New Member FAQ

How do I become a member of DSA?

In order to become an official voting member of DSA Los Angeles, you must be a dues-paying member of the the national Democratic Socialists of America. Dues start at $45 per year for an introductory rate, or $27 for low-income members. You can pay your national dues here.

National dues are required to be a voting member of DSA-LA. National dues are also what the organization looks to for official membership size of a chapter, which determines the amount of delegates that a chapter gets for national convention. These dues help to pay for our wonderful staff members and traveling organizers, as well as fund our organization's national campaign efforts chosen democratically at the biennial national convention.

Why does your organization ask for dues? Can I still participate in DSA-LA if I don't pay dues?

Many political organizations rely on grants or huge sums of money from wealthy donors. We don’t roll like that. Those kinds of arrangements inevitably end up as a tit-for-tat relationship, and even with the case of public grants, accepting that kind of money makes one beholden to certain political actors, and would limit the kinds of protest and agitation we could perform. Most importantly, it would undermine the project of radical democracy that we hold central to our mission.

Instead, we are a completely member-funded organization. That means our vision and our work are guided only by our members and our shared vision of socialism—our vision of a more just society. No establishment politician, cor- poration, or NGO can tell us what to do, how to organize, or threaten to cut our funding. In fact, through our independence and solidarity, it is we who threaten them.

National membership allows you to access national teleconferences and webinars put on by the national organization, and gives you the right to vote in DSA-LA matters. These dues help to pay for our wonderful staff members and traveling organizers, as well as fund our organization's national campaign efforts chosen democratically at the biennial national convention.

I can’t afford paying membership dues at this time. Can I still be a member?

Absolutely. We've launched a "Comrades for Comrades" program by which members of the organization able to do so sponsor other members' dues. To read more about Comrades for Comrades, to request funding, or to offer to sponsor somebody else's dues, click here.

What are local dues?

Local dues are what you can voluntarily pay to our local chapter, DSA-LA. Local dues sustain the capacity of our local chapter and pay for communal services such as general meeting space, website maintenance, and committee resources such as our chapter’s Zoom conference account. The more local dues we attain, the more we can provide sustainable support to the work our organizers are doing throughout Los Angeles. For local dues, we recommend either one $25 payment, or a monthly donation of $5.

How do I get more involved in DSA-LA?

The best way to get involved with DSA-LA is to attend our events and meetings, a list of which are available on our calendar. We also highly recommend reading our New Member Handbook. If you're just getting started, we recommend joining the actions and canvasses we're organizing in support of the chapter's Housing Justice resolution, and attending a chapter or branch meeting near you.

If you're interested in being a part of planning and organizing our new political initiatives, you should get on the mailing list for one of our Local Subgroups, which are empowered to be the primary units of the chapter in determining chapter positions.

Is DSA or DSA-LA affiliated with the Democratic Party?

No! We are an independent grassroots political activist organization, only accountable to our members – specifically, we're a 501c(4). Our chapters and members are free to work within the Democratic Party, but many choose to work outside of it. In the electoral sphere, our chapters and members frequently endorse candidates running within the Democratic Party, but DSA prioritizes political engagement that extends beyond electoral politics.

What if I have a question that's not answered here?

Email us! Our membership committee membership(at)dsa-la.org is happy to answer questions about membership or becoming involved DSA

I've stopped receiving DSA-LA emails. How do I get back on the list?

If you've accidentally unsubscribed, you need to fill out the sign up form again. Make sure that you "sign out" of our website first in the top right corner, and then fill out the form with your email address, making sure to keep "Send me email updates" checked. If that doesn't work, email membership@dsa-la.org so we can figure out what's happening.