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CHAPTER MISSION STATEMENT

Democratic Socialists of America Los Angeles seeks to facilitate the transition to a society based on the ideals of freedom, creativity, sustainability, justice, equality, and solidarity.

As a national organization, the Democratic Socialists of America is poised to be a significant mass organization in the resurgence of a popular socialist movement in the United States. As one of the largest chapters in the organization, DSA-LA has the responsibility to clearly define our own mission statement and priorities, and articulate how those support the advancement of a democratic socialist political agenda at the local, state, national, and international level. This mission statement was democratically ratified in September 2017.

We are committed to envisioning and working towards a transformative politics that shifts power from capital to people. In all of our work, we aim to strike an intentional balance between challenging and resisting the systemic oppression of capitalism, sexism, racism, heteropatriarchy and xenophobia, and imagining radical alternatives for a new social, economic, and political reality. We will organize with ambitious and emancipatory ends in mind, such as raising the collective consciousness of all people’s struggles and normalizing guaranteed rights that have been denatured under capitalism, while seeking concrete material wins and outcomes at every opportunity. We are an organization of the people, fighting without compromise for equality of outcome over equality of opportunity.

Within our ranks, we aim to exist along organizational lines developed and led by members, not an order imposed on members from above. DSA-LA should always be deeply participatory organization whose processes and protocols reflects its values – democratic, transparent, and engaged in ongoing struggle against oppressive and unequal power structures.

  • Our approach to organizing reflects our understanding of capitalism, which is a complex artificially-imposed system that evolves dynamically in response to challenges.
  • Our work needs to accommodate a variety of viewpoints, avoid exclusivity around tactics, and prioritize productive debate over the pursuit of unanimous consensus.
  • Our identity as a multi-tendency organization is an asset and something that we embrace to its full advantage, and we are committed to intentionally incorporating minority viewpoints and diverse political perspectives into all of our work rather than striving to mandate agreement among all our members.

We recognize that the Left in the United States has been historically weakened and fractured, and the Left in Los Angeles is no exception. Indeed, Los Angeles has been developed by capitalist structures along deep regional, racial, and class stratifications that offer significant unique challenges to building strong Left unity, and it must be our goal to challenge and transcend these divisions. Rebuilding and manifesting a strong socialist presence and power in Los Angeles and beyond will require looking at the Left as a complex ecosystem, and defining our role within it accordingly. DSA-LA aims to be an influential participant of that ecosystem by acting as a true resource and defining our power in service, not in governance or authority over other organizations in the Left in Los Angeles. Our goals encompass our participation in rebuilding a strong Left for everyone, not just members of our organization, and we do not wish to become a totalizing force or offer a singular solution to organizing on the Left. Instead, we aspire to build strength through solidarity, and offer a challenging alternative to capitalism for everyone.

This approach also applies within our own organization. We are conscious that our role as a large chapter within a growing organization is not to enforce our political vision onto the rest of DSA, but to coordinate efforts in a productive and comradely way. We believe that our chapter has a great deal to offer DSA National and other DSA chapters, and similarly that they have much to offer us. We further recognize that our mission statement and priorities must be reevaluated in response to changing political realities.

ORGANIZATIONAL PRIORITIES

These priorities are agreed by the chapter to guide the organizational work of DSA Los Angeles’ elected leadership. This is a living document, and is to be revisited in accordance with the DSA-LA bylaws.

INTERNAL ORGANIZING AND INFRASTRUCTURE:

  • Build organizational structures that can support and manage anticipated growth of the chapter.

  • Build an organizational culture that embodies our socialist ideals, and a welcoming community that supports all members to engage in collective work to dismantle systems of oppression, in accordance with our shared values.

  • 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 cross-chapter communication and collaboration.

  • Commit to maintaining and growing chapter funds, and dedicating sufficient resources to ensure that chapter events and materials are accessible to all members.

  • Cultivate a culture of openness, respect, and camaraderie by aiming to meet people where they are and assume good intentions, recognizing that everyone comes to organizing from different perspectives and experiences.

  • Commit to accountability and transparency for leadership in DSA-LA.

  • Develop, maintain, and enforce shared standards for interpersonal conduct and misconduct that allows individuals to make mistakes and correct them, encouraging reconciliation and accountability over guilt and shame.

  • Recognize the risks that accompany work that challenges powerful, oppressive systems, and continue to develop processes and resources that support the privacy and security of our membership.  

STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS:

  • Forge and maintain intentional, deliberate and reciprocal relationships as well as share resources with other organizations who share our broad political goals. This includes other explicitly socialist and anti-capitalist organizations, as well as non-socialist organizations whose politics and values align with ours and are working towards similarly defined ends, while working to avoid duplication of efforts.

  • Build respectful relationships which allow DSA members to both contribute to the broader movement as leaders, and as allies, as appropriate.

  • Undertake to exchange resources, build solidarity, and engage in campaigns with other DSA chapters regionally, and nationally.

  • Create opportunities to work in transnational solidarity to challenge imperialism and  global capitalism.

  • Work to develop partnerships with other organizations to challenge and transcend the stratifications that divide Los Angeles.

MOBILIZATION AND MEMBER CAPACITY:

  • Articulate ongoing numerical benchmarks and defined paths for member engagement, ensuring that we can meet every new and experienced member where they are at.

  • Develop and implement training materials and protocols for a variety of skillsets that empower members to act as effective rank-and-file organizers and step into new leadership roles confidently.

  • Recognizing that learning and growth as organizers includes and requires being challenged, encourage and support learning and growth in all members by offering opportunities to develop new skills and take on additional responsibilities.

  • Create and maintain structures and guidelines for coordinator and co-chair roles that ensure rotation of leadership and development of new leaders within the organization.

  • Develop internal capacity to recruit, engage and retain our members across the racial and socioeconomic divisions of Los Angeles, and connect members to each other regionally, while also challenging instead of reifying those divisions.

  • Maintain systems and protocols that enable us to continually map and understand our memberships needs, strengths, and resources.

  • Ensuring ongoing development and support of organizers and leaders within our organization.

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