February 2019 General Meeting Notes

Hi everybody!

This month’s minutes are here, with some (but not all) of our events for February included! To stay updated on all our events, check LawrenceDSA.com/calendar as the month goes on. That said, without further ado, here’s some of them:

Every Saturday and Sunday this month, starting on the 9th, the Housing Working Group will be gathering people at the Sunflower House (1406 Tennessee) to canvass renters in Lawrence on tenants rights issues here! If you’re interested, let us know and I’ll put you in contact with them!

On Friday, February 15th at 7:30 pm the Newsletter Working Group will be having a meeting at a member’s residence to discuss their upcoming issues–let us know if you’re interested in going and we’ll give you the address! Don’t worry, we’re not withholding it because we don’t want you to go, we just don’t like to broadcast that stuff super publicly.

On Friday, February 15th at 6:30 pm the Healthcare Working Group will be meeting with a city official to talk healthcare. All members are welcome and healthcare is not the only thing that will be talked about! If you’re interested, send an RSVP to the Healthcare Committee (healthcare@lawrencedsa.com)

On February 19, 21, 26, 28, Theory Group will be meeting at either the Library or online, depending on the date. For more info on where the meetings will be and what will be read, go to lawrencedsa.com/calendar!

On Wednesday, February 20th at 6:30 pm at Kennedy Elementary School (1605 Davis Rd) we’ll be having a New Member Meet and Greet! It’ll be good fun for anyone who wants to come as we discuss what socialism is, what our chapter is, and have some good discussions along the way. If you want to introduce friends to the chapter, this is the place to do it!!

On Monday, February 25th at 7 pm at S&S Coffee (2208 Iowa), Reading Group will be meeting to discuss Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed. It’s always good fun, so read up and come on down!

And that’s everything for now! It should be a great month for us, and more events will be announced soon! So, let’s talk about the General Meeting.

Our excellent co-chair started us off with an icebreaker focusing on the creation of little Socialist Valentines, which was a lot of fun and produced some powerfully silly valentines. After that, our Treasurer walked us through our Community Agreements and Robert’s Rules, both of which we’re continuing to use at General Meetings. We try very hard to make sure that our Community Agreements encourage voices that are often unheard to be heard–if you feel that we aren’t doing a good enough job, or even if we are that there is a change we could make to be doing even better, please let us know!!

Also, under our new bylaws, only members who are national-dues-paying are allowed to have binding votes. We’re extremely aware of the spot this puts some of our members in, and so if you are not currently national dues-paying and cannot afford to be, but want to be, let us know and we can put you in contact with one of our members who have volunteered to be sponsors.

After that, we got reportbacks from our Working Group leaders! And, if any of the work that follows sounds interesting, let us know and we can put you in contact with the leader of that group.

Housing did canvassing last month, and turned out nearly 40 to its month-ending tenants’ rights meeting. This month will be more-or-less the same, as the group plans on continuing its door-knocking campaign in the run-up to a similar meeting toward the end of this month.

Healthcarealso had a big month last month, hosting Lori Slettehaugh of Healthcare Now! for an event toward the end of the month. This month is also going to be focused on getting the word out about Medicare for All, especially in the upcoming week as part of the nationwide M4A Week of Action! Be ready for canvassing and other action, with news to come very very soon.

Newsletter also had a big January! They put out the first issue of our new socialist periodical, focused on housing, and the second through fourth issues are already in the pipe (focusing on wages, education, and love & sexuality). If you’re interested in being involved with any of those–writing something, making a graphic, helping with the print process, anything–let us know and we’ll put you in touch. They will be having a meeting soon, the details for which can be found above.

Socialist Feminism went to the KC Women’s March in January with hot drinks and our banner and good chants! It was great and a lot of fun, and going forward, they’re looking to build power in preparation for the nationwide Women’s Strike day in March.

Socialist Education had Socialist Feminist Theory Group last month, and although they’re looking to do more feminist lit going forward, this month is something of a return to form. All of their dates and times can be found on the website at LawrenceDSA.com/calendar

Reading Group had a large meeting at the end of last month to talk about Lenin’s State and Revolution, and we all had a spirited and good-natured discussion of the text and its implications today. This month, we’ll be reading Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, a novel! It should be just as illuminating and enjoyable as anything we’ve ever read though, and the info for that meeting can be found above.

Electoral had a meeting recently and is talking to voter advocacy groups in town. They’re looking at maybe putting together a campaign centered on Kansas’s Senate Bill 43 which would allow same-day voter registration in Kansas.

Labor are still working on organizing teachers. If you know any, at any level, let us know. Also, members of the committee are working on organizing service workers, so if you’re one of those, still let us know!

KU is still looking for someone to take the lead on organizing on campus. Anyone who would be interested in this would not do so alone–the Steering Committee is willing to help anyone any way we can to get organizing going on campus.

Transport has successfully bought a bus!!! We have a bus!! It’s a bus!! If you’re not sure why we have a bus, that’s okay, the working group wrote up a 13-page report a month or two ago which spells out most of the reasons as well as the risks and upkeep costs. But, perhaps more notably, we also voted at the meeting for the chapter to approve a fundraiser on GoFundMe to reimburse the members who paid out of pocket for the bus, as well as to get funds together to put toward the first year of bus ownership! It’s currently running, and after just about 2 full days, we’ve almost met our goal! It’s fantastic, we’re very happy, and we’re looking forward to all getting to use the bus in one way or another. Find the GoFundMe here: https://www.gofundme.com/lkdsabus

So, with reportbacks brought to an exciting end, we spent some more time talking about the bus before voting on and approving the fundraiser.

The next order of business was confirming our Security Committee Chair, but as the only candidate was absent and therefore unable to speak in favor of themselves, we tabled the item until the next meeting.

Our next big topic was the Regional Preconvention, which will be taking place on March 9th and 10th in Denver. It will be focused on getting ready for the National Convention in June, with lots of trainings and panels and discussions–if you plan on continuing to do organizing with DSA, this might be a good thing for you to go to! It will help you get connections with people interested in doing similar work in other chapters, as well as providing you with just a good baseline of organizing knowledge. We get five official delegates, so if you’re interested in going, let us know!! The National will pay for transportation and lodging, so don’t worry about those. If you are able to do it, think about it! Also, we may take the bus, which could be fun.

Next we talked about a new proposed set of rules for the chapter. Since the last General, the Steering Committee has been talking about caucuses. Caucuses, if you don’t know, are internal organizations within DSA which bring people with similar beliefs regarding DSA’s direction together. This is not a bad thing! But we as the Steering Committee felt that our chapter should remain officially separate from caucuses, and that no chapter business should be conducted in the name of- or even in association with- a caucus. If you’re interested in seeing the proposed rules in full, which were discussed and debated but ultimately tabled until the next meeting in consideration of time, you can find them here.

If you have any questions about them, or additions, let us know, and we’ll be talking about them either at the next General Meeting or at a separate rules meeting sometime this month, news to come.

Our Grievance Process (full text here) was finally voted on and adopted as rules outside of the bylaws. It’s been a long road, but the long-and-short of it is that we have a grievance process! And the first step, if you ever feel victimized, is to reach out to whichever member of the Steering Committee you feel most comfortable reaching out to. The process is victim-led, and focused on getting justice in the way most comfortable for the victim, so please don’t hesitate if you ever feel in any way aggrieved. Our chapter should be a safe space for everyone, and if it isn’t, something needs to be changed immediately.

At this point we were very short on time, so we tabled for yet another month the changes to the bylaws that had been proposed by the Bylaw Amendment Committee.

Finally, we opened the floor for questions and comments not relating to the agenda items. During this time, a member pointed out the lack of transparency in Steering Committee meetings as an item of concern, and the Steering Committee broadly agreed that it had not been enough of a concern for us. Going forward, we will be alerting chapter members in advance of meetings so that members can sit in as observers.

So that’s it! If you have any questions about our events, our group, or anything vaguely left-leaning at all, feel free to ask!