The week following the DSA National Convention have been nothing short of chaotic. The 34 delegates that went to Chicago represented our chapter in a way that would make our entire chapter all proud and we wanted to take a moment to celebrate their accomplishments. Heading into the convention we had set three goals for ourselves: 1) vote in a democratic, transparent way that reflects our chapter; 2) forge relationships with other chapters with an eye towards coalition building and resource sharing; and 3) develop a strong, positive relationship with National. Throughout the Convention, delegates worked together in shared commitment, kindness, and solidarity to accomplish these goals and more. The thoughtfulness with which your delegates contemplated their votes—regularly conferring to discuss how changes made on the floor might be viewed by our membership, and self-organizing to ensure that the chapter’s minority opinions were represented in our voting—was inspiring. A number of chapters, impressed by our organization and effort to represent the chapter, voiced a desire to to model their future pre-convention organization around our example. The voting guide we created for our delegates, which displayed the results of our chapter-wide polling, was lauded widely and other chapters have asked us to produce a resource describing the steps our chapter and delegation took so that they can follow a similar process at future conventions.
The convention was a chance for DSA locals around the nation to learn more about DSA-LA’s work and commitment to processes that embody our commitment to inclusivity and kindness. We’ve forged new relationships with chapters both big and small from all around the country. The work that our committees are doing was met with excitement; meet-ups and caucuses that many DSA-LA delegates hosted to further discuss issues like Climate Justice and NOlympics were incredibly well attended—in fact our very own Sydney Ghazarian is heading up the National Climate Justice working group! It was a joy to put faces to people we had thus far only been communicating with online. Discussions are ongoing amongst California chapters about how to streamline communications and rally around state-wide initiatives, such as immigration rights. It’s difficult not to be swept up in the optimism and excitement and we are excited about looking at the abilities of our chapter and how we can extend them to help fill the needs of other chapters and O.C.’s.
Our delegation as a whole, as well as your Steering Committee, is looking forward to a more positive and effective relationship with National and our new NPC. Delegates strengthened and formed beneficial relationships with DSA staff, donating their time and service to facilitating trainings, helping on the Marshal team, and being part of their media team. The campaigning for NPC was vibrant and at times heated. It was thrilling to see so many comrades care for this organization and fight this hard for their vision of what the org could be. It’s no secret that the NPC is facing a difficult situation right now, and if you’d like to read our official statement on the matter you can do so here. We look forward to working with National and the new NPC as the organization continues to grow.
The positive comments we’ve been hearing from other chapters about our delegates are overwhelming. There is one specific theme that, especially in light of recent events, bears repeating. Over and over again we heard that people were impressed not just by how well we organized and conferred with each other, but with how well we took care of each other. The delegates took seriously the responsibility of making sure everyone was accounted for, everyone was safe, and everyone was having fun.The loyalty and devotion they shared for each other is something we cannot wait to see reverberate through this chapter.
DSA as a national organization came together through this experience. The robust debates were the perfect preamble to moments of unification. A resolution to support BDS, the formation of the AfroSocialist Caucus, as well as the decision to withdraw from Socialist International all passed with little dissent. For a lot of the delegates it was their first time participating in any sort of parliamentary procedures. Roberts Rules of Order are incredibly imperfect and as the Disabilities Caucus bravely pointed out, ableist. The exercising of our democratic voices while at times rose to theatrical levels of absurdity, was a taste of the radical democracy we’re fighting for and for a few days the better world we’re building hovered in front of us like a beacon, beckoning us forward and warming our journey.