During our 6-month term, one of the interim Steering Committee’s foremost priorities has been to develop and democratically ratify a revised set of Bylaws that supports our growing chapter and aligns the realities of our organizing work with formal governing standards.
Over the past months, we’ve piloted a set of policies and organizational guidelines that de-emphasize top-down leadership and center DSA-LA’s diverse committees and working groups as the most significant working unit of DSA-LA. We’ve refined these policies over time and incorporated them as proposed revisions to the DSA-LA Bylaws—please find the proposed revisions to the Bylaws here for review in full. The previous DSA-LA Bylaws are available here for reference.
Over the next two weeks via the following public comment form, we are calling for member feedback on glaring omissions in the proposed Bylaws revisions, or aspects that fail to align with the approved DSA-LA Mission Statement and Organizational Priorities.
We’ll devote significant time at the Chapter Meeting & Bylaws Forum on Saturday, Oct 14th to answer questions and gather feedback on the proposed Bylaws revisions.
We’ll prioritize and incorporate feedback which we hear from members consistently, before submitting the revised Bylaws to an “up or down” online ratification vote from October 21 to 31. This online vote will also extend to chapter policies which will not be included in the bylaws, such as the Code of Conduct and the Misconduct Policy, which will be released later this week.
Although we’ve built in opportunities for members to test these policies and provide feedback, as a Steering Committee, we acknowledge that this process does not align with our highest ideals of democratic self-governance. Given the time constraints of a six-month term, the bylaws revision process we’ve outlined does not allow for members to organize and propose specific amendments directly in response to the proposed Bylaws revisions, nor does it include significant time for in-person debate outside of our forum on the 14th or in-person voting.
Despite the limitations of this process, we feel that this vote is an imperative stage in our chapter’s growth—one that importantly allows us to align decision-making at all levels of the organization with formal standards and begin to hold one another accountable to governing processes that ensure transparency and inclusivity in all of our organizing work, while allowing the groups that are already working to continue to do so.
Ultimately, we view a chapter-wide ratification of the proposed Bylaws revisions as a critical step—but not the final step—in the development of our organization’s governing practices. To address the shortcomings inherent in this process, we commit to organizing a formal Annual Convention (outlined in Article IV. Section 1) at the local level in the first quarter of 2018. This Annual Convention will provide members with the opportunity to propose amendments and engage in further debate around the chapter’s governing documents. Additionally, any new or major revisions that are submitted for consideration over the next weeks (but not incorporated into the revised Bylaws for ratification) will be publically released and offered as amendments to be debated and voted on at the first Annual Convention.
Thank you, as always, for the time and labor you’ve devoted to this collective process--we look forward to seeing you at the Chapter Meeting and Bylaws Forum on October 14th!
DSA-LA Steering Committee