Chapter Priorities

At the East Bay DSA 2018 Convention, the membership voted for the following priorities resolution with amendments. This document serves as the base for guiding the work of the chapter engages in until the next convention.

Whereas:

Democratic socialists believe it's impossible to have democracy or social justice under capitalism, an economic system that concentrates wealth and power in the hands of a few. We fight for a society without class, where decisions about what to produce, and how to produce and distribute it, are made democratically. We fight for a society where every person regardless of gender, race, or cultural background has the opportunity to develop to their full human potential.

Democratic socialists see a unified, militant working class as the only force that can break the power of capitalists and achieve real social justice.

Therefore be it resolved:

Through all of our activities, East Bay DSA's strategic orientation shall be grounded in class struggle and mass action. This means focusing on strategic mass organizing tactics like canvassing, mass mobilizations (i.e. demonstrations, protests, direct action), militant labor organizing, and insurgent electoral campaigns. These tactics are designed to bring as many people as possible into struggle against landlords, bosses, predatory industries, and repressive state institutions.

East Bay DSA shall mobilize working people against oppression, police violence, mass incarceration, deportations, environmental destruction, imperialism, and war. Our campaigns against austerity should make connections between our positive demands for universal social programs and the high costs of state repression.

Be it further resolved:

East Bay DSA shall commit to undertaking four priority work areas:

Fight for Universal Social Programs

East Bay DSA shall organize around universal demands for the social provision of housing, healthcare, and education through diverse, mass-oriented tactics. As socialists we should prioritize campaigns that mobilize the broadest possible segment of the working class, give socialists the opportunity to grow class consciousness, and spread our ideas, and put DSA organizers in close collaboration with working people and their organizations.

Healthcare

Housing

  • Fight for the repeal of Costa-Hawkins and for universal rent control in California.
  • Stand against market-based solutions to the housing crisis and demand social housing as the only way to end homelessness and displacement.

Education

  • Fight for tuition-free college and university, and against cuts to public education from pre-kindergarten through higher education.
  • Support the efforts of educators and school workers to organize for their own working conditions and the learning conditions of students.
  • Oppose the further privatization of public schools and demand full funding of quality K-12 public education through progressive tax reform.

On Militarism

  • As we fight for the universal social programs of healthcare, housing, and education, we will also include messaging explaining that U.S. imperialism's militarism, overwhelming military budget, and threats to people at home and worldwide, steal massive resources away from the working class's ability to achieve these universal social programs.

On the Fight Against the Capitalism's Catastrophic Climate Change

  • As we fight for these universal social programs, we will also include messaging that capitalism's fossil fuel production and consumption is causing the pollution that is severely impacting our health, and causing climate change's rising seas, massive fires and floods that are destroying our housing. The climate catastrophe that we see unfolding worldwide, especially in front line communities, will be the milieu in which all working class struggle and the struggle for socialism will unfold from now on.

Labor Organizing and Solidarity Work

East Bay DSA shall develop a Labor Committee to oversee three primary areas of labor activism:

  • Support and develop rank-and-file activists who are engaged in new organizing and internal union organizing with trainings and mentorship.
  • Develop meaningful relationships with local labor organizations that are politically progressive, democratic, and empower and activate their rank and file members.
  • Educate East Bay DSA members and the broader public on the labor movement: its history, its present, and the challenges and opportunities ahead. This includes working to dispel the notion that workers ought to be pitted against each other along lines of nationality, race, gender, ability, and sexuality.

Electoral Organizing

East Bay DSA shall develop an Electoral Campaign Committee to support electoral organizing that builds the power and militancy of the working class. To do this, we will:

  • Continue the fight to elect candidates like Jovanka Beckles and Gayle McLaughlin that take no corporate donations and are vocal supporters of priority issues like Medicare for All, repealing Costa Hawkins and instituting universal rent control, tuition-free college and university, and saving public education.
  • Build our own capacity to run independent, democratic socialist candidates in the future.
  • Endorse and actively support only those progressive, corporate-free candidates whose campaigns advance the cause of democratic socialism, as the situation arises.
  • Maintain the tactical flexibility to bring worthy candidates before the membership for endorsement regardless of their political affiliation, while rejecting attempts to “realign” the Democratic Party.

Grow East Bay DSA

In order to continue growing, East Bay DSA must become more diverse, continue to cultivate our members' political capabilities, and engage a higher percentage of our membership in political and democratic participation. To that end we shall prioritize work in four main areas:

Diversity and Solidarity

  • Focus our organizing on campaigns to build class consciousness and solidarity across the diverse Bay Area working class. This includes helping organize YDSA branches at local community colleges, where students come from a diversity of working-class backgrounds.
  • Develop and expand coalitions with community organizations and labor unions with diverse, working-class memberships, especially as we fight on shared issues like housing, healthcare, and education.
  • Form a committee with the goal of increasing the diversity of East Bay DSA. This should include researching how socialist organizations past and present have been successful in building multiracial working-class coalitions, and creating actionable strategies to do this here and now.
  • Provide welcoming and accessible spaces to people of all backgrounds by having materials in multiple languages, having childcare available at all big meetings, and providing other accommodations as needed, while designating a team to welcome new members and follow up with them personally.

Member Engagement and Democracy

  • Continue to hold regular and accessible general meetings to debate and democratically decide important chapter issues in person.
  • Promote a safe, accessible, and welcoming environment in person and online.
  • Expand the Mobilizer program to engage and support member involvement across our chapter, particularly in areas outside Oakland and Berkeley, such as Richmond and Fremont.
  • Extend the format of our Medicare for All strategy meetings to all our campaigns, with the goal of increasing member participation in and ownership of strategic planning.

Political Education and Member Development

  • Develop a Political Education Committee that prioritizes increasing membership participation in socialist education.
  • Continue to hold biweekly Night School classes while expanding the topics covered to include social oppression around race, gender, and sexuality, the police state, immigration, imperialism, and climate change.
  • More fully integrate political education into our external-facing campaigns, at both live events and in chapter media.