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October 30, 2020 Weekly Update
- Election Day NEXT TUESDAY
- Election Protest Training – Sunday at 1:30 PM (in person)
- Cancel Rent Rally – this Saturday at 3pm – Fort Stevens Rec Center
Tuesday November 3rd is ELECTION DAY
If you haven’t already figured out a way to vote, now is the time to do that. We know this election can feel like two bad choices, but important elections are happening down the ballot in DC and MD that we need to win.
In DC, the balance between progressives and fiscal conservatives on the DC Council and Board of Education are almost evenly split. In recent months, we’ve seen corporate-funded centrists push back on raising taxes of the ultra wealthy, expanding rent control, and defunding police by any substantial amount. With Ed Lazere and Janeese Lewis George on the Council, and Mysiki Valentine on the Board of Education, we can win these battles and start shifting power in DC from the ultra wealthy and well-connected few to tenants, workers, and everyday people. Now is the time to show the DC political establishment that organized people will win over big money, and here’s how you can help:
- Make sure to vote for our endorsed candidates if you can: Janeese Lewis George for Ward 4, Ed Lazere for at-large council, and Mysiki Valentine for at-large Board of Education. You can check out our infographic – which summarizes the stakes and voting information for DC here.
- Sign up to talk with voters at polling locations. Many District residents are planning to vote in person this weekend. Catching people in line to tell them about Ed and Mysiki will be one of our last chances to make outreach with voters. DSA plans to run two polling stations over the next week. On Sunday, Nov 1, we’ll be setting up station at Nats Park. On Election Day, we’ll be setting up a station in Columbia Heights/Ward 1 at the CHEC. If you’d rather sign up on a different day, you can sign up for a polling place shift through Ed’s campaign here.
- Sign up to make calls for Ed Lazere. If you can’t come out and help us talk to voters in person, this is another great way to help us make sure voters know what is at stake in this election.
New to calling? You can sign up for training here.
Already trained? You can sign up for a phone banking shift here.
And if you live in Montgomery County, remember to Vote AGAINST Ballot Question B, which would prohibit the county from raising the property tax rate and thus lead to tax cuts for the wealthiest property owners while sacrificing working people and threatening public services. If you want to join the fight to make sure this ballot question fails, please join our phonebank on Saturday, Oct 31 at 3:30 PM. DSA members and Maryland State Delegates Gabe Acevero and Vaughn Stewart will join us in our final phone-banking session before the election. The Montgomery County Branch Steering Committee has also created a voting guide with recommendations for DSA members for the other state and local ballot questions.
Election Day Protest Training – Sunday at 1:30 PM (in person)
Join DSA comrades and ShutDownDC for an in-person, physically distanced direct action training. We’ll cover the basics of working together in small groups, preparing for direct action, and staying healthy and safe in the streets. Everyone is welcome whether you’re new to direct action or just looking for a refresher. This session will be held outdoors near Dupont Circle. RSVP now for the location and other logistical information: Email jakerhess(a)gmail with any questions.
As we head into what is likely to be the most tumultuous and confusing election in some time (..ever?), we want to encourage everyone to be safe and be careful. DSA has been coordinating within the Shutdown DC coalition in making sure that as an organization, DSA is able to coordinate with protest and demonstration groups appropriately. If you plan on attending an action or demonstration, it is highly recommended to attend one of the trainings or spokes council meetings hosted by ShutDown in order to protest or demonstrate safely.
You can stay plugged into endorsed actions/mobilizations can be found through the following channels:
- The Weekly Update will provide direction/notice of actions on a weekly basis. If you get unplugged, the update will always be the best way to get connected to active currents.
- Chapter’s public statements will direct members on larger actions or direction.
- Follow MDC DSA on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, where we’ll be publishing notices or updates.
- And join the #presidential-election-prep Slack channel if you would like to participate in the working group helping to organize safe and effective action. More detailed communication channels will be published through there.
- Finally, those interested in signing up to be contacted directly with our Affinity Groups comms can fill out this form to make sure you do not miss action and protest information connected with DSA actions throughout the next few weeks.
Cancel Rent Rally this Saturday – 3pm at Fort Stevens Rec Center
Since the start of the pandemic in March, Stomp Out Slumlords has been helping to organize a militant citywide tenant movement spanning dozens of buildings across the DMV. It’s become clear that working landlord-by-landlord isn’t enough — we need to mobilize the working class to call for a comprehensive solution. On HALLOWEEN, Saturday, October 31, we’ll be showing up at Mayor Bowser’s castle to demand rent cancellation. We need YOU to show up and volunteer, especially if you are available to drive tenants!
We’ll gather at 3pm at Fort Stevens Recreation Center, 1327 Van Buren St NW. Rat and cockroach costumes encouraged.
NOVEMBER 2020 WASHINGTON SOCIALIST
In an election like no other, many of our writers argue in our November 2020 issue of the Washington Socialist that exercising the vote for ourselves and enabling it for many struggling eligible voters remains critical to counter systematic voter suppression…
“Election 2020: Be Ready for Anything” – Bill Mosley argues that GOTV is crucial in the pandemic because voter suppression is still alive and ill in many states. A clear rejection of Trump remains both essential and potentially hard to achieve.
“Voter Suppression and the state of American Democracy” – Kurt Stand notes the racist and white supremacist core of Trump’s supporters and the voter suppression that they encourage; a working-class pushback is developing.
“Hope in the Heart of Empire” – Gary Z argues that the dispiriting choice at the top of the ticket should be outweighed by the important down-ballot struggles in our home turf.
“Homeless disenfranchisement in the United States: State election barriers, analysis, and best practices” – Robert Nordahl and Kristian Berhost detail the subtle and not so subtle ways that poverty and homelessness make the unhoused among the most vulnerable to strategies of voter suppression.
“District Educators Cannot Be Pitted Against Families and Other Workers” – Dylan C. – With infection rates increasing in D.C., and an ongoing debate about school reopening has many educators and families feeling unheard by local government, a D.C. educator calls for solidarity between teachers and the rest of the working class.
“Reflections from 1984: Interview with Josephine Butler” – Stu Gay’s interview with a veteran fighter for DC justice, with forward by Bill Mosley
“To Mussolini” — a classic poem that illustrates how autocrats transition to objects of terror and loathing. Or do they?
We have a hearing! Sign up to testify in favor of the full Reclaim Rent Control platform
The D.C. Council’s housing committee is holding a hearing on Monday, November 9, on a bill that includes the full policy platform of the Reclaim Rent Control coalition. This is huge!
At its core, the Reclaim Rent Control platform would substantially expand and strengthen D.C.’s rent control laws to cover more units and close loopholes that cause skyrocketing rental housing costs. Our chapter has been a member of the Reclaim Rent Control coalition for over a year and has worked closely with other organizations to reach this crucial point in our fight for housing justice.
The deadline to sign up to testify at the hearing in favor of the bill is Thursday, November 5. Can we count on you to stand with tenants across D.C. by signing up to testify?
To sign up, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Telephone number
- Email address
- Organizational affiliation (Metro D.C. DSA or N/A)
- Title (Organizer or N/A)
The hearing starts at 9:00 a.m. on November 9 but will likely last all day (and into the early evening). Coalition partners have provided talking points for anyone to use in their testimony.
With enough support in this hearing, we can move this bill closer to passing on the D.C. Council. The time for affordable housing in D.C. is now!
Updates from last weeks Campaigns Council
Working group representatives met with At-Large Steering member and working group liaison Kurtis H. in a convening of the Campaign Council last weekend. The council determined that a monthly cadence of meeting was appropriate and that topics of discussion should include high level report backs of actions and strategy as well as in-depth analysis and knowledge sharing across campaigns, with a focus on cooperation and cross working group support. The Medicare4All working group is working with the Political Education working group to develop a Socialist Night School session tentatively planned for 11/23.
Steering Committee Update
Here are some recent updates from this week’s Steering Committee meeting:
- Steering voted to sign-on to a Jobs With Justice petition to the DC council to enact an emergency ban on the use of tear gas, after reporting that DC police bought $100,000 in tear gas in preparation for possible ‘civil disturbance’ in coming months
- Steering has voted to approve this proposal to charter the TechOps team, and allocate a budget for them to continue to develop our tech infrastructure.
- The Convention Commission (chaired by Gabriel R.) has secured Vijay Prashad to speak at the local convention.
- Steering (with Rachel B. leading) continues to invest in election day preparations. Join the #presidential-election-prep slack channel to keep updated.
Please reach out on the #steering slack channel or by email at email@example.com with any questions!
— Kurtis H. Steering At-Large
Free Them All VA pressure campaign
Two weeks ago Public Citizen, on behalf of Free Them All VA, filed a motion to quash a broad search warrant as “it violated members’ constitutional rights against unreasonable search and that the overly broad warrant could chill their free speech rights.” Since then Leesburg police & Loudoun Co. have continued to target organizers, even going as far as to harass someone in their home. While people die of COVID in VA jails, prisons & detention centers, Loudoun Co. is spending time & resources harassing those working to #FreeThemAllVA!
Free Them All VA has prepared an action guide here meant to pressure Loudon County Attorney Buta Biberaj to drop the charges and investigation against migrant justice organizers.
And if you are interested in learning more about the detention centers scattered across VA, Free Them All VA recently created a guide to the local VA detention centers, available on Medium.
EcoSocialist reading group
Are you looking for a cozy activity as we enter the winter months? Take part in the EcoSocialist Reading Group! The Reading Group is currently reading “On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal” by Naomi Klein. The book takes a closer look at the climate crisis, capital, and the movements rising to confront both right now. We will be discussing the book later next month, exact time and date TBD. It can be ordered online locally from Kramer Books here (you can even get it in an audio book for easy listening). If you’d like to be added to the Reading Group email list so that you are included in our discussion sessions, please contact Mac at moonbuddy3000[at]gmail.com.
MDC DSA 2020 Local Convention Dec. 12-13
Our local convention will be held on the weekend of December 12-13th virtually due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. All members in good standing 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. Here are the first-round report of the Bylaws Commission and proposed (draft) revision of MDC DSA’s Bylaws.
Red Sparrows – DSA’s “eyes in the sky” – call for volunteers
As we get closer to the election, we are rolling out some measures that will help keep our members going out for Direct Actions and stay safe. We are rolling out new security volunteer programs under the banner of Red Sparrows. The Sparrows will provide support to direct actions with: Eye in the Sky monitoring of the event and a Virtual Buddy program to make sure that all DSA participants make it home safe.
We are looking for volunteers to sign up to help! This can be done completely from home in 2-3 hour shifts. The team will provide training and all information you will need to provide assistance during your shift. We are hoping to provide coverage for all Direct Actions around and after the election. If you are interested in helping out, and can spare some time over the next few weeks to sign up for a shift, please sign up here.
Soc-Fem Reading Group update
Join the Soc-Fem caucus next Thursday (11.05) for happy hour from 7-9pm. On Sunday (11.08) from 7-9pm, after the general body meeting, we will be co hosting a healing discussion with Afro-Soc regarding the election and everything we’ve dealt with as a community surrounding the election. There will be no agenda for this discussion, just a safe space to support each other during these troubling times. Our next business meeting will be Tuesday (11/10) creating plans for Soc-Fem to grow into 2021. And finally our reading this month is “Through the Eyes of Rebel Women” by Iris Morales about women within the Young Lords. Hope to see you soon! Please remember that at this time Soc-Fem is open only to womxn, femme identified non-binary folx, & other marginalized gender identities and expressions.
#DSA100k Recruitment Drive Update
24 days into our first ever National Recruitment Drive and two weeks before our deadline, we reached our nationwide goal of 5,000 new DSA members. To be clear, this is no fluke or accident. We’ve grown by 5,000 members in three weeks because you asked your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors to join DSA. In Metro DC DSA alone, over 200 new members have signed up in the last three weeks.
5,000 is a good start, but we still have a whole world to win. We know we need EVEN MORE members if we are going to be ready to face whatever happens on Election Day and beyond.
That’s why we’re asking you– TODAY, RIGHT NOW– to commit to recruiting three new members by signing our 100k Pledge. More than 115 Metro DC members have already started by asking their friends, family, and coworkers to join as a first step to defunding the police, stopping evictions and shut offs, and winning Medicare-for-all and a Green New Deal. Can we count on you to join them?
MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
TODAY, Friday, October 30
6:30 – 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
Saturday November 7
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
2 – 4:30 PM MoCo DSA General Branch Meeting
Wednesday, November 18
7 – 8:30 PM NoVA Branch DSA General Organizing Meeting
7 – 9 PM Prince George’s Branch (prov.) Public Outreach Meeting (access link pending)
Event to introduce new branch to activist comrades in Prince George’s and Maryland
Thursday, November 19
7 – 8:30 PM November Labor Working Group meeting
Saturday, November 21
7 – 8:30 PM NoVA DSA Book Club
We are kicking off our own NoVA book club! We are reading/discussing Alex Vitale’s The End of Policing.
Sunday, November 22
2 – 4 PM SocFem Reading Group
Tuesday, Nov. 24
7 – 8:30 PM Biweekly MDC DSA Steering Committee
Access info on MDC DSA Slack #steering channel. Members welcome.
Weekly or frequently recurring events:
Phone bank with training for endorsed DC Council candidate Ed Lazere:
Saturdays & Sundays — 11 AM to noon
Monday — 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 Final Push:
Join our phonebank on Saturday, Oct 31 at 3:30 PM. DSA members and Maryland State Delegates Gabe Acevero and Vaughn Stewart will be joining us in our final phone-banking session before the election.
NATIONAL DSA HIGHLIGHTS
TODAY, Friday, Oct 30 4:00 PM – YDSA Fall Reading Group: Socialists & the Labor Movement
(Four sessions; follow link for details)
Saturday, Oct 31
2:00 PM – Puerto Rico’s Self-Determination: Your Voice Matters
Saturday, Nov 7
8:00 PM – DSA Q&A
Sunday, Nov 8
6:00 PM – DSA4USPS: Black Postal Lives Matter
Tuesday, Nov 10
8:00 PM – Q&A about YDSA
Wednesday, Nov 11
8:00 PM – Socialists at Work: Life as a Rank-and-File Labor Organizer
EVENTS FROM OUR ALLIES IN THE DMV
November 12 – 13
Meeting the Moment: Building a more resilient nation (a virtual gathering)
Hosted by the Progressive Caucus Action Fund and the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center. Speakers include Reps. Jayapal, Lee, Omar and Raskin plus many movement leaders. Click to register;
Wednesday November 18
6:00 – 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: 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.
Disheartening and necessary in equal measure, a Miami Herald columnist in deadlocked Florida attempts to reassure the auto-aggrieved capitalist expats from Cuba and Venezuela that Biden is not the socialist antichrist. No news to us, alas.
Another in an increasing number of op-eds arguing that good legislating can sidestep or stymie a conservative SCOTUS.
- Another article published by Loose Lips in Washington City Paper covering DC’s At-Large race – for fans of local scandal.
- And if you are nervous about next Tuesday – a co-production from Vice News compiles surrealist comedian Vic Berger’s five years of absurdist Trump coverage into the form of a one-hour movie.
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.