The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is a national organization of socialists in the United States. DSA was founded in 1983, and after the 2016 election DSA grew very quickly to become the largest US socialist organization since the 1950’s. DSA is a democratic membership organization, run by members like you. DSA is a “big tent” socialist organization, meaning that there are a range of politics members hold in the organization: everything from social democracy to Marxism to anarchism. Commitment to an ideology is not a requirement of any member so long as they agree with DSA’s core democratic socialist principles.

DSA is organized bottom-up, starting with members and moving up from there. Members form Chapters (15 or more members), which are the foundation of DSA and where most people really interact with the organization. Chapters organize meetings to discuss politics, make decisions, and coordinate activist work. Bigger chapters might have Branches, which are recognized subgroups in a chapter that meet as DSA; often this is by geography (North/East/South/West; nearby towns) but can also be by area of work or identity (labor, language, etc). If a branch is established, it sends a representative to the Chapter leadership.

Every two years, DSA members have a National Convention where chapters and at-large members send delegates to decide on DSA’s direction, priorities, policies, establish national Working Groups, and to select the National Political Committee (NPC), DSA’s national leadership. The NPC oversees the entirety of DSA, manages the organization’s finances and staff, charters new chapters, issues statements and provides political direction.

Organization chart made by an independent caucus, Build, that outlines how DSA works. Text taken from Madison-Area DSA’s New Member Manual, version 5/8/2020.