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(en) US, SDS* National Constitutional Convention Final Bulletin -

Date Sun, 11 Nov 2007 15:10:46 +0200

1) The Member and the Chapter 2) Communications 3) Creation of an Official SDS News Bulletin 4) Production Notes
1) The Member and the Chapter ---- 1. Membership ---- a. Membership is open to individuals who are open to/committed to SDS's broad vision. Membership is inclusive to all student-youth regardless of ability, belief system, class, creed, national identity, sexual identity, or young-age ---- i. The voice of every member is equally respected. ---- b. Members must either be part of a chapter, actively organizing one, or between chapters ---- c. A Member is either a student, incoming or recently graduated student, and/or youth involved in one of the following:
i. In or around an educational institution
ii. Student/youth organizing
iii. Student/youth unionism

d. Members are under the age of 30 and/or students
i. If a non-student is over the age of 30,
they may still be a member, at the chap-
ter's discretion. They may have vote on
the chapter level, however they will be
limited to voice and no vote in any other
SDS body or process, and they cannot be
considered for any positions in SDS other
than at the chapter level.
2. Chapters
a. The Chapter is the basic unit of organi-
zation in SDS and is committed to SDS's
broad vision.
b. A minimum of three or more members
is needed to form a chapter
i. Large institutions/communities have
90 days to raise minimum membership
to five persons
c. Chapters are localized to . . .
d. Members can be part of more than one
i. When voting on issues that pertain to
more than one chapter, individuals holding
membership in more than one chapter are
restricted to vote in only one chapter.
e. The geographic jurisdiction of a base
chapter level is exclusive.
f. Chapters are autonomous and are to be
accountable to other chapters, regions, etc.,
in proportion to the degree in which deci-
sions, actions, etc. affect them.
g. Chapters are responsible for maintaining
communications with other chapters.
h. During the period of ratification, a chap-
ter must respond to the call for ratification
to be considered an active chapter.
h-i. This point will be removed after the
ratification period.


2) Communications
For the purposes of centralizing the
intake and sharing information in an
efficient and democratic manner, this
proposal seeks to lay out the founda-
tion for a communications apparatus
that complies with the vision, struc-
ture and goals of SDS.
Whereas, the various forms of electronic
communication and the sheer amount of
correspondence we incur, it is easy for
notices and inquiries to "fall through the
cracks." Mere plausible deniability does not
account or make up for the fact that the
strength of our national organization
depends on the correspondence we share
and receive.
This does not imply that we should shy
away from digital communications; in fact,
the proposal at hand recommends that we
fully embrace the tools at our faculty. We
should strongly encourage the use of servic-
es such as listservs, call porting, conference
calls, chat rooms and the posting hard litera-
ture so that it may be accessed electronically.
Though these forms of interaction come far
secondary to face to face contact, which
should be the primary form of communica-
tion, when it is considered possible and
strategic; an electronic based communica-
tions apparatus would alleviate the need for
a physical national SDS office, whose basic
function would be to receive and respond
With the function of the following utili-
ties, there is no need for organizers to be
strapped to an office. We can work from our
hometowns as we organize, as we travel the
region to meet our comrades, as we plan, as
we struggle, as we win. This grassroots
model will prevent a physical hub from
becoming the throne of an elite class within
our organization by distributing collective
management across the empire we seek to
The SDS virtual office demands the need
for designated contacts/organizers in each
council/region to promote efficiency and
This is the basis of the SDS virtual office:
1. A physical mailing address should be
created for national SDS.
2. Each chapter should create a physical
address (post office box when necessary)
3. All hard documents should be scanned
or transcribed so they may be accessed by
other contacts and distributed to mem-
bers accordingly.
4. Statements and outgoing letters, at all
levels, to external parties will be archived
on a read-only server that can be accessed
by all sds members.
5. Regional contacts will be designated by
the voting/consensus procedures
approved by sds.
6. Each regional contact will have access
to incoming mail.
7. Each contact (national, regional, sub
regional and chapter) is responsible for
the distribution of incoming documents
to the proper parties.
8. For the sharing of information and to
ensure accountability, contacts of each
subsequent tier will have access to the
messages received and distributed by the
preceding tier.
9. The responding party should identify
themselves to the regional contact, who
will then confirm receipt of their
response, before correspondence is sent.
This will prevent multiple statements
from being distributed and does not
apply to unsolicited messages. This is not
a senseless bureaucratic oversight-it is
intended to keep consistency in the pres-
entation of our message. As in all other
areas, statements, letters and other outgo-
ing messages should be made in a demo-
cratic manner, unless otherwise noted as
the personal opinion of the respondent.
10. With the use of call porting/call for-
warding services a main national number
may distribute incoming calls to regional
contacts, a main regional number may
forward incoming calls to the sub region-
al contacts and sub regional calls may be
forwarded to chapter numbers. This does
not interfere with the personal phone
numbers of members. It also allows mes-
sages to be stored online in a *.wav for-
mat and *.wav's are forwarded to individ-
ual email addresses. Notes can be record-
ed for calls returned by SDSers.
11. Contacts are subject to instant recall
by members of their region/sub
region/chapter based on substantial evi-
dence that they have not fulfilled their
responsibilities. Approved voting and
consensus procedures will be used to
recall and replace contacts if they are
found to be providing a disservice to the
group by not fulfilling their tasks.
12. Contacts may, but do not necessarily
have to be regional organizers.


3) Creation of an Official SDS News Bulletin

1. That we establish an official SDS
bulletin for news, announcements,
articles, poetry, interviews, and
reportbacks from SDS actions, con-
ventions and other events.
2. That all editors of this news bul-
letin be active members of SDS chap
3. That all active SDS members in
good standing be eligible to con-
tribute, by writing articles, sending
in articles written by others, or by
contributing their editing, designing,
computing, printing, artistic or other
skills, to the bulletin.
4. That the bulletin be available on
the official SDS website and circulat-
ed through all listservs, as well as
non-electronically wherever possible
at no cost (free) for members. This
would not preclude the possibility of
funding the bulletin through other
avenues, for example donations or
organizational funds.
5. That decision-making positions
within the news bulletin, such as
editors, be rotated on a staggered
basis, such that the editing team
does not all turn over together, but
rather that new editors can be
trained/taught by experienced peers
to prevent "brain drain."
6. That rotation occur at least once
per semester, to allow for fresh per-
spectives and abilities in work such
as editing.
7. That affirmative action be
applied to selection of editors and
other key positions, so that every
caucus is represented in, and
empowered through, the bulletin.
8. That the bulletin staff be
accountable to all SDS chapters.
The purposes of this bulletin would
1. To improve internal communication in
SDS, between distant chapters and
2. To establish a space where the
exchange of ideas between SDS mem-
bers, including debates, are welcome and
3. To help us frame events and ideas in
our own terms, without relying on other
organizations, especially the corporate
media, for our news.
4. To promote a culture of intelligent
reflection and education within SDS, and
to develop the reading, writing, and criti-
cal thinking skills of SDS members.
5. To expand the possibilities for strate-
gic, multi-chapter, regional, and even
national SDS actions and campaigns.
6. To give individual members and chap-
ters a concrete and regular reminder that
they are part of a nationwide movement.
7. To empower and strengthen the organ-
If this proposal is approved by the conven-
tion, all interested SDS members at the con-
vention will join a new working group tasked
with the creation of the Official SDS News
Bulletin. The bulletin working group will be
responsible for putting out a call on all
known SDS listservs, asking for members
who would like to actively contribute to the
new Bulletin, by joining the bulletin staff.
Once the staff has a firm membership, it
will facilitate more specific decisions such as
a name for the bulletin, its frequency (i.e.
monthly), assigning folks to particular posi-
tions and responsibilities, exploring funding
and distribution options, soliciting submis-
sions from SDS membership, and finally,
seeing that the bulletin begins to be pub-
lished and circulated.


4) Production Notes

Arising out of the only post-convention fol-
low-through call, held on 8.06.07, this bul-
letin was compiled and edited by Dave
Shukla of UCLA SDS from 8.27.07 through
10.24.07. The layout was done by Daniel
Tasripin of Hunter College SDS from
9.26.07 through 10.26.07 with time and soft-
ware from his workplace. Our sincerest
apologies for the near-interminable delay.
This bulletin is a hybrid between two
competing ideas which fell prey to the vicis-
situdes of time, and the present lack of
organization in SDS at the national level.
There were to be two versions, one "sum-
mary" version containing only the most
basic information: a list of the proposals
passed, minutes from the convention, and
tips on chapter-building and student organ-
izing. This summary version was to have
been completed and distributed so as to be
of use at the start of Fall classes. That
unfortunately did not occur. The other idea
was to have a "full" version: containing the
most consistent and replete possible version
of the notes from the convention, report-
backs from the each of the working groups
that took part in planning the convention, a
report from the ratifications' committee,
summaries from the answers to survey ques-
tions created, and the full and final texts of
the proposals passed. Many of these ele-
ments have found their way into this version
of the bulletin. Many have not. An enor-
mous debt of gratitude is owed to those
people from around the country who con-
tributed much needed hard work to make
this bulletin happen, especially to those
whose work is not found here.
Notes were taken at the convention by
Anson Biller of NYU SDS, Alison van
Doren of UCF SDS, Tristan Husby of
Connecticut College SDS, Aric Miller of
Wayne State SDS, and Jake Schneider of
Sarah Lawrence SDS. Following the conven-
tion, those notes were gathered together by
Robin Markle of Drew SDS and Mike Da
Cruz of Brown SDS, before being edited for
consistency and clarity by a group enlisted
by Robin Markle. That group included Colin
Donnarumma of SUNY-Albany SDS,
Rachel Harlich of DC SDS, Raychel Haut of
Queens College SDS, Robin Markle, and
Nikki Vance of Tacoma SDS. Those notes,
the fullest compilation of record from the
convention, were subsequently copy-edited
by Aric Miller, but have not been included
here. Robin Markle composed the summary
notes or "minutes" found in this bulletin.
Robin Markle and Tracy Molm of UMN
SDS created post-convention surveys for
those present and not at the convention.
The surveys had over 30 attendee and over
25 non-attendee respondents from around
the country. Subsequent to the creation of
those surveys, Mike da Cruz, Babken
DerGrigorian of UCLA SDS, Katie Griffin
of New School SDS, and Will Pasley of
Brown SDS compiled summaries to the
questions asked, though these have not been
Reportbacks from the Scheduling,
Outreach, Logistics, Fundraising, and Media
Working Groups were worked on, respec-
tively, by: Chapin Gray of Tuscaloosa SDS,
Jonathan McIntosh of Boston SDS, and
Daniel Tasripin; Babken DerGrigorian, and
Alex Grosskurth of Philadelphia SDS;
Detroit SDS; Max Uhlenbeck of NYC SDS;
and Dave Shukla. A reportback from the
convention planning group as a whole was
worked on by Babken DerGrigorian, Alex
Grosskurth, Jonathan McIntosh, Dave
Shukla, as well as Madeline Gardner and
Joshua Kahn Russell of the Bay Area SDS.
The full and final text of the proposals
passed, including those passed so as to be
combined, were collected by Alex
Grosskurth and Dave Shukla from 8.27.07
through 10.16.07. They were sent to the
Ratification Collections Committee on
10.17.07. The introduction, and this note of
provenance, was written by Dave Shukla on

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