April 17, 2020 Weekly Update

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UP FRONT

MESSAGE FROM THE SECRETARY: Welcome to our newest comrades! In the last month, Metro DC DSA has added more than twice as many members as we did the month before. Whether you joined to carry the fight beyond Bernie or to oppose capitalism’s deadly responses to coronavirus, we welcome you. If this is your first iteration of our weekly newsletter, here you’ll find a tallying of events and opportunities to get involved. If you have any questions about the chapter or just want someone to talk to about DSA, please reach out at secretary@mdcdsa.org. We can’t wait to meet you in person – but the struggle continues, even if it’s from six feet apart.
– Zach E, Secretary, Metro DC DSA.

Our April General Body Meeting this Sunday will feature updates from working groups, a chance to (virtually) connect with comrades, and a highlight on the great work our Ecosocialism Caucus is doing to put people and planet over profit! Join our virtual GBM at 3 PM. The agenda is evolving, but you will find it here.


THE WEEKEND / COMING UP

Saturday, April 18 | 1-2:30 PM
NOVA Branch DSA 🌹 Migrant Justice Campaign Remote Access Only
Join our virtual planning and organizing meeting. Follow link for details and access info.

Tuesday, April 21 | 12-1:00 PM Federal and Local COVID Emergency Legislation Update
DC Jobs with Justice is organizing a webinar on your rights during the COVID emergency. It will cover the second round of local emergency legislation as well as the new federal legislation. Register using the link above.


BRIEFS

Last Friday, Thea Riofrancos and D.A. Cohen joined Janeese Lewis George in a virtual version of the long-planned DC book launch of A Planet to Win: Why We Need A Green New Deal. DSA’s Ecosocialist Working group invites you to another iteration of this event on Sunday, April 26 at 8P PM ET, which will feature A Planet to Win’s authors Thea Riofrancos, Daniel Aldana Cohen, and Alyssa Battistoni in conversation with Sydney Ghazarian, member of the DSA Green New Deal Campaign Committee. RSVP here.

For Us Not Amazon is circulating this, and MDC DSA is proud to have signed on:

As communities across Virginia face the impact of COVID-19, community members in Virginia and partners of the For Us Not Amazon coalition are demanding that Amazon forgo the up to $750 million in corporate kickbacks promised by Virginia legislators and the $53 million the corporation could receive from Arlington County…While our communities are struggling, Amazon is profiting off of the pandemic. They shouldn’t also receive kickbacks from Virginia and Arlington County.”

-Statement from Us Not Amazon

Rent Strike in Northern Virginia! Laid off airport workers in UNITE HERE Local 23 are organizing a rent strike in Southern Towers, where over 300 tenants have signed a demanding rent be canceled indefinitely until the crisis subsides. They also demand that rent be income based when they go back to work. DSA members will be doing outreach to city, county and state officials in solidarity with their demands. Please sign and share the New Virginia Majority petition to cancel rent. If you are interested in getting more involved in this struggle, sign up here.

MDC DSA’s Steering Committee endorsed this letter at its April 7 meeting demanding Mayor Bowser support excluded workers in the city not otherwise eligible for cash assistance during the coronavirus emergency. Tens of thousands of immigrant families and other workers are among them. This WaPo explainer on the omnibus Council bill explains in good detail where the legislation falls short.

FEATURED ARTICLE in the April issue of the Washington Socialist: our Maryland comrade Larry Stafford Jr., exdir of Progressive Maryland, has some thoughts about the kind of normal we don’t want to go back to.


MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR APRIL/MAY

Saturday, APR 18 | NOVA Branch DSA 🌹 Migrant Justice Campaign Remote Access Only
The Northern Virginia Branch of MDC DSA’s next migrant justice working group meeting will continue with work around solidarity with organizations/communities in NoVA and ending detention.

Sunday, APR 19 | 3:00 PM
April General Body Meeting: Climate Action in DC and Beyond
MDC DSA’s April General Body Meeting will feature updates from working groups, a chance to (virtually) connect with comrades, and a highlight on the great work our Ecosocialism Caucus is doing to put people and planet over profit!

Monday, APR 20 | 5:00 to 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.

Thursday, APR 23 | 7:00 PM
NOVA Branch DSA Organizing Meeting
The NOVA DSA branch will be welcoming new members and continue discussing planning for our current actions and campaigns including support for DSA endorsed candidates (including Bernie Sanders) as well as expanded efforts to connect with local groups.

Thursday, May 3 | 2:00 to 4:30 PM
MoCo DSA 🌹General Branch Meeting
The MoCO DSA branch will be connecting virtually for their monthly meeting.


EVENTS BY OUR ALLIES IN THE DMV

Saturday, APR 18 | 1:30 to 3:00 PM
Virtual Meeting: Covid-19 and the District
Hosted by DC Grassroots Planning Coalition and Empower DC** *Adapted to a virtual panel discussion, Zoom Meeting
This virtual panel will host a discussion with skilled experts on COVID-19, DC’s Comprehensive Plan, health inequity, homelessness, and gentrification.

Sunday, APR 19 | 2:00 to 4:00 PM
Prince George’s County Our Revolution monthly meeting
Adapted to a virtual panel discussion, Zoom Meeting
This virtual meeting will discuss current actions and events in the wake of Bernie’s campaign suspension. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Tuesday, APR 21 | 12:00 to 1:00 PM
Federal and Local COVID Emergency Legislation Update
Hosted by DC Jobs with Justice
This webinar will education participants on rights during COVID emergency. The session will cover the second round of local emergency legislation as well as newly passed federal legislation.

Saturday, APR 26 | 8:00 PM ET DSA’s Ecosocialist Working Group’s A Planet to Win webinar
Hosted by DSA Ecosocialists A mass call discussing the state of organizing in the midst of global emergency. This call will feature Thea Riofrancos, Daniel Aldana Cohen, and Alyssa Battistoni, the authors of “A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal,” in conversation with Sydney Ghazarian, member of DSA’s Green New Deal campaign committee and founding member of the national DSA Ecosocialist Working Group.


INFO ACCESS

WG and campaign leaders: the Friday AM Update is built throughout the week in a Google Doc that can be shared with you on request, as it is with other campaign leaders. To get edit access, contact us at thesocialist@mdcdsa.org or 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.

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: Our last update for April will be published on Friday, April 24, and the May Day issue of the Washington Socialist will be published Friday, May 1. Article deadline will be Saturday, April 25. May Updates will be sent Fridays, May 8, 15 and 22nd and the June issue of the Washington Socialist will be published Friday, May 29 with an article deadline Saturday, May 23. As always, submissions are welcome at thesocialist@mdcdsa.org. We welcome all comments, questions, or observed issues with the new site from members; please send notices through the Red Desk or notify us in our #publications slack channel.


COVID-19 News

Click here to view our page dedicated to compiling local COVID-19 relief and resources links. We will begin collecting news and updates for COVID-19 relief and benefits specific news in this section of the Weekly Update.

April 10 - Mayor Bowser granted early release to several DC residents held in jail. Those eligible include residents who are currently in the DC Jail as a result of a misdemeanor conviction. There are currently 36 eligible inmates that the 75-day additional good time credit would apply to. Approximately half of the 36 inmates will be eligible for immediate release as a result of this action, pending no outstanding matters.

April 13 - DC launched 10 weekday grocery distribution sites at District schools to help families access meals and other resources during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency. The grocery distribution sites are being launched in partnership with Martha’s Table and DC Central Kitchen. The sites are available to all families and are open Monday – Friday, 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Residents can pick up pre-packed grocery bags, which include fresh produce and dry goods. Groceries are being distributed on a first come, first served basis.

April 14 - The CARES ACT stimulus checks have begun going out. An FAQ - about what the check is, who its going to, and what to do if you don’t get yours, can be found on the Tax Foundation’s website.

April 15 - The following individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering: employees, customers, and visitors of hotels, retail food sellers, taxis, ride-sharing companies, or other private transportation providers.

April 15 - DC has extended the stay-at-home order and closure of non-essential businesses through May 15.

April 15 - Mayor Bowser outsources coronavirus relief to the activist community she’s never supported. Many have reported that DC relief lines are swamping Mutual Aid hotlines, which are not prepared for such a swelled response.


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

Richard Wolff’s latest podcast, which has been bouncing around our Slack channels, reviews why capitalism - especially in the US - failed to prepare for or cope with pandemic and thus contributed to economic collapse.

Our comrade John G recounts how our local built its Bernie effort to last beyond the back-and-forth of the primary campaign. From the Collective Power Network blog.

The Public Banking Institute has a path back for the real economy with nonprofit, public finance. Passed along by Portside

In Kotaku, a surprisingly detailed exploration of how capitalist obsession with productivity can corrupt even our most simple hobbies: “Animal Crossing presents the fantasy of a world in which the mechanics of capitalism—production and the means thereof, bosses, buying, selling, earning, and so on—can be divorced from the imperatives underlying it…[but] in our hyper-connected capitalist world, productivity in general—not just in Animal Crossing—can be performative. We equate productivity with worth and meaning because it’s what we’ve been primed to do.”

NYT’s Tom Edsall, visibly relieved now that the specter of Bernie is in the rear view mirror, with a good analysis of the way anger, fear and rapidly shifting social conditions mix ‘n match in the cocktail that overdetermines voter behavior. But now he’s got his moderate candidate, Edsall falls to worrying: “How well equipped is Joe Biden to take full advantage of the wind that might be at his back? Can he negotiate the demands of nationally televised debates, press conferences and extemporaneous speaking on the campaign trail, whatever that ends up meaning this year?” Questions we are all asking.

Dr. Gwen DuBois of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility says Gov. Hogan has more to do during the pandemic where Maryland’s most vulnerable residents are concerned.

A new labor movement is predicted by Steve LeVine in Medium.

Teen Vogue interviews MDC DSA supported Mckayla Wilkes, running against Steny Hoyer in Maryland’s 5th.