Frequently Asked Questions
Who Are We?
The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is the largest socialist organization in the United States. DSA’s members are building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly democratic socialist presence in American communities and politics.
We are organizers committed to democracy as not simply one of our political values but our means of restructuring society. Our vision is of a society in which people have a real voice in the choices and relationships that affect the entirety of our lives. We call this vision democratic socialism — a vision of a more free, democratic and humane society.
We seek to facilitate the transition to a truly democratic and socialist society, one in which the means/resources of production are democratically and socially controlled.
We reject capitalism, a brutal economic order enforced through violence, which is based solely on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power, brutality and violence in defense of the status quo, and discrimination based on religion, national origin, race, color, sex, gender, age, occupation, citizenship status, ability, class and socio-economic status, or sexual orientation.
We envision a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, gender and racial equality, and non-oppressive relationships.
Our conception of socialism is a profoundly democratic one. It is rooted in the belief that human beings should be free to develop to their fullest potential, that public policies should be determined not by wealth but by popular participation, and that individual liberties should be carefully safeguarded. It is committed to a freedom of speech that does not recoil from dissent, to a freedom to organize independent trade unions, women’s groups, political parties, and other formations — recognizing these as essential bulwarks against the dangers of an intrusive state. It is committed to a freedom of religion that acknowledges the rights of those for whom spiritual concerns are central.
We are socialists because we are developing a concrete strategy for achieving that vision. In the present, we are building a visible socialist presence within the broad democratic left. In the long run, we hope to build a majority movement capable of making democratic socialism a reality in the United States. Our strategy acknowledges the class structure of the U.S. society. This class structure means that there is a basic conflict of interest between those sectors with enormous social, economic, and political power and the vast majority of the population.
We organize to ensure all people have the freedom to thrive and fully control their social and economic destinies. We currently have over 94,000 members nationwide, and there are hundreds of chapters like ours in communities across the nation. For more information about what it means to be a democratic socialist, check out the Q&A page from DSA national.
Why Should I Join DSA?
As a democratic, grassroots organization, DSA is continuing the political revolution for the long term. By paying dues, DSA members self-fund our own tools for liberation. On a national level, all DSA members receive our quarterly magazine, Democratic Left, plus access to DSA’s activist webinar training series.
On a local level, joining DSA will give you access to our official Las Vegas DSA Slack channel, where you can collaborate and continue to stay informed about the inner-workings of our local chapter. Becoming a member will also give you voting rights for all official chapter business – whenever our local chapter votes for proposals, amendments, officers, or anything else. Signing up for monthly-dues, rather than an annual membership, also ensures that 20% of your monthly dues are shared with LVDSA.
What are dues? How much are they?
Dues are recurring payments made by members of an organization as a prerequisite for membership. In DSA, the dues amount depends on how much you want to pay! DSA has a tiered dues system that allows you to pay based on your income, but they don’t check up on you. DSA is a member-sustained organization, and we wouldn’t be able to all do this work if we didn’t pitch in to keep this ship afloat. If members are unable to pay dues to financial hardship, there is a dues waiver form.
Am I required to pay dues?
Neither national dues nor local dues are required to attend DSA meetings and events or to participate in discussions. However, paying dues to an organization means that you get a say in the direction of that organization. Practically, this means that when we vote on resolutions at general body meetings, you get to vote. Members are also able to run for elected positions in the chapter, and be elected as delegates to the national convention. Paying dues also gives you access to our official Las Vegas DSA Slack channel, where you can collaborate and continue to stay informed about the inner-workings of our local chapter. If members are unable to pay dues to financial hardship, there is a dues waiver form.
How do I sign up?
You can sign up to be a member of DSA here. Make sure to sign up monthly if you are able as 20% of your monthly donation goes back into your local chapter!
What does Las Vegas DSA do?
The Las Vegas chapter of DSA organizes locally with more than 500 members to build working class power in southern Nevada.
- We fight for equitable housing and tenant rights
- Through our mutual and community aid efforts, we address some of the damages that capitalism has inflicted on all of us
- We organize in and engage with the community through our electoral efforts — researching and recruiting to elect socialists who are accountable to the working class
- To help spread a socialist perspective on local and international issues, we host educational events, socials, and forums about socialism and labor history.
- We partner with community organizations who share our ideals and want to build a mass, multiracial, working class movement alongside us.
- We build popular support for free, universal healthcare and policy to address climate change, economic inequality, racial inequality, LGBTQIA+ rights, women’s rights, and worker’s rights.
- We fight for the full liberation of peoples impacted by the police state, carceral system, mass displacement, forced migration, and oppression caused by global capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism
- We make art, pamphlets and literature to help spread a socialist perspective on local and international issues
What are General Body Meetings?
We meet as a general membership every month and everyone is welcome to attend. At these meetings we hear reports from our priority campaigns, and vote on official chapter business.
Resolutions can be introduced by any member at a general body meeting. All resolutions must be submitted to the Steering Committee in writing at least two weeks before the meeting where the vote will be determined, unless otherwise specified in these bylaws or in the case of emergency meetings
Who’s in charge?
You are! The Steering Committee is the leadership body for the chapter and includes 9 at-large members elected once a year at our local convention. But ultimately, our chapter is driven by the passion, energy and interests of the membership. The chapter membership votes on its priorities for the upcoming year at our annual local convention. The Steering Committee and the Priority Campaign stewards are tasked with making sure the membership’s will is executed.
What’s the best way to find out about upcoming DSA events?
Check out our events calendar on our website, keep an eye on our Twitter (@LasVegasDSA), Instagram (@vegasdsa), and our Facebook (Las Vegas Democratic Socialists of America), or contact email@example.com to sign up for email and text updates.
What are strategic campaigns?
Strategic campaigns are where the chapter membership intends to prioritize its time and chapter resources for the upcoming year in order to further the mission of LVDSA. You can find more information on our active campaigns here.
What is a working group?
Working groups are formations within the chapter that organize around specific issues. You can find more information on our working groups here.
What is a committee?
Committees are created by the Steering Committee for the purpose of supporting the core functions and administration of the chapter. Membership and participation in committees may be restricted in order to maintain appropriate confidentiality or security of sensitive information. You can find more information on our committees here.
What is a section?
Sections are formations in the chapter with the purpose of creating a shared space for members of a common identity. “Common identities” may include, but are not necessarily limited to, protected classes under federal law such as gender, race, ethnicity, or national identity. You can find more information on our sections here.
Can I attend a meeting? How do I get involved with a campaign or working group?
All meetings listed on our website are open to the public unless otherwise noted, and anyone is welcome to attend. New to the chapter? Feel free to try out a few campaign and working group meetings to get a sense of what each one is about and which projects you’d like to get involved with. Want a little more information before you go to a meeting? Contact us as firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll connect you with a chapter organizer that can help answer any questions you may have!