Mar 27, 2020 Weekly Update

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UP FRONT

Metro DC DSA’s first General Body Meeting conducted virtually attracted over 100 members Sunday, March 22. The chapter has boosted its capacity for hosting Zoom meetings to empower working groups, campaigns and caucuses that are foreclosed from meeting face to face during the COVID-19 pandemic – as well as from the closed-down DC library system.

The meeting included three lively and interactive breakout sessions to strategize about organizing during the pandemic – on mutual aid, ongoing electoral work and housing issues at a perilous time for shelter.

The minutes of the meeting can be found online here, which includes the report-backs from the breakout sessions. And here is the slide deck outlining and detailing the agenda and chapter updates.

Our chapter’s website now hosts a specific page dedicated to compiling news, resources and links to external support networks. This page will be continuously updated to reflect new information, regulations, guidelines and relief networks. The goal is to create a consistent place where our members and communities can go to find consistent information related to the spread of COVID-19. Please feel free to share this page externally. Currently, the page provides updates from the DC government, links to government sponsored relief programs (such as unemployment insurance or other public benefits), links to support and relief networks, and health awareness resources.

Any member interested in helping compile resources and information, or assist in developing the page, are invited to join this effort. Please reach out to info@mdcdsa.org or through #publications or #coronavirus channels on Slack.


THE WEEKEND

**Saturday, March 28, 1PM NoVA DSA Migrant Justice Campaign**

BRIEFS

In good reads - An unusually robust collection of articles on the pandemic and this week’s huge bailout by Congress – and who benefits. See below.

From our comrades at DC Jobs with Justice:
Every worker in DC has a right to paid sick days. Starting in April these rights will be expanded by new federal paid sick days legislation. Join us next Tuesday for a webinar on the ins and outs of paid sick days in the District and the new federal legislation on Tuesday, Mar 31, 2:00 - 3:00 PM. Register here.

Your boss can NOT:
❌ Require that you work
❌ Require you to take unpaid leave
❌ Require that you find someone to cover your shift
❌ Require documentation for paid sick leave of less than 2 consecutive days
❌ Retaliate against you for calling in sick
Don’t let your boss cheat you out of your rights! Email nikko@dcjwj.org if you or someone you know has been denied paid sick days! More (DC-specific) info here and here.

National DSA’s Democratic Socialist Labor Commission just passed a resolution and action plan aimed at organizing within the hard-hit restaurant industry, finding “suddenly an industry that has been notoriously difficult to organize has a common objective reality where all service workers are in the same situation at the same time.” Demanding both “a political fight for relief” and “a vision of a different, better restaurant industry” emerging from the collapse of the old one, the DSLC sets out a multistage plan to work in coalition on benefits fights and OSHA-style protection for those working in takeout and delivery, and building a network for organizing the entire, broadly unemployed sector. The full statement and work plan is here. Thanks to our local comrade Ryan M for passing this news along.

From our comrade Nikko B: For folks applying for Unemployment Insurance compensation, here is a good explainer on how the DC council just made it easier to access.


MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR MARCH-APRIL

Saturday, MAR 28 | 1 PM
NoVA DSA Migrant Justice Campaign
Virtual session, Zoom Meeting

Monday, MAR 30 | 6:30 PM
Socialist Night School: What is Marxism?
Virtual session, Zoom Meeting

Sunday, APR 5 | 2:00 PM MoCo DSA General Branch Meeting Virtual session, Zoom Meeting

Monday, APR 6 | 6:30 PM
Socialist Night School: Sanctions as a US Weapon
Virtual session, Zoom Meeting TBD

Monday, APR 10 | 7:00 PM A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal - DC Book Launch
Adapted to a virtual panel discussion, Zoom Meeting

Thursday, APR 23 | 7:00 PM
NOVA Branch DSA Organizing Meeting
Likely virtual, Zoom Link TBD


INFO ACCESS

Our chapter’s website now hosts a specific page dedicated to compiling news, resources and links to external support networks during the COVID-19 emergency. This page will be continuously updated.

Because we are all Zooming now, the Metropolitan Labor Council’s newsletter Union City has passed along a primer from Wired magazine on how to trouble-shoot everything from your own device in Zoomland to human interactions in virtual meetings. It is, of course, titled “OK Zoomer.”

PUBLICATIONS SCHEDULE: The April issue of the Washington Socialist monthly newsletter will be emailed Friday, April 3. Article deadline for that issue is Saturday, March 28. Updates for April will be published Fridays April 10, 17 and 24 and the May Day issue of the Washington Socialist will be published Friday, May 1 – article deadline will be Saturday, April 25. \

We at the Publications WG and Tech Tools Central are happy to announce that we have redesigned our MDC DSA website and will be using this as a template going forward. The website is designed to be more succinct and static. The goal is to help establish a clear digital presence for both our membership base and the communities we engage in at large. We hope all MDC DSA members feel like they have input into the design and structure of the site. We welcome all comments, questions, or observed issues with the new site from members. Much of the site is still a work in progress - so please excuse errors; but please send notices through the Red Desk or notify us in our #publications slack channel.

Like all our working groups, the Pubs WG needs pitch-in from members: writing on subjects close to our socialist hearts (including what your WG/caucus/campaign has been doing or plans to do); editing, design, creating ‘zines and one-off flyers for our work, and doing website work to keep our MDC DSA profile on the new site dynamic. So fill out our contributor’s form and we’ll be in touch. Our new website and new chapterwide email launcher are now live.

We are happy to announce that we have redesigned our MDC DSA website and will be using this as a template going forward. The website is designed to be more succinct and static. The goal is to help establsh a clear digital presence for both our membership base and communities we engage in at large. We hope all MDC DSA members feel like they have input into the design and structure of the site. We welcome all comments, questions, or observed issues with the new site from members. Much of the site is still a work in progress - so please excuse errors; but please send notices through the Red Desk or notify us in our #publications slack channel.


FAQ

What does the MDC DSA local chapter do, week in and week out?
See our working groups, caucuses and campaigns in the DMV here.

What can I find out from MDC DSA Slack and how do I join?
Many of our campaigns, working groups and caucuses keep the conversation going between meetings on our MDC DSA Slack platform. If you are a DSA member in good standing and aren’t on our Slack you may not be getting the full picture about the rich array of activities suggested in the chapter structure link above. To get on Slack, use the email by which DSA knows you and request access from admin@mdcdsa.org


EVENTS FROM OUR ALLIES IN THE DMV

Friday, MAR 27 | 7:00 PM NoVA Coalition to Repeal Right to Work
Virtual Meeting, Zoom
Open to all coalition members and supporters to discuss organizing during the pandemic.

Sunday, MAR 29 | 2:00 - 4:00 PM National Writers Union Chapter Meeting
Virtual Meeting, Zoom
Open to all freelance and cultural workers as well as NWU members.

Monday, MAR 30 | 7:00 - 8:00 PM NoVA Labor Airport Union Caucus Virtual Meeting, Zoom Updates on conditions, develop join strategies and action plans.

Wednesday, APR 1 | 7:00 - 9:00 PM Alexandria Dems Labor Caucus Virtual Meeting, Zoom
Discussion of issues facing Alexandria workers.


GOOD READS

WHERE THE TRILLION$ ARE GOING: The COVID-19 crisis has provided an opening for corporate America to move its agenda forward and get its hand in the till of bailout funding.

The website In These Times (articles not yet appearing in the print version) provides several articles analyzing the White House/Senate bailout bill and how much of it favors corporate priorities over workers and the national interest, as well as other left perspectives on the crisis.

Time Magazine provided an analysis of how the pandemic, like most national crises, hits the poor and working classes hardest.

In Common Dreams, Sam Pizzigati and Sarah Anderson observe how the current crisis fits the warning by Naomi Klein in The Shock Doctrine of how corporate America uses national emergencies to expand its power – and they offer strategies on how to prevent it from happening this time.

The Intercept shows how the Senate paved the way for coronavirus profiteering and how Congress could undo it.

And local DSA member Kurt Stand provides a ground-level view of the impact of the crisis on some local workers in the Stansbury Forum. This article, with appropriate updates, will also appear in the April issue of the Washington Socialist.

What is keeping our heads above water now – the distance or “touchless” economy that enables contact without contamination – is just as endangered as the economy we have put on hold. Tim Wu in the NYT reminds us it is not guaranteed to keep working without our vigilance at every level.

Cities and states are moving on temporary housing and emergency health accommodations as Trump dreams of crowd-packed churches at Eastertide.

Local DC Artists have launched a showcase of their grassroots project, Bern the System, that first came together in support of Bernie Sanders’ first presidential run in 2016.

From the National Employment Law Project, “We need a czar to protect health care workers” who are among the most vulnerable, least protected and most essential to us today and tomorrow. Sent our way by our comrade Jules Bernstein.

Mike Davis in Jacobin on the near-inevitability of the pandemic’s path – just when, not whether – and how both the US and the un-rich world may come to serious grief, each in their own ways. Today’s tomorrow “requires an independent socialist design for human survival that goes beyond a Second New Deal. Since the Occupy days, progressives have successfully put the struggle against income and wealth inequality on page one, a great achievement. But now socialists must take the next step and, with the health care and pharmaceutical industries as immediate targets, advocate social ownership and the democratization of economic power.”

The NYT’s columnist Farhad Manjoo continues to zero in on why we in the US are failing in our response to the pandemic: “The answer to why we’re running out of protective gear involves a very American set of capitalist pathologies — the rise and inevitable lure of low-cost overseas manufacturing, and a strategic failure, at the national level and in the health care industry, to consider seriously the cascading vulnerabilities that flowed from the incentives to reduce costs.”

Beautiful essay in Commune Magazine that reframes COVID as an opportunity to rethink and reshape our society. The proliferation of COVID puts our entire social contract on the table.

Judd Legum in Popular Information discusses the economic winners of pandemic.

Speaking of economic winners –the window opens for sure-footed capitalists to chip away at the Green New Deal while it is still a gleam in the Left’s eye, piece by plastic piece.