Code of Conduct

Standards of behavior for chapter members participating in chapter spaces.
Adopted on 20 February 2022.

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Socialist comradeship and solidarity are the values we embrace and uphold as the ethical foundation for all our efforts to build democratic socialism. Comradeship is the respect, empathy,trust, good faith, good will and support we extend to all those who stand with us and beside us in this noble project. Solidarity is the internal unity that grows from true comradeship and sustains us in the complex and difficult political work we’ve taken on.

This code of conduct is intended to ensure that Capital District Democratic Socialists of America (CDDSA) remains a place where our members feel safe, respected and supported at all times, and therefore a place where comradeship and solidarity can grow and flourish.

The guidelines and standards in this Code apply to all CDDSA-related functions and events, including meetings, committees, working groups, rallies, webinars, meetings, conferences, and all public-facing events.

Note: the chapter reserves the right to take action through its established disciplinary procedures in cases where serious member violations of this Code happen outside the context of CDDSA-related or sanctioned functions and events such as those specified above.

Basic Principles

Members shall not engage in harassment on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical appearance, disability, race, color, religion, national origin, class, age, or profession. National DSA’s harassment policy may be found here.

Rigorous debate is one of the hallmarks of any socialist organization. Such debate elicits the fullest political commitment and input from each member in order to develop a unified national perspective. We expect debates to be conducted with civility and respect, as comrades committed to the same struggle.

Debate and disagreements sometimes lead to conflicts. When handled properly, conflicts can lead to personal and organizational growth. If handled poorly, conflicts often have a detrimental impact on CDDSA’s cause, members, our community, and CDDSA itself.

Code of Conduct Standards and Values

As a member of CDDSA, I will:

    1. Uphold the integrity and reputation of CDDSA by ensuring that my public and personal conduct is demonstrably consistent with CDDSA’s values and standards.

      Recognizing my role in CDDSA’s mission to challenge injustice in all of its forms, and to build economic and social democracy, I will respect all peoples’ rights, and I will contribute to an organizing and working environment characterized by mutual respect, integrity, dignity and non-discrimination, by, at a minimum:

      • refraining from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech;
      • participating in an authentic and active way;
      • exercising consideration and in my speech and actions;
      • sharing analysis and opinions rather than accusations;
      • complying with applicable Community Agreements during meetings and other events;
      • addressing conflicts and disagreements in a professional and respectful manner, and seeking assistance from an HGO or CDDSA chapter leader or staff when necessary. This does not require that a member who is the subject of harassment or other conduct that potentially violates National DSA’s anti-harassment policy attempt to deal with a harasser.
    2. Treat all people with respect and dignity and challenge any form of harassment, discrimination, intimidation, exploitation or abuse.

      I will ensure that my relationships and behavior in the context of my role as a CDDSA member are not exploitative, abusive or corrupt in any way.

      I will not use any grievance process–or encourage or assist anyone in using any grievance process– to rid our chapter of people with whom I or they disagree politically, and/or with whom I or they have been engaged in conflict.

      I will not attempt to silence or marginalize any fellow member, and I will not try to influence others to silence or marginalize any member.

      If I have concerns about a member’s conduct, I will report that conduct to a HGO, and not unilaterally take disciplinary action.

      I will not engage in any conduct prohibited by the DSA Meeting Code of Conduct, including:

      • Violence, threats of violence or violent language directed against another person;
      • Sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist or otherwise discriminatory jokes and language;
      • Posting or displaying sexually explicit or violent material;
      • Posting or threatening to post other people’s personally identifying information (“doxing”);
      • Personal insults, particularly those related to gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or disability;
      • Inappropriate photography or recording. You should have someone’s consent before taking their photograph and/or recording their voice;
      • Inappropriate physical contact. You should have someone’s consent before touching them;
      • Unwelcome sexual attention. This includes: sexualized comments or jokes; inappropriate touching, groping, and unwelcome sexual advances;
      • Deliberate intimidation, stalking or following (online or in person);
      • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior;
      • Disruption of community events, including meetings, talks and presentations, including anyone who is in substantial disagreement with the principles or policies of the organization, as provided by the National DSA Constitution.
    3. Recognize and avoid possible conflicts of interest.

      I will disclose any financial, personal, family, or close intimate relationship interest in matters of official CDDSA business which may impact the chapter’s work.

      If I wish to keep any personal relationship private, I will not participate in any CDDSA committee, working group, or other CDDSA-related interaction or work where my private relationship, if known, would give the appearance that I was favoring (or disfavoring) the person with whom I am in a relationship.

    4. Be responsible for the use of information, equipment, and resources to which I have access by reason of my membership in CDDSA.
      • I will respect the confidentiality of sensitive information to which I gain access by virtue of my membership in CDDSA.
      • I will not use membership, financial or other data to harm CDDSA or any chapter members.
      • I will not create or maintain any social media accounts in CDDSA’s name without the permission of the chapter Executive Committee.

Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior

CDDSA chapter and branch officers and committee and working group chairs are empowered to take immediate action to stop Code violations, including but not limited to verbal or written warnings to stop the behavior in question, expulsion or suspension from meetings and organizing spaces, etc. Given our comradely assumption of good faith, it’s expected that, whenever possible, consequences and/or criticism will be respectful in tone and constructive in content.

Any CDDSA member in good standing can address a Code violation by filing a grievance using the chapter Harassment and Grievance Policy. This grievance will be investigated and adjudicated according to the procedure laid out in the Policy.

Members and officers in violation of the Code can be expelled from the chapter or recalled from office as specified in Article 3-Section 4 and Article 5-Section 1 of the chapter Bylaws.

Expulsion and Appeal

Expulsions can be appealed to the National Political Committee (NPC) of DSA. If the conduct does not violate Resolution 33, but is determined by the local chapter leadership to warrant expulsion, it will be heard under the National Expulsion Appeals Policy. If the conduct was held to violate Resolution 33 and was determined by the local chapter leadership to warrant expulsion, it will be heard under Resolution 33’s appeals process.

Those who have been expelled should contact the National Harassment Grievance Officer to initiate their appeal to the NPC. A chapter who has expelled a member and is recommending that the member also be expelled from the national organization should contact the National Harassment Grievance Officer to ensure that the expelled member does not attempt to rejoin the organization in another chapter or as an at-large member without satisfying any conditions related to their expulsion and return to the organization.