Bylaws

Refoundation Caucus Bylaws

  • Membership
    1. Membership Requirements
      1. Membership in Refoundation is only open to good faith, dues paying, active members of DSA.
      2. “Good standing” in the RC will be determined by the Steering Committee (SC, section 2), as informed by communication with the subject member and/or their local RC. “Good standing” shall be defined as:
        1. Comradely with other caucus members despite disagreements
        2. Present for at least 50% of caucus votes (ex: Voting YES/NO/ABSTAIN).
        3. Publicly supportive of the RC Points of Unity and Program
        4. Builds DSA and RC in both quantity and quality
        5. Strive to be active through one or more of the following avenues:
          1. In a Local
          2. Helping to organize a Local
          3. On the DSA National Political Committee
          4. On a DSA Committee or Working Group
          5. On the RC Steering Committee or other internal committee
      3. Membership will be renewed/re-assessed before each election of a new SC, as outlined in section 1.c. Note that only comrades who expressly wish not to be members anymore (or cannot be reached) will be removed immediately, whereas they are given until well after the new SC is elected if they wish to continue to be members. The purpose of this is to ensure that there is no appearance of purging members by SC prior to an election. Removing inactive/disinterested members before the election simply ensures that quorum remains achievable.
    2. Process to Join
      1. The Potential Member must read and agree with the RC Points of Unity and Program. They must also read and engage with the existing position papers, though agreement is not necessary.
      2. The Potential Member will fill out the online membership survey and write a brief statement stating why they want to be part of the RC.
      3. The Steering Committee will send out the statement to the membership or a committee designated to review new member applications, and it will solicit any objections.
      4. Objections may be made on the basis of reasonable belief that the Potential Member is applying in bad faith, or on the basis of reasonable belief that the Potential Member is disruptive and would be unhelpful to the goals of RC.
      5. If there are no objections to the Potential Member in a week’s time, and they meet the membership requirements, then they will become a Current Member of the Refoundation Caucus.
      6. If there are objections, they will be resolved by the SC in communication with any objector(s). The SC will make a good faith effort to gather all the information it can regarding the Potential Member, and it will decide whether to admit the Potential Member or not. The SC will announce its decision either way to the general membership of RC, and if it denies the Potential Member, the SC will provide its rationale to the membership of RC. The SC’s denial of a Potential Member may then be appealed by the same process outlined for the appeal of the SC’s removal of a current member (see section 1.c.iii.3.c, below).
      7. SC will add new members to the Slack account and email list.
    3. Membership Lists and Removal
      1. Membership Lists will be maintained by the RC Steering Committee
      2. Before every SC election, the SC will check the standing of the membership list.
      3. If the SC determines that a member is not in good standing as defined in section 1.a.ii, they will be contacted. The SC will ask the member if they’re still interested in the RC.
        1. If they are not interested, they will no longer be a member effective immediately.
        2. If the SC cannot make contact with the member despite making a good faith effort to reach them, they will no longer be a member effective immediately.
        3. If the member is still interested, they have another three months to restore their status as an RC member in good standing. If they do not, the SC may remove them from membership in the RC.
          1. Any member removed by SC against their will must be first provided the following:
            1. At least 24 hour notice of the specific action(s) or inaction(s) for which they are being removed,
            2. The right to be heard by the SC as to why they should not be removed, and
            3. The right to present evidence to the SC in their favor.
          2. Once this notice and hearing has occurred, the SC may then immediately remove the member, and the SC shall announce that they have done so to the RC membership generally.
          3. Any current RC member may move to appeal the removal of another member, if the motion to appeal the removal is seconded by another current RC member.
            1. If so, the mover and seconder will meet with the SC to appoint an Election Committee (EC) by consensus
            2. The EC will organize a vote on Loomio to reverse the SC’s removal of the subject member
            3. The EC will provide for a public hearing before the RC membership–but not outside of the RC membership–of the matter as appropriate given the sensitivity of the matter in dispute, at its sole discretion
            4. The EC will then conduct a vote on Loomio that will remain open for one week, and it will allow any member in good standing to vote up or down as to whether to reverse the SC’s removal.
            5. If a simple majority of the vote is in favor of reversing the SC’s removal, and if the vote satisfies quorum as defined in section 2.c.v.8, then the subject member is immediately reinstated as a member in good standing. This member may not be removed by SC again for the same grounds, and may only be removed again on different grounds.
            6. If the vote fails by a simple majority, or if the vote fails to satisfy quorum, the removal of the member stands and may not be appealed again.
      4. The Refoundation Caucus will maintain the Slack for regular communication between members. All members should be subscribed to this Slack account and participate periodically.
      5. The Refoundation Caucus will maintain the email announcements list for periodic communication from the elected leadership to the members. All members in good standing should be subscribed to this email announcement list.
    4. Petition
      1. Any member of RC may petition the SC for a redress of their grievances regarding any matter at any time.
      2. Any member of RC may petition the general membership of RC regarding any matter at any time through the Slack or on the quarterly or special conference calls.
      3. Petitions should strive for clarity, brevity, and comradeliness. They should also strive to be directed to the relevant audience and through the appropriate avenue.
    5. The Slack account will be moderated according to the following rules:
      1. Male comrades in particular should strive to not be dismissive, to not fill the space too much, and to engage seriously with the points made by non-male comrades
      2. Posts should not be excessive. Members should minimize the amount of posts they make each day to avoid cluttering the channels with unnecessary chatter.
      3. Posts should be substantive. Members should be thoughtful about what they have to say before saying it.
      4. Posts should be relevant to the channel they are posted in. Responses or questions to individual members that are irrelevant to the rest of the channel should be sent via a direct message. Responses to posts should be placed in a “thread” under the post so as to minimize channel clutter.
      5. Posts must be comradely. Posts that attack individual members of DSA, inside or outside of the RC, will be deleted.
      6. The Steering Committee will be in charge of moderating the Slack account.

 

  • Steering Committee
    1. Make-Up
      1. At the adoption of these bylaws, an election will occur for a temporary Steering Committee (SC) of 5 Refoundation Caucus (RC) members, with 2 seats reserved for non-white members and 2 seats reserved for members who are not men (these may or may not be the same 2 seats), should enough so-identified members run.
        1. This temporary SC will manage the process of the caucus going public, then be replaced by a new election in January of 2018, once the caucus is fully public and has grown in size and geographic and identity representation.
        2. This temporary SC will have the same powers and responsibilities as the full SC is granted as follows herein, but the temporary SC will be understood to be transitional. It’s primary focus should be on facilitating RC going public.
      2. The SC will be made up of 7 RC members in good standing, who have been elected by the RC membership in good standing.
      3. The SC will be elected every year in January.
      4. The SC will reserve no fewer than 3 seats for non-white members and no fewer than 3 seats for members who are not men. These may (or may not) be the same 3 members. Should enough candidates of said identities run for the SC, these seats will be reserved for them, but in the event that not enough candidates of said identities run, the seats will be taken by whichever other candidate(s) gets the next most votes
      5. Decisions will be made by simple majority. Four votes in favor of a decision passes, whether all seven SC members are present or not. All SC members must be notified in advance of the meeting and have the opportunity to join if they choose, but some members’ voluntary absence shall not inhibit the SC from taking action.
    2. Responsibilities
      1. maintaining the Refoundation Caucus google drive, Slack account, and email announcement list
      2. participate in the closed SC Slack channel and monthly SC conference calls
      3. tracking and expanding membership in terms of quantity, quality, and diversity
      4. convening and preparing agendas for monthly and special conference calls of SC; convening and preparing agendas for quarterly and special membership wide conference calls
      5. relating outward and implementing decisions made by SC
      6. liasoning with other working groups, caucuses, and the NPC of DSA, as well as socialist groups and projects outside DSA to its left
      7. coordinating and generalizing the work of RC locals across the country
      8. delegating the above work as needed and applicable to individual members or to committees of members
    3. Selection
      1. Every January, the RC will convene an Election Committee (EC). The EC will run the election process for the SC.
      2. The EC will consist of members of RC in good standing selected by the sitting SC and announced to the membership. In the event that any member of RC in good standing objects to the constitution of the EC for any reason, and their objection is seconded by another member of RC in good standing, a vote on Loomio will immediately take place and remain open for one week. The results of this vote will be decided by a simple majority, and they will definitively set the constitution of the EC.
      3. The EC will call for Candidate Statements. There will be a week deadline for people to submit statements
      4. The EC will collect the candidate statements and set up the election.
      5. Details about the balloting process are as follows:
        1. All RC members who submit a candidate statement will be listed on the ballot.
        2. There will be no limit to the number of people who can run for a position on the Steering Committee.
        3. Voters will cast a vote for their top 7 choices.
        4. Each member shall only submit their top 7 choice votes once. This will not be ranked-choice, but each vote will count for one point, whatever the order listed
        5. All votes will remain open and public to the caucus throughout the duration of the election and thereafter.
        6. After the election has concluded, the EC will review the results and announce the new steering committee.
        7. The EC will add up the votes that each member cast for each candidate, and the 7 candidates with the most votes will be the new SC
        8. The election must meet quorum, which for the purposes of the SC election is 50 percent or more of all current RC members, as determined by the EC.
    4. Recall
      1. The RC membership can recall SC members for any or no reason at any time, without limitation.
      2. Process
        1. Any RC member in good standing can propose a recall election, and if it is seconded by another RC member in good standing, then a vote on Loomio on whether to conduct a special election will take place and remain open for one week.
        2. 1/3 of the entire RC membership must approve the proposal to trigger an election.
        3. The special election will take place immediately, electronically, and will remain open for one week.
        4. If quorum (as defined in section 2.c.v.8 above) is satisfied, and if a simple majority of the votes are in favor of recall, then the subject member is automatically no longer a member of the SC.
        5. If an SC member is recalled then the EC will convene by the same process as laid out in section 2.c above to call a special election to reconstitute the entire SC.

 

  • Membership-wide Conference Calls
    1. The SC will convene and prepare quarterly (or whatever frequency is set by the SC, but no less than quarterly) conference calls for the general RC membership
    2. All members in good standing may listen in on the conference calls, but only designated representatives will participate
    3. Each local will elect a designated representative for each call by a simple majority of their local members
    4. Members at-large may participate in a conference call with the express permission of the SC
    5. Special conference calls may be convened at the discretion of the SC, and members may petition the SC for a special conference call at any time
      1. Special conference calls may also be convened by single representatives of 1/3 of locals of RC, independent of the SC. These locals must provide at least 24 hour notice to the SC and the other locals before convening.

 

  • Position Papers
    1. Purpose of Papers
      1. Explain and clarify Refoundation Caucus positions on issues
      2. Explore different DSA strategies
      3. Initiate discussion on new perspectives; minority positions within the caucus are encouraged to be expressed and debated through this avenue
    2. Who Can Write Papers
      1. Any member of the RC in good standing can submit a Position Paper, by themselves or as a group.
    3. Process for Approving Papers
      1. A member submits a Draft to the RC by posting it to the appropriate Slack channel
      2. Members read and comment on the Draft, and the proposer may accept or reject any comments or amendments at their sole discretion
      3. Only the proposer (individual or group) may move for a vote on Loomio on their Draft in the Slack or on a conference call, or may withdraw their Draft, at any time
      4. If the motion for a vote is seconded, SC will then make a poll that will remain open for one week. A motion for a vote is automatically seconded when made by more than one member
      5. If the Draft gets 2/3 approval through a vote that satisfies quorum (as defined in section 1.c.v.8), then the Draft becomes a Position Paper

 

  • Caucus report-backs
    1. Steering Committee is required to release monthly reports on its work
    2. Caucus Local Chapters are required to release monthly report on their work
    3. At-large members are encouraged to release monthly reports on their work
    4. Caucus committees are required to release monthly report on their work
    5. All reports should be forwarded to SC. SC will then release through announcements list

 

  • Amending the Bylaws
    1. Frequency
      1. These bylaws shall not be amended more often than once per year. This rule does not apply for the first year this document comes into effect, since amendments should be made to remedy flaws as discovered in practice.
      2. The purpose of this restriction is to ensure stability over time. Changes should be infrequent and well-considered. In the event that DSA produces boilerplate caucus bylaws, section 6.a.i will not prevent the adoption of those provided bylaws, however amended.
    2. Process
      1. Any RC member in good standing can propose a bylaws amendment, and if it is seconded by another RC member in good standing, then a vote on Loomio on whether to conduct a bylaws amendment process will immediately take place and remain open for one week.
      2. 1/3 of the entire RC membership must approve the proposal to trigger an an amendment vote.
      3. If approved, SC will convene an electronic election process. SC will gather all proposed amendments that have a second by RC members in good standing, with each amendment to be considered separately. Each amendment will be subject to an up or down vote (in favor of or opposed to the proposed amendment). Each proposed amendment shall be accompanied by a brief statement (no more than 500 words) clarifying why the amendment is needed and what the intended result of the amendment would be.
      4. SC will post each proposed amendment to be voted on in a vote on Loomio, and the statements may be separate but must be equally accessible. The vote shall remain open for one week.
      5. If quorum (as defined in section 2.c.v.8 above) is satisfied in the vote for each proposed amendment, and if 2/3 of the vote is in favor of amendment, then the amendment passes and is automatically incorporated into the bylaws. Anything short of this, and the amendment fails, leaving the original language in place.
      6. While the amendment immediately takes effect, the SC shall update the written record of the bylaws.

 

  • Amending the Points of Unity and Program
    1. These documents should remain steady, and the bar to amending them is purposefully very high. These are our core, defining documents, and agreement with them is a condition of membership. There is no limitation on the frequency of amendment, because they should be amended as appropriate when the occasion calls for it.
    2. Any RC member in good standing can propose an amendment to the Points of Unity or to the Program, and if it is seconded by another RC member in good standing, then a vote on Loomio on whether to conduct such an amendment process will immediately take place and remain open for one week.
    3. 1/2 of the entire RC membership must approve the proposal to trigger an an amendment vote to either the Points of Unity or Program (an amendment vote shall be taken for these documents separately).
    4. If approved, SC will convene an electronic election process. SC will gather all proposed amendments that have a second by RC members in good standing, with each amendment to be considered separately. Each amendment will be subject to an up or down vote (in favor of or opposed to the proposed amendment). Each proposed amendment shall be accompanied by a brief statement (no more than 500 words) clarifying why the amendment is needed and how the amendment satisfies that need.
    5. SC will post each proposed amendment to be voted on in a vote on Loomio, and the statements may be separate but must be equally accessible. The vote shall remain open for one week.
    6. If quorum (as defined in section 2.c.v.8 above) is satisfied in the vote for each proposed amendment to the Points of Unity, and if 4/5 of the vote is in favor of amendment, then the amendment passes and is automatically incorporated into the Points of Unity. Anything short of this, and the amendment fails, leaving the original language in place.
    7. If quorum (as defined in section 2.c.v.8 above) is satisfied in the vote for each proposed amendment to the Program, and if 3/4 of the vote is in favor of amendment, then the amendment passes and is automatically incorporated into the Program. Anything short of this, and the amendment fails, leaving the original language in place.
    8. The SC shall update the written record of the Points of Unity and Program as needed.

 

  • General Voting and Proposals for Other RC Actions
    1. All members of DSA Refoundation vote on issues and proposals affecting the work and structure of the caucus
      1. For instance, members may want to form or disband committees, teams, subgroups, etc.
    2. Any individual member can submit a proposal to be voted on. A proposal can be anything that affects the entire caucus. If the proposal receives a second from another member, then the SC must set up a vote on Loomio as follows.
    3. Quorum for such other general voting is reached with 25% of membership participating
    4. General voting will succeed with a simple majority of a vote that satisfies quorum
    5. All voting is done online
    6. Deliberation period will be set and announced by the SC
    7. Voting period will be announced by the SC
    8. Vote and election results announced by the SC within 24 hours of vote

 

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