August 7, 2020 Weekly Update


UP FRONT

  • MDC DSA’s General Body Meeting - Sunday, August 9
  • Saturday and Sunday actions in support of striking tenants at the Southern Towers
  • Organizing to protect Montgomery County’s working families
  • Bringing the red wave to DC

General Body Meeting - Sunday, August 9 at 3:00 PM
Our monthly meeting to occur this Sunday. Agenda is on the way, and will be posted on Slack as soon as it’s available. We ask all intended to attend to register for the meeting in the above link. Registering helps give the meeting heralds a sense of the scale of attendance, and makes sure you get the right Zoom link info!

Our GBM’s are a great way to get plugged into our chapter’s ongoing activities, figure out where our attention is focused, and discuss ongoing debates and topics happening across the DMV’s socialist scene.

Southern Towers Tenant Support - Saturday and Sunday
When Virginia entered Phase 2 of reopening during the pandemic, eviction moratoriums were lifted and many Virginia residents are at risk of losing their housing. To help keep immigrant families in their homes, the chapter raised $10,600 for La ColectiVA. The amount raised was more than double the fundraising goal! This was an incredible show of community solidarity and a very successful mutual aid project. A huge thanks to all those who organized the fundraiser, donated, and helped raise awareness!

But there is still more work left to do. Our neighbors in Southern Towers continue to fight eviction proceedings, and there is a drumbeat growing across the commonwealth for evictions to end until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic- no more piecemeal solutions. There will be series of actions over the next two weeks as the VA General Assembly prepares to reconvene on August 18th. Through our statewide solidarity efforts, NOVA Branch is working with other VA DSA chapters and allied organizations to push VA legislators to stop evictions during the pandemic. This weekend, here are the immediate events in support of the Southern Towers rent strikers:

  • Saturday, August 8 at 5 PM - Southern Towers (5001 Seminary Road, Alexandria, VA), in front of the 7/11. *Bring comfortable shoes, hand sanitizer, and a mask. We will be talking with tenants who have pending eviction hearings, make sure they know their rights, and get more information about their situation.
  • Sunday, August 9 at 1 PM - Southern Towers Support Planning Meeting. For planning the support of the striking tenants of Southern Towers, and to discuss research and canvassing work.
  • Friday, August 7 at 7 PM - Special Meeting of the Coalition to Repeal “Right to Work” on the Eviction Crisis. This virtual event will feature speakers from tenant leaders from Southern Towers, plus elected and advocacy leaders. For Zoom access info, *please email VirginiaDiamond24@gmail.com *

Protecting Montgomery County’s working families
Metro DC DSA and its MoCo Branch needs your help to protect Montgomery County’s working families. We are fighting to defeat a regressive, pro-austerity ballot measure in November that could cripple our county’s ability to deliver vital services to its residents. Help us defeat this measure while engaging underrepresented members of the community and building working class power in Montgomery County! If you are able, please sign up to volunteer with our campaign via this form.

We will be urging voters to fund essential services, like public health programs and vote against tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations. Additionally, you can donate HERE to the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America Solidarity PAC.

Riding the Red Wave to November
As many of you have no doubt followed, DSA has been seeing some great victories across the country. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib beat her opponent by over 30 points, and Cori Bush beat a 50 year political dynasty to advance to the Congressional election in November. Democratic socialism is winning when we organize effectively and unapologetically demand a world that works for all of us.

Locally, Metro DC DSA’s Election Working Group has been making sure the red wave hits DC’s City Council this November. We’re keeping our momentum going after Janeese Lewis George’s primary win by supporting her and Ed Lazere in November’s DC Council elections. Our Call Training website is now online, and organizers are standing by to mobilize our membership to bring DSA to victory in DC!

This weekend, we’ll have three phone-bank training sessions prepared:

BRIEFS

Bylaws Commission resolution
MDC DSA’s Steering Committee Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution creating a Bylaws Commission – one of the most important functions of the local Convention scheduled to take place in December. Bylaws discussion and debate amounts to refreshing the stance and direction of the local chapter. You can find the text for the resolution here. A brief discussion is included in the agenda being developed now for the August GBM.

Participatory Budgeting gears up
Will your campaign or working group need support – and we mean money – from the MDC DSA stash? MDC DSA’s participatory budgeting process needs to hear from your activity by August 12. Fill out this form to indicate what you’ll need and why, and send to treasurer@mdcdsa.org (cc to haganska@dukes.jmu.edu) by August 12th. The process, and participation details, will be included in the agenda for this Sunday’s GBM.

Metro DC DSA’s Internationalism WG
The Internationalism WG is looking to start a conversation about the best way forward in navigating a post-COVID-19 world with the national DSA Internationalism Committee, now open to the full DSA membership. The suggested course of action for consideration: 1) Focus on plugging MDC DSA members directly into their national-level subcommittees of choice and 2) retaining our communication channels (Slack, listserv, etc) as places of discussion and for more ad hoc organizing (e.g., organizing an embassy demonstration) but not trying to force our own local campaigns.

This is meant to start a conversation and we would value all feedback via our #Internationalism Slack channel and the internationalism@mdcdsa.org email. We would also be happy to set up a call to discuss potential options further. We have immense gratitude and respect for the work that people have done in this WG thus far and are eager to hear your thoughts.
Solidarity from Cesar G, Michael G, Carl T, and Eliot B

Demand climate justice and democratic control of our energy system
Pepco is trying to raise electricity prices even though thousands of DC residents are struggling to pay their bills due to COVID-19, and Pepco continues to block the clean energy transition we need to address the climate crisis. Click here to send a letter to the Public Service Commission and DC Council about why you oppose Pepco’s rate increase. Personalized letters are always more powerful, so if you can, be sure to include information about how the rate increase would impact you and why it would cause hardship during the pandemic. Email wepowerdc@gmail.com if you want to get involved in our chapter’s campaign for energy democracy and climate justice!

More? See GOOD READS for Pepco’s purchase of influence.

Have you completed our Member Survey?
We combined our two surveys into one and tossed in a few new questions. We’re quite excited about it. We want to know all about YOU! We invite members and supporters alike to participate. Please respond to our Member Survey on Skills and Interests when you have a couple minutes to spare.

Update on the DC Grassroots Planning Coalition
Empower DC’s Grassroots Planning Coalition - of which MDC DSA is a member - is recharging in August and will recovene in September ahead of the Council’s hearings on the remaining chapters of the Comprehensive Plan. In the meantime, you can review their webinars presented in June, July and August. The GPC is a critical effort in establishing a progressive housing program, defending and improving DC’s comprehensive plan (now under revision) against the attempts of developers to bend the Council in their direction.

Update on the Soc-Fem Caucus
MDC DSA’s Socialist Feminist caucus is meeting next Tuesday, August 11. Please note, we are in the process of deciding whether or not to allow men or masc identifying folks into this space. Until this is voted on we ask our masc. allies to please respect that for the time being, please do not attend anything other than the reading groups. We welcome all womxn and non-masculine spectrum nonbinary people and look forward to working with you!

Socialist Night School is back in session
Over the last several decades, public education has been under attack by corporate and private entities looking to profit from K-12 education. In this session of Socialist Night School, we will explore the tactics and history of the corporate-funded political group Democrats for Education Reform, and the funding, spending, and influence that has allowed them to advance the school privatization project here in DC. This return of the Socialist Night School will take place on Thursday, August 13.

MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR AUGUST

Sunday, Aug 9 | 3:00 PM
Metro DC DSA’s August GBM
Agenda will be published in advance of meeting – see Slack channel #announcements .

Sunday, Aug 9 | 1:00 PM
Southern Towers Tenant Support Planning Meeting
Every Sunday at 1 PM – planning the support of the striking tenants of Southern Towers, to discuss research and canvassing work.

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).

Thursday, Aug 13 | 6:30 to 8:30 PM
Democrats for Education Reform & School Privatization | Socialist Night School
This event explores the tactics and history of the corporate-funded political group Democrats for Education Reform, and the funding, spending, and influence that has allowed them to advance the school privatization project here in DC. Virtual; register for Zoom access info.

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.

Sunday, Aug 16 | 2:00 PM
Socialist Feminist Reading Group (August Discussion)
POSTPONED ONE WEEK TO PREVENT SCHEDULING CONFLICTS. Comrades, the Socialist Feminist Reading Group will be discussing How We Get Free, Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, edited by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.

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.

Thursday, Aug 27 | 6:30 to 8:30 PM
The US Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki | Socialist Night School
These gruesome acts ushered in a new era in which the world had to live with the threat of nuclear annihilation, an existential threat that is still with us today. Mainstream depictions of the world’s first use of nuclear weapons paint it is a military necessity. This is false. It was a political decision on the part of US leaders. Discussion with Prof. Peter Kuznick of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University.

Wednesday, Sep 2 | 7:00 PM
Prince George’s Branch (prov.) Biweekly Meeting
If we did our job, we should have ratified our bylaws and be petitioning for branch status. All the while we have been developing 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. Join us and help shape our growth and sharpen our campaigns. Do you live in Prince George’s and are a member or supporter of DSA? Join Us!


NATIONAL DSA EVENTS

Monday, Aug 10 | 8:00 PM EDT
Workers Organize and Win: MIKE DAVIS, Bianca Cunningham, Rosalyn Pelles, and essential workers!
The COVID-19 crisis has not gone anywhere. As states “reopen” and more workers are forced back into risk for corporate profit, workers across the country are joining together to fight and win better protections, higher pay, paid time off and basic dignity.

Thursday, Aug 13 | 8:30 PM EDT
Labor Film Screening: Union Time
The DSA Labor Commission is proud to sponsor this Zoom screening of the film Union Time, which documents the history of the successful 16-year process of organizing the Smithfield pork processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina.

Thursday, Aug 13 | 8:30 PM EDT
Housing Justice Commission: Eviction Defense Strategy Call
Unless drastic action is taken by all levels of government, we can expect a tidal wave of evictions throughout the coronavirus “recovery,” with more loss of housing than the 2008-2009 recession. Now more than ever, DSA members and tenants across the country must organize to fight back and defend tenants from displacement.


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 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

TODAY, Aug 7 | 7:00 PM
Special Meeting of the Coalition to Repeal “Right to Work” on the Eviction Crisis
Speakers Include: Tenant Leaders from Southern Towers – plus electeds and advocacy leaders. For Zoom access info email VirginiaDiamond24@gmail.com

Saturday, Aug 8 | 10:00 to 11:00 AM
Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings
Greenbelt’s Roosevelt Center
In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the detonation of nuclear bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Prince George’s County Peace & Justice Coalition will display posters depicting some of the damages inflicted by US bombs on August 6 and August 9, 1945. The exhibit will be outdoors in historic Greenbelt’s Roosevelt Center (roofs shelter much of the perimeter from light rain). Contact Marjorie Gray at marjgray3@gmail.com to help put on the exhibit.

Saturday, Aug 8 | 12:00 NOON
“Peace Ribbon” event at the Capitol Reflecting Pool
Capitol Reflecting Pool, Washington DC
Those planning to attend are invited to bring peace ribbons and other signs. (TBA). Attendance limited to 50 and registration is required. Contact Andrea Norouzi at (andibonita@gmail.com).

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.


IN THE AUGUST ISSUE OF THE WASHINGTON SOCIALIST…

In our newest edition of the Washington Socialist


GOOD READS

Kaela Bamberger of We Power DC looks at how the District’s investor-owned utility uses charitable donations to cultivate political influence.

A “Good Listen” sent our way about DC’s rich black history, from our comrade Ingrid Goldstrom via the Anacostia Community Museum: “Knowing Our Past, Creating Our Future”. 2 hrs; dip in!

Two takes on the monopoly character of the big four tech companies and how they are getting away with violating antitrust law that a real Justice Department would invoke. First, from Tim Wu in the NYT (Wu’s historical analysis of the cycles of monopoly and government response in US tech development in his book The Master Switch is terrific). Second, from the Center for American Progress - a rundown on the antitrust aspects of Big Tech.

Fighting voter suppression is a constant struggle, and this article indicates that in states like Alabama it has been built into the system since before the days of Jim Crow, and continues today. Aggregated by the Popular Resistance site from Facing South.

From Counterpunch via Portside: How Trump is turning DHS into his personal Praetorian Guard.

One more good (continous) listen - comrades in the NOVA branch have been using this playlist to occupy sonic space at events and meetings.


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