Maine DSA Chapter Rules and Policies
Chapter Rules and Policies
Combined existing policy documents into one handbook for reference
12/16 GM approved updates to Branch Dues Share policy to remove payment method
Dues Waiver program adopted by SC and added to handbook
Branch Dues share changed from shares to 70%/30% split with branches sharing a bank account.
Added introduction (Wes P)
Harassment and Grievance Policy amended. Community Building policy added. (Aaron B)
Data Security Policy added, Comms policy and Press release policy removed. (Aaron B)
Code of Conduct added (Aaron B)
Fiscal Policy added, expense policy and branch dues share removed (Aaron B)
SC statement rule added (Aaron B)
Coalition Policy amended (Aaron B)
Mask Policy, Limitations on Portland Electoral Campaign 2023, Electoral Strategy, Merch Policy, and Convention Delegation Support and Accountability Policy added and Priority Campaign Model removed (Wil T)
Mask Policy replaced, Fiscal Policy amended, Digital Voting Results Policy added (Wil T)
Update Communications Channel Primer (Wil T)
This handbook is a collection of Maine DSA’s policies, ratified by the chapter, that guide how the chapter operates. These are different from our bylaws in that they can be suspended by a membership vote and do not require the same amount of time before ratification.
Basically, they’re a bit easier to change as the need arises.
This primer is maintained by the Communications Working Group, and will be updated as needed to reflect current practices.
This Slack server will be available to any member who has attended two (2) committee or working group meetings in the past year. This server is not a place to discuss contentious issues at length. Discussion should be held and moderated by the Communications Co-chairs and those they appoint through a regular audio space for discussion of topics as defined below. This Slack will not have a general channel, and all new default channels (those that are visible by default) will need to be voted on and approved by the Communications Working Group aside from:
These are spaces separate to those described above to discuss and coordinate campaign logistics, and are largely managed by the organizing committee. They are created by the Chapter Communications Working Group upon request by the organizing committee, must adhere to Chapter norms, and must have an agreed archiving condition, aligning with the campaign, at which point the channel will be archived and all member posting permissions removed. The server can also be archived by vote by either the organizing committee or Chapter.
Active members who want to work on projects will need to familiarize themselves with some of these channels
These tools are open to committee chairs or members who have been granted access.
Largely controlled by the Communications Working Group
Ratified by General Membership on 2021-09-13
Maine DSA aims to build an organization where political disagreements serve as productive contributions to our collective discourse and are a source of learning, not strife. Some strategies for learning across differences include: emphasizing our common values and goals, asking before making assumptions, and seeking feedback from those you don’t agree with. Socialists should hold themselves and one another to high standards of decency and understanding.
In that vein, all Maine DSA members are expected to adhere to a certain minimal standard of comradely behavior, both online and in person. The Code of Conduct is intended to create guidelines for situations when Maine DSA leadership, moderators, etc. must remove people from those spaces until they can take accountability.
This code of conduct applies to all:
Harassment and abusive behavior can be in-person, physical, verbal, online, or via any form of communication. Harassment includes and is not limited to slurs, hate speech, unwanted sexual advances, doxxing, intimidation, stalking, and inappropriate physical contact.
We ask our membership to refrain from intentional or repeated disruption of internal discussion spaces. Examples may include, interrupting a meeting multiple times, raising issues outside of the scope of the discussion after being asked to refrain, or obstructing meaningful discussion.
Ask everybody in the picture if they agree to be photographed or filmed.
For group shots, ask if anyone wants to opt-out before taking the photo.
Chapter, branch, or campaign funds, member lists or any other chapter resources should not be used in ways that are not authorized by the relevant body. Examples include unauthorized use of chapter member lists, websites, social media accounts, or funds to promote a cause or project that has not been authorized by leaders responsible for maintaining that list or funds.
A one-off social media post that has not been authorized does not amount to misuse of chapter resources. Repeated use of social media to promote a personal cause, or use of email lists or chapter funds to promote a project that has not been authorized by the relevant body would be a misuse of chapter resources.
Speaking on behalf of the chapter, a branch, or a campaign without first consulting the relevant leadership body can damage the reputation of Maine DSA and our campaigns. An example of a violation would be to suggest that a candidate or issue campaign has been endorsed by the chapter when it has not been endorsed.
I will disclose any financial, personal, family, or close intimate relationship interest in matters of official DSA business which may impact on the work of DSA.
If I wish to keep any personal relationship private, I will not participate in any DSA committee, working group, or other DSA-related interaction or work where my private relationship, if known, would give the appearance that I was favoring (or disfavoring) the person with whom I am in a relationship.
When Code of Conduct violations arise on the committee or campaign level, elected leaders of each space are encouraged to reach out to the disruptive member directly, have a conversation in good faith around what their issues are, propose better alternatives to achieving those goals, and ask them to refrain from continued disruptions. If the behavior does not stop, it is within the rights of elected leaders to take action up to temporary or permanent removal from that space.
Return to the space is either at the moderators’ / leaders’ discretion or by the member completing an accountability process facilitated by the Steering Committee. If the member believes they were treated unfairly in the process, they may file a grievance.
For conduct happening outside of DSA spaces a full grievance procedure is required, and may be initiated by the Steering Committee. If the member believes they were treated unfairly in the process, they may appeal to the National Harassment and Grievance Officer.
This section is non-enforceable, and does not need to be ratified by membership.
Community Agreements are tailored to a given space. For example some meetings might have language interpreters, and there could be a community agreement about slowing down, and looking to the interpreter for setting the pace. Or a group could have a community agreement not to discuss zoning law. The point of community agreements is to set expectations for how the discussion will proceed. Different discussions may require different agreements or expectations.
A Code of Conduct is a set of expectations for members of our organization, and guests in our spaces. It applies outside of any given discussion space, and therefore needs to be more broadly understood.
We would prefer to live in a society where we do not need Codes of Conduct. However, Codes of Conduct are essential to establish spaces that are different from – and more inclusive than – general society. If you don’t set up your own rules, you implicitly endorse those prevalent in society – including the unwritten ones – many of which we recognize as unfair to many people. When privileges are not explicitly addressed by the ethos of a space, the burden of education will often be placed upon the people who are living the oppressions. Moreover, since we still perform – consciously or unconsciously – behaviors that have oppressive potential (i.e.patriarchal, racist, sexist, capitalist, (neo)colonialist, etc.), it is essential to reflect on our privileges and on the ways in which they have an impact on our lives and the lives of others.
A code of conduct can help do just that: to bring awareness, consciousness, reflexivity and ultimately change.
DSA is a space for learning and growing. An onboarding ramp for radical politics. We are a fast growing organization with a membership at different levels of political development. While we want to be welcoming we must also develop our skills at principled discussion and debate to succeed as a democratic organization. Bettering our conduct in how we treat each other in debate will help grow and strengthen our organization.
Ratified by the General Membership on 2019-07-15
Amended by General Membership on 2021-1-24
Maine Democratic Socialists of America (Maine DSA) is working to win a socialist world. To build it, we need to create systems and center values vastly unlike those that exist today. A key part of this project will be a justice system that can provide a restorative alternative to the state.
It must clearly detail a democratic process to resolve conflict. The goal of such a process is to help make Maine DSA a safe and just space. We must be thorough and firm in response to all risks to member safety. However, we don't aim to simply punish those who transgress. We aim to engage in a larger process that builds trust, fosters good faith, and strengthens our community.
This process will be long and may produce new outcomes as we learn what does or does not work. This code is not meant as a rigid set of rules, but as a living agreement open to trial and revision.
Maine DSA is a community built out of relationships. By keeping those relationships open and accountable we are a stronger community. As a democratic organization, it's imperative to be able to work through conflict with each other in a comradely way. Few of us have experience for what it means to be in relationship with each other in this way. The hope is the Harassment and Grievance Policy (HGP) will help you navigate these new relationships and find accountability for harm done. The HGP provides steps for setting up mediated conversations if you feel safe doing so. There are times, however, when communication fails, when the harm is too great, or a member fears for their safety. For these moments a grievance should be filed that requires no meeting of the accused. We must always work towards providing a safe space for our membership, as well as hold ourselves accountable to others.
The Harassment and Grievance Officers (HGO’s) act as neutral investigators. They start their investigation once a grievance is submitted, collect statements from involved parties, and make an assessment of the credibility of the grievance. They then submit a report, recommending a remedy if necessary, to the Steering Committee (SC). The Steering Committee acts as judge of the grievance and has final say on the remedy or relief chosen.
For purposes of this policy:
Member refers to anyone on the membership lists received from National DSA. Paying dues is not required for protection from harassment.
Grievance refers to a complaint submitted to this process.
Grievant refers to those who submit or are seeking to submit a grievance.
Accused refers to those whom the grievance is about.
Harassment will refer to all harassment, discrimination, misconduct, and abuse.
Mediated Conversation is a voluntary conversation between the grievant and the accused with one (1) or more 3rd-party mediators guiding the conversation. The goal being a working agreement that both parties consent to. This video lays out the format for such conversations.
This policy covers all harassment between Maine DSA members, wherever it may take place. It also covers all harassment in Maine DSA spaces. These spaces may be physical or virtual, public or private, formal or informal.
Harassment will not be tolerated. Any member who believes this code has been broken may submit a grievance through the process defined below.
The recommended procedure is that the grievant should have a conversation with an HGO before filing a grievance. Filing a grievance involves a fair bit of writing. We hope a conversation will allow members to process how they’re feeling, and have clear expectations of what the Harassment & Grievance Process (HGP) entails.
The report must first be submitted to the grievant for review and any necessary correction. The grievant has fourteen (14) days to do so, before the report is then submitted to the other HGO’s.
If a mediated conversation or accountability process is requested then the HGO’s may ask SC members for assistance in gathering, as needed: facilitators, community members, and support people to move the process forward. The HGO’s will not be responsible for facilitating community accountability processes themselves, unless they truly are the best person for that role and have the capacity.
The grievant may file a grievance using this form here.
The grievance timeline will be as follows:
When working on a grievance not marked for immediate relief, the HGO’s or SC may request an extension of time only with the approval of the other body. SC approves the HGO’s extension, and the HGO’s approves the SC extension.
All parties are urged to refrain from discussing the process on social media, Discord, or with others.
HGOs shall recuse themselves from any grievance in which they do not feel they can remain impartial.
If either the grievant or the accused feel that an HGO may not be impartial, they may request that the HGO be removed from the grievance. The other HGOs will review the request and decide whether to remove the HGO from the grievance or not. If there is a request to remove all HGOs from a grievance, the Steering Committee will review the request and decide. If either the grievant or the accused is a member of the Steering Committee or an HGO, they will automatically be removed from the grievance.
This policy prohibits retaliation against any individual involved in the grievance process in any way, including the grievant and the accused. Retaliation includes threats, intimidation, reprisals, or other adverse actions. If any individual believes there has been retaliation, they may inform the HGOs. The HGOs will decide whether to factor this information into the original grievance or treat it as a new grievance.
Maine DSA shall elect three (3) HGO’s. HGO seats will cover one (1) year, be elected annually, and observe no term limits. HGOs shall not also be members of the Steering Committee.
The election process for HGOs will be as follows:
If when a grievance is filed and there are less than three HGO’s seated, or an HGO is unavailable to work on a given grievance then a substitute HGO may be appointed by the Steering Committee for the duration of the grievance. Candidates for Substitute HGO’s must be Standing Committee chairs or Steering Committee Members. If a Steering Committee member is appointed they may not vote on the remedy. Rights to removal still stand.
HGO’s and SC will find the factual allegation in a report is “credible” if it more-likely-than-not occurred.
The HGOs may decide that a grievance is not credible. In this event, they may recommend either no action or a voluntary, informal conflict resolution process. A majority of all seated members of the Steering Committee must also decide if a grievance is credible. If a grievance is credible, the Steering Committee may take some or all of the HGOs’ recommendations for remedies and relief. The Steering Committee may also add remedies or relief of their own accord.
HGOs will strive for consensus in determining a grievance's credibility and remedy. Where consensus cannot be found, each HGO will prepare their own recommendations for the Steering Committee, who may use or adapt those to create their decision.
There is no local appeals process.
If the credibly accused is found not to be in major disagreement with the principles of our organization, and they wish to continue with their membership of Maine DSA; the SC has a responsibility to plan for possible rehabilitation. The credibly accused may request a meeting with the SC to discuss their ongoing remedy or relief. Any accountability plan or modifications to the remedy or relief must be approved by the grievant.
This document is maintained by the Harassment & Grievance Officers within the bounds of the Harassment & Grievance Policy.
Ratified by General Membership on 2022-05-08
Amended by General Membership on 2023-05-21
Maine DSA Finance Working Group shall prepare an operating budget to project anticipated income and expenses no later than two month’s prior to the start of each fiscal year. Once the budget has been prepared, it will be circulated, well in advance of, and approved by majority vote by General Membership at the Winter Semi-Annual Meeting. This provides Maine DSA sufficient time to evaluate and vote on the budget.
The fiscal year for Maine DSA shall begin on January 1st of each year, and end on December 31st of the same year. This aligns with DSA National’s fiscal year.
The Finance Working Group shall monitor actual expenses and income in comparison to the budget on a semi-annual basis. If there are significant differences between the projected and actual expenditures and/or revenue, the budget may need to be adjusted. Any changes to the budget shall be approved by majority vote by General Membership.
If a Campaign Committee’s proposal requires reporting expenses to city or state officials it is recommended to set up a separate account at a bank or credit union. In addition to having a Finance Liaison, the campaign committee should also appoint one of its members Campaign Treasurer. These positions may not be filled by the same committee member. Both the Finance Liaison, and Campaign Treasurer are expected to coordinate with the Finance Working Group.
At the end of the fiscal year unspent appropriated funds return to the general chapter fund to be redistributed under the new budget.
Committees and working groups may be appropriated funds from the budgeting process. When this is done a Working Group Coordinator, or Committee Member should be designated Finance Liaison. Finance Liaison may NOT also be a Finance Co-Chair. The Agenda Co-chairs shall be the Finance Liaison for the Steering Committee. Spending/expense appropriations must be authorized by Finance Liaison, and a Finance Co-Chair. Anyone authorizing an appropriation must review the supporting invoice or other documentation and state their approval, including the date of approval, in writing. Individuals may not authorize any purchases payable to themselves.
Reimbursements occur when a chapter member pays for a chapter program good or service out of their own pocket, and the chapter later reimburses them for the expense. Maine DSA should avoid reimbursements as much as possible. If Maine DSA does need to reimburse members for any reason, the member must submit a reimbursement form. Maine DSA shall implement a reimbursement form that collects the member name, member contact information, name of individual who approved the reimbursement, preferred method of reimbursement, detailed description and amount of the expenses being reimbursed, and a place to upload a clear copy of the receipt.
The Steering Committee may approve extraordinary expenses beyond what is budgeted with a 2/3rds vote. A report should be sent out to the General Membership within 10 days of approval. This report should include details of the expense, roll call of vote, and a rationale for its approval. The report of the extraordinary expense will also be given out at the next Voting General Meeting.
All income will be deposited into the chapter’s bank account in a timely manner—ideally within the same month of receiving the income. If chapter fundraising is linked to Venmo or Paypal, monthly transfers to the bank account must be made.
Committees and Working Groups may raise additional funds for their projects with approval from a Finance Co-Chair. The Finance Liaison shall provide documentation of funds raised, and activity they are earmarked for. Documentation should include names of donors and amounts. Language on the fundraising page needs final approval from Finance Co-Chairs to ensure compliance with state & federal law.
Although this policy was enacted by the General Membership, the Steering Committee may amend its contents. Any changes to the fiscal policy will be reported to the General Membership at the next general meeting.
Ratified by the Steering Committee on 2019-09-03
Maine DSA receives 20% of the monthly dues our members pay to our national organization. Maine DSA receives 0% of the annual dues our members send. Our dues share for the first quarter of 2019 was $488 which averages out to about $162 a month.
There are many problems with this system. The national DSA dues share program is inconsistent and unpredictable. We currently have a member list of about 450 members, 250 with active dues, with less than 100 paying monthly dues. As an estimate, we only receive 8% of the dues money members in our state are sending to National. This isn’t funding our local.
Local Pass-the-Hat would provide the chapter with a consistent income base which would allow for consistent project spending and a stronger infrastructure. Local Pass-the-Hat would also give financial supporters flexibility to better decide how much they give to National and how much they give to their Local.
This is in compliance with both the National and Local Bylaws under which we operate.
Maine DSA will begin a program to collect monthly local funds in excess of National Dues. Paying local funds through Pass-the-Hat does not put an individual on the national membership list, and as such, this will not replace the need to pay National dues in whatever denomination or method individuals so choose.
With the passage of this program, we will:
Ratified by General Membership on 2021-02-08
Data security is best when practices are unified across the organization. This policy aims to be simple to create a foundation of best practices that can be built upon in the future.
Public Folder - This folder is for documents cleared to be shared publicly. Intended for governance documents, new member orientation materials, or committee minutes. Documents must be approved to be placed in the public folder. Public folder is not meant to be an archive and out of date documents will be removed.
Items initially cleared for the Public Folder are:
Chapter Folder - This folder is meant for all other documents. It is meant to be an archive as well as where most chapter work is done. Access is controlled through permission levels. Requests for specific documents may be granted outside of permission levels.
Officer Permission - Officers include all Committee Co-Chairs, Branch Leadership, and Harassment & Grievance Officers. They have access to the Chapter Folder, and Membership List.
Subcommittee Permission - Members of the Steering Committee Subcommittees have access to the chapter folder, but not the Membership List.
Committee Permission - Members of other committees have access to their individual committee folder.
Committee Documents - Minutes from meetings, and any document that is presented at a committee meeting.
The work of administering the Data Security Policy falls to the Steering Committee, but may be delegated to a standing committee by Steering Committee vote.
Future documents added to the public folder will follow along these guidelines.
The committee rules apply to all committees, including Subcommittees and the Steering Committee itself.
Membership on committees is all that’s required for Committee Permissions.
Ratified by the Chapter on 2019-10-14
Maine DSA’s membership list includes every DSA member in the state of Maine. This list includes sensitive information such as their addresses, contact information, and even names of family members and children. Many members wish to keep their membership information private for professional or personal reasons. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the chapter to keep this list as secure as possible. To this end, the chapter Steering Committee has developed the following parameters around using our official membership list, herein referred to as “the list”.
The list shall only be available to the members of the Steering Committee (Officers and the elected Chairs of Committees and Branches). The list may be made available to other parties, but only with the express consent of the Steering Committee.
The list shall only be used for DSA-related work. The list shall not be used for relaying any information or event that is not directly related to, or endorsed by, National DSA, Maine DSA chapter, or any of its Maine branches.
Copies of the list shall only be made with express consent of the Steering Committee.
Anyone found to have knowingly broken any of the parameters listed above may face loss of access, recall from elected office, or removal from the chapter.
Ratified by the Chapter on 2018-12-10
The Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America ("Maine DSA") is committed to open, transparent, and accessible public discourse, while also ensuring the freedom of its members to communicate without the fear of being secretly recorded without their consent.
Therefore, NO person -- including but not limited to members, visitors, and invited guests -- may record conversations of another without their prior knowledge and consent. Recordings include audio and/or video by any means.
Prohibited recording devices include but are not limited to phones, smartphones, audio recorders, video cameras, cameras, and microphones.
Any individual requesting to record via audio or video any persons at an Maine DSA meeting or event will need to request and be granted prior authorization by Maine DSA Steering Committee. Maine DSA Steering Committee reserves the right to refuse such requests, at their sole discretion.
Maine DSA reserves the right to use cameras and recording devices for the purposes of accessibility for the benefit of members, solely with the express knowledge of those attending.
If an approved recording is in effect, individuals may still refuse to be recorded and at such time may end any conversation with the recording party.
Those who refuse to comply with this policy may be asked to leave the premises of the meeting.
Ratified by the Steering Committee on 2019-12-29
“From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.” - Karl Marx
DSA is a self-funded organization. We self-fund by having members pay a fee for membership, aka “dues.” Members may pay dues in whatever amount they are comfortable with.
Being self-funded is central to our mission. When organizations are funded by wealthy donors, they become influenced by that money. Sometimes that influence is direct - the wealthy donors give orders and the members or volunteers follow them. Sometimes it’s subconscious, like members being hesitant to make decisions that would upset their donors. However, by having a member-run and member-funded organization, we are accountable to only ourselves. This is people power in practice.
At the same time, we recognize that times are tough and the working class is being squeezed by every system we interact with: skyrocketing health care and housing costs, crushing student loans, unlivable wages at work, with little to no sick or vacation time to escape these chains. Our movement won’t be successful until it is a mass working-class movement. We absolutely will not exclude anyone based on their inability to pay dues. If dues are a barrier for you, our chapter will subsidize memberships with no questions asked.
It’s a pretty simple process:
That’s it! We look forward to organizing alongside you soon. Solidarity Forever.
Ratified by Chapter on 2021-1-24
To create a model to select campaigns which will focus the resources of the chapter. To codify the support which has helped campaigns succeed in the past.
This policy was developed in the Steering Committee after working through the People First Portland campaign. The campaign was very large and required more support than regular committee work. After the fact it is easy to call People First Portland a priority campaign for the chapter. We wanted to formalize a process for campaigns to receive similar chapter support in the future.
Any committee may bring forward a priority campaign proposal. It should list out concrete goals, and make note of how the campaign intersects with multiple chapter interests. The general membership approves a priority campaign by 2/3rd majority.
A priority campaign receives the following additional support:
Ratified by Chapter on 2021-1-24
Amended by Chapter on 2023-1-21
We hope our chapter to be part of a larger community in the locales that we work in. This policy is not meant to limit how we interact with the larger community. It is instead meant to make commitments transparent and accountable both to our members and our allies. As a membership based organization, coalitions work best when our members understand who we are working with and why, rather than it being only a relationship held amongst leadership.
A coalition is hereby defined as the coordination between two or more separate organizations for combined action. The difference between a coalition and other community building activities is the commitment of resources by our chapter, and directing our members to coalition planning meetings.
To join a coalition a motion must be brought to a general meeting. This motion must be sponsored by a committee, or working group, or include in the motion the creation of a new committee. The coalition is approved with a simple majority vote. Under time sensitive circumstances that require it, a coalition can be approved by the steering committee or campaign committee, but must be later affirmed at the next general meeting.
The chapter will not enter into a coalition within Portland unless it is clear to all parties that DSA will participate openly as DSA, as open socialists, and that the chapter will not join any coalition otherwise.
The committee or working group that sponsored the motion must appoint at least one (1), or up to two (2) Coalition Liaisons, who is responsible for:
The chapter’s involvement in any coalition ceases upon attainment of the coalition’s stated goal(s), or a majority vote by members to remove the chapter from said coalition.
Ratified by chapter on 2021-1-24
Community Building Policy is intended to make DSA, and its communication a hub for political activity. With that grand ambition stated, what it actually seeks to accomplish comes in two parts:
The Communications Working Group is hereby empowered to share community events on chapter digital platforms. These events may not be business or planning meetings, nor may they be events for unendorsed electoral candidates, or ballot questions. A DSA liaison will be established before publishing, and report-backs will be planned for after the event.
Digital Platforms - As described in our Communication Channels Primer, this includes social media, calendar, and our weekly Forecast.
Community Events - These are non-dsa events approved by the Communications Working Group. Likely to be social activities or mutual aid.
Unendorsed electoral candidates, or ballot questions - Chapter endorsement is required to promote electoral candidates or ballot questions.
Business / Planning Meetings - These are meetings where organizational planning takes place. Notes are taken and someone is perhaps running stack.
DSA Liaison - This is the DSA point person involved with the community event. They are listed in the Forecast as the contact person for people who want to get involved. They are expected to help facilitate people's attendance at the community event, and report-back afterwards.
If a DSA member would like to broadcast a Community Event on our digital platforms they should fill out this form. It is also possible to bring a Community Event proposal to the Communications Working Group regularly scheduled meeting. The submitter of the Community Event Application should be the person who intends to be the DSA liaison for the event.
The criteria of the Community Event will be as follows: It should be an event that is approachable to newcomers with a low barrier to entry. Mutual aid or social events are ideal here. The event can’t be a planning or business meeting. That sort of activity with another organization should only occur after a coalition is approved. If it is a recurring event then a reliable sign-up form or contact email for someone involved with running the event must be provided. If the contact email is a member’s personal account and shouldn’t be shared, an email address redirect can be created by the Communications Working Group using the Maine DSA domain (ie “firstname.lastname@example.org”) to forward emails.
Approval of community events is by 2/3rds vote by the Communications Working Group. If an applicant is denied a reasoning will be provided.
The report-back date is flexible and can be worked out after approval of the event. The report-back should focus on identifying people who came because of the Forecast. If they’re interested in more DSA activity they should be referred to the Membership Working Group. For recurring events report-backs can be grouped up into monthly reports. If a recurring event proves unpopular and no one can be identified as coming because of the Forecast, then the event will be removed from the Forecast.
Social media platforms are permitted to post about Community Events included in the Weekly Forecast.
Replaced and reaffirmed by General Membership on 2023-05-21
Amended by General Membership on 2023-11-12
We strive to be a worker-led movement, which means we have members across the state who are immunocompromised and/or may not have health insurance, paid sick leave, or the savings to cover a prolonged illness. We also have members that can not feasibly physically attend chapter business due to disability and/or distance. We must ensure that all members are able to participate in the business of the chapter at the same level as any other member despite these barriers, and work to create infrastructure that will create thoughtful social spaces that are accessible remotely.
Chapter business is events listed on a chapter calendar or sent to the mailing list in which decisions are being made and recorded by a Chapter body, including committees and working groups.
Effective Masks are NIOSH-approved N95 Respirators and ASTM F3502-21 Barrier Face Coverings rated at >90% filtration.
General Meetings and Chapter Semi-Annual Workshops will have a face mask requirement.
The Steering Committee will appoint up to two (2) Accessibility and Health officers whose duties are defined as:
All Chapter business listed on the calendar must have an available virtual attendance option, and the facilitator must strive to make the meeting legible and accessible for those participating– i.e not be set up in a bar.
Chapter bodies may include in their charter a masking policy.
If someone attending an in-person chapter business meeting that is not covered by this policy makes a request to the convening body that said meeting be masked, the convener should work with the Accessibility officer(s) to ensure that masks are available and are worn by attendees.
Maine DSA’s Chapter-Run Events held completely outdoors will have at least a face mask recommendation.
All in-person attendees to events covered by this or a working group masking policy are required to follow this said policy, regardless of position or membership status.
Indoor Chapter-Run Events should refrain from serving food and/or encouraging eating at the event – unless the event is principally organized around food (ie a potluck) with no business being attended to. It is impossible to be masked while eating or drinking (in permitted areas), receiving first aid, or other common sense situations; during these situations, masks can be temporarily removed as needed
If food is served indoors at a General Meeting or Semi-Annual event hosted in a non-public venue, organizers must discuss and record a decision about serving and eating food in a separate room from the socializing space so that immunocompromised members can opt-out of exposure.
Organizers of official post-event social gatherings should seriously consider spaces that reduce risk of transmission (i.e. outdoor venues and/or well ventilated venues).
If, during the course of an event covered by this or a working group masking policy, an attendee refuses to abide by said policy even after a comradely reminder, a convener, or an appointee thereof shall ask the attendee to leave.
All events covered by this or a working group mask-related accessibility policy must include notice of said policy.
The chapter will set Proper Mask Usage, as described in the appendix, as a community norm for all mask-required gatherings;
Ratified by Chapter on 2023-01-22
The Portland Local Campaign Committee will not proactively engage in a candidate campaign or ballot initiative campaign for the November 2023 election;
The Portland Local Campaign Committee will not recruit or endorse any non-DSA member candidates or seek to place on the ballot any of our own initiatives for the November 2023 election;
Should our opposition initiate referenda in 2023 attempting to repeal our wins and/or referenda pushing regressive anti-worker/anti-democratic policies, the Portland Local Campaign Committee will prepare a plan for Member consideration to defeat those initiatives which may include, but is not limited to, competing measures, forming a formal Ballot Question Committee, joining coalitions in opposition, etc;
Ratified by Chapter on 2023-01-21
The chapter is committed to advancing the power of the socialist cause and will endeavor to build an effective party surrogate1 toward that end.
The chapter will only endorse candidates who self-identify as socialists.
The chapter will only endorse candidates that it plans on actively campaigning for, and devote significant chapter time and resources towards. In other words, the chapter will not make paper endorsements.
The chapter will only make a limited number of endorsements per cycle in order to prioritize its efforts on those races in which it will have the maximum impact, and will only do so if a race is winnable.
The chapter will not intervene in races unless it is clear to prospective candidates seeking endorsement that the chapter will maintain strategic and operational control over its own members’ efforts.
The chapter will create a rigorous endorsement process prior to the 2024 election cycle.
The chapter will only endorse candidates that through their election campaigns, and once in office, see mobilizing and fighting alongside working people as one of their primary responsibilities. They will use their public profile to popularize a class struggle perspective, one that sees the working class as the agents of change and the system of capitalism as the main barrier to change
1. An organization that functions as a political party in the Marxist sense, without seeking legal third party status or a ballot line.
Ratified by Steering Committee on 2023-02-19
Maine DSA’s general membership holds votes on motions and chapter business almost exclusively on digital tools, such as Zoom’s polling functionality. Voting records are stored in Zoom, meaning that only those who have access to the Zoom accounts are able to view how individual members voted. As said access is provided as needed, this creates a situation in which only a fairly arbitrary group of members have access to voting records. This policy seeks to codify and normalize the sharing of member voting records, using in person votes by show of hands as precedent.
For all votes made during general membership business by show of hands, the overseeing body must collect into a document and make available to members a voting record. The link to the is document should be shared on the Chapter slack in the #steercom-agenda channel as soon as is feasible, and no later than 7 days after the vote is held.
Voting records should be stored alongside minutes and are available upon request to the Agenda Working Group. In the interest of security, these records should not be linked to in other documents or shared widely.
If the overseeing body is unable to provide the voting record within the given timeline, a report containing an explanation must be provided at the next general business meeting by the Agenda Working Group.
The Steering Committee will audit google drive permissions and create a proper folder with appropriate permission prior to sharing results.
Overseeing Body: A group tasked with overseeing and conducting votes by the Steering Committee or Agenda Working Group.
Show of Hands: Votes done through a digital poll. This does not include roll call or ballot votes (Robert’s Rules calls it Viva voce).
Voting Record: a document containing the first name and last initial of members who cast ballots in a vote or votes alongside the direction of their vote or votes
Ratified by Chapter on 2021-01-22
The interest in shirts, hats, or other ‘merch’ is discussed as a part of any growing organization. Over the last four years, Maine DSA operated multiple merch stores for different needs. Such as:
Regardless of why we have opened stores, the same challenges arise:
We must operate knowing that a store should never be the end goal of DSA, but a tool we use for our goals as organizers. This list of resolutions are designed to help overcome the challenges we have faced in the past. They also help to align our practices with our socialist values.
When using outside vendors Maine DSA will purchase goods and services from worker-owned, union-represented, or cooperative outfits unless absolutely necessary for the success of the project, and;
Members should not only research the products themselves, but inquire on the larger supply chain each vendor is using for their products.
Merch organizers must offer clothing that meets the size needs of our members.
Planning a merch purchase (including launching a store) requires at least 5 Maine DSA members [Planners] who can commit to planning and operating the store or merch purchase, and;
One or more of the Planners must be designated the “Finance Representative”. They will work closely with the Finance Committee, including attending Finance Committee meetings while the store is active.
Members who operate a merch store should write or update a “Merch Store Guide” containing notes on quality vendors, best practices, and anything else that may be helpful for future store operators.
Ratified by the Chapter on 2022-09-11