Bylaws

Bylaws of the Denver Local
of the Democratic Socialists of America

ARTICLE I. Name.

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

ARTICLE II. Purpose.

The Denver 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 and sex, 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 Denver Local DSA will be those individuals whose dues to national DSA are paid in full, who reside and/or work in Denver metro 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 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, the Local may vote to expel them from DSA. In order for such a finding to be made, another DSA member must formally prefer written charges against the member in question to the Local Steering 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.  Dues.

The Local chapter may establish a Local pledge system of voluntary donations for its members.

ARTICLE IV.  Local Meetings.

Section 1.  General Meeting.

The Local will hold a minimum of one General Meeting annually, and all members of the Local will receive three weeks written (or electronic mail) notice and an agenda of the General Meeting.  The General Meeting will elect Local officers and may adopt an annual budget. In general, it is the highest legislative body of the Local.

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 Steering Committee.  The Regular Meetings will set Local policy and work priorities, and will include political education sessions. Regular meetings will be presided over by a chairperson designated by the Local Steering Committee.

The Local Steering Committee will set the agenda for Regular Meetings.  In general, the Regular Meeting is the operating legislative body of the Local.

Section 3.  Emergency Meetings.

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

Section 4.  Quorum.

A quorum of 10 percent of the members is required for General, Regular, 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 the Secretary and Treasurer.  The term of office will be one year, and shall run from February 1 to January 31 or until their successors are elected.  

Section 2.  Vacancies.

In the event of a vacancy in any Local office, the Local Steering Committee will appoint a temporary replacement until the next Regular Meeting when the Local shall elect a permanent replacement for the remainder of the original term.

Section 3.  Secretary.

  1. a)  The Secretary 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 insure effective communication with the national DSA.
  1. b)  The Secretary will be responsible also for the taking of minutes of all Regular, General and Steering Committee Meetings, and shall have custody of these minutes, and the resolutions, reports and other official records of the Local.  They shall transfer official records in good condition to their successor. Official records shall include meeting minutes and member lists.

Section 4.  Treasurer.

The Treasurer will be responsible for the funds and financial records of the Local.  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.  In cooperation with the Secretary, the Treasurer will be responsible for insuring that membership dues are paid up-to-date. The Treasurer will prepare the annual Local budget, and deliver the Local financial report to the General Meeting of the Local, as well as periodic progress reports as requested by the Steering Committee of the Local.

Section 5.  Additional Duties.

The Local Steering 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 6.  Removal from Office

The Local may at any time remove an officer of the Local Steering Committee and elect a permanent replacement to serve out the remainder of the original term. Removal from office requires a two-thirds majority vote by full members present at a Regular Meeting of the Local.

ARTICLE VI.  Steering Committee.

Section 1.  Composition.

The Local Steering Committee will be composed of the officers of the Local, the chair(s) of each permanent Committee of the Local, the chair(s) of Local Youth Sections, and the chair(s) of any Local Branches. No individual shall hold more than one office on the Steering Committee. At least two members of the Steering Committee must not be men and at least one must be a person of color.

Section 2.  Duties.

  1. a)  The Steering Committee administers the affairs of the Local and oversees the implementation of the decisions of the General and Regular Meetings; it may also propose policy to the General 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 that requires immediate and urgent action. The Steering Committee is the regular executive body of the Local, and thus subordinate to its Legislative bodies, the General and Regular Meetings.
  1. b)  The Local Steering 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.
  2. c) The Steering Committee will be empowered to act as the official public spokespersons for the Local and will initiate such actions and policies as the Local’s general welfare may demand. The Steering Committee will be responsible also for coordinating the day-to-day operations and political work of the Local’s branches and committees. The Steering Committee will report to Local Regular Meetings on the business of the Steering Committee Meetings.

Section 3.  Meetings.

The meetings of the Steering Committee will be held at least monthly, the dates of which will be determined by a prior Steering Committee Meeting or by consultation amongst any five members of the Steering Committee.  All members of the Steering Committee must (ordinarily) be given four days oral or written notice of regular Steering Committee Meetings; a 24-hour notice may be given under special emergency circumstances.

Section  4. Quorum.

A quorum of five members of the Steering Committee is required for the transaction of Steering Committee business.

ARTICLE VII. Committees

Section 1. Definition

  1. a) Committees of the Local are formally established bodies of dues paying members and will be organized for the realization of the Local’s strategies and tactics relevant to its long-term external and internal priorities.
  1. b) Committees may focus on any special topic which is deemed central to the Local’s mission and goals by the at-large membership of the Local.

Section 2. Committee Chairs

  1. a) Each committee shall be organized and directed by a committee chairperson, appointed by the membership of each committee. The Committee Chair must be a dues-paying member in good standing of the Local.
  1. b) The membership of each committee shall nominate a committee member to be elected as Chair at a Regular or General meeting. The committee membership shall submit the nomination to the Steering Committee in advance of the meeting for inclusion in the meeting agenda. Election of the Committee Chair must take place each calendar year and should be arranged to coincide as closely as possible with the election of other officers of the Local.
  1. c) Each Committee Chair is a member of the Local’s Steering Committee and shall be expected to fulfill their obligations as such as they are outlined in Article VI of these bylaws.

Section 3. Duties

  1. a) Each committee shall provide regular reports of progress, on activities general and specific, to the general membership and the Steering Committee during regular business meetings of the Local, or upon request by the Steering Committee.

Section 4. Formation of Committees

  1. a) Each committee shall originate from a well-established working group, as such groups are defined under Article VIII.

1) The originating working group will be considered “well-established”, and may propose the formation of a committee, only after holding meetings for three consecutive months, where at least one meeting has been held in each of the constituent calendar months of the period, and where each meeting during the period has been attended by at least five members in good standing of the Local.

2) Aside from under the conditions defined in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, a working group may also be considered “well-established” and eligible for proposing a committee by the unanimous consent of the steering committee after presenting evidence of exigent need for the committee.

  1. b) A committee will be formed upon passage of a constituting resolution as presented to the at-large membership by a sponsoring member of the Local.

1) Passage of the constituting resolution shall be by a two-thirds vote in the affirmative for the resolution from the at-large membership present at any regular business meeting of the Local.

2) The sponsor of the constituting resolution shall be any member of the committee’s originating working group.

Section 5. Dissolution of Committees

  1. a) A committee which has ceased to function as defined in its constituting resolution may be dissolved either:

1) upon passage, by a majority vote in any business meeting of the Local, of a resolution, originating from the Steering Committee of the Local, dissolving the defunct committee; or,

2) by the unanimous decision of all members of the Steering Committee during the proceedings of any business meeting of the Local.

Section 6. Active Committees

  1. a) An up to date list of active committees will be maintained on the Local’s website at: https://www.denverdsa.org/committees

ARTICLE VIII. Working Groups

Section 1. Definition

  1. a) Working groups of the Local are ad hoc bodies of dues paying members, formed for the realization of some short-term objective of the Local, or for the expression and development of the general membership’s interests prior to the formation of a full committee of the Local.

Section 2. Formation, Organization and Dissolution

  1. a) Working groups may be established in any manner seen as appropriate by interested members of the Local (e.g., creation of a physical or digital forum for discussion), so far as existence of the working group is made known to the general membership of the Local by a reasonable effort at publicity.
  1. b) A working group may be organized in any structure deemed necessary for the fulfillment of the group’s purpose.
  1. c) Working groups are ad hoc bodies and may be dissolved at any time without special notice being given or procedure being followed.

Section 3. Duties

  1. a) Each working group may report on its activities during general business meetings of the Local or by communication with members of the Steering Committee on an informal basis.

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.

ARTICLE X.  Prohibited Activity

Denver 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 Colorado. 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 three-person Nominations Committee shall be established at least one month prior to every election by vote of a Regular Meeting.  It shall solicit and receive nominations for the positions to be elected.

Section 2.  Nominations Process.

Nominations for Local officers and delegates to the National Convention shall be opened 10 days before and closed at the Annual Meeting.  The call for nominations shall be announced to full members of DSA 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 Steering Committee a month in advance of a General or Regular Meeting.  The Steering 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 (Regular of General) Local meetings.

ARTICLE XIII.  Rules of the Local.

Section 1.  Rules.

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, Newly Revised 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.