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September 25, 2020 Weekly Update
- Mysiki Valentine is endorsed overwhelmingly for DC State Board of Education At-Large
- Bylaws review/reform on agenda
- DSA 100k recruitment campaign sets training session on Sunday
Vote for Mysiki Valentine for DC State Board of Education!
Our chapter has voted overwhelmingly to endorse DSA member Mysiki Valentine for DC State Board of Education!
As a former teacher and grad of D.C. public schools, Mysiki will be a fighter for D.C. students, teachers, and families. He is running on a platform of equity and fully-funded futures for ALL students. This means ending high-stakes testing, increasing resources for chronically underfunded schools, and bringing true transparency to charter schools. Mysiki is the ONLY candidate in this race to participate in the Fair Elections Program and reject ALL big-dollar corporate donations, because our public education system is not for sale.
Here are just a few updates from Mysiki’s campaign:
- Just last week, revisions to a biased school quality measurement tool came down to a razor thin vote, which has implications for providing equitable school funding.
- Mysiki wants to rebuff the DC School Board’s “market based” public education policies.
- And here’s Mysiki on Fox 5 speaking out against the District’s initial decision to include a Super Voting Center east of the river.
MDC DSA’s electoral working group will be following up soon on how to help out with his campaign. In the meantime, you can start by donating to his (publically financed!!) campaign, and following and boosing him on social media:
Bylaws review and reform on agenda as local DSA convention approaches
We are coming up to the chapter convention this December and the Bylaws Reform Commission established by Steering is working hard to make comprehensive proposals that will make the chapter a real fighting force in the new year, when we will be living in a city with hopefully 2 DSA members on the DC Council and State Board of Education, and a new presidential term. We want to hear from all of you about your thoughts on how our chapter’s bylaws affect your work, and how you think they could be improved to ensure that we are a more effective and democratic organization. We have created a public channel (#bylaws-reform) in the Slack for people to make written submissions. We are asking that the original submissions be submitted in .pdf or .doc format, and that authors try to reply to questions from commission members and other members of the chapter in the replies to their doc in the Slack. We will be taking submissions until October 1. We will also be hosting three open forums for members who would prefer to orally deliver their thoughts on the bylaws – these will be recorded and posted in the Slack channel afterwards. They will be held at the following times:
– One was held yesterday, Thursday Sep 24th at 7pm
– this Saturday, Sep 26th at 1pm
– Wednesday, Sep 30th at 7pm
If presenters want to simply deliver remarks, they can – or they can volunteer to answer questions from present members of the commission as well. We are looking to hear from as many people as possible, so please try to come along! We are allotting an hour for each forum. We hope to read or hear your thoughts soon, and we hope to present a report in October that everyone will have ample time to read through and consider before the chapter convention.
MDC DSA Bylaws Reform Commission
From DSA’s National Director Maria Svart:
Imagine 100,000 DSA members. Each one an organizer, each one fighting from the bottom up at work, organizing on the streets, and organizing at the ballot box. Each one building power and solidarity in the multi-racial working class. What would we win together?
This isn’t a pipe dream. Over 20,000 people have already joined DSA this year. People like you join DSA to stop evictions, defund the police, elect socialists, and win campaigns like Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. Right now, you and I can take a massive step towards our 100,000 member goal so that no matter WHAT happens on November 3rd, we’ll be ready with an even larger and more powerful organization.
That’s why we’re launching our first ever DSA Recruitment Drive, running from 10/1 to 11/7, to transform how our chapters bring in new members and connect them to our campaigns on the ground. We need all of our members and chapters to commit to bring in thousands of new members and move them into action over the next five weeks. That all starts with our Recruitment Drive Kickoff/100K Pledge Training Call this Sunday, 9/27 at 8pm ET.
On the call, you’ll learn how to have an organizing conversation with friends, family, and coworkers about joining DSA as part of our DPledge, a commitment for each of us to sign up three new DSA members during the drive. Join us this Sunday to get started!
Maria Svart, DSA National Director
Well past the original 6pm closing time for hearings on the council’s new rent control bills, residents from across DC rallied to demand signficiant reforms to DC’s rent control laws. The hearing drew impassioned pleas from District residents to move away from the developer-designed housing policies that have stalling meaningful rent control reforms in the past.
And these calls succeed! The Rent Stabilziation Program Reform and Expansion Amendment Act of 2020, the Reclaim Rent Control movement’s platform, now has a hearing set on November 5th! Our voices did not go unheard!
DC Council candidate Ed Lazere to meet with MDC DSA’s Defund MPD Working Group
This Sunday, Sep 27th at 10:00 AM, MDC DSA’s endorsed DC Council candidate Ed Lazere will be meeting with members of DSA’s Defund MPD Working Group to talk about racial justice and police violence in Washington, DC. We encourage everyone who can make it to attend so that we can demonstrate just how important this fight is to our Movement. Please register at this link and submit questions here.
Immediately following the discussion, MDC DSA’s Electoral working group is hosting a phone banking training that prepares volunteers to make calls on behalf of Ed’s campaign and improves his chances of winning in November. Should you feel so moved after hearing more about Ed’s plans for his prospective term on the council and his comments on the issues the Defund WG fights to rectify, you are more than welcome to join and help put Ed on the Council. The link to register is here.
Update on the Defund MPD campaign
Last Sunday, the Defund MPD working group held their monthly meeting where we heard presentations from our Research and Political Education teams and set priorities for organizing around the upcoming FOP contract renewal. If you are interested in getting involved, you can fill out this onboarding form. You can also join the Defund MPD Actions Interest Group here. Finally, in case you missed it, check out our guide on how to talk to the people you know about abolition.
In other exciting news, the Defund MPD group is ordering masks and making buttons! Our Comms team designed several mask options to be voted on here! *Today is the last day to vote!* We are also planning a socially distanced button-making gathering in Alethia Tanner Park on October 4th, 3-5pm. RSVP here, and see the button designs here!
We also want to uplift the following actions and campaigns from our partners in the Defund MPD coalition:
*They/Them Collective: FTP March and Hot Din Dinner Fundraiser*
A weekly march every Saturday starting from Dupont Circle. The march begins at 7 pm. There is a mutual aid station at 5:30 pm. Hot Din is a weekly dinner organized by the They/Them Collective that provides around 50 hot meals to BIPOC and white accomplices every friday. Donate [here].
*Black Swan Academy: United Leaders 4 Freedom*
United Leaders 4 Freedom is a coalition of youth leaders, activists and organizations from around the city who have joined forces to make a greater impact ensuring all youth in D.C. have a voice. We are looking to support 25 young people throughout D.C. to join this coalition and meet once a month to: 1. Learn from each other’s expertise and experiences; 2. Gain advocacy and organizing skills through a racial and gender equity lens; 3. Develop and organize around a youth-led policy agenda to inform and push policy change in D.C. around issues identified by the coalition and their peers. All young people will receive a small stipend for their participation, support with food and transportation to attend meetings and be peered with an adult mentor to support them in this work. We meet every other Saturday. If you have any questions, you can contact OK Ukah at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-512-9052.
*- Kaitlyn C.*
The NoVa Tenant Organizing Working Group hosted a successful canvass last weekend making contacts with interested tenants in Alexandria. In addition to targeted canvassing, the group is developing mailers to send to tenants facing eviction, helping them navigate the spotty federal eviction moratorium. If you are interested in fighting for tenant rights in northern Virginia, join our [planning meeting] this Sunday at 1 pm.
*- Kaitlyn C.*
Ballot question B in Montgomery County is a tax scam designed to help the county’s wealthiest while forcing cuts to schools, public health programs, social services and more. This Saturday at 3:30pm, MDC DSA member and Maryland State Delegate Gabriel Acevero will join the Montgomery County branch to talk about austerity politics and join us in making calls urging voters to reject ballot question B. We’ll provide a script and all the information that you will need to make calls. [RSVP here.]
Additionally, MDC DSA labor and progressive advocacy groups have united to form Montgomery Neighbors Against B. Follow the coalition on [Facebook] and [Twitter], and check out [the campaign’s website!]
*- Nicole Z.*
Ward 4 DC City Council candidate Janeese Lewis George joined a panel of artists and activists last Sunday to discuss the intersection of activism, art and politics in DC. You can watch a recording from [OccupyDC202 here]. The two-hour long session provided insight into how ground-level organizations are built, how movements are sustained, and how political leaders are held to account. On the panel, Janeese Lewis George made a rousing defense for the Defund MPD movement, ongoing protest movements in the city, socialism and publicly financed campaigns. “If we are going to bring about change, we have to start demanding it…and it means everyone showing up in the their talent and ability.”
For the last eleven years, the Labor Rights Defenders Awards ceremony has brought together leaders and activists from the labor movement along with allies from the women’s movement, migrant rights movements, human rights movement, and social movements. We invite you to join the Global Labor Justice-International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ-IRLF) to highlight labor struggles and solidarity around the world and at home. This year’s awardees include the Chicago Teachers Union for their work in building community-labor alliances and the General Agricultural Workers Union of Ghana for their work in combatting forced and child labor in the cocoa industry. This event helps bridge the gap between US and international labor organizers and activists, building ties of solidarity and trust so that we can better work together against common enemies, often Western corporations.
The GLJ-IRLF Online Labor Rights Defenders Awards Ceremony will take place on *October 1 at 6:00 to 7:30 PM ET.* [You can register for the event here]. Help us celebrate these incredible leaders and organizations!
For those who missed last week’s General Body meeting, here’s a roundup of what went down:
– The Financial Report showed a solid balance, $39K-plus cash on hand, and described a plan to spend some of it collaboratively. The chapter program for Participatory Budgeting, a bylaws requirement, has been developed. A final meeting to match the funds to MDC DSA projects is [set for tomorrow, Saturday Sep 26th, from 3-5 PM](https://actionnetwork.org/events/chapter-budget-special-meeting-2/).
– Nearly an hour of the GBM was devoted to an outline of the local chapter’s actions and campaigns both before and during the COVID-19 health emergency. Participants outlined their work on anti-racism and the related Defund MPD projects and increasing coordination with allies like BLM on cutting DC’s police budget, with measurable but ultimately unsatisfactory results (a reduction, yes, but reducing a proposed MPD budget increase).
– MDC DSA members were noticeable and noticed in the street actions around the White House and Black Lives Matter Plaza. At summer’s end Steering tackled the good news, bad news fact that MDC DSA was getting a growing flurry of requests to sign on to or endorse actions initiated by other groups but needed to design a more fluid and reasonable way to respond to the requests. And it has. The local chapter Elections Working Group has vowed to put full support behind two endorsed DC Council candidates and one for school board — all DSA members — to build political muscle to match policy demands.
– GBM participants discussed direct action’s pros and cons and heard more about the chapter’s new “Red Rabbit” training program for marshals and de-escalation skills.
– More generally, the GBM heard more about the DSA100K recruitment drive (there’s a [training and explainer hosted by National DSA tomorrow]; see more in UPFRONT). Steering member Tim Zhu, who is liaison to the national 100K effort, stressed the centrality of members to the campaign: “You cannot get thousands of people to join DSA unless you have thousands asking.”
– Campaigns to deliver DC ratepayers from the corporate grip of Pepco, the revived SocFem Caucus, and Spanish translations for our appeals and arguments also got detailed updates. All these campaigns have busy Slack channels where the work and the workers meet and interested members can get involved.
– [View the GBM slides here] for more detail on the campaigns discussed.
MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR SEPTEMBER
Saturday, Sep 26 | Weekly, 3:30 PM
Phonebank vs. Question B
Saturday, Sep 26 | 1:00 PM
Bylaws Commission Forum
At our December MDC DSA local convention we’ll update and adapt our bylaws to the needs of a larger, more diverse and multi-issue, and resilient organization better prepared to navigate for unique challenges of the sort we are now facing. And win. Join the dialogue as we approach the convention.
Sunday, Sep 27 | 2:00 to 4:00 PM
Socialist Feminist Reading Group (Monthly)
Join the Socialist Feminist Caucus for our September reading group, where we’ll discuss selections from the classic Third World feminist anthology, This Bridge Called My Back (TBCMB). Readings, participant info and access at link.
Sunday, Sep 27 | 3:00 to 5:00 PM
Chapter Budget – Special Meeting
The final step in our participatory budget process. The Steering Committee introduced a proposed pilot budget through the end of 2020. Join us this Sunday to discuss that budget, talk about chapter finances, or propose any amendments. Ballots to approve the budget will be sent out following the Special Meeting. You can view the proposed budget at tinyurl.com/mdcfinreport13 .
Please access the meeting via this link. You may first be prompted to submit your email. PW is mdcdsa . This event is open to members and non-members alike.
Sunday, Sep 27 | 1:00 PM
NoVA Tenant Organizing Planning Meeting
Tuesday, Sep 29 | 6:30 PM
Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement – Socialist Night School
The Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST or Landless Workers’ Movement) is a Marxist social movement of over three decades of activity with a membership of around 1.5 million. MST aims to provide access to land to poor workers while simultaneously attacking such issues as income inequality, racism and sexism which uphold the capitalist system in both the cities and the countryside. MST has been demonized in the media and targeted for violence by right-wing militarist President Jair Bolsonaro but continues its critical work.
Tuesday, Sep 29 | 7:00 PM
Biweekly MDC DSA Steering Committee Meeting
Virtual meeting; all members may attend. Agenda and access links are at Meetup event linked above.
Wednesday, Sep 30 | 7:00 to 9:00 PM
Prince George’s Branch (Prov.) Biweekly Meeting
On agenda: sending bylaws to membership for approval vote; discuss interim steering structure to prepare for regular election cycle. Join us to launch our newest branch and change Prince George’s County’s neolib political establishment.
Wednesday, Sep 30 | 7:00 PM
MDC DSA Bylaws Commission Forum
Sunday, Oct 4 | 2:00 PM
MoCo DSA October Branch Meeting
Sunday, Oct 4 | 2:00 PM
NoVA Anti-eviction Canvass
NATIONAL DSA HIGHLIGHTS
Check out the newest edition National DSA’s seasonable publication, Democratic Left!
Sunday, Sep 27 | 8:00 PM EDT
DSA 100K Recruitment Drive: Kickoff and Training
Join Bhaskar Sunkara, founding publisher and editor of Jacobin magazine, and Rev. Andrew Wilkes on Wednesday, September 30th for the third installment in the monthly conversation series of DSA’s Religious Socialism working group. The theme of the conversation will be focused on Taking Heart in a Heartless World: How Faith Traditions Can Strengthen Socialist Movements.
Wednesday, Sep 30 | 8:00 PM EDT
Voter Supression and Electoral Reform Join the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) Fund, Dissent magazine, The New Press, and the DSA National Electoral Committee for the next installment in an ongoing series of virtual discussions based on the book We Own the Future: Democratic Socialism—American Style. This month’s discussion will focus on J. Mijin Cha’s chapter in the book titled: “We the People: Voting Rights, Campaign Finance, and Election Reform.”
We are once again asking you to do the Member Survey. It’s ok if you already did it. We’ve added new questions! We just love getting to know you. If you haven’t yet done the survey, please do so now! We are sending invitations and alerts to members based on those responses and you don’t want to miss out! Non-members are also invited. Complete it here!
Publications schedule: Next Friday, Oct. 2, we publish the October issue of the Washington Socialist. The article deadline is tomorrow, Saturday, Sept 26. Send your submissions to email@example.com
Are you an MDC DSA member who wonders how to get on our chapter Slack? Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and identify yourself as a member. Put “request for #Slack” in the subject line. Use the email address by which national DSA knows you. If you are a new member, forward the email that national DSA sent you acknowledging your status. Our Slack platform, with numerous channels for all our caucuses, branches, campaigns and working groups, is a great place to get connected with the kind of socialist work YOU want to do in DSA.
EVENTS FROM OUR ALLIES IN THE DMV
Monday, Sep 26 | 6:30 to 8:30 PM
Worker Coops and the Movement for Socialism
Presented by The Claudia Jones School for Political Education, cosponsored by ONE DC.
Saturday, Sep 26 | 5:00 PM
American Healthcare’s Dual Epidemics: Covid-19 and Racism
Webinar hosted by the Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition. COVID-19 has clearly shown the failure of our healthcare system, particularly in communities of color. This discussion, led by public health experts and front-line healthcare workers, will demonstrate the urgent need for Improved Medicare For All.
Wednesday, Sep 30 | 8:00 PM
Stronger than Storms: Climate and Just Recovery Forum / Más Fuerte que las Tormentas: Foro por el Clima y una Recuperación Justa
Webinar with 350.org: This virtual town hall will bring together representatives of climate impacted communities to share stories and connect the dots between our struggles. Sign up here.
Chomsky gave the keynote at the recent inaugural convening of the Progressive International, a new formation whose progenitors include the Sanders Institute. Outlining the crises of climate, nuclear annihilation and the degradation of democracy, “One primary task of the Progressive International is to ensure that we all panic now – and act accordingly,” Chomsky says.
Our local comrade Bill Fletcher joins Jose Alejandro La Luz to warn that labor is not measuring up to the demands of the “Cold Civil War” in which racist doctrine aims to capture workers and is barely challenged by workers’ own organizations, while “the antagonisms have bubbled to the surface and have moved outside of the generally accepted bounds of democratic capitalist politics.”
Want a retrospective of what’s been happening on the ground in DC? An upstart outlet going by Black House News has created a website to catalogue on-the-ground developments in DC. “The Trouble with Sleeping” covers the local revolt sparked on September 24th.
A comparison of the EU’s worker-focused response to COVID vs the US GOP’s shrug. This like shooting fish in a barrel, but instructive.
Lots of us living in the DMV are from other states originally and retain ties there. Here’s a scorecard, state by state, of comparative advantages and barriers to voting by mail, which when done early is absolutely the best method for personal safety. From this you can tell whether you better start messaging friends back home to get off their leftie asses and encourage turnout, USPS-styleing USPS turnout.
Former Brazilian president Lula argues in The Guardian against the extradition of Julian Assange.
Finally, here’s a super-secret Defund the Police playlist developed by a comrade. Don’t tell tell the cops.
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.