A Concrete Plan for 100,000 DSA Members by 2021
To win socialism, we need a strategy to grow DSA into a mass working class organization- and that means we need a concrete plan for recruitment, membership retention, and leadership development. CPN's 100k Strategy Resolution directs the NPC to establish a Growth & Development Committee, with the explicit goal of establishing a roadmap to grow DSA to 100,000 members by 2021. This strategy will include the development and subsidization of standardized materials, trainings, and guidelines to help Chapters improve member engagement, develop leadership, and grow.
Building an Organization That Reflects the Diversity of the Working Class
To build a true mass movement, DSA must grow in numbers, but also grow beyond a predominantly male and white membership, to a membership that better reflects the composition of the US working class. And while creating welcoming spaces is essential, we must also develop real strategies to address the substantive and specific challenges black, brown, indigenous, and women workers face in the workplace and society at large. CPN's 100k Strategy Resolution calls for the development of a comprehensive recruitment, retention, and leadership development strategy which prioritizes growth among black and brown, queer and women workers.
Transparency and Accountability
It is essential that the DSA membership at large be aware of the growth and health of their organization. CPN's 100k Strategy Resolution requires the Growth & Development Committee to keep membership continually updated through quarterly reports available to all members describing membership numbers, demographics and notices of newly-chartered chapters and organizing committees.
What does a mass working class organization look like? Why do we need it?
DSA is currently a collection of activist networks. The majority of which are fairly culturally and racially homogenous with a core group of highly dedicated individuals volunteering substantial chunks of time.
To defeat capitalism we’ll need a much larger and more diverse organization that doesn’t rely on only people at that commitment level. We’ll have to be able to move huge numbers of people capable of self-organizing on a deep level.
How can we grow our organization without an established theory of change? How can we create a mass working class organization without an idea of what kind of work it would do?
DSA’s strength is in its diversity of anticapitalist approaches. We’ll need an organization where we leverage any number of approaches. We aren’t able to substantively debate different theories of change in any meaningful way in the current conditions of our organization. The next phase of development for DSA should be about building DSA into a mass working-class organization capable of having a meaningful and robust debate about what that means.
Why is DSA's whiteness a problem? Aren't there already so many other organizations working for change in working class black and brown communities?
The only way we will amass the power to defeat capitalism is to grow our collective. Our theory of power is that the only way that we can achieve a just world is to harness global people power. We cannot be piecemeal. That will not win.
Black and Brown communities often are at the forefront of working-class struggles. Building a socialist movement means building our organizations so that they are embedded in these struggles as well as bringing people into organizing spaces who’ve never organized before. This is a long road—in most organizing spaces we need to start simply by building trust—but if we don’t explicitly build organizations from these frontline struggles we won’t be able to wield power effectively in the interest of our class.
Creating the DSA National Growth & Development Committee
Whereas, our main goal should be to develop DSA into a mass organization composed principally of workers, able to build power through labor, community, electoral, and movement organizing; and
Whereas, to do so we must confront the organizational problems most pressing to us—the need to give all members a voice in our work; the need to grow beyond a predominantly male and white membership to a membership that better reflects the composition of the US working class; and the need to develop an organization able to build and effectively wield power; and
Whereas, while our approach to anti-racist and socialist-feminist organizing should include commitments to creating welcoming spaces, we must also develop strategies to address the substantive and specific challenges black, brown, indigenous, and women workers face in the workplace and society at large; and
Whereas, developing strategies to address these challenges must be informed by the knowledge and experience of those directly impacted, and shaped through their full participation and inclusion in decision making at every level of our organization; therefore be it
Resolved, that the Convention directs the National Political Committee (NPC) to establish the Growth & Development Committee with the explicit purpose of developing, and facilitating the execution of a plan to grow DSA to 100,000 members in good standing by January 1st, 2021; and be it
Resolved, that this plan shall include: 1) a national roadmap for growth consisting of specific targets and milestones broken down by region, and 2) a comprehensive recruitment, retention, and leadership development strategy prioritizing growth among black and brown workers, queer and women workers, and working class populations in general; and be it
Resolved, that this plan shall furthermore include the development of standard materials and trainings for recruitment, member engagement, leadership development, and financial guidelines, with subsidized production and shipping costs of such materials and trainings offered to smaller, newer, and under-resourced chapters; and be it
Resolved, that this plan shall furthermore include the DSA national staff in cooperation with the Personnel Committee of the National Political Committee (NPC) to allocate dedicated staff support for the formation and development of new chapters and organizing committees especially in small cities, rural areas, and the Southern United States in coordination with Regional Organizations; and be it
Resolved, that the NPC shall issue a report to the general membership by January 31, 2020, documenting their progress toward establishing the Growth and Development Committee; and that a workable if not complete version of the plan to grow DSA to 100,000 members by January 1st, 2021 shall be presented to and ratified by the NPC by April 1st, 2020 and distributed to the membership; and be it
Resolved, that the NPC through the Growth and Development Committee shall distribute quarterly progress reports to the membership which shall include membership numbers, membership demographics, notice of newly formed chapters and organizing committees, and all other pertinent updates.
Support This Plank
If you agree with our vision, we invite you to endorse this plank. We want to bring a strong clear voice to the 2019 Convention for the type of organization we feel we need. An organization that can realize our collective power; one that respects and integrates differing viewpoints, and that looks outward, not inward, to build a truly mass organization reaching out with our own hands towards power.