Bylaws 2020

Adopted August 20, 2020


The name of this Local Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (“DSA,” “DSA National”) shall be the Akron Local Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (“the Local,” “Akron DSA”). Akron DSA is organized not for profit and is operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.

ARTICLE II. Purpose.

The Akron Local of the Democratic Socialists of America seeks to facilitate the transition to a truly democratic and socialist society, one in which the means/resources of production are democratically and socially controlled.

DSA rejects an economic order based solely on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power, discrimination based on race, sex, and gender, 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, gender and racial equality, and non-oppressive relationships.

Our conception of socialism is a profoundly democratic one.  It is rooted in the belief that human beings should be free to develop to their fullest potential, that public policies should be determined not by wealth but by popular participation, and that individual liberties should be carefully safeguarded.  It is committed to a freedom of speech that does not recoil from dissent, to a freedom to organize independent trade unions, women’s groups, political parties, and other formations — recognizing these as essential bulwarks against the dangers of an intrusive state.  It is committed to a freedom of religion that acknowledges the rights of those for whom spiritual concerns are central.

We are socialists because we are developing a concrete strategy for achieving that vision.  In the present, we are building a visible socialist presence within the broad democratic left.  In the long run, we hope to build a majority movement capable of making democratic socialism a reality in the United States.  Our strategy acknowledges the class structure of the U.S. society.  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 Akron Local DSA will be those individuals who are members in good standing of National DSA, which includes the payment of any applicable dues, who reside and/or work in the Akron, OH area. It will be the responsibility of members to approve policies and guidelines for the operation of the local 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.  Removal of Members

If a full member is found to be in substantial disagreement with the principles or policies of national DSA, or if 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, the Local may vote to expel them from DSA.  In order for such a finding to be made, another DSA member must formally prepare written charges against the member in question to the Local Executive Committee, 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 or affiliate member requires a two-thirds vote of the Local meeting.  An expelled full member may appeal to the National Political Committee of DSA.

Section 3.  Local Pledge System.

The Local chapter may, if approved by a majority vote at a General meeting, establish a Local pledge system of voluntary donations for its members. If there are voluntary donations, they must be received and documented by the Financial Committee before they are allocated for use. 

ARTICLE IV.  Local Meetings.

Section 1.  General Meeting.

The Local will hold General Meetings at least five (5) times annually, the time and place of which shall be set in a schedule published and distributed by the Executive Committee. The General Meetings will set Local policy and work priorities, and will include political education sessions.

Section 2.  Emergency Meetings.

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

Section 3.  Quorum.

A quorum of 5 percent of the members or 80% of the average attendance of the last three Meetings, whichever is higher, is required for General or Emergency Meetings to transact business. 

ARTICLE V.  Local Officers:  Powers and Duties.

Section 1.  Officers and Terms

The officers of the Local will be two Executive Co-Chairs, a Communications Chair, and a Finance Chair. The term of office will be one year, and shall run from February 1 to January 31 or until their successors are elected. The officers shall be comprised of individuals having between them two (2) or more gender identities.  

Section 2.  Vacancies.

    In the event of a vacancy in a Chapter Officer position or at-large Executive Committee member position, a special election for the remainder of the vacant officer’s term shall be held within 60 days after the opening of the vacancy, unless the remaining term of the former officer is less than three months. Written notice of the special election and solicitation of nominations shall be published to all members of the Local no less than two weeks before the date of the special election. A special election may take place at a general meeting.

    If the vacancy is for an officer position, after the vacancy occurs but before the election, the Executive Committee may vote by a simple majority to appoint an interim officer to perform the functions of that office until a new officer is elected. The interim officer will be empowered to perform the duties of their office, but will not be considered a member of the Executive Committee and will not be allowed to vote in Executive Committee meetings, unless the person so appointed is also a current member of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee may not appoint an interim Harassment & Grievance Officer.

Section 3.  Executive CoChairs.

a.  The Executive CoChairs will be the chief executive officers of the Local. They will preside over Local and Executive 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. They will be the official public spokespeople for the Local and will initiate such actions and policies as the Local’s general welfare may demand.

b)  The Executive CoChairs will be responsible also for coordinating the day-to-day operations and political work of the Local’s branches and committees. 

c)  The Executive CoChairs will report to Local General Meetings on the business of the Executive Committee Meetings, at which time a copy of the minutes of those meetings will be available for inspection.

Section 4  Communications Chair 

a)  The Communications Chair will be responsible for answering all correspondence and queries of the Local, and for maintaining an up-to-date membership list of the Local. They will ensure effective communication with the national DSA. They will temporarily assume the responsibilities of the Executive CoChairs if both of them are not able to do so.

b)  The Communications Chair will also assign someone to be responsible also for the taking of minutes of all local and Executive Committee Meetings. The Communications Chair shall have custody of these minutes, and the resolutions, reports and other official records of the Local. The Communications Chair shall transfer official records in good condition to their successor. Official records shall include meeting minutes and member lists.

c) The Communications Chair shall chair the Communications Committee.

Section 5.  Finance Chair

a) The Finance Chair will be responsible for the funds and financial records of the Local. All funds collected by the Local will be turned over to the Finance Chair, who shall deposit them in a bank account under the name of the Local.  In cooperation with the Communications Chair, the Finance Chair will be responsible for ensuring that membership dues are paid up-to-date. 

b) The Finance Chair will prepare the annual Local budget, and deliver the Local financial report to the first General Meeting of the year of the Local, as well as periodic progress reports as requested by the Executive Committee of the Local. The financial report will include a document that contains an itemized list of the Local’s expenditures and income. 

c) The Finance Chair shall bear responsibility for physical property of the Local, including but not limited to: shirts, promotional materials, pamphlets, etc. 

d) The Finance Chair shall chair the Finance Committee.

Section 6. Harassment and Grievance Officers

The Harassment and Grievance Officers will consist of three total members: two Harassment Grievance Officers of different gender identities and one alternate in the case of a grievance against one of the other officers. A Harassment Grievance Officer may not have a position on the Executive Committee at the same time that they are a Harassment Grievance Officer. Their duties are outlined in the Local Code of Conduct and Ethical Guidelines.

Section 7.  Additional Duties.

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

Section 8. Removal. 

Members may petition for the removal of a Chapter Officer or Executive Committee Member, or for the dissolution of the entire Coordinating Committee (which includes the removal of all Chapter Officers and Executive Committee members). Such a petition requires signatures from at least 5% of the membership and shall be delivered to the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee can vote to recommend the removal of a Chapter Officer or an Executive Committee Member. Grounds for such recommendation include but are not limited to: missing more than two Executive Committee meetings in a row, abuse of power, and mismanagement of funds.

Upon receipt of a recall petition or a vote to recommend a removal, the Executive Committee shall include a recall vote into the agenda of the next General Meeting, if one is scheduled within the next month. Otherwise, the Executive Committee must call for an Emergency General Meeting in accordance with the terms of these bylaws, for a date no later than 30 days in the future. Alternatively, the petition may include a member-led call for an Emergency meeting, at a date and time specified in the petition. In either case, the membership must be issued written notice about the removal or dissolution vote at least five days in advance.

No chapter officer may preside over the vote for their own removal. Another Executive Committee member may preside over a recall vote for an individual. A petition to dissolve the Executive Committee must specify an individual who will preside over the dissolution vote.

A vote to confirm the removal of a single Chapter Officer or Executive Committee member requires a simple majority; a vote to confirm the dissolution of the Executive Committee requires a two-thirds majority vote.

If the meeting for which the removal or dissolution vote is scheduled fails to meet quorum or is cancelled for any unforeseen circumstance, another General Meeting, Emergency Meeting, or Local Convention must be scheduled within the next thirty days at which the question will be considered.

ARTICLE VI.  Executive Committee.

Section 1.  Composition.

The Local Executive Committee will be composed of the four officers of the Local, the chair(s) of Local Youth Sections, and the chair(s) of any Local Branches.

Section 2.  Duties.

a)  The Executive Committee administers the affairs of the Local and oversees the implementation of the decisions of the General Meetings; it may also propose policy to the General 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 that requires immediate and urgent action.  The Executive Committee is the regular executive body of the Local, and thus subordinate to its Legislative bodies, the General Meetings.

b)  The Local Executive Committee will be responsible for establishing program activities for the Local chapter, for proposing guidelines and policies that will subsequently be voted on by full members of DSA, and for acting on the organization’s behalf between Local meetings.

Section 3.  Meetings.

The meetings of the Executive Committee will be held at the call of the Chair at such intervals as may be determined by a prior Executive Committee Meeting or by consultation with any three members of the Executive Committee.  All members of the Executive Committee must (ordinarily) be given four days oral or written notice of regular Executive Committee Meetings; a 24-hour notice may be given under special emergency circumstances.

Section  4.  Quorum.

A quorum of two-thirds majority of the Executive Committee is required for the transaction of Executive Committee business.

ARTICLE VII.  Branches.

Section 1.  Definition.

A branch is a subgroup of the Local consisting of at least five full members in good standing with national DSA.  Branches may be defined by geography, work site, constituency (e.g., labor, minority, feminist), or area of political work (e.g., peace action, environmental movement).  The chairs of branches will hold membership on the Local Executive Committee.

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.  The chairs of Local Youth Sections will hold membership on the Local Executive Committee. 

ARTICLE VIII  Committees.

Section 1.  Duration.

The Local may establish Ad Hoc Committees, which will exist for a limited and explicit duration.  Ad Hoc Committees may be established by a vote of full members at a General Meeting of the Local.

Section 2.  Duties.

Chairs of Ad Hoc Committees will keep the Executive Committee and the General Meetings of the Local informed on the activities of the committee.

ARTICLE IX.  Delegates to National, Regional, and State Bodies.

 Section 1.  Convention.

Local delegates and alternates to the National Convention will be elected by full members of the Local Chapter of DSA. Elections for the National Convention delegation shall be held on the schedule announced by the national organization. Delegates to the convention must provide a written or oral reflection on the convention at or by the next General Meeting to general membership. 

ARTICLE X.  Prohibited Activity

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

ARTICLE XI.  Nominations and Recalls.

Section 1.  Nominations Committee.

A Nominations Committee composed of at least one (1) person 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. The Nominations Committee cannot be comprised of anyone with intention to run for the Executive Committee or a Harassment Grievance Officer position.

Section 2.  Nominations Process.

Nominations for Local officers shall be opened at least 10 days before and closed at the General Meeting in which they are voted on.  The call for nominations shall be announced to full members of the Local in advance of the General Meeting.  

Section 3.  Uncontested Positions.

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

ARTICLE XII.  Amendments.

Proposed amendments to these Bylaws must be made by written resolution, endorsed by five  members of the Local chapter of DSA, and submitted to the Executive Committee a month in advance of a General Meeting.  The Executive Committee is required to provide the Local membership with two weeks’ written notice of the proposed amendments.  The amendment must be approved by a majority vote of two consecutive (General) Local meetings.

ARTICLE XIII.  Rules of the Local.

Section 1.  Rules.

Meetings shall be informally presided over by at least one of the Executive CoChairs; in their absence, another officer shall preside over each meeting. In the event of a dispute, a member may call a “point of order” and, following a majority vote by all present, the meeting may or may not proceed according to The Rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, 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.  Action Out of Order.

Any action taken by an officer or member of the Local in contravention of these Bylaws is null and void.

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