Central Jersey Bylaws
Drafted by Mark S. Alper and Russell Weiss-Irwin, August, 2016 AMENDED 10/12/2017
ARTICLE I Name
The name of this organization shall be Central New Jersey Democratic Socialists of America (CNJDSA), a local affiliate (“local”) of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). The jurisdiction of CNJDSA shall consist of the following counties: Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, and Hunterdon.
ARTICLE II Purpose
Central New Jersey Democratic Socialists of America (hereinafter referred to as CNJDSA) establishes the following as its primary goals and objectives:
(a) Providing a means by which members and supporters of Democratic Socialists of America can participate in the life of our organization; (b) Openly educate and advocate for democratic socialism in our geographic area; (c) Actively engage in progressive movements and struggles in Central New Jersey which are consistent with our values and vision for a democratic and humane society free from repression and exploitation. This includes, but is not limited to, the struggles against racism, sexism, ableism, while supporting positive and affirming identity movements, including feminism and transgender equality. We also support measures to support and sustain the environment, which is constantly put at risk by the ceaseless drive for corporate profits. As members of DSA, we also advocate for the demilitarization of US foreign policy and a world free of nuclear weapons. (d) Support other DSA locals and organizing committees in New Jersey and surrounding areas, to the greatest extent possible; (e) Participate in the national campaigns and projects of the national DSA.
DSA as an organization is proud of our diversity, commitment to democracy, and the pluralism which is at the heart of our organization. We are not a political party, nor do we have a “party line.” We are united by our belief that capitalism is detrimental to living a genuinely free, authentic and dignified life, just as it is destructive of our health, wellbeing and environment.
Differences between members are respected and, when discussed, a spirit of fraternity and comradeship is maintained. We believe socialism represents the fullest extension of democracy, and that includes the right of all to express their views in an atmosphere that promotes participation and peace of mind.
ARTICLE III Membership
Membership is extended to any DSA member who has paid dues to the national office, or has requested a hardship waiver, and resides in the geographic area served by the local. Members are encouraged to participate actively in activities of the national, local, and applicable branch organization, but are not required to do so.
A member may be removed from membership by submitting a letter of resignation, or for the following reasons:
(a) Non-payment of dues (unless a hardship waiver has been requested); (b) Engaging in the harassment or violating the civil rights of another member(s); (c) Advocating violence or terrorism (d) Disrupting meetings (e) Being under the discipline of another organization (e.g., “vanguardist” or “democratic centralist”) organization.
If a member is to be removed from membership for any reason other than their resignation, the member shall be notified by the Executive Committee after a majority of the Executive Committee votes to move to remove the member. The member shall have the right to defend himself in front of the membership, and shall only be removed following a 2⁄3 vote of members present at the defense.
ARTICLE IV DUES AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT
Annual dues shall be paid to the DSA national office.
Members may also choose to contribute funds directly to the local.
ARTICLE V BRANCHES
The following branches are established as part of CNJDSA: New Brunswick, Princeton, Trenton and Asbury Park. Additional branches may be established as circumstances warrant.
ARTICLE VI MEETINGS
Meetings of the CNJDSA shall be held on a monthly basis, and are open to both members and non-members of the organization. Only members of DSA shall have the right to vote on motions and proposals. Non-members will be invited to give a consultative vote.
ARTICLE VII EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The Executive Committee shall consist of the following elected officers:
- Vice Chairperson
- Membership Coordinator
- YDS Coordinator
- Social Media Coordinator
Additionally, chapter members may be appointed by the Chair to ad hoc leadership positions on an as-needed basis. Changes/additions to chapter officers (ex. Secretary, Treasurer, etc.) may be made by amending the by-laws. Gender parity shall be the goal in electing the Executive Committee.
In general, members of the Executive Committee are responsible for providing leadership to the Chapter by, for example, ensuring that announcements for upcoming meetings are made to DSA members with sufficient advanced notice, agendas are prepared, meetings are properly facilitated, meeting minutes are distributed, etc.
Additionally, the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson are responsible for establishing a Chapter bank account, for the proper accounting of funds collected and disbursed, including providing regular (quarterly at a minimum) updates on fund balances and expenditures to the membership.
In general, expenditures of chapter funds must be approved by a majority vote of all members present at a meeting. The Chairperson or Vice Chairperson shall be permitted to spend minimal amounts (less than $50) in the support of routine chapter activities (e.g., refreshments for a meeting.)
If a majority of the members of the Executive Committee will be holding a meeting for the purpose of conducting chapter business, then notice of such a meeting must be given to all members with at least 14 days notice through email and other electronic means (e.g., Facebook).
Branch chairpersons shall be members of the Executive Committee, ex-officio. The term of service on the Executive Committee shall be one (1) year.
The Executive Committee is nominated for and elected by the CNJDSA members, and is responsible to the membership. Officers may be removed by a referendum vote of CNJDSA members, with a simple majority sufficient for removal.
ARTICLE VIII AMENDMENT
These by-laws may be amended after the approval of two-thirds of the voting membership present at a regular monthly meeting. However, any amendment may not be introduced and voted on at the same meeting.