Bylaws of the East Bay Democratic Socialists of America
We are socialists. Our goal is to break the power of the ruling class and end the domination of capitalism over our lives and that of every life form on planet earth.
We want to build a socialist society based not on the imperatives of capital freedom and capital growth but of human freedom and human growth. We want to decommodify the relationship of human beings to all production and consumption, and especially to basic needs such as healthcare, housing, and education. In a society of historic productive capability these things and more are basic human rights. We want to supplant the tyranny of private property with a society based in democracy and human flourishing.
To achieve these goals, we are committed to building a majority movement to gain state power and govern in the interests of the vast majority of people: those of us who must sell our labor power in exchange for the necessities of existence. We take a broad view of the working class and embrace a politics of solidarity between its diverse sections. We seek to build class-consciousness equally among all workers — in factories and startups, in hospitals and schools, those doing unpaid home and care labor, the retired, the sick, the incarcerated, and the unemployed.
We are committed to trade unions that struggle for the interests of all working people as a class. We are committed to fighting racism, sexism, persecution of gay and trans people, and discrimination, especially as it is codified in state policy and in the workplace. We seek an end to mass incarceration, deportations, and police terror. We will organize to resist state aggression against working people in the streets as well as at the ballot box.
We seek a socialist government that will redirect the advanced technology of our society away from war and the exploitation of working people. We want to transform our relationship to labor and to the natural environment toward a sustainable, humane and holistic society.
In all of our work together as East Bay DSA, in every organizing structure, elected position, meeting, campaign, and committee, we are tasked with seeking always to empower new leaders and lift their voices, to govern and lead with a deep commitment to democracy, transparency, and accountability, and to resist reaffirming the hegemonic structures of capitalism aligned against people of color, women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQIA people inside and outside of the Chapter.
East Bay DSA aims to ameliorate the social alienation of capitalism, affirm the values of mutual aid, friendship, and joy among our membership, and encourage deep democratic participation in the life of our organization. The adoption of the following bylaws only sketches the skeleton of the commitment, steadfastness, courage, and struggle that it will take to see in our real lives the beginnings of a really human world. We want bread — and roses too.
Article I: Name
The name of this organization shall be the East Bay Democratic Socialists of America, also known as East Bay DSA or EBDSA, and referred to throughout this document as the Chapter.
Article II: Membership
Section 1: Definition
The Membership of the Chapter shall be composed of all DSA members residing within the jurisdiction of the Chapter. DSA members in good standing shall be defined to include all people who have paid dues to the National organization within the last year or who have paid lifetime dues. All Chapter members shall have full and equal rights of membership.
Section 2: Member Discipline, Suspension or Expulsion
Pursuant to Article III, Section 4 of the National DSA constitution, the Steering Committee shall have the power to suspend or expel members from the Chapter. Members can be disciplined, suspended or expelled if they:
- are found to have harassed or acted violently against another member;
- are found to have taken action in substantial disagreement with the principles or policies of the organization;
- consistently engage in undemocratic, disruptive behavior or behavior in violation of the member code of conduct (with a membership code of conduct to be determined by a membership vote; or
- are found to be engaged in coordinated and destructive entryist behavior on behalf of an outside organization.
Members facing suspension or expulsion must receive written notice of charges against them, and be given an opportunity to respond to the charges, at least seven days before the Steering Committee makes a decision regarding discipline. A two-thirds vote is required to suspend or expel a member. Only the Steering Committee will have the power to suspend or expel a member from the Chapter.
Article III: Officers
Section 1. Officers and Duties
- The officers of the Chapter shall be two Co-Chairs, One Vice Chair, one Recording Secretary, one Communications Secretary, one Treasurer, and seven At-Large Officers.
- The Co-Chairs shall be the chief spokespeople of the Chapter. They shall preside over all meetings of the Chapter and the Steering Committee, shall interpret these bylaws, subject to appeal to the Steering Committee, and perform such other duties that are specified in these bylaws. The Co-Chairs shall be ex officio members of each standing committee.
- The Vice Chair is responsible for assisting the Co-Chairs with all of their duties. If both Co-Chairs are unable to perform their duties, the Vice Chair shall perform all duties and assume all responsibilities of the Co-Chairs until such a time as one or both Co-Chairs are able to resume their posts.
- The Recording Secretary shall be responsible for keeping minutes and records of all Chapter and Steering Committee meetings.
- The Communications Secretary shall be responsible for the member newsletter and website, though each of these functions may be substantially delegated to or shared with designated committees.
- The Treasurer will be responsible for administration of funds, budget, and financial organization of the Chapter. The Treasurer will report to the Steering Committee on the financial status of the organization at each Steering Committee meeting. The Treasurer will maintain transparent and open financial reports available to the entire membership upon request by an officer of the Steering Committee.
- There shall be seven at-large representatives who will comprise the remaining membership of the Steering Committee.
Section 2. Nomination Procedure
All officers of the Chapter shall be elected at the Chapter's annual Convention. Nominations for all officers must be submitted to the outgoing Steering Committee in advance of the Convention. Any member in good standing may nominate another member in good standing, but not themselves, for elected position in the Chapter.
Section 3. Ballot election, Term of Office, Removal from Office
The officers of the Chapter shall be elected at the annual Chapter convention to serve for one year or until their successors are elected, and their term of office shall begin one month after the close of the convention at which they are elected. Elections shall be organized by an Election Committee appointed by the Steering Committee. Members of the Election Committee shall be ineligible in these elections. There shall be a vote by secret ballot for each contested office using a system of ranked-choice voting, also called preferential voting, as described in Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised. Officers may be removed from office at the pleasure of the membership by a two-thirds vote.
Section 4. Term Limits
No member shall hold more than one office at a time, and no member shall be eligible to serve more than three consecutive terms in any combination of elected offices on the Steering Committee.
Article IV: Steering Committee
Section 1. Composition and Meetings
The officers of the Chapter shall constitute the Steering Committee, which shall meet no less than six times each year. The Co-Chairs of the Chapter shall set the time and place of each Steering Committee meeting.
Section 2. Steering Committee's Duties and Powers
The Steering Committee shall operate as the governing board of the Chapter and shall have general supervision of the affairs of the Chapter between regular meetings, set the time and place of the regular meetings, make recommendations to the Chapter, and perform such other duties that are specified in these bylaws. The Steering Committee is tasked with implementing priorities adopted at the last annual convention.
Section 3. Quorum
A majority of the Steering Committee shall constitute a quorum of the Steering Committee.
Article V: Committees
Section 1. Committee Formation
Committees shall be formed and disbanded by the Chapter or the Steering Committee. Committees shall carry out specific functions or advance the political or organizational goals of the Chapter as defined by the convention priorities or the Steering Committee.
Section 2. Committee Operation
The Steering Committee may establish membership criteria, standards, and expectations for committees. Committees shall make reports to regular meetings of the chapter and of the Steering Committee. Two initial co-chairs of each committee shall be appointed by the Steering Committee in order to establish the newly formed committee.
Article VI: Meetings
Section 1. Chapter Annual Convention
One of the regular meetings in the first six months of each calendar year shall be the Chapter's annual convention, at which the Chapter shall elect all officers of the Chapter and adopt a Priorities Resolution. The Convention shall be the highest-decision making body of the chapter. The Steering Committee shall appoint special committees as needed to organize and plan the convention. The Priorities Resolutions shall outline political and organizational priorities for the Chapter to undertake at least until the next convention.
Section 2. Regular Meetings
The regular meetings of the Chapter shall be held no fewer than four times each year, all to be scheduled by the Steering Committee within forty-five days of taking office. The membership shall be noticed of this schedule. This schedule can be altered at any time by the Chapter or the Steering Committee.
Section 3. Special Meetings
A Special Meeting of the Chapter shall be called by the Steering Committee with notice given to all members at least seven days in advance. The call to the Special Meeting shall specify the matters to be discussed therein and no other matter may be brought to the floor.
Section 4. Electoral Endorsements
The Chapter may only make electoral endorsements at regular meetings. Unless authorized by vote of the general membership, members or committees of the Chapter are prohibited from campaigning as representatives of the Chapter for candidates or ballot measures that the Chapter has not officially endorsed.
Section 5. Rules
All rules covering the conduct of Chapter meetings that are not detailed in Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall be set by the Steering Committee or a committee it appoints for that purpose.
Section 6. Quorum
Ten percent of the members or 90 members, whichever is less, of the Chapter shall constitute a quorum.
Article VII: Parliamentary Authority
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Chapter in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order which the Chapter may adopt.
Article VIII: Amendments
These bylaws shall be amended at any regular meeting of the Chapter by a two-thirds vote, provided that they are agendized on no less than two general or special meetings and that notice to the membership of the amendment has been given fourteen days in advance.
Article IX: Caucuses
Caucuses are independent, unofficial formations of members within the Chapter. A Caucus shall be formally recognized by the Chapter in one or more official media if no less than five members sign a mission statement that includes the name and purpose of the Caucus. The Chapter Secretary will be responsible for ensuring proper recognition and ensuring that Caucuses listed in any official media still consider themselves to be active.
Article X: Branches
It is the intent of the Chapter to create categories of Branches that may enhance the democratic functioning of the Chapter. Such Branches, when established, shall have representation on the Steering Committee. Implementing such a system will require that these Bylaws be amended.