2019 NYC-DSA Convention

When and Where is the Convention?

Saturday, June 1 from 10am to 4pm at Judson Church in downtown Manhattan. Registration will start at 9am with a lunch break at approximately noon. Delegates should arrive promptly at 9am, and observers by 9:30am, to guarantee seating. The space is wheelchair accessible and childcare will be provided on-site.

What is the purpose of convention?

Convention is the highest decision-making body of NYC-DSA and meets once annually to elect officers to our Steering Committee and to debate and decide issues affecting the organization of the chapter and its political orientation. It’s the only time to amend our chapter’s constitution, outside of special meetings called for that purpose.

What will be decided?

There are going to be four major tasks of the convention:

Constitutional Amendments
Please take a look at our constitution, linked here. Our annual convention is the only time to amend our chapter’s constitution, outside of special meetings called for that purpose, so if you’ve got an idea for broad structural change or how the various bodies in the chapter relate to each other, this is your best chance.

Examples of passed amendments included an amendment to create the Citywide Leadership Committee, an amendment to expand our electoral endorsement process, and amendments to create the Membership Coordinator and Working Group Coordinator positions on the Steering Committee.

Resolutions
As opposed to amendments, which are more lasting structural changes, resolutions can be recommendations for actions, stances, or campaigns that the chapter should take on and are binding to our agenda in the coming year and should be considered binding for the upcoming Steering Committee.

Examples of resolutions passed at last year’s convention included a resolution to implement voluntary, monthly chapter dues and a resolution to form a committee to help members secure jobs in unionized workplaces and connect them with rank-and-file activists in the labor movement to organize within their unions. Examples of resolutions from the 2017 DSA National Convention were a statement of support for the Boycott, Divestments, and Sanctions movement and an agreement to officially leave the Socialist International.

Policy Platform
This year at convention, we will also vote on a policy platform. The Citywide Leadership Committee resolved at its February 10, 2019 meeting to call on membership to develop a 12-point policy platform that will help us evaluate our organization and our work. By developing a policy platform, the Citywide Leadership Committee hopes to make better decisions about campaign priorities and endorsements, identify our allies and targets, provide a framework for holding elected leadership accountable, provide a practical path forward for socialism in our lifetime, and increase our relevancy to the working class in New York. Following three town halls in April and input from general membership as well as the working groups and branches, the policy platform will be advanced to the Citywide Leadership Committee in May and then to the convention for a final vote.

Officer Elections
There are six officers on the Steering Committee — two Co-Chairs, a Treasurer, a Secretary, a Working Group Coordinator and a Membership Coordinator. Any dues-paying member in good standing may run for an officer position. Members may run on their own or organize a slate of candidates to run. A slate is a team of candidates who have jointly developed a plan for what they want to do on the Steering Committee together.

This year, in order to reserve time for amendments to the constitution, which can only be passed at convention and special meetings, and our chapter policy platform, bylaws proposals will not be considered and authors will instead be encouraged to submit them at a following Citywide Leadership Committee meeting. Examples of bylaws passed at last year’s convention included a personal leave provision and a bylaw outlining the proper handling of member information. Depending on the number of proposals submitted, amendments to the constitution may also be prioritized over resolutions for time.

How do I submit a proposal for consideration?

Members may submit proposals — those are, amendments to the constitution or resolutions — by visiting bit.ly/nycdsa-con2019-prop. Proposals are due by midnight, April 27 and require at least ten co-sponsors by other dues-paying members of NYC-DSA.

In order to reserve adequate time for amendments to the constitution and the policy platform, the number of resolutions submitted may be limited following input from general membership about what they would like to see discussed at convention. Additionally, proposals which can be considered amendments to NYC-DSA’s bylaws will not be given time at convention, and members interested in submitting such proposals are encouraged to do so through a following Citywide Leadership Committee meeting.

Members will have the opportunity to submit amendments to proposals closer to convention. A process for submitting amendments will be announced to membership in May.

How do I run for a Steering Committee Officer position?

Members may run for a Steering Committee position by visiting bit.ly/nycdsa-con2019-officer. Proposals are due by midnight, May 4 and require five endorsements by other dues-paying members of NYC-DSA. Per the constitution, Steering Committee Officers are elected by an in-person vote of delegates attending convention.

Who can attend?

There will be 151 delegates allocated to branches proportional to the number of dues-paying members within their associated zip codes, with allocations for Labor and YDSA being determined by the size of their membership. Each branch of NYC-DSA will be responsible for electing their delegations, including alternates, by June 1. If you’re interested in running for convention delegate and would like more information, please contact your branch organizing committee, which you can find here.

Information on the number of delegates assigned to each branch is being determined by the Steering Committee and will be announced by April.

In addition to the 151 delegates, we anticipate having space for about 100 observers to attend. Any dues-paying members of DSA in good standing may apply to be an observer. Space for observers will be prioritized for convention alternates, convention volunteers, dues-paying members of NYC-DSA, and dues-paying members of nearby chapters, in that order.

To register as an observer or a volunteer, please visit bit.ly/nycdsa-con2019-obs. Applications to observe are due by midnight, May 25.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!