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FEBRUARY 25, 2021
I82 Hits Petition Signature Threshold
First DSA Canvass for Max Socol and Brandy Brooks — This Sunday, Feb 27, noon
Right-wing Convoys Head to DC in March, Occupation Ends in Ottawa
I82 Hits Petition Signature Threshold
Over the weekend, Initiative 82 petition circulators fanned out across Wards 2 and 4 in the final stretch to get signatures from DC voters to put the initiative on the June ballot. The campaign needed over 26,000 valid signatures from registered DC voters by February 22. Over the past 5 weekends, more than 50 trained DSA volunteers collected around 1,500 total signatures from DC voters, helping put the campaign over the threshold.
On Tuesday, the Initiative 82 campaign submitted over 7,000 pages of signatures to the DC Board of Elections. The signatures still need to be certified and validated by the Board of Elections before the initiative officially makes it on the June ballot. The Board of Elections is predicted to confirm the status of the initiative by mid-March.
Days before the signature deadline, an opposition campaign formed, led by Chef Geoff Tracy and a financial consultant for the Restaurant Association of Washington DC. In 2018, DC passed a similar ballot initiative, Initiative 77, that would have raised DC’s tipped minimum wage to be the same as the regular minimum wage, with tips on top. It passed 55%–45% before the restaurant industry lobbied the Council to overturn it. If you’re interested in volunteering with the next phase of DSA’s Initiative 82 campaign, fill out this interest form.
First DSA Canvass for Max Socol and Brandy Brooks — This Sunday, Feb 27 at noon
Join MDC DSA comrades to talk to voters in Wheaton about chapter-endorsed candidates Brandy Brooks (Montgomery County Council, at-large) and Max Socol (Maryland State Senate, District 18) this Sunday, Feb. 27 at noon. We’ll gather in the JC Penney parking lot at the Wheaton Mall. We’ll provide training, a script and canvassing partners (if wanted) and then we’ll meet up after knocking on doors to socialize and debrief.
The meet-up location is walkable from the Wheaton Metro and several bus lines, but the MoCo electoral working group is also willing to coordinate rides for anyone who needs one. Please indicate if you need a ride or are willing to provide a ride to a comrade on the sign-up form. RSVP here.
Right-wing Convoys Head to DC in March, Occupation Ends in Ottawa
The first of the convoys heading to DC are underway. Inspired by the occupation of Ottawa, Canada, there is a motley assortment of convoys planning on occupying parts of the DC region in March — either on the Mall or the Capital Beltway. These convoys are headed by far right figures and inspired by far right ideology, planning to disrupt traffic and daily life in the DC area until they overturn public health protections — or even the democratically elected government. Though the first convoy that had planned to arrive in DC ended in a comical failure, a DC area-bound convoy started yesterday in California with a thousand vehicles, and we can’t expect all far right convoys arriving in the DC region to be poorly planned. Whether the convoys decide to head into the District or park on the Beltway, they are a threat to our communities and — just like on January 6th, 2021 — we can’t expect local police sympathetic to their aims or the National Guard deployed here to keep the region safe. The Canadian experience showed resistance and counter protest to be effective and strategic, something to keep in mind as convoys come to DC.
The occupation of Ottawa ended after more than three weeks, after police repression and counter protests that denied convoy members supplies made their occupation of downtown Ottawa untenable. The occupation concluded when police forces slowly pushed the convoy out of the area they had camped in. Even as the convoy dies in Canada, the tactic is being mimicked all around the world.
If you decide to counter protest, please sign up for a texting buddy! The chapter’s security department will match you with someone who will check in to make sure you get home safe.
Defund & Refunk The District — Saturday, March 5th, 1pm
You’re invited to Defund & Refunk the District next Saturday, March 5th from 1 to 3pm at Oxon Run Park! The District continues to live through a pandemic and an uptick in harm. Yet we are constantly told the only way to survive this is with more police. Join the Metro DC DSA in partnership with Good Vibe Tribe in reimagining our city as a place where everyone feels safe — free of over-policing, police abuse, occupation, terror and harassment. Snacks and childcare will be provided. Sign up here!
Conflict Resolution Town Hall — Wednesday, March 2, 7pm
Join Metro DC DSA’s HGO (Harassment and Grievance Officer) Commission Wednesday, March 2 from 7 to 8:30pm for a town hall to discuss how to create space and/or a new formation for conflict resolution and education around transformative justice within the chapter! Register here to attend.
In this Town Hall, our chapter’s HGO Commission will share research related to mediation and community accountability with members. The commission will also present ideas for resources and chapter formations to help members manage conflict and facilitate healthy discussion among members with different ideologies. Following this presentation, members will be invited to provide feedback on our research and offer their own ideas for how our chapter can improve conflict management and create a more inclusive culture. We plan to use the feedback and ideas we receive during the town hall to develop a plan for a new chapter formation tasked with practicing and educating members on conflict resolution and community accountability.
Sign a BDS Pledge Card!
The DSA BDS & Palestine Solidarity Working Group is calling on community members and DSA-ers across the country to pledge their support for the BDS movement. Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a non-violent movement demanding freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians, and leveraging economic pressure until the Israeli Occupation Forces comply with international law. We are building networks of BDS supporters to mobilize locally around BDS actions and campaigns. Join us and pledge your support for the BDS movement!
Rally for the National Day of Action for Yemen — Wednesday, March 2, 7pm
Join us for the National Day of Action for Yemen this Wednesday, March 2nd at 7pm in front of the CNN office in DC located at: 820 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. We are demanding that CNN tell the full story on Yemen, not the whitewashed imperialist hypocrisy they have on repeat. We will also be demanding that Congress pass a new War Powers Resolution for Yemen. The action will feature projections on the CNN building and tell the real story of what is happening in Yemen. Metro DC DSA members will also be handing out BDS Pledge Cards. RSVP here and share the flyer with your networks.
Last Call: Sign up for Reading Groups in DC!
Last call to join the Spring Reading Groups hosted by Metro DC DSA before they start! The groups begin in early March (next week) 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 and sign up now!
Russia Invades Ukraine
As democratic socialists, we know as a fact of life under capitalism that the worldwide military-industrial complex survives and makes its sales on fanning nationalist/imperialist fervor.
Now, tanks are rolling — into Ukraine from its borders on Russia and Belarus. This conflict is a direct result of NATO/Europe’s decades-long, unsubtle and cynical surround of the Russian federation with NATO membership for former Warsaw Pact nations — rubbing against Russian President Putin’s need to secure his autarchy at home by fanning nationalist/imperialist fervor in Russia. Russian ultranationalists’ long resentment of the US role in the collapse of the USSR has given Putin extra room to consolidate his rule. National DSA’s International working group said this as January ended.
In order to understand what is happening right now in Ukraine, we must situate this within the larger context of US empire and hegemony, NATO expansion eastward since 1991 as a means of spreading western dominance, and the global capitalist system which this all operates in and is shaped by. As internationalist socialists we have fought, and must continue to fight, these nationalist incursions into the discourse among nations, and their frequent emergence into conflict worldwide, most immediately in Ukraine. Nationalism is the ultimate resort of authoritarians who exploit their own working class (we socialists saw this to our sorrow as organized workers nevertheless flocked to the trenches of the Great War).
In a Thursday address, President Biden has authorized an additional round of sanctions and export limitations on Russia in concert with other nations — although Russian banks are still connected to the SWIFT system (which allows for international finance) and does allow for energy payments to resume. President Biden reiterated that American forces will not be engaged in a conflict with Russia in Ukraine, although he has authorized an additional 7,000 soldiers to Europe in response to requests from NATO signatories and tensions are high.
Across the world, anti-war protesters have been convening to express condemnation of Russia’s actions. In DC, pro-Ukrainian anti-war protesters have been convening in front of the White House and at the Russian Embassy. In Russia, protesters have been daring arrest to protest Putin’s escalation. Anti-war activists in the US have begun organizing in the US to demand resistance to US escalation of the conflict.
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: This is the last Weekly Update in February. March Updates will publish Fridays, the 4th, 11th, 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. Featured in the Topic Hub this week: our writings about international peace and security in a world where nationalist sentiment still can roll tanks at any moment.
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
Saturday, February 26
4:30 – 5:30pm | Public Power Panel
Sunday, February 27
1:30 – 3pm | Political Education Working Group Meeting
3 – 4pm | MoCo DSA Member Orientation
Monday, February 28
5:30 – 6:30pm | Food | Justice WG Monthly Meeting, February
7 – 8:30pm | February Campaign Council Meeting
Tuesday, March 1
7 – 9pm | Biweekly Steering Committee 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.
Thursday, March 3
5 – 6pm | 3/3 Student Debt Action Planning Meeting
Saturday, March 5
1 – 3pm | Defund & Refunk the District
Sunday, March 6
1pm | PG County DSA March Steering Committee meeting
6:30 – 8pm | SocFem Spring Reading Group – First Meeting
Monday, March 7
6 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Working Group Biweekly Meeting
Tuesday, March 8
7 – 8pm | Mar. 8 Defund MPD Comms Meeting
Thursday, March 10
7 – 8:30pm | Internationalism WG Monthly Meeting
In Need of Canned Goods | Ward 4 Mutual Aid
The canned foods supply at Ward 4 Mutual Aid is looking a little low! Any and all donations welcome, with a particular desire for vegetables, beans/legumes and fruits. Able to drop off some cans? Stop by the Brightwood United Methodist Church at 744 Jefferson Street NW on Wednesdays, 4 to 6pm and Fridays/Saturdays from 9:30am to 12:30pm.
State of the Restaurant Workers & Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights | Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United
On March 1, President Joe Biden will deliver the State of the Union address. With one in two Americans working in the restaurant industry at some point in their lives, we can’t talk about the Union without talking about restaurant workers. On that same Tuesday morning, ROC United will host a State of the Restaurant Workers address. The event will be in person (RSVP here) on Capitol Hill, starting at 10am, and also live streamed via ROC’s social media.
Certificate Program in Regenerative Agriculture | Common Good City Farm
Interested in learning about crop planning, pest management, irrigation installation and more topics related to small-scale crop production using organic, regenerative and climate responsive techniques? Apply for Common Good’s Certificate Program in Regenerative Agriculture! The course meets weekly from April to October. Priority deadline to apply is Tuesday, March 1.
Open Source Community Food Resource Guide | DC Greens
The DC Community Food Resources Guide was developed based on community input from September and October 2021 to help community members find meal access sites across the DMV. If you can, it’s always good to double check that a site is still active before you go.
Museum of Palestinian People Virtual Conversation with Black and Palestinian Artists and Activists
On Thursday, March 3rd at 7:30pm, join the Museum of Palestinian People for a virtual conversation with Black and Palestinian artists and activists, many of whom are featured in the Freedom is One exhibit, discussing threads of solidarity between Black and Palestinian communities. You can reserve your tickets here for a suggested donation of $5 to $20, based on what you are able to afford.
GOOD READS / ESSENTIAL TRAFFIC
A suggestion that Dem retirements from Congress could open some doors for progressives, from NBC News.
Russia and oligarchs and crony capitalism, sure, but China’s state capitalism? What do we see? In The Nation, Andrew Liu’s “The Market’s Specter: China between capitalism and communism.”
Jeet Heer explores the cynical — and racist — love American nationalists consistently bleat for President Putin.
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.