On August 20, our newly empaneled Local Council (LC) met for the second time (read the full minutes). Thirteen LC members were in attendance along with about 40 observers, comprising members of our chapter, visitors from other chapters, and members of the community at large. We came together to share information about our new structure, the work the various committees have been doing, and the vision for the future of our organization.
Jeff Lee, our treasurer, gave us an update on the organization's finances. After convention reimbursements are made, the chapter will have a small cash reserve. However, because we have approximately $450 in recurring costs every month, as well as periodic costs from canvasses and other activities, we need your donations more than ever. Please consider making a recurring monthly donation to support all the great work our chapter is doing!
Also, we need to build out our Finance team! If you have experience in nonprofit financial operations and want to get involved, please contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jess Dervin-Ackerman outlined the responsibilities of the new External Organizing Committee. They will organize work around possible endorsements, direct actions, single payer efforts, and more. Their first meeting will be held on August 29 and is open to the public.
The Internal Organizing Committee will have its first meeting on August 30. Hannah Klein outlined that group's responsibilities: internal communications, the mobilizer program, social events, the Socialist Summer School program, and other projects.
A number of old and new business items were also concluded at the meeting. We got through an ambitious agenda with the help of a "consent calendar," which allowed the LC to forgo debate and approve items for which there was already a consensus. The following issues were approved via the consent calendar.
- Proposal to Formally Recognize Caucuses
- Change to Bank Account Signatories in Accordance with Leadership Change
- Proposal to Appoint Internal Organizers
- Proposal to Appoint External Organizer
- District Group Budget Resolution
The following old business items were passed with discussion and/or debate.
- A new complaints procedure was established, eliminating the conflict resolution team. Complaints should now be brought directly to a member of the local council.
- We established a new method of petitioning the Local Council for debate of any issue. Members may petition the LC once they have collected signatures of 4 percent of the chapter's membership if collected in person or 12 percent of membership if collected online.
- We retired the Communications Committee, the functions of which which will be subsumed into the two Organizing Committees.
- We established a procedure for electoral endorsements. An Electoral Process Working Group will be established, and electoral endorsements will be voted on by the entire membership at our chapter convention.
- We will implement a pilot of the much-discussed mobilizer program, in which seasoned members will be responsible for organizing a cohort of newer members. The pilot program will have nine mobilizers, each responsible for a cohort of about 10 members. Three mobilizer coordinators will oversee the program.
- Speaking of pilot programs, we will be scaling up our district-based canvassing efforts, which we've been piloting since the spring.
- Lastly, we voted to establish a CAL DSA Working Group as a way to engage with students and workers related to the CAL system.
For most of us, democracy is something that happens somewhere else, or by voting once every couple of years. But watching our comrades do the hard work of democracy in person, in full view of the membership they represent, was absolutely inspiring. We encourage you to attend the next Local Council meeting on September 17 so you can see real democracy in action.