Community Agreements of the
RED RIVER VALLEY DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS of AMERICA
These agreements are applicable in our online and real-world organizing spaces.
Strive for inclusive, purposeful discussion
Let’s make sure everyone’s voice is heard and that our discussions are meaningful, productive, and respectful.
Tied to our values of: Attentiveness, Respect, Awareness, Education, Productivity, Capacity-building
Take space, make space: Before you speak, ask yourself if your contribution will add a new perspective or move the conversation forward. If you agree with someone, simply snap your fingers or wave your hands rather than speaking. When you speak, make your point as clear and concise as possible, and then listen with an open mind as others share their perspectives.
Respect the stack: In our meetings we use progressive stack to manage discussion. If you wish to speak, just signal the stack keeper, who will call on speakers in turn. The stack taker may adjust the speaker order to prioritize voices from marginalized groups or those who have yet to speak.
Jargon giraffe: We all have different levels of experience with the issues we discuss in our meeting. To grow in our understanding and make sure everyone is working with the same knowledge, we use ‘jargon giraffe.” If you hear a word, concept, or acronym that you don’t understand, just raise your hand and ask the speaker to explain specifics as needed.
Question Comrade: Have a question that’s too big to address within the meeting? Each meeting we’ll have a “Question Comrade” who will stay after to chat and answer questions.
Build a community of integrity
"Without community, there is no liberation.” ― Audre Lorde
Tied to our values of: Open-mindedness, Democracy, Solidarity, Resilience, Effective collaboration, Fearlessness, Growth
Remember why we are here: Keep in mind that we all are here to organize for a better world. While we may form friendships outside of our work in the chapter, here we are comrades first. Don’t hit on people. Protect people’s privacy by asking permission before taking pictures. Don’t gossip about personal stories you may hear in our meetings. Always strive to treat your comrades with respect, honesty, and integrity.
Watch your dogma: No one knows the right strategy, tactics, or ideas that will bring about a more just world. We make that road as we walk it. Bring an open mind and heart to your organizing, and leave your dogma at the door.
Challenge your assumptions: We all have blind spots and politics in motion. Listen to your comrades when they speak about their experiences and needs. Allow yourself--and others--the space to change and grow.
Nurture a light-hearted approach: Organizing can be difficult, tiring, thankless work. But we are here because we believe a better world is possible. We are more resilient and productive when we have a sense of humor and find joy in our organizing.
Work to resolve conflict
We are all human and will inevitably make mistakes. While we should always assume good faith in our comrades, it’s crucial that we work to resolve conflict in healthy and productive ways.
Tied to our values of: Trust, Personal responsibility, Due process, Compassion, Empathy, Safety, Sensitivity, Justice, Mutual aid, Integrity
Call in, not call out: If someone says or does something that you find problematic or offensive, gently tell them. Try your best not to assume others’ intention or meaning, but ask for clarity and share how their actions made you feel. The “I statement” can be useful here: “When you ___, I felt ____, because _____”
Bring in a mediator: If you are not comfortable with a one-on-one conversation or could use more support, consider asking a trusted comrade to mediate. Or contact our Harassment and Grievance Officer for help finding a mediator.
File a grievance: If you have been unable to resolve your conflict through calling in or mediation--or if you feel like those actions are insufficient to address the conflict, you can file a grievance (link to grievance by contacting our Harassment and Grievance Officer, who will follow the process defined in Resolution 33, the National Harassment and Grievance Policy.