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9.26.2021 General Meeting Packet
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9.26 Philly DSA General Meeting Packet Contents:

  1. June 2021 Meeting Minutes
  2. Steering Committee Report to Membership
  3. Political Education Committee Report to Membership
  4. Communications Committee Report to Membership
  5. Member Engagement Committee Report to Membership
  6. Electoral Committee Report to Membership
  7. Labor Branch Report to Membership
  8. Resolution 2021.09.01: Building Rank and File Support for a GND through Popular Education
  9. Resolution 2021.09.02: Create a “We Own Philadelphia Gas Works” Campaign to demand that the publicly owned entity be accountable to the people and our future
  10. Resolution 2021.09.03: Establish an Electoral Democracy Committee
  11. Resolution 2021.09.04: Establish an Accessibility Committee
  12. Resolution 2021.09.05: Amend Standing Rules to Lift Limits on and Add Standards for Committee Membership
  13. Resolution 2021.09.06: To Amend Steering Rules to allow for floor amendments to resolutions

June 2021 Meeting Minutes 

Philly DSA Steering Committee Report to the General Membership


For reference: June SC Report 2021.06 Philly DSA Steering Committee Report

Brief Description of Committee Purpose: The steering committee is the regular steering body of the Local. It is responsible for oversight of the affairs of the Local, ensuring that the campaigns, priorities and strategies approved at assemblies are effectively carried out by the officers, permanent committees, geographical branches, temporary committees, commissions and commissioners in accordance with the rules of the Local.

Committee Quorum: 8

Committee Officers:

Shawn H, Chair

Khalil M, Vice Chair

Harinee S, Secretary

Ron J, Treasurer

Committee Members:

Daisy C (communications); Aliyah BD (member engagement); Sanwal Y (political education); Rachie W (electoral); Emily B (at-large); Anlin W (at-large); Melissa D (at-large); Sam D (at-large); Dan R (at large); Duncan G (at-large)

Number and Dates of Meetings since last Report:

Our committee met 3 times since our last report, on Aug 10, Aug 21, Sept 14

Summary of Actions Taken:

Summary of Communication, Referrals and Requests Sent to Other Committees/Commissions:

Recommendations for consideration by the membership:

Appendix: Committee Meeting Minutes

SC Meeting 8.10.21

SC Meeting 8.21.21

SC Agenda 9.14.21

Committee and Branch Reports [MORE TO COME]:

Temporary Committee Reports 2021.9.11 - These questionnaire answers were accepted in lieu of a report for this General Meeting for Temporary Committees

Political Education Committee - 09.26.21 Report

Communications Committee Report

MEC Committee Report Sept 2021

Philly DSA Committee Report_EC 9/21

Philly DSA Labor Branch Report_9.26.21 General Meeting

Philly DSA Political Education Committee Report To The General Membership

Political Education Report For July 2021 to September 2021

Brief Description of Committee Purpose:

Creating events including but not limited to reading groups, discussions, talks, for the purpose of raising the political consciousness of the membership.

Committee Quorum: 6

Committee Officers: Sanwal Yousaf, Chair

Additional Elected Officers: N/A

Committee Members:

Melissa Naschek, Jarek Ervin, Andrew Knox, Tyler Re, Hannah Utain-Evans, Aurora Munoz,

Aliyah Bixby-Driesen, Mike Dewar, Safai Albati, Keon Liberato, Sindhu Siva, Tarig Robinson

Number and Dates of Meetings since the last Report:

Our Committee has met at least 2 times since the last General Meeting. In these meetings, we met as a body to decide on the events and curriculum that was being taught.

August 15th, 2021 :

September 19th, 2021:

Budget Details: The budget of the Political Education Committee is at the discretion of the Steering Committee and hasn’t been assigned for any major activities yet. Our current plans for our events are supposed to be all online and we don’t expect any major increases in our requests for the budget.

Summary of Actions Taken:

  1. Marxism Reading Groups (MRG)
  1. Description of the MRG
  1. We held Marxism Reading Groups every other Wednesday covering various topics in socialist theory and thinking.
  1. Rationale/purpose/goals of the MRG
  1. To inform the membership of various topics and engage in discussions around Marxism and socialism in general.
  1. Targets of MRG
  1. General PhillyDSA membership.
  2. Anyone who interacted with our promotional posts on social media and attended.
  1. Steps Taken So Far
  1. We have organized MRG every other week to talk about issues such as gender, politics and dealt with the writings of writers such as Rosa Luxembourg, Lenin, Kautsky, Kollontai.
  1. Next steps to further  MRG
  1. We are in process of creating a new batch of reading groups and material to start at the end of October, once our current material is covered.
  1.  Night Schools
  1. Description of the Night Schools
  1. Monthly event covering, in detail a topic or debate in socialist theory which serves as an open discussion/debate between participants.
  1. Rationale/purpose of the Night School
  1. These events are hosted once a month when we look at a specific topic in detail and engage in debate and discussion with the membership. These events can also have experts to talk about the issues at hand.
  1. Targets of Night Schools
  1. The target audience is our entire membership. We intend to offer a diverse range of topics at Night Schools to attract people of different socialist traditions as well keeping the big-tent nature of DSA at the forefront.
  1. Steps Taken So Far
  1. Since the last General Meeting, we have had Night Schools that covered the topics of Theory, History, and Politics held on 06/23, 07/21, and 08/18 respectively.
  1. Next steps to further  
  1. As with the Marxism Reading Group, we are working on the next slate of Night Schools which we are very excited to host covering a range of topics and ideas.

Summary of Resources Needed/Obstacles to Fulfilling Committee Purpose:

  1. At the moment, there isn’t anything really hampering us from carrying out our plans.

Summary of Upcoming Priorities:

  1. Expanding the range of topics covered in Marxism Reading Group and Night School.
  1. Description: We are working on offering an expanded Marxism Reading Group and Night School slate. We hope to cover a broader range of topics and writers to bring a richer curriculum.
  2. Rationale: Socialism and Marxism are broad topics that have developed in conversation with various writers and movements across the world. In our Marxism Reading Group as well as Night School we will be exploring ideas and movements from across the world.
  1.  Socialism 101 series.
  1. Description: We are launching a new series in collaboration with the Membership Engagement Committee for new members.
  2. Rationale: This series hopes to offer a path for our new members or those who haven’t taken intense dives into socialist theory. In this ongoing series, we hope to offer a 101 of socialism and different traditions under socialism. Through this, we hope to engage the membership and develop their ideas further and grow ourselves.
  1.  On-going one-off events.
  1. Description: Organizing one-off events in collaboration with subject matter experts which cover high-level breakdown of different socialist ideas/movements/history.
  2. Rationale: There are many ideas and movements in socialist history and as a result, not everyone knows everything about them. With this series, we hope to have a very high-level discussion with subject matter experts on the topics to lay the groundwork to explore these ideas as needed down the road.

Summary of Communication, Referrals and Requests Sent to Other Committees:

We are working with the Comms committee, with a newly appointed liaison (Erik Lexie) to establish a regular cadence of promotion for political education events. At the time of our September 2021 General Meeting we have made 2 requests of the Comms Committee to create promotional material for 2 upcoming talks on topics of Cooperatives and Liberation Theology.

Recommendations to the General Membership: None

Appendix: Internal Resolutions: None

Appendix: Committee Meeting Minutes

August 15th Meeting minutes + agenda:

September 19th Meeting minutes + agenda:

Philly DSA Communications Committee Report To The General Membership

Communications Committee Report For July 2021 to September 2021

Brief Description of Committee Purpose: The Communications Committee oversees our internal and external communications, including social media, website, and bulletins, and helps promote our campaigns and events.

Committee Quorum: 5

Committee Officers: Daisy Confoy, Chair

Committee Members:

Derek Horkel, Austin Binns, Sam Datlof, Julia Alekseyeva, Jordan Teicher, Meag Kaman, Bella Wong, Alan Parkerson

Number and Dates of Meetings since last Report:

Our Committee has met twice since the last General Meeting, on August 25 (19 people in attendance) and September 20 (16 people in attendance)

Budget Details:

The Communications Committee has no independent budget and has not yet sought approval for any financial expenditures.

Summary of Actions Taken:

  1. Voted to approve Slack Code of Conduct (August 29)
  1. To establish rules for moderation, comradely debate and discussion, and the purpose of the Slack workspace.
  2. After approval, this was sent to the membership via email and added to the “Greetbot” introduction members receive upon joining Slack.
  3. A moderation team was created to enforce the Code of Conduct by soliciting volunteers under the Slack team.
  1. Voted to approve statement in solidarity with the victims of Hurricane Ida (August 30)
  1. In response to the devastation in the South wrought by Hurricane Ida and the following floods and tornadoes in the Philadelphia area, the Communications Committee wrote a statement of support and commitment to addressing climate change that included opportunities to donate to affected groups, in collaboration with members of the Green New Deal Commission.
  2. This was sent to the Steering Committee for further edits and subsequently posted to our social media and website, after approval.
  1. Creation of teams within the Committee (social media, bulletin, writing, design, external communications, website, and Slack)
  1. For the purpose of internal organization, we established the aforementioned seven teams by consensus.
  2. Most teams have a designated team lead or leads, who serve as the point of contact for projects falling under the subject area.
  3. Slack channels were created for communication of several teams.

Summary of Resources Needed/Obstacles to Fulfilling Committee Purpose:

  1. We have no major obstacles that need to be addressed thus far.

Summary of Upcoming Priorities:

  1. Create a new logo and subsequently new merchandise
  1. Spearheaded by the design team, we will begin the member-informed and collaborative process of deciding on a new logo for Philly DSA. When that is decided, new merchandise (shirts, buttons, pins, etc) will be developed with new designs in mind.
  2. Philly DSA’s public image needs a refresh, and the Communications Committee is hoping to make our logo more recognizably Philadelphia-related.
  1. Various updates to the Philly DSA website
  1. Some of the updates to the website include a new page for essays written by the membership, a centralized communications page, and pages for more detailed information pertaining to each major permanent and temporary committee, depending on their interest.
  2. The Communications Committee is interested in making our website as informative and user-friendly as possible. By adding more information relative to our committees and how to plug in, more less-active and new members are likely to get involved.
  1. Schedule a workshop/informational session with Chris K., DSA’s National Communications Director
  1. Similar to the socialist communications panel session held at the 2021 National Convention, our committee would like to meet with Chris to gain insight on best practices for communications, and how socialist communications differ from nonprofit or corporate communications.
  2. Many of our members have experience in communications, but others are new to the field. Regardless of experience, we feel it would be fruitful to ground ourselves in the goals of DSA’s communications with guidance from national staff.

Summary of Communication, Referrals and Requests Sent to Other Committees:

Our committee is in regular contact with several other committees to ensure events are posted to the website, promoted on social media, graphics are made, and relevant information is included in weekly bulletins. As one example, we work each week with the Labor Branch to gather information about union activity in the city to include in the Labor Corner (“This week in unions”) section of the bulletin.

Recommendations to the General Membership: None

Appendix: Internal Resolutions: None

Appendix: Committee Meeting Minutes

Attached is the minutes for our meetings on 8.25.2021 and 9.20.2021: Communications Committee minutes

Philly DSA Member Engagement Committee Report To The General Membership

Electoral Committee Report For August, 2021 to September, 2021

Brief Description of Committee Purpose: Coordinating new member intake, internal organizing, social events, and skills trainings.

Committee Quorum: 4

Committee Officers: Aliyah Bixby-Driesen, Chair

Committee Members:

Meag Kaeman, Jack Kelly, Emily Berkowitz, Aurora Muñoz, Dan Parker, Amanda Fox, Colin Evoy

Number and Dates of Meetings since last Report:

Our committee met four times since our last report, on July 15th, July 26th, August 18th, and September 10th.

Budget Details:

The committee spent ~$150 on our Labor Day cookout. We raised $200 from t-shirt sales. We plan to spend ~$300 for an upcoming social event in October.

Summary of Actions Taken:

  1. Established a procedure for 1:1ing all incoming members.
  1. This procedure helps us make contact with all incoming members to connect them to projects within the Local.
  2. Simultaneously makes new members feel more welcome, and gives committees access to the volunteer labor power they need to make their projects work.
  3. This procedure is in place. We will be reassessing it over time to see if it needs to be changed or updated.
  1. Hosted a Labor Day picnic
  2. Started a membership charting process.
  1. This project involves mapping our membership and making contact with individual members in order to increase their participation.
  2. This project will help us get more members involved and give us a better understanding of the needs of our organizers.
  3. We have established a core team for charting, a regular meeting time, and have had one charting session so far.

Summary of Upcoming Priorities:

  1. Reworking new member meetings
  1. We are planning to redesign our new member meetings to make them more approachable for new members.
  1.  Membership charting project
  1. This project involves mapping our membership and making contact with individual members in order to increase their participation.
  2. This project will help us get more members involved and give us a better understanding of the needs of our organizers.
  1.  Monthly social events
  1. Member engagement will plan for monthly social events in October, November, and December
  2. Social events help foster a sense of community among members and provide opportunities for fundraising.
  1. Running skills trainings
  1. We will seek to run skills trainings as needed by the membership, either facilitated by National or run in-house by trained facilitators.
  2. Meeting the training needs of our members helps them be confident organizers and broadens our base of leaders.

Summary of Communication, Referrals and Requests Sent to Other Committees:

Our committee has requested social media outreach help from Communications for multiple events.

Appendix: Committee Meeting Minutes

Member Engagement Committee Meeting Running Agenda

Philly DSA Electoral Committee Report To The General Membership

Electoral Committee Report For August 20201 to September 2021

Brief Description of Committee Purpose: Organizing around electoral issues in Philly and surrounding areas.

Committee Quorum: 11

Committee Officers: Rachie Weisberg, Chair

Additional Elected Officers:

Tess Kerins, Secretary

Committee Members:

Jason Leach, Marlin Foreman, Mike Dewar, Michael Kinnucan, Mindy Isser, Ethan Hill, Chris Harding, Greg Windle, Anlin Wang, Ron Joseph

Number and Dates of Meetings since last Report:

Our Committee has met at least 2 times since the last General Meeting. In these meetings, we have been talking about endorsement timelines, questionnaires, and committee priorities moving forward.

Budget Details:

Right now we don’t have a budget but our finance subcommittee is working on establishing what kind of financial contributions we want to be able to offer to candidates as part of our endorsement, as well as our own budget for literature etc.

We do have the Philly DSA PAC as well.

Summary of Actions Taken:

[Please include a summary of any official actions taken by the Committee related to the Committee’s purpose since the last committee report; not all of the following bullets will be necessary; fill-in those that are.]

  1. Develop Sub-Committees with the Electoral Committee
  1. Description:
  1. Create four distinct sub-committees: Field, Fundraising + Compliance, Research and Education, and Communications
  1. Rationale/purpose/goals:
  1. To help create as much accessibility to Electoral Organizing as possible - breaking up the committee into subcommittees helps create more distinct and clear modes of engagement
  1. Targets:
  1. General PhillyDSA membership + anyone in the city interested in electoral organizing
  1. Steps Taken So Far:
  1. Had an open meeting where we explained the subcommittees, have done follow up and assigned leaders in each subcommittee
  1. Next steps to further:
  1. Engagement!
  1. Each leader must set a time and date for an open meeting where PhillyDSA members can attend and get more engaged
  2. 1-1s
  1. Revising Candidate Questionnaire
  1. Description:
  1. Revising the pre-existing (2020) candidate questionnaire
  1. Rationale/purpose/goals
  1. First part of our endorsement process is having a questionnaire for interested candidates to send out
  1. Targets
  1. Potential Endorsement Candidates
  1. Steps Taken So Far:
  1. Research + Education Subcommittee has met and begun revising the questionnaire
  2. The entire committee will vote to approve it at our next meeting
  1. Next steps to further::
  1. Once it’s finalized, we can begin sending it out to candidates
  1. Initiate Meetings with Potential Endorsers:
  1. Description:
  1. Having meetings with potential endorsees to both learn more about their campaigns, their values and see if they are interested in getting endorsed by PhillyDSA
  1. Rationale/Purpose/Goals
  1. Goal is to get a sense of a the candidate on a personal level besides just their questionnaire
  1. Targets
  1. All candidates seeking PhillyDSA endorsement/who we might be potentially interested in endorsing
  1. Steps Taken so Far:
  1. Five candidates have been emailed, one meeting scheduled
  2. Follow up with the candidates who have yet to respond

Summary of Resources Needed/Obstacles to Fulfilling Committee Purpose:

Think the biggest issue is connecting with candidates and finding times that work with everyone’s schedules, but mostly there are no obstacles.

Summary of Upcoming Priorities:

  1. Finish Candidate Questionnaire
  1. Description: We are hoping to have our 2021-2022 Questionnaire done by the end of September.
  2. Rationale: Want to begin sending to candidates to start our endorsement process.
  1.  Support Joel Brooks Canvassing in North Jersey
  1. Description: Support neighboring candidate Joel Brooks in his run for City Council by sending volunteers to one or two canvases.
  2. Rationale: Build connections with local chapters, get our volunteers engaged in an in-person canvassing event
  1. Build out a proposal around the Committee Person/Democratic City Committee Project
  1. Description: After the proposal passed at the last GM re: electing socialists at the ballot box, we committed to engaging in the Committee person, with the goal of getting more socialists into positions of power at the local level
  2. Rationale: The proposal passed, and we need to start thinking about specifically how many people we think we can get elected, and to prioritize places where we want to run people.

Summary of Communication, Referrals and Requests Sent to Other Committees:

Our Comms Subcommittee (lead by Mindy and Marlin) is connecting with the at-large Comms committee to work on how we can have specific electoral outreach within the existing phillyDSA infrastructure. We have asked the comms city to help post our Open Meeting on Social Media.

Recommendations to the General Membership: [none]

Appendix: Internal Resolutions

Appendix: Committee Meeting Minutes

Open Committee Meeting 8/26

8/26 DSA Electoral Opening Meeting!

September 8th Meeting Meetings + Agenda

​​9/8 Electoral Committee Meeting

September 19th Meeting minutes + agenda for EC

9/19 EC Meeting

Philly DSA Labor Branch Report To The General Membership

Labor Branch Report For August, 2021 to September, 2021

Brief Description of Committee Purpose:

The purpose of the Philly DSA Labor Branch is to:

  1. strengthen the labor movement in our region, and
  2. strengthen the militant & socialist currents within the labor movement,
  3. better root our chapter in our region’s multiracial working class, and
  4. ensure that labor is central to the strategy and campaigns of Philly DSA.

Branch Quorum: 18

Branch Officers:

Daniel Reyes, Chair

Max Bienstock, Secretary

Leslie Silva, At-Large

Dates of Branch Meetings since last Report:

Budget Details: N/A

Summary of Actions Taken/Upcoming Priorities:

  1. Established joint Green New Deals for Public Schools Subcommittee w/ Green New Deal Commission
  1. Rationale/purpose/goals: to improve campaign coordination across chapter bodies and to build labor organizing into the campaign
  2. Steps Taken So Far: phone banks, partnered with PFT for a public educational event, mobilized in support of teachers demanding building improvements at Masterman HS
  3. Next steps: final push for legislation, followed by strategizing to advance the campaign at the local and state level
  1. Established a Strike Support Subcommittee
  1. Description: created a subcommittee of the labor branch to coordinate strike support activities.
  1.  Initiated planning for a “Troublemakers School” with labor Notes
  1. Description: Political Education & Training subcommittee have begun planning a “Troublemakers School” with the labor organization Labor Notes, focused on building the organizing capacities of rank-and-file union members.
  1. Planning joint event with Political Education Committee
  1. Description: Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee is planning an event with the Pol Ed committee to highlight the strategic importance of labor to the socialist movement, and how socialists can get involved in the labor movement.
  1. Developing plans for a rank-and-file pipeline
  1. Description: Rank & File Strategy subcommittee is analyzing the regional economy and labor movement landscape, to identify strategic sectors and unions for DSA members to seek employment in to become workplace organizers.
  1. Initiated planning for a Debs-Jones-Douglas Institute Training for Medicare for All
  1. Description: Medicare 4 All Subcommittee is planning a training for union leaders to develop the skills necessary to organize for Medicare for All.

Summary of Resources Needed/Obstacles to Fulfilling Committee Purpose:

  1. Clarity on the budget allocated to the Labor Branch

Summary of Communication, Referrals and Requests Sent to Other Committees:

Resolution 2021.09.01: Building Rank and File Support for a GND through Popular Education

Authors: Keon L, Tim L

Co-sponsors: Aurora M, Shawn H, Ethan H, Daniel R, Bill B, Chuck G, Ron J, Meag K, Knar G, Duncan G, David B, Mitch C, John B, Nafis H, Mike D, Brian B, Toni D, Matt A, Larry H., Greg W

Whereas the climate crisis is accelerating, as seen this summer in forest fires and floods in the US and around the world;

Whereas toxic and unhealthy environmental conditions are pervasive in Philadelphia and are going unaddressed as a result of the combined fragmentation and exploitation of the workforce;

Whereas workers are harmed by the toxic infrastructure and a deteriorating environment, from teachers working in toxic schools to building trade and other manual laborers experiencing sweltering conditions;

Whereas 50% of railroad workers die within 5 years of retiring, for which worsening climate conditions is a contributing factor;

Whereas many unions across Philadelphia would benefit from a Green New Deal (GND) for Philadelphia but have had little successful engagement and outreach from GND advocates;

Whereas few Philadelphia locals have publicly endorsed a GND and the GND is not well understood among Philadelphians as a result of a disinformation campaign from the center and right;

Whereas Philly DSA has the capacity for effective political education and agitation on behalf of workers laboring amidst increasingly precarious environmental conditions;

Whereas labor militancy is central to the strategy for achieving a GND, requiring a robust partnership between rank-and-file membership and organizers;

Whereas the Labor Branch and GND Commission have approved campaigns to conduct GND popular education programs with Philadelphia locals;

Whereas the Green New Deal is a DSA national priority;

Therefore be it resolved that Philly DSA conduct a GND popular education campaign—wherein DSA members conduct knowledge-sharing sessions with Philadelphia locals to learn more about their work and share information about what the GND is and how it can benefit them;

Be it further resolved that the LB and GND Commission cooperate on this campaign;

Be it further resolved that Philly DSA membership support this campaign by identifying unions to partner with;

Be it further resolved that Philly DSA hold GND organizer trainings for Philly DSA membership;

Be it further resolved that Philly DSA survey and call rank-and-file members of local unions to fact-find about current knowledge of and feelings towards the GND;

Be it further resolved that Philly DSA design communication materials to share insight on the GND;

Be it further resolved that Philly DSA hold in-person and virtual GND workshops to share knowledge with local Philadelphia workers;

Be it further resolved that Philly DSA improve its GND strategy to align with rank-and-file members’ needs, as understood through the campaign, in order to ensure it is fighting for a future for all workers;

Be it further resolved the timeline for DSA’s commitment to a Philadelphia local will include approximately one month of surveying the membership, one month of workshops and actions, and one month of reflection and strategizing based on knowledge gained from the preceding two months;

Be it further resolved that the campaign will have a budget of $500, while the Steering Committee may approve additional expenses for the campaign.

Resolution 2021.09.02: Create a “We Own Philadelphia Gas Works” Campaign to demand that the publicly owned entity be accountable to the people and our future

Authors: Shawn H, Nafis H, Mitch C, Duncan G, Tim L, Knar G

Co-Sponsors: Anlin W, Chuck G, Meag K, Ron J, Mike D, Zack L, Daisy C, Knar G, Duncan G, Nafis H, Khalil M, Steve B, Aurora M, David M, Austin B, Sal H, Sam D, Jesse K, Emily B, Melissa D, Tim L, Mayci S, Greg W

WHEREAS, Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) is the largest publicly owned gas utility in the country, and PGW remains public because unions, environmental groups, and other allies fought against privatization in 2014.

WHEREAS, PGW operates on ancestral, unceded Lenni-Lenape lands, and settler colonial relations to the land continue to undermine Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination, pushing the planet closer to ecological collapse by placing profit and extractive enterprise over the pursuit of collective well-being and prosperity, which can only come of caretaking and repairing relations to the land, and important recent fights along these relations have been around fossil fuel extraction and transportation.

WHEREAS, We’re experiencing the impacts of climate change coast-to-coast, and the recent IPCC report says it’s going to get worse if we don’t radically cut emissions, and many researchers have asserted that the U.S. must nearly eliminate greenhouse emissions from all sectors (including buildings) before 2040 in order for humanity to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C.

WHEREAS, Despite being popularized by the fossil fuel industry as a bridge fuel, natural gas extraction, transport, and use has disastrous effects on the climate, and burning gas inside homes produces toxic air pollution that harms residents’ health, while gas extraction produces extensive toxic pollution and contamination of groundwater in rural communities. Additionally, methane, one of its major outputs, has 28 times the heat-trapping power of CO2 in a period of 100 years and around 80 times over 20 years, and Pennsylvania has an outsized contribution to methane pollution due to gas extraction, production, and transportation as the second largest gas producing state in the country

WHEREAS, a livable future requires that we eliminate the use of greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels, including natural gas, transition our energy production to renewable sources of energy, reduce costs and consumption through energy efficiency, and implement other strategies outlined in the Green New Deal.

WHEREAS, In order to make our homes healthy, safe, comfortable, affordable, and carbon-free, we’ll need to remake the energy infrastructure outside our homes as well as repairing and retrofitting the buildings. The combined project--transforming PGW and our buildings--can make life better for working class Philadelphians, create lots of good jobs, reduce energy bills, and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

WHEREAS, Energy is a human right in the 21st century and utilities providing this public good should be publicly owned. But public ownership is not enough--to fully decommodify energy, we need to hold these public utilities accountable. While PGW is publicly owned, it acts with impunity, disregarding the perspectives, needs, and lives of the Philadelphians it serves. Therefore, holding PGW accountable by engaging with and implementing demands from the public is critical to meet our decarbonization needs and enact energy democracy.

WHEREAS, PGW has shut off the gas of over 4000 Philadelphians in 2021, during a pandemic in which people need access to utilities in their homes, after the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC) lifted a year-long moratorium on utility shut-offs in spring 2021. Legal aid attorneys report that PGW is shutting off customers while they await a response to their applications for utility-bill assistance. Tens of thousands of PGW customers are at risk of termination.

WHEREAS, A large number of Philadelphians, like many other working class people around the country, have been struggling for years to pay utility bills. Philadelphia has one of the highest “energy burdens” in the United States. In 2019, 111,000 Philadelphia households paid more than 10% of their income for utilities. Unaffordable utility bills threaten people’s health and well-being in serious ways. PGW’s scheduled rate hike on January 1, 2022 will exacerbate the problem, and PGW is expected to seek additional rate increases for 2023 and beyond.

WHEREAS PGW employs 1,600 workers, 1,150 of whom are members of Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) local 686.

WHEREAS, PGW executives currently oppose calls for PGW to operate as a public good and use rate-payer dollars to lobby and advocate on behalf of the fossil fuel industry and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in dues each year to trade associations that work to prolong and expand the use of fossil fuels, such as the American Gas Association. PGW executives, the Philadelphia Gas Commission, the PA Public Utility Commission, and other associated bureaucratic layers routinely “pass the buck,” resist, or ignore calls from those outside this bureaucracy for PGW to create a business plan that matches the city’s climate goals or even provide full transparency into their lobbying activities.

WHEREAS, PGW’s business model is not financially sustainable. The use of gas is already declining, and the use of electric heating technologies will likely increase in the coming years while many of PGW’s costs will hold steady or increase. Some officials fear a ‘utility death spiral,’ in which PGW seeks large rate increases in order to cover costs, and those rate hikes further incentivize people to reduce or eliminate their gas consumption. An unplanned, uncoordinated shift away from gas will harm working class residents who have low and moderate incomes as well as PGW workers.

WHEREAS, PGW is currently ignoring the demands of its stakeholders, including POWER Interfaith and other organizations that have worked for multiple years to demand that PGW be transparent and accountable to the public which it serves and whose money it runs on.

WHEREAS, PGW is undergoing a business diversification study to plan for its future and assess what its function might be in a changing world, and City Council will hold public hearings on the PGW diversification study this fall.

WHEREAS, The Green New Deal commission has voted to recommend this resolution to the membership.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Philly DSA will undertake an energy democracy campaign to be coordinated and managed by the Green New Deal commission and work collaboratively with the Housing Committee, Labor Branch, Political Education Committee, and Electoral Committee, with the following broad long term goals: (1) shift PGW away from selling gas or other fossil fuels, (2) guarantee affordable, fossil-fuel free heating, and (3) preserve, and ultimately expand, good union jobs for PGW workers throughout the full transition away from gas.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Philly DSA PGW campaign will work closely in coalition with organizations already researching, strategizing, and mobilizing to pressure targets, primarily POWER Interfaith. DSA’s PGW campaign strategy will amplify ongoing work and put pressure on PGW and elected officials with people power.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Philly DSA PGW campaign will embark on a strategy and planning process to develop a plan to win and write a second resolution that includes the plan, milestones, and reporting schedule for membership approval at a later General Meeting. We will develop our plan informed by the above whereas clauses.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that while developing the plan to win, the PGW campaign will mobilize around the PGW business diversification process in Fall 2021, efforts to challenge shut-offs, and uphold ratepayers’ right to affordable energy, and use these activities to build interest and inform the strategizing process, develop and deepen relationships with other organizations involved in targeting PGW, mobilize Philly DSA members to testify and submit comment at upcoming stages in the business diversification process, participate in PGW-targeted actions & mobilizations led by POWER and other allied organizations, assist with ongoing research as needed, host at least one political education event to inform Philly DSA members and others about what’s happening with PGW, and host at least 2 open strategy sessions before the next General Meeting resolutions are due to develop the PGW campaign strategy.

Resolution 2021.09.03: Establish an Electoral Democracy Committee

Author: Seth F

Co-Sponsors: Miriam O

WHEREAS, “democracy and socialism go hand in hand” according to the DSA website; 

WHEREAS, the capitalist class restricts electoral democracy to maintain its power over the working class;

WHEREAS, expanding electoral democracy on local, state, and federal levels would help socialists obtain government power;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Philly DSA form a temporary Electoral Democracy Committee, composed of this resolution’s author (Seth F) as chair, co-sponsor (Miriam O) as a member, and a third member to be appointed by the Steering Committee. The Electoral Democracy Committee will have the following tasks and responsibilities:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the scope of the committee will include:

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the scope of the committee will not include the internal electoral democracy of DSA or Philly DSA.

Resolution 2021.09.04: Establish an Accessibility Committee

Author(s): Meag Jae K

Co-Sponsor(s): Chuck G, Ron J, Jen W, Daisy C, Aurora M, Amanda F, Luke M, Ash C, Shawn H, Derek H, Duncan G, Anlin W, Chris R, Michele R, Jesse K, Aliyah B-D, Melissa D, Pearl M, Hamer R

Whereas, DSA intends to build a mass movement in order to enact a break with capitalism and the creation of socialist society, it must - in order to achieve its stated goal - reach, include, and be accessible to the mass multiracial working class in its totality and,

Whereas, Philly DSA has learned through the course of the COVID-19 pandemic to adapt to emerging conditions and,

Whereas, these adaptations have had the side-effect of opening up access to organizing for people who otherwise would not have been able to get deeply involved and,

Whereas, the feasibility of and desire for a “return to normalcy” may call for a return to in-person gatherings, at this critical moment we must safeguard the expansion of accessibility that has taken place over the last year and commit to working to expand accessibility further.

Therefore be it resolved, that Philly DSA undertake the creation of an Accessibility Committee to be composed of the resolution’s author(s) as its chair(s) and no less than 3 voting members, all of whom must be DSA members in good standing. Its initial members will be Jen W, Aurora M, Amanda F, and Luke M. All further members will be approved by the committee by vote and submitted to the Steering Committee for approval. The committee will act with the stated purpose of

  1. Acting as an advocate for accessibility within the Local
  2. Providing a point of contact for accessibility concerns and accommodation requests
  3. Providing support to Committees, Commissions, and Campaigns of the Local to carry out accessibility best practices and expand access to the Local

                        to be carried out in the following ways:

  1. Researching best practices and avenues through which access to organizing can be expanded further
  2. Producing resources, guides, and trainings for Chairs and meeting facilitators to facilitate best practices
  3. Producing recommendations regarding accessibility and carrying out such recommendations with approval from the Steering Committee
  4. Creating a communication channel for accessibility concerns and accommodation requests with a dedicated team and procedures for response

Be it further resolved, that “accessibility” be here defined as the feasibility and ease for a person to meaningfully participate in the widest possible range of activity in the Local and encompass associated factors and conditions related to historic barriers to access including (but not limited to) the following:

Be it further resolved, that the Accessibility Committee will have access to all chapter resources needed to carry out accessibility recommendations and accommodation requests including access to chapter data and tools, and budgetary resources with approval from the Treasurer.

Be it furthest resolved, that the Accessibility Committee work in coordination with the Communications and Membership Engagement Committees to advocate for best practices and facilitate the integration of these procedures into the broader chapter context. The Committee will be responsible for providing regular report backs at meetings of the listed committees and provide additional report backs to the Steering Committee as needed.

Be it finally resolved, that the Accessibility Committee be the designated body responsible for following through on accessibility-related recommendations, in coordination with the Communications and Membership Engagement Committees as appropriate.

Resolution 2021.09.05: Amend Standing Rules to Lift Limits on and Add Standards for Committee Membership

Author(s): Ron J

Co-Sponsor(s): Austin B, Derek H, Melissa D, Meag K, Patrick W, Mike D, Shawn H, Jen W, Julia A, Daisy C, Aaron T, Greg W, Duncan G, Chris R, Michele R, Jesse K, Dave B, Emily B, Chuck G, Khalil M, Anlin W, Aliyah B-D, Sam D, Sal H, Hannah H, Sanwal Y, Rachie W

Whereas, democracy is at the heart of the democratic socialist movement.

Whereas, the 12-member cap on official committee membership creates barriers between official members with voting rights and unofficial members who are active in the work of a committee but otherwise lack official membership status and associated rights.

Whereas, Philly DSA has substantially grown in membership since 2019 when the current language on committee membership was adopted.

Therefore be it resolved, that the following changes be adopted to the Philly DSA Standing Rules:

Committee Membership

Note: proposed additions in blue, proposed eliminations in red and strikethrough

  1. Committees must have at least 3 members and can have no more than 12 official members, with the exception of the steering committee whose membership is laid out in the bylaws of the chapter and selected at biannual local conventions.
  2. Chairs of Committees must may set standards for membership on the committee, to be approved by the Steering Committee. Criteria may include including but are not limited to - committee meeting attendance, attendance at events organized by the committee, and continued active participation in the committee. These standards must be made clear and be easily accessible for committee members to review. If a member of a committee violates one of these standards, the chair of the committee must notify the Steering Committee and request contact the chair of the chapter and notify them of member removal.
  3. Chairs may (as laid out in the bylaws and standing rules) appoint additional or replacement members to their committee on a rolling basis, provided the committee never exceeds the maximum number of official members.
  4. Committees may create additional internal positions, including but not limited to a vice-chair or secretary, as suits their organizational needs.

Temporary Committees

  1. The scope of temporary committees may be one of the following
  1. Organizing a campaign or tactic
  2. Carrying out a specific task within the local not yet delegated to another body, committee, or commission
  3. Studying a specific political question
  4. Issuing recommendations pertinent to a current or potential task in the local
  1. Upon proposal, temporary committee resolutions should specify who will chair the committee and any criteria for membership and how many members can sit on the committee at any point. The rest of the committee members will be appointed by the Steering Committee chair and vice chair of the chapter, in consultation with the chair of the temporary committee.
  2. The committee chair will be responsible for ensuring that the committee:
  1. Follows the chapters internal reporting standards
  2. Effectively carries out its activities
  3. Remains within the mandate given to it by the membership

Resolution 2021.09.06: To Amend Steering Rules to allow for floor amendments to resolutions

Author: Jesse K
Co-sponsors: Patrick W, Chuck G, Ron J, Anlin W, Daisy C, Meag K, Will M, Aaron T

Whereas, amendments to resolutions from the assembly floor are generally allowed under Robert’s Rules and used by many deliberative assemblies, including at the national DSA convention,

Whereas, floor amendments, including friendly amendments, can allow bodies to easily and quickly make changes to resolutions to make them more amenable to all,

Whereas, floor amendments can incorporate points or questions raised during deliberation of the general assembly

Therefore be it resolved, the Philadelphia DSA standing rules section “General Meetings, Resolution and Amendment Submission” section 2 shall be amended thusly:

All Amendments to resolutions may must be submitted to the resolutions commission of the steering committee at least [1] week prior to the meeting. The resolutions commission will make sure that the amendment resolution is in order with Roberts Rules, the Philly DSA Bylaws, and the Philly DSA Standing Rules. Amendments to resolutions may also be made from the floor of a general meeting.”