Make Decision-Making Leadership for Resolutions Explicit

Lead Contact: Tal Levy

ARTICLE IV. LOCAL MEETINGS

Section 1. Annual Convention

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Chapter Resolutions are time­-bound, large­-scale structural and/or campaign­-based initiatives that require major Local resources. Chapter Resolutions must adhere to these Bylaws and shall be undertaken over the course of the year following their adoption by the Annual Convention. Chapter Resolutions can be proposed for consideration by submitting a formal proposal to the Steering
Committee at least two (2) months in advance of the Annual Convention. The Steering Committee will make these proposals available for members to review at least one (1) month in advance of the Annual Convention and provide time on the Annual Convention agenda to discuss and vote on proposed Chapter Resolutions. Steering will put out a call for proposals at least four (4) months in advance of the Annual Convention.

A proposed Chapter Resolution must receive a two-­thirds supermajority of votes at the Annual Convention in order to be adopted. Up to three (3) Chapter Resolutions will be adopted at the Annual Convention. Fewer Chapter Resolutions may be adopted, but in the occasion that more than 3 proposed Chapter Resolutions receive a two­-thirds supermajority vote, there will be a second round of runoff voting to determine the top three Chapter Resolutions. In the event of a runoff vote, each member will vote for up to three of the Chapter Resolutions which have been approved by a two-­thirds supermajority—the three Chapter Resolutions which receive the most votes will then be adopted.

Key decisions and implementation details shall be determined by a Resolution Coordinating Committee consisting of at least one Steering Committee member and at least one recallable representative nominated or elected by each Local Subgroup with a named or with a particular interest in the resolution, with the makeup specified in the body of the resolution. The Committee shall be at least five members and each member shall have one vote, though Coordinating meetings may be optionally made accessible to other non­voting members. Local Subgroups represented on a Coordinating Committee shall be obligated to contribute to the Resolution and act in accordance with decisions made by the Committee. Each Coordinating Committee shall make a written record of key decisions or updates available to all members in good standing in advance of each Local Meeting. With the exception of Article V, Sections 7, 8, and 9 and Article VIII, Section 3 (Communications Liaison), this Coordinating Committee shall be considered a Local Subgroup. For the purposes of Article V, Section 6, a Resolution Coordinating Committee’s platform shall be the
text of the Chapter Resolution.

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ARTICLE V. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

Section 1. Local Subgroups

The Local shall be comprised of multiple forms of subsidiary groups, referred to collectively in this document as Local Subgroups:
Internal Resource Committees, Issue­-based Committees, Campaign-­based Working Groups, Resolution Coordinating Committees, and Caucuses.

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Section 6. Resolution Coordinating Committees

Resolution Coordinating Committees shall be Local Subgroups charged with the implementation of Chapter Resolutions, as described in Article IV. As Local Subgroups, they shall operate using the text of the founding Chapter Resolution as their Subgroup Platform.

Explanation

The introduction of chapter resolutions in 2018 was generally a success. However, it suffered from key weaknesses, particularly communication regarding decision-­making. Many members from across the chapter, in particular Housing & Homelessness, were heavily involved in the coordination of Prop 10 canvassing, but it was frequently unclear the extent to which those members could make wider strategic decisions about the campaign, such as who to canvass, how to interact with partner organizations, etc. Similarly, while Steering Committee divided its members to work on each resolution, it was unclear whether wider campaign decisions needed to be approved by the Steering Committee, those members voluntarily leading the execution of the resolution, or needed no approval at all. With an explicit body making and recording decisions, members working on projects have a clear place to look for guidance and have their voice heard in the process.

A second area of confusion during 2018 was the extent to which chapter committees were responsible for shaping their work to match chapter resolutions. With this amendment, some subgroups will be explicitly required to work on priority resolutions as a committee, in return for having a formal say in the specifics of that work. This, of course, wouldn’t preclude other committees from working on such resolutions, but if they are not represented in the Coordinating Committee, they would not be obligated to prioritize resolution work.

Notes on Implementation:

As written, this amendment only requires “at least one” representative from Steering/each relevant Subgroup, so a resolution could specify multiple representatives from any of those groups.

For the 2019 Convention, any passed resolution that doesn't otherwise specify the composition of a coordinating committee will have a coordinating committee publicly appointed by the DSA­LA Steering Committee according to the guidelines established in the amendment – they may appoint any number of Steering Committee members to the Coordinating Committee and determine which Local Subgroups have a particular interest in the resolution, so long as they include any Subgroups explicitly named.

ORGANIZATIONAL PRIORITIES THAT SUPPORT THIS AMENDMENT PROPOSAL

  • Maintain transparent decision­-making processes which allows all members to democratically shape and engage in chapter decisions, avoiding top-­heavy hierarchies and “gatekeeping”.
  • Maintain workflow systems that support and empower all members to take on significant responsibility for ongoing cross­chapter communication and collaboration.

Click here to view signatories