April 24, 2020 Weekly Update

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UP FRONT

The candidate list for the 2020 Steering Committee election is set; see resources related to the elections process below:

Event access may require a password; get it in #2020-steering-election Slack channel


THE WEEKEND / COMING UP

Sunday, April 26 | 3:00 PM
Steering Committee Candidate Forum
Join the 2020 Steering Candidates for a Q&A session with members!


BRIEFS

Rent Strike in Northern Virginia! Tenants are organizing a rent strike in Southern Towers, where over 300 tenants have signed on to 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’s Finance Committee has finished its Financial History of Working Groups, Committees and Branches (available for reading and download here). The report charts financial activity engaged by MDC over the past year. This document is a great way to understand our chapter’s activity, and provides insight into our resource pool as we begin the new Participatory Budgeting framework.

Supporting those imprisoned – the Migrant Justice Working Group are working alongside LaCollectiVA and Sanctaury DMV for a car action planned for this Monday in support of folks detained in prisons and detention centers right now. The demonstrations will drive together and take action at three locations in Fairfax, VA to echo the demands from around the country that people who are incarcerated be released. Even before the pandemic, imprisonment was inhumane and a death sentence for many members of our communities. As the corona virus ravages our country and exposes its divisions and injustices, it is even more unconscionable. Sign up sheet for the event is here, and the event page is found here.

Electoral Committee updates – McKayla Wilkes is crushing it in MD-05 and has quickly become the premier contest of this primary cycle. Despite the election being extended until June 2nd, McKayla is committed to keeping her staff fully employed during the quarantine. This means she needs donations!

If you can spare anything, it will go towards keeping all full/part time staffers employed through June 2nd. Donate Here.

No money? No problem. Mckayla’s campaign is launching a peer to peer fundraising program. You’ll be working with a volunteer lead to set a fundraising goal for your fundraising wave (1-2 week time period). In this time you’ll be reaching out to your personal networks through your email, phone and social media to help fundraise for the campaign in this crucial final push. We will provide you with sample emails, scripts and social media posts to help you get started. This is an easy and EXTREMELY helpful way to get involved in the campaign in this final push! Click here if you’re interested in helping fund the revolution.

Socialist Night School on Labor Set – Socialists and the Labor Movement – next Friday, May 1, at 6:30 PM
After decades of retreat for both the left and the labor movement, we are currently experiencing a resurgence of both labor militancy and a renewed interest in socialism. But what is the relationship between socialism and unions? In this Night School Session, we will be covering the history of leftists in the US trade union movement, their influence, the various ways they saw unions as a tool (and a hindrance) to furthering socialism. We will then go into how socialists interact with unions today, and discuss ways to renew a visible and vocal socialist union movement today.

The session will be led by Sam Nelson, MDC DSA Labor Working Group coordinator and a member of the Communications Workers of America. Virtual Access

Maryland Unemployment Insurance expands – today, April 24, the Maryland Department of Labor is launching a new one-stop unemployment insurance application that will implement the two remaining CARES Act programs. Those who are self employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, have insufficient work history, or who have exhausted their benefits since July 1, 2019 and are eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program will now be able to submit their applications online and receive their benefits retroactive to their earliest date of eligibility.


SHUT DOWN DC WEEK OF ACTION - FROM EARTH DAY TO MAY DAY

Monday, Apr 27: Environmental Justice- Right Here, Right Now: Essential Not Expendable
Climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic are both global crises, but here in Washington, DC the effects are very local. And while both of these crises impact everyone, they do not impact everyone equally. Register for online action.

Tuesday, Apr 28: Bail out the People - Cancel Rent
The Sunrise DC Hub, DC Tenants Union, and the Shutdown DC Coalition are teaming up to disrupt business as usual for the DC City Council on Tuesday, APril 28 by flooding their phones with our demand to CANCEL RENT! Register for online action.

Wednesday, Apr 29: Hold the Corporations Accountable
Millions of people around the world are getting seriously ill, millions more are finding themselves out of work, and hundreds of thousands will die during this pandemic. Meanwhile large corporations are profiting off the crisis and collecting billions in bailouts while putting essential workers at risk. Register for online action.

Thursday, Apr 30: Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground
While much of the economy has ground to a halt and millions of people shelter in place, energy companies around the world are moving ahead with their destructive dirty energy projects. Worse, in some areas, workers housed in labor camps during the COVID-19 pandemic are creating an unnecessary and easily avoidable public health risk for the communities that are already suffering from the environmental consequences of extreme energy extraction. Register for online action.

Friday, May 1: International Worker’s Day
We are inviting all types of working people - healthcare workers, warehouse workers, grocery store workers, solid waste workers, students (students are workers too!), people working in prisons, and laid-off and unemployed workers - to share their stories and visions for the future. We’ll take those stories straight to the politicians and bureaucrats who are controlling our government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis. Three ways to register for action.


MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR APRIL/MAY

Sunday, APR 26 | 3:00 PM
Steering Committee Candidate Forum
Meet the candidates running for MDC’s Steering Committee. Virtual event.

Friday, MAY 1 | 6:30 PM
Socialist Night School: Socialists and the Labor Movement
The session will be led by Sam Nelson, MDC DSA Labor Working Group coordinator and a member of the Communications Workers of America. Virtual event.

Friday, May 1 | 7:00 PM
NOVA Branch DSA May Day Celebration
Still feeling the BERN? Join the Northern Virginia Branch (NOVA) of the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) to celebrate May Day and learn how to direct your energy to organize in our local community!

Sunday, 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.

Sunday, May 9 | 3:00 to 4:30 PM
MDC DSA Ecosocialist Caucus
We’ll give updates on our No Pepco campaign, talk about what we accomplished during the Earth Day to May Day actions with ShutdownDC, and continue our reading club. New and old members welcome! Virtual meeting


NATIONAL DSA EVENTS

Saturday, Apr 25 | 4:00 PM
YDSA: Strategic Campaigns
This is the YDSA breakout session accompanying DSA’s training on Strategic Campaigns during Social Distancing.

Saturday, Apr 25 | 5:00 PM
Q&A about DSA
Join former staffers for Bernie 2020 and DSA leaders to hear about who we are and what we do, especially if you’re looking for next steps after the Bernie 2020 campaign.

Sunday, Apr 26 | 8:00 PM
DSA Ecosocialists: A Planet to Win
DSA’s Ecosocialist Working Group invites you to a mass call with Thea Riofrancos, Daniel Aldana Cohen, and Alyssa Battistoni, the authors of “A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal.

Tuesday, Apr 28 | 8:00 PM
From Austerity to Pandemic: Crises and the Capitalist Class
Presentation followed by small group discussion.

Thursday, Apr 30 | 8:00 PM
DSA Organizing School: Class 1
Build on Bernie’s #NotMeUS movement, analyze our material conditions, develop strategic campaigns that force concessions from ruling-class institutions, and more…


EVENTS BY OUR ALLIES IN THE DMV

TONIGHT, Apr 24 | 7 - 8:00 PM
Joe Uehlein speaks to Coalition to Repeal Right to Work
The executive director of the Labor Network for Sustainability, and Voices for a Sustainable Future, will lead a discussion on labor and the environmental movement. Veteran of the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Department and 30 years of organizing and music. For access info, email virginiadiamond24@gmail.com

Monday, Apr 27 | 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM
Fairfax Car Caravan to Free Them All
Join us to demand that jails, prisons and detention centers #FreeThemAll! If you can’t join in person in your car, you can still join us on zoom where we’ll be broadcasting the action and hear from speakers. Sign up here.

Tuesday, Apr 28 | 9:00 to 5:00 PM
BAIL OUT Renters - Sunrise Movement DC Hub with DC Tenants Union
Join us to fight for someone you don’t know, because no one is disposable in this crisis. Housing justice is climate justice! Signup here

Friday, May 1 | 7:00 to 8:00 PM
NOVA Coalition to Repeal RTW welcomes Harold Meyerson, author and columnist, who will discuss labor and progressive movements in this time of pandemic and economic crisis in observance of May Day, International Workers’ Day! A virtual event; for access info, email [VirginiaDiamond24@gmail.com]


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: This is our last update for April. 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 17 - DC announces that DCPS will operate Learning from Home for the remainder of the school year.

April 19 - Mayor Bowser delivers her situational report, noting that 105 COVID-19 related deaths have been confirmed, overwhelmingly concentrated among black residents.

April 20 - Tax relief for DC business - a new cabal, including many DC businesses, overly represented by developers, are seeking tax relief from DC in response to COVID-19’s economic impact.

April 21 - US Senate passed a $ 484 billion COVID relief bill. The agreement covers $ 380 billion for small businesses (~$320 billion of which is funneling into the Paycheck Protection Program), $75 billion for hospitals, $25 billion for disease testing. The legislation includes a requirement that $60 billion must be set aside for smaller lenders.

April 23 - Comprehensive Plan to guide DC through recovery proposed.

April 23 - DC Coronavirus Contact Tracing Force announced. DC Health currently has 65 contact tracers, and about 70% of confirmed cases have been traced.

April 23 - House passes resolution creating COVID oversight committee. The committee will have subopoena power and broad authority to investigate how the government has used trillions of dollars in relief funding.

Feel sick? Public testing sites available at the following locations:

  1. United Medical Center (1-855-363-0333)
  2. GW University Medical System (1-202-741-2765)
  3. Children’s National Health System
  4. All Care Family Medicine & Urgent Care (1-202-787-1979)
  5. Mary’s Center (1-844-796-2797)
  6. Unity Health Care (1-202-469-4699)
  7. Whitman-Walker Health (1-202-745-7000)

GOOD READS

Among the most important areas of exploration for folks on the left are new ways to have impact on public awareness and discourse when we can’t – for now – hit the streets en masse. A team of social scientists, writing in The Guardian, have deep-surveyed the innovative methods that are emerging.

The 2020 Labor Notes conference, held last weekend, was not the raucous gathering of troublemakers it usually turns out to be – this one was virtual, but there were lots of folks on board. Here is the after-action report with video links to the sessions.

This piece in Newsweek is getting lots of notice, generally positive, on lefty social media: “Bernie Offered Us the Future. Why Did He Fail—and What Did We Forfeit?”

Public banking and its obvious virtues, with or without a health emergency, were touted by Ellen Brown recently and the concept is now turning up in The Hill, analyzed by a co-author from the Democracy Collaborative/Next System Project, as particularly useful as state institutions claw back from the pandemic.

Instacart is a clear opportunity for exploitation in the seething context of disaster capitalism. Here’s an interview with Gig-worker Collective’s Matthew Telles.

Climate activist analysts have pivoted to a specific coronavirus-oriented recovery plan that incorporates Green New Deal elements – as our comrades from the MDC DSA Ecosocialist Caucus referenced at the General Body Meeting this past Sunday.

Here are the two articles that were discussed in the impromptu Ecosocialist reading group that took place online in the hour after the GBM Sunday, April 19. The first is a summary of the second, more detailed article:
“We Can Afford a Green New Deal”
“The Green New Deal in the United States: What it is and how to pay for it”

The culprits behind the “protests” orchestrated by far-right organizers last weekend are revealed. Their business is to keep clicks coming in, and in the process mass collecting behavioral and contact information to be sold or otherwise monetized. Even Republicans have found themselves at a loss in battles against these groups - local branches have launched campaigns to stop the Dorr family from propagating their ideological manipulation, to no avail.

Gossip town - as the Biden Campaign races to build a, uh, campaign, it appears they are set to activate Bloomberg’s old campaign apparatus.

The oil price crash – bubble decline or just chaos? One view in the Washington Post.

For the MSM - it’s inevitably all about the businesses and their fate - not the workers and theirs.