Approved by Membership 2/4/2023
In effect 6/4/2023
The name of the organization will be the Philadelphia Local of the Democratic Socialists of America, a not-for-profit social welfare organization incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, also known as Philadelphia DSA, also known as Philly DSA (hereinafter, the “Local”).
The purpose of the Local will be to advance the purposes of the Democratic Socialists of America (hereinafter, “DSA” or “National DSA”) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding areas, as these purposes are stated in the Constitution of DSA. The Local will develop strategies for building a majority movement that is capable of (a) displacing the capitalist political economic order and hierarchical class structure of society in the United States that protects the interests of millionaires and billionaires at the expense of the poor and working class; and (b) establishing in its place a democratic and socialist political order.
Against efforts to naturalize or minimize the brutal, illegitimate and unnecessary exploitation of the working class, gross inequality, and myriad forms of oppressive discrimination and hierarchy that are structural features of society in the United States, the Local will engage in strategic activities and campaigns that are intended to reverse the continued concentration of wealth, resources, and services among the tiny fraction of people who make up the ruling class.
The only democratic and socialist political order the Local will seek to establish will be one that determines public policy by public participation and in which personal wellbeing, individual civil liberties, and access to the highest quality of goods and services will belong to all by right without exception, and in which the economy is governed by and for the equal benefit of all.
Membership in good standing of the Local requires that one is up to date on one’s membership dues to National DSA and reside in the Local’s catchment area. The catchment area is defined as Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties, and any other location where Philly DSA is the closest DSA chapter. However, should National DSA define the Local’s catchment differently, National DSA’s definition will supersede this one.
All members in good standing shall have a vote on the election of the Local’s delegates to national bodies, officers of the Local, and all resolutions and questions before the general membership. All members in good standing may file a grievance in accordance with the process laid out in Article IX. Any member who has been in good standing for at least six months at the time the nomination period closes may stand for election for internal positions of the Local.
There will be a one-year grace period for those who are not up to date on their dues, during which time such individuals will enjoy all the rights of members in good standing except for the following: grace period members will not be able to vote at General Meetings and Local Conventions and grace period members may not stand for elected internal positions of the Local.
Unless otherwise specified, “the membership” or “members of the Local” refer to active, dues paying members and members in grace period.
The Local Political Committee (LPC) will be composed of one member per every one hundred members of the Local, rounded down to an odd number of LPC members (e.g., if the Local has 1650 members, the LPC will have 15 members).
The LPC will include all nine members of the Steering Committee, one representative of each Suburban Branch (as defined at Article V, Section 7), and one representative of local YDSA (Young Democratic Socialists of America, the youth and student section of DSA, organized by campus) chapters. The remaining members of the LPC will be at-large representatives of the Local. Throughout these Bylaws, references to the LPC include the members of the Steering Committee.
Only Suburban Branches in existence at the time of the Local Convention will receive an LPC representative (e.g., a newly formed Suburban Branch will receive a representative; a Suburban Branch that ceases operations will no longer receive a representative). Suburban Branches combining multiple counties will receive only one LPC representative.
In the event the total membership of the Local falls below 1400, suburban branch and YDSA seats will be replaced with at-large seats.
The Steering Committee will be composed of nine members: Two Co-Chairs, two Secretaries, a Treasurer, two Communications Coordinators, a Member Engagement Coordinator, and a Campaigns Coordinator.
The Co-Chairs will be the chief executives of the Local, charged with carrying out the decisions of the membership. The chairs will also act as spokespeople for the Local, will oversee and chair Steering Committee and LPC meetings, and will chair General Meetings of the Local.
The Secretaries will be responsible for the records of the Local, keeping minutes of Steering Committee, LPC, and General Meetings, overseeing membership rolls and data, and managing reports of Committees and Working Groups. The Secretaries will work with the Communications Committee to keep accessible to the membership (via the Local’s website or other convenient means) updated versions of the bylaws, standing rules, and previous resolutions of the LPC and General Meetings. The Secretaries will also be responsible for making meeting minutes and notes available to members. The Secretaries will serve as co-chairs of the Data Committee.
The Treasurer will be responsible for the funds and financial records of the Local. The Treasurer will submit annual budgets to the Steering Committee for approval and will provide regular updates on chapter funds, spending, and revenue. The Treasurer will manage the bank account(s) of the Local, disburse funds to and for campaigns that have been approved by the Local, and manage membership dues and other chapter revenue. The Treasurer is responsible for the fiscal and legal compliance of legal entities operated by the Local (including but not limited to Political Action Committees) and for reporting their income and expenditures as part of the Treasurer’s general reports to the membership and to the LPC. The Treasurer must submit a proposed budget as a requirement of running for the office. The Treasurer will serve as chair of the Finance Committee.
The Communications Coordinators will manage and oversee internal and external communications of the Local, including the chapter website, email, social media accounts, and Slack workspace. The Communications Coordinators will oversee promotion of events and campaigns. The Communications Coordinators will act as primary liaisons to the press. The Communications Coordinators will serve as co-chairs of the Communications Committee.
The Member Engagement Coordinator will oversee member development, including recruitment, new member onboarding, accessibility, internal organizing efforts, and social gatherings. The Member Engagement Coordinator will serve as chair of the Member Engagement Committee.
The Campaigns Coordinator will be responsible for supporting campaigns of the Local by working with campaigns to evaluate and assess campaign needs, coordinating among campaign organizing committees and the Steering Committee and LPC, and helping campaigns access resources. In conjunction with the Steering Committee and LPC, the Campaigns Coordinator will work across different campaigns to identify areas of redundancy or need and to balance needs and priorities of different campaigns. The Campaigns Coordinator will assist members in preparing proposals for new campaigns. The Campaigns Coordinator will organize and facilitate an annual campaigns retreat for leaders of active campaigns.
At least three members of the Steering Committee must be non-men and at least three members of the Steering Committee must be people of color. A member who is both not a man and a person of color may be counted toward both requirements.
At least 35% of the LPC seats not assigned to members of the Steering Committee must be held by non-men, and at least 35% of the LPC seats not assigned to members of the Steering Committee must be held by people of color. A member who is both not a man and a person of color may be counted toward both requirements.
If elections result in a Steering Committee or LPC that does not have the required representation of non-men or people of color, then the last candidate to cross the Scottish Single Transferable Voting (STV) system (as defined below in Section 5 of this Article) threshold who is a man (in the case of lack of non-men representation) or white (in the case of lack of people of color representation) will be replaced with the first non-man or person of color candidate who would cross the STV threshold were election counts to continue. This process will continue until the representation requirements described in this Section are satisfied. If there are not sufficient non-men or people of color candidates to satisfy the representation requirements, then the remaining seats that cannot be filled by non-men or people of color candidates shall be filled by men or white candidates instead.
The Local Political Committee will meet at least six times per year, with meetings open to all members of the Local, and scheduled and announced at least two weeks in advance. The LPC may call special meetings with the written approval of at least three-fourths of the members of the LPC–such special meetings may consider issues that are either too urgent to wait for the next LPC meeting or that cannot be adequately discussed in a standard LPC meeting. Special LPC meetings must be open to all members of the Local to attend and announced in chapter-wide media (e.g., email, Slack) at least two days in advance. The LPC may vote to hold its meetings in person or online over a videoconference platform; however, only three votes to hold a meeting online are required for the meeting to take place online. The LPC is strongly encouraged to make hybrid participation available when meetings take place in person.
The LPC is the highest body within the Local aside from a General Meeting or Local Convention. As such, the LPC may overrule decisions of the Steering Committee (as with any other vote, a simple majority carries unless stated otherwise by these Bylaws or other relevant authority). The LPC will be responsible for the following non-exhaustive list of duties: preparing and calling Conventions of the Local; voting on endorsements and sponsorships of external events (described in Article VIII, Section 5); providing strategic guidance to Committees, Working Groups, and Campaigns (one member of the LPC must be present on all Campaign Organizing Committees, as described in Article V, Section 5); appointing interim leaders of Internal Bodies when a vacancy occurs; and, with the direction of the co-Chairs and Communications Coordinators, issuing public statements on behalf of the Local.
The LPC may vote on resolutions brought to it by any member of the Local. The LPC may also choose, rather than voting on whether to pass or reject a resolution, to send resolutions to a General Meeting for deliberation and voting in that forum. If the LPC rejects a resolution, the resolution’s authors may subsequently propose the resolution at a General Meeting; if the assembled members at a General Meeting vote to pass the resolution, the LPC’s prior rejection is overruled.
The Steering Committee shall be tasked with calling and proposing the agendas of General Meetings and meetings of the LPC (agendas may be amended in accordance with Robert’s Rules). The Steering Committee shall be responsible for selecting and supporting Harassment and Grievance Officers, and for overseeing the Local’s grievance process. The Steering Committee shall be responsible for reviewing and giving feedback on reports of Committees and Working Groups. Meetings of the Steering Committee are subject to the same requirements as meetings of the LPC, as described in this Section, except that there is no minimum number of times that the Steering Committee must meet annually.
Minutes of all meetings held by the Steering Committee and by the LPC must be made easily accessible to members of the Local.
With the exception of duties pertaining to imposing discipline as described in Article IX, the Steering Committee, the LPC, and individual members of those bodies may delegate specific duties assigned to them by these Bylaws to other members of the Local competent to complete those specific tasks on behalf of the Steering Committee, the LPC, or the individual members of those bodies.
Quorum for both the Steering Committee and the LPC will be 50%.
All members of the Steering Committee and all at-large members of the LPC will be elected using the Scottish Single Transferable Vote (“STV”) voting system, as defined here. Suburban Branch representatives will be elected using a method determined by the Branch and approved by the Steering Committee. The YDSA representative will be elected by active YDSA chapters within the Local’s catchment area by a method determined by the YDSA chapters and approved by the Steering Committee.
Election of Steering Committee and LPC members will take place once annually for one-year terms. A virtual, asynchronous voting option must be available to all voters.
A member of the Local may not sit on the LPC (which includes the Steering Committee) for more than four consecutive terms. A member may not sit on the Steering Committee for more than two consecutive terms. No member may hold two positions on the Steering Committee and LPC simultaneously. Should a sitting member of the Steering Committee or LPC run to fill a vacancy for another position on the Steering Committee or LPC before the end of their term, that member must resign their current position with sufficient notice to allow for the election to replace them to be held simultaneously.
To run for Steering Committee or LPC, candidates must be members in good standing of the Local. Additionally, candidates must have been either members in good standing or members in grace period for at least six months prior to the end of the nomination period for the election.
In general, a member of the Local may not run simultaneously for multiple positions on the Steering Committee or LPC. However, a member may run simultaneously for an at-large LPC and for a named Steering Committee role. In such a case, the Steering Committee election will be resolved first and any member elected to the Steering Committee will be removed from the at-large LPC tabulation, with votes received by the candidate in question transferred to other candidates in accordance with ranked choice.
In the event no member runs for a given position on either the Steering Committee or the LPC, the LPC will appoint a member to the vacant position as soon as practicable.
Recall of LPC members can be initiated by presenting signatures of 10% of members of the Local to the Secretaries. The recall vote will not occur for at least three weeks after signatures have been presented to the Secretaries. Following those three weeks, the vote will occur at the next scheduled General Meeting. Recalling an LPC member will require a two-thirds majority vote at the General Meeting.
If there are more than six months remaining in the LPC term when a vacancy occurs, the LPC must hold a special election to fill the position. There must be a nominating period of at least fourteen days. The election must be held within sixty days of the vacancy occurring. If fewer than six months remain in the LPC term, the LPC may choose to appoint a replacement for the remainder of the term or to leave the seat vacant.
Internal Bodies of the Local will consist of Commissions, Committees, Working Groups, Campaigns, Administrative Committees, and Suburban Branches. Internal Bodies are ultimately answerable to the general membership.
Commissions may be appointed by the LPC and empowered to carry out a specific set of tasks that do not ordinarily fall upon an officer or any Internal Body, and for which no longer-term body is provided by these Bylaws.
The structure, responsibilities, and limits of a Commission’s powers, including appointment of members, must be stipulated at the time of creation. Any substantial change to the Commission, including appointment of new members must be approved by the LPC.
Commissions must report their actions at regular meetings of the LPC.
Commissions will dissolve upon completion of their assigned tasks, or after six months, whichever is sooner. Commissions may be renewed by majority vote of the LPC if and only if the Commission’s assigned tasks remain incomplete.
Committees are Internal Bodies established for the purpose of initial, exploratory, and educational activities relevant to the aims of the Local and purview of the Committee, such as pilot programs, political education, or research activities. Ratification of these Bylaws will establish Committees for the following areas: Ecosocialism, Electoral, Housing, Labor, and Political Education.
Committees will be led by two co-chairs who will be elected at the annual Local Convention to one-year terms.
An issue-based Working Group (defined at Section 4, Subsection 1 of this Article) may become a Committee after satisfying the following requirements: (1) exist for at least one year; (2) meet at least twelve times in the prior year; (3) submit quarterly reports as required by these Bylaws over the prior year; and (4) receive majority votes from the Working Group’s membership and the LPC, each affirming that the Working Group should become a Committee, that the Working Group has a sustained core of engaged members, that the Working Group followed through with its stated purpose, and that the organizing started in the Working Group is likely to continue over the medium to long term.
Committees may bring campaign proposals to the LPC following the process stipulated in Section 5, Subsection 1 of this Article. Committees will be guaranteed reasonable use of the Local’s internal communications systems to advertise meetings to members and shall further be entitled to basic support from the Communications and Member Engagement Committees (at the discretion of those Committees and their chairs). Committees will be guaranteed reasonable use of physical and virtual meeting spaces operated by the Local (e.g., a Zoom account or an office). Committees may submit requests for anonymized member data to the Data Committee. Additional privileges, such as social media access and access to phonebank and text bank lists, are subject to prior approval by the LPC and may be revoked. Without approval by the Steering Committee, Committees are prohibited from liaising officially with other organizations and from releasing public statements. Additional requirements relating to liaising with external organizations are specified in Article VIII.
The Electoral Committee will be the Committee responsible for coordinating the Local’s involvement with local, state, and federal electoral campaigns, including but not limited to recruiting and researching candidates for elected office and producing a candidate questionnaire for each electoral cycle.
In order to be a voting member of the Electoral Committee, a person must (a) be a member in good standing of the Local (b) have attended at least two meetings of the Electoral Committee in the last one hundred and eighty days and (c) indicate in writing to the co-Chairs of the Electoral Committee that the person wishes to join the Committee. A member fulfilling these criteria may vote on proceedings of the Electoral Committee beginning thirty days after their request is submitted. The Electoral Committee must submit member rolls to the Secretary, as outlined in Article V, Section 3, Subsection 3.
All Committees must track their membership and provide member rolls to the Secretary at least once per calendar quarter.
All Committees other than the Electoral Committee must determine clear standards for membership. The Electoral Committee’s standards for membership are determined by Article V, Section 3, Subsection 2. All Committees may determine their own internal structure as they see fit, so long as such structure does not conflict with these Bylaws or other rules of the Local.
A Committee co-chair may be removed by vote of two-thirds of the Committee, followed by a three-fourths vote of the LPC. The LPC, in consultation with membership of the Committee, will appoint a replacement to fill vacant co-chair positions within three months. Co-chairs may not hold office for more than three consecutive terms.
Dissolution requires a two-thirds vote of the LPC followed by a two-thirds vote of a General Meeting. If upon conclusion of elections at the Local Convention one or both co-chair positions are unfilled, the Committee will automatically dissolve. The Committee may be reconstituted as a Working Group following the procedure outlined in Section 4 of this Article, and may then become a Committee following the process outlined in this Section.
Working Groups may be established for the purpose of initial, exploratory, and educational activities relevant to the aims of the Local and the purview of the Working Group, such as pilot programs, political education, and research activities. Working groups will be defined as issue-based (e.g., abolition), identity-based (e.g., queer socialists), or geography-based (e.g., Frankford).
Working Groups may bring campaign proposals to the LPC following the process stipulated in Section 5 of this Article. Working Groups will be guaranteed reasonable use of physical and virtual meeting spaces operated by the Local (e.g., a Zoom account or an office), and shall further be entitled to basic support from the Communications and Member Engagement Committees (at the discretion of those Working Groups and their Chairs). Working Groups may submit requests for anonymized member data to the Data Administrative Committee. Additional privileges, such as access to social media, and access to phonebank and text bank lists, are subject to approval by the LPC and may be revoked. Without approval by the Steering Committee, Working Groups may not liaise officially with other organizations and may not release public statements. Additional requirements relating to liaising with external organizations are specified in Article VIII.
To create a new Working Group, members of the Local may submit a resolution to the LPC co-signed by at least fifteen members of the Local. The resolution must describe an area of work that is not currently within the jurisdiction of another Internal Body of the Local and that is related to the purposes of the Local. The resolution must identify two co-chairs of the Working Group. The Working Group will be established upon a majority vote of the LPC.
Working Groups must establish clear standards for membership within the Working Group, subject to approval by the LPC. Working Groups must provide member rolls to the Secretaries regularly. Working Groups may determine their own internal structure as they see fit, so long as such structure does not conflict with these Bylaws or other rules of the Local.
All Working Groups must have two co-chairs. Upon conclusion of elections at the annual Local Convention, if one or both co-chair slots are unable to be filled, the working group will be automatically dissolved.
To be renewed following a Local Convention, Working Groups must file a report with the Secretaries relating the Working Group’s activities over the prior year. Working Groups must provide up to date member rolls at Convention.
Working Groups that are either inactive or operating in violation of these Bylaws may be dissolved by a majority vote of the LPC.
Issue-based Working Groups have the primary purpose of exploring and organizing around an issue area of relevance to the mission of the Local. Issue-based Working Groups will have two co-chairs elected by the Local Convention. A co-chair may be removed based on a two-thirds vote of the Working Group and, and by a two-thirds vote of the LPC. In the case of a vacancy in a co-chair position, the LPC will appoint a replacement within three months.
Identity-based Working Groups will organize around a social identity category. Co-chairs of identity based Working Groups will be elected by the membership of the Working Group on an annual basis. A co-chair may be removed based on a two-thirds vote of the working group, and by a two-thirds vote of the LPC. In the case of a vacancy in a co-chair position, a replacement chair must be elected by the Working Group within 3 months of a vacancy.
Geography based Working Groups organize within a specific geographic area inside the city of Philadelphia. Co-chairs of geography-based Working Groups will be elected by the membership of the Working Group on an annual basis. A co-chair may be removed based on a two-thirds vote of the working group and by a two-thirds vote of the LPC. In the case of a vacancy in a co-chair position, a replacement must be elected by the Working Group within three months of a vacancy.
Campaigns are sustained external mobilizations conducted in order to advance a specified political goal. Campaigns may be initiated by resolution submitted by a Committee, Working Group or member of the LPC, and approved by a majority vote of either the LPC or a General Meeting.
Campaigns will be authorized for terms of up to eighteen months and may be renewed by a majority vote of either the LPC or a General Meeting.
Each campaign will have a campaign organizing committee consisting of at least two members of the Local. The members of the campaign organizing committee will be specified in the resolution that creates the campaign. At least one member of the campaign organizing committee must be a member of the LPC. Members of a campaign organizing committee can be removed upon a unanimous recommendation of the remaining members of the campaign organizing committee, pending a vote of the majority of the LPC. In the case of a removal, the LPC will appoint a replacement within one month. In the case of a vacancy for any other reason, the remainder of the campaign organizing committee may appoint a replacement, pending approval by a majority vote of the LPC.
Upon approval, campaigns will be entitled to: (a) a budget as specified in the resolution that created the campaign, and may request additional funds from the LPC; (b) member data; (c) internal and external communications support (e.g., textbanking membership, media campaigns); and (d) any additional resources as specified in the resolution creating the campaign or as determined by the LPC. Campaigns may not issue public statements without prior approval of the Steering Committee.
All endorsements for public office will constitute campaigns of the Electoral Committee, following the endorsement procedure laid out in Article VIII, Section 1. The Electoral Committee will be responsible for executing electoral campaigns. Campaigns for public office endorsed by the Local need not submit an additional campaign resolution or specify an organizing committee.
All campaigns must provide the Campaigns Coordinator and the Steering Committee with quarterly reports detailing progress towards campaign goals. Upon review of the reports, the Campaigns Coordinator and the Steering Committee will provide feedback and support to campaigns. Reports will be made available to all members of the Local.
Four Administrative Committees of the Local will be appointed to oversee administrative functions that are essential to the ongoing effectiveness of the Local. Those committees are:
Member Engagement Committee (chaired by the Member Engagement Coordinator; a co-chair may be appointed by the LPC);
Communications Committee (co-chaired by the Communications Coordinators);
Finance Committee (chaired by the Treasurer; a co-chair may be appointed by the LPC); and
Data Committee (co-chaired by the Secretaries).
These four Administrative Committees may not be dissolved.
A majority of the Steering Committee may vote to establish temporary administrative committees for the fulfillment of specific administrative tasks or ongoing areas of administrative work that do not fall under the purview of any existing administrative committee. The Steering Committee must appoint either one or two chairs to any newly created administrative committee. These temporary administrative committees may be dissolved by a majority of the Steering Committee.
Members of Administrative Committees will be nominated by the chair(s) and approved by a majority of the LPC.
The Local may establish Suburban Branches for the purpose of effectively carrying out the purposes of the organization outside the limits of Philadelphia but within the catchment of the Local. The Local may establish a maximum of four Suburban Branches, one in each of the following counties: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery. The Local may also establish single Suburban Branches that cover more than one county (e.g., A “BuxMont” Suburban Branch covering both Bucks and Montgomery counties is permissible; such a formation will be considered a single Branch despite covering multiple counties).
Members residing within Philadelphia County may form geographical formations using the working group structure (described in Article V, Section 4), but cannot establish branches.
Suburban Branches may be established by vote of the LPC, upon receipt of a petition from members living in the proposed area. The vote will include approval of a Branch Charter. Further details, including the process for submitting Suburban Branch petitions and Charters for approval, will be determined by the Steering Committee.
Each Suburban Branch will be granted one voting representative on the LPC. This representative will be elected directly by members of the Local residing within the county or counties covered by the Suburban Branch. The election of Branch representatives will be administered by the LPC.
Suburban Branches may create their own bylaws. In the case of contradiction between Branch bylaws and the Local’s bylaws, the Local’s bylaws will apply. In the case that Suburban Branch bylaws are in egregious violation of standards of democracy, the LPC may modify Suburban Branch bylaws via a two-thirds vote of the LPC.
Suburban Branches may store funds in the bank account under the name of the Local, and may promote Branch events in the chapter bulletin, chapter social media, and other internal and external communications of the Local.
To the extent these Bylaws do not otherwise address recall of co-chairs of particular Internal Bodies, co-chairs may be recalled by a two-thirds vote of a General Meeting. To initiate a recall process, a petition requesting recall and signed by at least 3% of members of the Local must be submitted to the Secretaries.
The Convention is the highest ranking decision making body of the Local. As such, it has the power to review the decisions of all other bodies of the Local. Decisions of lower bodies may be placed on the agenda for review via a petition signed by 3% of the Local’s membership.
The Convention shall be held annually. It will be held in June if at all practicable. The Convention will be held in a hybrid fashion that allows for both remote and in-person attendance. The date of the Convention, as well as the number of LPC seats to be elected, shall be announced no fewer than one hundred days before it is scheduled. The LPC shall set the agenda for the Convention. The agenda shall be distributed to the membership at least four weeks prior to the Convention. The agenda may be modified at the Convention according to Robert's Rules.
The Convention elects Local leadership, including Steering Committee, LPC, and Committee and Working Group Chairs. To that end, the LPC shall distribute a call for candidates no fewer than six weeks prior to the Convention. Any member wishing to run shall collect the signatures of at least ten members of the Local and submit them to the LPC. Candidates will have at least two weeks to collect signatures and submit them to the LPC. The names of all eligible candidates will be distributed to membership along with the rest of the agenda.
Conventions falling on the same year as a National Convention will elect delegates to the National Convention. The process to become a candidate for delegate will be the same as the process to become a candidate for local leadership, save that candidates for delegate will not be required to collect signatures prior to running. Delegates shall be elected using Scottish Single Transferable Vote, as defined in Article IV, Section 5. Any requirements determined by the National for the selection of delegates shall supersede these requirements, and the methods used to select delegates to the National Convention by the Local shall always be in compliance with strictures provided by National such that delegates from the Local may be seated.
The Convention will review, discuss, and evaluate reports from Committees, Working Groups, and Campaigns. These reports shall be filed at least four weeks prior to the Convention and circulated with the agenda.
The Convention will engage in participatory budgeting for the Local for the following year. To that end, the current Treasurer shall provide a Treasurer’s report at convention each year. The Convention shall also set spending guidelines for the incoming Treasurer, which may include elements of proposals submitted by the candidates for Treasurer, or new ideas, as the Convention sees fit.
The Convention will also function as a General Meeting (and count toward the total number of General Meetings required annually under Article VII, Section 1), and therefore will include a section for general business. Resolutions and motions may be submitted for consideration following normal procedures.
The Convention will serve as an opportunity for members to meet each other and have time to get to know one another socially. The agenda shall therefore provide for informal social gathering in addition to the formal business outlined above.
There shall be at least four General Meetings per calendar year, inclusive of the Local Convention.
The agenda for General Meetings shall be proposed by the Steering Committee and approved by the LPC. The default meeting style shall be hybrid, however the LPC may change the style to either in person or virtual.
Quorum for a General Meeting shall be 5% of the membership of the Local. General Meetings may still be held with 2.5% of the membership or more present, but the powers exercised by such a General Meeting are provisional, and must be approved by the next General Meeting at which a quorum is present.
Unless otherwise noted in these bylaws, a simple majority of a General Meeting has the power to pass resolutions. Resolutions require the signature of five members to be brought to the floor.
Except as otherwise provided by these Bylaws, General Meetings may reverse decisions of the LPC in two ways. First, resolutions previously presented to and rejected by the LPC may be brought to a General Meeting. A simple majority vote will pass the resolution. Second, members may request a General Meeting consider any other decision of the LPC. To present such a question to a General Meeting, members must collect signatures from 2% of members of the Local. An LPC decision may be overturned by a two-thirds vote by the General Meeting.
Special General Meetings may be called to deliberate an issue that cannot wait until the next scheduled General Meeting or to deliberate an issue that cannot be considered in full within the confines of a standard General Meeting. A Special General Meeting may be called by either three-quarters of the LPC or petition of 25% of members of the Local.
Special General Meetings must be scheduled such that they occur within thirty days from the submission of the petition to the Secretaries. Special General Meetings must occur with at least ten days written notice. Such notice will include the date, time, location, and reasons for which the Special General Meeting has been called. Quorum rules for standard General Meetings also apply to Special General Meetings.
To be endorsed by the Local, a candidate for elected office must satisfy at least the following minimum conditions: (a) The district or constituency they are running to represent must fall partially or entirely within the catchment of the Local; (b) The candidate must complete a candidate questionnaire produced by the Electoral Committee; (c) The candidate must participate in a closed door meeting with members of the Electoral Committee who are selected by the co-chairs of the Local and the co-chairs of the Electoral Committee; and (d) The candidate must participate in an open meeting with all interested members of the Local, to take place at least one week prior to any vote on endorsing the candidate.
The Electoral Committee will be responsible for recommending endorsement of candidates to members of the Local. Members of the Electoral Committee who are currently working on the campaign of a candidate (in a paid or unpaid capacity) must recuse themselves from any Electoral Committee vote on the recommendation of that candidate. The Electoral Committee must vote on the recommendation of a candidate before the candidate may appear before the general membership for an endorsement vote. The Electoral Committee may take any of the following actions in its vote for recommendation: (a) Send the candidate to the General Meeting with a positive recommendation; (b) Send the candidate to the General Meeting with a negative recommendation; or (c) Send the candidate to the LPC with a negative recommendation, in the case that the Electoral Committee believes that the candidate’s endorsement is not worthy of deliberation by the general membership.
If the Electoral Committee sends a candidate to the LPC with a negative recommendation, the LPC may vote by a simple majority to either accept the Electoral Committee’s recommendation (with the result that the candidate does not receive an endorsement from the Local and there is no debate on the question at the General Meeting) or reject the Electoral Committee’s recommendation (with the result that the candidate goes to the General Meeting for a vote on the candidate’s endorsement by the Local). The LPC should vote to reject the Electoral Committee’s recommendation if it determines that the candidate’s endorsement is worthy of chapter-wide debate. If the LPC accepts the Electoral Committee’s recommendation, the candidate in question or their supporters may attempt to overturn the LPC’s decision using the procedures outlined in Article VII, Section 3.
A two-thirds vote in favor of endorsement at a General Meeting is required for the Local to endorse a candidate.
The Electoral Committee is responsible for coordinating and directing the Local’s involvement with endorsed campaigns.
Suburban Branches of the Local may undertake their own endorsement process for candidates within their geographic territory. For such a candidate to receive the endorsement of the Local, that candidate must follow the endorsement process outlined in this Section.
The LPC may appoint a group of members to coordinate the Local’s relationship with local, state, and/or federal elected officials within the catchment of the Local.
The Local may join coalitions with other organizations through a vote of the LPC.
Upon joining a coalition, the LPC will appoint 1-3 members of the Local as official coalition liaisons who will be responsible for reporting to the LPC and to the chapter about the status of the coalition and the Local’s involvement. Liaisons will be appointed at least in part based on their connections to the substantive area of the coalition’s work, and will ideally be drawn from relevant Committees and Working Groups of the Local.
Upon joining a coalition, liaisons will be entitled to the same privileges as a Working Group, as described in Article V, Section 4. The LPC may vote to approve additional privileges to coalition liaisons.
Internal Bodies seeking to coordinate with other external groups should seek approval from LPC. Where appropriate, the LPC will appoint official liaisons. The LPC will keep record of liaisons for all organizations with which the Local is coordinating.
The Local may choose to endorse or sponsor certain events organized by other organizations. Endorsement involves more limited support of the event, sponsorship involves more extensive support.
The general membership of the Local or the LPC may vote to endorse an event by a simple majority. The Local will promote endorsed events on social media.
The general membership of the Local or the LPC may vote to sponsor an event by a simple majority. Only a Committee, Working Group, coalition liaison, or member of the LPC may move to sponsor an event. The LPC will assign a point person to coordinate chapter efforts to support sponsored events. Sponsored events will be promoted to members of the Local internally and on social media.
All disciplinary procedures of the Local are intended to comply with Resolution 33 of DSA National. Nothing written in these Bylaws may be interpreted as superseding the procedures of Resolution 33 or any other mandatory grievance procedures of National DSA.
Grounds for discipline are harassment, physical violence against another member of the Local, violations of the Local or National Code of Conduct, and anti-democratic behavior. Discipline related to harassment, violations of the Code of Conduct, and interpersonal violence will proceed through the grievance process defined in Section 3 of this Article.
Harassment will be defined as in Resolution 33 of DSA National.
Anti-democratic behavior will be defined as the following: (a) flagrant violation of these Bylaws, the Local’s Standing Rules, or established Committee or Working Group procedures; (b) consistent refusal to carry out democratically required duties; (c) willful sabotage of the Local’s work; or (d) coordinated entryism. Anti-democratic based discipline will proceed through a political process outlined in Section 4 of this Article.
Disciplinary procedures require written notice and an opportunity to be heard for all charges, following the timelines specified in Resolution 33. In cases of harassment in which there is a reasonable concern for the safety of a member or members of the Local, members may be temporarily suspended pending the resolution of the grievance process.
The Steering Committee will appoint between two and five Harassment and Grievance Officers (“HGOs”). HGOs will be appointed for a term of one year and may serve for no more than three consecutive terms. HGOs will be responsible for investigating charges of harassment, violations of Resolution 33, and violations of the Local or National Code of Conduct. HGOs will deliver a report to the Steering Committee determining the credibility of the claims, specifying which standards of conduct have been violated, and recommending mediation and/or disciplinary measures as appropriate. The Steering Committee will vote on the recommendation of the HGOs. To expel a member based on the outcome of a harassment and grievance procedure, the Steering Committee must submit a recommendation for expulsion to the LPC, and the LPC must vote to expel.
Any member of the Local may bring a charge of anti-democratic behavior against any other member of the Local. A charge must be submitted in writing, and must be accompanied by the signatures of at least five additional members. The LPC will investigate the facts of the case and produce a report on those facts that will be made available to the membership of the Local. Before finalizing the fact-finding report, and before voting on any discipline, the charged party must receive an opportunity to be heard by the LPC. The LPC will vote on appropriate sanctions as specified in Section 5 of this Article. In the event of an appeal, the charged party must be given an opportunity to be heard by the general membership.
For purposes of this Article, elected public official members will be defined as elected officials whose elections for public office involved at least one thousand votes and who are members of the Local. Elected public official members will also include ward leaders who are members of the Local. Elected public official members may be censured, suspended, or expelled for political speech or other conduct in flagrant conflict with the substantive priorities of the Local or National DSA. Any member of the LPC may bring a charge against an elected public official member under this Section. Disciplinary measures pertaining to the political speech of elected public members require a two-thirds vote of the LPC, followed by a two-thirds vote of the GM. Discipline under this subsection may not be appealed within the Local.
The Local may impose three levels of sanction: censure, suspension (including possible suspension from particular activities rather than suspension from all activity of the Local), and expulsion. If the grievance pertains to harassment or physical violence against another member, disciplinary measures require a majority vote of the voting body. For discipline related to anti-democratic behavior, the threshold for disciplinary action will be a two-thirds majority. In order to expel a member, a vote of the full LPC is required. For all other grievances, a vote of the Steering Committee will be required.
A member who has been disciplined may file an appeal with the body immediately superior the original voting body (a grievance adjudicated by the Steering Committee may be appealed to the LPC, a grievance adjudicated by the LPC may be appealed to the GM, and a grievance adjudicated by the General Meeting may be appealed at the Local Convention). If the appeal is not successful, it may be appealed to National DSA, but not to an additional body within the Local (i.e., a grievance adjudicated by the Steering Committee could be appealed to the LPC, but not to the GM). If a member is expelled, the member is guaranteed the ability to appeal to the GM. All rulings are ultimately appealable to National DSA, in accordance with current National grievance procedures.
Appeals to the Local must be filed in writing with the Secretaries within 30 days of receiving written notice of a ruling. Appeals must state the basis for the appeal. Appeals must be heard and adjudicated within 120 days from the date the appeal is filed. The written grounds of the appeal will be presented at the meeting scheduled for deliberation of the appeal. A rebuttal from the body that delivered the ruling is also permitted before moving to a vote.
Members may appeal the outcome of their grievance on the following grounds: (a) the standards laid out in these bylaws or in National DSA Resolution 33 were not followed; (b) there were procedural errors, misconduct, or conflicts of interest that affected fairness of the outcome; or (c) the punishment was disproportionate to the offense.
If any element of these Bylaws contradicts or conflicts with the bylaws, standing rules, or rulings by the NPC or National Convention, the National text shall supersede the text in these Bylaws.
Amendments to these Bylaws must be proposed in writing and submitted to the Secretaries at least thirty days in advance of a scheduled vote as part of a chapter General Meeting or Local Convention. Such proposed amendments must include signed sponsorship by at least 3% of chapter members to be considered for a vote by the general membership.
No amendments to these Bylaws will be considered absent at least two weeks’ notice to the membership of the Local via email.
Amendments to these Bylaws may not be considered at a Special General Meeting.
An Amendment to these Bylaws requires a two-thirds vote of the general membership to pass.
The process for approving these Bylaws will include an amendment period during which members can submit written proposed amendments to the Steering Committee under procedures outlined in Robert’s Rules Newly Revised and our current standing rules.
If accepted by the membership of the Local, these Bylaws shall take effect at the beginning of 2023 Local Convention.
When these Bylaws take effect, the following chapter bodies will become Committees: The Labor Branch, the Housing Committee, the Green New Deal Commission, the Political Education Committee, and the Electoral Committee. Upon becoming a Committee, the Green New Deal Commission will be known as the Ecosocialism Committee.
When these Bylaws take effect, the following chapter bodies will become Administrative Committees: Member Engagement Committee, Communications Committee, Secretariat. Upon becoming an Administrative Committee, the Secretariat will be known as the Data Committee.
When these Bylaws take effect, all other currently existing bodies will be converted to Working Groups, so long as they fulfill the minimum requirements for a Working Group under these Bylaws.
At the 2023 Local Convention, elections will be held for all Committee and Working Group Co-Chair positions, as well as for all other roles outlined in these Bylaws that require an election.
Between 12 months and 18 months after the adoption of these Bylaws, the normal requirements for submitting Bylaws will be suspended, and Bylaws amendments may be passed with a ⅔ majority of the General Meeting following the procedures for standard resolutions.
All resolutions up for debate at a General Meeting must be submitted to the LPC at least fourteen days prior to the meeting. The LPC will make sure that the resolution is in order with Roberts Rules, the Local’s Bylaws, and the Local’s Standing Rules.
Only resolutions with five or more co-sponsor signatures shall be considered at a General Meeting.
No fewer than eleven days prior to the meeting, the LPC shall inform resolution authors if their resolution is out of order. The authors shall have two days to resubmit their resolutions to bring them in order. The LPC will make sure that the resubmitted resolution is in order with Roberts Rules, the Local’s Bylaws, and the Local’s Standing Rules
A General Meeting packet shall be published seven days prior to the meeting.
Amendments to resolutions should be submitted to the LPC at least four days prior to the meeting. The LPC will make sure that the resolution as amended is in order with Roberts Rules, the Philly DSA Bylaws, and the Philly DSA Standing Rules.
The full General Meeting packet with all business planned for the memberships' consideration shall be published no fewer than 48 hours prior to the meeting.
Enabling resolutions for campaigns must specify a (a) specific, winnable political goal related to the purposes of the Local (b) a plan to reach that goal, specifying the role of the Local (c) a termination date for the campaign (d) a proposed budget, and (e) a recruitment plan. Enabling resolutions should specify how the campaign will strengthen the Local and advance its purposes.
During debate members are asked to be respectful and comradely towards each other. Please confine comments to the merits of the matter being discussed.
The chair will introduce resolutions to be debated as laid out by the order of the agenda with full title and number so that members may follow along in the packet. The chair will introduce a new resolution as a main motion and introduce an author of the resolution to present its content. The author will then have three minutes of speaking time. After this the body will move into debating the resolution.
All speakers whether in debate or from the floor should state their name.
In the event that there is an amendment to the resolution, immediately after the main resolution is introduced, the chair will call up an author of the amendment to speak about its content. The author will have two minutes to introduce their amendment. The body will then move directly into debating the amendment. After a vote is taken on the amendment, the body will move directly into debating the main motion.
Any motion that requires debate will be allowed to have three speakers for and against. After three speakers for each side, the chair will ask for points or motions, at which time members can motion to extend speakers for and against (by a definite number of speakers), call the question, etc.
If the meeting is approaching the scheduled adjournment time, the chair will ask the membership if it would like to refer agenda items to the LPC for a vote or table agenda items for the following General Meeting.
Requests for agenda items: A member can request to add an item to the LPC agenda. Such requests must be sent no fewer than 72 hours ahead of the LPC meeting or they are not guaranteed consideration.
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