July 24, 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

  • DC Tenants Union rallies to “cancel rent” in the District
  • NOVA branch fundraiser to keep families in their homes
  • Stop austerity in Montgomery County

Saturday July 25 - DC Tenants Union Cancel Rent Rally at Columbia Heights Plaza, 5 PM
Landlords who received millions of dollars in real estate deals from the city refuse to extend protections to the very people they mine for profit. Landlord-Tenant Court has reopened and people are having hearings via Zoom. Unemployment benefits are set to expire within weeks. Tenants have exhausted their savings to pay their rents through the lockdown, and future income has never been less secure. How are tenants supposed to pay their rent and repay debts to their landlords in one of the most expensive cities in America?

DC has the power to cancel rent and end evictions — so let’s make them! Rent striking tenants from over a dozen buildings across DC will testify at the rally that there is only one way to protect the city from a looming health and economic crisis: RENT CANCELLATION. Come to the DCTU rally to FULLY protect tenants in Washington through the COVID emergency. Tenants will march from striking buildings to arrive at Columbia Heights Civic Plaza at 5PM on Saturday, July 25. If you need a ride or want to volunteer, contact the DCTU at info@dctenantsunion.org or call 202-681-8272. It’s going to be historic. If you want to volunteer, please fill out this form!
Bring your mask. Stand 6 feet apart.

Keep Families in Their Homes Online Fundraiser
Join the NoVA MDC Branch as we raise $5,000 for La ColectiVA to help keep families in their homes as August rent comes due. We’ll be raising money all weekend and hosting a watch party of This is Parkdale on Sunday at 6:30pm. Since the start of the pandemic, La ColectiVA has been providing rent and food assistance to the immigrant communities they organize within Herndon and South Arlington, many of whom lack the basic protections of tenants with a lease. **Send donations any time now through Sunday at 8:00pm through Venmo @LaColectiVA, and please put “August Rent” in the notes when you donate.

Stop Austerity in MoCo County
Metro D.C. DSA members overwhelmingly voted to approve a resolution endorsing the Montgomery County Branch’s campaign to defeat a regressive tax ballot measure this fall. If approved by the voters, this ballot measure will starve Montgomery County of the resources it needs to fund essential public services and force the county to enact massive cuts in response to budgetary shortfalls related to the economic downturn and COVID-19. These cuts would disproportionately fall on the working class and those who are most disadvantaged. The MoCo Branch Budget and Tax Equity Working Group views defeating this ballot measure as the first step towards our long term goal of building a just tax system in the county. We’re looking for volunteers to help with phonebanking and distributing campaign literature. To join us, email montgomerycountydsa@gmail.com. We also invite all members to join our Wednesday night working group meetings, email us to receive the Zoom information.

  • Nicole Z, Chair, Budget and Tax Equity Working Group.

Member Skills and Interests Survey

We’re requesting members take our Member Skills and Resources survey as well as our Interests and Activism Survey. As we continue to fine-tune our organization, we are trying to make sure we have a proper survey of our membership’s skills and intersts so we know what we are capable of!


BRIEFS

District Council Budget Cuts
DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson announced on Wednesday a plan to trim $18 million from the city budget that a new sales tax on advertising, which he presented a plan to overturn, would have collected. These last minute changes have created a hole in the budget that the Chairman intended to fill by tapping fund balances and reducing spending on other public services. MDCDSA member, and presumptive Ward 4 representative Janeese Lewis George has provided a response to the cuts, as did MDCDSA endorsed At-Large candidate Ed Lazere. Interested in learning more about the budget? We recommend listening to our most recent Night School session, DC Budget 101](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAfG7uv9MDU&feature=youtu.be&t=668) which goes over the nightmare that is the DC budgeting process.

Speaking of Tenant Organizing…
Here are some ways you can catch up on how organizers have been mobilizing for rent control, housing justice, expanding familiarity of existing tenants’ rights, and starting the fight for stronger ones:

Additionally, our Washington Socialist has maintained ongoing coverage over the rent control issue. You can read about it in the following articles:

DC Election 2020
Recently, the MDC DSA added long-time budget advocate Ed Lazere to its 2020 endorsement list. We’ve also endorsed Janeese Lewis George for Ward 4 Councilmember - who successfully won her primary campaign against Brandon Todd last month. Here are some ways you can get up to date with their campaigns:


MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR JULY

Sunday, July 26 | 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Keep Families in Their Homes! - Online Fundraiser
Join us this weekend (July 25 and 26) as we raise $5,000 for La ColectiVA, an inclusive collaborative led by Latinx people in Northern Virginia. As La ColectiVA says, “we know that historically, in times of crisis and recovery, people who are systemically oppressed, undocumented people, incarcerated folks, and working people, tend to be forgotten. With the COVID-19 outbreak we’re able to see what we’ve known all along, that when elected officials put corporate greed first, migrant and working families suffer.”

Thursday, July 30 | 7:00 to 9:00 PM
Socialist Feminist Happy Hour
Comrades, the Socialist Feminists will be having a Happy Hour. During these times it’s important to have a casual setting for Feminists within Metro DC DSA to connect with one another. The event is open to the public and DSA membership is not required.

Wednesday, Aug 5 | 7:00 to 9:00 PM
Prince George’s Co. Branch (prov.) BiWkly Meeting
Our organizing committee voted unanimously to launch an exploratory committee to form a PG Co Branch! So exciting! We are officially a Branch-ish. We have a temporary, interim Steering Committee and a larger group of inspired PGC residents that comprise our Branch-ish. We’ve got a number of goals to accomplish and we want YOU to join us and be part of this movement. Do you live in PG Co and are a member or supporter of DSA? Join Us!

Sunday, Aug 9 | 2:00 to 4:00 PM
Socialist Feminist Reading Group (August Discussion)
omrades, the Socialist Feminist Reading Group will be discussing How We Get Free, Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, edited by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.

Tuesday, Aug 11 | 7:00 to 9:00 PM
Socialist Feminist Caucus Meeting
We invite comrades to join us as we discuss our new mission statement, inviting friends to join, future events, and a featured discussion topic (TBA).


NATIONAL DSA EVENTS

Sunday, July 26 | 3:00 PM EDT
DSA At-Large Members Q&A
Are you an At-Large member of DSA? Are you interested in getting more involved with the organization, both nationally and at the local level? We want to hear from you! Jump on this call to help build the Growth and Development Committee’s At-Large engagement plan, explore what it means to be a DSA member.

Sunday, Aug 2 | 4:00 PM EDT
Queer Socialists Meeting: Capitalism and Gay Identity
The Queer Socialists Working Group is meeting to discuss the essay “Capitalism and Gay Identity” with author and DSA member John D’Emilio. To participate in this meeting, you must first join the Queer Socialists Working Group, which is open to all DSA members who identify as queer.


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 5,000 readers in the DMV. Our branches in Montgomery County, Maryland and Northern VA as part of our coverage.

The August issue of the Washington Socialist will be sent Friday, July 30, with an article deadline of July 25. As always, submissions are welcome at thesocialist@mdcdsa.org . August Updates will be sent Fridays, August 7, 14, 21 and 28 and because Labor Day 2020 is celebrated Monday Sept. 7, this year’s Labor Day issue of the Washington Socialist will be published Friday, Sept 4.

Despite the US exceptionalist date for our Labor Day (as opposed to the international worker’s celebration May 1), the Washington Socialist Labor Day issue is always a major piece of advocacy because as socialists there is no issue for us that surpasses that of workers and working families and the class from which we all struggle to overcome capitalism.

Start thinking about how you will mark Labor Day with the appearance of your article in the newsletter of Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America. Submit them at thesocialist@mdcdsa.org . We welcome all comments, questions, or observed issues with the new site; please send notices through the Red Desk or notify us in our #publications Slack channel.

What does MDC DSA do, actually? Surprises may abound in this annotated list of our activities - campaigns, working groups, caucuses and how our local chapter runs its, um, business. It’s a great resource for new members or existing members wondering what to do with quarantine. Check out our chapter structure here. Members of campaigns are of course contacting us at #publications regularly to keep individual entries current and informative (you know who you are).


IN THE JULY ISSUE OF THE WASHINGTON SOCIALIST…

This packed edition of the Washington Socialist covers a variety of contemporary issues: the Defund MPD campaign, DC statehood, DSA electoral strategy, and more…

  • Police Reform and the Working Class - Police brutality is not simply a problem of individual racist police officers but is a result of a class dynamic;
  • Defunding MPD - policy impacts are beginning to be felt, and left and insurgent strategies have knitted together in this review of local protest activity;
  • Hogan Unemployment Fiasco - Working people have hit the streets, unions have pushed back on behalf of all workers and legislators have been attentive;
  • Black Radicalism on the Eastern Shore - remembering the contributions of Maryland organizer Gloria Richardson, part of the forgotten history of radicalism in Maryland;
  • Reflections: the 1992 riots - In 1992 police violence and its aftermath led to large demonstrations in Los Angeles’ communities of color and in D.C.’s fast-changing Mount Pleasant neighborhood;
  • Union Building for the Long Haul - this book review shows how hard the work of staying organized can be, and how the compensations for that near-thankless work sometimes surprise with their value;
  • Unrest and Statehood - DC Statehood advances but further steps toward that goal will have to wait for Democratic wins in Senate and White House;
  • The Time for Statehood is Now - A shadow member of Congress reviews why statehood is of critical importance;
  • On Electoral Strategy - Franklin Roberts considers DSA’s electoral strategy amid capacity and resource questions;
  • Enforcing the First Amendment - government employees must respect the First Amendment rights of citizens;
  • Remembering Dr. Howard Croft - Dr. Howard Croft, DC Statehood advocate and longtime member of Metro DC DSA from its earliest days, is remembered by activists who knew him.

EVENTS FROM OUR ALLIES IN THE DMV

TODAY, July 24 | 11:00 AM
“Cancel the Rent” Caravan and walk against evictions
In Annapolis – MD evictions set to return on the 25th and approx 145K Marylanders at risk – we are convening in person to demand action. Sponsors included CASA and Our Revolution MD.

TODAY, July 24 | 7:00 PM
Del. Jay Jones at Coalition to Repeal Right to Work
Join Delegate Jones in this timely discussion of workers’ rights, as the pandemic has exposed the inequities in our economy. Email virginiadiamond24@gmail.com for Zoom link.

Saturday, July 25 | 11:00 AM
Our Revolution Maryland political check-in
Panel includes MD Sen. Jill Carter, MD Del. Gabe Acevero, CASA researcher Cathryn Paul, and Rep. Jamie Raskin (pending confirmation) discussing the Covid-19 crisis: as relates to vulnerable communities; what the federal and state governments are doing; what we can do to demand a better and fairer response.

Monday, July 27 | 8:00 to 9:30 PM
No Warming, No War: Connecting Militarism with the Climate Crisis
Online Zoom Event from the Institute for Policy Studies – Unpacking the deep global links and exploring the existing paths, current limitations, and future possibilities of global cooperation on climate.

Wednesday, July 29 | 6:00 PM
CASA Ally Training kickoff
First session, Immigrant Ally 101 - learn more about CASA’s brand-new Ally Network!

Thursday, July 30 | 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
IPS Webinar Series: Why We Need to Save the Postal Service
Online Zoom Event from the Institute for Policy Studies – Why we need to save the Postal Service from an immediate threat and support innovations like postal banking, part of the IPS webinar series, Progressive Politics and the Time of Pandemic.

Saturday, August 22 | 3:00 PM
Black Celebration - Juneteenth plus
Baker Park Bandshell, Frederick, MD
This year’s Black Celebration (Juneteenth), aimed at supporting the black community, will feature local entertainment in the form of black-owned businesses, vendors, artists, dancers, food trucks, and more. College student Alexus Washington has worked to shape this event to sharpen “the message of proudly embracing one’s blackness [so it] will expand to black youth, and counteract what blacks have time and time again been taught - that being black is “something less-than and something to be feared.”


GOOD READS

An informative and holistic roundup of what’s been happening in Portland from anti-extremist website Bellingcat.

Tom Edsall in the NYT again (the aggregator, under his breath: “I can’t quit you, Tom!”). How do “liberals” and conservatives think, seek information, and communicate? And where do authoritarians fit into this (binary? continuum?) framework? Edsall as usual provides chapter and verse from social science scholarship, um, liberally quoted here, including “misinformation is currently predominantly a pathology of the right [but] …there is at least anecdotal evidence that when Republicans are in power, the left becomes increasingly susceptible to promoting and accepting fake news.”

From our Maryland comrade Melissa Reid: a review of the conditions that allow Trump’s psychosis to infect his followers. From Rawstory.

Amid backlash and targeted digital guerilla warfare, the US Army has finally pulled out…of Twitch. From Kotaku, coverage of the U.S. Army’s strange invasion of Twitch and the (successful) blowback that pushed them out.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan should not get away with swanning around the cable shows flogging his book while his short- and longer-term mismanagement of the state on behalf of his business buddies goes under-reported. Politico chimes in with this corrective, via Portside.

The reasons for pre-emptive nationalization of Facebook are a growth industry. Eric Alterman in The Nation adds his contribution.

Kate Starbird, longtime scholar on the way information marches through other formations in society, lays out the peculiar and seductive aspects of purposive disinformation. From The Conversation.


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