December 4, 2020

Invading Biden’s Corporate Cabinet, the Metro DC DSA Convention for next weekend, and this month’s Washington Socialist.

December 4, 2020 Weekly Update


  • Green New Deal campaign takes to the streets Dec. 11
  • MDC DSA Convention Dec. 12 and 13
  • We Power DC testifies against Bowser’s utility commission favorite at DC Council hearing

Fight for our Lives! March against Biden’s neoliberal cabinet next Friday, December 11

DSA’s national Green New Deal campaign is mobilizing a nationwide action of 30 chapters telling Biden and the Democrats to Fight For Our Lives with popular and radical solutions to the pandemic and climate crisis.  In DC, we’re mobilizing Fri Dec 11th to march through downtown to highlight Biden’s neoliberal Cabinet appointments and why we have to organize to force them to fight for the working class. More info and registration here.

At our organizing meeting last weekend, we reviewed the national strategy, finalized our targets and action narrative, and distributed tasks between our action, media, and outreach groups. Specific information can be found in the #ecosocialism channel on Slack.

If you are interested in helping us organize these next two weeks, fill out this form to get plugged in. And join us for our last organizing meeting this Sunday at 1pm by RSVPing here. 

Commit to turning out for the action and receive updates here (to be updated though this week). We’ll be revving up the hype machine for the action this week so please boost any info you see come through our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Metro DC DSA Convention – December 12 and 13

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. TONIGHT (Friday, Dec. 4) 7-8pm join us at a Proposals Workshop to learn the ropes; how to navigate our convention and get your voice heard on the structure of MDC DSA and the paths forward we should take.

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

Breaking MDC DSA News: At DC Council hearing, We Power DC demands utility debt forgiveness and a ban on shutoffs

On Thursday December 3, members of We Power DC testified at the DC Council’s public hearing on Lorna John, who is Mayor Bowser’s pick to fill the vacancy on the utilities commission. 

“I felt compelled to testify today in solidarity with the more than 60,000 DC residents who are currently burdened by debt to our highly profitable investor-owned utility, Pepco,” said Jeff Stottlemyer of We Power DC and Metro DC DSA. “We need Public Service Commissioners who are willing to stand up for people over corporate profits, and who are willing to take a clear and public stand against disconnecting any DC resident’s utilities this coming winter.”

Jeff also denounced Pepco’s mistreatment of workers and called for democratic public control of the energy system. Read more and get involved at the We Power DC website.


The December 2020 issue of the Washington Socialist grapples with fallout from the November election…

MDC’s Defund MPD puts a spotlight on the toxicity that lies in the Metro PD police union, and highlights some ways to keep the “police protective society” out of negotiations for the next contract to chart a path to police abolition.

Internationalism, local and national varieties, as prepared for you by the re-emerging local Internationalism working group. A strategy for collaboratively getting the most out of the two DSA spheres.

On recent unpleasantness: The election outcome, the coup that keeps hanging fire and the lanes for action both with and without the Democratic Party. Articles by Bill Mosley and Gary Z.

Retro WashSoc — from the paper pages of a 1997 number of the Washington Socialist, a meditation on the art of meetings in an era when, well, we didn’t meet much.

Breaking Through — As the sources for factual information become increasingly confused in the online context, critical issues like climate change and equality in education collide confusingly in cyberspace. How do we right the information applecart, asks Dan Adkins.

Books — A science fiction novel by two-time Hugo winner (and  paid-up DSA member) Kim Stanley Robinson doubles as a roadmap for realistic saving of the planet, thanks to a UN agency — the titular “Ministry for the Future” — set up to represent the interests of future generations inheriting whatever global ecosphere survives late capitalism.


Updates from the Defund MPD working group

Following a very successful letter writing campaign with the Defund MPD coalition (over 1,000 signatures!) our working group will meet with Councilmembers Nadeau and Cheh on Monday, December 7th to discuss our demands for a collective bargaining agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police, DC’s police union. There’s still time to send a letter to the DC Council telling them to stop police union control. Here is a link to the letter writing template.

Councilmember Allen, Chairperson of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, has announced a hearing to explore alternatives to policing to be held December 17th. Defund MPD is watching closely for updates regarding the hearing, coordinating testimony with other members of the Defund MPD coalition, and planning a communications campaign. If you are interested in getting involved in this or any of the Defund MPD campaigns, please fill out our onboarding survey


Poor People’s Campaign Reading Group — participate with our Political Education WG

Join us in reading the seminal study “Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed; How They Fail” by the late Richard Cloward and our longtime member Frances Fox Piven. Sign up and give preferences for meetings and pace here.


The Soc Fem caucus will be hosting a movie night on December 8th at 7pm in lieu of our monthly business meeting. We will watch “Little White Lie,” a Jewish woman’s story of uncovering the secret about her African- American heritage.”

ICE Out of DC Coalition’s final push for the Sanctuary Values Act

The ICE Out of DC Coalition is preparing a final push to pass the Sanctuary Values Act, which would prohibit DC employees from cooperating and working with ICE, specifically the MPD and Department of Corrections. You can read more about the legislation here.

Organizers within the coalition are planning a demonstration Tuesday, December 8th at noon in Stanton Park. You can follow the coalition’s actions on Twitter to keep up to date on the action, as well as status of the legislation. 


Counter-protest planning

On the weekend of November 13th, Donald Trump’s most deranged supporters descended on DC, spouting conspiracy theories alleging widespread election fraud.

Two LGBT residents were attacked by wandering fascists. Artwork and memorials on Black Lives Matter Plaza were torn down and destroyedAnd a disturbing street brawl between counter-protesters and riotous Trump supporters left three residents stabbed around 8pm on Saturday, November 13th. 

A band of Trump supporters are expected to make a return next weekend, on December 12th. Check the weekly update next week to receive guidance on how to appropriately show up next weekend, if you can and are willing. But if you are interested in keeping in the loop as plans develop, we recommend keeping an eye on the following:

  • Defend DC is supported by many local groups and organizers, and will be helping organize folks hunkering down at BLM Plaza on the 11th and 12th.
  • TTC has been organizing in higher-risk situations on the ground over the past few months, and have been engaging in mutual aid work on weekends as well.

Yes, you will successfully recruit your friends for MDC DSA

You know who you are — you signed the DSA 100K pledge to approach three folks you know about joining DSA, but ummm… the first move is the hardest, But hey, this is the perfect icebreaker. Just send them this link, with “hey, I know you wanted to know more about DSA. Well, there’s this: Why You Should Join DSA | 8-9pm on Wednesdays” (for example, Dec. 9) … where your friends will learn about who we are and what we do. We’ll outline our chapter’s structure and our campaigns, branches, and caucuses and the breadth of our DMV action. Give them the full picture about the amazing upside of DSA and democratic socialism.


Friday, December 4

7 – 8pm  | Convention Proposal Workshop
Grand workshop on all things convention proposal related! Talk shop about bylaws…

Saturday, December 5th

2 – 3pm | Labor Working Group Planning Meeting: Worker Organizing Workshops 
LWG will be meeting to start planning for our WOW project, a program that connects workers and DSA members with organizers to go over labor rights and assist in workplace and internal union organizing. Register here.

Sunday, December 6

1 – 5pm | NoVA Tenant Organizing Working Group Anti-Eviction Canvass
We will be canvassing to provide support to tenants facing evictions and discussing the possibilities of organizing against their landlord.

2 – 4:30pm | MoCo DSA December Branch Meeting
Please join the Montgomery County branch this Sunday for our annual tradition of discussing the upcoming state legislative session with state delegates (and DSA comrades) Gabriel Acevero (D-39) and Vaughn Stewart (D-19)! There’s lots of proposed legislation to discuss – social housing, police reform, taxes on the rich, public banking, etc. It’s always one of the most fascinating meetings of the year – hope you can join us!

2 – 3pm | Labor Working Group Planning Meeting: Labor Speaker Series  
LWG will be meeting to start planning our new Labor Speaker Series project, an educational series that will bring in local union and worker rights activists in an ongoing way to educate DSA members on workplace rights, labor history, and more. Register here.

8 – 11pm | Queer Caucus Watch Party: Equal

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.

7 – 8:30pm | Biweekly Steering Committee Meeting
All MDC DSA members welcome to attend. Agenda and access in Slack #steering channel.

Wednesday, December 9 

7 – 9pm | Prince George’s Branch (prov.) Biweekly Organizing Meeting
Our resolution for branch status gets a vote before the convention in a few days. We are ready to rock Prince George’s with socialism tuned to our county. Register here.

Friday, December 11

11:30 AM – 2 PM | Fight For Our Lives — Biden’s Corporate Cabinet Tour
Dupont Circle
Protest Biden’s neoliberal Cabinet appointments as part of the first wave of DSA’s national Green New Deal mobilization. Meeting at Dupont Circle, marching across the K Street Swamp, and conclude at Biden’s transition team office at the Department of Commerce.

Friday, December 11 – Saturday, December 12

Defend DC Rally
Shutdown DC will hold a march and rally in response to an upcoming MAGA march. Show up at Black Lives Matter Plaza and help us keep each other safe. 

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.  

Thursday, December 17

7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Branch Monthly Organizing Meeting
We will be welcoming new members and discussing planning for our current actions and working groups 

Weekly or frequently recurring events:

NoVA Tenant Organizing Planning Meeting:
Sundays – 1 to 2pm (cancelled this week due to a conflict with the tenant canvass, our next meeting will be on the 14th)

Saturdays – Canvasses scheduled as needed (See above for this week’s canvass, moved to Sunday for weather concerns)

Medicare 4 ALL (#M4A) Workgroup:
Sundays – 5 to 6:30pm

 New Member Orientation
Wednesdays – 8pm to 9pm
New to DSA? New-ish? Joined a while back and want to get involved again? 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.


Friday, December 4

7pm | Organizing the Diaspora: The U.S.-China Conflict, Anti-Asian Racism, and Transnational Solidarity
How can leftists of color and allies help connect transnational solidarity to anti-racist movement-building at home? Follow link for info and registration for this webinar.

Friday, December 4

8pm | Building a Left that Can Fight and Win
Socialists must take a hard look at the underlying trends in American political life: the dangerous growth of an assertive, white-supremacist Right and the weakness of declining centrist liberalism.

Tuesday, Dec 8

8pm EST | DSA Medicare for All National Campaign Kickoff
The movement of the kind we need to achieve Medicare for All will only be built through connecting with millions of people across the country, in their neighborhoods, town halls and workplaces. Learn what resources are available.

Wednesday, Dec. 9

8 pm | Workplace Organizing Training Program: Inoculation and the Boss Campaign
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! Wednesdays, learn more at link.


TODAY, December 4

3:30 – 5pm | Envisioning an Internationalist Green New Deal
Science for the People‘s next (and last) People’s Green New Deal teach-in. Please register here for the zoom link. Participants include top DSA GND scholar Thea Riofrancos and Brian Ward of Red Nation – Great Lakes.

Wednesday, December 9

6:30 – 8pm | The Life and Times of A Black Wobbly: Ben Fletcher
Claudia Jones School


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. But what have we done for you lately? If you think we could be covering more or different issues and strategies in the newsletter, let us know — in detail — at thesocialist[@] or in our Slack channel, #publications. (Ulterior motive alert — once you have provided the detail, you are halfway to finishing the article. We can help.)

Publications Schedule –In December we will email 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.

“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 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.

Our Learning Channel — The latest installment of MDC DSA’s acclaimed Socialist Night School follows the struggle for Medicare For All in the ups and downs of the last two presidential administrations. But that’s only the most recent. What are our other Night Schools, and are they accessible? Browse away!


  • Writing in Dissent, Rich Yeselson ‘s piece, Union Power after the Election, offers an unsentimental assessment of the industrial, geographic and partisan traps that stand in the way of short-term economic and political power for today’s unions.

  • This episode of the Belabored podcast looks at Unions Renewed: Building Power in the Age of Finance in which Annie Quick and Alice Martin point towards an updated playbook for labor.

  • Our comrade Dave Richardson passes along this from the independent left-indymedia nameplate The Canary: Biden’s foreign policy personnel picks “demonstrate how imperialism and endless war has the support of both major US parties.”

  • Portside’s Potpourri, “Global Left Midweek,” with info ranging from the gigantic agricultural strike in India going on right now to the 200th anniversary and achievement of Friedrich Engels.

  • As we approach the Georgia runoff elections for two Senate seats, Portside posts “Georgia’s adoption of runoff voting was aimed at maintaining segregation by, as one advocate put it, preventing ‘the Negro bloc vote from controlling the elections.’ “

  • We’ve been hearing a lot about NewsMax, Trump’s new fave cable channel now that he has expelled Fox News for heresy. Ben Smith, the NYT media columnist, has a good take on it; reassuringly the cable channel’s boss is an opportunist of the Rupert Murdock brand rather than a true believer like Roger Ailes. But like any chapel of true believers, NewsMax nurses a viper or two in its bosom — check out this op-ed, unwelcome to our ears of course but refreshing in context.

  • If Biden nominates corporate executives or lobbyists to Cabinet posts, 68% of Americans want Senate Democrats to vote those nominees down., a poll passed along by Common Dreams shows.

  • The techworld M&A vacuum continues to roar. So? This may touch our operations, as Slack is being vacuumed up. 

  • A close observer from pretty close to us — southwestern Virginia — recounts why so many of his neighbors “vote against their own interests” and how to begin doing something about it. And from Politico, a similar litany of frustration from rural Wisconsin.

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.
Arturo Giovannitti