I signed up for a membership online. Now what? How do I get more involved?

Come out to an event! We hold New Member Orientations once every two months, and they are a great way to get plugged into the chapter. But even if one of those isn’t happening soon, don’t worry! New members are welcome at pretty much all of our meetings and events. We host happy hours, branch meetings, working group meetings, protests and actions, and even the occasional picnic, party, or softball game. We do our best to make our meetings accessible and welcoming to everyone. Check out our calendar and head to anything that looks interesting.

What if I’m not a member? Can I still come to meetings?

Yes! We encourage everybody to sign up and pay their dues, but if you want to come and check out a meeting or event without being a member that is totally cool too. Only official members are able to vote, but you’re welcome to participate otherwise.

Okay cool, sounds great. What’s a working group?

A working group is a sub-group within CDSA that organizes around a specific issue. For instance, we have a Labor Working Group, an Anti-Racism Working Group, a Socialist Feminist Working Group, and a bunch more. These groups are where a lot of CDSA’s organizing gets done.
You can find a list of all the different working groups and learn how to get involved HERE.

I’m new to politics and I’ve never organized anything in my life, yet I got this card that says I’m an “official socialist organizer.” That’s kind of intimidating! Do you have to be experienced to get involved?

Absolutely not and you’re not alone! People with all different levels of experience and expertise are joining CDSA and everybody brings a unique perspective. As long as you show up earnest and ready to fight for socialism, we’re happy to have you. Learning how to organize and build power are skills that come with showing up and helping out. In fact, a lot of our current leadership were new to politics and organizing when they first joined, including me, the person writing this!

Alright, I went to a meeting. What the heck is a “stack”?

A “stack” is a way to ensure that everybody gets their fair turn to speak. At the beginning of each meeting someone will be assigned the task of “keeping stack.” If you have something to add to the conversation, give that person a little wave and they’ll let you know when it’s your turn to speak.
CDSA uses a “progressive stack” which puts the voices of non-men, people of color, and other marginalized folks at the top.

Okay, cool. But people kept calling for “Point of Information” or “seconding motions”? What’s that about?

That’s Robert’s Rules of Order! It’s a set of rules that we rely on so our meetings run as smooth and efficiently as possible. Here’s a good primer on the rules, but if you go to a couple meetings you’ll find that you can pick up the basics pretty quickly. Don’t be afraid to ask your comrades for clarification.

I met a bunch of cool people at the meeting I went to but I don’t know how to get in contact with them outside of the meeting! Is there a CDSA Facebook group or something where I can get connected with other CDSA socialists?

CDSA has a number of internal communications methods that we rely on for organizing discussions. The two main methods are our email list and our Slack channel. Emails are usually used for official and semi-official announcements while the Slack channel is used more for conversation and organizing that relies on a back-and-forth. The Communications Committee helps run both and we try our best to get as many CDSA people added to those channels as possible. However, if you never received an invite, or you did but it expired, shoot us an email at cdsacomms@gmail.com. We’ll get you connected as soon as possible. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

So, I went to a few meetings and now someone in the organization is harassing me. I like what CDSA stands for but this is not okay. What do I do?

CDSA does not tolerate harassment within the organization. If you are being harassed by another member or if you have any other type of grievance, please contact our Harassment and Grievance Officers at hgo@chicagodsa.org and they will follow up with you.

I’m still confused about how CDSA is structured? I keep hearing about the “EC,” but then there are “steering committees” too. Who’s in charge around here?

Between working group leadership, branch leadership, and the executive committee, there are a lot of different leadership positions in CDSA and it can be hard to keep track of it all. For a complete breakdown of how our organization is structured you should check out our chapter’s bylaws.
But in brief: the main leadership body is the Executive Committee or “EC.” The EC is made up of elected officials and representatives from the various geographical branches, and one representative from one of our local YDSA chapters.
Besides the EC, CDSA members will be in one of 3 geographical branches – the North Side, the South Side, or West Cook. Each branch has a steering committee which, among other things, is in charge of holding branch meetings and region-specific organizing.
Then there’s working group leadership which varies based on the working group but often is a handful of officers who are in charge of administrative tasks for that working group. Every leadership position is democratically elected. If you’re interested in running for a leadership position, be on the lookout for announcements on your email and in the Slack channel.

How do I update my contact information and National Membership Dues Info?

Contact membership@dsausa.org to change the email address associated with your membership.
Click here to update your name or mailing address. Be sure to submit that form using the email address associated with your membership! When you receive the email confirming the change, it won’t actually include your updated information, just the fact that a change was made. You can email membership@dsausa.org if you want confirmation of the change, and you can also request a new confirmation email with your updated information.

I have an infrequently asked question and the answer isn’t here. Who should I contact?

This depends on what your question is. Here’s a list of good emails to know and what you should reach out to each one for.

co-chair-1@chicagodsa.org and co-chair-2@chicagodsa.org: These email addresses belong to CDSA’s co-chairs. Among other things, reach out to them if you need to book one of the rooms in the office or if you want to propose something at an EC meeting.

secretary@chicagodsa.org: Our secretary’s email address. Among other things, reach out to them for questions on our internal processes and data.

cdsacomms@gmail.com: The email address for the Communications Committee. Reach out to them for media inquiries and questions about CDSA’s internal (i.e. Slack) and external (i.e. Twitter, the events calendar) communications

hgo@chicagodsa.org: If you are dealing with harassment issues, please reach out to our Harrassment and Grievance Officers as soon as possible.

northside@chicagodsa.org: Reach out to the North Side Steering Committee for questions relating to the North Side Branch

southside@chicagodsa.org: Reach out to the South Side Steering Committee for questions about the South Side Branch

westcook@chicagodsa.org: Reach out to the West Cook Steering Committee for questions about the West Cook Branch

treasurer@chicagodsa.org: Our treasurer’s email address, reach out to them for any questions surrounding the CDSA’s finances.