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Philly DSA

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Philly DSA’s Organizational Structure?

Because DSA nationally is what we call a broad-tent “multitendency” organization, we have no holy books or martyrs. There is no one essay or strategy article you must read and agree with to be a DSA member. In fact, we draw our strength from the diversity of our ideas and our rigorous commitment to democratic practice.

Stemming from this, our local has full autonomy to decide on projects and campaigns based upon our assessment of the local political climate, our community partners, and membership’s interests and needs. We do not receive marching orders from DSA’s national leadership, rather we work to democratically decide as a local what our work should be and DSA’s national leadership works to poll locals to create national priorities.

DSA holds a national convention every two years that is open to all members where we join together to vote on priorities and to elect the National Political Committee (NPC), the board of members who steer the organization in between conventions.

Philly DSA also holds a convention every two years, usually just before the national convention, where we also vote on priorities, elect delegates to the national convention, and elect our local Steering Committee, the board that runs the local.

We have a monthly General Membership Meeting where committees report back on their work and committees may meet more frequently in between monthly meetings. 

How do members of the local keep in touch with each other? How can I communicate with the whole group?

The Philly DSA Activist Listserv (Philly-DSA-Activist@googlegroups.com) is the main way to keep in touch with our active members. This is the list we use to coordinate local work, share articles, and pass on info about upcoming events.

If you don’t mind getting a few Philly DSA emails every day, you can sign up here to join the listserv but don’t worry, even if you don’t we’ll make sure we reach out to you with information on official Philly DSA events.

What are Philly DSA's committees?

Philly DSA’s Steering Committee is the democratically elected body that steers the organization in between Conventions and General Meetings. Currently, our Steering Committee includes two (2) Co-Chairs and six (6) At-Large members.

In addition to the Steering Committe, Philly DSA also has 3 other committees and may grow to develop more. If you would like to get involved with one of the committees, please reach out to the Chair of the committee for information.

  • Organizing: Brittany Alston (co-chair) and Anthony Hawkins (co-chair)
  • Outreach: David Backer
  • Political Education: Andrew Knox and Scott Jenkins
  • Childcare: Kat Edwards
  • Social Chair: Jedidiah Sloboda
  • Fundraising: Jordan Falciani
  • Mobilizers: Theresa Moran

I have an idea for a project I’d like Philly DSA to work on. Where should I start?

That depends.

If you have an idea for a project that might fall under the umbrella of one of our existing committees it would be best to email the chair of the committee or attend one of the committee meetings to propose your idea.

For example, you’d like to start a reading group on Das Kapital or the History of the Russian Revolution? Great! Talk to the political education committee.

If you have an idea for a project that doesn’t already have a team working in that area, please email the Steering Committee (phillysteeringcommittee@googlegroups.com) so that they can help you draft a proposal to bring the idea before the local or help connect you with other members who may be interested in the work too.

If you would like to propose a campaign for the local, please fill out this Campaign Proposal Form and return it to the Steering Committee.

Does Philly DSA have a process for responding to discrimination, harassment, predatory behavior or other misconduct within the local?

In the event of misconduct within the local, please reach out directly to one of the chairs,  Adam or Natalie.

The issue will be reviewed by the Steering Committee and the committee will take steps to protect the privacy of the members involved and rectify the situation to the best of our abilities, which may include:

  • Mediating a conversation between members
  • Developing a written action plan outlining prohibited behaviors and reviewing it privately with members
  • Suspending or terminating membership

Any person whose membership has been suspended or terminated may appeal the decision before the general membership at a meeting of the full local.