January 29, 2021
- Strengthening worker protections in DC
- Steering committee vacancy election
- Stomp Out Slumlords march recap
Call on the DC Council to enhance workplace protections during the pandemic emergency
The pandemic has made many jobs that are not typically considered dangerous potentially life threatening for many workers. As DC gradually moves towards reopening in the middle of a deadly second wave it is crucial that the DC Council take action to ensure the safety of District workers!
MDC DSA is joining with labor and community groups in DC to call on the Council to pass the Workplace Safety During the Covid-19 Pandemic Emergency Amendment Act of 2021. This bill will put in place several common-sense measures to protect District workers and ensure a responsible reopening of the District.
The introduction and final vote will be on Tuesday, February 2nd, so act fast! And if you are a worker who has had your employer flout COVID protections, email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in sharing your story.
MDC DSA’s steering committee election — ballot to be received TODAY
A vacant Steering Committee at-large seat will be filled as a result of an election that will begin Friday, January 29 — an OpaVote ballot will be emailed to all members in good standing today.
MDC DSA Slack users can see electioneering materials from our four candidates at #special-election-2021, and candidates’ personal statements can be found here:
And here’s the full video recording and a transcription of the Steering Committee candidate forum that happened on Tuesday (the forum was transcribed using an auto-transcription service, so please excuse typos).
SOS March rallies over 200 to make it clear: No Job, No Rent!
The Saturday after the inauguration of Joe Biden was a typically quiet one in the Palisades, until 200 tenants and socialists marched through the mansion-lined streets to deliver a message to the new administration. The marchers, organized by the Stomp Out Slumlords campaign, headed to the home of Susan Rice, a former proponent of humanitarian bombings in the Obama administration who is now serving as the chief of the Domestic Policy Council and steering the White House’s pandemic recovery strategy.
Leaders from The Woodner, Meridian Heights, and Tivoli Gardens in Ward 1, the Khan properties in Ward 4, Park Seven in Ward 7, Marbury Plaza in Ward 8, and La Salle Park in Chillum, MD addressed the crowd, neighbors, and a line of Secret Service agents in English, Spanish and Amharic. The message was the same one tenants have demanded since unemployment surged in March: no job, no rent.
For nearly 11 months, SOS has been working with tenants across the Washington metro area to organize rent strikes and demand that landlords forgive rent for people who have been out of work and provide safe and dignified conditions to all. Our organizers have built committees in twenty properties and more than a thousand people have signed on to the petitions they started. We have been fighting for collective bargaining with property owners, and as part of a nationwide movement, we have helped win unprecedented tenant protections like a federal eviction moratorium. But tenants still collectively owe billions in rent they cannot pay, and if that rent isn’t forgiven we can still expect a tidal wave of evictions.
During the Obama administration, millions of Americans lost their homes to foreclosure while Democrats twiddled their thumbs. With a new administration taking office, tenants are committed to keeping up the pressure, and Saturday’s march was an important show of strength. Mobilizing 200 people in the bitter cold in an isolated neighborhood with no public transit is a tough logistical challenge, especially for an all-volunteer organization. The experience gained organizing rides for Migrant Justice actions and during the uprising last summer proved invaluable. The turnout was a testament to the hard work of DSA members who have mastered the art of organizing protests and spent many months building close relationships with leaders all around the community. We can expect more mobilizations soon (photos available here).
Anyone who wants to join the tenant struggle should get in contact with the SOS coordinating committee at email@example.com
February 2021 WASHINGTON SOCIALIST
Our February collection of socialist essays, prepared by DMV locals and allies…
Building Dual Power: The Spreadsheets of Revolution
Local socialists have been quietly building an anti-capitalist technical operation for use by the DC-area left. Its impetus and activities are outlined here.
Capitol Insurrection: The Counterattack of White Privilege
What was on the minds of the horde that stormed the Capitol on January 6? More important than what the crowd heard Trump say at the Ellipse that day was the history that brought them to that point…
Advancing Worker Ownership Through ESOPs
A solution to the principal contradiction within the US capitalist system — the disparity between owners and workers and the stock market that perpetuates this condition — is the employee stock ownership plan. This is one comrade’s personal account of how worker ownership might provide socialists a back-door to seizing the means of production.
From Branch-ish to Branch in Prince George’s
The issues that have brought most of us to DSA are racial justice, workers’ rights, gender equality, peace, climate change and defense of democracy. The desire, however, to address those concerns in our own backyard is why we saw the need to follow the examples of Montgomery County and Northern Virginia and create a branch of our own.
State of the DC Left
A round up of the electoral battles that took place between capitalists and the local left over the past decade. Following last year’s DC Council elections, it looks like electoral winds may be tilted to the favor of activists.
Lesson from Leftist Movie Club
Meeting with friends to apply a leftist lens to movies can be an easy, enjoyable way to practice what Malcolm Harris sees as an essential function of Marxism: “understanding the real relations between people over time.”
Good Links from January
What felt like a year was only a month. Here are a selection of articles we rounded up to cover what went down.
Join the Defund MPD working group and Socialist Night School for political education events on policing and abolition
In the coming weeks, the Defund MPD working group is gearing up for a DC budget campaign by hosting a series of political education events on policing and abolition — open to all comrades and friends. Join us tomorrow, Saturday, January 30th for a Walking Tour of DC’s Policing Landscape, a safe and socially distant walking tour in and around Judiciary Square to learn about the history and present of the policing landscape in DC.
Then in February, get equipped and energized to bring the people you already know into the fight for abolition by joining Defund MPD and Night School for a four-part training series on relational organizing for abolition — register your interest here and we’ll be in touch about details and scheduling.
The embattled US Postal Service, run by a Postmaster General who was and is Trump’s yes-man, needs new leadership. The American Postal Workers Union wants to see the four vacancies on the 11-member Postal Service Board of Governors filled by community-based folks, not corporate hacks and reckless cost-cutters. Here’s more information and a petition from APWU to fill those vacancies properly and begin returning USPS to a fully resourced pro-community and pro-worker organization.
MDC DSA Ecosocialist action report
The chapter’s Green New Deal campaign recently affirmed the campaign proposal — available here — as the basis for a priority campaign nomination at February’s GBM. Once drafted, the group will share out the nomination proposal and do outreach to chapter bodies to earn support and discuss intersections with their ongoing work. For further reading: the national GND campaign committee’s Theory of Power document provides a bit more in depth analysis.
Maryland comrades — stand up for essential workers!
Now you can stand — safely — with those who have put their health and safety on the line for us! Join us on Wednesday, February 3rd and/or Thursday, February 4th for the (virtual) 2021 Essential Worker Legislative Action Days and tell the Assembly members to step up: Click here to RSVP.
Tax the Rich in Maryland
Last week, Maryland’s hedge fund managers, venture capitalists and realtors lined up to oppose a bill that would end a tax loophole that allows them to pay lower tax rates than working class people.
This week, the House of Delegates started consideration of a bill that would create a new tax bracket for income above 1 million and raise taxes for top earners. Tell key members of the Maryland General Assembly to raise taxes on the wealthy, not not jobs and services here!
DSA national panel on domestic worker organizing – perspectives from the US and Brazil
Despite multiple challenges, domestic worker organizations continue to use innovative strategies to fight for their jobs, their labor rights and their health, through building community alliances, creating mutual aid networks and mobilizing their membership to advocate for effective pandemic aid policies. Leaders of US and Brazilian worker organizations explore the terrain. Hosted by the DSA International Committee’s Labor Subcommittee and the DSA Socialist-Feminist Working Group, the event will be in English and Portuguese with simultaneous translation. RSVP here.
Virginia Political Cooperative (VAPC) — Organizing for 2021 and Beyond
A number of progressive leaders from various communities in Virginia have come together to organize with the goal 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 is to develop an Inclusive Policy Platform that 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 the majority of Virginia’s progressive organizations ardently support, and will serve as the Point of Unity.
VAPC is looking to fill several positions on various committees specially for the Platform and Digital Outreach areas. Please let us know if you would like to get involved. Complete this survey to help set the baseline and send your request for Zoom link to firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking forward to connecting and working together!
Peace and Solidarity,
MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Saturday, January 30
Want to learn more about the organizations that police DC? Put on your walking shoes and join the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America’s Defund MPD Workgroup for a socially distant downtown DC walking tour! We’ll visit sites related to policing in downtown DC and hear information and original research provided from volunteer tour guides.
1 – 4pm | NoVA Anti-Eviction Canvass
The NoVa Branch Tenant Organizing Working Group will be canvassing tenants who have received eviction court summons of their rights and to provide loss-of-income affidavits that they can present in court to receive a 60-day extension of the court hearing.
Sunday, January 31
5 – 6pm | MDC DSA M4A Working Group
Monday, February 1
Wednesday, February 3
7 – 9pm | Prince George’s DSA Branch Steering Committee Meeting
Open to members and non-members. Register at link.
Thursday, February 4
Sunday, February 7
2 – 4:30pm | MoCo Branch February Monthly General Meeting
Follow link for access and info.
Sunday, February 14
3 – 5:30pm | Metro DC DSA February General Body Meeting
All members are invited. Access info to follow.
Wednesday, February 17
Saturday, February 20
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA book club — Graeber, “Bullshit Jobs”
Access to meeting and readings at link.
Thursday, February 25
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA DSA Monthly Organizing Meeting
Weekly or regularly recurring MDC DSA events
Thursdays, 7 – 9pm | Grrlz Night/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. Nonmembers welcome; access at link.
Wednesdays, 5 to 6pm (new time!!) | NoVA Tenant Organizing Planning Meeting
Wednesdays, 8 to 9pm | New Member Orientation
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.
Saturdays, 1pm | NoVA Tenant Organizing canvass on Saturday January 30th
NATIONAL DSA HIGHLIGHTS
Saturday, January 30 | 4 – 6pm EST
Socialist Feminist Day School Session One
The Socialist Feminist Working Group of the Democratic Socialists of America invites you to the first session of an eight-week Day School. Our first session will provide an introduction to socialist feminist thinking and organizing.
Thursday, February 4 | 8pm EST
On The Front Lines of the Philippine Labor Movement: Workers’ Struggles Amidst the Pandemic and Political Repression
Join the DSA International Committee for a webinar with “Kilusang Mayo Uno” trade union leaders on today’s fights taking place between the Filipino working classes and corporate power, the ravages caused by COVID, and the government’s abuse of the quarantine to crack down on dissidents, as well as the connection to US imperial power.
Friday, February 5 | 8pm EST
YDSA Winter Conference: Cancel ALL Student Debt w/ Astra Taylor
This is a preview event for the 2021 YDSA Online Winter Conference. Biden has the power to cancel ALL student debt with a stroke of his pen, but he won’t do it without a movement to force his hand. Join us on Friday, February 5 at 8pm …
Saturday, February 6 | 3pm
DSA, BDS, and Palestine Solidarity: A Panel Discussion
Palestinian liberation and solidarity is not only a humanitarian issue, nor is it only a Palestinian issue. Palestine is a political issue with serious consequences at stake for both Palestinians and average US residents. As socialists, we recognize the interconnectedness of our struggles under capitalism. In solidarity with Palestinian civil society’s nonviolent struggle for equality …
EVENTS FROM OUR ALLIES IN THE DMV
Saturday, January 30 | 5/6pm
This is the first of what will be a regular series of FTP (Fuck the Police) marches organized by the They/Them Collective in DC, an abolitionist organization. Their march will start at 6 PM and the group will provide is training for white accomplices at 5 PM. DSA’s coalition within the Defund MPD working group is helping organize turnout. See more details at link.
Thursday, February 4 | 7 – 9pm
Ecosocialismo — a Green New Deal for Latin America
A radical Green New Deal for the Americas calls for thinking beyond US borders. Moderators are our Night School comrades Thea Riofrancos and Daniel Aldana Cohen.
Thursday, February 11 | 6 – 8pm
DC WFP Community Reunion: Restore The Vote & Letter Writing
Community reunions are a monthly gathering of the WFP community, including members, activists, party builders, party organizers, and staff. It’s a place and time for all of our political party community to return home each month and to reunite, recalibrate and to recenter ourselves in why we live lives that are dedicated to struggling for justice for the people and the planet.
Publications Schedule — Updates in February will be sent Fridays, February 5, 12 and 19, and the March issue of the Washington Socialist is scheduled for Friday, February 26 with an article deadline of February 20. Send submissions to email@example.com.
Are you an MDC DSA member who wonders how to get on our chapter Slack? Just email firstname.lastname@example.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 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.
The MSM are feeling itchy about having spent too much time going after right-wing terrorists. Balance mania is striking back, as evidenced by this WaPo left-apocalypse tale, which promises a 30,000-foot view of Armageddon, quickly cycles down through three quite unrelated events (Portland, Seattle, Denver) and splashes down in a puddle with three individuals charged in Portland.
Ezra Klein argues that to avoid the midterm catastrophe, Democrats have to blow up the Senate filibuster in order to provide change that helps people, and that people see helping them. “You don’t get re-elected for things voters don’t know you did.” A similar warning from Bernie, in a Newsweek article tipped by our comrade Dave R.
A Pubs WG edit team member touts this article about avoiding wrong moves in responding to the Capitol siege Jan. 6 and its perps.
In Labor Notes, our longtime comrade Nelson Lichtenstein recaps the struggle for democracy in one of the country’s most storied unions and how the UAW’s current near-receivership can translate into a real change.
From the Guardian: “Civil rights advocates worry that moves to fight far-right extremism will be used against communities of color and leftwing activists.”
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.