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February 12, 2021
- Metro DC DSA General Body Meeting — this Sunday, 3pm
- Priority Campaign Proposals and voting
- DC Vaccine Distribution Outreach Campaign
General Body Meeting – Sunday, February 14 – to include debate and discussion on our priority campaign proposals
Our local General Body meeting will take place this Sunday, from 3 to 5:30 PM over Zoom. Our general body meetings convene all chapter members once monthly. Workgroups, caucuses, committees, and leadership provide key updates on campaigns and other activities. The General Body Meetings are a great place to get to know chapter members and get plugged into ongoing chapter campaigns. T
his month, we’ll be receiving briefings from the Ecosocialist Caucus, Socialist Feminist Caucus, Defund MPD Working Group, Medicare for All Working Group, and more. Additionally, the chapter will be voting on the proposed local chapter budget (which you can find here). You can find a link to the GBM agenda here.
You can register and RSVP for the GBM here. Meetings are open to DSA members and supporters.
Priority Campaign Proposals
At the February GBM, the chapter will be discussing and voting on campaigns to be designated as chapter priorities. If approved by membership, Priority Campaigns will receive access to additional funding, communications, and mobilization. You can read more about the 2021 Priority Process here.
Five campaigns have been entered as priority campaigns, and you can read the submitted campaign proposals at the following links:
- Green New Deal proposal, prepared by the Ecosocialist Caucus
- Medicare for All proposal, prepared by the Medicare for All Working Group
- Labor Working Group priority proposal
- Defund MPD Working Group priority proposal
- Stomp Out Slumlords priority proposal
During the special Steering Committee meeting which took place on Tuesday, Feb. 9, the Priority Campaign proposals were aired for response from an audience of ~ 40-45. The following comments were recorded.
DC Vaccine Distribution Outreach Campaign
COVID-19 vaccine outreach in DC has not been equitable. The process of registering for a vaccine currently relies on a web portal that is extremely difficult for seniors to use and requires access to a smartphone or computer and reliable internet. The digital divide is a major hurdle for seniors in working-class communities who would like to register for a vaccine appointment, especially for those living in Wards 4, 5, 7 and 8.
The Medicare for All Working Group is organizing to launch a phone campaign, as well as a door knocking and literature distribution drive. We are establishing a coalition of local community organizations for vaccine education. We will also be collecting information to register seniors who want the vaccine but do not have reliable access to the internet.
Closing on Monday: Interest Form for Appointments to the Chapter’s Political Engagement Committee
The Metro DC DSA Steering Committee has published a form that chapter members can use to indicate that they are interested in serving on our chapter’s newly formed Political Engagement Committee. The interest form will close to submissions on this upcoming Monday, February 15 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Chapter members voted to create the five-member PEC (three Steering Committee members and two non-Steering members) as part of updates to our chapter’s bylaws at the chapter convention on December 13, 2020.
The primary purpose of the PEC is to coordinate chapter processes related to the recruitment, vetting, and recommendation of electoral candidates for endorsement by chapter members. The power to endorse or not endorse candidates still rests with the chapter’s general body membership, but the PEC will seek to make the endorsement process as accessible, transparent, and democratic as possible. Members of the PEC will also assist chapter members in supporting endorsed candidates during campaigns and with legislative advocacy of the chapter’s priorities to current elected officials.
The Steering Committee will vote to appoint PEC members during or immediately following the Steering Committee meeting on March 2. More information about the PEC appointment process is available on the PEC interest form page. For questions about the PEC appointment process, please email email@example.com or post your question in the #steering channel on the chapter Slack.
Stomp Out Slumlords releases their report on 2020 tenant organizing activities
During the pandemic, we have been excited to see a new generation of radical tenant organizers take a leading role in the struggle, not just here in Washington, but around the country. Most of these new organizers are affiliated with either the DSA or the new Autonomous Tenants Union Network, two formations we have decided to work with.
This report is mainly addressed to our friends and comrades navigating these circles, who are confronting similar challenges to the ones we addressed over the course of the pandemic. We have seen that if we apply the right techniques, it is possible to break from the rituals of liberal NGO politics and set up serious, fighting, working-class organizations with minimal resources. We hope this account is useful for those that aspire to do what we did, because we can’t win this struggle alone.
You can view the detailed SOS report here!
Pepco shuts off electricity for the working class as COVID-19 rages
Working class people have fallen behind on their bills during the pandemic. Despite mass strife among the working class, Pepco — our profit-driven electric utility — is cutting off their energy supply. Households in Maryland are $71 million behind on their electricity bills, and in DC, the debt load is $53 million, the Washington Post reports. In Maryland Pepco has resumed shutoffs, making it impossible for people to study or work from home. Meanwhile, Pepco has plenty of money to donate to the DC police and right-wing climate deniers in Congress. Register now for our Energy Justice Town Hall to help us fight Pepco’s barbaric practices.
Got questions about the DSA? Attend Metro DC DSA’s weekly New Member Orientations!
whether you are brand new to the local chapter, browsing to see if DSA is what you have been looking for or even for those who have been in the chapter for a while. How do I navigate this bewildering number of opportunities to “do socialism” across the issue spectrum? How do we “do socialism,” anyway?
For quite a few of us, the question, “what will it be like to be in MDC DSA when the pandemic is a memory and we are operating as we did in 2019 or earlier?” is very much on our minds. That’s why, every Wednesday, we have a virtual session called “New Member Orientation” and the alt-titled “Why You Should Join DSA.”
You can get a surprising number of these questions answered there, not only by the seasoned Member Mobilizers who run the every-Wednesday sessions but also by leaders of our campaigns, working groups and caucuses, who often are in the mix too (Recruiting? Maybe …). So click into this session at 8pm any Wednesday and let’s get some questions answered.
Virginia Political and Electoral Organizing for 2021 and Beyond
Inspired by the RI Political Cooperative, a VA Political Cooperative is being organized to promote a bold, progressive platform for candidates to sign onto in Virginia. The goal is to build a shared services provider to progressive candidates and identify, recruit and train working-class candidates and a pool of shared volunteers to support them.
General meetings are held once every four weeks on Saturdays at 7pm ET, and there are lots of volunteer positions on emerging committees for you to get involved in — from Members Engagement and Coalition Building to Campaign Management, Partners Relations, Grants Applications, Fundraising and Digital Outreach.
If you’re curious to learn more or ready to join us in stirring up state politics, fill out this interest survey!
MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Saturday, February 13
12am & 2pm | Karishma for VA Canvass
Sunday, February 14
12pm | Karishma for VA Canvass
12 – 1:30pm | Publications Team Meeting
The February meeting of the Metro DC DSA Publications Team is open to members, allies and newcomers. The pubs team works to push out the Weekly Update each week, the Washington Socialist each month and helps prepare other editing/writing work for the chapter. Draft agenda can be found here.
3 – 5pm | Metro DC DSA February General Body Meeting
All members and supporters are invited.
Tuesday, February 16
7 – 8:30pm | Biweekly Steering Committee Meeting
Wednesday, February 17
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Branch Executive Meeting
Thursday, February 18 & March 4
7 – 9pm | Medicare for All Discussion Group
We will review video of the March 13, 2019 introduction of the Medicare for All Act in the House of Representatives and the subsequent hearings it received in the Rules Committee and Ways & Means Committee, as well as in the Health Subcommittee under the Energy and Commerce Committee. This discussion will help us prepare for the reintroduction of the bill as the Medicare for All Act of 2021 later this month.
Saturday, February 20
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Book Club: David Graeber’s Bullshit Jobs
Access to the meeting and readings at link.
Sunday, February 21
6 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Monthly Organizing Meeting
Monday, February 22
6:30 – 8:30pm | Work, Love and Capitalism | Socialist Night School
In her new book Work Won’t Love You Back, Sarah Jaffe, a preeminent voice on labor, inequality and social movements, examines this “labor of love” myth — the idea that certain work is not really work, and therefore should be done out of passion instead of pay. Jaffe reveals how all of us have been tricked into buying into a new tyranny of work. Register for access.
Tuesday, February 23
6 – 7:15pm | Energy Justice Virtual Town Hall
Working-class Washingtonians are struggling to pay their electricity bills as Pepco pulls in huge profits despite the pandemic. Join us on Tuesday, February 23 at 6pm for an interactive town hall about energy justice. We’ll hear from partner organizations and DC residents about utility debt, shutoffs and what a Pepco-free DC focused on clean energy and good jobs for all could look like.
Wednesday, February 24
7 – 8:30pm | Workplace Organizing Workshop Planning Committee
Thursday, February 25
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA DSA Monthly Organizing Meeting
Saturday, February 27
4 – 5pm | MoCo DSA Member Orientation
Sunday, February 28
2 – 4pm | Socialist Feminist Reading Group
Wednesday, March 3
7 – 9pm | PG Co. DSA Steering Committee Meeting
Regularly recurring MDC DSA events
Thursdays, 7 – 9pm — MONTHLY | 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 – 6pm (new time!!) | NoVA Tenant Organizing Planning Meeting
Wednesdays, 8 – 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 Anti-Eviction Canvass
Join the NoVA Tenant Organizing Group on their next anti-eviction canvass in Alexandria on Saturday, February 20th!
Sundays, 5 – 6pm | Medicare 4 ALL (#M4A) Workgroup
The Medicare for All Working Group is organizing a vaccine distribution outreach campaign and also working to pass a resolution endorsing M4A in the DC Council. Come join us to find out more!
NATIONAL DSA HIGHLIGHTS
Tuesday, February 16 | 7:30pm EST
Ballad of an American: What does Paul Robeson’s life teach us?
Paul Robeson was the preeminent Black, left-wing figure of US popular culture during the 1930s-’40s. Concert singer, film actor and public personality, his “Ballad for Americans” was heard by millions of radio listeners. Idolized across large parts of Europe, his records heard widely in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Robeson was struck down by McCarthyism. … More at link.
Tuesday, February 16 & 23 | 8pm EST
Reading Group: Socialist Legacy of Black Feminism
The National Political Education Committee is hosting a two-week reading group, the Socialist Legacy of Black Feminism, with Lux Magazine and the DSA AfroSocialist and Socialists of Color Caucus. View complete reading list here.
Monday, February 22 | 9pm EST
DSA Q&A feat. Medicare for All
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 … More at link.
Tuesday, February 23 | 7:30pm EST
Rediscovering Earth, Reclaiming Our Lives: A Conversation with Kim Stanley Robinson
Kim Stanley Robinson has been called one of the greatest science fiction writers of our age and has shown a pronounced focus on the environment throughout his work. In this webinar, he talks with philosopher Anders Dunker about what it will take to re-imagine and achieve a new relationship to the Earth and to each other … More at link. And read our review of Robinson’s newest novel, Ministry for the Future.
EVENTS FROM OUR ALLIES IN THE DMV
Saturday, February 13 | 3:30 – 5:30pm
Prince George’s County Virtual Environmental Forum
Sunday, February 14 | 2pm
No Love for Polluters: Virtual Day of Action
No Love for Polluters: No New Power Plants in Prince George’s County is organized by a wide array of local groups, including Friends of the Earth Action and Clean Air Prince George’s. Mckayla Wilkes is scheduled to speak on this day of action to demand that the Prince George’s County Council pass legislation to ban the construction of all future power plants in the county.
Thursday, February 18 | 7:30pm
Aesthetic and political strategies of contemporary Mapuche Art
Love + Solidarity Collective, Unidos DMV
Presented in both Spanish and English, this workshop will cover how Mapuche artists have generated strategies of decolonization through art. The creation of contemporary Mapuche art will be contextualized through the history of different periods of colonization, the problems with the Chilean state and Mapuche resistance.
Thursday, February 18
Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Health Equity Summit
Session 1: Understanding the Impact of the COVID-19 Vaccine on the Black Community. 10 – 11am…register here.
Session 2: Mental Health Realities for Black America. 2 – 3pm…register here.
Publications Schedule — The final Update for February (short month! — where did it go?) will be sent Friday, February 19, and the March issue of the Washington Socialist is scheduled for Friday, February 26 with an article deadline of Saturday, February 20. Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s there to write about? Well, everything — we are socialists, after all, and part of our task is to trace the connections between what appear to be our disconnected lives. But nitty gritty discussion on what’s hot and what to write about is on the #publications Slack channel; get into the mix there.
“When we engage in electoral politics on any level, our goal must be victory. Not symbolic victories, not moral victories, but material victories for the working class. The branding exercise of which ballot line is used to achieve those victories is immaterial.” So argues our local comrade Brad C. in Collective Power Network’s pub The Organizer. Read the full argument in “Breaking Bad: How Obsession with an Independent Workers’ Party Hurts the Socialist Electoral Project.”
Molly Ball in Time mag has an explainer on why the US didn’t explode after the Nov. 3 election. Our comrade Jules B touts it with the sweetener that DSA is accorded some agency here. “A weird thing happened right after the Nov. 3 election: nothing. The nation was braced for chaos …”
Bryce Covert in the NYT explains how the struggle for a living wage can take place on a number of fronts, even if it looks like a heavy lift in the big COVID-19 relief package.
Our local comrade Sam Knight writes about Space Force, the latest Xmas tree for defense industry toys.
Got some capital? Old fashioned, new fashioned? With lots of money, “acres upon acres of undeveloped land and an ‘innovative technology’” you could soon form a local government. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a new bill in the Nevada legislature to promote “Innovation Zones” might come with a compliant mayor and city council, all happily employed by and under the thumb of the tech overlords. Capitalists can form, and dominate, local governments. No surprise to us, “same as it ever was …”
From our comrade Dave R, left economists critique Larry Summers’ garden-party skunkworks on the rescue package.
The only two real questions about political speech: 1) Is it subject to verifiability or is it unfalsifiable? and 2) How many ways are there to raise money with and against it? The Intercept explores the question many must have entertained: “Was Election Denial Just a Get-Rich-Quick Scheme?”
A good watch from Vice on the failure of the drug war, and an argument for drug regulation and nationalization from a harm-reductionist approach.
History does not repeat itself, but here appears to rhyme with uncanny echoes. Trump failed, the Myanmar generals so far succeeded. Poli sci prof Reese Erlich, in Portside, observes: “This could have been the US, if President Donald Trump had had more support from the military for his attempt to stay in power despite losing the election. Both Trump and Myanmar generals share a similar view about democracy.”
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.