[As Amended March 24, 2018]
ARTICLE I NAME
The name of the Local shall be “Local Boston of the Democratic Socialists of America”. The organization is a chartered local of the Democratic Socialists of America, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation.
ARTICLE II PURPOSE
The Local Boston of the Democratic Socialists of America is a socialist organization. We reject capitalism: a coercive economic order based on private profit over community good, alienated labor that deprives us of freedom and dignity, and gross inequalities of wealth and power that enable abuse and exploitation in every realm of our lives. We believe capitalism is inextricably linked to discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability status, age, religion, and national origin and that it is maintained by brutality in defense of the status quo at home and imperialist violence and exploitation abroad.
As socialists, we share a vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality, and non-oppressive relationships. Our vision of socialism is intersectional: it is rooted in the belief that only the abolition of all exploitation and oppression can free human beings to develop to their fullest potential and realize a truly democratic society. Only by fighting for liberation against all forms of systemic oppression is socialism possible.
In the Democratic Socialists of America, we are developing a concrete strategy to achieve that vision by building a mass movement that will abolish capitalism and make socialism a reality both in the U.S. and worldwide. Such a strategy must acknowledge the class structure of our society, that there is an irreconcilable conflict between the interests of workers and capitalists which can only be overcome through a transformation of society led by working people. As members of the Local Boston of the Democratic Socialists of America, we intend to further develop our vision and enact it through our local organizing across the Greater Boston area.
ARTICLE III MEMBERSHIP
Section 1: Local Membership Defined
All national members in good standing of the Democratic Socialists of America who reside and/or work in the Greater Boston area shall be members of Local Boston of the Democratic Socialists of America. In order to be in good standing with national DSA, a member must meet the requirements set down in the national Constitution and Bylaws: they must state their agreement with the principles of the organization in an application for membership and must pay their annual national dues after this application has been accepted.
Section 2: Removal of Members
If a member is found to be in substantial disagreement with the principles or policies of National DSA, or if they are found to be consistently engaging in undemocratic, disruptive behavior, or if they are found to be under the direction of or under the discipline of any organization external to DSA which seeks to influence the internal policies or political decisions of DSA, the Local may vote to expel them from DSA. In order for such a finding to be made, another DSA member must formally proffer written charges against the member in question to the Executive Board, which shall set the date of a Local meeting for deliberations on the charges. The member in question must receive a copy of the written charges and notice of the meeting a minimum of two weeks before that meeting takes place. Expulsion of a member requires a two-thirds vote of the Local meeting. An expelled member may appeal to the National Political Committee of DSA.
Section 3: Disclosure
Any member must disclose their employment or political affiliation with law enforcement or any organization that seeks to directly uphold or defend the carceral state. The local membership should be informed if any person currently employed as a law enforcement officer is in attendance at any meeting of the local membership, committee, working group, Executive Board, or any other officially recognized group within the local.
Section 4: Dues
The Local may establish local membership dues by vote at an Annual Meeting, a Regular Meeting, or an Emergency Meeting. The membership may also decide to make payment of local dues a prerequisite for voting on local questions and standing for local office at an Annual Meeting, Regular Meeting, or Emergency Meeting, but all DSA members shall have a vote on national questions and be eligible to stand for national office irrespective of local status.
Section 5: Pledge Plan
The Local may establish a Local pledge system of voluntary donations for its members.
ARTICLE IV LOCAL MEETINGS
Section 1: Annual Meeting
The Local shall hold one Annual Meeting each year, the date, time and place of which shall be established by the Executive Board. All members of the Local will receive three weeks written or electronic mail notice and an agenda of the Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting shall elect local officers and at-large members of the Executive Board, and may adopt an annual budget, including the Local’s fundraising plan. The Annual Meeting is the highest legislative body of the Local.
A quorum of 10% of the local membership is required for the annual meeting to transact business. The agenda for the Annual Meeting shall be set by the Executive Board.
Section 2: Regular Meetings
The Local will hold Regular Meetings at least four times annually, the time and place of which shall be set in a schedule published and distributed by the Local Executive Committee. The Regular Meetings will set Local policy and work priorities, and may include political education sessions.
The Local Executive Committee will set the agenda for Regular Meetings. In general, the Regular Meeting is the operating legislative body of the Local.
A quorum of 5% of the local membership is required for a Regular Meeting to transact business. The Executive Board shall set the agenda for Regular Meetings.
Section 3: Emergency Meeting
The Executive Board may call an Emergency Meeting of the Local when an urgent and important matter requires deliberation. The Executive Board shall give as much notice as practicable under the circumstances of Emergency meetings to all Local members. The quorum requirements applicable to Regular Meetings shall apply to Emergency Meetings.
Section 4: Accessibility and Proxy
Meetings will be held in accessible locations whenever possible. Meetings will be live-streamed whenever feasible. Participation via video or teleconference shall be facilitated for members with disabilities requesting an accommodation. In addition, members may designate another member to act as their proxy vote and/or speaker, as an accommodation, by filing a request with a member of the Executive Board. The Executive Board will make it known to the local membership which Board member is the point person for accommodations, but any Board member contacted is responsible for making sure the member’s requests are heard and responded to.
Section 5: Endorsement Threshold
The threshold for endorsements of any kind shall be 60% of the voting members at a local meeting.
ARTICLE V LOCAL OFFICERS: POWERS AND DUTIES
Section 1: Offices Established
The Officers of the Local shall be: the two Co-chairs, the Treasurer, and the Communications Coordinator. The term of office shall run from the Annual Meeting at which the officers are elected until the next Annual Meeting.
Co-Chairs shall not be eligible to more than two (2) terms within six (6) consecutive years. After a lapse of one (1) year following a second term within the six year limitation, eligibility is reestablished.
Local non-chair officers shall not be eligible to more than four (4) terms within six (6) consecutive years. After a lapse of one (1) year following a second term within the six year limitation, eligibility is reestablished.
Section 2: Vacancies
In the event of a vacancy in any office, the Executive Board shall call for a special election to fill the unexpired term. Such election shall be held at a Regular Meeting, not later than three months after the vacancy occurs. If an Annual Meeting is scheduled before the last Regular Meeting at which the special election must be held, then the vacancy shall be filled at the regular elections at the Annual Meeting. Notice of a special election shall be included in the notice and agenda for the Regular Meeting at which it is to be held.
Section 3: Co-chairs
The Co-chairs shall be the chief executive officers of the Local. They shall preside over Local and Executive Board meetings and one of the Co-chairs shall assume the powers and duties of the presiding officer as specified in the Robert’s Rules of Order. The Co-chairs shall be the official public spokespersons for the Local and shall initiate such actions and policies as the Local’s general welfare may demand. At least one of the Co-chairs must not be male.
Section 4: Treasurer
The Treasurer is responsible for the funds and financial records of the Local. The Treasurer shall prepare the annual Local budget, and deliver a financial report to the Annual Meeting, as well as prepare periodic progress reports as requested by the Executive Board.
Section 5: Communications Coordinator
The Communications Coordinator is responsible for recording and communicating the business of the Local to members. The Communications Coordinator shall send calls for Regular Meetings, Executive Board Meetings, the Annual Meeting, and any other meetings, calls, or discussions open to membership. The Communications Coordinator shall ensure the calls for online voting are publicized to the membership. The Communications Coordinator shall ensure an agenda is created and minutes are taken at Regular Meetings, Executive Board Meetings, and the Annual Meeting and communicate those minutes to the membership. The Communications Coordinator is also responsible for coordinating the external communications infrastructure of the Local as head of the communications committee. This would include facilitating the creation and maintenance of external and internal communications standards and strategies. The Communications Coordinator would have the freedom to establish editorial and communications policy with input from the Executive Board and local membership unless overruled. Overruling would require a vote of a simple majority of members on the Executive Board or a vote of a simple majority of the local membership at a local meeting.
Section 6: Membership Coordinator
The Membership Coordinator is a non-voting elected position responsible for implementing programs to connect with the members of the local as a whole and encourage their engagement in the Local’s projects. They are accountable to the Executive Board and the local membership and will be elected by the local membership for a year’s tenure.
Section 7: Assignment of Temporary Duties
The Executive Board may assign additional temporary duties to an officer or member of the Local, so long as the assignment does not conflict with the designation of responsibilities outlined in these bylaws. All local officers may delegate their duties to any other local officer or member, but shall remain responsible to see that their duties are carried out. In the event of a vacancy in any office, the Executive Board may assign the duties of that office to another officer or member of the Local, notwithstanding the designation of responsibilities outlined in this article, until the vacancy is filled as provided in Section 2 of this article.
Section 8: Establishing New Officers
In the event of the addition of a new Officer position via bylaw amendment, the Executive Board shall call for a special election to fill the unexpired term. Such election shall be held at the second Regular Meeting after the passage of the bylaw amendment. If the position is elected from the current at-large Executive Board members, a vote to replace the vacant position would need to take place in the manner prescribed in Article V, Section 2 of these bylaws. Any member in good standing of Boston DSA is eligible for election, but the final body of the Executive Board must adhere to all prescribed compositions in Article VI, Section 1.
ARTICLE VI EXECUTIVE BOARD
Section 1: Composition of Executive Board; Term of Office
The Local shall have an Executive Board composed of the following members:
- a) The four Officers of the Local,
- b) Seven members elected at large at the Annual Meeting.
No more than five executive board members may identify as cis-men.
Members in good standing of the Local will be eligible for office, except:
- a) A candidate running for public office
- b) An elected official holding public office
Members of the Executive Board who begin a campaign or are elected or appointed to an elected public office during their term on the Executive Board must notify the Executive Board of this change in status and resign from the Executive Board. The vacancy will be filed through the procedure in Article VI, Section 2.
The term of office for all members of the Executive Board shall run from the Annual Meeting at which the officers and at-large members are elected until the next Annual Meeting.
The chair(s) of any Local Youth Sections, and the chair(s) of any Local Branches recognized by the Local shall be ex officio members of the Executive Board of the Local.
Members of the Executive Board may take a leave of absence for up to three months for emergencies or other personal difficulties. They must, as far as they are able, inform the Executive Board in writing of their intention to take a leave. The member on leave may appoint a replacement who will exercise their duties while they are on leave. The appointment of the replacement must be confirmed by the Executive Board.
Section 2: Vacancies
Vacancies in at-large seats shall be filled in the manner prescribed for filling officer vacancies in Article V, Section 2 of these bylaws.
Section 3: Powers and Duties of Executive Board
The Executive Board administers the affairs of the Local and oversees the implementation of the decisions of the Annual and Regular Meetings; it may also propose policy to the Annual and Regular Meetings. It shall have the power to receive reports of any Committee or Branch, and advise thereon, to call Emergency Meetings of the Local, and to act on any matter which requires immediate and urgent action. The Executive Board shall be responsible for maintaining any local office, and all decisions relating to the employment of any local staff. The Executive Board is the regular executive body of the Local, and thus subordinate to its legislative bodies, the Annual and Regular Meetings.
Section 4: Meetings
The meetings of the Executive Board shall be held at the call of the Co-chairs at such intervals as may be determined by the Executive Board. All members of the Executive Board must (ordinarily) be given four days oral or written notice of regular Executive Board meetings; a 24 hour notice may be given during special emergency circumstances. All Executive Board meetings shall be open to all members of the local, and to non-members at the Board’s discretion. The Board may meet in private session solely to evaluate the performance of or discipline the Local’s staff, to discuss individual performance, discipline or grievances with affected staff members, or to negotiate individually or bargain collectively with staff members over wages, salaries, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment. Local members shall have speaking rights before the Board, subject to reasonable time limitations the Board may set.
Section 5: Quorum
A quorum of at least half the Board members presently in office is required for the transaction of Executive Board business.
Section 6: Accountability
In the first meeting of the Executive Board after the annual meeting, the Executive Board shall set collective expectations that outline the commitments, duties, and responsibilities of individual Executive Board members. These responsibilities shall include, but are not necessarily limited to, not carrying out work in a timely manner, failing to engage in executive board debates and discussions, and routinely failing to attend meetings (nonfeasance). The Executive Board shall present the expectations to the general membership for discussion, amendments, and a vote of approval at the first regular meeting after the annual meeting.
Nonfeasance is defined to include unexcused absences from two or more consecutive Regular Meetings, unexcused absences from three or more Executive Board meetings, or otherwise not meeting collective expectations set by the Executive Board or fulfilling duties of the elected office. Remote participation in Executive Board meetings shall not count as absences. An excused absence shall be defined as any absence where the Board member notifies the Executive Board with 24 hours of notice, barring an emergency.
The Executive Board may recommend the removal of an Executive Board member for nonfeasance, which shall happen through a two-thirds vote of the membership at a regular meeting. Members may initiate the recall of an Executive Board member for not meeting the collective expectations with a petition that garners support of one-fifth of all members of the chapter. Upon introducing a valid petition of recall, an Executive Board member may be removed by a two thirds vote at a regular meeting.
The Executive Board may recommend the removal of an Executive Board member to the general membership for malfeasance, defined as any abuse of position that may compromise the local of its integrity, including but not limited to misuse of local funds, local membership or voter lists, or other resources. Members may also initiate the recall of an Executive Board member for malfeasance with a petition that garners support of one-fifth of all members of the chapter. Upon introducing a valid petition of recall, an Executive Board member may be removed by a two thirds vote at a regular meeting.
Section 7: Disclosure and Recusal of Political Staffers
Members who are staff, paid or unpaid, holding a leadership role of any kind for a campaign for public office or paid staff of an elected official holding public office (political staffers) must disclose that they are a political staffer to the membership when running for an Executive Board position. Members of the Executive Board who become political staffers must disclose this to the membership. Members of the Executive Board who are political staffers are required to recuse themselves from any Executive Board decisions related to their campaign or the office holder they are staff for.
ARTICLE VII LOCAL FUNDS
Section 1: Expenditures
All funds will be expended in accordance with the annual budget as amended by local meetings. Expenditure of funds for items not included in the budget or spending over line items in the budget must be approved in advance by the Executive Board or local meeting in accordance with the general policy of the Local.
Section 2: Bank Accounts
All funds collected by the Local will be turned over to the Treasurer, who shall deposit them in a bank account under the name of the Local. All checks drawn on the account(s) of the Local must be signed by one of the Co-chairs or the Treasurer.
Section 3: Delegation of Responsibility for Funds
The Executive Board may from time to time delegate responsibility for the funds of a project to the committee in charge of the project.
ARTICLE VIII BRANCHES
Section 1: Definition
A Branch is a sub-group of the Local consisting of at least five DSA local members in good standing. Branches may be defined by geography or work site.
Section 2: Youth Sections
Branches established on college campuses and consisting of students will be called Local Youth Sections. Youth Sections must have at least five full members in good standing with national DSA.
Section 3: Charter Recognition
In order to be chartered recognized by the local, a prospective Branch must submit a petition of at least five DSA local members in good standing to the Executive Board, which will recommend acceptance or rejection to the next Regular Meeting of the Local. Recognition of a charter requires a two-thirds vote of the Regular Meeting. Campus Youth Sections chartered by national DSA shall automatically be recognized by the Local.
Section 4: Officers
A Branch shall elect its own Chair and such other officers as it sees fit, and shall conduct its own meetings, insofar as its rules are consistent with the Constitution and Bylaws of both national and local DSA. The chairs of branches and local Youth Sections will hold membership on the Local Executive Committee.
ARTICLE IX CAUCUSES, WORKING GROUPS, COMMITTEES
Section 1: Establishment and Membership of Caucuses
Members may form identity-based Caucuses that are open to any member that self-aligns with that identity. Caucuses must be announced to the Executive Board within a month of formation. A member of the Executive Board shall be appointed to serve as liaison with each Caucus, ideally a member that self-aligns with the relevant identity. Caucuses, with the assistance of the Executive Board, must make public their existence and actively recruit. Caucuses have no other responsibilities and may self-govern. However, Caucus members are subject to resolutions procedures and members must adhere to the Code of Conduct.
Section 2: Establishment of Working Groups
The Executive Board shall establish Working Groups necessary to carry out the political work of the organization,
- a) on its own initiative,
- b) as directed by a majority vote of a Regular or Annual Meeting, or
- c) upon petition of at least 10 members, provided that said petitioners have submitted a written proposal that includes the plan, structure, goals, and composition of the members of the Working Group, and as a result of a majority vote by the Executive Board on whether or not to endorse the initiation of the proposed Working Group, basing its determination on whether the proposed Working Group would be consistent with the purposes and work of the DSA.
The decision to form a new Working Group shall be reported to the membership at a duly constituted meeting.
Section 3: Interim Chair and Membership of Working Groups
The Executive Board shall appoint an interim chair of any newly formed Working Group if one was not specified in an accepted petition to establish the Working Group. Membership in a Working Group is voluntary and open to all members of the local that are in good standing. A member of the Executive Board shall be appointed to serve as liaison with each Working Group.
Section 4: Chair of Working Groups
After the Working Group is created, but by no later than the working group’s second meeting, the working group shall hold elections for either one (1) Chair or two (2) Co-Chairs, as decided by the working group. Terms shall be for either six months or one year at the working group members’ choosing, and incumbents may stand for reelection. Working Group members shall create a set of expected commitments, duties, and responsibilities for the Chairperson or Co-Chairs. “Working Group Members” in this case are any members of the Working Group email list, online channel, or other Working Group-specific communication medium. Working Group Chairs are responsible for communicating meeting times and working group business to both local membership and the Executive Board. Chairs of working groups are ineligible for the position in other working groups. Working Groups can decide any further responsibilities for their chairs, and can also choose to elect additional officer positions. Nonfeasance for a Working Group Chair is defined to include unexcused absences from three or more Working Group meetings. Remote participation in Working Group meetings shall not count as absences. An excused absence shall be defined as any absence where the chairperson or co-chair notifies the Working Group with 24 hours of notice, barring an emergency.
To remove a Chair for nonfeasance or malfeasance, all Working Group members must be informed of the pending action via email or members-only online post two weeks before a meeting during which a vote will take place. “Working Group Members” in this case are any members of the Working Group email list, online channel, or other Working Group-specific communication medium.
A Working Group Chair may be removed for nonfeasance by a two-thirds vote of local members in good standing at a Working Group meeting. “Good standing” shall be defined as members who are up to date on dues who is on a Working Group communications list and has attended one Working Group meeting. A Working Group Chair may be removed for malfeasance by a two-thirds vote of local members in good standing at a Working Group meeting, with malfeasance defined as any abuse of position that may compromise the Local of its integrity, including but not limited to misuse of Local membership or voter lists or other resources.
The Executive Board may reverse the decision of the Working Group to remove a chairperson by a three-fourths vote.
The chairperson(s) may take a leave of absence for up to three months for emergencies or other personal difficulties. They may appoint a replacement who will exercise the chairperson’s duties while they are on leave. The appointment of the replacement must be confirmed by the Working Group.
Section 5: Responsibilities of Working Groups
The Working Group shall be responsible for making reports to the local membership on the Working Group’s activities. The Working Group shall do its best to insure that it has at least five active members and that there is gender balance in the membership.
Section 6: Termination of Working Groups
A Working Group may be terminated if it has become inactive or its activities are inconsistent with the purposes and work of the DSA. This decision may be made by a unanimous vote of the Working Group or by a two-thirds vote of the members in attendance at a Regular Meeting. Notice of any vote to terminate a Working Group must be given at the previous Regular Meeting and the previous meeting of the Working Group in question if the Working Group is still meeting. The matter may be put to a vote at a Regular Meeting if two-thirds of the Executive Board vote to propose termination of the Working Group or if one-tenth of the local members sign a petition to propose termination of the Working Group.
Section 7: Establishment of Committees
The Executive Board shall establish committees necessary to carry out the administrative functions of the organization on its own initiative. These functions may be ongoing or temporary.
Section 8: Interim Chair and Membership of Committees
The Executive Board shall appoint an interim chair of a newly formed Committee and may appoint members of the Committees. Members may also volunteer to be involved or be recruited by appointed members. A member of the Executive Board shall be appointed to serve as liaison with each committee.
Section 9: Chair of Committees
After the Committee is created, but by no later than the committee’s second meeting, the committee shall hold elections for either one (1) Chair or two (2) Co-Chairs, as decided by the committee. Terms shall be for either six months or one year at the working group members’ choosing, and incumbents may stand for reelection. Committee members shall create a set of expected commitments, duties, and responsibilities for the Chairperson or Co-Chairs. “Committee Members” in this case are any members of the Committee email list, online channel, or other Committee-specific communication medium. Nonfeasance for a Committee Chair is defined to include unexcused absences from three or more Committee meetings. Remote participation in Committee meetings shall not count as absences. An excused absence shall be defined as any absence where the chairperson or co-chair notifies the Committee with 24 hours of notice, barring an emergency.
To remove a Chair for nonfeasance or malfeasance, all Committee members must be informed of the pending action via email or members-only online post two weeks before a meeting during which a vote will take place. “Committee Members” in this case are any members of the Committee email list, online channel, or other Committee-specific communication medium.
A Committee Chair may be removed for nonfeasance by a two-thirds vote of local members in good standing at a Committee meeting. “Good standing” shall be defined as members who are up to date on dues who is on a committee communications list and has attended one committee meeting. A Committee Chair may be removed for malfeasance by a two-thirds vote of local members in good standing at a Committee meeting, with malfeasance defined as any abuse of position that may compromise the Local of its integrity, including but not limited to misuse of Local membership or voter lists or other resources.
The Executive Board may reverse the decision of the Committee to remove a chairperson by a three-fourths vote.
The chairperson(s) may take a leave of absence for up to three months for emergencies or other personal difficulties. They may appoint a replacement who will exercise the chairperson’s duties while they are on leave. The appointment of the replacement must be confirmed by the committee.
Section 10: Responsibilities of Committees
The Committee shall be responsible for making reports to the Executive Board and to the local membership on the Committee’s activities.
Section 11: Termination of Committee
If in the opinion of the Executive Board, the activities of any Committee have become inconsistent with the purposes and work of the DSA, if the Committee has become inactive, or if the Committee’s responsibilities are complete, the Executive Board may vote on termination of the Committee.
ARTICLE X DELEGATES TO NATIONAL, REGIONAL, AND STATE BODIES
Section 1: Convention
Local delegates and alternates to the National Convention will be elected by members of the Local. Elections for the National Convention delegation shall be held on the schedule announced by the national organization.
ARTICLE XI PROHIBITED ACTIVITY
The Boston Local shall not engage in activity prohibited by the IRS guidelines established for 501 (c) 4 organizations or similar rules established by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, nor shall the local engage in any activity prohibited by resolutions adopted by DSA’s National Convention or DSA’s National Political Committee.
ARTICLE XII NOMINATIONS
Section 1: Nominations Committee
At least two months prior to every election, the Executive Board shall appoint three persons who shall constitute a Nominations Committee. It shall solicit and receive nominations for the positions to be elected. The Committee’s formation and composition shall be announced at the following membership meeting and in the subsequent edition of the newsletter.
Section 2: Nominations Process
The list of candidates shall be presented to the membership meeting by the Nominations Committee and shall be seconded from the floor. Additional nominations, properly seconded, shall be accepted from the floor by the Chair of the meeting. If a position is uncontested, the nominee will be declared elected by acclamation. Otherwise, all elections will be by secret ballot.
Section 3: Mail-in Ballots
The Executive Board may decide to elect any national or local positions by mail-in ballots, electronic mail ballots, or other online voting method, provided that reasonable steps are taken to insure that all members who desire to be nominated are given the opportunity.
ARTICLE XIII AMENDMENTS
These Bylaws may at any time be amended by a 2/3 vote of the members present at a local meeting, provided that notice of the substance of the proposed amendment is stated in the notice of the meeting.
ARTICLE XIV RULES OF THE LOCAL
Section 1: Use Robert’s Rules of Order
The rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern this Local in cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws. Consensus decision-making is desirable where feasible, but meetings must submit to Robert’s Rules of Order upon the request of a member.
Section 2: Void Actions
Any action taken by an officer or member of the Local in contravention of these Bylaws is null and void.
Section 3: Conflict
In case of conflict between these Bylaws and the national DSA constitution, the national DSA Constitution shall rule.