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November 6, 2020 Weekly Update
- Defend Democracy rapid response – action TODAY (and sign DSA’s pledge)
- Reclaim Rent Control legislation hearing – MONDAY (Nov 9)
- General Body Meeting – THIS SUNDAY (Nov 8) at 1 PM
Defending Democracy – #CountEveryVote rally TODAY at 11:30 AM
Over the last week, Metro DC DSA’s Presidential Elections response group has been coordinating within the Shutdown DC coalition to coordinate response to Trump and the GOP’s attempts to design an electoral coup.
The next action in DC will be TODAY at 11:30am in McPherson Square. The #CountEveryVote rally is hosted by SPACEs in Action and CASA. There will be great speakers and performances, and then a march around the White House.
As things heat up across the country, we recommend following the guidance of Metro DC DSA’s Presidential Election Response group so that we can deliberate on the best way to use our collective time and energy. Here’s how you can get plugged in, if you aren’t already:
- 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.
- You can get plugged into our Shutdown DC DSA Affinity Group comms (which we control) to make sure you do not miss action and protest information as it develops.
And finally, sign the National DSA pledge here if you are willing to mobilize a national response to ensure every vote is counted. Please share this pledge with friends and family who are willing to join the fight.
DC Rent Control Omnibus hearing – THIS MONDAY, November 9
Although the DC Council Election didn’t go our way, Janeese Lewis George still won her race, and so we’ll be following her into battle on many of the legislative fights to come. But there’s little time to rest – the first one is next week!
We have a pivotal DC council hearing this Monday, Nov 9, on a bill that includes the full Reclaim Rent Control platform, which would significantly expand and strengthen rent control rules across DC.
The hearing begins on 9 AM Monday. The deadline to sign up has passed, but we’ve had over 150 people sign up to testify on the legislation. We hope you’ll follow along with the DSA and our allied organizations across the city. You can keep up by following Reclaim Rent Control on twitter.
You can also read about
- Stomp Out Slumlord’s blog which summarizes how tenants have been organized
- How the battle for rent control evolved across the city – from our Washington Socialist
- Check out the DC Tenants Union website to learn about how tenants have been organizing across the district to put pressure on corporate landlords.
General Body Meeting – this Sunday, November 7, at 1 PM
Our general body meetings convene all chapter members once monthly. Workgroups, caucuses, committees, and leadership provide key updates on campaigns and other activities. We’ll be hearing from our Elections Response organizers, electoral working group, publications working group, and more. You can sign up and get the meeting information here.
MOCO Election Roundup
WE DID IT!! Together, we made about 20,000 phone calls to working people in Montgomery County to urge them to vote against Question B and against austerity and tax breaks for the wealthy. DSA was the first group in the county to mobilize against Question B, and we WON!! We want to give huge thanks to campaign organizer Nicole Z. and the many comrades who made phone calls, sent texts to comrades, made graphics, helped send emails and social media posts and more over the past several months. Thanks to them, Question B was soundly defeated, and hopefully this loss will keep austerity policies like this off the ballot for many years.
The local news was good, but the national election results are another thing entirely. We don’t know what will happen later this week or this month, and when or if there will be a peaceful transition of power. To push back against the fascism of the current administration and Trump’s attempt to stay in power, the #ShutDownDC coalition is planning several mobilizations to fight back and protect democracy. Check out their calendar here, and get plugged in to MDC DSA’s organizing efforts here.
But – no matter who occupies the White House next year, we’ll still have a huge fight against capitalism, racism, neoliberalism, the police state, and forced austerity on our hands. We hope you’ll keep up your membership with DSA and stay in the fight with us! If it’s time to renew your DSA membership (or join if you haven’t yet done so) – you can do so here.
— Frank F
DC Elections Roundup
The Metro D.C. chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) congratulates our chapter member and endorsed candidate Janeese Lewis George on her election to represent Ward 4 on the D.C. Council! Metro D.C. DSA is confident that Janeese will be an elected leader who stands with the working class. You can read our full election statement here.
Although the DC Board of Elections is still counting remaining mail-in ballots, it appears that Ed Lazere and and Mysiki Valentine will fall short of winning their races for council at-large and State Board of Education at-large, respectively. We stand in solidarity with Ed and Mysiki – who participated in D.C.’s inaugural Fair Elections program and never accepted any corporate donations, while helping elevate and center the demands of working people across the city.
Regardless of the outcome, we can safely say that we put everything we had into this cycle – volunteers made over 36,000 (!) phone calls, which is absolutely unprecedented! And if we fell short of electing another unabashed Democratic Socialist to the council, we can find comfort that corporatists Marcus Goodwin and Vincent Orange also lost – with Ed on pace to beat both of them. It appears he will fall short only to Christina Henderson for the second at-large seat – the other progressive in the race (although she is not as supportive of rent control or defunding the police – positions we will certainly be taking her to task for as we move on those issues).
Our efforts over the last five months have shown the powers that be in D.C. that a candidate and movement with a clear moral vision for a more equitable D.C. can raise a grassroots army.
And if you’re still finding yourself a bit bummed, here’s a seven and a half minute chill-pill that will help you remember all the great vibes produced by DSA members helping out this campaign cycle.
DSA Defend Democracy Dispatch from the week
On Tuesday night, our most artistically gifted comrades helped organize an art build. On Wednesday, we marched into downtown DC, alongside Sunrise Movement DC and Extinction Rebellion, to make sure it was clear to the GOP that the people would be willing to march onto the streets if they attempted to steal this election.
The action was a great demonstration of the many moving parts our local DSA has been fine-tuning over the summer: our Red Rabbits protest marshals helped direct the action, our Red Sparrows acted as our eyes in the sky to make sure we are safe.
The next action our election group is participating in will be TODAY at 11:30am in McPherson Square, at an event hosted by SPACEs in Action and CASA. We recommend anyone looking to get connected to the evolving protest scene in DC, or just looking to blow off some midday steam for what has otherwise been a stressful and chaotic week, come out.
MPD erroneously blames Black Lives Matter DC for election night violence
On November 4th, three people were stabbed in downtown DC. MPD released a statement falsely stating that the stabbing was “associated” with Black Lives Matter DC. In a statement released earlier this week, BLM DC condemned “MPD’s intentional spread of disinformation that emboldens white supremacists and undermines our movement in defense of Black lives.”
Egregious errors like this remind us why we must work to defund the police and work towards alternative policies to deliver public safety. MDC DSA’s Defund MPD working group works in partnership with the city-wide Defund MPD campaign, which BLM is a part of. 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, or learn more about abolition by checking out MDC DSA’s Night School resources on police abolition.
MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
TODAY, Friday, November 6
8:00 – 9:00 PM | Why you should join DSA — Q&A and pep rally!
Saturday, November 7
1:00 – 4:00 PM | NoVA Tenant Organizing Working Group: Anti-Eviction Canvass
Sunday, November 8
3:00 – 5:00 PM | MDC DSA Local Chapter November General Body Meeting
7:00 – 9:00 PM | AfroSoc & SocFem: Open Discussion for Healing as a Community
Monday, November 9
6:00 – 8:00 PM | Queer Caucus Happy Hour
Tuesday, November 10
5:00 – 7:00 PM | NoVA Migrant Justice Working Group Research Meeting
7:00 – 9:00 PM | Socialist Feminist Caucus Business Meeting
7:00 – 8:00 PM | Biweekly Steering Committee Meeting
Wednesday, November 11
Prince George’s County Branch (prov) biweekly meeting CANCELLED – see Nov 18 special event
Friday, November 13
8:00 – 9:00 PM | Why you should join DSA — Q&A and pep rally
Sunday, November 15
3:00 – 4:00 PM | MDC DSA New Member Orientation
2:00 – 4:30 PM | MoCo DSA General Branch Meeting
Wednesday, November 18
7:00 – 8:30 PM | NoVA Branch DSA General Organizing Meeting
6:30 – 8:30 PM | “Socialism in One County:” Prince George’s DSA Welcome and Public Outreach Meeting
Event to introduce new branch to activist comrades in Prince George’s and Maryland
Thursday, November 19
7:00 – 8:30 PM | November Labor Working Group meeting
Saturday, November 21
7:00 – 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
2:00 – 4:00 PM | SocFem Reading Group
Tuesday, November. 24
7:00 – 8:30 PM | Biweekly MDC DSA Steering Committee
Access info on MDC DSA Slack #steering channel. Members welcome.
Tuesday, December 8
7:00 – 9:00 PM | MDC DSA Socialist Feminist Caucus Business Meeting | Monthly
Caucus Meeting where we discuss and plan our work. We welcome DSA members and supporters alike.
Saturday, December 12 – Sunday, December 13
11 AM Saturday – 4 PM Sunday | MDC DSA Local Chapter Annual Convention
One of the most important events held by the chapter. Open to all MDC DSA members in good standing. Members should RSVP early to get a count of attendees. Much more info is at RSVP link, above.
NoVA Tenant Organizing Planning Meeting:
Sundays — 1 PM
Saturdays — Canvasses scheduled as needed (see above for information on this week’s canvass!)
Medicare 4 ALL (#M4A) Workgroup:
Sundays — 5 to 6:30 PM
NATIONAL DSA HIGHLIGHTS
Saturday, Nov 7
8:00 PM | DSA Q&A
Sunday, Nov 8
6:00 PM | DSA4USPS: Black Postal Lives Matter
9:00 PM | DSA National Election Debrief
Tuesday, Nov 10
8:00 PM | Q&A about YDSA
Wednesday, Nov 11
Thursday Nov. 12
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. 13, 20 and 27 and the December (pre-Convention) issue of the Washington Socialist will be published Friday, Dec. 4.
“You haven’t yet done our 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.
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?
(could anything written before Nov. 4 be a “Good Read”? Stay tooned…)
On Thursday morning’s broadcast of Democracy Now regular co-host Juan Gonzalez took a deep dive into what’s known so far about LatinX voters in this week’s election, and provides a counternarrative to the conventional wisdom. Here’s a transcript.
A double whammy — first, Trump and his Commerce Department sabotaged the 2020 Census, already hamstrung by the pandemic. Then the Dems failed in a campaign to flip GOP-encrusted state legislatures, meaning a count that leaves out many vulnerable people will be further abused (in many states) to realign political boundaries the GOP’s way.
Hey, this election cycle wasn’t all bad! Mindy Isser’s “What Democrats Should Learn From the Spate of Socialist Wins on Election Day” rounds up how Socialists can reinvigorate the Democrats electoral strategy and challenge Republicans for real.
And for a good watch: Chicago DSA debuted a creative chant to lead us into the (likely) gridlocked next four-years…maybe something to bring to DC.
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.