Executive Committee Minutes: Mar. 12, 2017

DSA Executive Committee meeting, March 12, 2017

Ten members of the Executive Committee (ExComm) were present present for this meeting. Molly Armstrong was absent.

Opening Remarks

Jeremy Gong, co-chair, made opening remarks and introductions and chaired the meeting. The secretary was present and recorded notes. The treasurer and co-chair were also present.

Introductions were made at the start of the meeting of all ExComm members present: Benjamin Fife, Ari Marcantonio, Mary Virginia Watson, Michael Nye, Susan Chacin, Jess Dervin-Ackerman, Michael McCown, Jeremy Gong, Angad Bhalla, and Kevin Wright. Also present were several community members and committee chairs: Prairie S., Paul R., Eileen J., Paul C., Chris F., Dan D., Ahmed K.,Dan R., and Micheal K.

Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the February 12, 2017 meeting were approved unanimously.

Approval of Agenda

The agenda for today's meeting was approved unanimously.

Committee Reports

The Events, Finance, Communications, Education, and Direct Action committees and the Organizing Department and Feminist Working Group.

During the committee report backs, Angad Bhalla moved that the ExComm approve $1,200 up front for the Events Committee to put on a May Day Dance party on May 10, 2017. Debate occurred and the measure passed unanimously.

Jess Dervin-Ackerman moved that we create an ad-hoc committee to plan for May Day events that would include a representative from each committee. Results: four in favor, six abstain. The motion passes.

Old Business

Old business items from the previous ExComm agenda were introduced. CARA membership organization dues need to be voted on and payed. Michael Nye moved that we re-up our membership in CARA. After debate and discussion, the ExComm approved the measure unanimously.

The treasurer, Jess Dervin-Ackerman presented a motion that the Local purchase the Alameda County Voter file at a cost of $360. After debate and discussion, the motion passed unanimously.

The secretary, Ben, noted that speaker request, a Cesar Chavez panel at San Francisco State University on March 30.

Commitment Statements

The Vision for Black Lives (V4BL) policy document endorsement is tabled, pending more information. Two competing proposals have been put forward.

East Bay DSA Commitment to Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Presented and withdrawn by Susan Chacin
  1. East Bay Democratic Socialists of America is committed to increasing our multi-racial and ethnic diversity. This is fundamental to building a movement capable of promoting socialist values, institutions, and perspectives. It is also congruent with national DSA's stated values, analysis, and policy.
  2. We seek to inform every aspect of our work by our commitment to diversity.
  3. People of color and members of discriminated groups are experts on questions of what constitutes a welcoming environment, appropriate and respectful interactions, and affirmative actions. However it is the responsibility of all members of East Bay DSA to make our organization a place where diversity is valued and is becoming the norm.
  4. In orienting ourselves to diversity as a priority, East Bay DSA asks our members to be open to a process of transformation. We seek to overcome our upbringings in a racist society, our education in biased institutions, our work experiences in jobs infused by systemic white supremacy, our living situations in cities and communities segregated by race and class, and our organizing experience in movements that have not been fully capable of achieving diversity.
  5. In accomplishing these goals, we aspire to becoming a beloved community of peer organizers. We reject the denial, defensiveness, shaming, blaming, tokenizing, and guilt that have accompanied many past efforts toward diversity. We look to overcome internalized and interpersonal oppression through a process of education, truth-telling, and honest evaluation of our actions in our community. > 
  6. As a first step toward these goals, the Executive Committee endorses the policy platform: "A Vision for Black Lives" formulated by the Movement for Black Lives. This policy platform will be presented at the next general meeting of East Bay DSA and the membership as a whole will be encouraged to endorse it.
East Bay DSA — Commitment to Ending Racism and Capitalism
Written by Keith Bower-Brown and other members, presented by Benjamin Fife
  1. We are committed to the struggle against racism as part of the project of unifying the diverse working class and winning the fight to end capitalism. The deep tradition of anti-racist socialist movements has taught us that racism and capitalism are profoundly intertwined. It is clear to us that the capitalist class profits by dividing, disempowering, and destroying the lives of working people, through tactics of racial scapegoating, disenfranchisement, disinvestment, and direct violence that specifically target people of color. We are working people unified in our commitment to end racism and capitalism, in the service of building a socialist society.
  2. We believe in developing the capability of our members to lead the fight for socialism, and we are committed to supporting, developing, and advancing the leadership of members from oppressed groups, whether they be defined by race, gender, national origin, physical ability, sexual identity, or other factors. We are committed to the internal accountability and education necessary to involve, learn from, and support these members at all levels of our organization. We believe in the importance of recruiting and developing organic leaders across a breadth of working-class communities, and thus seek to support and advance members whose particular existing relationships, lived experience, and social capacities will help build a deeper, broader and more powerful multiracial socialist movement. We are committed to building an organization that is diverse and inclusive of all different kinds of people.
  3. We are committed to fighting for concrete gains in the lives of all working people. We reject racist restrictions in all state and social institutions. We aim to include all segments of the working classes in our fight to win material reforms that improve the lives of working people, and empower those most excluded and targeted under the racist and patriarchal capitalism of our current society.
  4. In keeping with these commitments, the Executive Committee of our chapter endorses the policy platform "A Vision for Black Lives", issued by the Movement for Black Lives. We especially applaud the commitment of the Movement for Black Lives to fight against the scourge of police terrorism, mass incarceration and a racist culture of "Law and Order" that disproportionately impacts Black communities, and in general harms and divides many working class people. As the document is not entirely socialist or anti-capitalist, we raise concern with certain provisions. For example, under the Economic Justice segment, the call for state subsidies to unspecified private businesses for the hiring of Black workers. Given the fraught history of state subsidies to private industry, we feel this vaguely-worded provision carries a risk of being implemented in a manner that empowers and profits capitalists. However, beyond this and a few other concerns, we recognize and celebrate the platform's extensive calls to support worker-owned industry and advance democratic, redistributive politics. As a whole, we support this platform as an important step towards building a unified anti-capitalist movement of, by and for the whole working class.

Result: The proposal presented by Ben passed unanimously and will be posted to our website as news.

Additional Proposals

A motion put forward by the secretary, Benjamin Fife: "Committee leadership not including subcommittee leadership shall be appointed by majority vote of the ExComm. This does not pertain to the nominations committee and is ad-hoc until the bylaws are finished."

Susan C. has requested a discussion of various organizing models. Susan distributes packets on this topic.


The meeting adjourned at 7 p.m.


May Day Event

The following motion was put to the ExComm via email on March 23, 2017.

Jess has asked me to send out an email vote for the venue for April 1, which is coming up fast! Let's do this ASAP.
They finally found a venue for that, and it will cost $500.
The canvass will be from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. at South Berkeley Community Church.
The amount at this time requested for this event for approval from ExComm: $500.
Jess has reassured us that this will be recouped by donations of attendees (for reference, at the last canvass, we raised well over $1,000).
Please respond promptly to this email (reply all) with your vote in clear language.

Result: The motion passed unanimously.

The following motion was also put to the ExComm via email on March 23, 2017.

After much hard work, and thanks finally to Angad for finding the spot, we have a venue confirmed for the general meeting. Note, we had to settle on Sunday, April 23, from 1–5 p.m. Was impossible to find a date/time that works for everyone and didn't contradict with other events, but we hope this will get the most people out.
We will be holding the event at the Oakland Peace Center, and they have a reasonable price, $100/hour, or $400 total.
(We will have an additional budget for snacks, materials, and other costs, but we will conduct an email vote for those costs later, once they have been worked out.)
The total amount at this time requested for approval from the ExComm is: $400
So please vote in reply-all to this email on whether or not to approve this expenditure.

Result: seven in favor, none opposed. The motion passed.

Organizing Department

The following motion was put to the ExComm via email on April 1, 2017.

This is to initiate an email vote:
The motion is to appoint Jess and Ari to be co-chairs of the Organzing Department.

Result: eight in favor, none opposed. The motion passed.