October General Meeting Agenda

October 2020 General Meeting Agenda

October 3, 2020 | 12:00-3:00 PM | Zoom | Rsvp for details

  • Credentialing & Explanation of online meeting protocol by the chair
    • See "Online Meeting Protocol" below
  • Guest Speaker: Thomas Frank
  • Call to Order & Approval of Minutes 
  • Committee Reports 
  • Recess
  • Resolutions
    • Resolution 2020.10.00: Philly DSA Supports a Fair Contract for the PFT
    • Resolution 2020.10.01: Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act Pressure Campaign
    • Resolution 2020.10.02: Tax the Rich and Defend Public Services in Philadelphia
    • Resolution 2020.10.03: Establish A Housing Committee
    • Resolution 2020.10.04: Establish a Mutual Aid Committee
  • Announcements 
  • Adjourn


Resolution 2020.10.00: Philly DSA Supports a Fair Contract for the PFT

Authored: Paul P

Whereas the contract between the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and the School District of Philadelphia has expired, leaving educators without scheduled salary and step increases

Whereas the PFT has shown that the money does exist to put in place a one-year contract extension with modest salary increases

Whereas the District is attempting to tie ratification of a contract to an unsafe school reopening plan, thus forcing PFT members to choose between a contract and risking their life

Whereas Philadelphia’s public school workers have repeatedly accepted massive concessions and sacrifices over the last two decades

Whereas a strong PFT contract enhances the quality of public education and benefits working-class communities in this city

Therefore be it resolved that Philly DSA will support the PFT’s efforts for a fair one-year contract extension

Be it further resolved that Philly DSA’s labor commission and canvassing committee and will help coordinate these efforts and develop a program for letter-writing, petition, phonebanking, and/or picketing to pressure the school board and local representative

Be it further resolved that Philly DSA calls on the school board to create a reopening plan based on the PFT’s guidelines that are based in science and the priority of safety


Resolution 2020.10.01: Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act Pressure Campaign

Authored: Dustin G

Co-Sponsored: Katie R, Andrew W, Matthew L, Syne S, Paul P, Joanna W, Jack M, Scott J, Olivia H, Amy L, Jenna G, Andrew K, Rhianna D, Jason L, Heather F, Max B, Carly R

WHEREAS, the coronavirus crisis has exposed the weakness of the American healthcare system; and,

WHEREAS, over 30 million working people have applied for unemployment insurance as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and over 12 million have lost their health coverage as a result; and,

WHEREAS, in the middle of the worst public health crisis in a century millions of workers are now left to rely on their own resources to pay medical bills, even as they remain jobless; and,

WHEREAS, the failure to provide health insurance as a basic right at this moment is not only a grave moral failure, it is also a threat to public health; potential carriers of the virus are currently left untreated and unknown; and,

WHEREAS, the only way to adequately address the pandemic is to guarantee health insurance to all Americans; and,

WHEREAS, Philadelphia area Congresspersons Dwight Evans, Mary Gay Scanlon and Madeiline Dean have yet to sign on to the legislation;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Philly DSA shall pressure Philadelphia are Representatives to sign on to Rep. Jayapal and Sen. Sanders Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Philly DSA's Canvassing Committee, in conjunction with Philadelphia area unions and allied organizations, will coordinate these efforts and develop a short-term program for pressuring Representatives including, but not limited to: letter writing, petitioning, phone banking and flyering; and,

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that members of Philly DSA commit to pressuring their own Representatives and participate in Philly DSA's efforts.


Resolution 2020.10.02: Philly DSA Against Austerity: Tax the Rich and Defend Public Services in Philadelphia

Authored: Olivia H, Jason L

Cosponsored: Paul P, Carly R, Dustin G, Syne S, Matthew L, Joanna W, Jack M, Scott J, Amy Leigh H, Jenna G, Andrew K, Rhianna D, Mary M, Heather F, Max B, Brad W, Marlin F

Whereas the United States, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia in particular face a likely recession or depression that must be fought with expanded social services, rather than a series of austerity budgets;

Whereas the City of Philadelphia’s annual budget passed in June 2020 underscores the municipal government’s poor priorities during a time when Philadelphians need social services more than ever, resulting in layoffs of 450 city employees and severe cuts to city departments;

Whereas social welfare services require considerable resources that can only be found among the wealthy in our society;

Whereas city workers’ unions, the institutions of Philadelphia’s multi-racial poor and working class, have agitated for effective protective equipment, hazard pay, and the City’s overall commitment to their work, exposing a contradiction between praise for essential workers and Philadelphia’s subjugation to its wealthy class, further activating members.

Therefore be it resolved that Philly DSA acts in solidarity with labor unions calling for personal protection equipment, hazard pay, and an end to layoffs; and

Be it further resolved that Philly DSA furthers these demands by promoting union-led actions such as public demonstrations, phonebanks, and letter-writing campaigns to our members via social media, text, and email, and, where possible, encourage Philly DSA members who are also union members to speak publicly regarding the city budget crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic; and 

Be it further resolved that Philly DSA advocates with elected allies to pressure the municipal government to impose redistributive measures in order to realize these demands, including pressuring major non-profit institutions to pay Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs), ending the tax abatement, increasing taxes on property and large real estate investors, and further raising the non-resident wage tax.


Resolution 2020.10.03: Establish A Housing Committee

Authored: Karim N

Co-sponsored: Daisy C., Heather P., Gabe E., Patrick A., Michele S., Katherine R., Sue C., Elias B., Derek H., Sam D.

Whereas, many cities in the US are facing a historic housing crisis. More than 11 million families spend more than half of their income on rent, and municipal governments are cutting back subsidies and relaxing rent controls.

Whereas, Philadelphia is undergoing a rising housing crisis, being the poorest big city (of largest ten cities) in the US, with 26% of city residents living in poverty. Philadelphia’s unemployment rate continues to be higher than the national average. Meanwhile rents have risen for the fourth year in a row, and the median renter’s income is only $31,000. Philadelphia’s housing costs are unaffordable, since more than half (53.4%) of Philadelphia renters are cost-burdened, meaning they pay over 30% of their income on housing, and 31% are severely cost-burdened, meaning they pay over 50% of their rent on housing, and the city has only 41 affordable units for every 100 extremely low income households.

Whereas, Philadelphia’s housing crisis has resulted in mass permanent houseless resident encampments, squatting campaigns, and community displacement that has captured national attention and media, including this summer’s Camp James Talib-Dean, Camp Teddy, and Camp Azalea.

Whereas, Philly DSA’s recent winning endorsed candidates, including Councilmember Kendra Brooks, State Representative-elect Rick Krajewski, and State Senator-elect Nikil Saval, ran successful campaigns centering rent control as a policy plank.

Whereas, DSA’s 2019 National Convention delegates overwhelmingly passed “Housing as a Human Right” as a priority campaign for the national organization, requiring the organization to “dedicate resources to support tenant organizing and education campaigns,”

Whereas, Philadelphia Housing Authority, currently the primary municipal public agency responsible for ensuring housing is accessible to all Philadelphians, not only fails in its duties but evicts working class residents from their family homes while providing cheap land for private developers.

Whereas, Philadelphia’s average housing costs are unaffordable for minimum wage workers earning $7.25/hour; a person would have to work 106 hours/week at minimum wage to afford a modest one bedroom apartment.

Whereas, the City is only going to change how it mediates the class conflict between landlords and tenants, and chooses to house its citizens, if there is a sustained rebellion from below that is able to disrupt business as usual for the City’s ruling classes.

Whereas, any lifting of the current eviction moratorium will create an immediate eviction and homelessness crisis,

Whereas, houseless encampments will only grow as the City continues to exacerbate the housing crisis while refusing to implement any structural solutions,

Therefore be it resolved, that Philly DSA form an ad-hoc Housing Campaign Coordinating Committee, composed of the resolution’s author as chair and co-sponsors as members, with the following tasks and responsibilities: organize and coordinate the housing-related campaigns undertaken by Philly DSA; research and issue recommendations to the local on housing-related campaigns to be undertaken; organize and coordinate these further housing-related campaigns that the local chooses to undertake; build on ongoing organizing and research to explore longer-term strategic goals around housing security, fighting landlords and slumlords, and decommodifying housing.

Be it further resolved, that the committee will have access to all chapter resources needed to carry out its tasks and responsibilities, including budgetary and communications (bulletins, phone-banking, mass-text, etc.) resources.

Be it finally resolved, the committee shall have a term of 1 year, at which time it will issue a report and recommendations to the general membership on how to best proceed with housing campaigns in Philadelphia.


Resolution 2020.10.04: Establish a Mutual Aid Committee

Authored: Sam D and Matt Z
Co-sponsored: Austin B, Brian B, Daisy C, Colin E, Rachel F, Will M, Adrian O, Rachie W

Whereas, as of August 23, 2020, the City of Philadelphia reported 32,936 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,736 caused by COVID-19, and millions of Pennsylvanians have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.

Whereas, in times of social distancing the most vulnerable will be the most isolated, and the economic crisis in our communities is only likely to worsen.

Whereas, DSA seeks to build a mass socialist movement across the United States.

Whereas, DSA’s National Political Committee recently established a National Mutual Aid Working Group to assist locals in the creation and development of their own mutual aid programs.

Whereas, DSA locals across the country, from New York City to Los Angeles, are engaging in mutual aid work.

Whereas, mutual aid is not charity, but rather the voluntary exchange of resources and services for the benefit of all people involved, which involves comrades coming together to work as equals for the common good by assessing what people need and what people can provide.

Whereas, mutual aid seeks to inspire in ourselves and in our neighbors a vision of a world beyond capitalism. Mutual aid is not just delivering groceries and other necessities to those in need—it is delivering those necessities in a context that makes clear we do so as a form of resistance to the capitalist state that impoverishes millions of working people while causing the rich to become even richer during a pandemic. Mutual aid is not just changing brake lights—it is changing brake lights in a context that makes explicit that the act constitutes resistance against a carceral police state that cages human beings based on whether or not a brake light functions properly.

Whereas, Philly DSA can attend to the material needs of working people, including our members, through mutual aid.

Whereas, political power is the control of the distribution of resources. Taking charge of our own resource distribution dismantles the notion that political power is the sole domain of a disconnected ruling class, and empowers us all to further engage in the struggle for political power.

Whereas, a socialist organization cannot reach everyone through theory and analysis alone. Mutual aid serves as a visible demonstration of theory in practice, tangibly improving a person’s material conditions and showing all of us the power of solidarity and collective action. Mutual aid carries in itself a socialist message, and presents the opportunity to engage with our neighbors about our politics.

Whereas, mutual aid programs demonstrate the power of collective ownership in a clear and intuitive way, and make joining us a more attractive proposition on strictly material grounds. Mutual aid raises our public profile, makes us a known resource for communities, and allows us to reach people who might not otherwise be interested in purely theoretical or electoral messages.

Whereas, mutual aid presents Philly DSA with the opportunity to build long-lasting organizing relationships between organizers, working class communities, and other activist institutions, which will expand our political reach and form networks of support that address the needs of communities scorned by a disconnected elite class.

Whereas, now more than ever, it is time to act with solidarity, not just talk about solidarity.

Therefore be it resolved, that Philly DSA form an ad-hoc Mutual Aid Committee charged with the following tasks and responsibilities: organize and coordinate Philly DSA’s collaboration with
internal and external mutual aid projects, research and issue recommendations to the Local on mutual aid work to be undertaken, organize and coordinate those mutual aid campaigns that the
Local chooses to undertake, and build on ongoing organizing and research to explore longer-term strategic goals around mutual aid.

Be it further resolved, that membership of the committee shall initially consist of Austin Binns, Brian Baughan, Daisy Confoy, Sam Datlof, Colin Evoy, Rachel Fecho, Will Markham, Adrian
Oei, Rachie Weisberg, Matt Zanowic, and two further interested additional members to be appointed by the chair and vice-chair of the chapter, in consultation with the chair of the Mutual
Aid Committee, prior to the first convening. The chair of the committee will be Sam Datlof.

Be it further resolved, that the Mutual Aid Committee will be formed in accordance with Article VII, Section 2.A of the Philadelphia DSA bylaws, and that in keeping with Article VII,
Section 2.C of the Local’s bylaws, the authors of this resolution will keep the Steering Committee and the General Meetings of the Local informed on the activities of the committee.

Be it further resolved, that the committee will have access to all chapter resources needed to carry out its tasks and responsibilities, including budgetary and communications (bulletins, phone-banking, mass-text, etc.) resources.

Be it further resolved, that this committee will work with other relevant groups and interested members of Philly DSA to fulfill its mandate as laid out in the foregoing clauses.

Be it finally resolved, that the committee shall have a term of 1 year, at which time it will issue a report and recommendations to the general membership on how Philly DSA can best proceed with mutual aid campaigns in Philadelphia.

Online Meeting Protocol

How to join the meeting

  • Everyone who RSVP’d to the General Meeting will receive a link to join a Zoom meeting starting at 12 PM. The password is “phldsa”.
  • If you haven’t already, you should download zoom on your computer before the meeting begins.
  • It is recommended that you join the meeting from a computer, but a connection by mobile phone is also an option.

How to sign-in to the voting platform

  • Only Philly DSA members will be able to log-in to the voting platform, just as in in-person meetings only members get voting credentials.
  • Members should sign in to vote at vote.phillydsa.org using the email address associated with your DSA membership (the email address you get emails from Maria Svart at).
  • You will receive a link to join the voting platform to the email you used to sign-in.
  • If you get an error that says your email is not found, please call Soona at 419.376.2181
    • Please be aware that in an in-person meeting, the credentialing process takes up to half an hour because we have a few volunteers working through a long line of attendees. With this online sign-in process, many more people will get credentialed quicker, but it could also mean that any snags happen simultaneously. We’ll handle all issues as they come in, but just as if it were an in-person meeting, this process is not instantaneous. 
  • As in an in-person meeting, credentialing will cut off once the meeting is officially called to order and voting has commenced.

How debate works

  • Voting and debate will happen in real-time as the meeting progresses, and members will be able to follow along on your browser. 
  • Just as in an in-person meeting, there can only be one question on the floor at a time. 
    • When a motion requiring a vote has been made, the chair will restate the motion and the question will be opened. Voting will be live and you will see the question on your screen with options to vote “yes” or “no”.
    • When no voting is live, you will see the record of past votes, and a menu to join stack.
  • The stack menu has the following options that facilitate parliamentary debate like raising your placard would at an in-person general meeting:
    • Stack - for: Join the stack to speak against a main motion.
    • Stack - against: Join the stack to speak against a main motion.
    • Call the question: Calls for debate to close and for the main motion to be brought to a vote. When a question is called, the assembly first votes to call the question, then votes on the main motion itself.
    • Second: To be the second on a motion made before it is voted on.
    • Point of information: Questions for the chair or a member of the assembly, but should always be directed to the chair. 
    • Point of order: Points raised to indicate parliamentary procedure was not followed correctly. 
    • In-person, points of privilege are also allowed for things like “can the speaker step closer to the microphone” or “can the door leading to the loud hallway be shut”, but for the online meeting, we are directing points of privilege to [email protected] and someone will be in touch to help resolve the tech issue. 
  • It is recommended that you use the same display name in Zoom as you use on your DSA member registration so that the Chair and parliamentarians can identify the correct speaker to un-mute during the meeting if you are participating in debate.

Tech issues? Email [email protected]

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