Action Network: Action Network is an open platform that empowers individuals and groups to organize for progressive causes. Action Network is used to: Organize people to take action online and offline; Send mass email to recruit and mobilize new activists; Engage activists with mobile messages; Raise funds to fuel important work; etc.
BDS: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.
Bottomlining: Bottomlining is a term used by DSA to refer to someone being the point-person or chair for a particular activity, meeting, campaign, etc. This person is responsible for ensuring that the goals for the thing they are bottomlining are accomplished and communicates with those involved to make this so.
Caucus: A group within the organization that rallies around a set of principles, issue or identity, e.g. AfroSOC Caucus, Bread & Roses Caucus, Socialist Majority Caucus, Libertarian Socialist Caucus, etc.
Bylaws: Our chapter’s bylaws.
Canvassing: Canvassing is engaging in direct contact with people to talk to them. Canvassers knock on doors to contact people personally or stand in high-traffic areas to engage with people. We use canvassing for the purposes of political education and to aid electoral campaigns that we are involved in.
Chapter: A chapter represents DSA members located in a specific city or region. Our chapter is Syracuse DSA.
Chapter Convention: An annual convention of the local chapter when members elect the Steering Committee for the following year and make other major decisions for the chapter.
Coalition: A coalition is a partnership between two or more organizations for the purposes of advancing shared goals.
Committee: Committees are created by the membership at a General Meeting by a vote to coordinate the chapter’s work in a certain area, i.e. Ecosocialist Committee, Mutual Aid Committee.
Democratic Socialists of America (DSA): The national organization to which we are members of. DSA works for a more free, democratic and sustainable world beyond capitalism. DSA is a member-run organization, where members vote on chapter decisions and chapter delegates to send to the National Convention, which democratically determines the direction of the national organization.
DSA Constitution: The Democratic Socialists of America as an organization is governed and structured by the DSA Constitution. The DSA Constitution can be found here.
Dues: Dues refers to the money paid to an organization in order to maintain that organization. Dues provide DSA with the resources necessary to grow our organization and fight for real change. Members must pay national dues to be members in good standing, and doing so allows members to vote and run for officer or delegate positions. Click here to pay national dues. Click here to pay local dues.
Ecosocialism: Eco-socialism is an ideology merging aspects of socialism with that of environmental politics. Eco-socialists believe that the expansion of the capitalist system is the cause of social exclusion, poverty, war and environmental degradation through exploitation and imperialism.
Electoral work: Electoral work refers to organizing and work done within the electoral system. DSA supports candidates that align with our values. We often canvass, fundraise, and volunteer for candidates we endorse.
GND4PS: The Green New Deal for Public Schools is a bill that would invest $1.4 trillion over ten years in America’s public K-12 schools, reversing years of toxic neglect and systemic racism to build a healthy learning environment for every student and the carbon-free, climate-resilient communities of tomorrow.
Green New Deal (GND): The Green New Deal is a jobs and justice-centered plan to decarbonize the U.S. economy within ten years. It is one of the only plans that aligns with scientific consensus that climate change is an existential threat to humanity. The Green New Deal also focuses on creating the maximum amount of prosperity for working people and marginalized communities in the process.
HGO(s): HGO(s) or Harassment & Grievance Officers are members of the chapter who help to mediate and resolve grievances between members, following our official grievance policy.
Medicare for All: Medicare for All would be a single-payer, national health insurance program to provide everyone in America with comprehensive health care coverage, free at the point of service. It includes medical, dental, reproductive care, mental health and vision. In New York State, the New York Health Act is a bill that would create a similar system at the state level. A majority of state legislators are co-sponsors of the bill but it has not passed yet.
Minutes: Minutes are the official written record of the meetings of an organization or group. They are not transcripts of those proceedings. Using Robert’s Rules of Order, the minutes should contain mainly a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said by the members.
Mutual Aid: Mutual aid is a voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources and services for mutual benefit. Mutual aid projects are a form of political participation in which people take responsibility for caring for one another and changing political conditions.
National Convention: The National Convention is the highest decision-making body of the Democratic Socialists of America. All decisions of other bodies may be appealed to the Convention according to guidelines defined in the Bylaws. National conventions are held every two years (2021, 2023, 2025..). Each chapter elects delegates who may vote during the National Convention.
National Political Committee (NPC): The NPC is the collective leadership and the highest decision-making body of the Democratic Socialists of America between meetings of the National Convention. It meets at least four times a year.
Organizing Committee (OC): Groups of five or more members in a geographic area may become Organizing Committees. Such Committees may become Chapters upon attainment of the requirements described in the DSA Constitution.
Popcorning: Popcorning is a term used to mean a member choosing another member to speak next, usually as a way to break the ice when members who are unfamiliar with one another are meeting.
Progressive stack: A progressive stack is a method of facilitating meetings that we use to ensure members have an opportunity to speak and that prioritizes giving people that have not spoken as much during a meeting time to speak. To be put into the “stack,” a member types stack into the meeting’s chat during online meetings or raise their hand during an in-person meeting.
Proposal: A formal written plan or suggestion, especially a formal or written one, put forward for consideration or discussion by others.
Robert’s Rules of Order: Robert’s Rules of Order is America’s foremost guide to parliamentary procedure. It is used by more professional associations, fraternal organizations, and local governments than any other authority. We use it to ensure our meetings are organized, effective, and democratic.
Steering Committee: leadership and officers at the branch and chapter level that are elected by membership to “steer” the direction of the organization.
Tabling: setting up a table at an event, high-traffic location, fundraiser, or campus to educate people about the DSA mission and goals and recruit new members.
YDSA: Young Democratic Socialists of America is the youth and student section of the Democratic Socialists of America, and a national organization of recognized campus chapters and several hundred activists, including a YDSA chapter at Syracuse University.