In February 2021, the Boston chapter of the DSA democratically selected two external campaigns and two internal organizing priorities for 2021. We designed and discussed these priorities in a two-month-long process starting in December 2020. We have outlined the details of our process here, in the interest of transparency and for the free use of comrades in other chapters who are curious about running a priorities selection process.
Electoral Politics: Municipal Elections and Internal Structure-Building
The 2021 Electoral Priority is all about municipal elections and internal capacity building. We have close to a dozen DSA members and socialists running for city council offices in the Boston area, and there are 7 DSA members running for city council in Somerville, which means we could have a supermajority-socialist city council in a major Massachusetts city!
When doing this electoral work we want to build our chapter’s capacity to run our own canvasses and phonebanks, build critical communications, research, and field skills, and focus on internally mobilizing our 3000+ members in the Boston area to do this work, as well as grow the chapter. Members who are interested in getting involved should fill out this form and/or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to plug in!
Tenant Organizing: Basebuilding through Theory and Practice
Tenant organizing has been a long-standing project of BDSA. Over the past year, the Housing WG founded a city-wide autonomous tenant union and formed 10 new unions, with several others in development. Our work has grown, but so has our need for people with skills and knowledge to organize successfully. We seek to further expand BDSA’s capacity for tenant organizing (and organizing in general) by training new organizers. This proposal engages BDSA members through political education and skill-building, and builds an organized base of tenants to fight for the decommodification of housing.
Membership Engagement and Inclusion
We seek to build a culture of inclusion within Boston DSA so that members can find a political home and a vehicle for building collective power. To do that, we seek to streamline online spaces, strengthen systems for new member onboarding, recruit and train members to be organizers for external priority campaigns, and raise funds for chapter priority campaigns. Join us if you have skills for facilitation, recruitment, and/or fundraising – or want to learn these skills! Together, we can make Boston DSA a more welcoming and powerful place to organize. Email email@example.com to get involved! Join the team
Transformative Justice Committee
After being selected by members as one of the chapter’s two internal organizing priorities, the new Transformative Justice Committee (TJC) is ready to start figuring out how to make Boston DSA, and all of us as members, better at dealing with conflict, abuse, and other harm among comrades. If confronted with courage, care, and thoughtfulness, these painful episodes don’t have to weaken our movement or wound our comrades. Transformative justice (TJ) provides an anti-carceral, survivor-centered framework to respond to harm without creating more of it. It teaches us to forge deeper solidarity from moments of friction. Integrating TJ principles into our approach to conflict & harm will equip us to bridge gaps between opposing groups before they become insurmountable and prevent the loss of our comrades to unresolved strife and disregarded abuse.
Over the next year, the TJC will draw on TJ principles & practices to create a proposed redesign of the chapter’s approach to addressing conflict, abuse, and other harm. We will also offer skill-building training, discussions, and workshops to interested comrades. If you want to learn more, participate in a training, and help update our chapter policies, please reach out by completing this form or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We are not (only) looking for experts in related issues to join this work: we are all pretty new to transformative justice as a framework ourselves, and we believe that anyone who is excited to do this work has something to contribute!