Mar 20, 2020 Weekly Update

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UP FRONT

MARCH 22 GBM WILL BE REMOTE – Health security message from MDC DSA Steering Committee

The Steering Committee of Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America has decided that the **March 22, 2020 General Body Meeting will be held virtually. We take the safety, health, and well-being of our members and larger community very seriously. We will be working with working group and campaign leaders to make the chapter Zoom account(s) available to those working groups that wish to hold meetings remotely so that they can take similar precautions.

Our actions as a chapter should continue to be informed by guidance from public health authorities and the CDC guidelines for community and faith faith organizations. The DC City Government has declared both a state of emergency and a public health emergency, and have banned large public gatherings. While this technically does not apply to most MDC DSA events, we are out of abundance of caution continuing to recommend against in-person meetings, when possible. Given the importance of our organizing work, we have made digital conferencing tools available to make sure organizing can occur remotely. Please submit a request through the Red Desk, and we will be in touch.

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.

And here is National DSA’s Covid-19 Bulletin #1​, sent yesterday (Thursday, March 19) afternoon.


THE WEEKEND

Saturday, March 21, NOVA Branch DSA 🌹 Migrant Justice Campaign Remote Access Only

Sunday, March 22, Climate Strike Training with XR and Metro DC DSA

Sunday, March 22, Metro DC DSA Monthly General Body Meeting


BRIEFS

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.

Comrades, the interfaith organizing coalition VOICE has put out a petition urging Arlington County government to prevent people from being evicted, losing their homes or having utilities cut off due to lost wages and shifts. Please sign and share. –Alex H., NOVA DSA branch secretary

Our comrades at DC Jobs with Justice want to remind you that as a worker in DC you are entitled to paid sick leave. Don’t let any boss – yours or those of others – get away with claiming otherwise.

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.

DSA 4 Bernie Workgroup Plugs into Coronavirus Mutual Aid Efforts
Not Me, US! The revolution never dies! STAY ENGAGED!

The MDC DSA 4 Bernie workgroup is plotting and planning how to continue spreading Bernie’s message of Not Me, US! in a world in which coronavirus dominates every corner of daily life. Many upcoming primaries are postponed and in-person activities like canvassing and watch parties are no longer feasible. We’re exploring ideas like phone-banking states with upcoming primaries and other opportunities–we welcome ideas and energy. So reach out to us, especially on the #bernie slack channel if you’re a DSA Member.

Speaking of staying in touch, we’ll be reaching out to the amazing people we met at our Bernie events, including the awe-inspiring canvassers that helped us knock thousands and thousands and thousands of doors. We want to do more than just stay in touch with you—we want to build a socialist community with you. Look out for an email or call from us, or reach out to us directly. There are so many ways you can get and stay engaged with MDC DSA, now and in a post-coronavirus world. Like Bernie work, some MDC DSA work is electoral, but not all. But all of it is a lot of fun with very friendly and cool people. Many opportunities await you! Consider becoming an MDC DSA Member–membership fees are on a sliding scale starting at $0.
Stay in touch:
dsa4bernie@mdcdsa.org
On slack: #bernie

See anybody making an extra buck off hard times? Report observed price gouging here!

Petition watch: for Marylanders, there’s an online petition urging Gov. Hogan to direct all the state’s employers to allow telework for their employees. The motivator: “Unfortunately, some Maryland employers continue to insist that employees, even those who can perform their assigned duties from home, report to the workplace. This practice is putting all of us at unnecessary risk.” The petition is being pushed by Our Revolution Maryland, the Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition and PDA’s Maryland chapter. Sign the petition here!

Our MDC DSA comrades in the rent control coalition are pitching in on a fundraising effort to hire a staffer for the coalition; see it here


MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR MARCH/APRIL

Monday, MAR 21 | 1 to 2:30 PM
NOVA Branch DSA 🌹 Migrant Justice Campaign Remote Access Only
Zoom Meeting
The Northern Virginia Branch of MDC DSA is continuing the first part of our Migrant Justice Campaign. We will be focusing on the multiple detention centers in Virginia, the research and outreach we need, and short- and long-term actions.

Sunday, MAR 22 | 3 to 5:00 PM
Metro DC DSA Monthly General Body Meeting
Zoom Meeting
The monthly meeting of the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America! Agenda will be posted shortly. Due to public health concerns, this meeting will occur virtually.

Sunday, MAR 22 | 7 to 9:00 PM Climate Strike Training with XR and Metro DC DSA Zoom Meeting
Members of Metro DC DSA will briefly discuss the need to use our collective power and all of the tools at hand to fight for an ecosocialst Green New Deal. Confronting the climate crisis offers an opportunity to lift up everyone, especially those most impacted and yet least responsible for the climate crisis, as we create a just, equitable future. Then we act. Seasoned activists involved with ShutdownDC will cover the basics of working together in a small group (affinity groups), moving in the streets together, how to plug in with the action framework, your legal rights and what to do if you’re arrested, and staying healthy and safe in the streets! If you’re planning on joining us in the streets this spring, we’d strongly encourage you to make sure that you and the folks you’re planning on hitting the streets with participate in a training.

Monday, MAR 23 | 6:30 to 8:30 PM What is Socialism?: Socialist Night School
Zoom Meeting For our first session of the new semester of Socialist Night School, we’ll tackle the question of socialism. While everyone is welcome, this session is designed for newer members and those who are relatively new to socialism. The session will be led by Socialist Night School co-organizer David Kaib.

Monday, MAR 23 | 6:30 to 8:30 PM Internationalism Working Group Meeting
Zoom Meeting
Join us to discuss our efforts to build international solidarity! Meeting will be remote only.

Tuesday, MAR 24 | 7:00 to 8:30 PM Steering Committee Meeting
Zoom Meeting
Meeting of the Metro DC DSA Steering Committee. All members are welcome to attend. Meeting agenda will be distributed via Slack; to request an agenda item, use reddesk.mdcdsa.org.

Wednesday, MAR 25 | 7:00 to 8:30 PM NOVA Branch DSA 🌹 Organizing Meeting
Zoom Meeting
Nova Branch is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. All libraries are closed.


INFO ACCESS

Publications Schedule: One more Update this month, Friday, March 27. The April issue of the Washington Socialist monthly newsletter will be emailed Friday, April 3. Article deadline for that issue is Saturday, March 28.

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 establish 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.

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 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.

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


GOOD READS

Tips on what to read while self-quarantining

On a hortatory note: “We must assist one another or die” is passed along by our local comrade Jules B – and yes, it paraphrases W. H. Auden, your memory is twitching for a reason.

Our comrade David D touts this as a “scary must-read” about the many bad motives that can be red-white-and-blue-washed during this still poorly understood crisis: from Organizing Upgrade…

And here’s Naomi Klein’s eight-minute Intercept video on how corporate capitalists have the money and power to move more quickly and pre-emptively to advantage themselves – disaster capitalism never goes away, always lurks in the alley to mug you whenever the street lights all go out at once.

Jeremy Brecher, who is research and policy director for the Takoma Park-based Labor Network for Sustainability, observes that “In Coronavirus Fight, Workers Are Forging an Emergency Green New Deal.” He adds “in the face of government and employer failure, workers and communities must take the lead to protect ourselves and each other from the coronavirus and its economic and social impacts. … an emergency program to do just that. … looks a whole lot like a do-it-yourself Green New Deal.”

What does it mean to run as a socialist in a red state? Socialist candidate Robert Levertis Bell discusses building an intersectional movement through his campaign for city council in Louisville Kentucky.

NYT columnist Farhad Manjoo is emerging as a strong voice on what the moment demands. Last week we noted his column, “Everybody’s a socialist in a pandemic,” and this week he argues the US should “Bring back Big Government” because the nation’s “failed response to the coronavirus is a direct result of decades of starving federal agencies of expertise.”