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February 18, 2022
General Body Meeting This Sunday, 2/20
Alexandria Anti-Eviction Canvassing This Sunday, 2/20
Chapter-Wide Electoral Working Group Meeting Tuesday, 2/22
General Body Meeting This Sunday, 2/20
Sign up here for this Sunday’s MDC DSA General Body Meeting from 3 to 5pm — it will feature a presentation by our Internationalism Working Group on Ukraine and Afghanistan. The Internationalism WG presentation will ground us in a framework for understanding and opposing US complicity in the global war machine, which values profit over lives. We will analyze recent events within the larger context of the US empire, NATO’s eastward expansion in recent decades and how the US uses economic control as a form of neo-colonialism. Read a recent statement published by the DSA International Committee, and join us on Sunday to learn more!
Also, hear from our endorsed candidate Brandy Brooks who is running for an at-large seat on the Montgomery County Council! Our general body meetings convene all chapter members once monthly. Workgroups, caucuses, committees and leadership provide key updates on campaigns and other activities. Members may also propose and vote on business. Members, potential members and supporters alike are welcome to attend. Not a member? Please consider becoming a member. Fees are on a sliding scale according to what you feel you can afford.
After Brandy’s appearance at this weekend’s General Body Meeting, join her campaign for a phonebank to call voters in Wheaton and Gaithersburg this Wednesday, February 23.
Alexandria Anti-Eviction Canvassing This Sunday, 2/20
Join the NoVA tenant organizers and Stomp Out Slumlords for an anti-eviction canvass on Sunday, February 20 at 11:30am. Sign up here.
More than 40 families are scheduled for eviction in Alexandria, VA, over the next thirty days. Our team connects tenants with the resources they need to fight unjust evictions. Your participation will strengthen our organizing — in several buildings we’ll visit, we’re already working with tenants to fight for safe and clean housing, and we need to connect the tenants facing eviction with their neighbors.
Our meeting point is in the parking lot outside Shooter McGee’s at 11:30, from which we’ll go in pairs to knock on doors in nearby apartment complexes. Look for a group holding clipboards.
Chapter-Wide Electoral Working Group Meeting Tuesday, 2/22
Join the DC and MoCo Electoral Working Groups and the PEC next Tuesday, 2/22 for a chapter-wide call about our chapter’s endorsed electoral campaigns. As Initiative 82 petition circulation draws to a close, the chapter is shifting to more deeply support our endorsed candidates: Zachary Parker in DC and Gabriel Acevero, Brandy Brooks, and Max Socol in Montgomery County. Whether you’re interested in canvassing, communications, or research, come out on Tuesday to discuss strategy and see how you can get plugged in to this cycle’s elections. Register here.
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 The 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.
Conflict Resolution Town Hall
The Harassment and Grievance Officer (HGO) Commission is hosting a Conflict Resolution Town Hall virtually on Wednesday, March 2 from 7 to 8:30pm. We’d love for you to join us for this open and interactive discussion on how to create space and/or a new formation for conflict resolution and education around transformative justice within the chapter! The Commission will share the takeaways from our research related to mediation and community accountability with members. We would also like to present ideas we have for resources and chapter formations to help members manage conflict and facilitate healthy discussion among members with different ideologies. Please fill out this survey, which we will use to structure the event.
Right-wing Convoy Occupations Deploy Worldwide — and Plan Their DC Visit
Organizing for right-wing convoys has spread worldwide, with Ottawa’s occupation persisting into week three and Australian and French versions making ripples. Estimates for the US version’s arrival in DC are hazy: either arriving March 1 into DC or starting March 4th in California, and everything is uncertain. What is certain is that the convoys’ tactics create a crisis of authority between elected governments and police forces, with police officers and tow truck drivers unwilling to obey orders for convoys to disperse from even moderately liberal leaders such as Justin Trudeau. They also draw on expertise, ideological alignment and relationships with police and military forces — for example, in Canada, one of the leaders of the convoy was head of Trudeau’s security detail until he left his job over a vaccine mandate. Several active Special Forces members are part of the Canadian convoy, and a cache of weapons was seized from it. As the convoys spread, grassroots resistance against these tactics is too, with inspiring showdowns in major cities and small towns throwing convoys off — they don’t expect community resistance. As we learned on January 6th and the lead-up to it, we can’t count on the police to keep DC safe from the far right. It’s up to us …
P.S. Let’s not call these actions trucker protests — in Canada and worldwide, these are insurrectionary or anti-vaccine actions that are not originating in or organizing around any issues specific to trucking. Examples of trucker-specific workplace issues include racial discrimination on the road, wage theft and misclassification, and low wages. While there’s a long and interesting history of (sometimes CIA-backed) trucking strikes around the world, we don’t need to see these protests as linked to trucking.
IATSE Local 868 wins another victory!
Throughout last spring and summer, many MDC DSA comrades turned out to help IATSE Local 868 win a fair contract at the Strathmore theater. According to Union City (Feb. 7), they recently organized another group of workers into their ranks: “Box office employees at the new Capital One Hall in Tysons, Virginia, have voted to form a new union to be represented by IATSE Local 868 (Treasurers & Ticket Sellers), reports Jillian Gibson, Local 868’s secretary and political coordinator. ‘After certification of the results, our next step is to sit down at the bargaining table with SMG/ASM Global to negotiate a contract,’ says Gibson. ‘We are very excited by our success — 868’s first Virginia venue.’” And in more local labor news …
AFSCME Maryland turns up heat on UMD
AFSCME Maryland members turned out at last Friday’s meeting of the University System of Maryland to demand negotiations. “Why won’t [USM Chancellor] @JayPerman negotiate with @AFSCMEMaryland members?” the union tweeted. “It’s the law and we make the universities run! Why is he scared to talk to his staff?” AFSCME MD also noted: “So ironic that today’s @Univ_System_MD started honoring black history month at this meeting while ignoring black workers demanding @JayPerman negotiate NOW!” (From Union City Feb. 15)
BDS Palestine Campaign Meeting Thursday, 2/24
Join Metro DC comrades for our BDS Palestine campaign meeting on Thursday, February 24 from 8 to 9:30pm! We will continue discussing our focus areas of political education, community building, targeted actions/campaigns and coalition building. As always, everyone is welcome and new ideas are encouraged. We will begin the meeting with a short discussion on unlearning Zionism, and continue planning political education and community events around Israeli Apartheid Week, scheduled for March 21st through 28th in North America. We hope to see you then! RSVP here to get the zoom link.
A signal boost here on exciting news for those who crave socialist thought AND action:
MDC DSA’s Socialist Spring Reading Groups Open in early March
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 the groundbreaking “big history” reboot The 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. Also, check out the archive of our acclaimed series of MDC DSA Socialist Night Schools.
Publications Schedule: The Weekly Update will publish once more in February, Friday the 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.
Wondering if you are up to date on your DSA membership (meaning paid-up 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 firstname.lastname@example.org using the email by which national DSA knows you.
DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Friday, February 17
6 – 8pm | We Power Social Hour(s) at Midlands Bar
Sunday, February 20
1 – 3pm | PG Co. DSA February General Body Meeting
1:30pm | Alexandria Anti-eviction canvass
3 – 5:30pm | Metro DC DSA February General Body Meeting
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
8 – 9pm | PEC Biweekly Meeting
8pm | Medicare for All, not Medicare for Wall Street! National DSA M4A
Wednesday, February 23
Thursday, February 24
8 – 9:30pm | February BDS & Palestine Solidarity Meeting
Sunday, February 27
1:30 – 3pm | Political Education Working Group Meeting
Monday, February 28
7 – 8:30pm | February Campaign Council Meeting
Wednesday, March 2
7 – 8:30pm | Conflict Resolution Town Hall
Join the Harassment and Grievance Officer (HGO) Commission for an open and interactive discussion on how to create space and/or a new formation for conflict resolution and education around transformative justice within the chapter. Whether you can make it or not, we’d love for you to fill out this brief survey to share your experiences with conflict in the chapter.
Campaign to Close Central Cell Block #CLOSECCB | Who Speaks For Me
Recently, DC has made the national news because of the conditions of our local jail. These conditions are not new, but they gained attention when white insurrectionists complained to federal judges about their treatment. DC is 44% African American, yet 92% of people held at the DC Jail are African American. Even with this added attention, no one is doing anything to help Black and Brown incarcerated persons within the Central Cell Block. On February 23 at 5pm EST, Who Speaks for Me will hold an inaugural forum to kick off the Campaign to #CloseCentralCellBlock! Click here to register.
A Good Deep Dive — DC Advocates Make Progress Reforming Housing Voucher System
Housing advocates across the District are demanding that the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) reform the way it administers housing vouchers so people experiencing homelessness can be matched sooner with a place to live. On February 9, DCHA’s Board of Commissioners took the first step, voting to allow self-certification for people applying for some housing vouchers in the District. Get caught up on the asks, the roadblocks and the next steps with this great rundown from The DC Line.
GOOD READS / ESSENTIAL TRAFFIC
Top-down classic trade union organizing and the bottom-up syndicalist creation of worker co-ops are complementary forms of organizing, this author argues. As the traditional “shop floor” dissipates with the gig and remote-work economy, can workers create their own new “shop floors” to enable co-op organizing? “Unions and Worker Co-ops: Why Economic Justice Requires Collaboration” — From Nonprofit Quarterly via Portside.
The truck industry story you won’t find plastered across national media: LA Port Truckers Seek to Unionize in New Gig Work Showdown. “Drivers say they want to win workplace benefits, such as healthcare, that they’ve been excluded from as so-called contractors, and address long-running issues like low pay, which the union argues contributes to the worker shortages currently roiling company supply chains.”
A Trump-backed candidate in Maryland’s GOP primary for governor helped charter buses for the January 6, 2021 insurrection and participated in other ways. Progs in Maryland, including Our Revolution, are asking the state’s election officials to investigate whether the US and state constitutions disqualify him for the office. From Maryland Matters.
Last week the South African company Afrigen Biologics, in collaboration with the University of the Witwatersrand, announced they have nearly completed the process of reverse-engineering the Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, which would eventually allow them to manufacture it themselves. While pharmaceutical companies like Moderna and Pfizer could have released the vaccine recipes early on for the global benefit, they have continuously refused to do so, and have instead benefited immensely as they value profits over human life, as Sarah Lazare explains in Jacobin.
Radio host Thom Hartmann untangles the decades-old GOP-Koch manipulation of the US Postal Service that blocked a groundbreaking early move into electric delivery vehicles with the onerous requirement for prefunding USPS pensions – a strategem that could keep the next USPS delivery fleet burning gasoline. Post Office Prevented from Going Electric by Republicans — From IndyMedia via Portside.
UBI, worker coops and disgruntled reactionaries, oh my! In the latest After The Storm story, comrade Bill Mosley gives us a short glimpse into what an AOC presidency might look like.
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.