The Activist’s Guide to 
Using DSA Literature

 
NYC DSA

By Elizabeth Henderson

Now that the weather is warmer and the days longer, it’s time to set up a DSA table in a high-traffic site. Whether you’re collecting signatures for the Drop Student Debt! petition, running a get-out-the-vote campaign, or spreading the word about the need to increase the minimum wage, the DSA website has something you can use. Here’s a quick rundown of how to find literature, adapt it to a specific campaign, and arrange it on your table in a way that makes folks want to stop and learn more about what your local chapter is doing.

Start by visiting the resources page on DSA's website to find everything from introductory fliers about DSA, official DSA statements, and fact sheets to Q&As and articles about socialist strategy. Articles either have a “PDF” or “print” button next to them, so you can easily make copies to distribute.

Next, pick a spot with plenty of foot traffic. A corner or any transit hub is best, so that you have people coming from multiple directions. If you have time, scout it out beforehand. Be sure you’re not violating any local ordinances.

It’s worth it to personalize the literature. Add your local’s contact information, as well as your logo and details about how to find your local on social media. Be sure you also have some fliers about upcoming events or actions that your local is organizing. If you’re printing or copying fliers yourself, write “labor donated” in small print at the bottom. If you’re gathering signatures on a petition and there are people who are interested in learning more about your local, put a star next to their name on the petition so you can remember to follow up with them. Otherwise, use a sign-up sheet.

Making sure that your table looks inviting is a key part of successful tabling. Put a large sign in front and on the sides of your table with a short slogan summing up why you’re tabling that also includes the DSA logo. (For example, if you’re petitioning for the Drop Student Debt! campaign, the sign could simply read “Drop Student Debt!”) Organize your literature so it’s easy for people to browse, and make your table extra-welcoming with a tablecloth and free candy and DSA pins. Keep a few rocks or paperweights on hand to hold down fliers in case it’s windy. But, remember that the most important part of tabling is having two friendly people at the table.

Elizabeth Henderson is co-chair of Greater Philadelphia DSA and chair of the Drop Student Debt! committee.

This article originally appeared in the summer 2014 issue of the Democratic Left magazine.

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership. Democratic Left blog post submission guidelines can be found here.

 

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

April 30, 2017
· 82 rsvps

Join Philadelphia DSA veteran activist Michele Rossi to explore “socialist feminism.” How does it differ from other forms of feminism? How and when did it develop? What does it mean for our activism? 4-5:30pm ET, 3-4:30pm CT, 2-3:30pm MT, 1-2:30pm PT.

DSA Webinar: Talking About Socialism

May 02, 2017
· 47 rsvps

Practice talking about socialism in plain language. Create your own short rap. Prepare for those conversations about socialism that happen when you table in public.

Join us for our latest organizing training for democratic socialist activists: DSA’s (Virtual) Little Red Schoolhouse.

This training is at 9:00pm Eastern, 8:00pm Central, 7:00pm Mountain, 6:00pm Pacific, 5:00pm Alaska, and 3:00pm Hawaii Time. Please RSVP.

Instructor:

Steve Max, DSA Vice Chair and one of the founders of the legendary community organizing school, The Midwest Academy

In Talking About Socialism you will learn to:

  • Have a quick response ready to go next time someone asks you about democratic socialism.
  • Create your own elevator pitch about democratic socialism and DSA.
  • Use your personal experience and story to explain democratic socialism.
  • Think through the most important ideas you want to convey about democratic socialism.
  • Have a concise explanation of what DSA does, for your next DSA table, event or coalition meeting.

Training Details

  • This workshop is for those who have already had an introduction to democratic socialism, whether from DSA's webinar or from other sources.
  • If you have a computer with microphone, speakers and good internet access, you can join via internet for free.
  • If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt <talt@igc.org> 607-280-7649.
  • If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt <schmittaj@gmail.com> 608-335-6568.
  • Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance, by midnight Sunday.

 

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 19 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.