-term statewide vision and platform of socialist housing in California; (2) coordinate actions and campaigns across the state related to housing; and (3) issue a periodic newsletter updating DSA members across California on the work of chapters throughout the state; and
WHEREAS, it is intended that the Statewide DSA Housing Working Group be a forum in which inter-chapter discussions about housing issues will build relationships, cross-learning and trust among DSA chapters in California, serve as a model for other statewide efforts, and promote the ultimate goal of creating a California statewide federation of DSA; and
WHEREAS each chapter's liaison would serve as a conduit of information and ideas in two directions, both from the Statewide DSA Housing Working Group to the chapter, and from the chapter's elected leadership and its membership to the Statewide Housing Working Group; and
WHEREAS outreach is underway to invite other DSA chapters in California to participate, including chapters in Fresno, Humboldt, the Inland Empire, North Bay, Orange County, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Stockton and Ventura County; and
WHEREAS it was agreed that the appointment of chapter liaisons to the Statewide DSA Housing Working Group should be made in a democratic and transparent manner, consistent with the bylaws and norms of each chapter.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that EBDSA member, Richard Marcantonio, hereafter referred to as "the appointee," is hereby appointed to serve as the Liaison of East Bay DSA to the Statewide DSA Housing Working Group; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the appointee shall report in writing to the Local Council or its designated representative to summarize the substance of each discussion of the Statewide DSA Housing Working Group, including any recommended action items proposed; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the appointee shall convey to the Statewide DSA Housing Working Group any specific information, including information about the chapter's activities or priorities, at the request of the Local Council or its designated representative.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the appointee shall convey a copy of this resolution to the organizers of the Statewide DSA Housing Working Group.
Result: The proposal passed with 11 votes in favor and none opposed.
Addendum 8: Housing Education Event
On October 23, co-chair Mary Virginia Watson sent out the following proposal for an email vote of the LC.
Proposal for an Education Event on Housing
Whereas there has long been demonstrable interest from EBDSA members in doing housing work.
Whereas housing politics constitute a complicated terrain that is largely devoid of socialist perspectives.
Whereas as socialists, we stand in solidarity with all workers and renters against all bosses and landlords.
Therefore be it resolved that the Internal Organizing Committee be directed to put on an educational event of the below specifications.
Therefore be it resolved that members of the Social Housing Caucus be consulted regarding programmatic considerations, within the confines described in the proposed agenda below.
Working Title: Bread, Roses, and a Place to Live: Towards a Socialist Vision of Housing
Budget: Up to $200
Date: Thursday, November 9, 2017
Time: 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Place: ACCE, 2501 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601
Estimated attendance: 100-150; open to all
Overarching goals: Begin building/identifying interest for socialist housing organizing; contribute to a democratic, vibrant, and sustainable chapter culture by ensuring members receive information necessary to participate in our housing work; foster political debate; empower and educate comrades
Each section will feature a speaker/facilitator from DSA and/or a tenant organizer.
- How does capitalist housing affect us? (Facilitated breakout discussion)
- Why capitalism can't meet our housing needs.
- What could a socialist vision for housing and land look like?
- How can renters fight back against capital? What is the "single-payer" (non-reformist reform) of housing organizing?
Result: The measure passes with XXX in favor and XXX opposed (as of October 24 at 7:20 a.m. there are 8 in favor).