Local Council Meeting Minutes: Oct. 27, 2017

October 27, 2017
7-9 p.m.

2518 San Pablo Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94702

Introduction

The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. The secretary was present and taking the minutes. The meeting was chaired by co-chair Mary Virginia W. Present at the meeting, in addition to the secretary and the chair, were vice-chair Frances; treasurer Jeff; External Organizing Committee (EOC) elected organizers Jamie, Ari, Jess (resigned elected member of the EOC); Internal Organizing Committee (IOC) elected organizers Hannah, Robbie, and Ahmed; and at-large members Jeremy and Meagan. Absent from the meeting was co-chair Molly.

Note about the composition of the local council (LC) during this meeting: At the outset of the meeting, elected organizer Jess announced her resignation, which she had announced during the week and at the most recent leadership meeting of the external organizing committee.

Following the first vote in the new business section of the meeting, Zach M. was seated as an elected EOC organizer with full voting rights on the local council.

Approval of Agenda

The agenda was approved following amendments.

Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the previous local council meeting were approved without amendments.

Reports
Resignation Announcement


Jess D. announced her resignation from the local council, which she had submitted by email to the council earlier in the month. The issue of her open seat has been placed on the agenda and will be addressed later in this meeting.

Finances

Treasurer Jeff L. made a report about the current state of East Bay DSA's finances. Another member made a report on our current membership numbers and data systems.

External Organizing Committee

Ari M. gave an update on recent and upcoming activities of the External Organizing Committee.

Internal Organizing Committee

Robbie N. and Ahmed K. gave an update on projects of the Internal Organizing Committee.

Consent Calendar

The council unanimously approved the consent calendar. The following items were present.

Proposal for a Labor Notes Fundraiser

Proposed by Ari M.

Proposal for a Labor Notes Fundraiser

Whereas Labor Notes is a non-profit organization and network of rank-and-file labor activists. The organization advocates radical union democracy and social movement unionism as means to achieve greater union and worker power.

Whereas EBDSA lacks many formal relationships with unions or union activists and would stand to benefit from a formal relationship to Labor Notes and the activists in its orbit.

Whereas Labor Notes holds a biannual conference for union activists to share experiences, learn organizing skills, and build relationships

Whereas a group of Bay Area labor activists holds a regular fundraiser to send young labor activists to this conference.

Whereas EBDSA members have been in communication with this group as well as Labor Notes about collaborating on the fundraiser for the 2018 conference.

Whereas the organizers have agreed to give preference to EBDSA members who apply for said scholarships.

Therefore be it resolved that the EOC Labor Team, under the direction of Ari Marcantonio and Mary Virginia Watson, be authorized to collaborate with union locals, labor activists, and Labor Notes to organize a scholarship fundraiser for young labor activists to attend Labor Notes’ 2018 conference.

Proposal to Form a Convention Planning Team

Proposed by Frances R.

Proposal to Form a Convention Planning Team

Whereas, EBDSA must hold a convention in the first six months of the year and ideally early in 2018

Whereas, the bylaws state the convention is to debate and determine "primarily, but not exclusively, Local issues, the political orientation of the organization, and program direction"

Whereas, the provisional bylaws will expire and need to be revisited and voted on again by the membership in March or April, 2018, as per Article X, section 1.

Whereas, we have no extant policy for how to hold this convention and it will require several months of preparation

Therefore, EBDSA will authorize a Convention Planning Team, lead by Frances Reade and housed in the IOC, and which will include elected/appointed organizers and members as needed, to recommend a timeline and policy to LC as needed for a convention to be held early in 2018. The Convention Planning Team will make regular reports to the LC.

The Convention Planning Team will oversee the process of reviewing the provisional bylaws, as per as per Article X, section 1. Building on the work of the Convention Planning Team, the Local Council will endorse a complete draft of revised bylaws to be recommended to the membership for a vote at or before the Local Convention.

Proposal for Appointed Organizers to be appointed by East Bay DSA Officers

Proposal for Appointed Organizers to be appointed by EBDSA Officers.

Proposed by Benjamin Fife, secretary

10/21/2017

Whereas: Currently appointed organizers can only be nominated by the IOC and EOC leadership and approved by the LC as a whole,

Whereas: Currently there are major projects that are being supervised by the Co-Chairs, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer that do not fall neatly under the IOC or EOC - e.g. the secretary and the treasurer are working to develop archive and finance teams and the work responsibilities of the chairs and vice-chair have been growing (website team coordination, interfacing with the press, LC meeting logistics)

Whereas: the appointed organizer title and system provides a leadership pipeline that is healthy for our organization and familiarizes committed members with leadership roles and,

Whereas: appointed organizers are given opportunities for additional training and are entrusted with greater leadership responsibilities in the organization than other members who are doing work,

Be it resolved that EBDSA officers (co-chairs, vice chair, secretary, treasurer) shall be permitted to each nominate up to 3 appointed organizers.  Appointments would need to be approved by the Local Council utilizing the same processes currently in place for approving other appointed organizers. Appointed organizers making up the team leadership of  the co-chairs, vice chair, secretary and treasurer would have access to the same resources and support and would have the same work requirements and processes for removal as pertain to other appointed organizers. 

New Business
Resolution to Fill External Organizer Vacancy

Following discussion, the following measure by unanimous vote of the local council. Immediately following the vote, Zach M. was seated.

Resolution to Fill External Organizer Vacancy

Proposed by Ari M. and Jamie G.

Whereas Jess Dervin-Ackerman has resigned from her position as an External Organizer for personal reasons.

Whereas per Article II, Sec V of the bylaws, vacancies on the Local Council may be filled by a Local Council approved appointment.

Therefore be it resolved that Zach McDonald be appointed as an External Organizer to fill the vacancy on the Local Council.

Endorsement Rescention Process

Motivated by Robbie N.

The local council voted unanimously in favor of the following measure after debate.

Recension of Endorsement for an Electoral Candidate

Whereas, the East Bay DSA general membership may sometimes choose to endorse candidates for public office, and

Whereas, we currently lack any mechanism to insist those candidates adhere to the promises, positions and standards of personal integrity that attract our initial support, therefore:

Be it Resolved: EBDSA may rescind its endorsement of a candidate for elected office by a 2/3 vote of the general membership.

Proposal to Clarify Caucus Communications

Proposed by co-chair Mary Virginia W.

The following proposal passed with a vote of eight in favor, one opposed, and two abstaining.

Proposal Requiring Clarification for Caucus Communication

Whereas the general membership of East Bay DSA, in seeking to create a vibrant culture of political debate within a big-tent socialist organization, voted to include in chapter bylaws a provision for participation by caucuses;

Whereas the bar for caucuses was set intentionally low, allowing for any five members to come together to create a caucus;

Whereas caucuses often but not always are formed to push a political agenda shared by a minority of an organization;

Whereas events, literature, and other actions taken by caucuses are not approved by elected leadership;

Whereas it is important for tax and liability purposes that there be clarity regarding what is an official East Bay DSA event or activity;

Whereas East Bay DSA is an organization that strives to honor the democratic will of members who weigh carefully their votes for elect leaders who are accountable to members and charged with representing the organization;

Whereas it is important that communications coming from East Bay DSA be clear in regards to whether they officially represent the organization or a caucus;

Therefore be it resolved that caucuses of East Bay DSA will be required to include the following disclaimer in all of materials, including printed literature, web communications Medium pieces, videos, and any other public-facing communications: "Views expressed here are those of [Name of Caucus], and do not necessarily represent the positions of East Bay DSA."

Therefore be it resolved that all caucus events include in advertising the following disclaimer: “This event is being organized by [Name of Caucus], and is not an official East Bay DSA event.”

Therefore be it resolved that all disclaimers be rendered in a font size equal to the body text of a given document and not below a minimum of 10 points.

Adoption of Articles of Incorporation and Pre-Authorization of Incorporation Funds

Motivated by treasurer Jeff L.

EBDSA proposal

The following Adoption of Articles of Incorporation and pre-authorization of incorporation funds
 2017.10.23
 Motivated by: Jeff Lee


Background:

  1. During the 2017.9.17 meeting, the LC approved the pursuit of 501(c)(4) status for East Bay DSA, as part of the consent calendar.
  2. As part of the incorporation process in the state of California, East Bay DSA is required to adopt Articles of Incorporation (hereafter “Articles”), which serves as the charter for East Bay DSA as a legal entity. While it is a legally significant document that circumscribes what the chapter can and cannot do, it is written in very general terms. In brief, it binds East Bay DSA to upholding its bylaws and operating under the constraints normally placed on 501(c)(4) organizations.
  3. The content of the Articles in this proposal uses SF DSA’s Articles as boilerplate. SF DSA has already succeeded in incorporating as a 501(c)(4) corporation in the state of California.
  4. Once the Articles of Incorporation have been formally approved, they may be sent to the Secretary of State of California as an initial step in the incorporation process. This will be followed by a series of applications to various government bodies, some requiring the payment of a fee. A more detailed outline can be found online.
  5. Various questions regarding the tax liabilities incurred by the chapter in 2017 still remain and are under active investigation by Finance Team. Some of these questions will likely require legal consultation, but do not affect the content of the Articles. Because the submission of Articles to the state will trigger deadlines for future paperwork, Finance Team plans to submit the approved Articles only after these questions have been resolved, hopefully within the month of November.
  6. Regarding the necessity of legal consultation: 
    1. East Bay DSA’s incorporation process is complicated by the fact that the chapter has operated as an income-generating entity for most of 2017 without declaring 501(c)(4) status. Depending on how the chapter chooses to pursue incorporation, and how it chooses to characterize its tax-exempt status for 2017, it may be responsible for tax on net income, on the one hand, or a significant penalty fee due to a late filing of IRS Form 8976, on the other. 
    2. There are several potential routes for the chapter to pursue. Finance Team is actively investigating the options, but the actual strategy should be vetted by legal consultation. 
    3. Due to the cost of legal consultation, Finance Team recommends a brief, 2-3 hour engagement with lawyers that can address the specific issues raised here. 
    4. Finance Team has already conducted introductory briefings with several non-profit law firms. Fees range between $250-500 per hour, typically with a 2-hour minimum. 
    5. The LC, acting in its capacity as the corporate board of directors, approves the Articles of Incorporation included in this proposal (see appendix). For simplicity, the signing incorporators will be the three corporate officers named in the 9/17 resolution
    6. Finance Team may spend up to $1100 for costs related to the incorporation process, including: 

Resolution:

  • $900 for legal consultation fees. This amounts to roughly 3 hours of consultation. Prior to pursuing paid consultation, Finance Team will make a good-faith attempt to solicit advice from the DSA Legal Working Group, and from chapter members with relevant professional experience.
  • $50 for the submission of IRS Form 8976, Notice of Intent to Operate Under Section 501(c)(4)
  • $25 for the submission of Form CT-1, initial registration form for the California Registry of Charitable Trusts
  • $125 for incidental expenses, such as printing, postage, and transportation.

Appendix - text of Articles of Incorporation:

ARTICLE I - NAME

The name of this corporation is East Bay Democratic Socialists of America.

ARTICLE II - PURPOSES AND POWERS

  1. This corporation is a nonprofit public benefit corporation and is not organized for the private gain of any person. It is organized under the Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law for public purposes.
  2. The primary purpose of this corporation is to promote social welfare. In pursuit of this purpose, the Corporation shall seek to facilitate the transition to a truly democratic and socialist society, one in which the means/resources of production are democratically and socially controlled.
  3. The general purposes and powers of this corporation are set forth below. 
    1. The purposes for which this corporation is organized are exclusively social welfare purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. 
    2. Notwithstanding any other provision of these Articles of Incorporation, the directors of this corporation shall not engage, participate or intervene in any activity or transaction that is not permitted to be carried on by a corporation exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code or the corresponding provisions of any future United States Internal Revenue law. 
    3. This corporation shall have and exercise all rights and powers conferred on nonprofit public benefit corporations under the laws of the State of California. ARTICLE III - CORPORATE ADDRESS


The initial mailing address for all correspondence directed to the corporation is:

East Bay DSA
 PO Box 22464
Oakland, CA 94609

ARTICLE IV - AGENT FOR SERVICE OF PROCESS

The name and address in the State of California of the corporation’s initial agent for service of process is:

Jeffrey Lee
 [redacted]

ARTICLE V - BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The direction and management of the affairs of this corporation and the control and disposition of its assets shall be vested in a Local Council selected according to the manner provided in the bylaws of the corporation.

ARTICLE VI - RESTRICTIONS

  1. The assets of this corporation are irrevocably dedicated to social welfare purposes. No part of the net income or assets of this corporation shall ever inure to the benefit of any director, officer or member thereof or to the benefit of any private person.
  2. Upon the dissolution of this corporation, its assets remaining after payment, or provision for payment, of all its debts and liabilities shall be distributed to a nonprofit fund, foundation or corporation which is organized and operated exclusively for social welfare purposes and which has established its tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(4) of the Code.

Endorsement of National DSA Medicare for All Campaign

Proposed by Ari M.

The local council voted in favor of this endorsement following debate and amendment.

East Bay DSA Endorsement of National DSA’s Medicare for All Campaign

Whereas, health care in the United States remains disgraceful with the highest costs in the world and with nearly 50 million Americans having no health insurance coverage at all.

Whereas, the cost of health insurance continues to rise while workers wages and benefits continue to stagnate and fall.

Whereas, these high costs and meager coverage do not contribute to higher health outcomes with the United States ranking lowest in the world when compared to similar countries

Whereas, the current healthcare system sustains an obscene health insurance oligarchy on the backs of working Americans who continue to pay an ever higher share of their health insurance.

Whereas the socialization of health insurance is a primary socialist demand in the pursuit of health care as a social right.

Whereas, the establishment of a Medicare for All system in the United States will abolish a substantial section of capital while liberating millions of workers who are currently dependant on their employers for health insurance. These workers will not only have greater security in access to care for themselves and their families, but greater flexibility to fight capital in their workplace by going out on strike, challenging their bosses, and organizing with their co-workers.

Whereas, Medicare for All is a popular working class demand that will disproportionately benefit working class women, low-income workers, unemployed and underemployed people, immigrants and disabled people, people of color, and LGBTQ people.

Whereas over 1,000 national regional and local unions, state labor federations and central labor councils have endorsed Medicare for All and organizations like the National Nurses United, the Labor Campaign for Single-Payer and Physicians for a National Health Program have made single-payer a priority in their work such that the campaign represents a major opportunity to build relationships with and forge solidarity with the leading edge of the labor movement.

Whereas, abolishing the health insurance industry -- a bloated and parasitic sector of our nation's economy accounting for approximately 1/5th of our GDP -- will require an unprecedented level of mobilization and organization.

Whereas DSA, at its August 2017 convention, prioritized Medicare for All as our first national priority and by participating actively in a national campaign, DSA chapters across the country can build connections with one another, grow their local capacities and cohere the mass constituency needed to win Medicare for All into a well organized political bloc and national force. (You can read the full DSA Convention Priorities Resolution Document here: http://www.dsausa.org/dsa_priorities_resolution_2017)

Whereas in September 2017, DSA’s National Political Committee (NPC) endorsed Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All legislation, writing, “Socialists and progressives have been fighting for universal health coverage for decades. Thanks to their efforts and the political leadership of Bernie Sanders, that goal no longer feels like an impossible dream. It’s time to turn the dream into reality.” (You can read the full endorsement here: http://www.dsausa.org/medicare_for_all_act_of_2017)

Whereas in October 2017, DSA’s NPC approved initial steps for a national campaign for Medicare for All. Language that was adopted by the NPC can be found in the minutes from the meeting, here (pages 2-3).

Whereas article II, sections 1, 2 and 3 of the East Bay DSA Bylaws gives the authority to institute "campaigns" to the general membership alone. This authority can only be exercised in a General Meeting. However, before these bylaws were adopted on April 23, 2017 the Chapter had already begun a campaign for single-payer health care, including canvassing and other actions. This was initiated by a resolution of the former Executive Committee on January 29, 2017.

Whereas our current bylaws do not account for the status of campaigns adopted prior to the adoption of the bylaws. Given that the question of the ongoing campaign is therefore in a constitutional grey area, the Local Council must adjudicate the matter. This judicial authority granted to the Local Council is described in Article V, section 1, and implied again in Article VI, section 3.

Whereas the enthusiasm among EBDSA membership for the single-payer campaign remains high, while the chapter is developing a system of general meetings for membership vote. Such meetings are very resource intensive, and the exigencies of the political context make urgent action necessary for maximum effect, given both the federal Medicare for All push by Senator Sanders and the national DSA campaign approved by the NPC this month.

Therefore be it resolved that a general membership meeting of EBDSA will be held in December 2017 to debate and vote on a resolution to reaffirm our commitment to our ongoing single-payer healthcare campaign and pivot our organizing approach from a focus exclusively on SB562 to include federal level Medicare for All legislation.

Be it further resolved that East Bay DSA joins with our comrades across the country in the national DSA campaign for Medicare for All to educate, agitate and organize for a system where health care decisions are determined by patients and their caregivers, where people come before profits, where healthcare is secured as a social right and access is not determined by corporate profiteers and health insurance billionaires. We are committed to fighting for a system that abides by the following five principles of socialist healthcare:

  1. A single program — not a patchwork of multi-payer state and federal systems.
  2. Comprehensive coverage — all services requiring a medical professional will be covered.
  3. Free at the point of service — financed through progressive tax contributions based on ability to pay, not shifting costs onto the sick: no fees, no copays, no cost-sharing.
  4. Universal coverage — coverage for all U.S. residents — non-citizens included.
  5. Jobs — replacement and severance for those affected by the transition.
Be it further resolved that the chapter will participate in the campaign by continuing to build our council district canvassing program and organizing for SB562 as we have been since January 2017 and supporting other chapters through national channels as they launch their own canvassing programs and campaigns.

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution will be sent to the appropriate parties at DSA National to communicate the above endorsement.

Request to the Local Council for a Decision on the Form of the Census

Motivated by secretary Benjamin F.

Time allotted was insufficient for full discussion of the various forms the census might take. Agreement was reached to schedule a call and an email vote regarding the form of the census if possible before the next local council meeting.

End of Meeting

The open session of the local council meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Addenda

Addendum 1

On November 7, Molly A. put the following resolution to the local council for an email vote. The vote passed with 11 in favor and 2 abstensions.

Endorsing Jacobin/Howard Zinn book Fair m4a panel

Meagan Day and Jeremy Gong were asked to participate on a m4a panel at the Howard Zinn Book Fair on November 19th with Michael Lighty.

In light of that, we are asking LC to endorse this the panel, which would result in us being listed as a cosponsor on the fb event, and presumably we would add it to the calendar on our website.

MV ran this by SFDSA and have their support.

Voting begins now.

Addendum 2

On November 14, Molly A. put the following resolution to the local council for an email vote. The measure passed with 11 in favor and 2 abstaining.

Proposal for expansion of canvassing groups.

Motion to Expand and Alter the Structure of the District Canvassing Program

Whereas following the district socials project it is apparent that there are 3 areas within the jurisdiction of EBDSA with viable conditions for launching new canvassing groups: west Berkeley, west Oakland, and east Oakland directly south of Lake Merritt. These three areas stand out as viable because they contain committed member leaders with interest in launching new groups.

Whereas the EOC currently only has capacity to launch 2 new canvassing groups.

Whereas the structure of the district program has been 1) confusing for members who do not identify their neighborhood with a council district number 2) a poor organizational structure for a number of reasons, namely that it has created artificial barriers to member participation in canvassing activities.

Whereas the chapter has recently endorsed a candidate for State Assembly in AD-15 and the only Oakland council district within AD-15 already has a vibrant canvassing group.

Whereas a number of members who have canvassed in west Berkeley have remarked on the preponderance of nurses, teachers and working class people in support of single-payer healthcare.

Therefore be it resolved that the language used to describe these groups will strike all references to districts and adopt the language of “Neighborhood canvassing groups” or comparable language to describe them.

Therefore be it resolved that 2 new canvassing groups will be launched. One in west Oakland and one on the north side of Berkeley, which will focus its organizing efforts in the west Berkeley neighborhood.

Therefore be it resolved that all canvassing groups, pre existing and new, will begin recruiting from beyond their council district/city boundaries. In Berkeley this will entail dividing the city into two groups with University Ave. as the boundary; south of University will be the South Berkeley Group (existing) and north of University (including cities north of Berkeley) will be the Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito group (new) or “BAE” for short. In Oakland this will entail the operation of the North Oakland group (existing) and the West Oakland group (new). Both Oakland-based groups will reach beyond city council district boundaries to recruit from all of Oakland, as well as the southern portion of Alameda county.

Therefore be it resolved that the LC authorize the EOC to make any future changes to the language used to describe the canvassing groups insofar as they are designed to increase member clarity and participation, but not to fundamentally change the definition or function of the groups.

Addendum 3

On November 14, Mary Virginia W. put the following proposal to an email vote by the local council. The proposal passed with nine in favor and four abstaining. Robbie N. motivated the proposal.

Agenda Process for December General Meeting

Whereas, the Local Council needs to approve, as per previous LC resolution on Membership Meetings, a mechanism and timeline for setting the agenda.

Whereas, we have our December General Membership meeting coming up on December 10th, in only 28 days, we need to approve this process and make it public quickly.

Be it resolved, The following deadlines, and the mechanisms contained within them, will apply to the upcoming December General membership meeting. They should definitely be revisited, and may be revised, by the Local Council for future meetings after member feedback and IOC de-brief.

  • November 13: Send membership email with the event details and all relevant information on process
  • November 20: All agenda submissions are due, which would either come through passage by the Local Council or via the approved process of getting 10% of membership signatures to automatically agendize a proposal. Proposals, and all other official communication regarding agendas, should be sent either to a dedicated email address created for general meetings, or barring that, to internalorganizing@eastbaydsa. org
  • November 21: A link to the draft agenda, which includes the full text of the submitted proposals is posted to the chapter website.
  • November 21-28: Members have the opportunity to make comments or suggestions on the proposals, via Google Form, to the motivators of the proposals. The motivators can choose whether or not to incorporate those comments. Members and LC members will also have the opportunity during this time to submit amendments to the draft proposals. Any amendments would require 10 EBDSA member signatures to be considered.
  • November 28: All amendments and final versions of proposals are due. Motivators of proposals may choose to take on amendments or suggestions as friendly, and amend the November 20th version of their proposals on or before this date.
  • November 28-December 3: The Chairs will compile the agenda, including talking to any members that have submitted overlapping amendments, or to any members proposing amendments that are considered out of order (either in that they completely reverse the purpose of a proposal, or are not on the topic of that proposal).
  • December 3: The final agenda is posted on the website.
  • December 3-10: The website will, in a similar fashion to the endorsement process, be open for member position papers on the proposals. We will open up the website for these statements after the November 21st publishing of the draft agenda, although people will need to be aware that the actual proposals might change if they publish their position papers before December 3
  • December 10: the meeting takes place<

Addendum 4

On November 18, Mary Virginia W. put the following proposal to an email vote by the local council. The proposal passed with a vote of nine in favor and four abstaining.

Whereas, the December General Membership Meeting, approved by the Local Council through our bi-monthly General Meetings proposal is upcoming in December 10 at the Omni Commons in Oakland

Whereas, the Internal Organizers have conversed with the Treasurer, who said the proposed budget below is acceptable for this event.

Be it resolved, the Local Council approves the expenditure - either directly to the Omni or in reimbursement of any LC members that pays the Omni personally -  of up to $500 for the December General Membership Meeting. $400 of this will go towards space, with $100 going towards food, printing, and other incidental costs.

Addendum 5

On November 18, Mary Virginia W. put the following proposal to the local council to a vote. The proposal, motivated by Ari M. and Jeremy G., passed with a vote of 12 in favor and 1 abstaining.

East Bay DSA Resolution to Join the Campaign for Medicare for All

Whereas, health care in the United States remains disgraceful with the highest costs in the world and with nearly 50 million Americans having no health insurance coverage at all. The cost of health insurance continues to rise while workers’ wages and benefits continue to stagnate and fall. These high costs and meager coverage do not contribute to higher health outcomes with the United States ranking lowest in the world when compared to similar countries. Meanwhile, the current healthcare system sustains an obscene health insurance oligarchy on the backs of working Americans who continue to pay an ever higher share of their health insurance.

Whereas, the establishment of a Medicare for All system amounts to the socialization of the health insurance function -- this is a primary demand in the pursuit of healthcare as a social right. In the United States will abolish a substantial section of capital while liberating millions of workers who are currently dependant on their employers for health insurance. These workers will not only have greater security in access to care for themselves and their families, but greater flexibility to fight capital in their workplace by going out on strike, challenging their bosses, and organizing with their co-workers. Therefore, Medicare for All, or a single payer healthcare system, is a non-reformist reform.

Whereas, abolishing the health insurance industry — a bloated and parasitic sector of our nation's economy accounting for approximately 1/5th of our GDP — will require an unprecedented level of mobilization and organization, involving millions of people across the country.

Whereas, Medicare for All is a popular working class demand that will disproportionately benefit working class women, low-income workers, unemployed and underemployed people, immigrants and disabled people, people of color, and LGBTQ people. 

Whereas over 1,000 national regional and local unions, state labor federations and central labor councils have endorsed Medicare for All and organizations like the National Nurses United, the Labor Campaign for Single-Payer and Physicians for a National Health Program have made single-payer a priority in their work such that the campaign represents a major opportunity to build relationships with and forge solidarity with the leading edge of the labor movement.

Whereas the fight for single payer healthcare will help build a mass, organized working class constituency that will have the interest and the capacities to fight for all kinds of other working class demands. We are committed to the politics of decommodification, anti-austerity, redistribution, and class struggle and endeavor to promote these politics in all our campaigns.

While as socialists we recognize a multitude of issues that must be addressed on moral grounds, we are committed to strategically prioritizing our resources into campaigns that will build the power of our organization, our movement and the working class at large to win ever greater battles on our path to a socialist future. For many of the above mentioned reasons, the fight for Medicare for All is such a campaign.

Whereas DSA, at its August 2017 convention, prioritized Medicare for All as our first national priority and by participating actively in a national campaign, DSA chapters across the country can build connections with one another, grow their local capacities and cohere the mass constituency needed to win Medicare for All into a well organized political bloc and national force. Meanwhile, the National DSA Medicare for All Campaign Committee is developing resources and a political program to support DSA chapters who want to participate in this campaign. (You can read the full DSA Convention Priorities Resolution Document here: http://www.dsausa.org/dsa_priorities_resolution_2017)

Whereas in September 2017, DSA’s National Political Committee (NPC) endorsed Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All legislation, writing, “Socialists and progressives have been fighting for universal health coverage for decades. Thanks to their efforts and the political leadership of Bernie Sanders, that goal no longer feels like an impossible dream. It’s time to turn the dream into reality.” (You can read the full endorsement here: http://www.dsausa.org/medicare_for_all_act_of_2017)

Whereas while East Bay DSA has been a leading voice in the fight for the state-based single payer bill in California, SB562, Democratic legislators have blocked the legislation for the time being. This is why, as socialists, we know we need to make our fight bigger — by connecting local campaigns to more visible federal Medicare for All legislation, but also by focusing our campaign on socialist politics and the principles of a humane healthcare system, not just legislation. As the movement for socialist healthcare grows larger, more politically confident, and more independent of establishment politics, legislators will have an increasingly hard time blocking legislation like SB562.

Therefore be it resolved that East Bay DSA joins with our comrades across the country in the national DSA campaign for Medicare for All to educate, agitate and organize for a system where health care decisions are determined by patients and their caregivers, where people come before profits, where healthcare is secured as a social right and access is not determined by corporate profiteers and health insurance billionaires. We are committed to fighting for a system that abides by the following five principles of socialist healthcare:

  1. A single program — not a patchwork of multi-payer state and federal systems.
  2. Comprehensive coverage all services requiring a medical professional will be covered.
  3. Free at the point of service — financed through progressive tax contributions based on ability to pay, not shifting costs onto the sick: no fees, no copays, no cost-sharing.
  4. Universal coverage — coverage for all U.S. residents — non-citizens included.
  5. Jobs — replacement and severance for those affected by the transition.
Be it further resolved that the chapter will participate in the campaign for Medicare for All. Additionally, the chapter will campaign for statewide single payer and other healthcare-related legislation, and candidates endorsed by the chapter supportive of the above socialist healthcare principles, especially as each of these helps build a broader working class movement for non-reformist reforms such as Medicare for All.

Be it further resolved that the chapter will pursue these political aims by undertaking a range of mass-oriented organizing tactics including but not limited to canvassing, rallies, educational events, and direct action.