South Jersey DSA Abstaining From 2019 Convention

Safety

At the regional conference and after, safety was a major concern. Before the convention, National has accidentally leaked the full names, locations, and other sensitive information about the candidates running to be at-large delegates. There are also safety concerns in regards to the location. While SJDSA applauds National for picking a union hotel, there is no way to prevent access to the conference rooms. The floors do not require a key card to access and thus, anyone can walk in. Recently, during a pre-conference discussion about safety, National spent the time talking about concerns with dissent among the ranks of DSA as opposed to potential outside threats. With a big tent organization like DSA, disagreement is expected. We are all different types of socialists with different goals and ideas. To focus on potential dissent as opposed to outside threats when DSA was recently on a hit list and local chapters have been invaded by alt-right antagonizers who wish to harm members shows a blind spot to safety for attendees.

Cost

National has repeatedly stated that cost should not affect who can and cannot go to the National convention. However, by pushing the majority of the cost to the local chapters and by failing to provide low income housing options, National has effectively limited who can go based on finances. For SJDSA to send all four delegates, the total estimated cost would be $2,000 or $500 per member. This cost would need to be raised in essentially a month’s time or paid for up front by the delegates going. This a large sum of money to ask from small chapters who may only have a small number of active members.

Follow Through

Previous National conventions have passed resolutions and bylaws that are still not acted upon today. The last convention directed the NPC to create a National bail fund for those arrested during peaceful protests such as those that occurred during the occupation of ICE facilities. Two years later, there is still no bail fund and the constant reason given is time and money. Yet with minimal input from chapters, the NPC voted to endorse Bernie Sanders for president and create a campaign that will cost as much as $500,000. This was done with less time, planning, and input than the bail fund.

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