No democratic meeting can be run effectively without rules. But DSA should find alternatives to Robert’s Rules if it wants to run meetings that are democratic and that encourage participation.
Democratic organizations need rules to protect both the rights of majorities and minorities and to make sure debate is focused on important questions. This is the case for why big DSA chapters should adopt and use Robert’s Rules of Order.
What will it take to build a truly democratic but powerful socialist organization? Assume good intentions. Use direct decision-making for key votes, but trust elected leadership to make decisions between general meetings. Don’t weaponize democracy. And build power first, utopia second.