More to come!
Friday 8/2/2019, 3:30PM
Amid the heat and rain of August Atlanta, the DSA convention kicked off with an explosion (literally; they were shooting a movie a block from the hotel and blew something up last night). Canceled flights, overnight drives, and the pressure of representing the largest American socialist organization in a generation has produced a body of delegates that are sleep-deprived, worn-out, excited, wired, and ready to write the next chapter of American socialism.
National Director Maria Svart kicked off the event, discussing the amazing success of the DSA over the last two years and the wins we’ve had. Listening to her speak, we all know that these wins are real, tangible, and just the beginning. It’s our time and we’re ready for it.
The current chair of the National Political Committee’s Steering Committee then spoke. She called the outgoing NPC out for creating a culture of backbiting, insular politics, and spending time creating accusations and counter accusations against one another than actually leading the DSA. While disappointing to hear, it is not necessarily surprising as she confirmed what most of us already sensed from the NPC, and was a necessary if bracing assessment of our national leadership.
Ajmal Alami, one of the co-chairs of the YDSA, brought a much different energy to the room. Overall, YDSA has possibly been the quickest-growing section of the DSA over the last two years; going from twelve to eighty chapters, the YDSA has exploded, bringing a much needed element of youth to our organization. As Ajmal pointed out, there the YDSA of today is the DSA organizers tomorrow. We need them to succeed, and by all accounts, they are doing so in amazing fashion.
After some discussion about what to proceed with next, we had several speakers address the convention. The first of these was Councilor Khalid Kamau of South Fulton, a suburb of Georgia. In defiance of this week’s statement from Georgia Democrats claiming that socialists having no political home within the party or the state, Khalid Kamau affably welcomed us into his community. He spoke on “dismantling the electability complex,” an idea that there are certain things that cannot be said or done in politics lest they are doomed to failure. He pointed out how this complex has held back politics and organizing for generations in the United States, and about how we can overcome the largely imagined stigma that conservatives and liberals wish to place upon socialism.
After his speech was one from Erika Alvarez, a leader of the United Teachers Los Angeles strike that won historic concessions against the privatization industry. She gave us a good and insightful look into the strike, what it took to win, and what it meant to her.
We finished with Dr. Thea RioFrancos, a professor at Providence College. She spoke on the importance of the Green New Deal, explaining in a concrete and moving way for the need to certain justice and socialism the Green New Deal. She gave a great example about how border security and “Fortress America” is the right wing answer to climate change; the logical next step of the exploitation of land and labor from the Global South. I encourage anyone interested in these topics to see check out what she has to say.
After this we broke down into business. It took the rest of the morning but we managed to move through the credentials report and adopt the rules. Part of it was passionate challenges to both some of the credentials and to the rules, and part of it was technological issues (we managed to create a DDOS attack when the entire room used the same WiFi to log onto the voting platform).
There is a palpable sense of excitement in the room. We’ve come from all across the country and finally made it to here. Despite all the hassles, hiccups, and technological issues, there’s no place I’d rather be at the moment than in a room full of comrades making sure a better world becomes a reality.
STEERING COMMITTEE CHAIR REPORT
Challenge to delivery of credentials at this time as most delegate chairs were not in the room. Chair reverses decision to accept report, move on to Plenary Speakers
Councilor Khalid Kamau
Erika Alvarez, UTLA Leader
Challenge #1: Against Nick J. as an at large delegate; challenge claims they are a member of the Columbus chapter. Credentials Committee finds that Nick J. qualifies as an at-large member and recommends his credentials be upheld
Challenge #2: Challenge against the East Bay delegates, claiming their were problems with the voting method used. Credentials Committee recommends that the East Bay delegates credentials be upheld
Motion to Amend the credentials report to overturn the dismissal of the East Bay challenge
Amendment to the report fails
Challenger to Nick J.’s credentials rescinds the challenge
MOTION TO END DEBATE
MOTION TO ACCEPT CREDENTIALS
CREDENTIALS ACCEPTED (1,057 delegates are seated)
ADOPTION OF THE RULES
Motion to amend the Rules to replace Ranked Choice with Single Transferable Vote
Motion to amend the rules to not allow division of the house on procedural votes
Motion to amend the rules to require a ⅔rds majority on all resolutions and bylaws costing over $25,000
Motion to only allow two speakers for and two speakers against a motion and only one speaker for and one speaker against an amendment
Motion to amend the convention rules so that rules and bylaws changes take effect immediately, rather than after the acceptance of the convention minutes by the National Political Committee
MOTION TO END DEBATE
MOTION TO ACCEPT THE RULES
– Kevin M.