BYLAWS OF THE LIBERTARIAN SOCIALIST CAUCUS

Version 1.0 | Approved 12/04/2017

The official version of these bylaws can be downloaded as PDF.

Article I. Name.

The name of this body shall be the Libertarian Socialist Caucus (hereinafter referred to as “the LSC” or “the national LSC”), a caucus of the Democratic Socialists of America (hereinafter referred to as “the DSA”).

Article II. Purpose.

The Libertarian Socialist Caucus is an organization of members of the Democratic Socialists of America who believe that libertarian socialist values are the fullest embodiment of this democratic socialist vision. We cherish the DSA’s status as a multi-tendency mass socialist organization and wish to create a space within the DSA to discuss and organize for the development of socialism beyond the state.

We take libertarian socialism to encompass those parts of the socialist movement (including syndicalists, council communists, anarchists, cooperativists, and municipalists, among many others) which have historically seen the surest path to socialism as residing in the creation of independent institutions in civil society that give the working class and ordinary people direct power over their lives.

We believe in the socialist principles of common ownership and that worker control over workplaces can only be advanced through the creation and support of worker-owned firms, radical trade unions, workers’ and neighborhood councils, popular assemblies, credit unions and alternative banking systems, community land trusts, and other directly democratic non-state institutions. The power of socialist parties and socialist governments should be subordinate to these more decentralized grassroots formations.

The Libertarian Socialist Caucus operates on three shared principles we see as inseparable from libertarian socialism:

FREEDOM refers to the positive capacity of all individuals and communities for self-determination. We believe that the freedom enjoyed by individuals is an inalienable social good and can only be strengthened through solidarity and democracy.

SOLIDARITY refers to the understanding that all oppressed people—both the economically exploited and the politically marginalized—share a common struggle towards a free and equal society. We aim to organize our movements accordingly, providing mutual aid and support to one another and deferring to the initiative of those most affected by decisions, on the principle that an injury to one is an injury to all.

DEMOCRACY refers to collective decision-making free from hierarchy, domination, and coercion. Democracy is a social relation between free individuals that should not be reduced solely to institutions or elections. We believe that democracy is always a “work in progress” to be altered or improved by communities according to their needs.

In accordance with these three fundamental values, the Libertarian Socialist Caucus is suspicious of centralized forms of governance and decision making processes that undermine freedom, solidarity, and democracy. Instead, we wish to promote the ability of individuals and communities to set their own priorities, both inside and outside the DSA. Governing authority is illegitimate in itself and can only be justified if it is delegated by and subordinated to a democratic assembly. It is our belief that all political institutions must be held to the highest standards of accountability, transparency, and direct-democratic recall. We believe this vision can only be realized through the abolition of classes, common ownership of the means of production, and its democratic management to meet the needs of all.

Our particular vision of a libertarian socialist society—and the specific path we intend to take to get there—will emerge out of the discussions and activities of the LSC itself. We believe radical democracy is an ongoing participatory process of deliberation, renegotiation, and collective self-determination. It is for the people themselves to decide what the world they wish to live in is to be. Our inability to describe the precise contours of the liberated society is rooted in the simple fact that democracy is inherently a work in progress, continually created and recreated by its participants.

In short, wherever domination exists—of bosses over workers, of men over women and gender nonconformists, of states over subjects, of whites over people of color, of human society over the rest of the web of life—we seek to replace it with equality, cooperation, love, and mutual respect. Ours is a vision of total liberation, not just in some far-flung revolutionary future but here and now.

Article III. Membership.

Section 1. Qualification

LSC membership shall be open to any members of the DSA in good standing who are sympathetic to the ideals of libertarian socialism and agree with the purpose of the LSC, as outlined in Article II.

Section 2. Quarterly Poll

At least once per quarter, a poll will be emitted electronically to all members of the LSC. Members’ responses will be due seven days from when the poll is sent. This poll will include a question asking the member whether they intend to be active within the LSC for that quarter. If the member answers in the affirmative, they will be recorded as an active member for that quarter. Should the member answer in the negative, or provide no response to the poll by the deadline, they will be considered inactive for that quarter. Active members of the LSC will hold no privileges over inactive members. No personally unique identifying information shall be required, collected, or tracked as part of this polling process. The number of respondents will be used only to calculate quorum, as outlined in Article VI, Section 2. At any time during the quarter, should a member who responded in the affirmative no longer intend to be an active member for any reason, that member is highly encouraged to emit notice of such to the Engagement Working Group, or via official channels of communication as outlined in Article X.

Section 3. Dues

There shall be no dues required of members of the LSC.

Section 4. Exclusions

Those who work to uphold or defend the carceral and militarist state, or wield state or capitalist power to enforce systems of oppression shall not be permitted membership in the LSC.

Ambiguous cases can be brought before the national LSC for a decision as outlined in Article VI.

Section 5. Removal of Members

An individual may be removed from membership of the LSC if their actions prove to be inconsistent with the ideals of libertarian socialism, or if they are found to be working against the interests of the LSC. Removal of membership from the LSC shall not necessarily coincide with removal from the DSA.

A number of members of the LSC no fewer than ⅖ (two-fifths) of the Active Member Number, may submit a vote for member removal by presenting a list of charges against the accused to the national LSC. The vote will proceed pursuant to the methods as outlined in Article VI, except in the case that the quorum for a removal vote is equal to the Active Member Number, as outlined in Article VI. In circumstances outlined in Article IX, Section 7, a member may also be removed by unanimous vote of the Harassment Grievance Representatives after performing due diligence pursuant to a grievance.

Article IV. Leadership and Officers.

To best reflect the values the LSC was founded on, those of democracy, freedom, and solidarity, no formal officers or hierarchical system of leadership shall be established. To carry out the responsibilities typically delegated to such positions, any member of the LSC may take on a task-oriented role to complete specific goals. Such roles may arise spontaneously, are temporary in nature, and are taken on with the mutual consent and for the mutual benefit of the LSC. Members of the LSC may also organize working groups and initiatives, as outlined in Article V, to facilitate work delegation to complete specific goals. Working groups and initiatives shall also be non-hierarchical, and include temporary, task-based roles that any member of the LSC may perform.

Article V. Structure.

Section 1. National LSC

The Libertarian Socialist Caucus shall comprise of members of the DSA that have successfully completed the LSC membership requirements as defined in Article III, that are not currently expelled from the DSA or the LSC. The LSC has a flat structure, and all members of the LSC may take part in all working groups and initiatives, perform a number of roles, and have varying levels of engagement. No one member of the LSC is more or less important than another, and no role, engagement, or other status shall imply that any member holds a position of authority over others in the LSC, as outlined in Article IV.

Section 2. Locals and Sections

  1. Members of the LSC that are also members of the same chapter of the DSA may organize a Local of the LSC at will.
  2. Members of the LSC that reside in the same state or region may organize a regional Section of the LSC at will.
  3. Members of the LSC with a common struggle, focus, identity, or interest may organize a Section of the LSC pertaining to said commonality at will.
  4. Locals and Sections of the LSC may choose to adopt their own bylaws, as long as they reflect the principles of the LSC and do not conflict with the bylaws of the DSA or the LSC. Locals and Sections shall be affiliated with the national LSC with a vote of ¾ (three-fourths) in assent. The national LSC may disaffiliate itself from any Local or Section, provided a motion to vote on disaffiliation passes with ¾ (three-fourths) in assent. After such a motion passes, a vote to disaffiliate will be held among the national LSC, and shall require a vote of ⅘ (four-fifths) in assent in order to disaffiliate the national LSC from a Local or Section.
  5. Locals or Sections of the LSC may choose to disband at will as per their own bylaws. If a Local or Section seeks not to disband but rather to disaffiliate from the national LSC (continue existing as a separate entity from the national LSC), a motion to vote on disaffiliation must pass with ¾ (three-fourths) of the said Local or Section in assent. After such a motion passes, a vote to disaffiliate will be held among the national LSC, and shall require ⅘ (four-fifths) of the national LSC to vote in assent in order to disaffiliate the Local or Section from the national LSC.
  6. No Local or Section that becomes disaffiliated from the LSC shall present itself as a member of the LSC nor use “LSC” in its name, and disaffiliated Locals or Sections shall promptly cease doing so after disaffiliation.

Section 3. Working Groups

  1. A working group is a long-term structure that administers a specific activity of the LSC. Working groups shall be regularly active, transparent, and accountable to the members of the LSC.
  2. Working groups shall have facilitators, who act as point person(s) for delegating tasks and coordinating between the national LSC and other working groups. Facilitators shall be identified at the formation of a working group, and shall have term limits of no longer than one year, unless no replacement steps forward and the current facilitator is willing to continue for a consecutive term.
  3. Working group facilitators are responsible for:
    1. Organizing official channels of communication for all members of the working group, as outlined in Article X;
    2. Organizing regular meetings between members of the working group;
    3. Ensuring minutes are recorded for all meetings, any major decisions made are summarized, and any other updates are made available to all members of the LSC on a regular basis.
  4. Working groups may be formed by any members of the LSC pursuant to the methods as outlined in Article VI.
  5. If a decision is reached by a working group that affects the national LSC, or requires action outside of the members of the working group, the working group facilitator(s) are responsible for presenting the decision before the national LSC pursuant to the methods as outlined in Article VI.

Section 4. Initiatives

  1. Initiatives are spontaneous, temporary groups that any member(s) of the LSC may form to organize prompt action around a specific goal. This may include but is not limited to making a statement, organizing an event or action, or providing mutual aid. No formal processes are required to organize an initiative, except as outlined in subsection b. However, member(s) facilitating the initiative are strongly encouraged to publicly announce the initiative’s intent via the official LSC communication channels as outlined in Article X, and to ensure the initiative is in line with the values of the LSC.
  2. If an initiative requires action by or represents (e.g. a public statement) the national LSC, member(s) facilitating the initiative must make a case for the initiative, and publicly announce the initiative’s intent via the official LSC communication channels as outlined in Article X. After which, the initiative shall be presented before the national LSC pursuant to the methods as outlined in Article VI.

Article VI. Decision-Making.

Section 1. Engagement Working Group

  1. The LSC shall convene an Engagement Working Group to encourage maximal participation of members in workings and decision making of the LSC.
  2. Any member of the LSC may participate in the Engagement Working Group. The Engagement Working Group shall have 4 (four) standing facilitators, who shall each oversee one of the respective responsibilities as outlined in subsection c. Facilitators’ terms shall not last longer than one year, unless no replacements step forward and the current facilitators are willing to continue for a consecutive term.
  3. The Engagement Working Group shall be responsible for:
    1. Quorum Polling, as outlined in Section 2, which includes:
      1. Emitting quarterly polls, as outlined in Article III, Section 2, and calculating the Active Members Number.
      2. Announcing quorum requirements for each quarter.
    2. Voting, as outlined in Section 4, which includes:
      1. Identifying proposals in need of a vote.
      2. Setting up and announcing votes on proposals to all members of the LSC via the official channels of communication as outlined in Article X.
      3. Ensuring all requirements are met for the voting process as outlined in Section 4.
      4. Recording and announcing the results of votes to all members of the LSC.
    3. Quarterly Meetings, as outlined in Section 5, which includes:
      1. Setting the date and time for each quarterly meeting of the national LSC.
      2. Commence planning of quarterly meetings at least two weeks prior to their set date and time.
      3. Determining the mode of meetings, and arranging logistics on the designated official platform (if virtual), or the meeting space (if in person).
      4. Generating a draft agenda for each meeting, and soliciting contributions from members to be added to the agenda.
      5. Announcing the final agenda proposal to members of the LSC via the official channels of communication at least 48 hours prior to commencement of scheduled meetings.
      6. Selecting a meeting chair for meetings, as defined in Section 5, subsection b.
      7. Ensuring minutes are recorded for all meetings and any major decisions made are summarized, and they are made available to all members of the LSC no later than one week following the meeting.
    4. Member Outreach, which includes:
      1. Identifying and greeting new members of the LSC.
      2. Providing new members with relevant information and opportunities to get involved.
      3. Making requests of members to volunteer for necessary tasks.
      4. Emitting a quarterly newsletter with summaries of votes, and any relevant minutes to all members of the LSC.

Section 2. Quorum

  1. At least once per quarter[1], a poll shall be emitted to all members of the the LSC to determine the number of members that intend to be be active participants in decisions during that quarter as outlined in Article III Section 2. The number of members that respond in the affirmative shall be the Active Members Number. Members who answer in the negative, or provide no response to the poll by the deadline, shall not be barred from voting in subsequent decisions. No personally unique identifying information shall be required, collected, or tracked as part of this polling process. At any time during the quarter, an active member may emit notice of intent to become inactive as outlined in Article III, Section 2; upon said notice, the Active Members Number shall be decremented by one.
  2. The quorum shall be ⅔ (two-thirds) of the Active Members Number. No decision shall be made by the national LSC without a quorum, and no decision shall be made in any meeting, regardless of platform, without a quorum in attendance. For asynchronous decisions, no decision shall be considered valid without a quorum responding. Abstentions shall be considered responses.
  3. Proposals brought forth for decision by the national LSC may include a requirement for a higher quorum number, but no proposal shall not include any language that lowers the quorum requirement below ⅔ (two-thirds) of the Active Members Number.

Section 3. Thresholds

  1. Approval of a motion submitted to an asynchronous vote shall require a ¾ (three-fourths) vote in assent, except where otherwise stated in these bylaws.
  2. The following thresholds shall apply to all meetings, regardless of platform; working groups and initiatives shall also apply these thresholds to their respective meetings.
    1. Procedural motions (e.g. motion to end discussion, motion to table) shall require a ⅔ (two-thirds) vote in assent.
    2. Approval of a motion in meeting, after a vote to end discussion, shall require a ¾ (three-fourths) vote in assent.
    3. Approval of a motion in meeting without discussion shall require a 9/10 (nine-tenths) vote in assent.

Section 4. Voting Processes

  1. Voting outside of meetings (“asynchronous voting”) shall occur in a official platform for electronic voting as outlined in Article X. The stages of the voting process are as follows:

    1. A proposal to hold a vote must be made and seconded in an official LSC communication channel.
    2. A seven day discussion period will begin if the proposal is seconded. During this period, the proposal can be debated.
    3. Members of the LSC may amend the proposal at the discretion of the initial member who proposed it. If a proposal is amended, the final vote shall be on the amended version of the language as it stands once the discussion period is concluded.
    4. During the discussion period, alternative proposals on the same topic may be added for consideration by a seconded motion in an official LSC communication channel. If a member objects to the alternative proposal as off-topic, the Engagement Working Group shall adjudicate the matter. Alternative proposals may be withdrawn by their sponsors, and may also be amended as described in (iii).
      Upon the conclusion of the discussion period, a seven day voting period will begin via a poll created in the official LSC communication channel for voting as outlined in Article X. The poll will be emitted to all members of the LSC for vote. If any alternative proposals were made, the vote shall be a ranked choice vote including each alternative along with “no action”. Members may change their vote prior to the conclusion of the voting period. The poll shall be timed to close at the end of the voting period.
    5. A vote of ¾ (three-fourths) of respondents in assent is required in order to pass the proposal, as outlined in Article VI, Section 3.
    6. A motion to extend either the discussion or voting period must be seconded and a procedural vote of ⅔ (two-thirds) of respondents in assent is required to pass, upon which voting stages outlined herein items i. through iv. shall be initiated, with exception of discussion and voting period times, which must be announced prior to beginning the voting stages.
  2. In a case of requirement of an expedited decision due to emergency vote or urgent occasions, the discussion period and the voting period can each be reduced. This requires a motion to reduce which must be seconded and without objection. If an objection is raised, a procedural ⅔ (two-thirds) vote shall be required to reduce either discussion or voting period, in a expedited voting period of 24 hours.

    Neither the discussion period nor the voting period shall be reduced to less than 24 hours.

Section 5. Meetings

  1. At least once per quarter, the LSC shall convene national meetings, either in-person or virtual, to discuss business of the LSC and to hear reports from working groups and initiatives.
  2. All members of the LSC may participate in national meetings and have the right to speak.
  3. The rules of order for national meetings shall be decided by the LSC, and may vary between meetings or meeting type, and can be changed without amendment to the bylaws.
  4. A meeting chair shall be selected for each meeting, and effort shall be made ensure a rotation of a diversity of members. If no member of the Engagement Working Group is available to chair during the selecting time of the meeting, a chair may be recruited from general members of the LSC. No member of the LSC shall chair more than two quarterly meetings in a row, or more than two quarterly meetings a year. The selected meeting chair is responsible for the following duties:
    1. Chairing the meeting, following procedures as outlined in this section.
    2. Determining that quorum is satisfied at the start of the meeting as detailed in Article VI, Section 2.
    3. Finalizing the meeting agenda at the start of the meeting. Approving the meeting agenda shall require a procedural ⅔ (two-thirds) of the respondents to vote in assent to pass.
    4. Recognizing speakers by way of progressive stack, when the medium of communication allows it.

Article VII. Amendments.

Section 1. Amendment Process

  1. Any member of the LSC may propose an amendment to the bylaws. The proposal must be seconded by another member, at which point a vote shall be opened to determine if an amendment process shall take place. The vote shall be conducted via the asynchronous voting procedure, as outlined in Article VI, Section 4.

  2. On conclusion of the voting period to determine opening the amendment process, if the quorum is satisfied, the process shall begin. Subsequently, a vote for consideration of the proposal for amendment shall be opened, and shall require ¾ (three-fourths) of all respondents to vote in assent to be approved, as outlined in Article VI, Section 3.

  3. If approved, an Amendment Committee shall be convened, consisting of the member who brought forth the proposal, and any interested members of the LSC. One or more members shall act as facilitator(s) and are responsible for arranging and chairing a virtual meeting to consider the amendment, which shall be open to all members of the LSC. The member who brought forth the proposal may not act as facilitator.

  4. The member who brought forth the amendment proposal shall submit the following to the Amendment Committee for consideration:

    1. The text of the proposed amendment, and a reference to the original language of the article(s) of the bylaws.
    2. A brief written statement on the proposed amendment, explaining purpose and expected outcome(s).
    3. Should it be deemed necessary, the Amendment Committee may decide to amend the original proposal. They may also propose additional amendments to the bylaws, which shall be considered separately.
  5. The Amendment Committee shall emit the text of the finalized amendment proposals, and their accompanying written statements to all members of the LSC via official LSC communication channels, and shall open a vote for consideration of each proposal separately, as outlined in Article VI, Section 4.

  6. On conclusion of the voting period to pass the amendment(s), if a quorum of respondents is satisfied, and if a required supermajority 9/10 (nine-tenths) of all respondents vote in assent, the amendment passes and shall immediately take effect. The Amendment Committee shall be responsible for updating the written record of the bylaws. If the amendment(s) fail, the original language of the bylaws shall remain in effect.

Upon completion of the process for amendment, the Amendment Committee shall be dissolved.

Section 2. Re-Ratification

Beginning in 2017, every two years on November 1, the current bylaws shall be brought before the LSC for ratification via the asynchronous voting procedure, as outlined in Article VI, Section 4. Ratification requires ¾ (three-fourths) of respondents to vote in assent. During the voting procedure, if an amendment to the bylaws is proposed, as outlined in Section 1, Subsection a, the ratification process shall be suspended until completion of the amendment process, as outlined in Section 1. Subsequently, the ratification process shall proceed until a final set of bylaws is approved.

Article VIII. Finances.

Care shall be taken by the national LSC to ensure that any funds given to the national LSC are accounted for, retained, and distributed accurately. Funds shall be considered “given to the national LSC” if:

  1. They are donations made to the order of the Libertarian Socialist Caucus, the LSC, the DSA LSC, or any other variation of this name.
  2. They are donated at a place where LSC goods or services are provided.
  3. A donor specifies verbally or in writing that these funds are to be delivered to the LSC.

Members of the LSC receiving given funds for the national LSC shall be responsible for ensuring that given funds are available to the national LSC.

A process for financial accounting of funds belonging to the LSC shall be determined. Should an individual be chosen by the national LSC to undertake said accounting, or act in any other way as an agent of the LSC for legal purposes, said individual shall not be considered an “officer” of the LSC as none shall be established, as outlined in Article IV. Said chosen agent(s) shall be delegated to reimburse, purchase, and otherwise allocate LSC funds in a process which shall be defined by the national LSC.

Article IX. Harassment Grievance Procedures.

Section 1. Scope

This Harassment Grievance Procedure applies to all LSC and DSA venues in which members of the LSC communicate, both in person and online. This includes but is not limited to DSA national conventions, DSA local chapter meetings, DSA national and local communication platforms (e.g. Rocket Chat dsausa.chat, social media platforms and groups, virtual meeting platforms, and e-mail), any DSA specific communication platforms set up for working groups, sections, or initiatives, as well as all LSC in person meetings and LSC virtual communication platforms as outlined in Article X.

Section 2. Prohibited Behavior

  1. Members of the LSC shall not engage in any harassment or discrimination relating, but not limited to, sex, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical appearance, disability, race, color, religion, national origin, class, age, or profession. Behavior including, but not limited to, harassing or abusive behavior, unwelcome attention[2], inappropriate or offensive remarks, slurs, jokes, physical or verbal intimidation, stalking, inappropriate physical contact or proximity, or other verbal or physical conduct constitute harassment or discrimination when:
    1. Such conduct is prohibited either explicitly or implicitly by a term or condition of a member’s continued affiliation with the DSA.
    2. Submission or rejection of such conduct by a member is used as the basis for organizational decisions affecting said member; or
    3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating a hostile environment interfering with an members capacity to organize within the DSA[3].

Harassment or discrimination of any other type not specified will be evaluated during the complaint process.

Section 3. Reporting Harassment

Members of the LSC may file complaints to a Harassment Grievance Representative of the LSC pursuant to the standard complaint process of the DSA, outlined herein, should said member feel harassed in any way by another member. There shall be no time limits on the ability of the complainant to file a complaint after the alleged harassment has occurred.

Section 4. Harassment Grievance Representatives

  1. Harassment Grievance Representatives (hereinafter referred to as HGR) handle harassment complaints and serve as an intermediary between the complainant and accused. Written complaints may be filed to an HGR via a confidential e-mail as outlined in subsection c, ii, or in other official communication channels.

  2. The LSC shall select three members of the LSC to act as HGRs for a term of one year, unless no replacement steps forward and the current is willing to continue for a consecutive term, at least two HGRs shall be non-cisgender males. No more than one cisgender male may serve as an HGR at any given time.

  3. Harassment Grievance Representatives are responsible for:

    1. Responding to all complaints promptly, and follow the procedures as outlined throughout Article IX. to the best of their ability.
    2. Creating, maintaining, managing access solely to the HGR(s), and ensuring the privacy of a confidential email address to act as a “hotline”, which members of the LSC may confidentially file harassment complaints.
    3. Developing template forms both for reporting and responding to accusations of harassment that conform to the DSA’s requirements, as well as template forms for appeals.
  4. Any member of the LSC, including other acting HGRs, may request a vote to remove a Harassment Grievance Representative who fails to uphold these responsibilities. The member shall submit a written statement specifying the manner in which the HGR in question failed to uphold their responsibilities in order to initiate a vote for removal, which shall follow procedure as outlined in Article VI, Section 4.

Section 5. Harassment Report Process and Timeline

After a written complaint of harassment has been submitted, whether through the confidential HGR email “hotline” or otherwise, the following process steps will be initiated.

  1. The HGR(s) responsible for the reporting channel through with the complaint was filed shall, within seven days of receipt, notify the accused member a complaint has been filed against them and request a written response to the complaint either affirming or denying its substance.
  2. HGR(s) may recommend that parties do not contact each other for the duration of the investigative process
  3. The accused member shall submit a written response to the complaint within seven days of initial notification. If the accused member does submit a response by this deadline, the HGR will move to take appropriate disciplinary action.
    If the accused denies the substance of the complaint, the complaint will be marked disputed and the HGR handling the dispute shall have the option to investigate the dispute with the utmost respect for confidentiality of parties involved, actions of investigation may include:
    1. interviewing other members with direct knowledge of the substance of the complaint;
    2. requesting documentation from the complainant, accused, or any other parties directly involved; and
    3. employing any and all other means deemed necessary, within a time period not to exceed ten days.
  4. The HGR responsible for adjudicating the dispute will, to the best of their ability, determine whether the complaint is conclusive. If necessary, the HGR shall determine appropriate disciplinary action as soon as practicable, but no later than thirty days after the initial complaint was filed. This is to ensure the timely, efficient, accurate, and discreet adjudication of all reports.
  5. The HGR(s) may notify the national DSA Harassment Grievance Officers(s) of the complainants report and its substance at any time after the report is filed, however the HGR(s) must provide written notice to both the complainant and the accused before doing so.
  6. Members of the DSA who file a complaint via the DSA National Grievance Procedure against a member of the LSC are encouraged, however not obligated, to report their complaint to a LSC Harassment Grievance Representative as well, so that appropriate action may be taken. The LSC will not share the details of any complaint with another body of the DSA without providing written notice to both the complainant and accused before doing so.
  7. If, at any time, the LSC has one or more HGR positions vacant, the HGR(s) shall not proceed with the harassment grievance procedures until such time that all HGR positions are filled. Instead, complaints will be forwarded to the National DSA Harassment Grievance Officers(s), however the HGR(s) must provide written notice to the member who filed the complaint.

Section 6. Responsibilities of Harassment Grievance Representatives

HGRs will fulfill the following duties in addition to duties as outlined in Section 3, subsection c:

  1. Receive, acknowledge receipt of, and archive complaints.
  2. Notify accused of complaints, request written response, and archive any written responses.
  3. Conduct necessary investigations of complaints; and
    collectively and unanimously elect to carry out disciplinary action, when it is deemed necessary.
  4. Compile a yearly report that details:
    1. The number of harassment complaints that were filed.
    2. The number of complaints that were conclusive to enact the disciplinary process.
    3. The number of disciplinary actions were taken.
    4. Recommended changes and feedback to make the procedure more effective.
    5. Ensure the report does not include personally identifying information of any parties in any dispute. The HGR(s) of the LSC will send the yearly report to the national DSA Harassment Grievance Officers(s), and to all members of the the LSC than January 1 of the new year.

Section 7. Remedies and Penalties

  1. All complaints will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the HGR(s). The ultimate disposition of each complaint will be made by a unanimous decision of HGRs of the LSC.

  2. The HGRs of the LSC shall define a complaint report credible if it is determined conclusive in that allegations and factual evidence of occurrence outweighs any evidence to the contrary.

  3. If a complaint report is conclusive and defined credible, the HGRs are authorized to carry out the following actions for remedies and penalties:

    1. A formal discussion between the accused and the HGRs to develop a plan to change the harassing behavior(s).
    2. Suspension from meetings or organizational events of the LSC.
    3. Removal from working group(s) of the LSC.
    4. Removal from the LSC; and
    5. Any other actions deemed necessary and just by the chapter or national leadership.
  4. The appropriate actions will be determined by, among other things:

    1. The request of the complainant
    2. The severity of the offense
    3. The response of the accused; and
    4. The accused’s relevant behavioral histories
  5. Either party may appeal the actions determined by the HGRs. Appeal may be filed via appellate form created by the HGRs. Appeals must be filed within thirty days of receiving written notice of the HGRs’ decision, and will be forwarded to the national DSA Harassment Grievance Officers. The limited grounds for appeal are:

    1. Either party believes the behavior was not interpreted using the standards for harassment set out in Section 1, subsection a.
    2. Either party believes procedural errors, misconduct, or conflicts of interest affected the fairness of the outcome.
    3. Either party believes the remedy or penalty determined by the HGRs was grossly disproportionate to the violation committed.
  6. Retaliation is prohibited against any individual who files a complaint of harassment or discrimination pursuant to the procedure outlined in Article IX. Retaliation is also prohibited against individual(s) who assist with a complaint, or participates in any manner in an investigation or resolution of a complaint. Retaliatory behaviors include but are not limited to threats, intimidation, reprisals, or adverse actions related to organizing. If any party to the complaint believes there has been retaliation, they may inform the HGR to determine whether the retaliation shall factor into the original complaint, or to require treatment as a separate complaint to be handled via the procedures as outlined in Article IX.

Article X. Communications.

Section 1. Official Channels

  1. The LSC shall select, using the methods as outlined in Article VI, official channels of general communication. An official backup channel of general communication may be selected. All official communiques shall be sent by official channels of communication, except as indicated in this section.

  2. The LSC shall select, using the methods as outlined in Article VI, an official platform for electronic voting. An official backup means of voting may be selected. All official votes shall be held on the official platform, except as indicated in this section.

  3. The LSC shall select, using the methods as outlined in Article VI, an official platform for teleconferencing meetings. An official backup platform of teleconferencing may be selected. All official teleconference meetings shall be held on the official platform, except as indicated in this section.

  4. Should any primary channel or platform malfunction or be unavailable for use, the official backup platform may be used. Should any member of the LSC encounter difficulty voting, an alternative ballot shall be provided for them by any method available.

Section 2. Public Statements

  1. All statements made on behalf of the LSC shall be approved by the methods as outlined in Article VI before publication. Statements made prior to the time in which the bylaws shall take effect shall be subject to ratification, as outlined in Article VI.

  2. Statements made by Locals, Sections, Initiatives, or Working Groups shall be published on national LSC public-facing channels (e.g. an LSC website) after a vote pursuant to the methods as outlined in Article VI.

  3. Statements of dissent from official LSC statements shall be published on LSC public-facing channels (e.g. an LSC website) upon petition by 20% (twenty percent) of the Active Members Number. The LSC shall prominently disclaim such statements as the opinions of the signatories, and that such statements cannot be construed as official statements of the LSC.

The official version of these bylaws can be downloaded as a PDF.


  1. Quarters shall be considered every 3 months. Q1 = January to March; Q2 = April to June; Q3 = July to September; and Q4 = October to December. ↩︎

  2. “Unwelcome” means in the sense that the member did not solicit or incite it, and in the sense that the member regarded the conduct as undesirable or offensive. See Henson v. City of Dundee, 682 F.2d 897, 903 (11th Cir. 1982). ↩︎

  3. A “hostile environment” is one in which the harassment is sufficiently severe or pervasive as to alter the conditions of membership and create an abusive organizing environment. See Meritor Sav. Bank, FSB v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57, 67 (1986). Whether harassment is severe enough to reach this level is determined by whether a reasonable person would be offended by the conduct. See id. at 77. Further, in evaluating the severity and pervasiveness of harassment under this standard, DSA representatives should focus on the perspective of the victim. See Ellison v. Brady, 924 F.2d 872, 878 (9th Cir. 1991). This means critically analyzing, among other things, the different perspectives of those in a protected class. See id. ↩︎