DSA-LA Conflict Resolution Resources
DSA-LA is committed to preventing our organizing spaces from reproducing the systems of oppression we collectively seek to break down. The Chapter’s Conflict Resolution Team (CRT) plays an important part by enabling members to address conflict and harm in healthy, empowering ways, and by providing meaningful support and resources. Our team is made up of volunteer comrades approved by the Steering Committee.
You can request assistance from the Conflict Resolution Team by submitting this form. You have the option to remain anonymous. You can submit a request on behalf of others.
You can use this form whenever you:
- Navigate a difficult situation within DSA and want help thinking through solutions.
- Have trouble resolving an issue with a comrade and want to set up a mediated conversation with them.
- Feel harmed by a comrade and want help holding them accountable.
- Worry about harm you have caused others in DSA and want help making amends.
- Witness harmful dynamics between other comrades and want help intervening.
- Observe oppressive power dynamics within DSA groups and want help creating a healthier organizing culture.
- Want to understand your communication style and how best to communicate with other members in organizing spaces and forums.
- Experience harassment or violence and need intervention.
In some situations, members may wish to file formal reports of misconduct directly to the DSA National Harassment Grievance Officer. You can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. DSA’s national harassment and grievance policy (Resolution 33) describes the behaviors that constitute actionable misconduct.
WHAT DOES CRT DO?
Once you contact us via the request form, we will reach out to you within 7 days to schedule a conversation so we can learn more about your situation. We typically work in pairs or groups and we’ll try our best to be sensitive to your circumstances when determining who takes your case. Because our team is small, we can’t always accommodate specific requests of who you’d like assigned to you, but we will try.
In our first conversation, we will gather as much information about your situation as possible, find out what you’re hoping to accomplish through the process, and give you an idea of what to expect moving forward. Typically the next step will be for us to get in touch with the other people involved in your conflict. This is a delicate process and we will consult with you before notifying anyone. Through dialogues with each individual involved (those who caused, experienced, or
witnessed the harm or concern) we will develop a comprehensive narrative about what happened and identify a potential roadmap towards healing.
Your ongoing participation is voluntary and can be a really important factor in progress and healing. We will often recommend that you engage in dialogue with others, and we can be there to facilitate that. One meeting may not be enough; you can expect a series of check-in conversations and follow-up dialogues before we reach any sort of conclusion.
Often we will develop an accountability plan that asks comrades who caused harm to take mindful steps to change their behavior. This could involve temporarily stepping back from certain projects, relinquishing leadership responsibilities, or in rare instances, taking a hiatus from all DSA work. We might recommend readings and training. We could task someone with making a formal apology or insist that they participate in mediated sessions with those they’ve hurt. When dealing with serious incidents of harm and conflict, CRT may engage the services of a third party for assistance.
LIMITATIONS AROUND APPOINTMENTS
The following forms of support are outside the responsibility of CRT, and members should not request appointments for the following purposes:
- Support for concerns that do not intersect with DSA-LA organizing work.
- Mental health counseling—we are not trained mental health professionals.
- Emergency support in crisis. We are not equipped to intervene in emergencies. Depending on the situation, the following resources are available:
○ In a health emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room. Note that if you call 911, this increases the possibility of law enforcement presence.
○ If you or someone you know is feeling like hurting themselves or someone else, various hotlines can be found here, including the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
We gratefully acknowledge the guidance and conversations from DSA chapters around the country (specifically SF DSA’s Conflict Resolution committee); training provided by AORTA and Empathy in Action; and contributions from DSA-LA members in refining this process.
There are few models for how to address organizational misconduct within a restorative or transformative justice framework. While we aim to incorporate as many RJ/TJ practices as possible, we thoroughly acknowledge that this is messy, complicated work. We welcome feedback from other members, chapters, leftist organizations, and social justice movements. If you have any feedback or want to collaborate on projects that address anti-oppression, conflict, or restorative/transformative practices, please reach out using the e-mails below.
Our team is small. We need more comrades to join us in this work. If you’re interested, contact us at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Members can review our Expectations and Responsibilities here.