January 8, 2021

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

January 8, 2021 Weekly Update


  • Statement on January 6 coup attempt and Jan 20 inauguration mobilization
  • Update from MDC DSA’s Steering Committee
  • SUNDAY – MDC DSA General Body meeting

Metro D.C. DSA Condemns the Right-Wing Coup Attempt and Calls for Mobilization on Inauguration Day

“Last [Wednesday], thousands of white supremacists flooded our city for a rally in support of the president, emboldened by Trump’s refusal to concede the election and the silence from his enablers in Congress. An armed, unmasked mob of right-wing insurrectionists was able to walk freely into the Capitol building while Congress was in session. Metro D.C. DSA is disturbed and horrified by today’s events and the abject failure of our local and federal leaders to respond to this attempted coup

… [these events] have revealed what our movement has always known: The weight of the law is only brought to bear against those who threaten the interests of the ruling class and will always serve to perpetuate and uphold white supremacy. 

… This outburst of white supremacist violence is the culmination of the agitation, dog whistles, and romanticized appeals to nationalist violence at the heart of the modern conservative movement. The state has shown that it will not and cannot combat white supremacy and the death cult of capitalism, even in the name of protecting democracy — only a mobilized working class can do that. 

That is why we must continue to organize and fight, not only by mobilizing against the extremist right but also by putting forward an alternative to the empty promises and performative politics of the Democratic Party establishment. We call on everyone to join us in the streets on January 20 to demand that the incoming government make progressive legislation and D.C. statehood their top priority.”

Read the complete statement here. Further guidance will be outlined in next week’s update. You can also monitor DSA’s channels (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) as inauguration planning unfolds.

Meanwhile, If you are looking for concrete and immediate ways to plug in, please fill out our survey ASAP. (Filled it out already? You may have filled out an earlier version, sooo …) Please highlight any skills or experience you have with physical / event security as well as any cybersecurity and research expertise. 

Steering Committee Update

Recent highlights from the Steering Committee:

  • Released a statement regarding the attempted coup of 1.6.21. Read the statement here.
  • Unanimously approved a proposal from Rachel B. to start Steering Committee meetings with an indigenous land acknowledgment.
  • Approved a proposal to create an Inauguration Planning Commission. Keep an eye out for communications regarding an action on 1.20.21!
  • Approved a proposal regarding the process for Priority Campaigns.
  • Brian W. has provided the linked Treasurer’s report.

Please reach out on the #steering slack channel or by email at info@mdcdsa.org with any questions!

— Kurtis H. Steering At-Large

SUNDAY at 3pm – Metro DC DSA General Body Meeting

Our monthly general body meeting convenes all chapter members and supporters from 3 to 5pm this Sunday, January 10. Workgroups, caucuses, committees and leadership will provide key updates on campaigns and other activities.

At the meeting, we’ll be hearing branch updates from Montgomery County, Northern VA and PG County. We will also debate endorsing Karishma Mehta who is running for a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates.

Members may also propose and vote on business. All are welcome to attend. Access info here.



Steering Vacancy – call for special election

Gabriel R., a long-time member of our chapter and Steering Committee, sadly let us know that he would be resigning from leadership for personal capacity reasons. We’re so grateful for all of his hard work these past few years!

Per our bylaws, our chapter will be holding a special election to fill the at-large vacancy on the committee. Please use this form to nominate a candidate (or self-nominate) for the Steering Committee. This form will be open from Friday, January 8, through 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, January 15. Additional details about the process and timeline can be found in the form description.

Next steps in endorsement process for Karishma Mehta, VA candidate for District 49 in the VA House of Delegates

On January 4, DSA hosted a Q&A conference call with Karishma Mehta, who is running for the District 49 seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. 

If you couldn’t make it on the Q&A call last night, you can listen to a recording here.

The next steps for this endorsement process is for debate of the resolution to endorse Karishma at the general body meeting this Sunday, January 10, followed by an online vote next week. The event page for the general body meeting can be found here, and the online ballot will go to all members’ inbox automatically.

Leading up to the general body meeting, chapter members can also submit statements in favor of or opposed to the resolution. You can find those already submitted on our members portal. These statements will appear on the chapter’s member portal and on all ballots. To submit a statement, open a ticket on Red Desk (the chapter’s system for handling administrative processes) and select the ‘Agenda Item / Submit Member Statement’ option from the Help Topic dropdown menu. Please email secretary@mdcdsa.org if you have any questions about Red Desk or submitting statements.  Please feel free to post questions about the endorsement process in the  channel or send me a direct message.

Join We Power DC’s climate justice campaign!

A massive THANK YOU to the hundreds of comrades who flooded the DC utilities commission with letters denouncing Pepco’s outrageous pandemic price hike. “A price increase which passes significant costs onto marginalized Ward 4 residents and fails to move the needle on clean energy is a racial and climate justice disaster,” Janeese Lewis George wrote in her letter to the PSC. “Nothing about Pepco’s proposal is in the public interest. In fact, it would be actively harmful to Washington, D.C.’s most vulnerable people.”

The written record on Pepco’s application is now closed and a decision is forthcoming. Our climate justice/energy democracy campaign, We Power DC, will next focus on utility debt forgiveness, a permanent ban on shutoffs, and clean energy and good jobs for all. Kate N is also setting up a reading group focused on environmental justice and energy democracy in DC! Complete this form to join us, or email wepowerdc AT gmail DOT com.


Statement from DSA National Re: Medicare for All vote

In response to questions over DSA’s stance on pushing for a vote on Medicare for All, national DSA released a statement last week on national’s position. From the statement:

“It is a moral outrage that 88% of Democrats and 69% of all voters support Medicare for All, yet Democratic Party leadership in Congress has refused to fight for it, particularly during a pandemic that has resulted in millions losing their jobs and health insurance. 

When the 2021 legislative session begins in January, House Progressives should use every ounce of power and every inch of leverage they have to win deep relief for the American working class. …

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

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. 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 you’re interested in helping out, 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


Meanwhile, victory in Georgia!

While all eyes were on the fascist goon squad desecrating the Capitol, the results of the Jan. 5 Georgia runoff election showed both Democratic candidates for US Senate won, ousting the Republican incumbents and ensuring a 50-50 split in the Senate, ties to be broken by Vice President Kamala Harris. We socialists will take full credit for these wins — the GOP candidates did nothing but attempt to label their Dem opponents as “socialists.” They both won. Q.E.D.


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

6 – 7:30pm | Publications Team January Meeting

7 – 8:30pm | Queer Caucus 2021 Planning Session #4

7 – 9pm | SocFem Caucus Monthly Meeting
The SocFem Caucus wishes everyone a happy new year and would like to invite you to our first monthly meeting of the year on Tuesday, January 12th at 7pm. During this meeting, we will discuss and plan our work. Just a reminder that the SocFem Caucus is open only to womxn, non-binary persons, and persons that identify as a marginalized gender. We ask that men do not participate at this time. Make sure to RSVP through Action Network in order to receive a link to the meeting … More at link.

Wednesday, January 13 

5 – 6pm | NoVA Tenant Organizing Planning Meeting
This meeting is for discussing research, canvassing and other work for the NoVA Tenant Organizing Working Group.

8 – 9pm | Why You Should Join DSA
Learn about who we are and what we do as we outline our chapter’s structure and our campaigns, branches, and caucuses.

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
Learn about who we are and what we do as we outline our chapter’s structure and our campaigns, branches, and caucuses.

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.

To stay current with MDC DSA events between Updates, check the chapter calendar. Branches may have separate calendars and schedules.


Thursday, January 14 | 8:30pm EST
How Do We #CancelRent in 2021?
It’s 2021, and our homes, jobs and health are still on the line. COVID-19 is surging and unemployment is at historic levels, while eviction moratoriums are due to expire across the country. The call to cancel rent is more urgent than ever. So how do we win and what is DSA’s role in the fight? 

Sunday, January 24 | 3pm EST
Interested in DSA but haven’t joined yet? Looking to get involved in the fights to stop evictions, win Medicare for All, or defund the police, but unsure how to get started? Frustrated with the limited possibilities of national, top-down politics and looking for an alternative? Join DSA leaders from across the country to talk about …


Friday, January 8 

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

Saturday, January 9 

2 – 5pm | Progressive Maryland Statewide Member Assembly
Preparing action priorities for legislative session. 

2 – 4pm | Eastern Shore Environmental Legislative Summit
To get a preview of all the environmental bills being considered in MD.

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.


The Pubs Working Group has scheduled January’s Updates for Fridays, January 15 and 22. The February issue of the Washington Socialist will be sent Friday, January 29 and the article deadline is Saturday, January 23. 

But, uh, who or what is the Pubs Working Group?

The Publications Working Group (#publications on Slack) is one of the longest-standing WGs in MDC DSA and is responsible for much of the chapter’s outward-facing communications — in particular for the chapter’s Friday Updates and for monthly issues (online since 2012) of the Washington Socialist newsletter, which publishes longer articles on socialist thought and action at all levels from the personal to the global.

The Pubs WG interlocks with the Comms department of the chapter’s Administrative Committee in recruiting and developing writers, editors, web specialists and design folks to be backup for all the chapter’s communications, both outward facing and internal, at need. As our chapter takes a lead in all our DMV communities’ responsible emergence from the COVID-19 crisis, Pubs WG will provide more non-digital content for outreach and organizing, such as posters, fliers and print brochures.

Members who indicate interest and skills in any of those comms specialties on our member survey have been or will be contacted to join this integral part of MDC DSA’s public face and representation. Achieving a socialist society means forging a wide consensus that socialism and socialist reforms have earned fair consideration by the public. That is our particular job, and our passion, in the Pubs WG.  

To contact us directly, email thesocialist@mdcdsa.org

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.


Washington Socialist is MDC DSA’s monthly newsletter – prepared by members and our publication teams of editors…

“Can we really ‘force the vote?’” suggests that leftypreneur podcasters promoting the move aren’t fully acknowledging the level of effort on the ground that organizing to Force the Vote might entail.

When, in the ’90s, Medicare for All was “single-payer health care,” 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.

“A world which could be free” summarizes the impact of Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism (2009), and his more recent unfinished lecture series, all encompassing a new revolutionary subject.

“COVID-19 by the numbers” helps us get our heads around the incomprehensible level of death enabled by Trumpism.

DSA members hit the streets in December 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. 

An analysis shows that Democrats fell short of their election hopes because they frittered away the strong support they could have had from their own progressive wing; an analysis by Kareem Elrefai in a crosspost from the Nation’s Kapital blog.

And finally, check out our Best Reads for 2020, a curated selection from our “Good Reads” section month by month.


  • See Best of Good Reads in the January newsletter; pick out your own in 2021 that will make the cut for next January’s “Best of” and send the link — with comment if you like — to thesocialist@mdcdsa.org .

  • Confused about what went down yesterday? CrimethInc. has compiled an excellent summary, including a rough timeline, on their website, and The Intercept explains how law enforcement appeared to have blatantly ignored the public planning for the Capitol siege.

  • Economist Richard Wolff, an old-school Marxist economist who hosts the show Economic Update on YouTube and Means TV, interviewed union leader* Sara Nelson. Responding to a question about the capacity to call for a general strike, Nelson breaks down the need to normalize a strike in common workplaces before this strategy can be deployed en masse.

  • Awful news from out of LA: Vons and Albertsons stores just laid off every one of their full-time, union delivery drivers. They will be replaced with DoorDash gig workers who receive no benefits as a direct result of Prop 22.

  • In a terse pre-inauguration meditation in the New Left Review’s Sidecar, Mike Davis reflects that “… we first need to acknowledge our collective shame in failing last year to build an effective national protest movement against the policies that led to the avoidable deaths of hundreds of thousands of ordinary people and the economic ruin of tens of millions more.” Despite the example of “hundreds of rank-and-file protests and job actions by healthcare, food industry and service workers … there was no real attempt at national coordination or the creation of an inclusive emergency coalition … The left needs to face the fact that despite the huge popularity of its ideas and the dynamic example of BLM we remain clueless and disorganized as a national force.”

  • Are you a 1 or a 5? Vice reports on union avoidance consulting firm IRI’s data collection methods of rating employees’ pro- or anti-union stance as falling within the gray area of legality. The newly formed Alphabet Workers Union, representing Google workers, says, “Instead of pouring resources into the very workers that drive the company, particularly those exploited by Alphabet’s two tiered employment system, Google is engaging with a company that violates the privacy of workers while pretending to welcome open discourse.”
* We originally used the word “union boss,” but received feedback that the term tends to be exploited by capitalists to make unions seem more authoritarian. We changed here and are leaving a note so folks are aware of the etymology.

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