Mutual Aid Working Group Charter

This charter was adopted at the SV DSA  Chapter Meeting on 9/20/2020.

As members of Silicon Valley DSA, we propose the creation of a

(i) Mutual Aid Working Group

(ii) reporting to the Silicon Valley DSA chapter

(iii) With the following objectives:

  • Build person-to-person economic and social relationships and network between groups in the South Bay to directly address the harmful consequences of capitalism and empower people to take control of their own economic life.
    • Build community defense and the community’s ability to defend itself from attacks whether from capitalism, racism, patriarchy, ableism, and or other related systems of oppression.
  • Focus aid on helping groups that are the most negatively impacted by capitalism and more likely to be overlooked by existing aid systems.
    • We will prioritize the aid that is requested of us ahead of our own perceived aid objectives or priorities. We will work to listen to people receiving aid and adjust our aid efforts to match their stated needs to the extent that is possible for us.
  • Bring the South Bay local communities into aid efforts so that the community is organizing alongside us. We are not separate from our community.
    • We will ensure that we are not only funneling SVDSA resources to the community as if the two are separate, but also facilitating neighbor-to-neighbor aid and member-to-member aid.
    • Our goal is that our organizing model allows thousands of community members to participate and make democratic decisions around mutual aid.
  • Build participatory democracy in our SVDSA chapter so members are empowered to help each other and have a stake in the organization of the chapter and the decisions we make as a chapter.

(iv) Using the following strategies:

  • Offer community aid including but not limited to crisis and disaster response.
    • Poll SVDSA members for other areas of expertise that we can provide for other community members.
    • Determine unmet needs in the community that we can help provide – for example, tech assistance.
  • Organize town halls with wide community participation to work on consensus-based decision-making in the community.
  • Provide ways for the community to provide feedback to us such as town halls with people who have requested aid and feedback forms so we can actively determine ways to better meet community needs and improve our organizing.
  • Organize and network with and between other groups working on similar projects:
    • Community groups, organizations, and coalitions that do similar work as us and that already provide needed aid.
    • Worker-owned cooperatives and collectives that share our mission to have workers be in charge of their own workplaces.
    • Other working groups, caucuses, and committees within SVDSA on related projects.
    • Other local DSA chapters and the national DSA Mutual Aid working group.
  • Democratize the work and treat everyone as a co-chair within our working group.
    • Make it easy for anyone to participate in not only our projects, but our decision-making processes and the administrative work required to run meetings and coordinate projects.
    • While for the purposes of chapter resource access we need to elect co-chairs in accordance with our bylaws, we are serious about every member being a co-chair, and actively will work to distribute the administrative workload and decision-making as members are able.
    • Document our processes and how we accomplished our projects so others can pick up similar projects in the future and new members can get up to speed on current projects quickly.
  • Be as transparent as possible with our use of funds. To the extent possible, show where funds are going and what they are being used for.

(v) To last until all objectives are met.

(vi) We anticipate no special use of chapter funds aside from meeting space and printing. Due to the nature of mutual aid activities we anticipate the need to purchase and donate supplies; when this happens we will first look to create and use a separate project-specific fund or separate mutual aid fund before requesting chapter funds.

(vii) Membership is open to all Silicon Valley DSA members in good standing.