June 19, 2020 Weekly Update

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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

Juneteenth March On The White House Today (Friday) At 5 PM
Black Lives Matter D.C. and Shut Down DC have asked Metro DC DSA to be part of a series of Juneteenth marches across D.C. this Friday. Join us as we demand defunding police and investing in our communities. View the event page here.

WHEN AND WHERE – We’ll meet at Hancock Park (near L’Enfant Metro), 800 C St SW, Washington D.C. 20229 at 5:00 PM today, Friday June 19. Marches will be occurring at the same time across the city, organized by the Movement for Black Lives with a diverse array of groups. These marches will leave for and arrive at the White House all that same time, as we converge on Black Lives Matter Plaza.

We’re marching to demand that the D.C. Council divest from the police and invest in Black communities.For too long, councilmembers in D.C. have overfunded a bloated MPD budget at the expense of critical investments in our communities. The MPD does not need $18.5 million more dollars this year. They don’t need any more money in any years – instead, they need less. We demand that the D.C. Council defund MPD, take cops out of schools, and put that savings back into spending on programs that help people. Check out the Sixnineteen website at sixnineteen.com for a map of additional Juneteenth events.
– Stu K

The JUNETEENTH WEEKEND

Saturday 11 AM - Arlington, VA
A 5 mile bike ride to honor the holiday, show community solidarity, and raise support for Fairfax NAACP’s ongoing work for racial justice. Event participants are encouraged to wear black.

High Noon - Lafayette Square, DC
A veteran led rally standing united with the BLM movement, opposing the use of military force on US soil, and asking for demilitarization and enhanced accountability for law enforcement. Although this is a veteran led rally, all who stand for equality and justice are invited to join.

1 PM - Glenarden MD
In the historic black-founded town of Glenarden, a rally and march demanding the defunding of police, investment into Black communities, and Donald Trump’s resignation.

Check for updates on any of these local events and many others at sixnineteen.com.


Saturday, June 20 | 3-4 PM
New Member Orientation - Metro DC Chapter, DSA
If you’re a new member, an established member who needs a refresher, or a non-member interested in our activities, please join us for this overview of our organization. You’ll learn about our working groups and branches and their current projects and efforts. You should be able to determine which opportunities you want to explore and how to get plugged in. Please register in advance for this meeting here.


BRIEFS

Chapter Democracy!
The GBM on Sunday included discussions and issues that we – MDC DSA members – are now voting on. Members should have received an email from OpaVote around 3 PM Tuesday, and voting is set to end at 11:59 PM TONIGHT, Friday, June 19. Vote on two endorsements in DC Council races and a bylaw amendment intended to make our endorsement process work more smoothly. You can find the resolutions, in addition to member statements providing context and arguments for or against the resolutions, on our website’s member statements and resolutions page.

Sunday’s GBM
Here are the minutes from last Sunday’s GBM. Attendees were briefed on chapter steering portfolios, activities in the Montgomery and NoVa branches, and a briefer on our chapter’s Defund MPD Working Group, among other discussions.

Updates on solidarity actions and campaign news from our Labor Working Group

  • Postal Service - The USPS is a universal, affordable public service that provides vital services and employs 600,000 unionized employees. And if it’s not funded in COVID relief legislation, it’s at risk of going bankrupt and being privatized. We have a google form with two ways to get involved: receiving free postcards to send to decision-makers and demand support for the USPS, and helping distribute these postcards to other DSA members. Additionally, the American Postal Worker Union will be having a car caravan day of action demanding the Senate move a relief bill for the Postal Service, which is on track to run out of money within the next few months. The action will be Tuesday, June 23rd at 9:30am, beginning at Nationals Park, Parking Lot W. Contact labor@mdcdsa.org if you want to be hooked up.
  • Rent Strike - Donate to our Southern Towers Rent Strike fundraiser here. We are supporting residents (many UNITE HERE members) fighting for rent relief.
  • Public Library Workers - If you are interested in supporting DC Public Library workers as the city prematurely moves to re-open, contact nelson238@gmail.com
  • Drive United - the chapter’s gig worker organizing project is moving forward with drivers of ride-share apps demanding PPE and that the companies actually pay into unemployment and other benefits. If you are a gig worker and want to be involved, or to support as an ally, contact woodswt@gmail.com.
  • Organize the Unorganized - we are working with some DSA members who will be entering various workplaces with the intent to organize them. If you are out of work and are interested in being a part of this work, or want to be a supporter, reach out to labor@mdcdsa.org for more information and to get involved.
  • Emergency Worker Organizing Committee - DSA has partnered with the United Electrical Workers union to launch the EWOC, a group that will organize employed and unemployed workers, focusing on the restaurant and service sector. If you are a worker and are interested in organizing your workplace, fill out this form and an organizer will get in touch with you.
  • Federal Worker Coordination - If you are a federal worker and want to either organize your workplace, or just coordinate with others around the impending austerity and authoritarian measures our government has and will take, a group of DSA federal workers have gotten together to work on just that! There will be a call within the next few weeks to begin this initiative. Contact labor@mdcdsa.org for more and how to get connected.

Tell the D.C. Council NO to Pay Freezes!
Charging that DC Mayor Muriel Bowser “is attempting to balance the budget on the backs of front-line workers,” AFGE has launched a letter-writing campaign urging the DC City Council to reject the Mayor’s proposed legislation to set aside or freeze a pay increase for city workers. Bowser’s 2021 budget proposal “revealed that she doesn’t intend to pay employees the 3.5% pay increase that we negotiated” and her four-year financial plan proposes to freeze city workers’ pay through FY 2024. The union says the move violates the contract and bargaining rights for workers “who are risking their lives each and every day for the District.”

Socialist Night School - Monday June 22
US-China “Cold War” and the Working Class – The US and Chinese governments remain in conflict despite the pandemic and need for international cooperation. In this session, learn about how to best understand U.S.-Chinese relations, how they are rooted in growing dysfunctions of the neoliberal global order, and how socialists in the U.S. should oppose this new Cold War. Presenter Tobita Chow is the director of Justice Is Global, a special project of People’s Action – Suggested Reading is: The US-China Trade War: A Progressive Internationalist Alternative by Tobita Chow and Jake Werner.


MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR JUNE AND BEYOND

TODAY, June 19 | 5:00 to 7:00 PM
Juneteenth Solidarity March
Assemble at Hancock Park, 800 C St SW. See UP FRONT for more details.

Saturday, June 20 | 3:00 to 4:00 PM
New Member Orientation
If you’re a new member or an established member who needs a refresher, please join us for this overview of our organization. You’ll learn about our working groups and branches and their current projects and efforts. You should be able to determine which opportunities you want to explore and how to get plugged in. Please register in advance.

Monday, June 22 | 5:30 PM
Queer Caucus Happy Hour
Take a breather for a few hours of smashing the cis-hetero patriarchy and enjoy a comradely social atmosphere.

Monday, June 22 | 6:30 to 8:30 PM
Socialist Night School: US-China “Cold War” and the Working Class
In this session, learn about how to best understand U.S.-Chinese relations, how they are rooted in growing dysfunctions of the neoliberal global order, and how socialists in the U.S. should oppose this new Cold War. Presenter Tobita Chow is the director of Justice Is Global, a special project of People’s Action.

Tuesday, June 23 | 6:00 to 8:00 PM
Prince George’s DSA Branch Organizing Meeting
We had a great call on June 16th! While we’re not a Branch yet, I think we’re headed in that direction. Perhaps a Branch-ish? We hope folks will join us again or for the first time!

Saturday, June 27 | Noon to 2:00 PM
Publications Working Group Meeting
Please join our team meeting to discuss the chapter newsletter, website, and the monthly magazine, the Washington Socialists. We welcome our workgroup regulars and any chapter members with interest in publications.

Monday, June 29 | 6:30 to 8:30 PM
Socialist Night School: Ecosocialism and the Green New Deal
*Rescheduled from an earlier postponement, a session exploring ecosocialism as a means of helping us understand how capitalism and overlapping systems of oppression fuel the kinds of extraction that now undermine basic systems of life on Earth.

Thursday, July 2 | 7:00 to 8:30 PM
NOVA Branch DSA New Member Orientation & Socialize with Socialists
New to NOVA Branch? Come to new member orientation to learn more about NOVA Branch and Metro DC DSA. Stick around after to virtually meet your new comrades!

Sunday, July 5 | 2:00 to 4:00 PM
Socialist Feminist Reading Group: Feminism for the 99%
Proposed first reading, Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto

Thursday, July 16 | 7:00 to 8:30 PM
NOVA Branch DSA Organizing Meeting
Welcoming new members and discussing ongoing and new campaigns.

EVENTS BY OUR ALLIES IN THE DMV

Thursday, June 25 | 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
IPS Webinar Series: No Warming, No War: Interdependence of Militarism and the Climate Crisis
Registration is required. In the face of both COVID-19 and the climate crisis, we urgently need to shift from a culture of war to a culture of care. Funneling trillions into the military to wage endless wars and project military dominance isn’t keeping us safe. We’ll discuss why true climate solutions must have antimilitarism at their core.

Saturday, June 27 | 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
March for Justice and Equity
Annapolis, Maryland
Black Lives matter and so do Black Votes. We are demanding the Governor repeal the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights (LEOBOR), fund our HBCU’s and invest in our Community Schools. Co-sponsored by Prince George’s People’s Coalition.

Monday, June 29 | 9:00 AM to 10:30 PM
Excluded Workers Rally
Excluded workers are undocumented residents, day laborers, sex workers, street vendors, returning citizens, and other workers in the informal economy who have all been locked out of unemployment benefits and other cash assistance. Organizations can sign on to the letter here.

NATIONAL DSA EVENTS

TONIGHT, June 19 | 7:00 PM
The Fire This Time: We Can’t Breathe
Black activists and other POC allies will get together to discuss the history of Black health under capitalism, the current Covid capitalist crisis and how to Fightback. With panelists and reportbacks. Covid-19 has intensified the underlying public health crisis in Black communities and has led to death rates for Black at three times the level for White people. Police enforcement of social distancing regulation intensified the daily oppression Black people deal with from the police. Panelist info, RSVP and more at link.

Sunday, June 21 | 3:00 PM
Sixteen Thousand Dollars: Screening & Discussion
A narrative comedy short film that imagines a world in which a struggling black college grad wakes up to find that reparations have finally been paid to descendants of slaves in America.

Thursday, JUNE 25 | 8:00 PM
Workers Organize and Win
Essential workers share their perspectives on organizing and winning protections during COVID-19.


INFO ACCESS

Metro DC DSA publications are intended to keep a socialist perspective and lens on events and actions both for our members and our allies, and we reach over 4,000 readers in the DMV. Our branches in Montgomery County, Maryland and in Northern VA are part of our coverage.

Publications Schedule: One more June Update will appear Friday, June 26, and the July issue of the Washington Socialist is scheduled for publication on Wednesday, July 1, with an article deadline of Thursday, June 25. 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.


WASHINGTON SOCIALIST

In our June edition of the Washington Socialist:

  • “The Battle for Rent Control” identifies the current struggle to strengthen tenant protections in the city, observing the evolution of the local movement in the context of COVID-19 and evidence of a new local left in DC.
  • “Reflections - 1983” recalls a time when a socialist and DSA member was once present and prominent in District leadership - a reminder that socialism is hardly novel, but revived.
  • “Communists at the Waterfront” explores the actions of past socialists – particularly, union workers’ early fights against racism and division promoted by merchant-marine fleet owners – and of our (often overlooked) comrades in Baltimore.
  • “Bernie or Bust?” makes the case for DSA member engagement in the upcoming presidential election, emphasizing the unique threat posed by another four years of President Trump.
  • “Soft Landing for the System Formerly Known as Capitalism” reconsiders the role and future of automation in a post-pandemic world.
  • “Pixel Riot” explores the premier video game launched by a cooperatively owned media enterprise
  • “Counter to the Planet of the Humans” pinpoints the shortcomings of Michael Moore’s newest climate documentary.

GOOD READS

Our local comrade Bill Fletcher Jr., who recently headlined our GBM, hits similar notes in his discussion of police and their unions: “a labor movement is not simply a collection of trade unions. It is a movement of workers for justice…”

In our Socialist Night School session on police abolition, Mariame Kaba is one of the most frequently cited resources. Here she tells New York Times readers “Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police.”

An explainer from the Urban Institute on how to decipher police budgets within overall local, state, federal accounts management. “…a key challenge in translating police spending data is merely our system of governance. In short, different governments deliver different services—and it varies by state.”

Disturbing growth of acceptance of conspiracy in Republican circles, outlined here by Media Matters. QAnon started as a fringe internet joke, but has evolved into a disturbing dog-whistle for the far-and-fanatical-right.

Maryland Del. Gabe Acevero, one of two DSA members in the General Assembly, writes in Maryland Matters about the path to ending police violence in Maryland, “one of the worst states in the country when it comes to police transparency and accountability laws.”

Tom Edsall in the NYT looks at the links between the “indisputable” leftward shift in the US electorate and attitudes about race and toward recent protest. As usual, Edsall is so granular that what began as sharper distinctions begin to get a little blurry, but still important stuff.

As the Trump administration abandons any attempt to manage the pandemic from Washington, state and local forces have to step in, right? But ooops, “four months into the pandemic, some governors and local officials are sidelining public health professionals in a rush to reboot their state economies, even as infections and hospitalizations increase in many areas of the country,” reports the Pew Trusts newsletter Stateline Daily. And “In 13 states, public health officials have resigned, retired or been fired.” Two, three, many Brazils?


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