NPC Steering Holds First Meeting Since BDS Debate
The Steering Committee (SC) of the National Political Committee (NPC) met on Friday, March 25, 2022. This was the first official NPC meeting since the de-chartering and subsequent reversal of the BDS and Palestinian Solidarity Working Group. The meeting was well attended with at one point thirty-three non-NPC observers in attendance. This meeting was also the first for newly-appointed SC member Sydney, who has replaced Gustavo after he stepped down from the SC. Matt M’s resignation from NPC this week leaves his Steering seat unfilled, making the composition of the current NPC Steering Jen M (Secretary-Treasurer), Sydney G, Justin, and Kristian H (Chair).
Clarity on BDS Decisions
Kristian H opened the meeting by acknowledging the tumultuous times in the organization, reading from the statement issued by the NPC. She also acknowledged the three new vacancies on the NPC, with the resignations of Aaron, Austin and Matt, and shared a draft application for members to apply to be appointed to one of the three open positions. Under the bylaws, NPC Vacancies are filled by a majority vote of the remaining sitting NPC members, so applications would be for consideration by the NPC to be appointed.
At a previous meeting, the NPC approved a proposal to publish their votes for members, which previously were not distributed unless they took place during a meeting. Because of the volume of their work, and urgency of many decisions, the NPC uses Loomio (an online voting program) for many decisions that require a full NPC vote. The Secretary-Treasurer Jen M. provided the NPC Vote Tracker 2021-2023 (link to the tracker here on the DSA Internal Forums), which will keep a listing of all NPC votes via all methods.
Jen read through all Loomio votes that had taken place since the last Steering Committee meeting on February 25. There were twenty-two votes via Loomio, including eight national endorsement votes and seven votes related to the BDS Working Group. These included a range of disciplinary methods the NPC was considering which eventually culminated in the decision to de-charter.
The published votes included more information on the NPC’s vote to recharter the Working Group, which also considered rescinding their suspension of the BDS Steering Committee from leadership, which failed 7-7-1. There was also a motion to reverse the suspension of the WG’s social media point person from DSA for one year, which did pass 9-7, reversing their suspension. This means the only decision from the March 18 announcement that remains in effect is the one-year leadership ban on the nine person BDS Steering Committee.
Ongoing DSA Campaigns and Work
The Development Director reported on the status of the upcoming Recommitment Drive. The Recommitment Drive, which will focus on asking lapsed and expired DSA members to return to the organization, will be used to raise funds to pay for the new Matching Funds program, which will provide money to chapters to help them open up physical offices and was passed at the 2021 Convention. The NPC voted unanimously to refer the question to the Budget & Finance committee to determine a baseline amount that they can plan to allot to the program from the Drive, to be reassessed and potentially increased at the end of the drive.
Sabrina, NPC liaison to the NEC, reported on the recently-approved program to provide grants ($127,500 in total) to nationally-endorsed Campaigns. Sabrina acknowledged that though financial resources are limited, plans to initiate the grant program are moving forward and the NEC has drafted guidance regarding eligibility criteria and a timeline for disbursal. Sabrina noted that they want to provide grants both to chapters looking to raise their fundraising capacity, as well as higher-profile campaigns that are closely contested. She also cited a need to hold money for unforeseen circumstances that campaigns may face. For the timeline, there will be three grant cycles where the NPC will consider requests in groups. She stated that this will help ensure they manage and budget the money appropriately, and understand the total demand for the program. Jen M. motioned for all grant applications submitted to be sent to NPC and the motion passed unanimously.
Laura provided an enthusiastic update on the DSLC-Starbucks campaign (“Solidarity is Brewing!”). The campaign will connect chapters already doing labor work with local Starbucks: identifying potential leaders in organizing stores, encouraging DSA members to work for Starbucks (salting new jobsites), and recruiting Starbucks workers to DSA. Laura discussed specific needs for the campaign, and noted that the comms team was in need of volunteers. The Communications Director stated that the communications team wanted to expand so that more volunteers could get involved, and that the Communications Committee was working on a plan to allow people working in communications across the organization to work together. It was agreed by Jen that less “siloization” of work would also be helpful to other formations like the National Technology Committee.
The Solidarity is Brewing Campaign kick-off call will feature Starbucks organizers, DSA leadership, and special guests including Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, and will be held March 27th at 6pm EST. Members can also sign up to get involved with the campaign here.
Ashik and Justin brought forward the proposal for DSA to co-sponsor the upcoming Socialism Conference hosted annually by Haymarket Books, which will take place in Chicago on September 2-5, 2022. DSA has co-sponsored this event in previous years and sends DSA organizers and leaders to host panels and workshops. Justin noted that this would be a good opportunity for members to come together in a comradely setting to develop relationships. Several NPC members said they were enthusiastic about the conference, and wanted to publicize it widely to members and encourage DSA committees and working groups to develop programming related to their work to present at the conference. The Steering Committee approved the co-sponsorship unanimously.
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