East Bay DSA 2020 Convention

Sunday, September 13th


What are the Convention and the Priorities Resolution?

East Bay DSA is a democratically run, membership-based organization; every year we hold an annual Convention where we collectively debate and decide on our direction for the coming year. It's a moment to reflect on our previous work and our material conditions and consider what we, as socialists, should spend our memberships’ capacity organizing around. The Convention is the highest decision-making body in our chapter; the main task of the Convention is to vote on a Priorities Resolution and a new steering committee.

The Priorities Resolution is a democratically decided on document that’s debated and ratified at the Convention. It serves lots of functions: as something of a platform, as something to reflect on for members throughout the year, and as a record of our organization’s politics and key debates. You can see our current Priorities Resolution here.

Why are we changing the Convention? 

Traditionally, the annual chapter Convention is in-person and happens the same day as our Steering Committee election. This year’s East Bay DSA local convention is going to have two major differences from previous years. The first is that social distancing prevents us from meeting in person, so we are going to be hosting the annual convention virtually! The second is that we have already had our Steering Committee election, allowing us more time to reflect on our work as DSA and debate the priorities resolution.

For this reason, we are trying a new process for drafting the priorities resolution based on the way DSA’s National Convention functions. Our goal is to make the process more participatory for membership and encourage each other to write out and debate what we think is really important for our chapter to do.

How will the Priorities Resolution process work?

Over a month-long span, committees, leaders, and members will draft short Priority Proposals around a single issue and/or campaign, gather signatures from membership in support, and bring them to the convention floor for debate. The purpose of these Proposals is to outline political positions and concrete tasks that will guide our chapter’s work for the coming year.

Drafting and Submitting Proposals: A Proposal needs to be no more than 300 words and at least 25 members need to sign on to it for it to be considered. Members are encouraged to collaborate to draft proposals using existing chapter infrastructure like committees or caucuses, or come together in informal groups to write proposals. Authors of proposals will have an opportunity to consolidate or amend proposals before the convention if they wish to.

Priority Proposals can be on any number of topics but should contain the following: a clear title describing the Proposal, political rationale for why we as socialists should organize for it, and organizing tasks for us to take in the next year in support. (No hyper-links are allowed within the proposal).

You can read last year’s Medicare for All priority here as an example.

Amendments: Members will have the opportunity to submit amendments to Proposals before the Convention to be considered on the floor and to also motion to amend from the floor. After debate we’ll all vote and the Proposals which have majority support will become our Priorities Resolution.

Consent Poll and Agenda: Once proposals are submitted, we will send them out along with a poll to members to gauge support for them and interest in debating them on the floor. The Convention Organizing Working Group will use this information to construct an agenda that makes the most of our debate time. Anything with overwhelming support will go on the consent calendar at the convention, along with a political preamble for the Priorities Resolution written by the Steering Committee. The Convention Organizing Working Group will ensure that no more than 6 proposals and their relevant amendments come to the floor, with the goal of agendizing substantial debate time for each. The rules can be suspended by a 2/3rds vote to change the agenda at the Convention.

Once we have heard and debated all of the proposals, we will vote them each up or down and those that were adopted, in addition to the consent calendar and the political preamble, will be our new priorities resolution.

If you're interested in writing a proposal, fill out this form.

If you have a finished proposal to submit, fill out this form.

What will the Convention Look Like? 

Similar to our General Meetings, we will have structured debate and voting. All members of East Bay DSA are welcome to join and vote (double check your membership at proof.dsausa.org).

In addition to the decision-making process, we will also have guest speakers. 

The final agenda for the convention will be available in the upcoming weeks.

We’ll be hosting several phonebanks to make sure that people RSVP and can use lots of volunteers. Please check eastbaydsa.org/events to find upcoming ones.

A make sure that you RSVP here!

What is the timeline for the convention?

  • Sunday, August 16: Deadline for Priority Resolution Submission
  • Wednesday, August 19: Release of Consent Calendar Poll & Call for Amendments
  • Wednesday, August 26: Deadline for Consent Calendar Poll and Amendments
  • Sunday, August 30: Full Convention Agenda with Resolutions and Amendments Released
  • Sunday, September 13: Local Convention

For more information about phonebanks and possible supplemental events, please check eastbaydsa.org/events.

Questions and Accessibility

Email info@eastbaydsa.org ASAP with any accessibility needs so we can begin to arrange accommodations.

We are so excited to participate in the highest body of the chapter with you all. 

Other questions about the convention? Reach out with questions at info@eastbaydsa.org.