Frequently Asked Questions About Convention

Who can be a delegate to the DSA National Convention?

Any DSA member in good standing may be a delegate to the convention. Delegates are selected from DSA local chapters or if there is not a functioning chapter in your area a member may be an At-large delegate. Local delegate elections are conducted by the local DSA chapter.  In practice it is very easy to become a delegate to the convention. The national office will accept any self-nominations to be a delegate and forward them to a local chapter if appropriate.  Members who are YDSers are considered part of the nearby DSA chapter if they live in the same area, or if there is no local DSA group then YDSers should nominate themselves as at-large delegates.

Do I have to be a delegate to attend the convention?

DSA conventions are open to the public. Any member or non-member may attend convention events as an observer provided they pay the required registration fees.

Exactly where and when will the convention be held?

The Hilton Garden Inn is in Emeryville, between Oakland and Berkeley (1800 Powell St., Emeryville, CA 94608).

The convention will open at 9:00am Friday, October 25th and close at 2:00pm Sunday, October 27th. We recommend those arriving from points east arrive the evening of Thursday, October 24th.

Will there be special convention events or events on any other days?

There will be a pay-your-own-way dinner/reception for delegates arriving on Thursday, October 24th. On-site registration will also open Thursday evening.

Can family members participate in convention events?

Delegates’ family members are welcome to participate in convention events. Family members will have to pay the posted observer fees if they are not delegates. We can help you arrange childcare should you need to do so.

When do I have to decide by?

Since travel is involved, the sooner, the better. Most local chapters elect delegates in September. If you decide to go at the last moment it may still be possible to serve as a delegate by filling a vacancy.

How do I nominate myself to be a delegate?

Contact your local DSA group, or contact the national director by phone, mail or email, (info (at), or register online by clicking on our registration page here.

What does it cost to be a delegate?

All delegates to the convention are responsible for their own travel and hotel costs as well as payment of the convention fee. The fee for this convention will be $195.00 ($220 at the door); the fee covers convention materials, coffee breaks and snacks as well as the convention banquet. A block of rooms has been reserved for convention attendees at the Hilton Garden Inn. The rate is $139 (plus hotel tax) a night for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, but is $169 for Thursday, October 24th. Breakfast is provided in the room price, and all rooms have fridges. Single and double rooms are available. All delegates’ membership dues will have to be up to date by the time the convention opens.

Are there any programs to offset these costs?

YES, listed below.

1)      Travel Share

Delegates to the convention participate in a mandatory travel share program that is intended to equalize or offset transportation costs. There are two options:

Option 1:

An estimated travel share will be set prior to convention. If their travel cost is less than the estimated travel share a delegate pays into the fund at the registration table. If they spent more than the estimate they will receive a rebate of the difference after the convention. Travel expense information is collected at registration so that the final travel share will be based on the exact cost. Covered expenses include airfare, bus fare or train fare. Mileage and tolls (based on the IRS charity mileage rate in effect at the convention (currently 14 cents a mile). Hotel costs, transportation to or from an airport or other terminal, and meal costs are not included. Delegates are expected to travel on 21-day non-refundable airline tickets or their equivalent. Transportation costs deemed excessive may reduced for the purpose of calculating and dispensing rebates. Travel from outside the United States is not included. Delegates who travel from outside the United States may submit a travel cost based domestic airfares. A committee of delegates will work with the National Director address any inequities that may arise in the administration of the travel share system.

Option 2:

Delegates traveling together by car or traveling by other less expensive travel methods may opt to pay a flat travel fee of $75 which will be used to subsidize delegates required to fly. Those paying the flat fee would not receive a subsidy from the travel share fund; but would save $125-$145 on the traditional travel pool. We believe that this system will also increase the subsidy to those who have to fly.

2)      Sharing Hotel Rooms

The national office can arrange for people to pair up in hotel rooms with someone of the same gender identity. Note your interest when you register or contact the national office directly at info (at) or (212) 727-8610.

3)      Staying with DSAers Outside the Hotel

The East Bay DSA local chapter is asking members who can put up out-of-towners for free. This could mean a bed, or a couch or even the floor. Note your interest when you register or contact the national office directly at info (at) or (212) 727-8610.

4)      Scholarship Support from National DSA

A small scholarship fund is available to help subsidize participation. This fund prioritizes helping students and young people, but low income members may also apply. Delegates may request the scholarship application form from the national office directly at info (at) or (212) 727-8610. To contribute to the scholarship fund, click here.

5)      Scholarship Support from Local DSA

Local DSA chapters are responsible for doing everything possible to fundraising and subsidize low-income delegates’ participation.

How will I find out about convention resolutions and other important convention business?

Any delegate, local or member may submit a resolution to be considered at the convention. They should be submitted by October 16th to info (at) All proposed resolutions will be posted on the convention page of DSA’s web site. Delegates will be emailed convention materials as we near the convention.

Is there any mechanism for pre-convention discussion among the delegates and other DSA members?

Local chapters are encouraged to have meetings to discuss convention issues in October. Additionally, delegates will be added to a moderated discussion email list.

What about the convention hotel?

Accommodation is $139 a night for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, but is $169 for Thursday, October 24th, should you arrive early (good idea for East Coast travelers). Breakfast is provided in the room price, and all rooms have fridges. To reserve a room with the special convention rate (plus tax), call (510) 658-9300 and reference “DSA” (and insist on the special rate). You may also do so via our special DSA reservations page. NOTE: If you book online for Thursday through Sunday the reservation system, may give you the $169 rate. Only when you are about to enter your credit card information does it then show the correct rates. 

What about transportation from the airport.?

Those flying to the convention should plan on flying into Oakland International Airport rather than to San Francisco International Airport. Oakland is about a 25 minute taxi ride, costing $45-50, whereas San Francisco is 45 minutes and about $80. There is a AirBART shuttle bus which costs $3.00 exact change which takes you from Oakland International Airport to the Coliseum/Oakland Airport BART (public train) station. The closest BART station to the hotel is McCarther, in Oakland, which is about a 12 minute drive from the hotel. There is a public bus (Emery-go-round) which stops at both the BART and the hotel. Click here to see bay area transportation information.

The Emeryville shuttle that goes between Bart and the hotel comes every 15 minutes. The hours on week days are 6:00AM-10:30PM, on weekends the hour are 9:20AM-10:00PM.

What about driving to the Convention?

You should not need a car in for convention events. Parking at the hotel is $15 per night for all guests and convention attendees. Remember that the mileage allowance for the convention travel share is the IRS charity rate, currently 14 cents a mile. (However most drivers will want to opt for the flat fee plan.)

What about train service?

The closest public train (BART) station is McCarther, in Oakland, which is about a 12 minute drive. There is a public bus (Emery-go-round) which stops at both the BART and the hotel. The Emeryville shuttle that goes between Bart and the hotel comes every 15 minutes. The hours on week days are 6:00AM-10:30PM, on weekends the hour are 9:20AM-10:00PM.

Amtrak also stops within 5 blocks of the hotel, the station is called Emeryville (EMY). Click here to see bay area transportation information.

There is a shuttle you can also call to buy a ticket if you arrive or depart after the BART is no longer running in the evening: Bayporter  877.467.1800.

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.


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 <> 607-280-7649.
  • If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt <> 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.