Handbook

Welcome

We’re glad you’re here.  Whether you’re brand new to activism or you’re a long term organizers we welcome your ideas and your energy.

Democratic Socialists of America – San Francisco Chapter seeks to create a system based on justice and equality for all people. We believe everyone deserves to live their own life with dignity. We work to equalize political and economic power, because true democracy cannot coexist with inequality. We urgently fight to stop the many crises facing our most powerless members of society.

We are not a political party. We are a coalition of people, united to create a more powerful front against the worst that capitalism has to offer.

DSA strives to be the left-wing counterpart to mainstream politics. Together, we educate the public about democratic socialism and provide a supportive community for folks questioning capitalism and looking and working for an alternative. And of course, we “join the fights” as activists, too!

Voting

You can vote if:

  • You are a dues-paying member, and your dues are current

AND at least one of the following:

  • you’ve attended the 2 most recent regular monthly chapter meetings.
  • you’ve been endorsed by a co-chair of a working group

If you’re still not sure you can always email eligibility@dsasf.org to find out if you can vote.

What do we vote on?

Some examples of what we vote on: Bylaw amendments, steering committee and delegate positions, Grievance Officers, whether we sponsor a event, endorsements for ballot measures.

Steering committee members, delegate positions, grievance officers, and other leadership positions

Elections may be held at a General, Regular, or Special Meeting. Our electoral working group runs the elections and our tech committee is responsible for the ballot distribution and count. We cannot vote for these positions online.

How committees work

Our committees are where the real work of the chapter gets done. They are responsible for developing and implementing campaigns, actions, demonstrations, and social events. Each committee has co-chairs and rank and file members. Learn more about them here.

See a committee you’re interested in? Email them for information on how to get started.

Steering Committee
Chapter Leadership
Meets every 3 monthssteeringcommittee@dsasf.org
Climate and Environmental Justice
Climate, environmental justice
Every other Sunday 5pm-7pmclimatejustice@dsasf.org
Conflict Resolution
Supporting and guiding members through conflict
Every other Tuesday 6pm-8pmconflictresolution@dsasf.org
Discourse
Generating written material for our blog, media, etc
Every other Monday 6:30pm-8:30pmdiscourse@dsasf.org
Education
Futhering our chapter’s understanding of socialism
Every other Sunday 4:30pm-6:30pmeducation@dsasf.org
Healthcare
Universal healthcare and healthcare justice
Every other Thursday 6:30pm-8pmhealthcare@dsasf.org
Housing
Universal housing, publicly controlled housing
Every other Monday 6:30pm-8:30pmhousing@dsasf.org
Homelessness
Ending homelessness
Every other Monday 6:15pm-8:30pmhomelessness@dsasf.org
Justice
Criminal justice reform, abolish police and prisons
Every other Tuesday 8pm-10pmjustice@dsasf.org
Labor
Supporting and building the local labor movement
Look for workshops on calendarlabor@dsasf.org
Outreach
Communications, events, propaganda, recruitment
Thursday 8pm-10pmoutreach@dsasf.org
Political Research
Developing the chapter’s position on policy
1st Tuesdaypolitics@dsasf.org
Socialist Feminist
Study and learn about feminism
Regular meeting: second Wednesday
Reading group: third Saturday
socfem@dsasf.org
Tech
Maintains the chapter’s website and internal tools
Tuesdaystech@dsasf.org

What happens if I have a conflict with another member?

We expect our members to resolve conflict in a respectful, positive way. If you find you can’t resolve conflict with another member on your own, we have two ways to help support you: conflict resolution, and grievance process.

Conflict Resolution

The Conflict Resolution (CR) committee is an all-volunteer group of your comrades who offer structured, informal paths to de-escalation and resolution of conflict within the SF DSA chapter. All CR experiences are confidential. There’s no issue too small, so please reach out to us!

CR is great if you need…

  • General check-in: a space to check-in with CR counselors about how you’re doing, anything you might be struggling with, and to receive general support
  • Interactions: helping to clarify and process an interaction you had, and/or an ongoing issue you’re dealing with.Experiences: talking through an experience that left you feeling confused, uncomfortable, frustrated, upset.
  • Conflicts: thinking through possible next steps regarding a conflict (e.g. to request mediation with additional people, and/or to receive support and guidance for understanding SF DSA’s formal grievance procedures).
  • Boundaries: receive support communicating boundaries to others or to develop a plan regarding your boundaries with others.
  • Communication: better understanding your communication style and how to best communicate with others.
  • Facilitated mediation: Two counselors will facilitate a mediation between two (or more) people to help resolve misunderstandings, conflict, and/or help improve communication between individuals. For information about the process that occurs prior to a mediation, please see “For mediations involving additional people” under “I filled out a Request Form online. Now what?”

Important disclaimers about Conflict Resolution

  • CR is not a professional service. CR counselors are a group of volunteers with a variety of experiences. CR is not a substitute for professional therapeutic services.
  • CR is never mandatory. If a conflict resolution request involves more than one person, all parties involved must agree and be willing to engage in the process.
  • CR does not administer disciplinary action. CR does not provide any disciplinary action and is in no way associated with any disciplinary body of DSA.

Grievance process

The grievance process is facilitated by two officers elected by the chapter. They hear and and provide recommendations on grievances against chapter members. They’re empowered to address harassment on the basis of

  • gender
  • gender identity or expression
  • sexual orientation
  • physical appearance
  • disability
  • race
  • color
  • religion
  • national origin
  • class
  • age
  • profession

Harassing or abusive behavior, such as unwelcome (in the sense that the complainant did not solicit or incite it, and found it undesirable or offensive) attention, inappropriate or offensive remarks, slurs, or jokes, physical or verbal intimidation, stalking, inappropriate physical contact or proximity, and other verbal and physical conduct constitute harassment .

Resources and Contact Information

Don’t know who to contact? Email steeringcommittee@dsasf.org and they’ll connect you to the right person.