2019 NYC-DSA Convention

On June 1st, delegates from every branch of NYC-DSA will gather for our annual citywide convention. This is our chapter’s highest decision-making body; the choices we make here have wide resonance for our membership and for the workers with whom we seek to organize. As such, Emerge has voted to publicize our positions on the proposals that will come before the convention. We have included brief explanations of our analysis of those amendments and resolutions about which we feel most strongly.

While we do hope to persuade any undecided comrades—please follow our voting recommendations!—our greater intent here is to be transparent about our political vision for NYC-DSA long after the citywide convention.


Strike Solidarity

Vote: AYE

Call for Repeal of SESTA/FOSTA

Vote: AYE

Emerge supports the full decriminalization of sex work, the repeal of SESTA/FOSTA, and efforts to push Bernie Sanders to come out in favor of decriminalization after voting for the so-called “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act,” or SESTA, in 2018. If we want to unite the working class against capitalism, we must stand in solidarity with all workers, including those in the sex trade. Local agencies tasked with enforcing these laws work in tandem with ICE, which has been stalking immigrants at prostitution diversion courts right here in NYC. There is no scenario in which we make gains by throwing our fellow workers under the bus. When we fight together, we win.

Bernie 2020 Voter Registration

Vote: AYE

Representation for Young Democratic Socialists of America

Vote: AYE

Adding All Steering Committee Officers to the Administrative Committee

Vote: AYE

Socialist City Council Slate in 2021

Vote: AYE

In 2021, at least 35 New York City Council seats will be up for election with no incumbency. This provides NYC-DSA with an opportunity unlike any we have seen before to launch a coordinated organizing effort in strategically chosen districts, wherein we will strive to organize a base of support well ahead of the election, cultivating socialist candidates to run for City Council. This resolution would have NYC-DSA take a major step towards putting forward a bold socialist vision for city politics.

We understand the project proposed by this resolution to be an ambitious one, requiring us to develop our members into stronger and more capable organizers, to foster greater communication between our working groups, and to make DSA more inviting and accessible to the activists and organizers who we work alongside. Above all, it will encourage us to more deeply ground ourselves in the communities we live, work, and organize in.

Building Worker Power in Strategic Industries

Vote: AYE

Commission to Improve the Branch System

Vote: AYE

One Comrade One Vote

Vote: NAY

Democracy is more than a ballot. As stated in our caucus Points of Unity:

“We can only realize [socialism] by creating and developing participatory democratic structures that directly empower the people in our everyday organizing. We must embrace the plurality of perspectives within the body not in name alone, but by providing the tools and spaces for deliberation.”

This is a difficult task; mistakes have been and will continue to be made. We share our comrades’ concern that the majority of NYC-DSA members are not participating meaningfully in the chapter’s political processes and agree that we must strive to do better.

While this amendment purports to stimulate greater internal democracy, it will fail if passed as written. We believe that amending our constitution to include more voters without including a plan for how those members will be reached, engaged, and welcomed into our community is a half-measure that mistakes a single vote for a larger, more holistic process of building and maintaining consensus. What is more, we believe that the leaders of individual branches are best positioned to cultivate democracy locally. There is no doubt that this is a learning process. What we have learned so far indicates that this amendment will stunt our chapter’s democracy, rather than creating the conditions for it to flourish.

Add Working Group Representatives to the Citywide Leadership Committee

Vote: AYE

If we are to take our political project seriously, we must prioritize weaving together distinct but interrelated struggles. One step towards this would be to amend our chapter’s constitution, adding one representative from each working group to the CLC, thereby ensuring that our members most involved in issue-based work have a dedicated representative on our highest political body. This representative will be elected by and accountable to their group, giving it a voice and a vote on our chapter’s highest political decision-making body.

Because CLC elections happen solely on the Branch level, and because working groups are distinct, even often siloed off, from the Branches, comrades who are active predominantly in the Working Groups are at a disadvantage in chapter politics. Working Groups currently do not have official city-wide representation anywhere within NYC-DSA, meaning that our political bodies often make decisions that greatly affect working groups without their input. This structure makes it difficult for budding working group leaders to take the jump into citywide leadership roles; moreover, exclusively electing delegates at the branch level puts the CLC at a disadvantage when it comes to issue-based expertise. A vote for working group representation on the CLC is a vote to enable the cohesion and prioritize the politics of this sprawling and vital work.

Support Open Borders

Vote: AYE

Approximately three million undocumented people live in New York City. Despite the city’s reputation as a progressive bastion, immigration enforcement agents continue to operate here, subjecting working class people of color to a brutal regime that must be dismantled no matter which party controls Congress or the White House. As socialists living in the most powerful imperialist country in the world, members of DSA have a particular responsibility to fight against national chauvinism; at minimum, this means decriminalizing immigration, demilitarizing the border, and defending the right of working people to move where they like (or to remain where they are). Informed by our ongoing organizing efforts—both in New York City and on the border—and our commitment to internationalism, several members of our caucus drafted a resolution calling on NYC-DSA to specifically endorse open borders.

While this resolution received a clear majority of support, it did not attain the supermajority necessary to be placed on the consent agenda for the upcoming NYC-DSA convention; in fact, it is our understanding that the resolution lost by a small margin. As such, at the beginning of the citywide convention, Emerge delegates will move to amend the agenda, asking the chapter to vote to discuss our resolution on open borders for fifteen minutes. We propose to take the time from another resolution submitted by our delegates: the resolution to elect a socialist city council slate in 2021. We are announcing this publicly so that our comrades who are opposed to the resolution can properly prepare themselves for a substantive debate.


Correction: May 30, 2019 - An earlier version of this article incorrectly asserted that the Open Borders resolution lost in a random tie break. While the OpaVote results released to delegates did reflect that, we were unaware of a subsequent recount used to arrive at the final agenda.