December 25, 2020

Santa makes a last minute appearance on Capitol Hill, intercepting white supremacy in DC, and Virginia electoral organizing.

December 25, 2020 Weekly Update


  •  TODAY – Santa delivers coal to Congress on Christmas morning – rapid response
  • Tell Harry’s Restaurant ‘NO’ to White Supremacy
  • 2021 election organizing efforts in Virginia
Santa delivers coal to congress!

A RAPID RESPONSE is coming from MDC DSA to Congress’s refusal to pass the desperately needed survival checks for $2000, spurning the do-over opportunity offered by The Madness of “King” Trump. Christmas morning, Santa is going to cap a wearying journey by giving out coal on Capitol Hill. Santa, coming out as the socialist that Santa has always been, reads the long list of Congressional naughtiness at 9:30am at 1st and E Capital. Santa’s (unionized) elves will be there, MDC DSA members all and checking it twice.

If you’d like to participate in the action, fill out this form! Or follow our social media channels (Twitter, Instagram) to check out pictures and video from the action. The event will be completed by 11.

Over the weekend of December 11-13, supporters of Donald Trump came to DC in order to protest the legitimate results of our national election. Local dive-bar themed tourist trap Harry’s (436 11th St. NW) allowed these supporters to congregate in large numbers without masks in violation of the district’s COVID-19 ordinance, drawing investigation by the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.

These patrons went out after getting drunk at Harry’s to attack DC residents, resulting in four stabbings, causing injuries to counter-demonstrators (including members of our chapter) and inciting numerous arrests. They also burned multiple Black Lives Matter signs, including a banner in front of the historically Black Asbury United Methodist Church.

Harry was issued two warnings for similar behavior in October and received $2,000 in fines from the ABRA in November. This is at least their third violation. The time for warnings is over. ABRA must exact the consequences of their regulations and revoke Harry’s liquor license. Sign the petition demanding ABRA revoke Harry’s liquor license immediately.

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

If you are aware of issues facing a majority of 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 in achieving this goal. If you would like to learn more, you are welcome to join our mailing list. The data collected helps inform the direction and approach we take when planning new grassroots initiatives such as follows below. 

A number of progressive leaders from various communities in Virginia have come together to organize for Virginia’s 2021 elections and beyond. As part of that effort, we conduct weekly Zoom meetings Saturdays @ 7pm. The goal is to work towards building a statewide political co-op in Virginia similar to the RI Political Cooperative, 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 which all candidates running for public office in Virginia would agree to run on and pledge to implement as a team. The Platform will cover policies that all of Virginia’s progressive orgs ardently support, and will serve as their Point of Unity. 

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

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



Defund MPD Updates

DSA’s Defund MPD working group, which is working within the citywide Defund MPD Coalition engaged by organizers across the city, will be going into the new year intent on persuading politicians and the public on the need to defund the PD in order to foster safer communities. Here are some recent updates on the effort:

  • DSA has been pushing councilmembers to initiate a collective bargaining agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police, DC’s police union. You can read about the areas of reform needed to reduce the power of the police union as published early this month in Washington Socialist. 
  • MPD’s Police Chief Newsham announced he was stepping down – and his replacement has finally been announced. Robert Contee, the Assistant Chief over at the Investigative Services Bureau, which houses the Narcotics and Special Investigations Division (NSID). Black Lives Matter DC released a long thread in response to the news, as did Stop Police Terror Project DC.

  • Last week, we 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.

DC Council releases proposed committees for Council Period 24 (2021-2022)


The DC Council has released the proposed committee assignments for the District Council Period 24 (2021-2022). They will be officially approved at our January 4 Organizational Meeting. 

Most troubling is the removal of councilmembers Trayon White (Ward 8) and Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1) from the Housing committee. Trayon and Nadeau introduced the legislation which would make the Reclaim Rent Control platform law

Otherwise, here were some recent legislative victories secured by DC’s activist community, in case you missed it last week:

  • 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 hereThanks again to  JWJ and MDC DSA Labor for helping organize response to this.

  • 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.

DC cutting homeless services even as pandemic surges.

Recent reporting shows how the DC government is doubling down on cutting homeless services and continuing to threaten the clearing of encampments.

Remora House DC, a collective in Washington DC that provides supplies to unhoused residents in Wards 5 and 6, recently released a guide which explains how the city breaks down collections of unhoused folks, and how those looking to support these encampments in the city can help.

(If you are interested in learning more about homeless disenfranchisement, our Washington Socialist posted a study of voter disenfranchisement among US citizens experiencing homelessness.)

Publications Group Organizing

The Publications Working Group (PWG) is a collection of Metro DC DSA writers, editors, researchers, archivists, historians, communications professionals and artists. The PWG is tasked with producing this Weekly Update, in addition to helping prepare the monthly Washington Socialist. The group also works to refresh MDC DSA’s website content, creates print handouts for outreach and tabling, and helps provide additional graphic design support and general research to the rest of the chapter.

If any of this interests you – please fill out this form to be included on the PWG’s mailing list. Going into 2021, we want to reorganize the group to be a bit more structured. This way, we can engage in a wider array of activities relevant to the working group’s interests, such as: creating physical publications, infographics, multimedia content, audio/video content, and more.


TODAY, Friday, December 25

9:30 – 11:00 AM | Deliver Coal to Congress with MDC DSA

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 – 2pm | 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

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

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

Saturday, January 9

2 – 3pm | 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 – 8pm | 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.

7 – 9pm | 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 Speech 
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:
Wednesdays – 5 to 6pm (new time!!)
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.


Tuesday, January 12 | 5:30pm EST
ONE DC’s Shared Work Training
Join ONE DC  for their Shared Work Training, a workshop with direct testimony from DC 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.

Sunday, December 27 | 1:00pm EST
DC Antifascist Meet and Greet
Lincoln Park, 13th St NE and East Capitol Street NE
Join DC’s activist community to meet, greet, eat and learn about local anti-fascist organizing and the abolitionist community.


Publications Schedule – 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 TOMORROW, 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 OR join the #publications Slack channel 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.

And speaking of Slack — 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.


  • The Canadian socialist intellectual and academic Leo Panitch died of Covid-19 on December 19 at age 75, the Toronto Star reported. An appreciation has appeared in Jacobin, “Leo Panitch and the Socialist Project,” noting “His writings have carried us through some of the most difficult periods in the history of the socialist left, as wave after wave of the neoliberal onslaught broke workers’ organizations … [throughout that struggle] he devoted himself to demonstrating the necessity of a democratic-socialist society that would neither fall prey to the shortcomings of social democracy nor those of Soviet-style Communism.” In April 2020, Panitch and Sam Ginden published an updated The Socialist Challenge Today, in which they noted it was time to stop avoiding discussion of “the need to turn the whole financial system into a public utility.”

  • The holiday season has not been particularly kind to anyone other than the billionaire class — emphatically, Jeff Bezos. But delivery workers in and out of unions are taking a special high-risk hit, as Labor Notes outlines here.

  • From StreetsBlog — Nominee Buttigieg Vows to Dismantle ‘Racist’ Freeways – Mayor Pete has the sentiment, but this is now a huge trove of public right-of-way that should be kept public, not sold off to “public-private partnerships.” How about a national “high line” policy that preserves the foundation of these structures so they can be repurposed? Imagine mass transit and bike/walk lanes, community gardens, wildlife corridors and social housing of all sorts? These were considered monstrous intrusions in their day but are now part of the landscape of each neighborhood. Even when the system was first planned in 1956, the total pavement was estimated at 400 square miles — and that doesn’t count right-of-way. Big opportunities for public use if we can keep it public.

  • Pepco wants to raise rates. There’s a cheaper, greener alternative. As Washingtonians struggle with skyrocketing COVID-19 cases, a historic economic recession, and a worsening climate crisis, Pepco wants to raise electricity prices by almost $136 million over three years. Pepco’s heartless proposal reveals the danger of corporate control over our energy system — revealing the need for a community-run utility distribution system that prioritizes the public good instead of corporate profits. From 730DC’s blog.

  • For those interested in DSA internal politicking – from Partisan, an interview with Austin Gonzalez, a great comrade from Richmond DSA who is on the National Political Committee (DSA’s highest elected body). The piece provides a great lay of the land regarding the developments of NPC (a DSA member faction) and some of the internal/political dynamics they are navigating within. Austin was also pivotal in the recent reorganization of DSA’s International Committee, which handles international questions on behalf of the organization. He discusses some of the history behind the organization and the work that has gone into shifting their efforts to be more solidly grounded in anti-imperialism. We strongly recommend comrades give it a read, especially if you’re a newer comrade or trying to get a better sense of DSA’s internal politics at the national level and what that work looks like.

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