NYC-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 NYC-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 NYC DSA leadership, moderators, etc. must remove people from those spaces until they can take accountability.
This code of conduct applies to all:
- NYC-DSA virtual spaces including email listservs, slack workspaces, Facebook groups, WhatsApp groups, Signal groups, or other methods of virtual communication.
- NYC-DSA meetings / events including branches, working groups or other bodies with elected leadership recognized by the Steering Committee
- External forums such as Twitter
- Direct messages (text, WhatsApp, Signal, etc)
- Other in person activities
The same community agreements that apply at in-person meetings apply to our online interactions.
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.
Disrupting internal discussion spaces
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 generally obstructing meaningful discussion.
Misuse of chapter resources
Chapter, branch, working group, or caucus funds, member lists or any other chapter resources should not be used in ways that are not authorized by the relevant organizing committee. Examples include unauthorized use of NYC-DSA 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.
Misrepresenting the chapter
Speaking on behalf of the chapter, a branch, a caucus, or a working group without first consulting the relevant leadership body can damage the reputation of NYC-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.
Code of conduct violations and taking accountability
When these situations arise, moderators and 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 moderators or leaders to take action up to temporary or permanent removal from that space.
- A single mod / leader can remove someone from a space temporarily, but a body of mods / leaders need to vote (per their groups bylaws) to remove them permanently.
- Only a group of mods / leaders can remove another mod / leader from a space; and there should be bylaws specifying this. If no relevant bylaws exist, a simple majority vote of the leadership body will suffice.
- Removal from a space can include revoking access to running official DSA platforms, any virtual space (including leadership email listservs), zoom meetings, in-person meetings, calls, etc.
- Removal from a space may be considered because the person has lost trust of the group to behave in a comradely manner, to prevent harm moving forward, or to ensure a safer space for people harmed by their behavior.
- Only under extenuating circumstances should someone be removed from a space that is not inhabited by the people they harmed.
Return to the space is either at the moderators’ / leaders’ discretion or by the member completing an accountability process facilitated by the grievance committee. If the member believes they were treated unfairly in the process, they may file a grievance.