October 2, 2020 Weekly Update

Electoral developments, tech briefings, direct aid support, and (way) more.

October 2, 2020 Weekly Update


  • DC Electoral Campaigns update
  • An update from MDC DSA’s Cyber Command
  • DSA Recruitment Drive

illustration of lightning bolt striking a rose on top of U.S. Capitol BuildingDC Electoral Campaigns Update

After DC Council at-large candidate and MDC DSA member Ed Lazere joined our Defund MPD working group for a chat, our chapter encumbered a record-breaking week of phone banking, blowing past our original goal of 10,000 calls! If we want to build a city that works for all of us – not just corporations and real estate developers – we must elect leaders who advocate the interests of workers, organizers and activists, and it’s why we’ve dedicated so much energy to making sure Ed Lazere joins Ward 4’s Janeese Lewis George on the DC Council.

We’ve set a new goal of 15,000 calls for Ed. Want to join us? Head over to bit.ly/callsfored to join the effort!

Want to catch up on the state of DC Elections? Here are some of the most recent updates…

And don’t forget to stay in touch with MDC DSA’s other endorsed candidates – Mysiki Valentine for at-large Board of Education, and Janeese Lewis George for Ward 4.


illustration of lightning bolt striking a rose on top of U.S. Capitol BuildingAn update from Metro DC DSA’s “Cyber Command”

You may have noticed some technical changes when interacting with Metro DC DSA. Our Tech Team has been building out our internal systems to be more efficient, accessible and secure. Here are some of those changes…

  • All events will now be created and promoted on Action Network; however, we will still make sure events are published on Meetup and Facebook as well. Action Network because it helps us centralize attendance information, lets us track interaction meta-data in more detail, and is a generally easier platform for our admin volunteers to use when creating MDC events.


  • Our website uses a new framework. We’ve moved away from the old engine to one built on WordPress. This new engine makes it easier to edit, add collaborators, and build off different parts of the site. We anticipate some bugs as we move forward, but these will be smoothed out over time.


  • Our historical weekly updates are temporarily down. We are planning to get those back up within the next week or so for reference’s sake.


  • The new calendar of events is here! We are still smoothing out the bugs, but we hope this will make it clearer what events are happening. Not every event is on here – but all events that have a scheduled Action Network event will be on here.

illustration of lightning bolt striking a rose on top of U.S. Capitol BuildingThe DSA Recruitment Drive has begun

The DSA Recruitment drive has begun! The Metro DC DSA chapter is (as of this writing) topping the leaderboards. Lets keep it that way! You can create a recruitment drive link that lets you track the number of sign-ups attribute to you, and win points for the chapter.

DSA has committed to recruiting 100,000 members by the end of the year. Imagine what 100,000 members would mean: 100,000 organizers building power and solidarity in the multi-racial working class, each defending democracy against the rising tide of authoritarianism. You can sign the DSA 100k Pledge today

Not a member? Now’s the time to sign-up! Click here to join the DSA and help us build a better future.


Our October issue is now live. The Washington Socialist is a member driven consortium of articles and thinking on socialism, communism, dissent and anarchy…


Energy Democracy Campaign Update

More than 100 people signed up to testify at Tuesday’s utility commission hearing about Pepco’s needless and destructive price hike, which ignores DC’s climate goals and hurts working class Washingtonians struggling from the economic crisis. The speakers–including union members, disgruntled former Pepco contractors, climate activists, retirees, and unemployed millennials–overwhelmingly opposed Pepco’s proposal and mounted a vigorous call for public power in the District. To get involved in our energy democracy campaign email wepowerdc@gmail.com or post on the #ecosocialism Slack channel.

Direct Aid support in MoCO

While corporate-owned politicians play power games, too many of our neighbors can’t pay their power bills. On top of the coming wave of evictions, Maryland faces another crisis: the statewide moratorium on power disconnections ends on November 15, and utility turnoff notices will resume in October. Marylanders cannot count on Governor Hogan to extend the moratorium into the winter, let alone provide real relief to families with mounting overdue bills.

MoCo DSA is raising money to provide direct aid to individuals and families in Montgomery County, MD who are having difficulty paying their energy bills. 100% of donations (minus transaction fees) will be credited to recipients’ Pepco accounts. Due to the volume of requests, we had to turn off requests for support – but we have outstanding requests for payment that we are trying to cover. Please follow this link to contribute or learn more about this support program.

Vote Against Ballot Question B in Montgomery County

Maryland State Delegate Gabriel Acevero joined MDC DSA comrades to make around 1,900 calls urging district 39 voters to reject austerity and ballot question B! Montgomery county voters started receiving their mail-in ballots this week, so the next couple of weeks are essential for us to reach and convince voters to reject ballot question B. Join MoCo DSA for a phonebanking session this Saturday, Oct. 3 at 3:30pm and/or Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 6:30pm. Making calls is easy and voters are usually receptive to our message.

Updates from the Defund MPD Campaign

The Defund Working Group wants you to join other DSA members and BLM DC to testify about police violence in DC! On October 15th, the Judiciary Committee of the DC Council is hearing oral testimony on 3 “reform” bills and we need you to testify virtually on how the Council can go further and why MPD needs to be defunded. Please sign up before October 7th!

The Council wants to pass these bills and tell themselves that “continuing education” and “Police Complaint Boards” will solve police violence. These bills are not enough and we need DSA members to tell them. Sign up to receive around 3 minutes to testify virtually. Over the next 2 weeks, members of DC DSA’s Defund MPD Working Group will be coordinating with BLM DC to provide more information about the bills and helping members coordinate testimony. Non-DC residents may testify.

For more information about the Defund MPD Coalition, including on the substantive ways the DC Council can reduce police violence, see their website. For more information about testifying, please contact Chris Bangs at bangs.christopher@gmail.com

Additional updates from the Defund MPD Campaign

On Sunday September 27th, the Defund MPD working group sat down with Ed Lazere, Candidate for DC Council At-Large, for a virtual conversation on defunding the police. The conversation ranged from strategy in petitioning local officials, best practices in coalition-building, gaining insight into how the police budget is actually determined and key moments to apply pressure, and being proactive around the FOP’s upcoming contract renewal. Ed’s closing statement: “I am with all of you in pushing for the fastest and most thorough defunding of the MPD as possible. We need it to be as comprehensive and strategic as possible, and we need to reassure everyone it will make people safer. Keep your eyes on the prize. Think, what are the steps each year to get to that prize.” Read the notes from our call here or listen here.

And here are some upcoming Defund and allied events:

  • Defund MPD Button Making – Sunday, October 4th, 3-5 pm
    The Defund MPD group will have a  socially distanced button-making gathering in Alethia Tanner Park on October 4th, 3-5pm.
    RSVP here, and see the button designs here!
  • DC protests: March for Justice
    A march beginning at Malcolm X Park on Saturday October 4th. White accomplice training at 2 pm, march at 3 pm. 


Apply for the Progressive Talent Pipeline

As some of you know, Demand Progress and CEPR started the Progressive Talent Pipeline program in 2018 to try to help get good progressives into entry- and mid-level jobs on the Hill. More than 40 people who went through it went on to find such jobs, and some of them are already among the best organizers on the Hill. Info is here. 

Our comrade David Duhalde reports: “We just opened up the applications for this cycle. Also hoping to expand it to encompass certain exec branch jobs depending on how November goes.”

SocFem Caucus Reading Group

The reading group discussion on “This Bridge Called My Back” by Rosario Morales this past Sunday was a success! Our next meeting is Tuesday, October 13 from 7-9. Hope to see you all there *open to marginalized genders only.

DC Jobs With Justice — 2020 “I’ll be There” Awards evening, Wednesday, Nov. 18 6-8 PM

Every year our I’ll Be There awards are a chance to come together, honor some of the outstanding leaders in our work, and remind ourselves of our values as a community. It is our single largest event of the year, and our most important community gathering. This year’s event will be different than ever before. We’ll be online for the first time ever in the midst of some of our most challenging times as a city. Join us, I’ll Be There Awards, Wednesday November 18th at 6:00 pm.

— Nikko Bilitza, Organizer, DC Jobs with Justice

NoVa Tenant Organizing

We are officially on the website! If you are interested in fighting for tenant rights and organizing buildings across Northern Virginia, join us for a canvass this Sunday.  The NoVa Branch Tenant Organizing Working Group will be canvassing to provide support to tenants facing evictions and discussing the possibilities of organizing against their landlord. The team will meet at Southern Towers and then travel to a second location for canvassing. We are postponing our weekly planning meeting until next Sunday, October 11th. Finally, if you are not able to canvas but would like to get involved, the working group needs volunteers to help pull court records in Fairfax County and Loudon. Find us on slack at #nova-tenant-organizing or fill out this interest form. 

Transdev fires ATU leader in “Blatant union-busting move”

ATU Local 1764 reports that Transdev, the company which operates the Fairfax Connector bus service, is back to its old union-busting ways. Transdev has fired ATU Local 1764 shop steward Vance Young in retaliation for his union activities, the union says. Young was first brought up on charges by Transdev after he raised safety concerns about clean buses with a County official, and when the company couldn’t justify disciplining him for that, they scheduled an investigative interview during his regularly-scheduled shift. After Young missed the meeting because the company did not relieve him from operating the bus, they fired him for insubordination. “The Union will fight to win Vance’s reinstatement and is confident it will prevail,” said Local 1764’s John Ertl. “This disgraceful conduct by Fairfax County’s contractor is a perfect illustration for why public services should not be entrusted to for-profit companies like Transdev.”

— from Union City


Saturday Oct 3 | 3:30 PM — 5:30 PM
Phonebank: Vote AGAINST Ballot Question B!!
Fight Question B, stealth austerity tax proposal that would cut public services and further enrich the wealthy; make calls urging voters to vote AGAINST on question B. Training 3:30, action at 4.

Sunday Oct 4 | 2:00 PM — 5:00 PM
NoVA Anti-Eviction Canvass
The NoVa Branch Tenant Organizing Working Group will be canvassing to provide support to tenants facing evictions and discussing the possibilities of organizing against their landlord.

Sunday Oct 4 | 5:00 PM — 6:30 PM
Medicare 4 ALL Workgroup Weekly Meeting | #M4A
Democratic Socialists are fighting to make single-payer Medicare for All healthcare a reality. Winning Medicare for All will mean establishing a piece of real democratic socialism and building a broader working-class movement to take on the elite and the billionaire class.

Wednesday Oct 7 | 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM
Phonebank: Vote AGAINST Ballot Question B!
Saturdays and Wednesdays; see above for details.

Sunday Oct 11 | 2:00 PM — 4:30 PM
MoCo DSA October Branch Meeting
Please note the change of date! Join us for our October branch meeting on Sunday, Oct. 11. Please email us at MontgomeryCountyDSA@gmail.com with any questions.

Sunday Oct 11 | 5:00 PM — 6:30 PM
Medicare 4 ALL Workgroup Weekly Meeting | #M4A
Every Sunday — See above for details.

Monday Oct 12 | 7:00 PM — 8:00 PM
DC Council Elections Workgroup Meeting | Monthly
The DC Council Elections Working Group will host its bi-weekly meeting on Mondays from 7-8pm. Join us to learn about our efforts to elect democratic socialists to the DC City Council, Janeese Lewis George (Ward 4), Ed Lazere (at-large) and Mysiki Valentine for the DC State Board of Education at-large.

Monday Oct 12 | 6:00 PM — 8:00 PM
Queer Caucus Happy Hour
The QSC will be having our monthly Happy Hour, for all Queer, Trans, and Nonbinary comrades, as well our allies and accomplices. Event is open to the public, DSA membership is not required. During this crisis, social connection is vital for our mental and emotional health. Please drop in, relax, chat, and (virtually) connect. Take a breather for a few hours of smashing the cis-hetero patriarchy and enjoy a comradely social atmosphere. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday Oct 13 | 7:00 PM — 9:00 PM
Socialist Feminist Caucus (SocFem) Meeting | Monthly
This is our monthly Caucus Meeting where we discuss and plan our work. We welcome members and supporters alike. The Socialist Feminist Caucus is committed to political education and coalition building in the DC metro region and beyond to build the collective power of workers for the common good. Currently, all SocFem gatherings and discussions are welcoming only those who identify as womxn, non-binary people, or those who identify as a marginalized gender. We ask that men do not participate at this time.

Tuesday Oct 13 | 7:00 PM — 8:30 PM
Biweekly MDC DSA Steering Committee Meeting
MDC DSA members welcome. For password to the Zoom or meeting agenda, check Slack (#steering) or email secretary@mdcdsa.org.

Wednesday Oct 14 | 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM
October Labor Working Group
Our first meeting with our newly elected officers. We will also be doing campaign updates and planning for jumpstarting our work.

Wednesday Oct 14 | 7:00 PM — 9:00 PM
Prince George’s Co. Branch (prov.) BiWkly Meeting | MDC DSA
Full membership election to approve bylaws will be under way. Join us for discussion including work with police reform/defund allies, who will participate.

Thursday Oct 15 | 6:30 PM — 8:30 PM
What is Socialism? | Socialist Night School
For our first session of the new semester of Socialist Night School, we’ll tackle the question of socialism. What is capitalism? What is socialism? How does what DSA does help us get there? And how can you get involved (or more involved)? This is a great event for those new to the DSA or socialism, or for those who want a refresher on the basics!

Sunday Oct 18 | 6:00 PM — 7:30 PM
Defund MPD Working Group – Monthly Meeting
The Defund MPD Working Group now holds a monthly meeting on the third Sunday of each month at 6pm.

Sunday Oct 18 | 5:00 PM — 6:30 PM
Medicare 4 ALL Workgroup Weekly Meeting | #M4A
A recurring Sunday meeting; see above for details.

Sunday Oct 18 | 3:00 PM — 5:00 PM
General Body Meeting | Oct
This has been postponed one week to the 3rd Sunday of October the 18th.
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.

Sunday Oct 25 | 3:00 PM — 4:00 PM
New Member Orientation | Metro DC Chapter – DSA
If you’re a new member, an established member that needs a refresher, or interested in becoming a member, please join us for this overview of our chapter. You’ll learn about the structure of our Chapter, our working groups and branches, and current projects and efforts. You should be able to determine which opportunities you want to explore and how to get plugged in.


Publications Schedule: MDC DSA’s Weekly Updates will be published Fridays, October 9, 16, and 23, and the November issue of the Washington Socialist will be published Friday, October 30 with an article deadline Saturday, October 24. Send contributions to thesocialist@mdcdsa.org if you have words of wisdom in advance of US history’s longest Election Day ever. 

Are you an MDC DSA campaign activist and want to keep our ~3,000 local members as well as ~3,000 other local left activists up to date on your campaign actions and events? Contribute to the aptly named MDC DSA Weekly Update, which reaches those 6,000 folks every week. But how? An accessible doc created by Pubs WG stays open every Monday through Thursday so you can make your contribution when it’s convenient for you (spoiler alert: we might edit your deathless prose). But you can only contribute if you are “invited to edit.” Join the activists who get that (sometimes annoying) invite every week; request access at thesocialist@mdcdsa.org .

But I already DID the Member Survey…”
We are once again asking you to do the Member Survey. It’s ok if you already did it. We’ve added new questions! We just love getting to know you. If you haven’t yet done the survey, please do so now! We are sending invitations and alerts to members based on those responses and you don’t want to miss out! Non-members are also invited. Complete it

Are you an MDC DSA member who wonders how to get on our chapter Slack? Just email info@mdcdsa.org and identify yourself as a member. Put “request for #Slack” in the subject line. Use the email address by which national DSA knows you. If you are a new member, forward the email that national DSA sent you acknowledging your status. Our Slack platform, with numerous channels for all our caucuses, branches, campaigns and working groups, is a great place to get connected with the kind of socialist work YOU want to do in DSA.


TODAY, Friday Oct 2 | 6:00 PM
Virtual Dinner Party with Cornel West

Saturday, October 3 | 4:30 – 7:30 PM
DC Council At-Large Candidate Forum
14th and U Street NW
SPACEs In Action and Long Live GoGo will hold an At-Large Candidate forum at 14th and U Streets NW. Confirmed forum participants include MDC DSA-endorsed candidate Ed Lazere as well as Markus Batchelor, Marcus Goodwin, Christina Henderson, and Will Merrifield. Organizers of the event will follow CDC guidelines for social distancing and have hand sanitizer available. Please bring and wear your mask. RSVP and submit questions here.

Monday, Oct 5 | 2:00 – 3:30 PM
National Town Hall: Fixing Philanthropy for Communities
Second and final virtual discussion following up on Session I. Reps of the Emergency Charity Stimulus campaign describe how it could unleash $200 billion over the next 3 years without increasing the federal budget or costing taxpayers another dime.

Tuesday, Oct 6 | 5:30 – 7:00 PM
Virtual Book Talk: ReTargeting Iran
Since Trump pulled the US out of the Iran pact, the US continues to provoke. What will it take to reverse the current US escalation trajectory, and what about after the election? With author David Barsamian in dialogue with two experts, Nader Hashemi and Trita Parsi, in an event moderated by Phyllis Bennis.

Wednesday, Oct 7 | 6:00 – 7:30 PM
Workers Rights are Human Rights: A Community Call with DC Jobs with Justice

Wednesday, Oct 7 | 7:00 PM
Just Transition – Transformative Strategies on the Frontlines of Struggle
Panelists discuss how their impacted communities are navigating climate chaos, growing right-wing and racist violence and a global pandemic by tackling their root systemic cause.

Wednesday, Oct 7 | 6:30 PM
Maryland-wide virtual community forum on COVID-19
Hosted by Progressive Maryland and alliesthe latest on Maryland’s numbers and public health guidelines, what the state is doing to protect residents, what’s happening in school districts in Maryland, and what we can do to push our elected officials to improve the government response.


  • In Popular Resistance newsletter, Dr. Margaret Flowers examines the centrality of racist health systems in many aspects of the uprising, as even the minimalist neolib remedies of the Affordable Care Act are threatened.
  • Here’s a digital show-and-tell on the THRIVE Agenda, an eightfold path to converge good, union-accessible jobs with the climate effort, designed by our Takoma Park comrades, the Labor Network for Sustainability, and endorsed by many of the unions we count as closest allies.
  • From Portside and the LA Review of Books: In this new book, “The People, No!,” Thomas Frank is challenging himself “to rescue the terms ‘populism’ and ‘populist’ from the mouths of those he deems unfit to use them: the anti-populists.” Note that Tom Frank is a featured guest Saturday noon at the Philly DSA GBM which our comrades there inexplicably call a “General Meeting”…
  • In City Paper, Amanda Michelle Gomez writes about Pepco’s destructive price hike and the need for public power in DC. “We want to own our utility. We want to break ties with Pepco completely—kick them out of D.C.—and institute our own publicly owned utility that then would be run for the people of D.C., would be nonprofit … and, as a publicly owned utility, would also not have that same influence over politics,” says Johanna Bozuwa of We Power DC.
  • A long, but entertaining and informative video essay from the Youtube channel Folding Ideas: Without spoiling an excellent mid-video twist, “In Search of a Flat Earth” explores the connection between flat-earth conspiracies and the proto-fascist movements many of us are observing today.
  • In Socialist Forum, MDC DSA member Morgan Fecto examines the ways co-op workplaces in the DMV are surviving via interdependence and community building during the COVID-19 crisis. 

  • No accident that the Obama gang never got around to installing card-check for union organizers — the New Republic reports that Uber and Lyft “push regressive labor and transportation policies—and they’re stocked with Obama alumni.” — makes us worry what kind of touch they might have on Biden, eh?


Ages have come and gone, kingdoms and powers and dynasties have risen and fallen, old glories and ancient wisdoms have been turned into dust, heroes and sages have been forgotten and many a mighty and fearsome god has been hurled into the lightless chasms of oblivion.

But ye, Plebs, Populace, People, Rabble, Mob, Proletariat, live and abide forever.
Arturo Giovannitti