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February 11, 2021
I82 Campaign Updates
One Year Anniversary Kickoff Party for Brandy Brooks, TOMORROW at 6pm
Socialist Spring Reading Groups Open in DC!
I82 Campaign Updates
DSA volunteers collected 395 signatures for Initiative 82 over the past weekend. In just three weekends, DSA volunteers have collected close to 1,000 signatures for Initiative 82. While the campaign has collected enough signatures to put I82 on the ballot, we will spend the next two weekends collecting signatures to ward off any potential challenges.
If you’ve completed an I82 circulator training, you can sign up for a petition circulator shift here. Volunteers will be meeting this weekend at the Safeway in Petworth (3830 Georgia Ave NW) and will circulate at various high traffic areas in Ward 4 (including the metro, library, Upshur Street and Yes! Organic Market). We’re planning to fan out across Ward 4 as we’ve done in the past, so if you have a car, bring one.
Trainings are currently closed, however, volunteers can still sign up to support Metro DC DSA’s electoral efforts in the coming year and help us build power for working-class communities in Montgomery County and DC!
One Year Anniversary Kickoff Party for Brandy Brooks, TOMORROW at 6pm
Brandy Brooks, MDC DSA endorsed candidate for Montgomery County Council At-Large, will host a one-year celebration of the campaign’s launch back in February 2021 on Saturday, February 12 from 6 to 7:30pm. The event’s featured speakers include elected DSA members Janeese Lewis George (DC Council, Ward 4) and Gabe Acevero (MD House of Delegates, District 39), as well as representatives from endorsing organizations Metro DC DSA and CASA in Action. Brandy and guest speakers will get volunteers and supporters ready for the work ahead as we get closer to the primary election on June 28. RSVP here.
The campaign is also holding door-to-door voter outreach in Brandy’s old home precinct in the Wheaton area on Sunday, February 13 at 11am. Those who can’t make it out in person can join the campaign for a phonebank on Tuesday, February 15 at 6 pm. Our chapter’s field operations are just getting underway, and we expect to be holding independent canvasses by the end of the month. You can help get us started by donating to our MD Solidarity PAC. We need funds to print our own literature and run independent canvasses. Our funds thus far only represent a tenth of the amount we will need just on printed material this cycle. So it is very important that you contribute if you can! Please fill out this interest form and share with your friends so you can be among the first to be notified about future events as we begin to heat up our electoral work.
Socialist Spring Reading Groups Open in DC!
You’re invited to join the Spring Reading Groups hosted by Metro DC DSA! The groups begin in early March and run through June. These 10 groups are for people looking to meet comrades, people starting their political education and everyone who wants to build their understanding of the world in community. Groups include Capital Vol. 1, Marx at the Movies, Black Marxism, Socialism 101, Work Won’t Love You Back, Indigenous Resistance, Ecosocialism and Public Power, Socialist Feminism, Debt and Finance and Dawn of Everything. All readings and media are free to view online, most meetings will be held virtually, and more information is available for each group here. If you’re new to the chapter or want to introduce your friends or colleagues to DSA, these groups are a perfect entry point — everyone is welcome! Sign up here.
The Facts With Max: Environmental Justice with Brooke Harper next Thursday, February 17
MDC DSA endorsed candidate Max Socol, who is running for Maryland State Senate in District 18, is launching a series of issue-oriented discussions with local grassroots leaders (called “The Facts with Max”), and the first discussion is slated for next Thursday, February 17 at 8pm with MD Environmental Justice leader Brooke Harper.
Brooke Harper is a social justice leader and environmental advocate who helped lead passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which doubled Maryland’s commitment to renewable energy. She led the successful campaign against the proposed Potomac Pipeline, which would have run through her hometown of Hagerstown, and played a leadership role in the Don’t Frack Maryland Campaign.
Register and share with interested friends and family here.
Medicare for All, not Medicare for Wall Street — Join DSA M4A on February 22
As socialists, we know that all working people deserve guaranteed high-quality health care. The only way to achieve that is by winning Medicare for All, or a single-payer healthcare system. But instead of expanding or improving the Medicare program, the Biden administration has allowed a new layer of privatization and profiteering to take hold: Direct Contracting Entities (DCEs).
DCEs are corporations that administer the Medicare program in order to turn a profit. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the inherent flaws of a for-profit healthcare system. Working people shouldn’t have to live in fear of losing our savings because we have had an unexpected health situation, especially not during a historic health crisis. What exactly are DCEs, and how can we stop the privatization of the Medicare program? Join DSA M4A on Feb. 22nd to learn more about this sneaky privatization scheme and hear from M4A organizers on how our chapter can join the fight to stop it.
Canada’s “Freedom Convoy”: What is it? And is it coming to DC?
Wondering what’s going on in Canada? It’s time to pay attention to far-right protesters in Canada because their tactics and organizing model are spreading — including reactionaries organizing for US-based convoys to converge on DC in early March.
How did we get here?
A group of far-right protesters in Canada organized as the “Freedom Convoy” has occupied its capital, Ottawa, for more than a week and is menacing hospital workers, the homeless and minority groups around the country. The Convoy is organized by far-right extremists with stated demands based around opposition to Canada’s vaccine mandates and violent opposition to moderate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Reflecting far-right politics that are very much a minority amongst truckers and the Canadian public, the convoys have depended on friendly police forces, and funding and logistical support from the US right. These tactics are being mimicked by groups throughout the world, with its US organizing attracting a 137k strong Facebook group (eventually shut down), support from US politicians that includes Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson’s Fox show, and several replacement groups on social media and Telegram planning a trip to DC the first weeks of March.
Grassroots, working-class resistance is possible. Vancouver counter-protestors stranded a convoy on a long one-way street with no outlet, and mutual aid groups have begun forming for protection in Ottawa. While it may be tempting to “learn” from the convoy, the Left should be careful in believing its tactics are adaptable. The DC area and beyond shouldn’t let this form of far-right organizing intimidate anyone from taking public health mitigation measures. We’ll update future editions of this weekly as we observe relevant updates on this.
School Wars in Virginia
Loudoun County, Virginia, is among the richest counties in the US. It was also ground zero for the national online moral panic fomented by Koch-funded MAGA chuds over Critical Race Theory. The Trumpified Virginia Republican Party used it as a basis to flip the governor’s office and the state legislature’s lower house to red in 2021. Loudoun County went from pro-Biden by 25 percentage points in 2020 to a margin of just 11 points for the uninspiring Democratic retread candidate last year. Meanwhile, even though the new Republican governor won by less than one percentage point statewide, reactionary organizing is still running amuck at the grassroots and through elected Republican officials, attacking school boards, public schools and unionized teachers. A school board member downstate spoke of burning objectionable books in school libraries. The latest issue is mask mandates set by school boards in the bluer counties. An attack on public health measures set by elected authorities is an attack on the fundamental concept of a public sector directing collective action for the common good.
From Union City, Thursday a.m. Congressional workers organize
The Congressional Workers Union last week announced staff unionization efforts. “After more than a year of organizing as a volunteer group of congressional staff, we are proud to publicly announce our efforts to unionize the personal offices and committees of Congress, in solidarity with our fellow workers across the United States and the world,” said CWU. “We strongly believe that to better serve our constituents will require meaningful changes to improve retention, equity, diversity, and inclusion on Capitol Hill. That starts with having a voice in the workplace. We call on all congressional staff to join in the effort to unionize, and look forward to meeting management at the table.” CWU is in discussions with several unions regarding potential affiliation and representation.
A big-tent organization like MDC DSA is no homogenous pudding but a swarm composed of many campaigns and tendencies putting thought into action. Organizationally, what do we look like? Here are our internal formations and campaigns, articulated and active, with contact info. Get to know the big picture outside your immediate campaign or issue; see how the issues and campaigns connect and take action (with comrades!) to eliminate the stovepipes and turn them into sinew. See something missing, or have new information about your activity or campaign? Contact the MDC DSA infosphere at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll work with you to get it freshened.
Wondering if you are up to date on your DSA dues? That’s how you stay current nationally AND locally. Here’s the link to find out your paid-up status with national DSA http://proof.dsausa.org/ — you may be a socialist in your heart, but as DSA’s founder once said, “an unorganized socialist is a contradiction in terms.” By the way, you can contribute $ to our local MDC DSA chapter separately at this link and get your externals right via shopping our merch store.
Between Friday publications of the Update, MDC DSA members can keep up with fast-breaking activities and news — and participate in the activist traffic — on the MDC DSA Slack. If you are a member in good standing (self-check process is shown one entry above) and want to get on (or stay on) Slack, contact email@example.com using the email by which national DSA knows you.
Publications Schedule: The Weekly Update will publish twice more in February, Friday the 18th and 25th, and the March Washington Socialist newsletter publishes Friday, March 4, with an article deadline of February 26. Send your nuanced articles about the ever-shifting political and cultural conditions for socialist change-making to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Washington Socialist has a rich archive, indexed by issues, in our Topic Hub here. See what we have been writing, and get ideas about topics that could be updated or articles that could be improved upon (wait, what?). Send your articles, whenever they are done, to email@example.com. Also check out the archive of our acclaimed series of MDC DSA Socialist Night Schools.
DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Saturday, February 12
5pm | Defund MPD Workshop with Zachary Parker
Sunday, February 13
2 – 4:30pm | MoCo MDC DSA February Branch Meeting
5pm | Zachary Parker & DSA Defund MPD Working Group Meeting
Monday, February 14
8 – 9pm | NoVA Branch Member Mobilizers
Wednesday, February 16
6 – 7pm | We Power DC Monthly All-Team Meeting
7 – 9pm | Virtual Game Night hosted by NoVA Branch
8 – 9pm | Why you should join DSA / New Member Orientation
Thursday, February 17
7 – 8:30pm | Internationalism Working Group Monthly Meeting
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Branch Monthly Organizing Meeting
Sunday, February 20
1 – 3pm | PG Co. DSA February General Body Meeting
3 – 5:30pm | Metro DC DSA February General Body Meeting | link is forthcoming
3:30 – 5pm The War on Yemen and the Ongoing Role of the US a Year Into the Biden Presidency National DSA event
Monday, February 21
6 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Working GroupBiweekly Meeting
Tuesday, February 22
7 – 8pm | Defund MPD Comms Meeting
7 – 8pm | Workplace Organizing Workshop for February
8 – 9pm | PEC Biweekly Meeting
8pm | Medicare for All, not Medicare for Wall Street! National DSA M4A
Wednesday, February 23
8 – 9pm | Why you should join DSA / New Member Orientation
Thursday, February 24
8 – 9:30pm | February BDS & Palestine Solidarity Meeting
Monday, February 28
7 – 8:30pm | February Campaign Council Meeting
National Seed/Plant Swap Day Celebration | Share a Seed, Mt. Pleasant Library Friends, et al
After an initial delay due to sub-freezing temperatures, the seed and plant swap is back on! Join Share a Seed, Mt. Pleasant Library Friends, Mt. Pleasant Compost, Surfrider DC, Very Sad Lab and Happy Hour Fund DC on Saturday, February 12 from noon to 1pm at the Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market! Bring seeds and plants to swap, learn about awesome community initiatives and scoop up some delicious goods from the farmers market. This event is free and open to the public.
Ward 4 Community Budget Forum | Councilmember Janeese Lewis George
Join Councilmember Lewis George on Saturday, February 12 at 3:30pm to discuss the upcoming budget process and share your priorities for funding that puts people first. All RSVP’d attendees will be provided an opportunity to make brief remarks or provide two minutes of testimony. Learn more about the DC budget at www.dccouncilbudget.com.
Community Flea Market | Heal Da Homies
Come pick up a sweet surprise for your valentine and support mutual aid at the same time! Heal Da Homies will be hosting their February Flea Market outside the Tenleytown Metro Station on Sunday, February 13th from noon to 4pm. If you are interested in donating art or participating as a vendor, please send an Instagram message @isabellescholesyoung.
Monthly Organizing Meeting | Racial Justice Now! DMV
On Saturday, February 19 at 4:30pm, Racial Justice Now! DMV will be holding their monthly organizing meeting discussing the latest happenings at Montgomery County, MD schools. These meetings are considered a “Black only space.” Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Click here to register.
Magazine seeks submissions for stories and essays about an anti-capitalist future
After The Storm is a digital publication that describes a world beyond our current oppressive society. We want to tell stories that span beyond white supremacy, patriarchy, ableism, imperialism, capitalism and so much more. We operate under the assumption that to reach a place, you first have to imagine it.
And we want your vision of that future! We will be paying $50 for writers in the DC area for all accepted stories, sponsored by Metro DC DSA. Send your pitches to email@example.com and check out our submission guide here.
Monday, February 14 | 7 – 8:30pm
Valentine’s Day Webinar presented by Grannies for Peace — How US sanctions starve Afghans and how to end this continuing war — IPS event with Phyllis Bennis, others.
Wednesday, February 16 | 5 – 6:30pm
Impacts of the Green New Deals on Latin America / Impactos de los Nuevos Pactos Verdes sobre América Latina — from IPS; impacts of rich-world GND planning on Global South extraction issues, etc.
Thursday, February 17 | 4 – 5:30pm
What ‘Defund the Police’ Really Means — Do you broadly support the movement to divest from policing and invest in community-led safety but are missing the tools to talk about it with others? This training from the Truth School is a remedy.
GOOD READS / ESSENTIAL TRAFFIC
See comrade David Schwartzman’s Revisiting a Green New Deal for DC in 2022 — in The DC Line.
The under-reported, massive insurgent win in a key union, the Teamsters: “Teamsters United’s victory was a decisive rebuke of Hoffa’s leadership. After twenty-three years in power, Hoffa’s team had run out of gas. … But the results were not just a vote against Hoffa. They were a vote for a different, more militant model of unionism,” says a Jacobin account from Portside.
How do we build a better future? Check out the following After The Storm interview with non-binary artist Camila Tapia-Guilliams about their futurist show at the Stamp Gallery, University of Maryland, College Park, but also about their thoughts on politics, how the fine arts world could do better to foster change and their favorite piece of futurist media.
Young socialists care about the future too. A fourth grader submitted a short story to After The Storm about how they think we can build socialism. Fiery and passionate! What’s not to love?
It seems congressional Hill staffers want to unionize: “Currently, staffers in personal offices of members and committees can organize but there is not a process in place for them to codify a union or exercise collective bargaining rights.”
POLITICO Playbook Tuesday morning called this “What Sunrise is Reading” — a thumbsucker about our neighbor Sen. Joe Manchin’s lifetime job protecting his family’s financial interests in the dirtiest carbon product there is, waste coal.
How are the “world leaders” doing on climate, according to the people they ostensibly lead? A POLITICO poll shows “The world is on fire and our leaders are failing.” Succinct, eh?
Longtime comrade Peter Dreier remembers Todd Gitlin and (conveniently) also rounds up other tributes to his fellow professor, the longtime leader of Students for a Democratic Society and, later, scholar of media sociology. Gitlin died Sept. 4.
“On Tuesday, Starbucks fired seven workers at a store in Memphis, Tennessee, that recently filed for unionization. The terminated workers make up almost the entirety of the store’s organizing committee, according to the union.” Read more in Truthout.
The flame of thought, the magnificence of art, the wonder of discovery, and the audacity of invention all belong to revolutionary periods when humanity, tired of the chains of its restrictions, shatters them, and stops inebriated to breathe the breeze of a vaster and freer horizon.