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November 20, 2020 Weekly Update
- Tell the DC Council: Stop Police Union Control
- Metro DC DSA Convention – December 12 and 13
- So about last weekend: fascists riot in DC
The District of Columbia is once again negotiating a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the union representing the District’s Metropolitan Police Department. Police unions protect killer cops, and the road to abolition and a safe community is to disrupt and dismantle their control over our communities and the DC Council.
Together we can roll back the MPD’s tide of violence and misery. Please join Defund MPD Coalition members: BLM-DC, Black Youth Project 100 DC, Metro DC DSA, and Stop Police Terror Project DC in our letter-writing campaign to let Mayor Bowser and DC Council know that we will not tolerate police violence in our city. The letter outlines our demands for amendments that must be included in the next CBA. It is our elected officials’ duty to represent the interests of the people and our duty to hold them accountable.
MPD is already getting antsy – going so far as to tweet political statements from official account in a transparent attempt to intimidate a sitting DC councilmember (you can see their response here). Spreading misinformation and fear mongering only provides more evidence for why the police must be defunded.
Sending a letter using Action Network is simple and only takes a few minutes. Just input your information and add any personal touches you wish to include in the body template. Here is a link to the letter writing template.
Thank you for joining us in this fight.
The MDC DSA Convention is rapidly approaching. It will be held on December 12th and 13th, with both sessions starting at noon. We are proud to announce that Dr. Vijay Prashad, executive-director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and the Chief Editor of LeftWord Books has graciously agreed to give a talk to break up the hours of debate. He has spoken before at MDC DSA Night Schools and we are happy to welcome him back for our convention.
Proposals for the convention are still being accepted and can be submitted using this form. We have also hosted our first Convention Bylaws workshop, where the convention commission answered any and all questions about proposing something for the convention.
You can RSVP for the convention here! We ask that members anticipating attendance signup at the link.
We will be holding workshops once a week going forward until the convention deadline for proposal submissions. If you have any questions about the convention, please ask in the #2020-convention slack channel or message Gabriel R. on Slack at @gabriel
So about last weekend…Trump supporters riot in downtown Washington
Last weekend was dark for DC. Donald Trump’s most deranged supporters descended on DC, spouting conspiracy theories and nonsense.
Although it was nowhere near the 1 million supporters of Trump have claimed, there were enough to cause real trouble in Washington. Two LGBT residents were attacked by wandering fascists. Artwork and memorials on Black Lives Matter Plaza were torn down and destroyed. And a disturbing street brawl between counter-protesters and riotous Trump supporters left three residents stabbed on Saturday.
It’s unclear if this event was just a perverted vacation for DJT’s most grotesque supporters, or if this is an occurrence we should expect to see again in the future. Regardless, here are some sources to use to stay informed (and safe) when engaging in counter-protests against fascism:
- You can get plugged into our Election Response Affinity Group comms to make sure you do not miss action and protest information as it develops. We monitor these comms channels to help organize responses and keep each other safe.
- The Palm Collective, Black Lives Matter DC, and Spaces in Action helped organize DMV residents to reproduce the memorial on BLM Plaza. These organizations (along with others) have been critical to maintaining BLM Plaza as a safe space for protest and activist.
- TTC has been leading various marches in response to police brutality over the past year, helps organize jail support for protesters, and has helped organize responses to fascist demonstrations in the District. Every week they help organize weekly dinners to BBIPOC and white accomplices – you can donate to their mutual aid fund that helps pay for this here.
As always, be wary of misinformation and fake news. Do not go to counter-protests alone – find a friend or group to plug in with to ensure you can stay safe.
Put the screws to Biden – Green New Deal action organizing
DSA is planning a GND campaign with three waves of nationally coordinated actions. The first date for us in DC is December 11th. We are still deciding on our local action framework, so now is a great time to get involved and help decide what this action will look like!
The next meeting will be Sunday at 1pm, where we’ll be touching base and keep action items moving.
Ecosocialist Reading Group discusses Naomi Klein’s “On Fire” this Saturday
Join the EcoSocialist Reading Group to discuss Naomi Klein’s “On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal” on Saturday, Nov. 21st at 6pm EST. We will be discussing the first HALF of the book. Tune in here.
Socialist Feminist Caucus reading group
The Soc-Fem Caucus would like to invite all womxn and non-binary identifying people to our monthly reading group! The next meeting will take place this Sunday, November 22nd from 2-4pm. We will be discussing the first two chapters of Iris Morales’ “Through the Eyes of Rebel Women: The Young Lords, 1969-1976.” If you would like to attend, please RSVP on the Action Network page to gain access to the reading list and zoom link.
— Issie O
Find out how to build a better future together in our “Why You Should Join DSA” call on Wednesday, November 25th at 8pm
New to DSA? New-ish? Joined a while back and want to get involved again?
Join us for a brief call on Wednesday, November 25th at 8pm and find out how we can build a brighter socialist future together! We’ll talk about our working groups and how you can get involved in building real power with your fellow comrades.
You will learn about who we are and what we do. We’ll outline our chapter’s structure and our campaigns, branches, and caucuses. Our chapter covers the DMV area, including the District, Northern Virginia, and Montgomery County and Prince George’s County in Maryland.
Comp Plan struggle continues; Grassroots Planning Coalition meets 12/12 to fight for housing – not profits – in DC
Next we will be working on crafting specific amendments to the DC Comprehensive Plan that we want the Council to include when they pass the bill early next year. Get involved in this effort by registering for the next meeting of the DC Grassroots Planning Coalition on Saturday, December 12 at 1:30pm.
Unions and activists rally to demand passage of the Heroes Act
Not only do postal workers deliver the mail through rain, snow, sleet and hail, but through COVID and anthrax,” said APWU Local 140 President Dena Briscoe. Augmented by progressives, notably from the group Our Revolution, thousands of postal workers, other unionists and their supporters turned out across the country on Tuesday. Organizers rallied to campaign against Trump Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s plans to resume attacks on the U.S. Postal Service, and also to lobby lawmakers, particularly GOP senators, to pass the Heroes Act, which includes $25 billion to keep the USPS going and offset the huge crash in profitable first-class mail caused by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic depression.
Metro Washington Council president Dyana Forester told the crowd gathered outside the city’s main post office on Brentwood Road NE that a reliable postal service would provide Americans “the one stable thing” in the ongoing pandemic. The rallies, called by APWU and joined by members of UFCW, the News Guild, the Auto Workers and other unions, come as Congress again wrestles with renewing aid to the 21 million-plus workers in all occupations who lost their jobs since the pandemic hit. Just after the 9/11 attacks 19 years ago, an anthrax attack through the mail killed two postal workers; a memorial to one stands at the main DC post office.
Click here to call your senators.
— From Union City
Metro DC DSA Bylaws Revision Commission – Final Report
This is our final report into our findings after initial membership forums and written submissions, the preparation of a preliminary report and bylaws text, and subsequent membership forums and written submissions informed by the content of that report. You can see our final report here.
We thank the dozens of members of the chapter who made written or oral submissions for their immense assistance in preparing the report, answering questions, and helping to identify potential changes (as well as concerns with changes that have been proposed).
Janeese Lewis George outlines a response to upticks in violence in the District
DSA member and incoming DC Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George has already started working to elucidate her strategy for meeting these upswings in violence. Janeese ran on a platform that called for defunding the police and pushing for an expansion to violence interruption programming. I know many of us in the city are excited to follow her into these battles.
Coronavirus caseloads hits record for 16th day in DMV area
Please be safe, stay indoors, and wear a mask.
Below are our regional resources for keeping up with local guidance on coronavirus:
Need additional assistance or feel like helping out your neighbors in DC? Find your ward level mutual aid group (accessible on DC’s Mutual Aid Network Facebook page) to get involved or get local support.
And interested in learning more about the pandemic? Join our next Socialist Night School on Monday, November 23, where we’ll be hosting a panel featuring Amirah Sequeira (National Nurses United), Melinda St.Louis (Public Citizen), Mark Dudzic (Labor Campaign for Single Payer), and Robert B. Friedland (Georgetown U. Health Care Management and Policy Program) to discuss how our government has responded to the coronavirus contagion.
MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Saturday, November 21
7 – 8:30pm | 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 – 4pm | SocFem Reading Group
8 – 11pm | Queer Caucus Watch Party: Equal (episode 2)
Monday, November 23
7 – 8:30pm | Socialist Night School: The Healthcare Fallout
Panelists: Amirah Sequeira (National Nurses United), Melinda St.Louis (Public Citizen), Mark Dudzic (Labor Campaign for Single Payer), and Robert B. Friedland (Georgetown U. Health Care Management and Policy Program).
Before the pandemic, 33 million Americans were uninsured. Since the pandemic, over a quarter of US households have experienced unemployment, causing millions more to lose their insurance during the worst health crisis in modern history. COVID-19 has proven our healthcare system is unsustainable and perpetuates chronic healthcare disparities. Minority communities have been hardest hit and have experienced the highest COVID-19 death rate and unemployment. Healthcare in America is intractably linked to employment, which the pandemic has demonstrated as insufficient. In this session of Socialist Night School, co-hosted by the M4A working group, we will discuss the inadequacies of our health care system, how the pandemic has exacerbated it, and how to organize to fight for a single-payer system.
Tuesday, November 24
5 – 7pm | NoVA Migrant Justice Research Meeting
7 – 8:30pm | Biweekly MDC DSA Steering Committee
Access info on MDC DSA Slack #steering channel. Members welcome.
Wednesday, November 25
7 – 9pm | PGC Branch Meeting
Pre-holiday virtual social gathering; link forthcoming in member e-mail.
Sunday, November 29
8 – 11pm | Queer Caucus Watch Party: Equal (episode 3)
Sunday, December 6
2 – 4:30pm | MoCo DSA December Branch Meeting
We’ll be joined by state delegates (and MoCo DSA members) Gabe Acevero and Vaughn Stewart, who will discuss the upcoming state legislative session and which bills we may want to advocate on.
Tuesday, December 8
7 – 9pm | MDC DSA Socialist Feminist Caucus Business Meeting
Caucus Meeting where we discuss and plan our work. We welcome DSA members and supporters alike.
Saturday, December 12 – Sunday, December 13
11am Saturday – 4pm 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.
Weekly or frequently recurring events:
NoVA Tenant Organizing Planning Meeting:
Sundays – 1 to 2pm
Saturdays – Canvasses scheduled as needed (See above for this week’s canvass!!)
Medicare 4 ALL (#M4A) Workgroup:
Sundays – 5 to 6:30pm
NATIONAL DSA HIGHLIGHTS
Saturday, November 21 | 3pm
Nationwide Socialist Feminist Working Group Kickoff Meeting
DSA’s Nationwide Socialist Feminist Working Group will have its first meeting with its new Steering Committee on Saturday, November 21st at 3pm EST. More at link.
Sunday, November 22 | 5:30pm
Workplace Organizing Training Program: Mapping and Charting a Workplace (Make-up for Session 2)
More at link on this five-session training.
Wednesday, November 25 | 8pm
Workplace Organizing Training Program: The Organizing Conversation
Join the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee (EWOC) for our five-session organizer training program, designed for people interested in joining a union, addressing safety or equality issues at work, or just learning more about labor! No previous experience required! Make sure to register for each session separately. These sessions are on Wednesday evenings, 8-9:30pm EST.
Schedule conflict? Make-up for this session is Sunday, Nov. 29 at 5:30pm.
Wednesday, December 2 | 8pm
Them and Us Unionism
Militant, activist, democratic unions: in DSA, we know that’s what we support, but what do such unions really look like? What are the principles that define them and distinguish them from more complacent and conservative labor organizations? Join the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission (DSLC) for a panel discussion on the United Electrical Workers’ (UE) new…
EVENTS FROM OUR ALLIES IN THE DMV
Saturday, November 21 | 7pm
FTP March: No More Pigs In Our Community
Saturday, December 12 | 1:30pm
Grassroots Planning Coalition meets
DC GPC will be working on crafting specific amendments to the DC Comprehensive Plan that we want the Council to include when they pass the bill early next year. Fight for housing not profits in DC. Get involved in this effort by registering for the next meeting of the DC Grassroots Planning Coalition.
The Publications Working Group marches on – we are reframing the archive of Washington Socialist articles for better layout and accessibility to this rich, near-decade trove of digital articles about socialism in the DMV. At our meeting last Sunday we had a wide-ranging discussion of articles in the Washington Socialist going forward. Are we presenting the kinds of articles that we need to keep our membership informed and build socialism (and membership) within the wider DMV political and cultural left? If so, who will write those articles? Remember, we have no paid staff and cannot make “assignments” so you will have to assign these topics to yourself, and then, yep, write the articles. Let us know what you think, and what you want to do about it, at email@example.com or in our Slack channel, #publications.
Publications Schedule – One more Update this month, on what we might call Rouge et Noir Friday, November 27 – the tide of red-ink capitalist collapse created by the outgoing Trumpsters’s “uniquely botched”* management of the pandemic nakedly exposed on retail’s biggest day of the year. The December (pre-convention) issue of the Washington Socialist is scheduled for publication Friday, December 4, with an article deadline of November 28. Members submitting resolutions to the convention (other than bylaws) are invited to make their arguments in articles in that monthly newsletter issue. Submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In December we will have Updates on Fridays, December 11, 16 and, yes, the 25th, and the New Year’s 2021 issue of the Washington Socialist will appear on Friday, January 1, 2021. The December 16 Update may include articles about the local convention, which will have just taken place. Stay tuned on that.
Nothing startlingly lefty here, but some adds to the toolbox of resistance to the persistent McConnell menace of hyper-right judges. It is comforting to see “progressive” policy prescriptions used in a foundational sense rather than as “out there” alternatives.
A strong interview with labor scholar Jamie McCallum about how Americans work too much in “Americans Work Too Damn Much” – from Jacobin.
Given last weekend’s riot, we thought it useful to share these classic articles from revolutionary thinktank Crimethink:
- The Long Struggle Against Fascism in DC can get you brought up to speed with the antifascist resistance in DC
- Surviving a Pandemic: Tools for Addressing Isolation, Anxiety, and Grief is a thoughtful read that provides support mechanisms you can use to deal with anxiety or grief.
- Occupy: Democracy versus Autonomy provides a detailed look into the methods designed and utilized by Occupy protesters to organize direct action and build consensus. Many of these methods are still used on the antifascist fields today.
Uh oh – if, as the Washington Examiner claims, socialists are infiltrating the ranks of schoolteachers to fill impressionable young minds with leftist fantasies of a good society, we appear to be taking a big hit in our propaganda effort. Pew reports ed jobs are among those hardest hit by the 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.