Start A Chapter

Please read the information below to learn more about the goals & expectations of becoming an officially-recognized DSA Chapter. 
Student? Fill out the YDS Leaders form on the YDS website.
 
Thank you for your interest in starting a chapter in your community! DSA chapters are the most important building block of our movement because they get people involved with the people around them every day and allow us to have a real, on-the-ground impact on politics and activism. Please read the following information about starting a DSA chapter before filling out the interest form at the bottom of the page:

DSA Chapters serve the following roles in a community:
  1. Chapters demonstrate real socialist values, as opposed to what the right-wing describes as socialism. By being visible, active, and made up of ordinary people who decided they were tired of feeling powerless, chapters help undermine the right-wing's use of socialism to scare people.
  2. Chapters open up space for progressives by having a radical alternative vision and expanding the debate about local current events to the left in a way that relates to peoples' ordinary lives, much like the Tea Party pulls the debate to the right.
  3. Chapters train strategic, smart activists who attack the entire system of capitalism and related problems of racism, sexism, etc. in all the institutions of our society, rather than simply attacking the symptoms.
  4. Chapters integrate many issues, recognizing that all of our struggles are related rather than totally separate, and we prefer to focus on activist campaigns that highlight our connections and truly empower ordinary people at the expense of the ruling class. We call these transformative reforms, or "non-reformist" reforms, meaning they are strategic and help us move towards our long term, radical vision.
  5. Chapters create a real local community for self-education, mutual support and self-reflection so we can apply our lessons from activism to our theoretical understanding of the world, and vice versa, and we can have fun and make this work sustainable for the long haul.
Strong DSA Chapters have the following core elements in order to fulfill the local roles above:
  • Internal self-education and respectful dialog: reading groups about theoretical perspectives or current events using short articles or heavy duty readings, like Marx for example.
  • Public education: events introducing non-members to socialist ideas.
  • Organizing: ongoing grassroots activist work as an open socialist organization to both promote real change, build a base, and build trust with others in the community
  • Socializing and healthy community: Fun activities and attention paid to making the chapter welcoming to a wide range of people.
  • Self-evaluation: Deliberate group reflection on a regular basis and conscious work for more experienced members to help less experienced members learn and grow.
  • Constant recruitment: because of the old organizing adage "if you're not growing, you're shrinking" and we need a larger and stronger movement to win!

There are several steps towards becoming an officially-recognized DSA Chapter, and it all begins with filling out the form below.


DSA CHAPTER INTEREST FORM

Interested in starting a chapter? Fill out the DSA Chapter Interest Form and someone from the National office will get back to you as soon as possible!

Questions? Email: info(a)dsausa.org

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

February 27, 2017
· 44 rsvps

Join Rahel Biru, NYC DSA co-chair, and Sean Monahan, Providence DSA and National Political Committee member, on this webinar for an overview of what we in Democratic Socialists of America mean when we talk about "socialism," "capitalism" and the goals of the socialist movement.  9 PM ET; 8 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 6 PM PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Sean Monahan, sean.yds@gmail.com.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Feminist Working Group

March 07, 2017
· 46 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 elections.  9 pm ET; 8 pm CT; 7 pm MT; 6 pm PT.

LGBT Activism: A Brief History with Thoughts about the Future

April 01, 2017
· 24 rsvps

Historian John D'Emilio's presentation will do 3 things: Provide a brief explanation of how sexual and gender identities have emerged; provide an overview of the progression of LGBT activism since its origins in the 1950s, highlighting key moments of change; and, finally, suggest what issues, from a democratic socialist perspective, deserve prioritizing now. John co-authored Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, which was quoted by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision that ruled state sodomy laws unconstitutional. 1 pm ET; 12 pm CT; 11 am MT; 10 am PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Peg Strobel, peg.strobel@sbcglobal.net.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 22 rsvps

Join DSA members Glenn Scott and Richard Croxdale to discuss videos produced by People’s History in Texas (PHIT), a project that brings to life the stories of ordinary people in significant socio-political movements in Texas. They will discuss The Rag, their newest documentary, which tells the story of an influential underground paper based in Austin, Texas, from 1966-77. Click here to view Part I (the early years as an all-volunteer paper covering the student, anti-Vietnam and Civil Rights movements), Part II (the impact of Women’s Liberation on the paper) and Part III (building community: covering local politics, nukes, co-ops, feminist institutions). But also check out the video on the Stand-Ins about a group of university students who led a movement to desegregate Austin’s movie theaters in 1961. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 37 rsvps

Join DSA member Jason Schulman to discuss the film Rosa, directed by feminist filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta. View it here at no cost before the discussion. Marxist theorist and economist Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) played a key role in German socialist politics. Jason edited Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Legacy and has a chapter in Rosa Remix. 9 ET/8 CT/7 MT/6 PT.