December 18, 2020

A roundup of the MDC DSA convention, stopping Pepco from hiking prices, legislative updates, and more.

December 18, 2020 Weekly Update


  • Stopping Pepco from Raising Electricity Prices
  • 2021 election organizing efforts in Virginia kickoff
  • MDC DSA Convention Recap

DC’s highly profitable investor-owned electric utility, Pepco, wants to jack up prices as working-class Washingtonians suffer from a historic economic crisis brought on by the pandemic–and this destructive price increase has nothing to do with financing clean energy. Time is running out to stop Pepco’s corporate attack on our neighbors. Please click here to submit a letter demanding that DC’s utility regulator reject Pepco’s price hike application in full!

In September the ecosocialist caucus invited you to a community hearing on Pepco’s proposal, which is opposed by Pepco’s union. We’re pleased to report that it was a huge success. Union members, pastors, climate advocates, unemployed people, senior citizens, ANCs, and community leaders turned out in force to demand an energy system that prioritizes the public good instead of corporate profits. More than 100 people signed up to testify, with more than 70 percent speaking against Pepco’s price hike. The outpouring of opposition is having an important impact and victory is within reach. Flooding the utility commission with letters is one of the most important things we can do right now, so please submit one today! 

Virginia Political and Electoral Organizing for 2021 and Beyond – Saturdays @ 7pm Meetups

If you are aware of issues facing most Virginians and have a desire for Virginia to be a true commonwealth that works for ALL, then you are invited to take this survey as the first step and to join the Virginia 2021 election organizing mailing list. The data collected helps inform the direction and approach to take when planning new grassroots initiatives such as follows below. 

A number of progressive leaders from various communities in Virginia have come together and are currently organizing for Virginia’s 2021 elections and beyond. As part of that effort, we conduct weekly virtual meetings on Saturdays @ 7pm. The goal is to work towards building an RI Political Cooperative–like statewide political co-op in Virginia, as suggested by Krystal Ball of Rising in this segment. One of the major objectives of this co-op would be to develop an Inclusive Policy Platform that all candidates running for any public office in Virginia would agree to run on as well as pledge to work to implement as a team. The Platform will cover policies all Virginia’s progressive orgs support and advocate for and serve as their Point of Unity.

You are invited to join these very interactive and collaborative Saturdays @ 7pm Zoom meetings. We truly value your support in identifying gaps in the under-construction Platform and adding your policy ideas to it. We also greatly appreciate your help brainstorming and strategizing how to build a stronger, more cohesive network of all major progressive organizations that works like a well-oiled machine to move Virginia forward. 

Please send your request for Zoom link to Look forward to connecting and working together. Peace and Solidarity, Aliyah K

MDC DSA Convention Roundup

Last weekend, MDC DSA held our annual DSA convention. Following a report from the Steering Committee on MDC DSA’s activities 2019-2020, the chapter voted on a number of resolutions and amendments:

  • Resolution to establish a Prince George’s County Branch within Metro DC DSA passed unanimously. You can read the text of the resolution here.

  • Resolution to adopt gender inclusive language as a chapter passed, with 87 in favor and 6 against. You can read the full text of the resolution here. The resolution asks MDC DSA members to practice gender inclusive language by incorporating gender-neutral vocabulary when engaging in chapter business (i.e. – avoid using “you guys,” “dudes,” etc and instead try incorporating “comrades,” “folks,” or “everyone”). The resolution also asks members to not intentionally misgender or deadname their comrades, but assumes good faith when learning pronouns/new names of members. (You can read more about pronoun usage at this resource).

  • Resolution to add an annual financial commitment to indigenous sovereignty failed, with 56 against and 42 in favor. You can read the full text of the resolution here. The resolution would have committed the chapter to make a minimum annual financial commitment of $1,200 be paid to an Indigenous-led organization in alignment with democratic socialist values.

    The resolution attracted significant debate. All speakers agreed with the tenets of the resolution – that being the need to extend support for indigenous land sovereignty, the need for stronger outreach efforts to indigenous led organizations. Disagreement centered on whether it was appropriate for the chapter to tether an annual financial commitment into its operating costs. Opponents suggested that creating an annual financial commitment was out of the realm of what a socialist organization that lacks a dedicated funding stream can or should do. Supporters pressed on the need for some mechanism for committing financial resources to the struggle for indigenous sovereignty in order to make sure the chapter is truly supporting, in some way, the indigenous land-rights movement.

    The debate also sparked larger discussions on DSA channels: on issues of representation within DSA; how stack (speaking orders) implementation might be better designed to be more welcoming for non-white, non-male, or non-cis members; and how we consider issues of identity and class.

  • Resolution to hold an endorsement vote for Karishma Mehta was introduced. You can read the full text of the resolution here. Karishma, a DSA member and active in the NOVA branch, will be running for VA’s House of Delegates, and will be seeking DSA’s endorsement. Although no vote was held on this resolution (DSA will vote within the next two months to confirm this), members provided testimony on Karishma’s character and high-level of engagement in DSA. While many members expressed support for Karishma, many noted that this race will be difficult, given the progressive positioning of her incumbent rival. You can visit Karishma’s campaign website here.

  • Amendment A1.1 passed with 95 in favor, and 3 against. This amendment updates the bylaws as recommended by the Bylaws Revision Commission, which was tasked with reviewing the old bylaws and removing redundencies/inconsistencies. The revisions do not make significant changes to intent or will of the bylaws. The new bylaws can be reviewed here (see A1, “New Language” in the Table of Contents), but will be published to the website soon.

  • Amendment A1.2 passed with 66 in favor, and 21 against. This amendment removed the three-reader process for putting forward chapter resolutions. Going forward, chapter amendments introduced in one session will be called for a vote in the next meeting. You can read the amendment here.

  • Amendment A1 passed with 95 in favor, and 2 against. This amendment creates a new organizing formation within the chapter – called “sections” – which will make it easier for members who have a common identity (such as gender, race, etc.) to organize and mobilize chapter resources. You can read the amendment here. 


Full details in the MDC DSA Calendar: Saturday, December 19  2-3pm | AfroSoc Caucus December Discussion Meeting

Sunday December 20 6-7:30pm | Defund MPD Working Group – Monthly Meeting; 1pm | Ecosocialist Caucus Demo Debrief; 7 – 8:30pm | Queer Caucus 2021 Planning Session #1; 7-8:30pm | NoVA Branch Office Hours — plus recurring Sunday events: NoVA Tenant Organizing Planning Meeting: Sundays – 1 to 2pm; Medicare 4 ALL (#M4A) Workgroup: Sundays – 5 to 6pm


Fighting for a Green New Deal in DC

Last Friday, as the launch of the first national DSA Green New Deal action, dozens of us marched through downtown DC to highlight the influence of fossil fuel, corporate, and war profiteering interests on the incoming Biden administration and demanded Democrats fight for a working class agenda that addresses the intersecting crises of the pandemic, climate change, structural racism, and the economic depression. (Check out this video created from the action).

Then through the weekend, far-right demonstrators and openly fascist organizers amassed in DC threatening violence and the ongoing national democratic process. DSA members mobilized to the call to action by way of the Defend DC coalition to defend Black Lives Matter Plaza and DC residents. The contrast between our message and the fascists’ could not be clearer: either social movements will force Biden to deliver policies that address the root of the crises, or the reactionary forces will grow stronger. This next year requires us as a chapter to organize to meet this challenge head on and ensure the 2020s will be the decade of the Green New Deal.

This Sunday at 1pm, we’ll be debriefing our demonstration, the events of the past weekend, and next steps for our Green New Deal organizing in DC. RSVP to join here (whether you were part of the action or not!).


Legislative victories in DC!

We have two updates on legislation passed in the DC Council:

  • The Displaced Workers Right to Reinstatement and Retention Amendment Act of 2020 was passed by the council 13-0! Thank you for all your hard work and advocacy. The bill was passed with some compromises around employer size (increased to 50) and now sunsets in June of 2023 instead of Jan 1, 2024, but given the ferocity of the business lobby’s push back, the coalition successfully pushed the council enough to avoid any dramatic concessions. Of course the bill still needs to be signed by the mayor but with 13 members of the Council supporting the bill it seems unlikely that she would veto it. The final text of the bill can be found here. Thanks again all for your hard work and organizing over the past few weeks!
    In solidarity, JWJ and MDC DSA Labor

  • The DC Council passed a strengthened, expanded Sanctuary Values Act to protect immigrant communities by permanently banning DC cooperation with ICE. For decades DC government helped ICE detain immigrants through the DC Jail, MPD and other DC agencies by sharing information with ICE and giving ICE agents special access inside DC facilities. The permanent Sanctuary Values Act that was passed today will apply to all DC agencies and includes a critical amendment to close a courthouse loophole that ICE and the US Marshals have used to detain individuals at DC Superior Court. We join the ICE Out of DC Coalition in celebrating this important step towards a safer and more equitable DC. Thank you to everyone in the ICE Out of DC Coalition for your leadership on this campaign.

Defund MPD Update

Join our monthly working group meeting this Sunday, December 20th! This is a great opportunity for members new to the Defund Working group to get up to speed on the work of our various subcommittees. Thanks to all who submitted written or verbal testimony to the Alternatives to Policing Roundtable held by the DC Council on Thursday. Read more about the demands presented here. Written testimony can be emailed to through close of business on Friday, December 18th. 

We also released a Twitter thread expressing support for Charles Allen to continue serving as chair of the Judiciary Committee. He has shown himself to work in good-faith with residents and local activists in the Defund MPD Coalition. While we don’t agree with him on everything, we believe he’s willing to listen to our demands in good faith.


Volunteers needed to keep MDC’s machine rolling!

The common infrastructure used by all of MDC’s different operating teams is managed by our Administrative Committee. It’s not a mystery cult – but a team that looks to accomplish positive motion for our chapter. As you might expect, there are a lot of wheels that need greasing, and the AdCom needs activist help. See how you can join up here to make our impact in 2021 greater — sooner.  Here are some local roles we’re looking to fill:

  • Project Managers Needed! 
    If you have experience as a project manager, or want to become one for the chapter, please reach out to laurenmdcdsa[@] We need help across the chapter getting organized and helping teams get work done.  

  • Become a Board Administrator
    We are looking for people with experience moderating online message boards or chatrooms to help us moderate the chapter Slack. We would need a couple of hours a week to help manage permissions, moderate, and add some fun emojis! This is a great opportunity to help grow the MDCDSA community! If you’re interested, please email

  • Red Desk Managers
    We are looking for people to help us managing Red Desk, the chapter’s ticketing system. Volunteers will make sure ticket templates are correct, users have correct permissions, and things are running smoothly. If you’re interested, please email
  • Internal Communications 
    The email is incredibly important to chapter operations and we need people to help run it! We also need people to help make sure that emails are functioning correctly. Please email if you’re interested.

  • Mobilizers needed
    The mobilization team helps inactive members find their place within the Chapter. Come join our team by emailing
  • System Administrators needed
    The Technical Operations Team is looking for volunteer systems administrators to build and maintain chapter resources.  Email


Saturday, December 19
2 – 3pm | AfroSoc Caucus December Discussion Meeting
Monthly discussion. 

Sunday, December 20
6 – 7:30pm |
Defund MPD Working Group – Monthly Meeting 
The Defund MPD Working Group now holds a monthly meeting on the third Sunday of each month at 6pm.Monday, December 21

1pm | Ecosocialist Caucus Demo Debrief
We’ll be debriefing our Dec. 11 demonstration, the events of the past weekend, and next steps for our Green New Deal organizing in DC.

Monday, December 21
7 – 8:30pm | Queer Caucus 2021 Planning Session #1
Queer Caucus brainstorming/discussion/planning meetings for 2021 to collectively identify projects, campaigns, actions, events, priorities etc. with the goal to build power for Queer workers, fight marginalization and material oppression, and recruit even more working class LGBTQIA2S+ members.

7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Branch Office Hours
This is our first try at having an open meeting for people to talk with our member mobilizer comrades and ask/talk about anything on their minds!  Kick your feet up, let’s chat!

Tuesday, December 22
7 – 8:30pm | Biweekly MDC DSA Steering Committee Meeting
Virtual meeting; all MDC DSA members welcome to attend. Zoom access in Slack #steering channel.

Wednesday, December 23
8 – 9pm | Why You Should Join DSA!
New to DSA? Considering joining DSA but want to hear more info first? Attended a few of our events already and ready to become a member? Join this event to learn why you should become a member of the Metro DC chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. You will learn about who we are and what we do. We’ll outline our chapter’s structure and our campaigns, branches, and caucuses. More at link.

Thursday, December 31
7 – 8pm | Medicare 4 All Discussion Group
Biweekly discussion; readings info here.

Sunday, January 3
2 – 4:30pm | MoCo DSA January Branch Meeting
Please join us for our January, 2021 branch meeting. We’ll discuss priorities for 2021, including taxing the wealthy, defunding the police, and more. Please RSVP to this event to receive the zoom info. Hope to see you then!

Tuesday, January 5
6:30 – 8:30pm |
A Radical History of the Young Lords <> Socialist Night School
The Young Lords were an explicitly socialist organization (‘60s-’70s) led predominantly by poor and working-class Puerto Rican youth and modeled after the Black Panther Party. Discussion is led by Prof. Johanna Fernández, author of the acclaimed book The Young Lords: A Radical History.

7 – 8:30pm | Biweekly MDC DSA Steering Committee Meeting
Virtual meeting; all MDC DSA members welcome to attend. Zoom access in Slack #steering channel.

Wednesday, January 6
1 – 2:00pm | Queer Caucus 2021 Planning Session #2
Queer Caucus brainstorming/discussion/planning meetings for 2021 to collectively identify projects, campaigns, actions, events, priorities etc. with the goal to build power for Queer workers, fight marginalization and material oppression, and recruit even more working class LGBTQIA2S+ members.

7 – 9pm | PG Co. DSA Steering Committee Meeting 
PG Co. DSA Steering Committee Meeting is open to members and non-members.

Thursday, January 7
7pm | SocFem Caucus Happy Hour 
Registration link will appear in a future Update.

Saturday, January 9
2 – 3:00pm |
Queer Caucus 2021 Planning Session #3
Queer Caucus brainstorming/discussion/planning meetings for 2021 to collectively identify projects, campaigns, actions, events, priorities etc. with the goal to build power for Queer workers, fight marginalization and material oppression, and recruit even more working class LGBTQIA2S+ members.

Sunday, January 10
3 – 5pm | MDC DSA General Body Meeting for January 2021

Monday, January 11
6 – 8:00pm | Queer Caucus Happy Hour
Happy Hour, for all Queer, Trans, and Nonbinary comrades, as well our allies and accomplices. During this crisis, social connection is vital for our mental and physical health. Please drop in, relax, chat, and (virtually) connect. Public event, DSA membership not required.

Tuesday, January 12
7 – 8:30pm | Queer Caucus 2021 Planning Session #4
Queer Caucus brainstorming/discussion/planning meetings for 2021 to collectively identify projects, campaigns, actions, events, priorities etc. with the goal to build power for Queer workers, fight marginalization and material oppression, and recruit even more working class LGBTQIA2S+ members.

7pm | SocFem Caucus Monthly Meeting
Please join our monthly SocFem Caucus Business Meeting where we discuss and plan our work. We welcome DSA members and supporters alike. Please note: 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. More at link.

Saturday January 16 
7 – 8:30pm | NOVA Book Club: The Case Against Free Speec
The next NoVA Book Club will be to discuss P.E. Moskowitz’s The Case Against Free Speech.  You can purchase the ebook here or purchase it physically from AK Press and keep your dollars away from Jeff Bezos!

Weekly or regularly-recurring events:

NoVA Tenant Organizing Planning Meeting:
Sundays – 1 to 2pm 
Saturdays – Canvasses scheduled as needed

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

New Member Orientation
Wednesdays – 8 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.


Monday, December 28 | 8pm YDSA Jobs Fair: Education 
Schools and the education industry are at the center of the reproduction of society and worker-organizing in education has immense social and political leverage. More at link

Tuesday, December 29 | 8pm YDSA Jobs Fair: Healthcare
Still  a shop floor here; worker-organizing in healthcare has immense social and political leverage. More at link

Wednesday, December 30 | 8pm  YDSA Jobs Fair: Logistics
The logistics industry and the general transportation of goods is the nervous center of the American economy and worker-organizing in logistics has immense economic leverage. More at link

Monday, January 3 | 7pm  Decade of the Green New Deal: Year One
Join the Green New Deal Campaign Committee and guests to usher in the New Year and the Decade of the Green New Deal! Building on our nationwide Fight for our Lives action and Georgia mobilization, we’ll talk about how you and your chapters can link together in advancing our core demands. More at link.


Friday, December 18 | 6:30pm ET
Shut Down ICA Webinar
Migrant justice groups in Virginia and Michigan working to end deportation and detention are hosting a webinar this Friday, December 18, at 6:30pm, to shut down ICA (Immigration Centers of America). ICA is a private prison company that operates the Farmville Detention Center in Farmville, Virginia, the site of numerous abuses against detainees — and they’re now seeking to expand into Michigan. The webinar will focus on recently released reports of ICE’s violence at ICA-Farmville and on ways to stop their expansion and shut down ICA. Register at

​Friday, December 18 | 7pm ET
Freedom Futures Collective “We Keep Us Safe” Digital Album release
Freedom Futures Collective (FFC) is a multimedia group of artist activists using music, film, and education to support the movement for ALL Black lives.​ Join FFC as they showcase a compilation of musical and visual experiences that uplift radical police reform and strategies that properly ensure the overall safety of all Black lives.​ See registration at link.

Tuesday, January 12 | 5:30pm EST
Join ONE DC  for our Shared Work Training, a workshop with direct testimony from D.C. residents around Black unemployment, learn about the Shared Work program from NELP Staff Attorney Nzingha Hooker and hear from Addy Baird, a Shared Work participant, on best practices when approaching an employer about the program. 

More information about the program can also be found here. Register here for Zoom access and more info LINK


Publications Schedule –In December we will email Updates on Fridays, including the 25th (might be short on events, tho), and the New Year’s 2021 issue of the Washington Socialist will appear on Friday, January 1, 2021. The article deadline for the January issue is Saturday, December 26. The Publications Working Group will publish MDC DSA’s January weekly Updates on Fridays — January 8, 15, and 22 — and the February issue of the Washington Socialist will be emailed Friday, January 29. To submit articles for the monthly Washington Socialist newsletter, send them to Contact us at that email address if you are interested in joining the Publications Working Group to get vital information to ~3,000 local chapter members and another ~3,000 nonmember activists in the DMV who get the Update too. 

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. 23) … 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.

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 receipt  that national DSA sent you acknowledging your status. Please be patient; our admin committee is loaded with chores and shorthanded to boot. 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 comrade Chris Townsend, veteran organizer now with the ATU, recounts an early YDSA get together and the influence of the book he learned about there. H/T to our comrade David Duhalde via Facebook.

Passed along by our comrade Dave Richardson, Big Pharma Strikes Back — from the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Not surprisingly, the pharmaceutical industry is not letting the resolution put forward before the WTO [to suspend intellectual property rights related to vaccines and treatments during the pandemic] go unchallenged in public debate.

One of the best places in the MSM to get a thorough look at current social-science terrain is at the intersection of NYT and Tom Edsall. Here, a platoon of socsci scholars ups the ante on the severity of social division in the US, with Trump only a complicit sideshow. When one side in a sectarian divide views opponents as 1. The Other; 2. Disliked and distrusted; and 3. Morally depraved, the term “tribalism” is too weak. Here’s Edsall’s latest Opinion | America, We Have a Problem

Touted by an upstate New York comrade, this NYT analysis of who might win as the climate changes points to warming Northern fields in Russia and Canada. How Russia Wins the Climate Crisis. 

In response to last weekend’s far-right invasion of DC, an examination on what informs the ideology of Proud Boys – with good insight into what motivates them, how they are able to recruit non-white allies, and why we should rightly be calling them a gang. Written by a DC local.

Why it’s so hard to fight City Hall: the Monell Rule [requiring top officials’ policy choice or pattern of deliberate neglect] is a barrier to government accountability. It puts legal distance between city governments and their employees, allowing cities to avoid responsibility for the on-the- job conduct of their own police officers.” A veteran civil rights litigator explains in a Politico analysis via Portside.

Kicking off with DSA member Kim Stanley Robertson’s latest, a scholar-activist examines how socialists and science fiction have walked together since at least the times of William Morris’s News from Nowhere, and shaped fiction to follow Marx’s observation (paraphrased) that “World history would indeed be easy to make, if the struggle were taken up only under favourable circumstances.” So, asks the writer, “what if we stopped thinking so much about history in relation to the past, and started thinking about it from the perspective of the future?” Showing the present “practices of the capitalist class as a hostile act against that ‘good society’ of the future” is the key insight of leftist sci-fi through the modern era. In Portside, “How Sci-Fi Shaped Socialism.”

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