May 15, 2020 Weekly Update

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Support Metro DC DSA here - all donations go directly to the chapter.

Help the rent strikers of Southern Towers feed their families! Donated funds will be distributed to those most in need through the tenant organizing committee.


UP FRONT

The 2020-2021 MDC DSA Steering Committee election (ended May 8) brought both incumbents and newcomers to the leadership cohort of the local chapter.

The Results:
Secretary: Ryan M
Treasurer: Brian W
At-Large Steering Committee: Irene K (elected Chair at first SC meeting Tuesday night); Paola S; Stu K; Ali M; Rachel B; Tim Z; Peter G; Kurtis H; and Gabe R

Multiple Candidate Endorsement Bylaw Amendment: Passes – but did not reach the 10% threshold required in the bylaws to pass a bylaw amendment (312 votes vs 3144 ballots issues). So measure is not enacted.

Resolution to Initiate Participatory Budgeting: Passes.

You can see full electoral results here.


THE WEEKEND

General Body Meeting this Sunday, May 17, 3PM – featuring a presentation on socialism and antiracism by Bill Fletcher. Access information in link.


BRIEFS

May Labor Working Group meeting – First, love and solidarity to all working group members and their friends and families; especially those still having to work, out of work, or cannot access relief. On Monday May 18 at 7:30 PM, we will be having our May Labor Working Group meeting. We’ll discuss efforts to organize service workers in DC, talk about the new DSA for the Postal Service campaign, and plug our fundraiser for striking Southern Towers tenants in Virginia.

The Labor Working Group has launched a dedicated fund to support the rent strikers of Southern Towers in Alexandria, many of whom are UNITE HERE Local 23 members who have been laid off. Please chip in what you can to support our strike fund. Onward!
Sam N

Solidarity action in MoCo! The Montgomery County Council has weakened proposed protections for renters during this crisis and yesterday in a 7-2 vote rejected union contracts for County employees, including hundred of frontline essential workers. The Renter’s Alliance, UFCW local 1994 (MCGEO) representing the county workers, and MoCo DSA have a solidarity ask for members (mainly with cars) to participate in a series of protest in support of workers and tenants in the County. Our first socially distanced action will be this Saturday morning (5/16) in the MoCo downcounty area. Please contact @frank santos fritz over Slack for the action plan.
Frank F.

DC Jobs with Justice has kicked doors at the DC government with some recent letters:

Socialist Night School Extra Credit! Here are the streams of some recent Night School sessions:

Support Mckayla Wilkes in Maryland’s 5th Congressional District! For the first time in almost 40 years Steny Hoyer is spending money in his own race. While he normally spends his election cycle making sure the establishment pick has the support of his corporate donors. This cycle, Hoyer is finally putting his corporate funded war chest to work in his own district. He is flooding the district with mailers, digital ads and Hulu ads because the people-powered movement Mckayla Wilkes has built has him scared! Mckayla has been keeping pace with him but she needs every single supporter giving everything they can in this final push. Mckayla is fighting like hell to raise $20,000 from grassroots donors for a TV spot by the 20th.Can you rush donate to make sure people in Maryland’s 5th district know that after 39 years, they have a better choice? Next month’s June 2 primary will be the best chance we’ve ever had to elect a true progressive to represent Maryland’s 5th Congressional District. We’re just 18 days away from the biggest electoral upset in recent political memory, voting has already begun, and we really need to give it our all.


MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR MAY AND BEYOND

Sunday, May 17 | 3:00 to 4:30 PM
MDC DSA General Body Meeting
Highlights include a talk on anti-racism and the socialist struggle from activist Bill Fletcher and an introduction to the newly elected Steering Committee of Metro DC DSA. Virtual meeting.

Monday, May 18 | 7:30 PM
May Labor Working Group Meeting
We’ll discuss efforts to organize service workers in DC, talk about the new DSA for the Postal Service campaign, and plug our fundraiser for striking Southern Towers tenants in Virginia. Watch for Meetup link for access details.

Thursday, May 21 | 7:00 PM
NOVA Branch DSA Organizing Meeting Our monthly NOVA DSA organizing and planning meeting. We will be welcoming new members and continue discussing planning for our current actions and campaigns as well as expanded efforts to connect with local groups. As always, we will address any current issues from our communities and allied organizations, including efforts against the alt-right.

Monday, May 25 | 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.

Sunday, June 7 | 2:00 to 4:30 PM
MoCo DSA General Branch Meeting
Please join us for our June branch meeting via Zoom!


NATIONAL DSA ONLINE HIGHLIGHTS

Here’s the latest COVID-19 Bulletin #11 dated May 1.

Tuesday, May 19 | 9:00 PM
The Future for Socialists in National Electoral Politics
Please join DSA’s National Political Committee in conversation with our three new Nationally-endorsed candidates for Congress: Mckayla Wilkes (MD-05), Samelys Lopez (NY-15) and Rebecca Parson (WA-06). We will discuss what the future of the electoral left should look like. We will ask our candidates why they chose to run as socialists, how their electoral work has changed in a COVID-19 world, and how YOU can be a part of the effort to get these three groundbreaking women elected.

Thursday, May 21 | 7:00 PM
Q&A about DSA
Are you interested in joining DSA? Are you curious what being an active Democratic Socialist Organizer looks like? Jump on this call to meet DSA Leaders, explore what it means to be a DSA member, and ask questions about DSA and the movement we’re building.

Thursday, May 28 | 8:00 PM
DSA Organizing School: Class 3
The training series will cover political analysis and organizing skills to build on the working-class movement that fueled Bernie Sanders historic run for the presidency and will be especially useful for Bernie supporters who want to get more integrated into DSA.


EVENTS BY OUR ALLIES IN THE DMV

Friday, May 17 | 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Our Revolution Montgomery virtual chapter meeting

Monday, May 18 | 7:00 PM
Reel and Meal presents “Suppressed”
The Robert Greenwald documentary illustrates how voter suppression works to crush dissent and reform. Mckayla Wilkes, 5th C.D. candidate in the June 2 primary, is guest commentator after the film. R&M is a monthly film series at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, MD but currently convening by Zoom.

Wednesday, May 20 | 8:00 to 10:00 PM
Building the Peace Monument Teach-In
Join us for a free teach-in on “Building the Peace Movement.” Bring your questions and suggestions. We’ll hear briefly from a number of key speakers before moving into Q&A. Numerous sponsors for this event, including Code Pink and World Beyond War.


INFO ACCESS

Navigate and explore the expanding MDC DSA website and its resources!

Getting through this unprecedented time of a society under the hammer of the pandemic requires information resources for mutual aid and for individual and collective relief – as well as for organizing as socialists, now and later. You can find them on [mdcdsa.org]

PUBLICATIONS SCHEDULE: A final May update will be sent May 22, 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.

May 11 - An additional $2.3 million has been made available for the District’s Coronavirus Contact Trace Force - this amount paid out of the DC Contingency Cash Reserve Fund. MIT has been charting different approaches to contact tracing - measuring not just efficacy but privacy.

May 12 - Reporting in the Washington Post suggested that DC’s COVID hotlines are limited to weekdays and are closing during nights. The article also references difficulties some grocery workers have found in getting tested.

May 13 - a bunch of updates had been released on Wednesday detailing DC’s COVID response. First, the stay at home order has been extended through June 8, 2020. The DC government has also released the four metrics they are using to inform their reopening status: community spread, testing capacity, health care system capacity, and public health system capacity. The qualifications the city needs to meet are summarized as follows:

  • 14-day decrease in community spread, as well as a trasmission rate less than 1 for 3 days;
  • ability to test symptomatic, at-risk healthcare workers, essential workers, and close contacts of all new positive cases, which the city says it can do at this time;
  • <80% health care capacity for 7 days…currently the system is at 76% occupancy with 14 days <80%;
  • city capability to contact trace within 1 day, and track their close contacts within 2 days.

GOOD READS

Another one from Adam Tooze, increasingly relevant ubercommentator on today’s today-ness: “What we are living through is the first economic crisis of the Anthropocene. This is the era in which humanity’s impact on nature has begun to blow back on us in unpredictable and disastrous ways.”

A roundup both global and historical on current and past rent strike sentiment and action, from the Popular Resistance aggregator, originating in Socialist Alternative.

In The Atlantic, tagged by our comrade Jules B: “David Meyer, a sociology professor at UC Irvine who studies social movements and public policy [says] the U.S. government is ‘going to be spending shitloads of money’ to get the country going again, Meyer told me. The next few weeks and months offer a chance for leftist reform groups like the DSA “to get in and decide where that goes and to make claims.”

The first game developed by PIxel Pushers Union 512, a cooperatively owned gaming studio, has been released on Nintendo Switch and PC. Tonight We Riot has players taking control of a resistance faction overwhelming a capitalist regime. This interview in Kotaku displays some of the passion and inspiration that went into making this game; and the release of this entry suggests a new model for game and media development untethered from traditional modes of production.

A fellow XicanX… identified as a socialist and good-naturedly made it clear that he did not have to add the adjective ‘democratic’ to claim his socialist credentials. I got his meaning immediately. Adding the qualifier ‘democratic’ often signals, consciously or not, a number of things about the worldview of the socialist in question, including— that the US is actually a democratic country (hence, ‘democratic’ socialism), despite all the evidence to the contrary: that socialists in countries of predominantly non-white people, which have historically been dominated by the US and other imperialist powers, are not sufficiently ‘democratic’ in outlook or practice. … The notion of ‘democratic’ socialism as espoused in the US generally functions as a veiled accessory to the ideology of American Exceptionalism.”

The Next System Project/Democracy Collaborative previews a new book arguing that the future is and should be dominated by many institutions and practices moving from the hands of the private sector to public ownership.