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Build endorses Resolution #60: Reassert our Commitment to Training and Leadership Development.

Member training in DSA should be rooted in the “each one teach one” philosophy of Ella Baker, the principles of self-directed learning, and an understanding that DSA is an expansive organization with a wide range of experiences, knowledge and local conditions. Read more about our rationale.

Why Is Build Endorsing Resolution #60?

Training and leadership development should be member-led.

  • Like Ella Baker, we believe that everyone has something to learn and everyone has something to teach.

  • When you approach training as something that everyone can do and everyone can benefit from, you grow member capacity and develop new leaders.

The work members do should flow back to the national organization and out to other chapters.

  • DSAers want to be part of a cohesive, collaborative body.

  • Instead of always reinventing the wheel, training materials developed at both the chapter and national level should be available for every other member to use and adapt to their specific context.

Chapters are already doing this work. National support will help it grow.

  • Member-led regional conferences, convergences and training programs have been immensely valuable for members across the country.

  • Members have already led at least 12 different regional gatherings or events, plus many more chapter-level training programs. With support from national, we hope to see this number grow to cover every chapter in every region.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Question: Will this resolution provide for a baseline of organizing skills for all chapters?

Answer: Absolutely! In addition to the modules national has developed, chapters have developed their own resources. Combining forces will allow national to provide more options to chapters and to focus on training trainers so more members can learn key organizing skills. That was the intention of the 2017 resolution that was passed and what we’re re-asserting with this resolution.

Question: Will this resolution require small chapters to develop their own trainings?

Answer: Of course not. Chapters will have a large library of existing trainings they can be trained on by staff or the national training team. The national team will also be available to train new trainers across the country to deliver this content to members and the larger community. If chapters have specific needs, the expanded network of comrades cultivated by this team would help them develop this content. The intention behind this resolution is to connect chapters so they can cover their needs with each other’s help. 

Question: Is this resolution compatible with the Reso #84 from Socialist Majority?

Answer: Sure. Resolution #84 asks staff to lead two training programs, which is fewer than they do currently. It seems odd for a resolution to direct staff to support chapters less than they already do, but regardless, Resolution #60: Reassert Our Commitment to Training and Leadership Development does not mandate that staff facilitate a specific set of trainings.

Question: Where do staff fit into this resolution?

Answer: We want to develop members into leaders so staff capacity is exponentially more powerful. And we fully expect staff to be members of the Training Committee! Staff are currently non-voting members (with speaking rights) of many national committees, so we’re using that norm for their role. If every staff person has a committee of trusted members to support their work, they can focus on the things that only staff can do.

Question: How can this resolution train more people for so much less money?

Answer: A little forward planning, building a larger team and weaving together online and in-person trainings can work wonders. Part of why the regional pre-conventions cost about $250,000 is because they were planned last minute so everything cost more than it needed to. In addition, by developing members as trainers, this content can be delivered to a far larger set of members, whether online or in person, for minimal cost. Consider a chapter like Long Beach which has a 12-module training program for its members: the only cost is snacks because they have already sourced a free space.

Question: Is this resolution compatible with Reso #33 from Bread & Roses?

Answer: Nope. The current national political education committee are the ones putting forward resolution #33 and we don’t believe their approach – an occasional email and a curriculum developed by one tendency within the organization – is right for the big tent. Further, our resolution is opposed to the banking model of education, where those at the front of the room are experts handing over knowledge to their students. Finally, chapters have developed a wide variety of content and presentations on a variety of subjects. Rather than pushing out more top-down content to chapters, we believe national committees should start by building relationships with chapters and facilitating sharing and collaboration across the organization. Additional content should come from an assessment of chapter and member needs, not from committee members and their personal notions.