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 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.