January 1, 2021

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

January 1, 2021 Weekly Update


Take Ten Minutes to Make Some Calls and Shut Down Fascist Organizing

Trump is calling for a “wild” protest on January 6th, and his supporters — including the Proud Boys and other fascist gangs — are planning to return to DC to call for overturning the election. Last time they were in DC, they attacked churches, burned Black Lives Matters signs, and roamed the city finding people to attack.

But we can stop them before they get here. Already, Hotel Harrington and Harry’s Bar, apparently getting tired of their reputation as the gathering spot for hate groups, have announced that they will CLOSE on January 6th. We’re asking you to take a few minutes to call other hotels where they’ll be staying, to get them to follow suit.

What we need from you: Call each of the hotels below to demand they not host the Trump-affiliated protestors who want to subvert the election (numbers and sample call scripts below):

  • Holiday Inn Alexandria – 703-960-2000
  • Holiday Inn Capitol Hill – 202-479-4000
  • Washington Marriott at Metro Center – 202-737-2200
  • Willard InterContinental Hotel – 202-628-9100
  • Capitol Hilton – 202-393-1000
  • Hyatt Place Washington DC/White House – 202-830-1900

Sample Call Script

Then, share the messages from BLM DC and Shut Down DC to get others to make the call. This call to action is the latest in response to fascists terrorizing our city. Last month, Shut Down DC also called for DC to revoke the liquor license of popular Proud Boy haunt Harry’s. You can still sign their petition here.

Please be aware that some of these groups have been threatening violence. If you go downtown on January 6th, please do not go alone. Track MDC DSA’s #announcements channel on Slack for more info on linking up with a protest buddy.

Be safe, be smart. 

Pre-endorsement Q&A Zoom call for Karishma Mehta, Monday 7:00 PM

Our DSA chapter will be hosting an endorsement Q&A conference call with Karishma Mehta, a candidate for Virginia House of Delegates’ 49th District seat who is seeking our endorsement and support.

This Monday, January 4, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m, all members of the chapter are welcome to attend and ask questions during the conference call. Chapter members who are unable to attend the call can submit a question here.

You can find Karishma’s completed endorsement questionnaire here.

DC Residents can sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations

From the mayor’s office: DC residents are encouraged to fill out a questionnaire to schedule an appointment for COVID-19 vaccination. Note: Employees of any institution listed on the questionnaire’s site should instead contact that facility for specific instructions.

Maryland vaccinations flounder — the media’s designated anti-Trump hero MD Gov. Larry Hogan continues to fail where it counts — in his own state. In the news on the last day of 2020: More than 80% of vaccines from the initial allotment to Maryland have not been distributed, the Sun reports. And Bloomberg ranked Maryland the state with the lowest percentage in administering vaccines available.


The progressive project of forcing a vote on Medicare for All in the U.S. House is a high-stakes move that has recently  and debated within left circles. Two articles in this issue might provide some context. “Can we really ‘force the vote?'” suggests that leftypreneurs from the commanding heights of podcast-world are promoting the idea without fully acknowledging the level of effort on the ground that organizing to Force the Vote might entail.

Medicare for All had an earlier incarnation, the less sexy label “single-payer health care,” and as Bill Mosley recounted in 1992, strategy for promoting it then also required local, state and federal lobbying and street action. Our DSA local was in the game then, just as now, as we see in this republished article from the Washington Socialist of that era.

Another article recalls lessons from an earlier time. “A world which could be free,” summarizes the impact of Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism (2009), which searched for “a new political subject” who/that could resist capitalism. The lessons imparted by Mark Fishers help us make sense of the post-covid world.

We have spilled over the daunting number 300,000 as Americans have died in cascading numbers through the month-long double holiday period. How many is that? Are you sure? In “COVID by the numbers,” some comparisons are raised to help us wrap our heads around the mortality that can result from feckless negligence.

December was actually busy for DMV socialists, with actions ranging from a street-level tour of Biden’s least savory nominations to a visit by Santa to Capitol Hill to fill Congress in on its flaws and failures. DSA members hit the streets to demand from Democratic Party leadership that only bold action will be capable of answering the deep public health, economic and environmental crises facing the working class. 

Why are Democrats punching from the back foot despite the advantages they had in the 2020 election? An analysis shows that they frittered away the strong support they could have had from their own Progressive wing. “the most successful victories for the Democrats have been when they embraced their left flank,” asserts Kareem Elrefai in a crosspost from the Nation’s Kapital blog.

And finally, you may feel as if you have too much to read already. But that’s because you haven’t checked out our Best Reads of 2020, a curated selection from our “Good Reads” section month by month.


Supporting the Reclaim Rent Control Campaign in 2021

The rent control campaign continues on into 2021. We know this has been a hard year for so many people, and not everyone is in a position to give, but if you are able, please consider giving to support the Reclaim Rent Control campaign.

Funds are used to hold events, engage the public, and pay organizers to win the changes we need to win reforms and stop displacement.

Learn more about the Reclaim Rent Control at http://reclaimrentcontrol.org/


Socialist copy editors at work?

Best editing booboo of 2020 may be in John Harris’s end-of-year column in Politico: “… the great national story of 2020, wherever one lives, was the collision of myth and realty.” Capital and property relations, gauntlet in gauntlet, continue to put the hammer down on subordinated classes and the planet; pandemics are only one of the inevitable consequences.

(Politico worker-bees are no slouch; the typo was fixed by afternoon even as New Year’s Eve beckoned — ed.)

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. The data collected helps inform the direction and approach we take when planning new grassroots initiatives such as follows. 

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.

If interested, please complete the survey and send your request for Zoom link to alik0219@gmail.com. Looking forward to connecting and working together! Peace and Solidarity, Aliyah K

#ForceTheVote activists to rally in DC this weekend

Activists in the DC area have organized a march on the Capitol to demand a floor vote in the House for Medicare for All. Speakers at the event will include progressive luminaries like former Bernie Sanders national press secretary Briahna Joy Gray, candidate for Florida Congressional district 24 Christine Olivo, National Coordinator for Movement for a People’s Party Nick Brana, and many others. The event is not formally endorsed by DSA, but members from DSA’s Medicare for All working group will be participating.

Meet each day (1/2, 1/3 & 1/4 @ 9am EST) at Spirit of Justice Park. Three days of protests and marches to the US Capitol Building to #ForceTheVote on Medicare for All. The march/rally will end around 12pm every day. 

What to bring: Your mask, warm clothes, walking shoes, your ID, signage + posters, water, snacks. This is supposed to be a low-risk event, and encounters with police are not expected.


Sunday, January 3

2 – 4:30pm | MoCo DSA January Branch Meeting
Please join us for our first branch meeting of 2021. We’ll discuss fighting for new legislation to tax the rich, and strategies on several fronts for defunding the police. This will include special guest speakers who’ll talk about the Defund the Police coalition in Montgomery County.

6 – 8pm | NoVA MJWG Planning/Research Meeting
The NoVA branch’s migrant justice working group is meeting to continue research on deportation/detention profiteers in Virginia, discuss the latest actions/findings and plan our next steps for 2021.

Monday, January 4

7– 8pm | Pre-Endorsement Q&A Zoom Call for Karishma Mehta
Our DSA chapter will be hosting an endorsement Q&A conference call with Karishma Mehta this Monday, January 4, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Karishma is seeking our chapter’s endorsement of her candidacy for the Virginia House of Delegates’ 49th District seat. All members of the chapter are welcome to attend and ask questions during the conference call. Chapter members who are unable to attend the call can submit a question here.

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 branch interim Steering Committee meeting is open to members and non-members.

5 – 6pm | NoVA DSA Tenant Organizing Planning Meeting
Discuss research, canvassing and other work for the NoVA Tenant Organizing Working Group; open to both DSA members and non-members.

8 – 9pm | Why You Should Join DSA
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. And why you belong with us.

Thursday, January 7

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

7pm | SocFem Caucus Happy Hour
A happy hour space for those who identify as womxn, non-binary people, or those of marginalized genders. We ask that men do not participate at this time.

Saturday, January 9

2 – 3pm | Queer Caucus 2021 Planning Session #3

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

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.

Wednesday, January 13

8 – 9pm | Why You Should Join DSA

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!

Tuesday, January 19

7 – 8:30pm | Biweekly MDC DSA Steering Committee Meeting
All members are welcome to attend. Get virtual access in Slack #steering or #announcements channels.

Wednesday, January 20

8 – 9pm | Why You Should Join DSA

Thursday, January 21

6:30 – 8:30pm | Police, Police Unions and Racial Capitalism | Socialist Night School
As we fight racial capitalism as enforced by police, a major obstacle opposing any and all reform or even criticism are police unions. How do police operate as political actors? What is the role of police unions in preventing reform, defunding and abolition? An expert panel and discussion. 

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

Sunday, January 24

2 – 4pm | Socialist Feminist Reading Group

7 – 8pm | Critical Whiteness: Reading Ian Haney Lopez White by Law
Examining how racial categorization became instrumental in defining who is and is not a citizen and analyzing how whiteness continues to shape our understanding of citizenship and belonging, 

Wednesday, January 27

8 – 9pm | Why You Should Join DSA
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. And why you belong with us.

7 – 9pm | Prince George’s Branch MDC DSA General Meeting
Organizing on issues for Prince George’s and Maryland in our first GBM as a branch. Members and interested progressives welcome.

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.


Play catchup during the break — National’s December Dispatch bundles lots of info-stuff including newsletters from national commissions and working groups, the latest Democratic Left in digital form, public banking, indigenous resistance, organizing strategies collective and interpersonal, and more.


Saturday, January 2 – Monday, January 4

9am – 12pm | Force the Vote Rally

Friday, January 8 

7pm | Our Revolution MoCo Legislative Priorities Town Hall 
With Dels. Julie Palakovich Carr, Gabe Acevero, Vaughn Stewart and David Moon. 


Tuesday, January 12 

5:30pm | 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.


Publications Schedule: Our 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 thesocialist@mdcdsa.org. 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 info@mdcdsa.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 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.


  • From mid-December: Stream of a panel “Indigenous resistance in a world on fire” from national DSA Ecosocialists and others.

  • From The Intercept: A reconsideration of a classic work of labor history now being republished.

  • From the New Left Review: whatever happened to “fake news”?
    “… the term fake news has barely been used in 2020 [actually, that’s news to us] when just three years ago it was rampaging across the media, with legislation drafted on it in various parliaments. It is not as if the world has grown more truthful over the past few years, yet now it seems to have been almost deleted from our vocabularies. Which suggests the opposite question: how come it was only in 2017 that a stunned humanity discovered that lies are told in politics and war?”

  • Subsiding or thriving as a concept, some of the main carriers of “fake news” nevertheless are the big social media and search platforms. Here’s a very thorough roundup of the issues surrounding the (highly recommended here) public control of those platforms as public utilities.

  • How hard is the climate fight going to be? One writer has said, in his article “Deep Adaptation,” that it’s already over and humanity and the planet lost. Others disagreed and pushed back. This NYT article rounded up the exchanges.

  • Circulated by our comrade Dave Richardson, from Common Dreams:
    Neera Tanden and Antony Blinken Personify the ‘Moderate’ Rot at the Top of the Democratic Party

  • From Politico: Trump’s unplanned gift to Biden: Clean energy on the rise — Oil and gas producers are struggling amid weak prices and growing pressure to address climate change while wind and solar technologies are soaring — a trend that will assist Biden in making a U-turn in energy policy from the Trump administration’s.

  • Our local comrade David Schwartzman, a scholar and published author on the climate crisis, has a critique of a new film, “We Demand Tomorrow,” on Popular Resistance site: He calls the self-described Marxist documentary on the climate-extinction crisis “well worth seeing, with its deep analysis of capitalism.” but suggests that in the film, “the dismissal of the Green New Deal (GND) as another capitalist solution is not helpful. There are many versions of the GND, not only those promoted by “green” capital, but an alternative ecosocialist Global GND.”

  • From StreetsBlog USA, a review of the utterly awful 2020 for mass transit: With its instant 75% collapse in mass transit use and political institutions’ refusal to provide more than half of the financial support systems needed to survive the pandemic, “To say that 2020 was an unbelievable year in the sustainable transportation world would be a profound understatement — and to break it down into a neat list of wins and losses is an impossible task. Because in 2020, every “win” occurred against a backdrop of vast death, suffering, and injustice, and every “loss” happened amidst a surge in mutual aid, fierce advocacy, and stunning resilience at the community level.” 
  • Where can labor and working people look in 2021 for next steps? Esther Wang in Jezebel proposes a candidate: Sara Nelson, the Labor Movement Leader We Needed Most


And a GREAT READ as Trump heads for the exit: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Huck and Jim fall in with the traveling con men who call themselves the Duke and the Dauphin, and the two stage a show in a small riverside town, which provides a few minutes of prancing and elocuting but not the promised full-length tragedy. As they bid the audience farewell, 

“Twenty people sings out: ‘What, is it over? Is that ALL?’

The duke says yes. Then there was a fine time. Everybody sings out ‘Sold!’ and was a-going for that stage and them tragedians.

But a big, fine looking man jumps up on a bench and shouts: ‘Hold on! Just a word, gentlemen.’ They stopped to listen. ‘We are sold — mighty badly sold. But we don’t want to be the laughing stock of this whole town, I reckon, and never hear the last of this thing as long as we live. NO. What we want is to go out of here quiet, and talk this show up, and sell the REST of the town! Then we’ll all be in the same boat. Ain’t that sensible?’ (‘You bet it is! — the jedge is right,’ everybody sings out.) ‘All right then — not a word about any sell. Go along home, and advise everybody to come and see the tragedy.’ “

And that’s just how Trump sold his base.


Happy New Year!

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