Structure and Bylaws

Structure and Bylaws

 
Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America is a democratic, member-run organization. That means our strategy and direction is both set and carried out by our members. To assist with facilitating and managing an organization of this size, we divide  tasks and assign responsibilities to certain chapter formations. This structure is explained in more detail in our bylaws, which are linked above.
 
At the core of our chapter’s democracy is our biennial Local Convention, which sets organizational policies, passes resolutions, allocates resources, and can amend our bylaws. Local Conventions are a great opportunity to assess our role as an organization and adapt the organization to meet the needs of the times.
 
Between Local Conventions are General Body Meetings or “GBMs.” These are typically every month and allow the chapter to gather together to hear reports from Committees, Working Groups, and Branches. The chapter may also meet to discuss business (including candidate endorsements or resolutions) at General Body Meetings. GBMs can also feature guest speakers, new member orientations, or political education segments too. 
 
Whenever the chapter isn’t assembled together in a meeting, the Steering Committee serves as the elected political leadership of the chapter. The Steering Committee serves as the central coordinating hub for all chapter projects and works to distribute resources and provide assistance as necessary. The Steering Committee is elected by the chapter yearly. 
 
Ultimately, the hard work of organizing campaigns, whether to canvass tenants or plan a rally, gets planned and carried out by our Working Groups. A working group is a chapter formation dedicated to carrying out a campaign. Working groups are open to all who wish to help out or learn. 
 
We also have a few standing Committees, established in the bylaws, that help us with the administration and upkeep of the chapter. Some of these may be elected or closed for vetting purposes.
 
For members that live in certain areas, you can join that region’s Branch to be plugged into work that affects you and your neighbors. Branches also have their own elected leadership and campaigns. 
 
And finally, for members that are looking to organize internally around their shared perspective, identity, or political tendency we have Caucuses. These caucuses are free to form and promote themselves within the chapter. 

Organizational Chart


See our organizational chart to learn how Metro DC DSA operates.

Committees


Metro DC DSA has  standing committees intended to oversee the chapter’s health and function, and to facilitate our other structures — working groups and caucuses — to do the work they’re passionate about. Read the formal description of each committee in our Chapter Bylaws.

Steering Committee

Stu K. (Chair), Brendan G. (Secretary), Lauren S. (Treasurer), Irene K. (At-Large), Saoirse G. (At-Large), Kurtis H. (At-Large), Brian W. (At-Large), Abel A. (At-Large), Runal D. (At-Large), Kareem E. (At-Large), Stephanie G. (At-Large).

The Steering Committee is the highest elected body of MDC DSA and is the political leadership of the chapter when the membership is not assembled, subordinate to the bylaws as well as resolutions passed by members at general body meetings and local conventions which may overturn its decisions.

If you would like to submit an item for a future Steering Committee agenda, please create a Red Desk ticket and select help topic: “Agenda Item / Steering Meeting”. For requests to endorse or support actions, or to sign on to letters, submit a Red Desk ticket under “Agenda Item / Steering Meeting / Endorse Action or Event”.  As they are completed, Steering Committee minutes are posted to the Minutes & Historicals page of the Member Portal.

Email: steering-all@mdcdsa.org
Slack: #steering for discussion, meeting agendas, and updates.

Administrative Committee

Brendan G. (Chair)

Committee discussion takes place on a private channel that can be joined by invitation if you would like to help with AdCom work. If you have administrative questions or need assistance, let us know in #helpdesk.

Email: admin@mdcdsa.org

Finance Committee

Lauren K. (Chair)

We’re actively looking to build out this committee! If you have experience or interest in budgeting, financial organization or reporting, fundraising, compliance, bookkeeping, or regular old spreadsheeting, please get in touch! The Compliance Subcommittee works within the finance committe to provide the necessary legal and financial oversight our electoral work requires for the chapter to stay in compliance with DC, Maryland, and Virginia campaign finance codes across election cycles.

Email: finance@mdcdsa.org

Working Groups


Working Groups are formed whenever five dues-paying members come together around a shared vision of work. They may be issue or campaign-based, and may be affiliated with one of the five standing committees above or may operate independently as they deem useful.

Defund MPD

MDC DSA’s Defund MPD Working Group is organizing in coalition with Black-led and racial justice organizations to defund the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, remove police from schools, and free our neighbors from occupation and incarceration as a path towards abolition — a world without cops and prisons. As part of our vision for racial and economic justice, we demand that the funding removed from police and prisons be reinvested in real public safety: housing, schools, jobs, healthcare and mental health services, community-based support programs, violence interruption, and other public goods and services.

To get involved, fill out this form!

Email: defundmpd@mdcdsa.org
Slack: #defund-mpd-wg

Disability Justice

As Democratic Socialists, we know that solidarity between disabled and non-disabled comrades lies at the intersection of disability rights and anti-capitalist action. Under capitalism, disabled individuals are subject to labor exploitation yet are simultaneously seen as inefficient and unfit to perform labor. This type of modern ableism drives a wedge between communities, segregating “productive” workers from those deemed “less able” — code for “less deserving” of dignity and justice. Ableism also serves the interests of political and economic elites by conditioning our society to see forms of social and economic stratification as being somehow natural and justified. We reject this notion and believe that inclusivity is not something to be debated. In fact, the experiences of disabled folk reflect the central contradictions of capitalism. Activism that does not consider the challenges facing the disabled community may perpetuate ableism, regardless of legal and societal reform.

The Metro DC DSA Disability Justice Working Group is dedicated to the empowerment and liberation of the DMV disabled community through non-hierarchical, issue-based campaigns designed by, in consultation with, and for disabled comrades. We aim to promote a democratic socialist platform in areas of health, education, infrastructure, housing, employment, and political representation. We also invite non-disabled comrades to act in solidarity and become an integral part of this Working Group. Our group works to expand accessibility and combat ableism within chapter organizing spaces. Moreover, we engage in internal and external political education surrounding the disabled community and its relationship to capitalism and other systems of oppression through our upcoming workshops, discussion/reading groups, and panels.

Email: disability-justice@mdcdsa.org
Slack: #disability-justice
Twitter: @djwg_mdcdsa

Internationalism

The Internationalism Working Group uses its strategic location in the heart of the empire to further the global struggle against militarism, imperialism, authoritarianism, right-wing nationalism, and capitalism. We aim to ensure that democratic socialist organizing in the United States incorporates a global perspective and builds transnational solidarity in pursuit of a world of peace, cooperation, equality, liberation, democracy, and socialism.

Email: internationalism@mdcdsa.org
Slack: #internationalism
Twitter: @Intl_Solidarity

Labor

The Labor Working Group organizes with workers across the District to fight bad bosses, build new unions, and turn out for solidarity actions. Are you upset with changes management is making at your job? Do you think you have had wages or paid sick leave stolen from you? Maybe you’ve spoken about organizing a union with your co-workers, and those conversations went great, but you don’t know what to do next. If any of that applies to you, the LWG strongly encourages you to e-mail us at labor@mdcdsa.org. An LWG organizer will promptly respond. All communications are confidential.Membership in the LWG is open to everyone, especially workers who are members of unions or worker organizations, or who want to organize their workplace.

Email: labor@mdcdsa.org
Slack: #labor

Medicare for All

We believe that healthcare is a human right, and should be provided to everyone regardless of employment, means, or immigration status. The Medicare For All Working Group works locally on healthcare advocacy to affect change both regionally and nationally. This includes identifying and seeking to rectify the racial disparities in healthcare, such as the disproportionate black maternal morbidity and mortality, and the uneven distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to BIPOC communities in the DC area. We have formed coalitions with local health justice groups to push for comprehensive single-payer healthcare, both nationally or at the state level, to cover all residents of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Email: m4a@mdcdsa.org
Slack: #m4a

Migrant Justice

The Migrant Justice Working Group focuses on challenging the apparatus of private contractors that make up the deportation machine. Anyone interested in researching and protesting profiteers to advocate for an end to deportation can join us!

Email: migrantjustice@mdcdsa.org
Slack: #migrantjustice

Mutual Aid

The Mutual Aid Working Group aims to allow comrades to provide essential resources and services to working class and marginalized communities in the District of Columbia on the basis of non-hierarchy, voluntary association, and solidarity. We show this goodwill based on the belief that mutual aid serves as a viable alternative to the profit-seeking, exploitative nature of capitalism. In addition to providing resources and services, we will conduct political education on the ways that mutual aid can assist in the Democratic Socialist struggle to upend the rapaciousness of capitalism.

Email: mutualaid@mdcdsa.org
Slack: #mutual-aid

NoVa Tenant Organizing Working Group

The NoVA Tenant Organizing Working Group was formed to support the rent strike at the Southern Towers complex in Alexandria. Hundreds of tenants were unable to pay rent after losing their jobs due to COVID-19 and decided to work collectively to prevent each other from being evicted with the rallying cry of “No job? No Rent!” The NoVA Tenant Organizers are expanding to other apartment complexes to talk to tenants about how they can organize with their neighbors to avoid eviction and demand better conditions from their landlords.

Email: nova-tenants@mdcdsa.org
Slack: #nova-tenant-organizing
Website: https://mdcdsa.org/nova_tenants/

Political Education

Political education is central to the struggle against capitalism and to build socialism. It helps us better understand our own world and how to fight for a better one. This work is rooted in political struggle and supports it as well. The main work of the Political Education Working Group is to organize our Socialist Night School, a series of twice-monthly sessions that explore basic ideas, concepts and historical events related to socialism. The working group also organizes reading groups and other events, and works with other working groups to support their own political education work. Some other working groups do political education work independently.

Email: politicaleducation@mdcdsa.org
Website: https://mdcdsa.org/nightschool/
Slack: #political-education

Publications

The MDC DSA Publications Working Group produces our chapter’s weekly email updates and monthly Washington Socialist newsletter. The group also works to refresh our website content, print handouts for outreach and tabling, creates zines, and provide graphic design support for the chapter. The Pubs group is overseen by a five-member Publications Editorial Board, which was enabled by a bylaws amendment passed in the 2018 local chapter convention.

Email: thesocialist@mdcdsa.org
Slack: #publications for discussion, content review, and editing

Rent Control Working Group

With current rent control laws in Washington, D.C., set to expire on December 31, 2020, we face a unique opportunity to pressure the D.C. Council to strengthen and significantly expand these protections. The MDC DSA Rent Control Working Group formed as part of a citywide coalition comprising tenants, legal advocates, labor unions, and community organizations that aims to (1) expand rent control to cover thousands of additional buildings in the district; (2) close legal loopholes that allow landlords and developers to profit from gross neglect and evictions; and (3) abolish above-inflation rent increases on rent-controlled units and preserve affordable housing for current residents. Join us as we organize for rent control and fight for housing justice.

Email: rentcontrol@mdcdsa.org
Website: http://reclaimrentcontrol.org/
Slack: #dc-rentcontrol
Twitter: @RentControlDC
Instagram: @RentControlDC

Stomp Out Slumlords

Tenants organizing tenants to make this city work for tenants. From our anti-eviction canvasses, to helping working-class Washingtonians organize in their buildings, to our coalition with the DC Tenants Union, we’re figuring out how to build tenant power to take on the landlord class.

Email: tenants@mdcdsa.org
Website: http://stompoutslumlords.org/
Slack: #tenantsrights
Twitter: @StompSlumlords

Branches


Montgomery County Branch

The branch works toward socialism in Montgomery County by fighting for housing for all, workplace democracy, towards police and prison abolition, against austerity, and electing socialists to state and local-level offices.

Email: MontgomeryCountyDSA@gmail.com
Slack: #montgomery-county
Twitter: @MoCo_DSA
Website: mdcdsa.org/moco

Northern Virginia Branch

The Metro DC DSA NOVA Branch works to fight for the interests of the working class and marginalized communities in Northern Virginia.

Email: novabranch@mdcdsa.org
Slack: #northern-virginia
Twitter: @dsa_nova

Prince George’s County Branch

The newly formed Branch is building momentum and a coalition to advance socialism and fight for the working class in Prince George’s County. Please connect with us as we organize our own efforts around Medicare for All, Housing, Ecosocialism, Criminal Justice, Political Education and more.

Email: info@pgdsa.org
Slack: #prince-georges-branch
Twitter: @pgcdsa
Instagram: @pgcdsa

Sections


AfroSocialists and Socialists of Color Section (AfroSOC)
The AfroSocialists and Socialists of Color (AfroSOC) Section is solely for socialists that identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). This space is intended to support BIPOC through political education, mutual advocacy, and to build on our radical tradition.

Email: afrosoc_mdcdsa@protonmail.com
Slack:#afrosoc
Socialist Feminist Section (SocFem)
The Socialist Feminist Section is committed to political education, activism, and coalition building in the DC metro region and beyond. We expand upon our radical origins to build the collective power of workers for the common good. We envision a world free from all forms of sexism, racism, ableism, ageism, capitalism, imperialism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and other patriarchal constructs.

We hold three events a month: a business meeting, a reading group, and a social hour.

Currently, all gatherings and discussions are welcoming only those who are womxn-identified, people who are nonbinary, and marginalized genders. We ask that men do not participate at this time.

Email: socfem@mdcdsa.org
Slack: #socialist-feminist
Twitter: @DC_SocFem
Queer Section

The Democratic Socialists Queer Section strives to fight against the institutionalized and informal systems that uphold the patriarchy in support of capitalism at the expense of Queer people and communities. We organize and fight against the material oppression of Queer people at all levels and will provide a platform that counters the marginalization of Queer voices.

Slack: #ds-queer-section

Caucuses

Ecosocialist Caucus

In a 21st century that is already being defined by intensifying ecological, economic, and political crises, any environmentalism without equitability won’t have the tools needed to win the consent and active participation of the masses, while any attempts at socialism that don’t deeply integrate ecology will be dead ends on a dying planet. Against the existential threat of climate change, it’s necessary to organize a global political mobilization that can overcome fossil fuel capitalists and resurgent fascists in order to rapidly decarbonize energy systems and withdraw massive amounts of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. We must also fight for democratic use of the world’s resources and to reverse the damage that capitalism is inflicting upon the earth and the global community. Our task is to build collective power and solidarity with struggles that overlap with climate policy and environmental justice so we can all live in societies that allow people to truly thrive while regenerating our planet. Our primary goals are to promote ecosocialist perspectives and to encourage MDC DSA members to engage in meaningful organizing campaigns that advance climate and environmental justice in and around the District of Columbia, especially when we believe that they will build capacity within the chapter while growing power for working class people.
Email: ecosocialism@mdcdsa.org
Slack: #ecosocialism

Coalitions

DC Jobs With Justice

DMV Resist Islamophobia Network
Occupation Free DC

Reclaim Rent Control