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82’s Principles

“And it also takes courage to tell the truth about oneself, about one’s own defeat. Many of the perse-cuted lose their capacity for seeing their own mistakes. It seems to them that the persecution itself is the greatest injustice. The persecutors are wicked simply because they persecute; the persecuted suffer because of their goodness. But this goodness has been beaten, defeated, suppressed; it was therefore a weak goodness, a bad, indefensible, unreliable goodness. For it will not do to grant that goodness must be weak as rain must be wet. It takes courage to say that the good were defeated not because they were good, but because they were weak.

Bertolt Brecht
  • We believe democratic membership control is the foundational principle of an organization. Dedicated campaigns, large use of chapter resources, and consistent coalitions should all receive membership approval and be easy to review for membership.
  • We believe genuine criticism and discussion are the foundation of a democratic organization, and that members should not shy away from good faith conflict and disagreement.
    • We reject an understanding of ‘good faith’ that assumes someone’s proposal or work must be worthwhile or good. For 82, ‘good faith’ means trusting people are honest about their motivations and beliefs in what a given action can accomplish, while still being able to hold your own belief that their expectations are mistaken.
  • We believe our chapter must apply an organizing model, not a direct service model. Our chapter’s strength lies not in its treasury or material resources, but in its members and their willingness to act. Our money and resources should be reserved to maximize the strength of our membership in action, and not to provide direct donations or financial assistance.
  • 82 is opposed to ‘liquidation’ into coalition work, where a chapter’s activity is almost entirely synonymous with that of various coalitions. We believe in one socialist organization, and in having the faith in our organization to tell working class people they belong here.
  • We believe our DSA chapter must have responsible stewardship in its leadership and the various substructures that direct political work. This means such bodies have clear, stringent responsibilities to the membership, that they must always make their ongoing work and knowledge of it accessible to any member, and that there is a culture of accountability for leadership responsibilities.
  • Our membership must seek to develop a presence among communities of color in Cincinnati. We believe this is accomplished by prioritizing outward organizing for power over insular and self-referential activism.