LSC Opposes "Resolution for Quarterly Reports from Chapters and Dues Share"

- Caucus Statement

The Libertarian Socialist Caucus of DSA fundamentally disagrees with “Resolution for Quarterly Reports from Chapters and Dues Share,” a resolution proposed for the January 14th NPC Meeting, which calls for chapters to have mandatory quarterly calls with Field Organizers. If chapters miss two meetings in a row, their dues share income is completely withheld; if they miss three, the chapter may be dechartered entirely. This opens the door to cutting chapter dues share, which risks cutting off chapters from the national organization. DSA National will be at its weakest in the coming months as a result of this budget crisis. The national organization will be offering less and asking more from local chapters. Local chapters are the lifeblood of DSA; we view this resolution as an unacceptable abuse of the budget shortfall as a pretext for centralizing the organization in a way that is incredibly destructive.

This atmosphere of extreme tension is not conducive to increasing chapter discipline, and the passage of this resolution may instead result in chapter disaffiliations and splits. National has not created an environment of trust that makes this feasible. This resolution will place a higher burden on smaller chapters, who rely on the income from dues share for their fundamental infrastructure. If chapters miss the emails, or have internal conflicts that distract from meeting with the field organizers, many chapters would lose over half of their income. It is already difficult to convince members to sign on for income based dues, but it is made even harder when they have this pressure hanging over them. Enforcement of this resolution would have even more negative consequences, as severing the financial link between DSA chapters and national would incentivize chapters to move their members to a local dues structure, further depriving DSA of income at the worst possible time. We firmly believe that the dues share program is a net financial positive for DSA, and should not be imperiled or undermined in a time of crisis.

Furthermore, we have concerns with how this resolution puts barriers from our organization being member-run. With the budget crisis we are in currently, the staff of DSA is incentivized to ensure as few staff cuts happen as possible. It is impossible to have no staff layoffs and fully funded dues share. With staff meeting with chapters and having the ability to give favorable or unfavorable reports back to the NPC, it provides too much leverage for staff to influence this critical decision. DSA is a member-run organization, and we should not and cannot prioritize staff over the membership that makes DSA unique among American political organizations.

It is important for DSA chapters to meet with field organizers, but chapters should be encouraged to do so, not forced with the cudgel of losing their funding or dechartering. It is clear that this resolution has a veneer of addressing budgetary concerns, but instead forces ham-fisted discipline at a time when DSA is more precarious than it has been in years. This is unacceptable and dangerous, and we reject it in the strongest possible terms. LSC strongly encourages every NPC member to vote against this resolution, and we strongly encourage Megan R and Ashik S, the authors of this resolution, to withdraw it from consideration.

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