Cleveland DSA Membership Handbook

Introduction to the Membership Handbook

The Membership Handbook is meant to be a resource for Cleveland DSA members. It touches on a variety of topics including chapter operation, policies, and standing rules.  This handbook, along with the chapter bylaws, should give members a comprehensive overview of how Cleveland DSA functions. 

Much of the Membership Handbook, as well as several updates to this chapter’s bylaws, were originally drafted by the Best Practices Working Group between March 2020 to May 2021. This written document outlines the conditions under which the working group was formed and can provide some political and strategic context for many of this chapter’s current bylaws and structures, as well as some of our chapter norms and values. The materials were then collected, expanded on, and edited by the Membership Committee and Cleveland DSA’s general membership. The Membership Handbook is a document created by Cleveland DSA members and belongs to the whole membership. It is expected to be continuously edited and expanded as the chapter changes and grows. The future changes to the handbook should be led by the membership committee with approval by chapter membership as a whole. Everything Cleveland DSA does is determined by its members; everything from the content of the handbook to the very structures it describes can be changed by members – if done democratically and in good faith. 

The Democratic Socialists of America is a member-driven mass organization with the goal of achieving socialism in the United States. Our power comes from our members – through collective action we can ensure that both the economy and society are structured democratically to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few. This chapter’s theory of change or theory of power is simple: collective power can be wielded for tremendous good when done so with wisdom, care, and effort; that our capitalist society is tremendously weighted against regular, working people, and critically: that we can win, especially if we engage in deep organizing. We believe that through shared struggle and political education, we can build a democratic, multiracial, working-class, explicitly socialist movement, in Cleveland, Ohio. In order to achieve our vision, we need to take our task of onboarding new members very seriously so they can become contributing members of our chapter. This Membership Handbook is meant to be a piece of Cleveland DSA’s onboarding process, and will be most useful when it is paired with a well-functioning Membership Pipeline.

Another resource that new members might want to check out is this two-page informational sheet, geared at our newest chapter members. Included are some common questions from newer members. We are all constantly learning, so as you continue to have questions don’t hesitate to ask in a meeting, in person, or on Slack.

How to Edit the Membership Handbook

The membership handbook should be routinely updated and improved. The process for editing the handbook is outlined here. The process should be clear, transparent, and easily followed while still assuring that the membership as a whole has final say over the membership handbook’s contents. 

  1. Oversight of membership handbook editing will be handled by the Membership Committee
  2. Members should submit their suggested edits or general ideas for suggested edits to the Membership Committee by doing one of the following:
    1. Attending a membership committee meeting
    2. Posting on the #membership channel on Slack
    3. Emailing
  3. The Membership Committee will consider approving the edits during its next meeting
  4. If approved, the Membership Coordinator will either make the edits themselves, or will grant edit access to the member who submitted the edits so that they can make the edits

Chapter Structure

The makeup of Committees and Priority Projects are not mutually exclusive – members can be involved in many of these at once. The arrows show where oversight and authorization comes from for these groups

The General Meeting is the ultimate democratic governing body of the chapter. General Meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month.

Priority Projects represent significant long term commitments of time and resources on the part of Cleveland DSA. Priorities are democratically chosen by membership at the General Meetings.  Cleveland DSA can have no more than 2 active priorities at any time.  Priorities are completed or renewed every 6 months. The Priority Project Leadership Committee is an elected body responsible for overseeing ongoing operations of the priority.

The Steering Committee ensures the decisions of membership and administrative duties required for the operation of Cleveland DSA are carried out. There are seven elected positions on the Steering Committee, and the committee meets every other week. 

The Education Committee is responsible for chapter political education work. 

The Membership Committee is responsible for outreach to members and non-members and for developing and training membership.

The Labor Chair coordinates any labor related non-priority project activities

Priority Project Development Working Groups may be authorized by membership at a General Meeting. They should not require a significant ongoing commitment of resources by membership. 

With the exception of the Steering Committee, Priority Project Leadership Committees, and the Labor Chair, which are fully elected positions, all other structures can be joined just by simply attending that structure’s meetings. Detailed descriptions of all our structures are outlined in our chapter bylaws. Activities undertaken by Cleveland DSA members outside of this structure is addressed in the Non-Priority Project Activities page

General Meetings 

Cleveland DSA general meetings take place once a month. These are spaces to debate and decide chapter-level questions.  The general body, our membership, is the ultimate governing body of the chapter.  Any decisions made at these meetings require a majority or supermajority vote of all members in attendance. 

Any Cleveland DSA member in good standing can make a motion during a general meeting. The general body can then discuss and vote on the motions in accordance with Robert’s Rules. For example, a member can make a motion to hold the next general meeting on a Wednesday rather than a Thursday, to spend chapter money to purchase a banner for Cleveland DSA, or to endorse another organization’s event. Best practice is to notify membership on Slack prior to the general meeting that you intend to make a major motion so that membership can be prepared to make an informed decision at the meeting.

Members can also motion to change chapter bylaws, though this process differs from a standard motion.  A member must make a proposal at a general meeting one month before any bylaw amendment is voted on.  Additionally, passing a bylaw amendment or ratifying a priority project requires a ⅔ vote by membership to approve.  This margin ensures buy-in from political minorities within the chapter.

The general meeting should serve as an entry-point for new members or curious non-members who want to learn about what is going on in Cleveland DSA – the work we are doing to advance our socialist project. Discussions at general meetings should be made accessible by providing as much background information and explanation of terms as possible. 

The meetings should also be as physically accessible as possible. This can include holding in-person meetings in accessible buildings, utilizing a PA system at meetings so that members can be clearly heard when they speak, being as “parent friendly” as possible, or holding hybrid in-person/virtual meetings so that members who may not be able to attend in-person can still participate. 

General Meetings often have the following components and generally are scheduled for two hours:

  • Pre-meeting new member socials
  • Initial remarks explaining Robert’s Rules and Who We Are/What We Believe
  • Event Announcements
  • Reports from priorities, committees, working groups, etc.
  • Political education
  • Discussions and voting:
    • Elections for leadership positions
    • Approval of priorities/working groups
    • Motions from members
    • Any other business needing to be discussed


Political education among Cleveland DSA members is an essential function of the chapter. As socialists, if we are to succeed, educating ourselves must inform the work we do together. In the socialist tradition, what is commonly understood as education is often referred to as “theory” and primarily derived through reading. Importantly though, education does not solely come via this route, as it also comes from actively participating in our organization, education through “practice” in movement work. Together, the terms “theory” and “practice” are used to explain their interrelationship or point of intersection, usually associated with the word “praxis,” informing each other to enhance our effectiveness.

Within our chapter, political education comes from the work done within the Education Committee.  This committee is responsible for maintaining our book club series, educational presentations at our General Meetings, and other education work within the chapter.  Education work does not require a member to have any specific backgrounds or experiences.  For our education to be meaningful it should engage members of all backgrounds and draw on their experiences, perspectives, and ideas.  

Chapter education work can be devised solely by the education committee or in concert with another working group or priority as to minimize the duplication of labor.  With either of these the goal should be to make educational materials devised as broadly accessible as possible.  It is our hope to engage members of any experience level in our work, discussions, and presentations.  

Culture of Democracy 

  For most of us, DSA is our first encounter with a truly democratic membership organization. This is often our first experience putting community and democracy into practice. This can be an exciting and  empowering experience but it can also sometimes be tedious, confusing, and stressful. 

  In Cleveland DSA, democracy does not mean electing leadership yearly and hoping your will is carried out.  It does not mean rubber stamping the ideas brought forth by formal leaders.  Instead, we want to encourage and build a participatory culture of questioning and critique.  How does a proposed project fit in with our larger goals?  Will the proposed tactic achieve its desired goals?  Is there enough capacity in the chapter to carry out this proposal with the attention it requires?  We are creating a culture where such questions are welcomed, where members are encouraged to weigh and judge arguments for themselves rather than deferring to formal or informal leaders.  In this way we are building our collective capacity for decision making.
We want to welcome opposition in practice, not just in theory. When proposals are brought forward we debate them frankly. These debates can be lengthy and intense as competing tactical and strategic ideas between members are brought into the open.  Remember that we are all comrades and that we must foster respect for each other!  One of the ways we show that respect is by taking each other seriously, not by pretending to agree simply to avoid conflict.  
Democracy also means talking to your comrades about Chapter decisions. When important decisions are being made, there will typically be at least a month’s notice. This is a formal requirement for bylaw changes and priority project proposals, but also the norm for most proposals, to make space for conversation and debate. Talk to your comrades about the direction of the chapter, on Slack, one on one, at every opportunity!
We believe conflict is a normal part of building a mass movement that is democratic in practice. Avoiding conflict ultimately means suppressing the voices of our membership, and we have also found through hard experience that, in most cases, there is no way to avoid conflict.  Conflict should be both comradely and democratic.  While it can be stressful, if we continue to approach it with good faith and practice we will build a healthier organization.  

It is important that debate happens in the open and without shame or fear.  Experienced DSA members across tendencies will welcome diversity, dissent, and disagreement inherent in building an organization of thousands. Not only is it inevitable that we disagree over how to build power for the working class, such disagreement is at the heart of our project.  Alongside the membership pipeline it is an important tool in reducing the control of friend groups and informal leadership over chapter decisions.
It is our task to build the leadership capacity of our members through political education and distributed responsibility. Our goal is to bring as many members as possible to the point where they are comfortable challenging and critiquing each other, where there is trust that comradely dissent will be welcomed, so that formal and informal authority structures in the chapter do not become rigid, opaque, or unquestionable, and so we can hold each other accountable. We believe the best way to achieve this is through practice.

  We need to foster the general body’s capacity for decision making. We do this through frequent debate and discussion, and through mentorship and education. Spreading out the knowledge necessary to make decisions is a key purpose of the ‘Membership Pipeline’ system of organizers, and specifically the Socialism 101 education series and the Education Committee more generally.  Ultimately we believe knowledge flows from engagement in the chapter’s work, and so we try to have all of our work be highly participatory, expecting virtually all of our projects to have clear plans for moving more of the membership into action.

  To enable accountability to the General Body, we want to encourage the setting of measurable goals and standards. For us, democracy involves reaching decisions horizontally with broad input.  It flows from this that decision making authority is located in the General Body, as the assembly of members in action. The body can delegate this authority to a steering committee, a priority project, or some other group, but this delegation should be temporary and there should be transparent agreed upon criteria for evaluating the work of this sub-group.  

  Ultimately what we want is for power in the chapter to be visible, and therefore believe in setting measurable and quantifiable goals and holding ourselves to them. We want to ask ourselves what specifically a tactic is meant to achieve, and if we fail to reach this goal, ask ourselves why this happened in a spirit of frankness.

Membership Pipeline

This section outlines the membership pipeline.  The goal is to show members the main process and skillset needed to take on a larger role in Cleveland DSA. While far from the only way in which a member can become more involved, we believe that this is the easiest way for someone new to this work to build skills. We have included a shorter summary of the pipeline in this Handbook – the full version can be found here.

The pipeline has been broken down into four phases: 

  • The first phase involves someone becoming a member, learning more about Cleveland DSA, and socialism in general.  They should also decide how they would like to participate going forward, though this should not limit the sort of work they do in the future.
  • Later phases involve the member becoming more active in both a priority project and the chapter, as well as taking on formal and informal leadership roles

Goals to achieve in Phase 1:

  • A member should understand chapter processes and structures
  • A member is aware of ongoing work
  • A member develops basic understanding of Democratic Socialism
  • A member understands our theory of power

Below are some examples of actions/events within each phase:

  • Phase 1
    • Orientation
    • Meet and greet
    • Socialism 101
    • 1 to 1 with outreach member
    • Get on Slack
    • Join DSA
    • Attend your first meeting
    • Go to a social event
  • Later phases
    • Go to a steering meeting
    • Speak directly with committee/priority leaders
    • Help guide what action items need to be done
    • Become responsible for engaging members
    • Chair a general meeting and get Robert Rules explainer
    • Organizer training
    • Run for/serve as an elected leader in the chapter (develop and organize priority or be on steering)

Priority Project Creation 

Cleveland DSA believes that a chapter unified behind a few priorities can accomplish more. These priorities should be decided on democratically, and the process by which they are proposed should be transparent and open to all. DSA Cleveland’s structure is centered around priority projects so that we can most effectively accomplish change in Cleveland. We feel that it is imperative that all members understand how a priority project can be formed, and that all members have the opportunity to participate. 

Priority Project Creation Process:

Step 1 – A member or group of members has an idea about a potential priority topic they would like to explore.  This concept could originate with an individual member, it could come from a coalition that Cleveland DSA is a member of, from other ongoing non-priority project work, or any other possible source.  That member should talk informally to other members about their idea, in order to come up with a goal, a broad outline of a potential strategy, and a proposed time frame to have a full proposal developed.  A goal, broad ideas for strategy, and proposed time frame should be the minimum content required, having further ideas and development is encouraged as well.

Step 2 – That member or group of members brings their idea to a general meeting, and announces their intention to create a Priority Project Development Working Group (PPDWG) in order to explore and develop a potential priority proposal.  The PPDWG does not need to be authorized by a vote, as long as a minimum of 5 members say that they would be willing to work on the priority proposal.  However, a majority vote of membership can cancel a proposed or existing PPDWG.

Step 3 – The PPDWG will meet to research and discuss the priority idea according to the time frame proposed. The Priority Project Coordinator on the Steering Committee will be assigned to the PPDWG to check and help with this process. Membership should be kept informed throughout this process, so any interested member may join and get involved.

Step 4 – The PPDWG process may result in one of several outcomes:

  1. The PPDWG develops a priority proposal, including specific goals, strategies, and tactics. See the “Priority Project Criteria” on the next page for more guidance.
  2. The PPDWG decides not to continue with this process, either because they feel the idea is no longer viable, there is not sufficient interest, or the time frame has elapsed.  In this instance, the idea can be abandoned, or interested members may decide to propose some other action, for example an ongoing non-priority project activity, or even a new PPDWG.

Step 5 – The PPDWG brings their priority proposal to the next general meeting. The chapter will vote on approving the priority. Priority projects require a 2/3 vote to be approved. 

Priority Project Criteria 

A priority project requires substantial commitment and capacity.  As a result, it is very important that our chapter be strategic about what it chooses to adopt as a priority project.  In order to assist with the development and consideration of potential priorities, the chapter has compiled the following list of “guiding questions” that should be considered when discussing a potential priority.  A priority proposal should address these questions, and members should consider them when deciding whether or not to endorse a proposed priority.

These are not meant to be a rigid checklist, nor are they meant to be exhaustive.

Guiding Questions:

  • What is the timeline for the priority?
  • How will this build power for oppressed groups in the Cleveland area? How does this priority exhibit solidarity with oppressed peoples in our area?
  • What will this priority need materially?
  • How does this priority build DSA’s power (eg: how does this engage and develop DSA members)?
  • What is the engagement strategy? Is it a broad enough priority to engage a variety of members with different interests and talents?
  • How does the priority engage with or overlap with existing priorities?
  • Does the priority have clear measurable goals? What are those goals and how will they be measured?
  • If the priority is public facing, what is the media strategy?
  • Based on our current capacity, do we have the capacity to do this priority?

Priority Project Leadership 

Priority projects will have leadership elected by the general membership, responsible for the oversight and operations of the priority. Common positions could be Treasurer, Secretary, Membership Coordinator, Chapter Representative, or Messaging. While these positions vary from priority to priority, leadership in general is responsible for internal organizing and membership engagement, making sure meetings are had and notes are taken, tracking funds allocated from the general membership, reporting back to general membership and chapter steering on progress toward priority goals, and the strategies and tactics being used to accomplish them, as well as ensuring the security of the chapter and membership by monitoring and limiting access to sensitive information contained in applications and programs used within the priority. 

It will be the responsibility of these elected leaders and the chapter as a whole to ensure the priority is working through its stated goals, and it will give bimonthly reports to the chapter steering committee and monthly reports to the general body on its progress. Priorities have explicit terms, up to six months, after which they must be reauthorized, , gaining the consent of the general body to continue dedicating our resources on its work.

Any member seeking to hold a position as a part of priority leadership should be mindful of the following:

Time commitment- The goal of priority leadership is not to do all of the work but to make sure that the work is completed, however holding a priority project leadership position does require a significant time commitment at some points.

Conflict of interest- Prospective priority leadership candidates must disclose conflicts of interest and should heavily consider the implications of holding the position. 

Experience- There are no codified qualifications for running for priority leadership, however, as many of the tasks that steering either works on or delegates can be technical at times, considering one’s own experiences prior to running can be useful. Being involved and taking on priority work can be helpful to understand what the structure and flow of the priority is. Attending steering and priority organizing meetings before running for a priority leadership position is recommended to make for a smoother transition between steering and allows for more continuity and stability within the priority.

Chapter Leadership 

Cleveland DSA has a member-elected Steering Committee.

Steering is responsible for the following: 

  • To execute the decisions of Membership and administrative duties required for the operation of Cleveland DSA
  • To ensure that our chapter is compliant with all national DSA bylaws
  • To facilitate communication between our organization and the national body

Steering is divided up into the following roles:

  • Treasurer – Ensures that chapter finances are in order
  • Secretary – Keeps all records of meetings, decisions, and activities for Cleveland DSA
  • Priority Projects Coordinator – Facilitates creation of priority proposals
  • Education Coordinator – Oversees political education in the chapter
  • Membership Coordinators – Manages member rosters and communication with new members
  • Communications Coordinator – Responsible for external and internal communications

Other details about Cleveland DSA Steering Committee:

  • 7 members on the Steering Committee – two membership coordinators and one of other roles
  • Steering elections take place during the December General Meeting
  • Steering terms go from January 1st to December 31st
  • Vacancies can occur, and a special election to fill vacancies can happen at any General Meeting as long as there is a one month notice
  • Steering members can resign if they need to step back from chapter work
  • More details about Steering Committee can be found in the bylaws on the website

Steering members can and should delegate many of their tasks to other members. They should be coordinating tasks, but the work of the chapter must be done collectively by the membership to avoid any individual being overburdened. 

Cleveland DSA Steering Committee typically meets twice monthly. The meetings are open to chapter members and they are encouraged to attend, although only Steering members can vote on motions made during the meetings. Things typically discussed in a steering meeting may include things like General Meeting agendas, coordinating who will attend a District Call with National DSA, managing passwords, managing responsibility for social media, emails, website management, Zoom meeting starts, etc. 

Any member can run for Steering Committee, there are no requirements regarding time as a member, age, political beliefs, etc. It’s recommended that you reach out to a Steering member if you are interested in running for the role.

Labor Chair

DSA Cleveland shall elect a Labor Chair to coordinate implementation of any labor related non-priority project activities (for example), policies, and proposals. 

  1. The Labor Chair is not a member of the Steering Committee. The Labor Chair shall ensure reportbacks on their activities at Steering Meetings at least monthly.
  2. The Labor Chair’s work is under the authority of the Steering Committee and the General Body. 

The Labor Chair’s term shall be one year, there is no term limit. After the initial election, reelection is due to take place in January of each year.

The Labor Chair will in collaboration and under the authority of Steering take care to not undermine Cleveland DSA priority work.

The Labor Chair will specifically refrain from schedule conflicts with Priority events. The Chair may mobilize up to 2 members on conflicting dates when necessary. 

The Labor Chair shall keep an ongoing record of all labor organizing activities, which shall be available to the membership with any necessary redactions to protect workers identities and maintain secrecy for non-public campaigns.

Non-Priority Project Activities

Cleveland DSA bylaws outline the specifics of how our chapter should be organized. You can check back to the Chapter Structures page to see how that works. Outside of the three committees (steering, education, and membership) and an established priority project, how else can members get together to meet? The bylaws outline “non-priority project activities” to address this. 

Critical to our priority project-based structure is the question of non-priority project activities. DSA members can start and participate in activities in the chapter outside of priorities, but subject to some limitations. The limitations are meant to assure that our chapter is concentrating its energies and resources on intentional priorities so that we can make effective change in our community. 

The Bylaws state that non-priority project activities “may be single events such as demonstrations or ongoing work that will not require a significant ongoing commitment of resources by membership.” Resources can be interpreted as funding as well as member capacity. Based on this guidance, it is DSA Cleveland membership’s responsibility to judge what non-priority project activities should be undertaken by the chapter. Any member can propose a new non-priority project activity at a General Meeting. The important point is that new projects and actions are undertaken intentionally by the General Body, as opposed to being approved within priority meetings, issue committees, or working groups (with the partial exemption of Membership and Education work).

There are also the “three essential chapter functions” of administration, outreach, and education, which are all technically non-priority project activities, carried out by our Steering, Membership, and Education Committees. These Committees should still seek general membership buy-in for their work, but are permanent bodies that exist outside (but in large part in service of) the Priority Project.

Single events can be organized by members at any time and don’t need whole chapter approval unless they want to be represented as a DSA event to outside groups. The bylaws state regarding these single events, “Any member can propose, advocate for, or initiate a non-priority project activity that meets the [non-priority project activity] criteria at any time.” For example, members have set up a queer liberation theology discussion, book discussion, solidarity meal creation, and solidarity fund proposal discussion all without needing to ask for full chapter permission. Any member can ask a Steering member to put an event on the DSA calendar. 

DSA Meetings Terminology 

Agenda – Meetings proceed according to a pre-written agenda in order to stay on track and on topic. Agenda items can be added or changed by a vote during the meeting. 

Stack – Meeting attendees get in line to speak with a method called stack. In virtual meetings, just type the word “stack” into the chat box. For in person meetings, raise a hand to indicate your desire to speak to the person who is keeping track (called “taking stack”). During active discussions or debates, people who haven’t spoken yet may be called prior to people who already have (called “frequency stack”) but otherwise people will be called on in order. 

Minutes – Another term for Meeting notes! We take notes at all of our meetings to keep membership up to date.

Pronouns – DSA typically begins meetings with icebreaker/introductions, and usually the prompt will include a request for “your pronouns”, and members saying things like “My name is Erik and I use he/him pronouns”.  There is a basic practical reason for this: often, your best guess at a person’s pronouns will be incorrect! DSA is meant to be a highly inclusive working class project, and we believe pronoun intros help to include trans workers.

Motion – A motion is a Roberts Rules term for asking the meeting attendees to vote to do something. In larger meetings like General Meetings we use motions to make official chapter decisions. In smaller meetings like an education committee meeting, decisions are often made without a motion just because decisions in smaller meetings are usually less formal and less consequential. 

“+++” – In DSA Zoom meetings you might see members typing plusses in the chat. They indicate agreement with someone who is speaking or with something said in the chat. You might see “+++” or “++++++++” depending on the level of agreement.

Robert’s Rules Primer 

The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised govern Cleveland DSA meetings in all cases to which they are applicable.

We use Robert’s Rules to ensure democracy, empower dissent, and conduct meetings in an efficient and well-organized way. Robert’s Rules can feel overly complex and opaque but we encourage members to be brave, make mistakes, and ask for help if necessary. For example, you can literally type in chat in a Zoom meeting (or whisper to the comrade next to you in an in-person meeting), “how do I suggest changing the motion to say $150 instead of $100”, and your comrades will tell you!

The purpose and intent of parliamentary procedure is to enable participation, not present barriers. If this presents a barrier for you, talk to the Membership Coordinator.

Chair – Meetings are facilitated by a chair. The chair is a role given to a member for the whole meeting, and the role should be rotated so that each meeting has a different chair. The chair should do their best to avoid the appearance of favoring one side or another, but can still vote and make and second motions.

Motion – The procedure of a member presenting an idea or issue for consideration and action is known as making a motion, stated as “I move that…” A member must be recognized by the chair (called “having the floor”, meaning having the right to speak) before making a motion. Examples include “I move that Cleveland DSA spends $100 on a microphone” or “I move that the meeting be extended by 15 minutes”.

Second – To be considered, motions must be seconded by another member. The member just states “I second.” Seconding a motion does not require being recognized by the chair. 

Debate – After a second, the chair restates the motion and the members debate it. Before speaking in debate, members obtain the floor by being called on by the chair. The member who made the motion has the right to speak first. Debate must be confined to the merits of the motion.

Amend a motion – Before the vote is taken on a motion, a member can move to amend by, for example: striking out words, inserting or adding words, striking out words and inserting others in their place, substituting one paragraph or resolution for another. Examples include “I amend the motion to say $200 instead of $100” or “I amend the motion to include spending $100 on speakers as well as $100 on a microphone” When motions are amended, the suggested amendments are discussed and voted on by the membership body, and then the original motion, amended or unamended, is discussed and voted on by the membership body. This can result in a long process, especially if there is more than one amendment!

Ending debate – When debate on a motion seems to have ended, the chair asks if there is further discussion, and if none the chair puts the motion to a vote (called “putting the question”). A member can call the question if they want to end debate immediately, which itself requires membership to vote on. So once recognized by the chair, a member can state “I call the question” (or can just say “I want to end debate and vote” and everyone will know what they mean), then the membership votes if they want to end debate. If 2/3 of members vote to end debate, then debate ends and membership can vote on the motion. 

Unanimous consent – When it comes time for a vote, prior to voting the chair can ask the membership if there are any objections to the motion. If no one objects (can be done by saying “I object” or simply “yes”), then the chair can say that the motion passes by unanimous consent, meaning that everyone agrees with the motion. This can be very helpful for routine motions like approving the agenda or extending the meeting time if the meeting is running over. 

Quorum – Some meetings require a certain number of members in good standing to be present in order to be able to conduct business like voting on motions. This requirement is called a quorum. In Cleveland DSA for General Meetings our quorum is 20 members and for Steering Meetings quorum is 2/3 of the members on Steering Committee. None of our other meetings have a quorum. Quorum requirements are stated in our bylaws. 

New Business – Section on the agenda where members can introduce new items of business to be discussed. This section should be found on General Meeting agendas, but other meetings are less structured so it might not be explicitly stated. The chair should state “Is there any new business” and members can then make new motions. Although not always required, it is good practice to notify comrades ahead of time of intentions to bring a consequential motion to the floor. 

Approval of Agenda – We often make a motion to approve or adopt our agenda at the beginning of General Meetings. Members can make a motion to change the agenda at this time, which requires a majority vote. Changes to the agenda after it’s adopted require a 2/3 vote. 

A member does not need to have the floor or be recognized by the chair to state the following if they require immediate attention:

  • Point of Order: Draws attention to a breach of rules, improper procedure, breaching of established practices, etc. For example, if a member makes a regular motion and the chair immediately calls for a vote, a member can state “point of order, we can’t vote on this motion until we’ve had a chance to discuss it”
  • Point of Information: Renamed “request for information” in latest edition of Roberts Rules, it can be used to request information about a motion. For example, if a member makes a motion to organize a protest in public square and discussion is starting, a member can state “point of information, what will the protest be against?”

More information about Roberts Rules of Order can be found here (outside link):

Technologies used in DSA 

Website Link here! You can find our blog, calendar, bylaws, mailing list sign-up, and other useful information on our website. 

Slack – Our members-only communication platform. Requires an invite to join. More info on the next page! 

Google DriveLocated here! Members-only. Google Drive is an online file storage system. We keep our meeting notes, meeting agendas, trainings, book pdfs, chapter logos, new member resources, and more on the Drive! Request access by messaging a Chapter Steering member in Slack or by emailing 

Zoom – Video calling platform. Since March 2020 nearly all of our meetings happen on Zoom. You can find Zoom links on our calendar, you can just copy/paste them into your web browser to join meetings. 

Signal – An encrypted instant messaging service. Used by some individual members, not necessarily by the chapter as a whole. It provides us with a more secure way to text. We often will communicate over Signal when we gather for direct actions, protests, etc. It can be downloaded for free here

Action Builder – A website that is an organizing tool for us. We have a list of our members in Action Builder and keep track of meeting attendance, leadership roles, and next follow-up dates with members. We also use Action Builder for our anti-eviction canvasses and to assign phone calls to tenants. New members don’t need to create an account on Action Builder until being assigned a specific task, and at that time an invite will be sent to you.

Action Network – A website that is a communication tool for us. We use Action Network to send chapter emails and automated texts. Usually only chapter steering members or priority leadership members will have access to Action Network. 

Email – DSA Cleveland has multiple email addresses, such as and Chapter steering members monitor our email inboxes so questions about how email is managed can be directed to them. 

OpaVote – An online voting website. We use OpaVote to hold many of our elections in a secure way. Typically only the chapter Secretary needs access to OpaVote, and the rest of membership just needs to click the link that will be sent via email.

Social Media – We have a Facebook page, Instagram page, and Twitter account. Give us a follow! We are almost always looking for members to help manage our social media accounts, so reach out to chapter steering or our Communications Coordinator if you can help. 

Google Voice – Our chapter can be called at 216-815-5372, which is a Google Voice number, although its probably not the best way to contact us. Steering members have the log in to Google Voice, so they would be checking for voicemails left at that number. Slack messages or emails are more reliable.

KeePass/Bitwarden – Two password managers that Chapter Steering has used to secure and keep track of the passwords for all our various technologies.


Slack – Our members-only communication platform. Requires an invite to join.

  • Every member should join Slack! It’s where we discuss ongoing work, debate strategies and directions for the chapter, and even share socialist memes. 
  • Members can request access to Slack by emailing If you joined DSA within 1-2 weeks of requesting Slack access, you should forward your membership confirmation email as well so we can confirm you are a member. 
  • Our chapter Slack has many different “channels”. Channels allow us to keep all our discussions neat and orderly
    • New members to Slack automatically join several channels, like #new-members and #announcements, but most channels need to be actively joined
  • You can modify your notification preferences in Slack – do you want your phone to alert you to every single message, just when someone mentions your name, or only when someone posts in a certain channel? Set your notifications to what works best for you!
  • Other Slack tips google doc

Example screenshot of what DSA Cleveland Slack might look like:

National DSA and how Cleveland DSA fits in 

  • Organization of National DSA
    • note: some chapters are organized into State DSA Chapters (like California DSA) but there is no Ohio DSA yet 
    • National DSA – governed by the national membership at National Conventions and the National Political Committee
      • Districts – groupings of chapters by region. National has field organizers who organize a call every month with their district. Cleveland DSA is in the “PA, OH, KY” district with other chapters from those states. Cleveland DSA steering members attend the district calls.
        • Chapters – made up of a set of zip codes determined by National. Our Cleveland chapter encompasses Cleveland along with some surrounding zip codes. When members join DSA they are automatically placed in chapters based on their zip codes. Some neighboring chapters include Akron chapter, Northwest Ohio chapter, and Columbus chapter
        • Organizing Committees – the beginnings of a new chapter
        • At large members – DSA members who do not reside in a zip code within a chapter or organizing committee. Also DSA members who reside in a local chapter’s zip code but for whatever reason left the local chapter but still want to be a DSA member
  • Structures in National DSA (link to National DSA website on structure):
    • National Political Committee (NPC) – The highest decision making body between conventions, essentially DSA’s national steering committee. Elected at National Conventions. 
    • National Electoral Committee (NEC) – Among other things, this body fields national endorsement requests. So the NEC decides ultimately if National DSA will endorse someone who is running for Congress. DSA chapters can endorse independently, but the NEC will not usually consider endorsing if the local has not
    • Staff – People employed by National DSA such as organizers, IT staff, administrative staff, etc. 
    • National Director – Employed by DSA, responsible for the functioning of the National Office(s) and staff. The National Director is hired by the NPC. 
    • YDSA – Young Democratic Socialists of America – they are the youth and student section of DSA. Also organized into chapters, but there aren’t any YDSA chapters in the Cleveland area. 
    • National Convention – Occurs every 2 years. Decision-making body of DSA. Votes on resolutions and Constitution amendments happen here. Each chapter has a number of representatives based on the chapter’s size. Cleveland DSA sent eight members to the 2021 National Convention
  • Dues
    • DSA members pay dues to National DSA. The dues pay for staff salaries, national organization infrastructure, and expenses from resolutions passed at National Convention
      • National DSA distributes a small percentage of dues that are paid on a monthly basis back to local Chapters (based in part on chapter size)
      • Cleveland DSA gets 20% of monthly dues paid by its members, and 0% of annual dues paid by its members
  • Discussion Board – the national platform to discuss all things DSA – opt in here by providing the email you used to join DSA. You will receive a No Reply email from the DSA National Tech Committee with a prompt to set a password and a link to the discussion board at
  • National DSA Constitution & Bylaws

National Working Groups and Committees:

  • How do working groups work/how do you get involved overview?
  • The rules for decision making and membership often vary from working group to working group, which can be highly confusing for their prospective (and existing!) members.  Some have existed for years and are highly organized with clear goals, while some are brand new entities still searching for projects or purpose.  Some have elected leadership, and most have appointed national liaisons accountable to the NPC.  Some are open to all members in good standing, other involve an applications process, and the degree to which applications are rejected or denied also varies. Hopefully this mosaic will become less confusing for membership in the 2021-23 term, as the 2021 Convention overwhelmingly passed an NPC recommendation to Adopt standardized guidelines for national committees and working groups

Chapter History


Cleveland DSA holds first meetings and events.

Cleveland DSA members co-founded Clevelanders for Public Transit, Ohio’s only transit rider-led organization to combat fare hikes and service cuts.

2016 – 

“getting Education up and running w/ book club, and folks were cutting their teeth canvassing riders”

2017 – 

In April, DSA accepted our application for a charter as an official local chapter

In May, the members at the General Meeting ratified the bylaws and appointed officers to carry out elections

The first Cleveland DSA member list from 5/1/2017 consisted of 138 members

In June, elections were held for 9 seats on the steering committee. 30 members attended the meeting and all 9 seats were filled. 

With DSA members anchoring transit rider-canvassing, riders and CPT secure Public Square bus lanes

Cleveland DSA members canvassed Cleveland residents against massive public giveaways to billionaire Dan Gilbert for the Q Deal.

2018 – 

1/2018 – The chapter voted to endorse the national DSA Medicare for All campaign as a chapter priority for the year of 2018. 

2/2018 – DSA members had a part in stopping RTA fare hikes in 2018

3/2018 – The chapter participated in the NNAF Preterm Bowl-A-Thon (in 2018, the primary fundraising event was called “Drag Kings for Choice: A Preterm Fundraiser,” held at Now That’s Class, and the Cleveland DSA bowling team was called “The Bowlgeoisie” – the drag show fundraiser raised $1175 that year).

12/2018 – The chapter voted to endorse the lead-safe campaign as DSA Cleveland’s primary campaign over the next year, in coalition with CLASH (Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing)

2019 – 

1/2019 to 4/2019 – Lead safe ballot initiative canvassing drive completed – but the first round of petitions were rejected due to missing legal language. 

5/2019 to 7/2019 – Chapter reaffirmed commitment to prioritizing lead-safe campaign despite legal issues. Second lead safe ballot initiative canvassing drive which was stopped when the City of Cleveland passed the lead safe ordinance (similar, though not identical to proposed CLASH language). This comparatively big win was later pointed to as proof of the effectiveness as a priority-based structure as opposed to a committee-based structure. 

5/2019 to 8/2019 – The chapter hosted several “Brake Light Clinics” in different locations across Cleveland. 

9/2019 to 10/2019 – The chapter showed up in solidarity for the 2019 UAW Strike – chapter leaders helped coordinate rideshares down to the factory in Parma, DSA members got to chat with the workers while they were on their “strike shifts,” and on October 25, 2019, “the longest auto workers’ strike in 50 years [was] officially over” – in a mixed-bag win for the almost 48,000 auto workers who were on strike from some 50 plants. 

Formation/renaming of “housing working group” (previously the lead safe housing working group).

With integral organizing support, as well as solidarity efforts, from members of Cleveland DSA – in the workplace, as union staff, and in the community – Summit Academy in Parma teachers successfully strike and secure a contract, as the 4th charter school in the nation’s workers to strike.

2020 – 

1/2020 – Metanoia homeless shelter – members of DSA join others at a City Council meeting to demand that the city not shut down the Metanoia homeless shelter with no plan to keep residents out of the cold

1/2020 – Eviction court watch – members of DSA went to the Cleveland Municipal Court to observe how eviction hearings work

7/2020 – CHOP approved as a campaign – the chapter voted at the July General Meeting to authorize a housing justice priority campaign named Cleveland Housing Organizing Project (CHOP)

11/2020 – Defund the Police approved as a campaign – the chapter voted at the November General Meeting to authorize a campaign focused on defunding the police

2021 – 

2/2021 – Defund the Police Campaign closes and 3 members resign from steering committee

5/2021- Cleveland DSA voted to engage in a time-limited non-campaign support project, with Akron DSA, to elect Nina Turner to Congress, in our first formal collaboration with another Ohio chapter.

5/2021 – Cleveland DSA endorses Citizens for a Safer Cleveland effort to bring more accountability to Cleveland Police. Eventually materializes into Issue 24, a ballot initiative that creates a citizen oversight board, which passed in November 2021. Individual DSA members were involved in the drive to pass it. 

5/29/2021 – DSA Cleveland Bylaw Convention – the chapter changed its bylaws to reflect a change from a committee-based structure to a campaign-based structure

12/2021 – Headed into 2022, CHOP is DSA Cleveland’s sole campaign, renewed for a 6 month term in November. We publish the CHOP 2021 data release.

2021-2022 – Cleveland DSA members mobilized its members to support over 60 SEIU Local 1 janitors to secure a union contract at Cuyahoga County Public Library after attempts by library leadership to move to a non-union contractor.

2022 –

1/25/22 – Cleveland DSA releases a statement reaffirming our support for the cause of Palestinian liberation, amidst a National DSA crisis around the question of whether to expel Congressman Jamal Bowman over his vote to fund the Iron Dome. 

2/3/2022 – This handbook is officially approved as the Cleveland DSA Membership Handbook

4/7/2022 – Cleveland DSA votes to endorse Nina Turner, who is running for US Congress against Shontel Brown

5/2022 – Starbucks Labor Solidarity Campaign approved as a campaign – the chapter voted at the May General Meeting to authorize the Starbucks Solidarity Priority Campaign

11/3/2022 – Cleveland DSA votes to end our CHOP campaign, the biggest and longest campaign in chapter history. 

2023 – 

2/2023 – The chapter begins a non-campaign activity to distribute Narcan to the community

6/2023 – Cleveland DSA launches a campaign to support a ballot measure which would enshrine the right to an abortion in the Ohio State Constitution

9/2023 – Labor campaign ends as the chapter transitions our labor work from a priority campaign to the form of a low-lift non-campaign activity. 

11/2023 – A non-campaign activity focusing on Palestine solidarity actions passes after DSA chapters across the country show up to support Palestine

2024 –

2/24/2024 – Chapter Convention – Members gather to discuss many proposed changes to chapter bylaws, policies, and long-term strategies.

3/2024 – Cleveland DSA starts a Palestine solidarity priority project

Recommended Reading List

New members come into DSA from all walks of life, and are often hungry for information on how to organize, think, and argue like a socialist. The DSA Cleveland Political Education Committee has put together the following short list of readings for new members. The list covers fundamentals of organizing, principles and key arguments for socialism, and some deep dives into topics DSA Cleveland is currently organizing around.

Various Authors, ABCs of Socialism

[Link to the digital copy]. This series of essays published by Jacobin covers basic arguments and myths you will encounter as a socialist living in a capitalist society. It does so in concrete understandable terms, but also with rigor.

Jane McAlevey, No Shortcuts (2016) (first 50 pp.)

In the first fifty pages of this labor history case study / organizing manuscript, Jane breaks down our bottom-up theory of power and presents a blueprint for making real structural change from below.

Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto (1848)

[Link to the digital copy]. This is a fundamental and pretty short text that sets the context for the entire internationalist socialist project. It’s basically required reading.

David J. Madden, Peter Marcuse, In Defense of Housing: The Politics of Crisis (2016)

In Defense of Housing is a wealth of information, providing an overview of the history, political economy, and commodification of housing in capitalist countries through a socialist lens. It draws frequently on the works of Marx and, to an even greater extent, Engels. It later reflects on the nature of tenants movements and addresses why even the most successful popular tenants movements have historically been fleeting. Finally, Marcuse and Madden propose realistic actions that we as tenants can take in the immediate future. This text ties in superbly with our CHOP campaign.

Alex Vitale, The End of Policing (2017)

Keeanga Yamhatta Taylor, From Black Lives to Black Liberation

Harassment Grievance Policy 

The Harassment Grievance Policy was approved by a vote by membership at the General Meeting on 9/2/2021, and amended at Chapter Convention on 2/24/2024

  1. Purpose
    1. The purpose of this procedure is to maintain a space that is safe for our comrades and conducive to the construction of socialism. It deals with behavior that is in violation of our Code of Conduct.
  2. Authority
    1. Where contradictions arise between this policy and national guidance, the HGOs will make a best effort determination on how to proceed by balancing the will of membership with our responsibility to comply with national regulation.
  3. Cleveland DSA Steering Committee (SC) will:
    1. Appoint at least two Harassment-Grievance Officers (HGOs), at least one of whom will not be a man. These appointments shall then be voted on by chapter membership.
    2. Maintain an email address to function as a confidential reporting “hotline.”
    3. Continue to seek backup HGOs and future HGOs, which if identified will be assigned training and mentorship by the standing HGO(s) or other officers. 
    4. Act as mandatory reporters in cases of Dangerous conduct (Article 7.a of Grievance Policy), meaning if they learn about an incident they have to report it to the HGO within seven (7) days. Officers will attempt to advise members of their mandatory reporting status prior to member’s divulging information.  
  4. The HGO(s) will:
    1. Undertake a training course assigned by the SC within 30 days of their appointment.
    2. Archive all accuser reports, accuser’s written responses, and other relevant documentation.
    3. Compile a yearly report that details:
      1. How many reports were made
      2. How many were taken to the disciplinary process
      3. How many disciplinary actions were taken
      4. Any recommended changes to chapter policies or the Grievance Process for making the reporting system more effective.
      5. This report will not include personally identifying information of any parties. 
      6. The local HGO(s) will send the yearly report to the national HGO(s) no later than January 1 of the new year.
    4. Protect the confidentiality of parties to complaints by, among other things, only discussing complaints within appropriately restricted communications channels.
    5. Seek out and mentor future HGO(s) from the general membership.
  1. Grievance Submission and Investigation Process
    1. Members may file a complaint with the HGO via the reporting form
    2. The HGO may also independently investigate a member’s actions taken against DSA members, event guests, or members of the general public, especially in cases of Dangerous behavior, regardless of whether a form has been submitted.  Members may bring behavior to the attention of the HGO without submitting a formal grievance.   
    3. Subjects to the complaint may request the non-male HGO at the outset of the process. 
    4. After a Report is filed:
      1. Within 7 days of filing, the HGO will make a determination if the report is valid. The HGO should take a broad view of grievable conduct, leaning toward acceptance. However, care should also be taken to avoid undue stress from an unnecessary grievance procedure.
      2. Within 7 days of filing, the HGO will notify the accused party that a report has been filed against them and request a written response be submitted within the next seven (7) days, either affirming or denying its substance.
        1. If the accused does not meet this deadline, the HGO will proceed to submit a recommended remedy to the SC.
      3. The HGO(s) may notify the SC of the accuser’s report and its substance at any time after the report is filed, but must give 48 hours’ written notice to both the accuser and the accused member before doing so. In cases of dangerous behavior (Article 9.a) the HGOs may notify SC of violation without informing the offender.
      4. If the accused denies the substance of the report, the HGO will have 10 days to investigate by:
        1. interviewing other members with direct knowledge of the substance of the report;
        2. requesting documentation from any other parties directly involved; or
        3. employing any and all other means deemed necessary, with the utmost respect for the confidentiality of the parties.
      5. The HGO(s) responsible will determine whether the report is credible and, if necessary, make a recommendation to the SC of appropriate remedy/disciplinary action within 30 days of the report being filed. 
      6. Both the accused and the accuser should be made aware of the results of the investigation.
  1. Remedies
    1. Remedies may be devised by the HGO based on the character and severity of the conduct, the request of harmed parties, and/or past behavior of the accused.  
    2. Remedies may include any combination of a formal conversation between the parties, between the accused party and the HGO or another Officer, development of a plan to change behavior, engagement with educational material overseen by the HGO or another Officer, a simple warning, suspension, removal from leadership, expulsion, or any other remedies approved by the SC.  
  1. Mediation
    1. In cases of non-dangerous behavior where no formal grievance has been submitted, or where a formal grievance of non-dangerous behavior is uncontested by the accused, the HGO(s) may attempt to remedy the situation without bringing it to the SC, for instance by speaking with the party/parties, explaining why the behavior in question is problematic, and what is expected of Cleveland DSA members.
      1. Repeat behavior or behavior the HGO judges to be severe (whether or not it falls into the “Dangerous” category) will be brought to the SC.
      2. The HGO(s) may not expel or suspend members without consulting the SC.
      3. Parties may still appeal these remedies.
  2. Appealing a determination
    1. Either party may appeal the remedy determined by HGO/SC by filling out the Appeals Form. Appeals must be filed within thirty days of a party having received written notice of the HGO/SC decision.  The limited grounds for appeal are:
      1. Either party believes the behavior was not covered by the Code of Conduct
      2. Procedural errors, misconduct, or conflicts of interest affected the fairness of the outcome
      3. The remedy or penalty determined by the SC was grossly disproportionate to the violation committed
    2. The HGO and SC will have 30 days to answer the Appeal.
  3. Complaints will be placed into one of three categories
    1. Dangerous behaviour – Actions that pose a clear threat to members bodily safety, including but not limited to sexual harassment, physical or sexual assault, stalking, and threatening to engage in these behaviors.
      1. Accusations of dangerous behavior will result in automatic temporary suspension from the organization’s events and communication channels pending the investigation by the HGO.
        1. This is not a punishment or presumption of guilt, but purely a safety measure.
        2. This suspension will not be made public 
        3. The HGO will track this via a review of attendance.
          1. Knowing refusal to comply with a temporary suspension may result in permanent expulsion.  
    2. Problematic behaviour –  Behavior that violates the Code of Conduct but does not pose a clear threat to a members bodily safety.
    3. Acts against the organization
      1. This includes behaviour injurious to the chapter, such as stealing chapter funds, destruction of chapter materials, making damaging statements while claiming to represent Cleveland DSA, coordinating under the influence of outside organizations, or sustained ongoing disruption of DSA events or operations.
        1. “Disruption” does not cover (organized or individual) dissent, but rather behavior such as refusal to respect meeting facilitators, stack-taking, agendas, etc, even if motivated by a spirit of dissent.
          1. As a near-term remedy administrators of a given event (whether or not they are Officers) may remove a disruptive member from the event and report this disruption to the HGO.
        2. The HGO will investigate the behavior and depending on the severity of the incident may issue a warning or proceed directly to recommending a remedy to the SC.
  4. Recusal: An officer and/or HGO will be required to recuse themselves from this process if:
    1. The HGO/Officer is a party to the complaint (i.e., is either the complainant or a subject of the complaint.)
    2. An HGO/Officer’s partner or family member is a party to the complaint.
    3. Officers/HGOs are expected to make a good faith determination of whether other factors will seriously impair their judgment, and if so will recuse themselves.  Given the close-knit nature of DSA chapters, HGOs will be chosen based on trust in their ability to set these factors aside.  Officers/HGOs are not expected to recuse themselves merely on the basis of an existing friendship with parties.
    4. The HGOs may take grievances to other chapters’ HGOs if there is a conflict of interest with steering or HGOs of the home chapter
  5. This policy prohibits retaliation against any member for bringing a complaint of harassment pursuant to this policy. This policy also prohibits retaliation against a person who assists someone with a complaint of harassment, or participates in any manner in an investigation or resolution of a complaint of discrimination or harassment. Retaliatory behaviors include threats, intimidation, reprisals, and/or adverse actions related to organizing.
    1. If any party to the complaint believes there has been retaliation, they may inform the HGO who will determine whether to factor the retaliation into the original complaint, or treat it as an individual incident.

Code of Conduct 

The Code of Conduct policy was approved by a vote by membership at the General Meeting on 9/2/2021, and amended at Chapter Convention on 2/24/2024

Cleveland DSA prohibits the following behavior:

  1. Harassment (in-person or online) including, but not limited to stalking or  ongoing unwanted contact outside DSA events, abuse, yelling, insults, violence or threats thereof, blackmail, deliberate intimidation, non-consensual physical contact, or ongoing unwelcome sexual/romantic attention.  
  2. Harmful or prejudicial comments related to sexual orientation, gender identity, physical appearance, neurodivergence, sobriety, national origin, body size, ability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion or lack thereof,  and the use of slurs or hate speech generally.
  3. Irreconcilable disagreement with the core principles of the organization as stated in the chapter’s preamble/guiding document/who we are, what we believe.
  4. Engagement in intentional ongoing disruptive behavior at chapter events or in any chapter spaces, including online ones 
  5. Acting in a concerted manner within DSA under the discipline or coordination of an outside organization.
  6. Misuse of chapter resources such as misappropriation of funds or materials. 
  7. Knowingly engaging in behaviors that are harmful or disruptive to chapter work, the chapter as a whole, or individual members within the chapter.
  8. Misrepresenting Cleveland DSA, such as claiming to speak as an official representative of the chapter without permission from the membership, unauthorized use of chapter communications, using chapter membership to campaign for public office without the chapter’s endorsement. 
  9. Disclosing private or sensitive chapter or member information publicly or privately. 

Policies related to Code of Conduct 

  1. Any member may make notice of a violation of the code of conduct and bring it up to the combined body of steering and the HGOs.  You can email the HGOs or anonymously send a concern at
  2. A code of conduct violation differs from the grievance process such that the conduct under scrutiny need not be based on a protected category. All applicable procedures outlined in the chapter Harassment Grievance Policy will be followed for a Code of Conduct violation.
  3. If steering determines that a member is acting on behalf of law enforcement or any other group that is working to undermine DSA’s actions, or is otherwise engaging in conduct that is destructive to the chapter, Steering may temporarily suspend that member’s membership in the chapter. Steering should attempt to conduct a thorough investigation before making a final determination – this investigation may last no more than 30 days. The results of the investigation should be made public to the chapter.  Expulsion proceedings may be initiated via the appropriate process.

Viewing Member Lists Standing Rule

Approved by simple majority 8/6/2020

Whereas Cleveland DSA is conscious of the security and privacy needs of its members,

Be it resolved that access to member lists or databases containing identifying information be restricted in the following ways:

  1. Members of Steering and the Membership Coordinator may have full access to member data.
  2. Other members of DSA may, at the discretion of Steering, be granted access to member data only if one or more of the following is true.
    1. The member has been a member of Cleveland DSA for greater than one (1) year.
    2. The member has attended no fewer than four (4) meetings in the last two (2) months, including priority project and committee meetings.
    3. The member list being provided contains no more than 50 entries.
  3. When members are granted access to member data, the data must be restricted only to fields that are necessary to carry out the task at hand.
  4. Non-members should never be provided access to member lists or databases.
  5. Requests for member lists must be made with an explicit political purpose, which must be recorded by Steering and made available to Membership

Slack Moderation Policy

Passed at Chapter Convention on 2/24/2024

Whereas, much of the work and debate in DSA Cleveland takes place on Slack,

Whereas, our online spaces should encourage engagement and participation in healthy and open political debate,

Whereas, there have been issues in the past that could have been avoided with early intervention from a moderator before escalation to a grievance or code of conduct violation,

Whereas, chapter steering already has all of the access and tools to accomplish this role,

Be it resolved, chapter steering is responsible for moderating the chapter slack,

Be it resolved, Slack moderators are responsible for keeping discussion focused on work, politics, and healthy debate and should step in when posts are personally demeaning, threatening, etc. In order to facilitate this, slack moderators can redirect conversation, separately message members, and remove posts. 

A steering member who removes a Slack post will at minimum follow these steps:

  1. Keep a copy of the content of the Slack post. This can be done by copy/pasting the post into a google doc.
  2. Remove the post from Slack. 
  3. Private message the creator of the post with the content of the post and the reason for removal.

Be it resolved, that any post removal can be appealed to steering. Steering will then conduct an investigation and either uphold or overturn the moderator’s decision.