Our Bylaws

Bylaws of the Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America

Article I. Name

The name of the Chapter shall be the Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America, a not-for-profit corporation.

Article II. Purpose

The Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America (Atlanta DSA) is a chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and seeks to facilitate the transition to a truly democratic and socialist society, one in which the means of production are democratically and socially controlled.

DSA rejects an economic order based on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power, discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability status, age, religion, and national origin, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo.

DSA envisions a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality and non-oppressive relationships.

DSA is developing a concrete strategy for achieving that vision, for building a majority movement that will make democratic socialism a reality in America. 

DSA believes that such a strategy must acknowledge the class structure of American society and that this class structure means that there is a basic conflict of interest between those sectors with enormous economic power and the vast majority of the population.

Article III. Membership

Section 1. Membership

Members of the Chapter will be members of DSA who reside or work in the greater metropolitan Atlanta area. It will be the responsibility of members to approve policies and guidelines for the operation of the chapter, to elect delegates to the national convention, to vote on matters related to national policy, and to make recommendations on issues and other matters to the National Political Committee of DSA.

Section 2. Conduct

The chapter will establish a Conduct Policy that outlines the boundaries of acceptable behavior by members, describes due process procedures for cases of misconduct, and provides options for discipline such as censure, membership probation, suspension, and expulsion. Adoption or Amendment of the Conduct Policy shall require a two-thirds vote in a General Meeting.

Section 3. Expulsion

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 discipline of any self-defined democratic centralist organization, they may be expelled from the Chapter. An expelled member may appeal to the National Political Committee of DSA.

Article IV. General Meetings

Section 1. Convention

The Chapter will hold at least one Convention annually to elect officers and discuss yearly Chapter finances and political strategies. All members of the Chapter will receive three weeks written (or electronic mail) notice and an agenda of the Convention. The Convention will be a General Meeting. In the month prior to Convention, the Chapter will organize at least one Convention discussion session open to all members, including at least one specifically for financial planning.

Section 2. General Meetings

The Chapter will hold General Meetings at least once per quarter. The General Meetings will set Chapter policy and work priorities and will include political education sessions. Consensus decision-making is desirable where feasible, but meetings must submit to Robert’s Rules of Order upon the request of a member.

The Steering Committee will set the time, place, and agenda of General Meetings, a draft of which will be publicized at least five days in advance by written (or electronic mail) notice. Resolutions may be submitted by any member in good standing for consideration at a General Meeting. The Chapter Standing Rules will set the rules for submitting and amending Resolutions. In general, the General Meeting is the highest political authority of the Chapter.

Section 2-a. Chapter Priorities

Resolutions may include language designating them as Chapter Priorities. A Chapter Priority Resolution must include an end date for the use of the Chapter Priority fund. If a Resolution is passed with such language at a General Meeting, the Chapter Priorities fund may be used to execute the Resolution. If multiple Chapter Priority Resolutions are active at once, the Steering Committee may determine the allocation of the Chapter Priority fund to each Chapter Priority Resolution.

Section 3. Emergency Meetings

The Steering Committee may call an Emergency General Meeting of the Chapter on five days notice when an urgent and important matter requires deliberation.

Section 4. Quorum

A quorum of five percent of the members (but not fewer than ten persons) is required for General Meetings to transact business.

Section 5. Proxy Voting

Members may designate another member to proxy vote for them at a General Meeting. Members may proxy vote for at most one other member per meeting.

Article V. Steering Committee

Section 1. Officers and Terms 

The officers of the Chapter will be members elected as the Membership Secretary, Recording Secretary, Treasurer, and four at-large officers. The term of office will be one year, and shall run from February 1 to January 31 or until their successors are elected. These seven officers shall constitute the Steering Committee of the Chapter. The Steering Committee will not have more than three members who are white heterosexual cisgender men. If election results violate this quota, candidates who are white heterosexual cisgender men will be eliminated in order of lowest-to-highest approval until the quota is met.

Section 2. Election Method

Officer elections will use Approval Voting and Scottish Single Transferable Vote (STV). Voters will rank candidates they approve of on their ballot, and omit candidates they disapprove of. Winners will be elected by STV from the candidates approved by a majority of voters. If not enough candidate(s) are elected, the candidate(s) with the highest approval will win.

Section 3. Duties

The Steering Committee administers the affairs of the Chapter and oversees the implementation of the decisions of the General Meetings. It is the operating political authority of the Chapter between General Meetings, and is politically subordinate to General Meetings. It will coordinate the day-to-day operations and political work of the Chapter. It will report to General Meetings.

Section 4. Meetings

The meetings of the Steering Committee will be held at such intervals as may be determined by a prior Steering Committee Meeting or by consultation with a majority of the officers. Steering Committee Meetings require 24-hour notice to all officers and a majority of officers present for a quorum to transact business.

Section 5. Vacancies

In the event of a vacancy in any Chapter office, a replacement will be elected by the next General Meeting taking place at least 3 weeks after such a vacancy exists. The election will proceed as outlined for normal Chapter Conventions. Any individual that was recalled by membership shall not be eligible for election to any Chapter office until the next Steering Committee election.

Section 6. Co-Chairs

Two Co-Chairs will preside over Chapter and Steering Committee meetings or will appoint a substitute to assume the powers and duties of the presiding officer as specified in Robert’s Rules of Order. The Co-Chairs will be the official public spokespersons for the Chapter. The Co-Chairs will be selected by the Steering Committee from among its members, and shall be subject to recall by the Steering Committee for any or no reason.

Section 7. Membership Secretary

The Membership Secretary will be responsible for answering all correspondence and queries of the Chapter, and for maintaining an up-to-date membership list of the Chapter. They will ensure effective communication with national DSA.

Section 8. Recording Secretary

The Recording Secretary will be responsible for the taking of minutes of all Chapter and Steering Committee Meetings, and shall have custody of these minutes, and the resolutions, reports, member lists, and other official records of the Chapter. They shall transfer official records in good condition to their successor.

Section 9. Treasurer

The Treasurer will be responsible for the funds and financial records of the Chapter. All funds collected by the Chapter will be turned over to the Treasurer who shall deposit them in a bank account under the name of the Chapter. In cooperation with the Membership Secretary, the Treasurer will be responsible for insuring that membership dues are paid up-to-date. The Treasurer will prepare budgets and deliver financial reports to General Meetings and the Steering Committee.

Section 10. Additional Duties

The Steering Committee may assign additional temporary duties to an officer of the Chapter, so long as such assignments do not conflict with the designation of responsibilities outlined in these Bylaws.

Section 11. Removal from Office

Any officer may be recalled for any or no reason by a two-thirds vote at a General Meeting.

Article VI. Subsidiary Bodies

Section 1. Definition

The Steering Committee or General Meetings may establish deliberative subsidiary bodies, such as committees or working groups, to carry out specific tasks that require specialized or sustained attention. Subsidiary bodies established by the Steering Committee must be sustained by membership vote at the next General Meeting. Subsidiary bodies must be renewed by General Meetings at least once every twelve months to continue operation.

Section 2. Organization

Subsidiary bodies will be organized according to published criteria set by the Steering Committee. No person elected to or running for government office may hold any leadership position of any kind in Atlanta DSA.

Section 3. Branches

Branches will be subsidiary bodies of the Chapter consisting of at least five members of the Chapter. Branches shall be defined by a constituency, such as geography or work site. Branches shall organize and mobilize members within their constituency. All Branches shall be required to have at least two officers named Coordinators, elected by members of that Branch using approval voting and STV, who shall be responsible for ensuring that Branch meetings occur, facilitating community-building among Branch members, initiating geographically focused recruitment, and facilitating Branch meetings. Branch officers will also work in consultation with the Steering Committee to appoint additional positions as needed. To maintain active Branch designation, Branches must hold Branch meetings regularly.

Section 3-a. Formation

No less than ten Atlanta DSA members in good standing may petition the Steering Committee to form a Branch. The ten petitioners may not include elected leaders of existing Branches, and they must all reside within the geographic boundaries of the proposed Branch, such boundaries to be specified in the petition. One member may not be a signatory to more than one proposed Branch petition simultaneously. The Steering Committee will then consider the petition to form a new Branch. If the Steering Committee approves the proposal, it will go to a vote of the membership at the following general meeting with the Steering Committee’s support. If the Steering Committee rejects the proposal, the ten petitioners within the proposed boundaries may, upon being joined by ten petitioners outside of the proposed boundaries, petition for a vote of the whole Atlanta DSA membership on the question; all petitioners must be members in good standing.

Section 3-b. Dissolution

In cases of nonfeasance, the Steering Committee may, with a two-thirds majority, vote to dissolve a Branch. Nonfeasance shall be defined as repeated failure of a Branch to convene Branch meetings for at least six months, failure to conduct internal affairs according to Atlanta DSA by-laws, or promoting policies contrary to those of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Section 3-c. Youth Sections

Branches established on campuses will be called Youth Sections. Youth Sections must have at least three members of the Chapter.

Section 4. Authority

Subsidiary bodies are politically subordinate to the Steering Committee and General Meetings. Subsidiary bodies shall deliver written reports on their activity upon request by the Steering Committee.

Article VII. Delegates to National, Regional, and State Bodies

Section 1. National Convention

Chapter delegates and alternates to the National Convention will be members elected by members of the Chapter. Elections for the National Convention delegation shall use a proportional election method and shall be held on the schedule announced by the national organization.

Article VIII. Governance

Section 1. Prohibited Activity

The Chapter shall not engage in activity prohibited by the IRS guidelines established for 501(c)4 organizations or similar rules established by the state of Georgia. Nor shall the Chapter engage in any activity prohibited by resolutions adopted by DSA’s National Convention or DSA’s National Political Committee.

Section 2. Rules

The Rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall govern this Chapter in cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws.

Article IX. Nominations and Recalls

Section 1. Nominations Committee

A three-person Nominations Committee shall be established at least one month prior to every election by vote of a General Meeting. It shall solicit and receive nominations for the positions to be elected. No members of the Nominations Committee may run for the positions to be elected.

Section 2. Nominations Process

Nominations for Steering Committee shall be opened 10 days before and closed at the Convention. The call for nominations shall be announced to members of the Chapter in advance of the Convention.

Section 3. Uncontested Positions

If a position is uncontested, the nominee will be declared elected by acclamation.

Article X. Amendments

Proposed amendments to these Bylaws must be made by written resolution, endorsed by five members of the Chapter, and submitted to the Executive Committee three weeks in advance of a General Meeting. The Executive Committee is required to provide the Chapter membership with two weeks’ written notice of the proposed amendments. The amendment must be approved by a two-thirds majority vote of a General Meeting.

Article XI. Dissolution

In the event of the dissolution of the Chapter, all remaining funds and assets are to be released to National DSA or a neighboring DSA chapter. If both the Chapter and National DSA are being dissolved, then all remaining funds and assets are to be released to such other organizations that are organized exclusively for the promotion of social welfare and that will operate to further the common good and general welfare of the community included in the Chapter’s stated boundaries.