July 31, 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

  • Emergency eviction blockade -TODAY at 4pm in Chillum, Maryland
  • New Medicare for All working group to meet Sunday, August 2nd
  • Afrosocialist digital happy hour - TONIGHT at 7 PM

Today at 4pm - Emergency Eviction Blockade in Chillum, Maryland
A landlord is threatening a group of tenants with eviction and is planning to illegally change the locks on their house TODAY at 5 PM. The DC Tenants Union is asking everyone who is willing and able to show up at 5406 14th Avenue Chillum MD 20782 at 4 PM, FRIDAY July 31st to show support and block this eviction from being carried out.

The DMV is entering a crisis of legal evictions, but illegal evictions like this happen all the time. With current tenant protections expiring, we’re going to see more and more cases of landlords illegally harassing tenants out of their homes, and it’s up to us to defend them when this happens. It’s important for us to turn out so we can show our communities, the government, and landlords that, when they try to kick people out of their homes, we fight back.

New Medicare for All working group to meet this Sunday, August 2
Right now, as people are losing their employment-tied healthcare during the worst pandemic in modern history, there has never been a more pressing time to demand medicare for all! Please bring your passion and ideas to this new group as we brainstorm on how to push this policy forward. Upcoming meeting is Sunday, August 2, 5:00 PM. Zoom link is at Meetup sign-in. Please join our slack channel #m4a and open the pinned google drive to see what we’re working on.

Afrosoc Happy Hour TONIGHT at 7pm
The MDC AfroSoc group will be doing a zoom happy hour! Have an informal venue to discuss the week, share book recommendations, discuss what we have been working on, perhaps conduct a Marxist analysis of Kanye’s discography? 7-10 PM tonight. Wherever the winds blow, join us this Friday! FB event here, Zoom link at Meetup event. The AfroSocialists and Socialists of Colour (AFROSOC) Caucus is solely for Black and other socialists of color. The space is intended to support BIPOC through political education, mutual advocacy, and to build on radical tradition.

BRIEFS

DC budget and legislative update
Tuesday the DC Council took several important votes on rent control, excluded workers, and workplace safety. Nikko B reports on the outcome:

  • On Rent Control – In direct opposition to the calls by thousands of residents and tenants to improve our rent control laws the DC council instead chose to simply extend the status quo, a disappointing setback. While rent control generally provides for predictable and stable rent increases, reauthorizing the current rent control laws allows continued unaffordable rent increases, and loopholes that lead to displacement embedded in the current system. DC JWJ will continue to work closely with the DC Tenants Union and the Reclaim Rent Control Coalition to build tenant power and win expanded rent control.
  • Excluded workers won a major victory in securing $9 million in cash assistance for all DC excluded workers. Despite active obstruction from Council Chair Phil Mendelson, ultimately, the Council voted 11-2 to include a definition of excluded workers that included both undocumented workers and workers in the cash economy.
  • Worker Safety - Labor and allies like JWF worked hard to pass the Protecting Businesses and Workers from Covid-19 Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 which codified a protected right to speak out about employers not complying with D.C.’s public health guidelines – PLUS this bill empowers both the Office of the Attorney General and the Mayor to assess penalties for endangering workers when employers fail to comply with DC’s public health guidelines.

– Nikko B is a Metro DC DSA member since 2017 and a worker justice organizer with DC Jobs with Justice. You can reach him at nikko@dcjwj.org

Have you completed both our Members Surveys?
If not, please complete them ASAP before capitalism snatches your next 3-5 minutes away! We invite members and supporters alike to participate. Respond to our Member Skills and Resources survey and interests survey as well.

Socialist Feminist caucus update
The Soc-Fem caucus had a successful first meeting and are moving forward strong! We have a few upcoming events, Grrrls Happy Hour, Reading Group (this month we are reading “How We Get Free: Black Feminism and The Combahee River Collective”), and our next caucus meeting is August 11, 2020. If women’s issues in the DMV is something that interests you, please join us!
Katie S.

DC Election 2020
Metro DC DSA’s Election Working Group is still riding the red wave through DC’s City Council. We’re keeping our momentum going after Janeese Lewis George’s primary win by supporting her and Ed Lazere in November’s elections. Ed is a chapter member and earned our chapter’s endorsement for his strong support of social housing, public education, and defunding the police. While we don’t know when we’ll be able to hit the doors for Ed, we know we can make a difference right now on the dialers. Working group leaders gathered over Zoom last weekend to soft launch our phone banking operation; this weekend we’re launching for real! With enough volunteers we’ll have a real shot turning DC City Council into the most socialist elected city council in the country. Ed is running for the at-large seat which means we need to contact voters in all eight wards. Help your neighbors learn about Ed’s campaign and help us refine our newly inputted call lists by signing up for our online phone bank training Saturday or Sunday.

Here are some ways you can stay up to date with both Ed and Janeese’s campaigns:


IN THE AUGUST ISSUE OF THE WASHINGTON SOCIALIST…

In our newest edition of the Washington Socialist


MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR AUGUST

TODAY, July 31 | 7:00 to 10:00 PM
Afrosoc Digital Happy Hour
The MDC AfroSoc group will be doing a zoom happy hour! Have an informal venue to discuss the week, share book recommendations, discuss what we have been working on, perhaps conduct a Marxist analysis of Kanye’s discography? 7-10 PM tonight.

Sunday, Aug 2 | 5:00 PM
MDC DSA Medicare for All Working Group
MDC DSA has a new working group! … Right now, as people are losing their employment-tied healthcare during the worst pandemic in modern history, there has never been a more pressing time to demand medicare for all! Please bring your passion and ideas to this new group as we brainstorm on how to push this policy forward. Upcoming meeting is Sunday, August 2, 5:00 PM. Zoom access at Meetup sign-in, above AND please join our slack channel #m4a and open the pinned google drive to see what we’re working on.

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 | 3:00 PM
Metro DC DSA’s August GBM
Agenda will be published in advance of meeting – see Slack channel #announcements .

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).

Sunday, Aug 16 | 2:00 PM
MoCo DSA Branch Social Meeting
Our August branch meeting will be a little different - it will be a social meeting with breakout groups, fun questions, and more! Join us to get to know your comrades better! Email us at: MontgomeryCountyDSA@gmail.com to receive the Zoom link and password.

Sunday, Aug 16 | 3:00 PM
MDC DSA New Member Orientation
If you’re a new member, an established member that needs a refresher, or interested in becoming a member, please join us for this overview of our chapter. You’ll learn about the structure of our Chapter, our working groups and branches, and current projects and efforts. You should be able to determine which opportunities you want to explore and how to get plugged in. Register at Meetup link, above.

Monday, Aug 17 | 6:00 to 8:00 PM
Queer Socialist 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. Register for Zoom link at Meetup.

Wednesday, Aug 19 | 7:00 PM
Prince George’s Branch (prov.) Biweekly Meeting
Join us to refine and finalize bylaws and move closer to formal branch status while we develop a program to tackle the many inequities in Prince George’s County and engage allies to make it happen inside county government and in the community. 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 Prince George’s and are a member or supporter of DSA? Join Us! Follow the link for virtual access. Join the agenda-building action on our #prince-georges-oc Slack channel.

Thursday, Aug 20 | 6:30 to 8:00 PM
NOVA DSA Organizing Meeting
Welcome to our monthly NOVA DSA organizing and planning meeting. Please take a minute to read our short, brief, not very long, sort-of-illustrated NOVA DSA Socialist Meeting Participation Guidelines.


NATIONAL DSA EVENTS

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.

Tuesday, Aug 4 | 8:00 PM EDT
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.


INFO ACCESS

INFO about YOU – for all of us. 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 – that’s you – have a proper grasp of our membership’s skills and interests so we know what we are capable of!

MDC DSA’s reach and scope can be amazing when you step back and see the landscape we cover in the DMV. Get the picture with this annotated list of our activities - campaigns, working groups, caucuses and how our local chapter does organizing in a democratic socialist way. It’s a great resource for new members or existing members wondering what to do with quarantine. Check out our chapter structure here. Our branches in Montgomery County, Maryland and Northern VA as part of our coverage.

Members of campaigns are of course contacting us at #publications regularly to keep individual entries current and informative (you know who you are).

Metro DC DSA publications – one of those working groups – 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. 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.

Workers and working families are the ground from which we all struggle to overcome capitalism. So start thinking about how you will mark Labor Day with the appearance of your article in the Labor Day/September newsletter of Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America. Discuss what you think you might write about in our #publications Slack channel – a great place to exchange ideas and develop our perspective on organizing, the history of radical activism, and how socialist ideas help us shape effective action. Or check in at thesocialist@mdcdsa.org and ask what’s needed. We welcome all comments, questions, or observed issues with the new site; please send notices through the Red Desk or chat us up in that #publications Slack channel.


EVENTS FROM OUR ALLIES IN THE DMV

Wednesday, Aug 5 | 7:00 to 8:30 PM
Forum: Ending the Extreme Sentencing of Maryland Youth Register
Although 23 states have ended extreme youth sentences, here in Maryland, over 200 people are currently incarcerated who were sentenced as youth to life in prison. Learn about legislation proposed in Maryland to end this practice, which the US Supreme Court has ruled out for youth. More info at https://fairsentencingofyouth.org. Sponsors include MoCo SURJ, Takoma Park Mobilization and Progressive Maryland MoCo.

Thursday, Aug 6 | 7:00 PM
Labor Notes webinar on How to Represent Workers in Investigatory Interviews
Featuring attorney and author Robert M. Schwartz. Union busting law firms can play mind games with workers in a controlled, adversarial one-on-one; learn how to fight back on their own terrain.

Sunday, Aug 9 | 7:00 PM
Black Lives Matter and Atomic Bombings
A discussion on the connections between Black Lives Matter and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; a webinar presented by Vince Intondi, author of African Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement. Intoldi is an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Institute for Race, Justice & Civic Engagement at Montgomery College in Takoma Park, Maryland. Registration required.

Tuesday, Aug 25 | 6:00 PM
ONE DC Member Orientation
Join us for ONE DC’s next Member Orientation, where you will learn about: ONE DC Mission, Vision, & Values; our organizing model and principles, history, shared leadership model, and organizational structure.


GOOD READS

The IPS’s John Feffer in The Nation dives into the longer term effects of COVID-19 on the planetary scale – a quite breathtaking roundup that pivots on issues of trust and legitimacy. “While most of Europe and much of East Asia have suppressed the pandemic sufficiently to restart their economies, Covid-19 continues to rage out of control in those parts of the world that, not coincidentally, are also headed by democratically elected right-wing autocrats. In these incompetently run countries, citizens have very good reason to mistrust their governments.”

A concise history from the latest issue of Dissent, outlining how capitalism, even during the New Deal and after, kept wages low by excluding many workers, especially women and people of color, from the protections grudgingly afforded other workers – and how labor (rather sluggishly) fought back.

From local comrade Bill Fletcher Jr., writing in Monthly Review, deepens the discussion on labor and race. “To quote the famous statement by Karl Marx: ‘Labour in a white skin can’t emancipate itself where it is branded in a black skin.’ The attempt by a segment of organized labor to ‘emancipate’ itself in the absence of unity with other segments of the working class would inevitably fail.”

From local comerade Chip Gibbons explains how Trump’s secret police rally his base against an internal enemy. In Jacobin.

Everybody knows we socialists are awesome planners, devoted to applying human intelligence to supplant the brutal effects of unchecked capitalism. But it appears some correctives may still be required… from The Conversation.

The headline from this Guardian op-ed is, alas, irresistible: “Trump has helped the US to see its dark side. It will still be there when he goes”

Local journalist Chuck Modi has done some great reporting on some of the DC area BLM protests. His article in Deadspin catalogs some of the recent activities happening at BLM Plaza.


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