Anti-Racism Working Group

The Anti-Racism Working Group of the Democratic Socialists of America is part of our continued effort to make both anti-racist work and non-Eurocentric perspectives central to DSA. We aim to provide resources for DSA local chapters to use in organizing with other anti-racist groups and as well as institutions of color, and to push for more prominent democratic socialist, anti-racist critiques throughout DSA and our publications.

We recognize that any fight for democratic socialism must include dialog between people with diverse experiences in order to develop an understanding of how capitalism, racism, and other systems intersect to structure our lives. Otherwise, both our movement and our political perspectives are weak and incomplete.

Despite some progress, in our country there are few problems more urgent than the effects of racism. While rooted in the history of slavery, invasions, genocide and the early development of the Americas, the system of white supremacy remains as fundamental to the structure of our society and economy as is capitalism. Furthermore, this system affects both people of color and white people at the personal, cultural and institutional levels.

To fulfill our goals, we pledge to provide a safe space for people of color (in the form of an electronic Caucus meeting space open only to members of color) as well as provide a space for collaboration and focus on racial justice in this “working group” for both people of color and white allies.

DSA has endorsed the Vision for Black Lives Policy Platform and we as a majority white (though multi-racial) organization, we have affiliated with Showing Up for Racial Justice as a resource for our white members.

Anti-Racism Working Group Structure
The committee will work with national staff to develop a comprehensive set of projects as directed by our National Political Committee, and is structured with a steering committee of five (5) people and a larger action committee for others working on committee projects. The steering committee has terms of 6 months, so individuals interested in being on the committee but not sure they’ll want to/be able to continue working on the committee after that time can essentially try out being on the committee without obligating themselves to a long-term commitment.
The following list is meant to give potential ARWG steering committee members a sense of the types of tasks and amount of work that will be involved in Committee work. As you consider applying to join the committee, please read through this list carefully and consider whether or not you feel comfortable taking on this level of responsibility.
Steering committee members will hold each other accountable to first contributing to the administrative work of the committee, before doing program related work. We estimate that each member of the steering committee will need a minimum of five (5) hours per week to carry out steering committee duties. Who on the steering committee has responsibility for which specific task will be decided by the steering committee and may change over time.
Steering Committee Tasks every person on the steering must carry out as a priority before programmatic tasks:
  • Be in constant contact with other committee members via email, phone and Google Drive

  • Regular committee conference calls

    • Organize the calls/write agenda

    • Email/call/all/text committee members before calls to remind them to attend

    • Take accurate notes and circulate them in a timely manner

  • Project management

    • Make sure people are following through on work they’ve committed to.

    • Maintain a shared google calendar

    • Make sure the committee is following specified timeline of work

  • Liaison(s) with SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice)

    • Attend regular SURJ affiliate calls

    • Be in regular contact with SURJ staff giving updates about DSA’s involvement with SURJ, dialoging about how to make this involvement more effective

    • Report verbally and in writing back to committee

  • Liaison with PLDC (Program Local Develop Committee, the national committee which connects local DSA chapters with the national office and national leadership), explaining what the committee wants the PLDC to convey to chapters

  • Manage inquiries of people interested in getting involved/maintaining a contact database/develop an interest form asking people what their skills are, how much time per week they can devote to this work, etc.

Additional tasks that could be carried out by the steering committee members OR members of the Supporting Committee:
  • Assist NPC with national statements related to racial justice

  • Strategic planning with select locals that are focused on anti-racist organizing

    • Regular calls with individual locals to discuss their organizing plans around racial justice

    • Calls with organizers from multiple chapters to brainstorm/exchange ideas

  • Work with speaker’s bureau to develop speakers who can be sent to chapters to speak on a range of topics related to anti-racism.

  • Developing trainings/educational materials for chapters and perhaps for regional trainings

    • Develop webinars around racial justice

    • Develop conference calls around racial justice

    • Do online reading group(s) with racial justice themes

    • Develop regional trainings to teach locals how to do community assessments/power-mapping/how to choose projects/how to relate effectively to orgs. That are predominantly people of color

  • Developing literature/other resources chapters can use in their antiracist organizing

    • Could be Dump Trump fliers, pamphlets on race and class/race and gender/a socialist case for community control of the police/etc.

    • Could be bumperstickers, buttons, tshirts

    • Could be reading group series’ that chapters can use

    • Could be an event in a can package that locals can use to show a movie related to antiracism

    • Could be translation of DSA materials into Spanish

  • Manage social media for the committee

  • Be available to coach locals on specific topics if needed (working with chicano orgs vs black churches; liasoning with a local SuRJ chapter; dealing with a difficult person; etc.)

If you are interested in being actively involved in helping DSA at the national level with our racial justice work, please click here to fill out the interest form. We will then follow up with you about the best way(s) you can plug in.

Feminist Working Group

December 14, 2016
· 50 rsvps

People of all genders are welcome to join this call to discuss DSA's work on women's and LGBTQ issues, especially in light of the new political reality that we face after the election.  9 pm ET; 8 pm CT; 7 pm MT; 6 pm PT.

DSA Webinar: Turning Members into Leaders

December 28, 2016
· 20 rsvps

Are you starting a new group? Or have you been doing most of the work for your longtime group? Has it been hard to keep new people involved or get them to take responsibility? But suddenly everybody wants to jump in at the same time! Learn how to mentor new leaders and make sure they have all the information and tools they need to succeed.

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

NOTE: This training is at 9:00pm Eastern (8:00pm Central, 7:00pm Mountain, 6pm Pacific). Please RSVP.


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

In Leadership Development you will learn:

The proven steps to developing the leadership skills and commitment of more members:

  • identifying potential leaders
  • recognizing what each one brings to the group
  • asking people to volunteer
  • giving them specific tasks
  • supporting them in their efforts
  • creating opportunities for new leadership
  • following up.

Training Details

  • This workshop is for local leaders who will lead campaigns in their chapters.
  • 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 607-280-7649.
  • If you think you can't do it by computer, contact Tony Schmitt 608-355-6568.
  • You can participate in every workshop or just attend once in a while.
  • Workshops will generally be on a weekends or evenings.
  • Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance -- by midnight Monday.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

January 19, 2017
· 62 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  8:30 PM ET; 7:30 PM CT; 6:30 PM MT; 5:30 PM PT.

Film Discussion: The Price We Pay

January 30, 2017
· 10 rsvps
The Price We Pay blows the lid off the dirty world of corporate malfeasance — the dark history and dire present-day reality of big-business tax avoidance, tax havens - and what we need to do to stop this.  DSA member Bill Barclay, who has a cameo role in the film, will facilitate the discussion.

Full film available on Vimeo.