These are our shared values.
Listen to the locals
Locals are fighting for change. Build features case studies of what’s winning, what gets DSA’ers excited, and what DSA’ers are learning along the way. Our team wants to hear from chapter organizers everywhere. Local experimentation is good, and whether it works or doesn’t, we should share it with others to inspire action and discussion elsewhere. There are always critical lessons and struggles we can learn from and share. We must listen to the locals.
DSA’s resources are neither equally, equitably, nor optimally distributed. Because we are an all-volunteer organization financed by its members, any given chapter’s financial means is directly tied to the financial means of its members. This results in many chapters in wealthy areas being relatively well-funded, while others lack the bare financial resources necessary to effectively build their locals. This not only has the perverse result of replicating the nation’s glaring socioeconomic inequality within DSA, it directly affects the ability of locals to organize in the fertile grounds of the nation’s poorest regions, the regions where the cost of organizing is lowest and the need of the working class is highest. We must carefully assess where our organization’s resources are needed most and use every tool at our disposal, including redistributive dues sharing where appropriate, to ensure that chapters that need and can most effectively use our scarce resources are the first in line to receive them.
Pass the hat
Protect ya tent
DSA is a big tent. We all want to organize and fight capital for many reasons. That provides strength, along with challenges. We value this big tent. Let’s enhance the resilience that comes from having multiple points of view and strong disagreements. We want to work with the inherent difficulties of this, and as members we have shared values to guide us. We want unity with difference, not the unity of indifference. We must protect the big tent.
Fight exploitation, fight white supremacy, fight patriarchy
In everything we say, think, and do with DSA, whether it is internal or external organizing, we must fight innumerable oppressive societal forces, including: capitalist exploitation, white supremacy, patriarchy, and imperialism. Such forces are mutually reinforcing, and much be treated as such. If we want a truly “mass” movement, it must include sex workers and the disabled, homeless people and farmers. Every perspective and identity matters. They are the roots of the movement’s tree. We must know ourselves and others as the working class in the fullest sense possible.
One foot in the institutions, one foot in the streets
For generations, activists pitted tactics like direct action against tactics like electoral politics. For so long, activists in the street wouldn’t and couldn’t work with politicians in the halls of institutional power. We must work with both. We must see tactics in context and decide when and how to deploy each. Electoral victories are not an end unto themselves. Those victories must serve the movement. Direct action shouldn't happen in a vacuum or for its own sake, independent of larger goals or a broader strategy. The working class isn’t identical to the labor movement.We must keep one foot in the institutions, one foot in the streets.
All these slogans have something in common. We take a “yes, and…” approach to DSA organizing. One piece connects to another, often several others, which then build into solidarity networks and community support systems. We see the space, flexibility, and necessity for so much. Our horizon is wide. We want national DSA to match that horizon.