Bylaws of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)
Ecosocialist Working Group
Article I. Name
The name of this body will be the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) Ecosocialist Working Group.
Article II. Purpose
Our mission is to ensure that the transition to socialism in the United States is based on sound ecological principles, preserving the viability of the natural and human environments for future generations and other forms of life, and bearing in mind the historical and present inequities imposed by prior forms of society.
This Working Group seeks to help chapters build local power for climate & environmental justice with the backing of a national network; advance an ecosocialist perspective in environmental justice movements, the DSA, and the greater Left; promote understanding of climate science as well as the intersections of capitalism, imperialism, systemic oppression, and climate crisis; and build a socialist movement that reflects the needs of the people and planet as an interdependent ecosystem.
Article III. Membership
Section 1. Defining Membership
- Members of the Working Group will be those individuals whose dues to DSA National are paid in full, who are interested in furthering the cause of ecosocialism, and who are members of the Working Group mailing list. Members who satisfy these criteria and have not committed any membership conduct violations will be considered in good standing. It will be the responsibility of members to approve policies, statements, guidelines, and directives of the Working Group.
- At least once per year, a Poll will be sent electronically to all members of the Working Group to ascertain their intent to be “active”. Members’ responses will be due seven (7) days from when the poll is sent. If the member answers in the affirmative, they will be recorded as an active member of the Working Group. Should the member answer in the negative, or provide no response to the poll by the deadline, they will be considered inactive. Active members of the Working Group will hold no privileges over inactive members. The number of respondents will be used only to calculate quorum, as outlined in Article VI, Section 3.
Section 2. Member Conduct
Working Group members are expected to conduct themselves with civility and respect towards all other members in accordance with the code of conduct outlined in Article XI, Section 1. Additionally, Working Group members are expected to further align their conduct with the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing.
If a member’s conduct is found to be in substantial disagreement with the principles or policies of the Working Group, they will be dealt with in accordance with the process for reporting and resolving harassment and grievances as enumerated in Article XI.
Section 4. Roles and Responsibilities of the Membership
Members will be responsible for advancing the mission and strategic campaigns of the Working Group within their chapters and through the Ecosocialist Working Group. Members will be empowered to elect the Ecosocialist Working Group Steering Committee (Article V). Additionally, members will also be empowered to make decisions through membership-wide voting and the Amendments Process (Article IX). Members may submit proposals to the Steering Committee for consideration.
Article IV. Steering Committee
Section 1. Composition and Terms
The Steering Committee will be composed of seven (7) members of the Working Group as elected by Working Group membership. It is required that the Steering Committee have at least three (3) non cis-men and at least two (2) non-white people for diverse representation. The Steering Committee will be elected to terms of two (2) years, with no more than two (2) consecutive two (2) year terms. See Article V. Steering Committee Elections.
Section 2. Duties
- The Steering Committee administers the affairs of the Working Group as well as maintains and develops Working Group infrastructure according to its mission and strategic campaign priorities (as determined by the Green New Deal Campaign Committee (Article VII). This includes the maintenance of electronic communication platforms, member lists, email, social media channels, and internal committees.
- The Steering Committee will coordinate with the GNDCC to ensure the proper execution of campaign strategy. The Steering Committee will be responsible for implementing program activities for the Working Group, aligned with the mission and campaign strategies. Additionally, the Steering Committee will be responsible for developing an ecosocialist platform and accompanying resolutions to be voted on by members of good standing in DSA at National conventions.
- The Steering Committee will assign duties to its members as needed and determined by the Committee in lieu of officer titles.
- The duties, responsibilities, and tasks of the Steering Committee are to be equitably distributed among that Committee’s members, while remaining mindful of imbalances of labor distribution. The undertaking of this labor is a condition of maintaining membership on the Steering Committee. From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.
- Minutes from any Steering Committee meetings shall be made accessible to all members upon request by and approval of the Steering Committee.
- Steering Committee meetings will be held at intervals as may be determined by prior Steering Committee meetings. Steering Committee members will be expected to communicate and execute their duties in-between meetings.
Section 4. Steering Committee Quorum
Quorum shall be four (4) Steering Committee members when the Steering Committee is composed of seven (7) members. If the Steering Committee is composed of fewer members, then quorum is 1 more member than half of the total members on the Steering Committee. All absent members of the Steering Committee should receive prompt notification of any decisions or updates.
Section 5. Resignation, Absence, and Vacancies
- Members of the Steering Committee may resign at any time through written notification to the rest of the Committee.
- Members of the Steering Committee may take leaves of absence not to exceed (6) weeks through written notification to the rest of the Committee.
- In the event of a vacancy in any Working Group office, the Working Group Steering Committee will appoint a replacement for the remainder of the term. If a Steering Committee vacancy arises after six (6) months, the Steering Committee may continue to function with fewer members until the next election. Any replacement nominations must be submitted to the DSA National Political Committee (NPC) for approval.
Section 6. Steering Committee Expulsions
- Grounds for expulsion include but are not limited to:
- Actions in contravention of the working group Mission Statement
- Violation of the Code of Conduct;
- Missing three (3) consecutive Steering Committee meetings or failing to communicate for more than a month without prior written or verbal notice to the other members of the Steering Committee.
Article V. Steering Committee Elections
Section 1. Selection
- At least six weeks before the end of their terms, the SC will determine a timeline for the election of the next Steering Committee and form an Election Committee consisting of two (2) members of the Working Group, including at least one Steering Committee member (unless all members are running for re-election). Steering Committee members running for re-election may not serve on the Election Committee. The Election Committee will handle the intake of candidate nominations, including statements or questionnaires. Working Group members may nominate any other Working Group members or nominate themselves with ten (10) Working Group members endorsing their candidacy.
- Elections will be conducted online by National DSA staff with ranked choice voting using OpaVote or a similar voting technology. The voter roll will consist of members current as of one month prior to the election. No electioneering using member data shall be permitted by anyone running. The terms of the election must be approved by the DSA NPC prior to undertaking it.
Section 2. Recall
- The Working Group membership can recall Steering Committee members for any reason at any time, without limitation.
- Any Working Group member in good standing can propose a recall election, and if it is endorsed by ten (10) Working Group members in good standing, then a vote will proceed on whether to conduct a special election. Such a vote shall remain open for one (1) week.
- One-third (⅓) of the entire Working Group membership must approve the proposal to trigger an election.
- Once approved, the special election will take place immediately, electronically, and will remain open for one (1) week.
- If quorum is satisfied, and if a simple majority of the votes are in favor of recall, then the subject member is automatically no longer a member of the Steering Committee.
Section 3. Transition of Steering Committee Roles
Once the new Steering Committee has been elected, the current and newly elected Steering Committee will meet within two (2) weeks of the election over a conference call to debrief. Notes will be taken on the call and be made available to the Working Group membership. After this meeting, the newly elected Steering Committee members will officially become the Ecosocialist Working Group’s Steering Committee.
Article VI. Meetings
Section 1. General Meetings
The entire Working Group as a body will meet – by phone or electronically – at least four (4) times annually. The Steering Committee will share the time and date of each meeting with the membership at least fourteen (14) days in advance.
Additional meetings with or without specified focuses (i.e. political education, organizer training, campaign planning, etc) can be organized by the Steering Committee.
Section 2. Special Meetings
Special meetings are meetings that require an urgent gathering of Working Group membership due to important or newly emergent circumstances.
Special meetings require a majority approval of the Steering Committee. If authorization for a special meeting is granted, the Steering Committee will alert the Working Group membership at least seventy-two (72) hours in advance as well as provide an overview of what the meeting will address.
Section 3. Quorum
Ten percent (10%) of members in good standing and considered “active” in accordance with Section 1 (ii), but not fewer than 10 people, shall constitute a quorum and is required for the transaction of business at a General or Special meeting or in an online vote.
Section 4. Online Voting
Online voting will be done in a secure format which connects the vote to a member in good standing . Voting information will be sent to the general membership via email and remain open for no less than forty-eight (48) hours.
Article VII. Committees
Section 1. Definition
The Steering Committee may create permanent or temporary committees of the Working Group to coordinate specific work priorities and areas. Each committee will have co-chairs to direct its work. A committee may be dissolved by a ¾ vote of the Steering Committee or the Working Group membership.
The Green New Deal Campaign Committee (GNDCC) is a committee that is responsible for coordinating the strategy of the DSA Green New Deal campaign as passed at the 2019 DSA National Convention. The selection of the members of this committee shall be done by the Steering Committee and be approved by the DSA NPC. The GNDCC is tasked with the development of a Green New Deal campaign plan and political strategy for DSA at-large. The GNDCC will work to implement the campaign with support from the Ecosocialist Working Group Committees, including the Steering Committee.
Article VIII. Prohibited Conduct
The Working Group shall not engage in activity prohibited by resolutions adopted by DSA’s National Convention or DSA’s National Political Committee.
Article IX. Amendments
Section 1. Amendments Process
- Each calendar year, there will be an open period for amendments to the bylaws of at least one (1) week with at least one (1) week of notice set by the Steering Committee. Any member of the Working Group may propose one or more amendments to the bylaws. The proposal must be submitted in written form and be endorsed by five (5) members of the Working Group. The Steering Committee shall allow for a period of discussion and amendments before voting occurs. Bylaws amendments require a ¾ vote of the Working Group to pass.
Article X. Community Agreements
Section 1. Defining Community Agreements
Meetings shall be run in accordance to a list of accepted community agreements. Members can add additional agreements by consensus for specific meetings or other Working Group communication and events.
Section 2. Action Out of Order
Any action taken by an officer or member of the Working Group in contravention of these bylaws is null and void.
Article XI. Harassment and Grievance Policy
Section 1. Scope
- This Harassment Grievance Procedure applies to all Working Group and national DSA venues in which members of the Working Group communicate, both in person and online. This includes but is not limited to DSA national conventions, DSA local chapter meetings, DSA national and local communication platforms (e.g. Slack, social media platforms and groups, virtual meeting platforms, and e-mail), any DSA specific communication platforms set up for working groups, sections, or initiatives, as well as all Working Group in person meetings and Working Group virtual communication platforms.
- Members shall not engage in harassment on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical appearance, disability, race, color, religion, national origin, class, age, or profession. Harassing or abusive behavior, such as unwelcome attention, inappropriate or offensive remarks, slurs, or jokes, physical or verbal intimidation, stalking, inappropriate physical contact or proximity, and other verbal and physical conduct constitute harassment when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a member’s continued affiliation with DSA;
- Submission or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for organizational decisions affecting such individual; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating a hostile environment interfering with an individual’s capacity to organize within DSA.
- Harassment based on categories not encompassed by those listed section (a) will be evaluated at the discretion of the Working Group Steering Committee representatives in consultation with national DSA per availability of a national Harassment Grievance Officer (HGO).
Section 2. Reporting Harassment
- Members may follow the standard DSA complaint process as set out in the following sections if they believe they have been harassed by another member. There will be no time limits requiring the accuser to file a report within any amount of time after the alleged harassment has occurred.
- Members filing a formal complaint must contact the national DSA harassment grievance officer (HGO).
- After a written report has been submitted – whether through the email hotline or otherwise – the HGO(s) responsible for the reporting channel used by the accuser will contact the accused member within seven days to notify them that a report has been filed against them and request a written response to the report either affirming or denying its substance.
- The accused will submit their written response within seven days of being notified. If the accused does not meet this deadline, the HGO will recommend the Steering Committee move to take appropriate disciplinary action.
- If the accused denies the substance of the report, the HGO overseeing the dispute will have the option to investigate the report by:
- Interviewing other members with direct knowledge of the substance of the report;
- Requesting documentation from either the accuser or accused or any other parties directly involved; or
- employing any and all other means deemed necessary, with the utmost respect for the confidentiality of the parties, within a time period not to exceed ten days.
- The HGO(s) responsible for adjudicating the dispute will determine whether the report is credible and, if necessary, make a recommendation to the Steering Committee of appropriate disciplinary action as soon as practicable, but ultimately within thirty days (30) of the report being filed. This is to ensure the timely, efficient, accurate, and discreet adjudication of all reports. The HGO(s) may notify Steering of the accuser’s report and its substance at any time after the report is filed, but must give written notice to both the accuser and the accused member before doing so.
Section 3. Remedies and penalties
- All reports will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the HGO(s) and Steering Committee associated with the accuser’s reporting channel. The ultimate disposition of each report will be made by the Steering Committee after that body reviews the written report and recommendation of the HGO(s).
- The Steering Committee will find the factual allegation in a report is “credible” if it more-likely-than-not occurred.
- If the Working Group Steering Committee finds the report to be credible, they are authorized to carry out the following remedies and penalties:
- A formal discussion between the accused and the Steering Committee to develop a plan to change the harassing behavior(s);
- Suspension from committee meetings and other working group or organizational events;
- Removal from committee(s);
- Removal from the Working Group; and
- Any and all other relief deemed necessary and just by the chapter or national leadership.
- DSA national is authorized to enforce certain remedies and penalties in accordance with Article III, Section 4 of the DSA Constitution and Article I, Section 3 of DSA Bylaws:
- Removal from DSA; and
- Any and all other relief deemed necessary and just by the chapter or national leadership.
- The appropriate form of relief will be determined by, among other things:
- The request of the accuser;
- The severity of the offense;
- The response of the accused; and
- The accused’s relevant behavioral histories.
- Either party may appeal the form of relief determined by Steering Committee by filling out appellate form created by the accuser’s reporting channel. Appeals must be filed within thirty days of receiving written notice of the Steering Committee’s decision. The limited grounds for appeal are:
- Either party believes the behavior was not interpreted using the standards for harassment set out in Section 1a;
- Procedural errors, misconduct, or conflicts of interest affected the fairness of the outcome; and
- The remedy or penalty determined by Steering was grossly disproportionate to the violation committed
- This policy prohibits retaliation against any member for bringing a complaint of harassment pursuant to this policy. This policy also prohibits retaliation against a person who assists someone with a complaint of harassment, or participates in any manner in an investigation or resolution of a complaint of discrimination or harassment. Retaliatory behaviors includes threats, intimidation, reprisals, and/or adverse actions related to organizing. If any party to the complaint believes there has been retaliation, they may inform the HGO who will determine whether to factor the retaliation into the original complaint, or treat it as an individual incident.
Section 4. Compliance with Chapter Expulsion
Individuals who have been expelled from their local DSA chapter or other DSA organizing entity are subject to removal from the Working Group, or discipline commensurate with disciplinary actions enacted by that local chapter or DSA organizing body.