Letter writing campaign deadline TODAY – and preparations for actions
First, Defund MPD working group has an active letter writing campaign on Action Network. We invite all Metro DSA chapter members to participate in this campaign. The deadline for written testimony is October 23rd. So please fill out and submit this letter today.
There are 3 police reform bills currently under consideration before the DC Judiciary and Public Safety Committee: B23-723, B23-771, and B23-882. The reforms in these bills do not go far enough. We invite chapter members to submit written testimony. Here’s the link to the campaign. Chapter members could simply send the letter as it is, or it could be edited to add in any personal experience and perspectives that they may have and then send it.
Secondly, Mayor Bowser wants to transfer $ 43 million from elsewhere in the DC budget in order to cover incurred costs of policing for the many protests that have happened over the summer. The funds would be transferred from the Workforce Investment Fund ($ 12.7 million), the Department of Health Care Finance ($ 28.3 million) and repayment of interest on short term borrowing ($ 2 million).
It is obviously absurd to believe that we should defund employment services and public health services during a recession and pandemic, but organized power won’t let this stand. We are still working with coalition partners to finalize a clear plan of action going forward, but here’s what you can do in the interim:
Local Convention Update
The 2020 Local Convention is coming up soon! A very important event, the convention will be place to consider bylaws changes and resolutions. It is a space for the chapter membership to take a breath and examine our work and organizational structure, from big questions such as how well our overall structures are functioning to smaller issues like what various positions are called.
An email was sent out this week with information about how it is going to work this year. It will be held on the weekend of December 12-13th virtually due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. All members of Metro DC DSA who are current on their dues as of November 13th are eligible to be voting delegates. The form to submit bylaws and resolution proposals for the convention is live and can be found at this link. The deadline for proposals will be December 4, to give the convention commission time to finalize the agenda and prepare a convention packet with all of the proposals that will be distributed at the convention. Be on the lookout for more convention related events as we approach December.
Reclaim Rent Control update – hearing on November 9
Stomp Out Slumlords is still looking for volunteers to drive tenants to the citywide tenant march on Mayor Bowser’s house on Halloween! Hundreds of tenants from different Washington buildings want to attend the march, but can’t do so because of transportation difficulties. We need your help to make sure we get as many tenants out as possible–this is our opportunity to stand with the multiracial working class and prevent tens of thousands of evictions that are coming down the pike next year if the DC government doesn’t cancel rent. If you want to fight gentrification and displacement in Washington, this is your chance to make a concrete contribution to the struggle! Fill out this form to volunteer. We’ll need everyone to gather by 3pm on Saturday, Oct. 31, at the Fort Stevens Rec Center (1327 Van Buren NW).
And by the way – have you heard the good news? Yes, it’s true! Councilmember Bonds is holding a hearing on our Omnibus bill (Rent Stabilization Program Reform and Expansion Amendment Act of 2020) on November 9, 2020 at 9am. The DC Council finalizes the testimony list in the order individuals register (first come, first served). So we are asking: if you are NOT a tenant who lives in rent controlled housing, please DO fill out this form just yet – but WAIT until October 26th to register with the DC Council allow those impacted to speak first.
You can register for the hearing here.
Demand Council act THIS TUESDAY to Protect First Amendment Rights on DC Streets!
DCMPD has spent $100K on tear gas and other munitions, and though the DC Council is currently considering permanent legislation to prevent the use of tear gas on DC streets it won’t be enacted before the Nov 3 election and protests and mobilizations likely to follow. Council’s last meeting before the election is THIS TUESDAY — let them know they have to act to protect First Amendment rights on DC streets NOW. Sign this petition to demand their timely action.
From the Action Network Team – using DSA’s targeted broadcasting to your advantage
The Action Network team is here to help with your email request! Submit your requests through Red Desk with the email subject, body, who you want the email to go to, and when you want the email sent. We can do targeted emails based on membership status, where they live, causes they care about, and more! We request that you be specific to whom you want the email to go to. Emails to over 500 people require approval by the Chapter Secretary. Please be advised we need at least 72 hours before the email is targeted to be sent in order to ensure there are no delays.
Socialist Feminist Caucus Update
The Women’s March last weekend was a success! Thank you to everyone for coming out and supporting Soc-Fem. Check out our Twitter feed for pictures from the demonstration. Tomorrow night we will be hosting a social hour with Afro-Soc caucus open to anyone who meets the attendance requirements for either caucus. On Sunday, our reading group will be lead by Kara discussing “Poetry is not a Luxury” by Audre Lorde. Our theme this month is radical poetry by BIPOC womxn.
DC Election Update – Last push to build a political base for socialism in the DMV
We’ve been running around DC making sure the word gets out that democratic socialists are on the ballot in DC. But we’ve only got two more weekends until election day, so we want to make sure we finish strong to bolster the Ed Lazere and Mysiki Valentine campaigns.
Here are the ways you can help build a political base for socialism in Washington, DC:
Priority #1 – Making Calls for Ed: We blew up our goal of 20,000 calls just last weekend. This makes it the second stretch goal we’ve
Priority #2 – Literature Drop for Mysiki Valentine: In the last two weeks, we climbed the hills of Mount Pleasant, and marched across the verdant streets of Bloomingdale; all to get the word out about Ed and Mysiki. This is another effective way to build name recognition and reach out to voters directly, and it’s why we’ve been dedicating time to it. (It’s also a good excuse to get out of the house..)
DC Election News Roundup
And if you’ve been out of the loop in the DC race, here’s what’s been happening…
Ballot Question B in Montgomery County
Metro DC DSA is rapidly approaching 15,000 calls made urging working class families to reject ballot question B. This amendment to Montgomery County’s charter would force huge cuts to public services while providing tax cuts to the county’s wealthiest. We now have three phonebanks left before the election:
DSA members and Maryland State Delegates Gabe Acevero and Vaughn Stewart will join us for the October 31 phonebank to help us get out the vote, costumes optional!
Bylaws Revision Process Completes First Round
The MDC DSA Steering Committee, pointing toward the local chapter’s upcoming Convention on December 12 and 13, appointed a Bylaws Revision Commission to propose changes to the set of bylaws that has accumulated, rather like a coral reef, while the local has grown approximately six-fold since 2015.
The commission has found the existing MDC DSA bylaws a bit of a mess, or as they called them, “unfit for purpose” because many rules and formations to which they referred had never been invoked or were widely ignored in the day to day operations of the local chapter. “The chapter,” the commission observed, “is rife with informal practices and ignoring bylaws has become commonplace due to their either being too vague or too onerous to implement.”
In an ongoing process the commission produced a first draft of proposed bylaws for discussion and debate as the convention approaches. Members will continue the revision process through more bylaws forums scheduled between now and the local Convention plus debate during the convention.
The commission, presenting a much shorter set of bylaws, stresses that the much higher level of trust among MDC DSA members that has been driven by increases in “membership, organization, power, skills, [and organizational] profile” requires less cumbersome operating instructions and greater autonomy within broad and principled guidelines.
The bylaws commission’s full preliminary report, which includes discussion of sections of the bylaws and their revision, is here.
There’s a recording of the Sept. 30 bylaws here and the Oct. 17 bylaws forum, here. The preliminary report was discussed in a special Steering Committee meeting with open participation by members this past Tuesday. The final forum of the first round took place Thursday afternoon too late to be covered in this notice. Many members presented personal testimony and proposals on the #bylaws-reform channel on MDC DSA’s Slack platform, which can be read by members.
The commission’s proposed bylaws revision draft is here.
The local Convention is currently envisioned as a two-day virtual event (Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12 and 13. The event will not be conducted on Zoom but on a more-participatory software that has been successfully used by several other local DSA chapters, including Philly DSA.
— Woody W
Local activist radio in need of support
Local activist radio station 89.3 FM (“Jazz and Justice Radio”) is in the middle of a pledge drive. Please consider donating if you support local, left-leaning, independent news. The broadcast runs on Pacifica Radio’s frequency – which is owned by a non-profit, non-commercial, listener-supported radio station. The majority of their programs have black and brown hosts, and represent an amazing pastiche of the DC left.
Here is just a smattering of their amazing programming lineup:
TODAY – Friday, October 23
7:00 to 9:00 PM | AfroSoc and SocFem Social Hour: A Space to Create Dialogue & Connection
This event welcomes only BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) folx and those who are womxn-identified, people who are non-binary, and marginalized genders.
Saturday, October 24
Noon to 1 PM | NoVA DSA New Member Orientation|
Sunday, October 25
2:00 to 4:00 PM | Socialist Feminist Reading Group
Currently, all SocFem gatherings and discussions are welcoming only those who identify as womxn, non-binary people, or those of marginalized genders. We ask that men do not participate at this time.
3:00 to 4:00 PM | New Member Orientation
Monday, October 26
6:30 to 8:30 PM | What Is Marxism? (Socialist Night School)
Tuesday, October 27
7:00 to 8:30 PM | MDC DSA Steering Committee biweekly meeting
Access on MDC DSA Slack, #steering
Wednesday, October 28
7:00 to 9:00 PM | Prince George’s County Branch (prov.) biweekly meeting
Friday, October 30
6:30 to 8:00 PM | Red Rabbits Marshal Training
Thursday, November 5
7:00 to 9:00 PM | Grrrls Night/Happy Hour
Grrrls* Night is a happy hour space for those who identify as womxn, non-binary people, or those who identify as a marginalized gender. We ask that men do not participate at this time.
7 – 8:30 PM | NoVA Branch Movie Night
Sunday, November 8
3:00 to 5:00 PM | MDC DSA Local Chapter November General Body Meeting
Monday, November 9
6-8 PM | Queer Caucus Happy Hour
Tuesday, November 10
7 – 9 PM | Socialist Feminist Caucus Business Meeting
7 – 8 PM | Biweekly Steering Committee Meeting
Access on MDC DSA Slack, #steering
Wednesday, November 11
Sunday, November 15
3 – 4 PM | MDC DSA New Member Orientation
Weekly or frequently recurring events:
Phone bank with training for endorsed DC Council candidate Ed Lazere:
Saturdays & Sundays — 11 AM to noon
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — 6 PM to 7 PM
NoVA Tenant Organizing Planning Meeting:
Sundays — 1 PM
Saturdays — Canvasses scheduled as needed
Medicare 4 ALL (#M4A) Workgroup:
Sundays — 5 to 6:30 PM
Phonebank: Vote AGAINST MoCo ballot Question B:
Wednesdays — 6:30 to 8 PM
Saturdays — 3:30 to 5:30 PM
Check out the newest edition National DSA’s seasonable publication, Democratic Left!
Monday Oct 26 | 7:30 PM EDT
Jewish Traditions of Socialism
From Martin Buber’s reflections on Utopia to the labor organizing and organic intellectuals of the early twentieth century and beyond, Jewish traditions of socialism have helped create a political economy where workers’ dignity and decision making power is prioritized. Follow link for details
Tuesday Oct 27 | 7:30 PM EDT
YDSA Campaign Plan and Prep Call
With the election drawing closer, it’s essential that YDSA chapters run strategic local campaigns to build power for the working class and bring new people into the movement. Join us for a national campaign strategy session where you’ll work to develop a campaign strategy for your chapter with YDSA members from around the country. Follow link for details…
Friday Oct 30 | 4:00 PM EDT
YDSA Fall Reading Group: Socialists & the Labor Movement
Join YDSA members from around the country for our fall semester reading group on socialists & the labor movement! There will be four sessions: 10/30: Why is class central? (with guest speaker Vivek Chibber)11/6: The history of the U.S. labor movement11/20: The Rank-and-File Strategy12/4: Union organizing & strikes (with guest speaker Eric Blanc) Follow link for details and readings
Saturday Oct 31 | 2:00 PM EDT
Puerto Rico’s Self-Determination: Your Voice Matters
Join the International Committee for a panel including Puerto Rican labor rights leader José La Luz, Justo Mendez of Vamos Puerto Rico, María J. Torres-López of Diáspora en Resistencia, Maruxa Cardenas of Our Revolution, and DSA National Political Committee member Austin González on the conditions of Puerto Rico’s right to a fair process of self-determination. Follow link for details
Saturday Oct 31 | 3:30 PM EDT
Make Calls to Defeat Spooky Austerity with Maryland State Delegate Gabriel Acevero
DSA is campaigning to defeat Montgomery County, MD ballot question B, a pro-austerity, regressive tax scam that will benefit only the county’s wealthiest property owners. If passed, 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. Follow link for details
Friday October 23 | 2-3 PM
America’s Wars on Democracy in Rwanda and DR Congo
Institute for Policy Studies co-hosts an Online Zoom Event Breaking the Silence Congo Week is a week of activities that commemorates the millions of lives lost in the Congo conflict while celebrating the enormous human and natural potential that exists in the country. Professor and author Justin Podur provides an in depth discussion on the US role in dismantling democracy in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Register in advance.
Saturday, October 24 | 3:00 to 5:00 PM
Making Science Work for Social Justice
Our workshop is intended for a wide audience with diverse perspectives. At the core of solidarity science is a focus on reaching multiple experiences and understandings to solve problems. Our audience is asking how to demand more from the scientific community, how to create coalition, how to listen to each other better, how to critique the role of science in our lives, and rather than asking, “how do we fix this?”, asking, “who do we need at the table to fix this?” Everyone is warmly welcome at this lively, exciting, and provocative workshop – join us!
Saturday, October 24 | 3:00 PM
GOTV Rally with Ed Lazere and special guests
Join Ed Lazere and DC Working Families Party for a Get Out The Vote Rally with special guests: future Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George, At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman, Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, and a host of community leaders.
Thursday October 29 | 7-8:30 PM
Climate + State Violence: US Militarism
IPS Online Zoom Event with a panel from Powershift Network to strengthen the collective power and impact of the climate movement. In the face of state violence. Please register!
Wednesday November 18 | 6:00 to 8:00 PM EST
DC Jobs With Justice “I’ll Be There” Awards
Virtually this year we’ll honor some of the outstanding leaders in our work, and remind ourselves of our values as a community in our single largest event of the year.
November 17 and 19 | Building an Antiracist Economy in Maryland
Virtual reports and panel discussion presented by the Maryland Center on Economic Policy. Info and registration to come. A basically social-democratic think tank on the model of EPI; you can sign up for their email list here.
Publications Schedule: The November issue of the Washington Socialist will be published Friday, October 30 with an article deadline tomorrow, Saturday, October 24. Send contributions to email@example.com if you have words of wisdom in advance of US history’s longest Election Day ever. November updates are published Fridays, Nov. 6, 13, 20 and 27 and the December (pre-Convention) issue of the Washington Socialist will be published Friday, Dec. 4.
“But I already DID the Member Survey…”
We are once again asking you to do the Member Survey. 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!
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.
♫ An ♫ ti ♫ ci ♫ pation ♫ … from Politico, AOC and House progressives warn Biden on corporate hires — A letter from left-wing lawmakers and groups calls for corporate lobbyists and high-ranking executives to be shut out of a Biden administration. (H/T to our comrade David Duhalde) And here is a take on the same story from Common Dreams.
Via Portside: Anticipating a new burst of refugees across the Northern border if Trump starts a sore-loser ruckus, a Toronto Star piece by Canadian comrade Leo Panitch. He observes: “…the degradation of political discourse under Trump brings to mind Umberto Eco’s observation that the most telling characteristic of the rise of fascism was how its ’impoverished vocabulary,’ and ‘elementary syntax’ increasingly limited popular capacities for ’complex and critical reasoning.’ “
Back in the dim days of LBJ and Nixon, Vietnam Veterans Against the War was formed, the first overt, activist formation to oppose militarism and imperialist wars composed of those who had learned the blood-soaked scam from inside. Their credo more than 50 years later remains the same: “We need to turn the power of the state to equality, not oppression.” From the Fall 2020 edition of The Veteran, “Why We Struggle”
From American Prospect via Portside, our comrade Harold Meyerson shows his chops at great nuts-and-bolts writing about organizing — in this case organized labor’s two-pronged effort for the election and beyond. Riding the happy up-trend in public approval for unions, the AFL-CIO is doing the equivalent of deep canvassing even in COVID-times, in ways that are instructive for DSA’s effort to build out both support and membership.
Metro DC DSA member David Schwartzman’s new book, The Global Solar Commons, the Future That is Still Possible: A Guide for 21st Century Activists. Confronting the current deep crisis and mapping out a path to this future. Free download here. More readable for activists than our deeply documented more technical The Earth is Not for Sale. Support the Green Eco-Socialist Network.
In case you missed it – AOC and Ilhan Omar played the newest popular online game, “Among Us” on Twitch. It was a bit shocking (in the best of ways) to watch two democratic socialists pull in a crowd at peak of 450,000 viewers (!) for over 2 hours of gameplay. Looks like Twitch is becoming the new digital frontier.
Two TNR articles – the first debunks the notion that the Trump-addled GOP could steal the election. Slightly calming, though it doesn’t mean there might not be several varieties of unrest anyway…and another from TNR – David Klion writes a strong critique of The Atlantic and it’s highbrow tone: “The Atlantic believes that you are trying your best to understand how America has gone astray; and that you can do so without ever making yourself too uncomfortable.”
From the Progressive, a review of the new film “The Big Scary ‘S’ Word” with more details about the way the Lee Carter campaign(s) unfold in the film. Director Yael Bridge’s “do not miss” film recently finished a couple of online runs in film festivals and will be viewable online at the New York Documentary Film Festival from November 11-19, as reported by our comrade Jules B, who was an early backer of the film’s development.
“Good Summits” and futurist brain candy — the World Economic Forum’s Jobs Reset Summit just wrapping today (Friday Oct. 23) looked at the state of jobs and work transition factors, including automation, and how all may have been both retarded and accelerated by the worldwide pandemic.
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.