What is democratic socialism?Democratic socialism is a political philosophy that calls for full democratic control of both political and economic institutions to ensure that they serve the public good. Democratic socialists call for transformative reforms to the government and the workplace, because justice for the people is more than piecemeal adjustments to the status quo – instead, it requires a holistic shift in the priorities and mechanisms that govern our society, from the bottom on up.
Is DSA a political party?DSA is not a political party. We are an independent political organization that works on both the local and national stage to advocate for community and socialist causes. While we do endorse candidates in select races, we do not ourselves put up candidates for office.
What is the organizational structure of DSA? DSA is a grassroots organization – most of our organizing is done by local chapters chartered throughout the United States. Every other year, chapters come together at the National Convention to direct the course of DSA as a whole. In between conventions, DSA is run by the National Political Committee, and is assisted by various other committees, commissions, and working groups.
What are DSA working groups?Working Groups are collectives of members and community advocates who work together towards a certain set of goals or to advance a certain set of values. The Mutual Aid Working Group, for example, collaborates with activists and allies to organize solidarity and resilience projects in local communities.
Do I need to be a DSA member to attend a meeting? In most cases, no – anyone is invited to sit in on a DSA meeting. In certain instances, however, some meetings may be open only to members, or certain actions (ie, votes) may be restricted to members only.
How do I become an official member of DSA? If you would like to become an official DSA member, you can register here. You will be required to select a dues schedule and amount, and you will receive a membership card in the mail. 
What kind of activities could I get involved in if I join Tidewater DSA? When you join Tidewater DSA, you could find yourself building a free food pantry, going to protests and rallies, attending city council meetings, knocking on doors in support of political campaigns, or learning how to organize your workplace. We do not require members to fulfill any specific organizing duties, so you can choose which projects you’d like to get involved in based on your skills, interests, and personal schedule.
Can I be a part of DSA and my other political groups (unions, parties, etc.)?Yes! DSA is just one of many groups organizing for socialism and radical democracy. We encourage you to find ways to build coalitions between your home organizations and your local DSA chapter, because only a united front led by and for the people will create a sustained resistance to capitalism.
How does DSA and TDSA address oppression in its spaces?DSA has a platform and history of standing together in the fight against racial injustice, reproductive oppression and gendered violence, homophobia and transphobia in messaging and practice, carceral violence against immigrant communities, ongoing colonization against indigenous peoples, systemic ableism and much more. To set clear lines against any unwelcoming behavior, Tidewater DSA has adopted a Code of Conduct into its bylaws and is in the process of appointing Harassment and Grievance Officers any member can go to at any time for a just mediation independent of chapter leadership. Our chapter values the culture of creating a welcoming space to all and commits to always welcoming feedback into how we could be doing better.
What local groups/caucuses does TDSA offer (ex: YDSA chapters, AfroSocialists, etc.)Many college students in the region are members of the Young Democratic Socialists of America and are part of chapters on their campuses. DSA nationally has many working groups and caucuses for those of varying identities. Among our membership alone are members of YDSA ODU, the AfroSocialist Caucus, the Libertarian Socialist Caucus, and the Communist Caucus. Check out some of the links below:
AfroSocialist Caucus
Libertarian Socialist Caucus
Communist Caucus
Do I need to be a specific type of socialist to join DSA?Nope! Whether you’re interested in a specific political tendency, or you’re simply curious about socialism in general, you’re welcome to join DSA. 
What does DSA believe in?DSA believes that the working class should run our society and the economy democratically to meet everyone’s needs. Rather than simply pushing for moderate reforms, we believe that many of the powerful structures and institutions in our society must be radically transformed in order to grant working people true agency over their lives. 
What does Tidewater DSA do?TDSA aims to organize working class people and build socialism in the Hampton Roads area. We support and aid local labor organizers through the Tidewater Workers Union, and we organize around mutual aid, police and prison abolition, anti-imperialism, environmental justice, and other pressing issues through our various working groups. We host biweekly General Assembly meetings and weekly socials, and we also engage in political education efforts, including our book club, Marxist study group, and member presentations on socialist theory and other relevant topics.
Are DSA members Democrats?While DSA may occasionally vote to endorse political candidates who are running for office as Democrats, DSA is not affiliated with the Democratic Party. Our members hold a variety of different partisan affiliations – or none at all.
How Tidewater DSA has specifically responded to the pandemicIn order to aid local households struggling with food insecurity, TDSA has kept our free food pantry in Norfolk stocked throughout the pandemic and begun building a second free pantry to expand this program. In the midst of the current housing crisis, we are connecting with residents at risk of eviction and educating renters on their rights as tenants. Members have also undertaken efforts to organize for hazard pay and PPE in their workplaces. Furthermore, we have supported other organizers as they rapidly established mutual aid networks to meet the needs of working people in Hampton Roads.