February 19, 2021

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

February 19, 2021



  • Chapter vote — on budget and priority campaigns
  • SATURDAY — Solidarity rally with unionizing Amazon workers in Pentagon City
  • TUESDAY — We Power DC Town Hall on Energy Justice

MDC DSA members have until this Sunday (Feb. 21, 11:59pm ET) to cast a ballot on chapter budget and priorities

You should have received a ballot in your email inbox Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 17). The chapter is voting to approve the FY 2021 budget and chapter priority campaigns, which will be in effect through the December 2021 local convention. The proposed chapter budget provides a framework for spending and setting money aside for recurring expenses and priorities for the year. Priority campaigns (see Section 6.3 of the chapter bylaws) are eligible to receive access to additional funding, communications and mobilization. See below for details on the five campaigns seeking priority status and consequent funding.

Voting will be open through 11:59pm ET, Sunday, February 21. If you have any questions about this ballot, please contact secretary@mdcdsa.org.

How to vote:

We are using single-choice voting for the FY 2021 chapter budget. You may select Yes, No, or Abstain on the proposed budget. The budget will require a simple majority to pass.

We are using approval voting for the chapter priority campaigns. You may vote for one or more of the following priority resolutions. Per the bylaws, a working group must receive two-thirds of the vote in order to become a priority, and the chapter may approve up to five priority campaigns each year. The final proposals for each priority campaign are linked below:

You can read member statements on the priority proposals here.

A note from your friendly publications WG folks who have been following this closely: if you look at the proposed budget you will see that THIS IS NOT A ZERO SUM GAME and not a competition for most popular campaign. The budget will accommodate the needs of our campaigns. Vote for all you like, then organize and agitate with the campaigns you prefer.

Solidarity rally with Amazon workers to be led by DSA endorsed Karishma Mehta – Saturday at 11:30 AM

As Amazon workers engage in a unionization effort in the south, DSA endorsed Karishma Mehta (running for VA-49) will lead a socially distanced solidarity rally in Pentagon City, VA this Saturday, February 20th at 11:30am. 

The rally will be assembling at 1330 S Fair St., Arlington, VA 22202. You can cross the street and enter Met Park where Karishma and the team will be waiting to begin the event. Following the rally, DSA members and Karishma’s campaign will launch canvassing at 12:30pm to turn out voters right in Amazon’s backyard!  You can sign up at this link.

DSA members will also be joining Karishma’s canvassing and phonebanking efforts on Sunday, February 21st. Live canvasses will begin at 11am and 2:30pm at the Mattress Firm Parking Lot on Columbia Pike. The virtual phonebank will launch at 2pm. Sign up for Sunday activities here.

And in case you haven’t heard – reinforcements are on the way. Sunrise Movement DC endorsed Karishma just last week. The local left marches on! 

We Power DC’s Town Hall on energy justice – Tuesday, Feb 23 at 6pm

Join We Power DC on Tuesday, February 23 at 6pm for an interactive town hall about energy justice. Working-class Washingtonians are struggling to pay their electricity bills as Pepco pulls in huge profits despite the pandemic. And the DC Council chairman has shown interest in canceling the emergency ban on electricity shutoffs even as COVID-19 rages. Thankfully, there is an alternative to this cruel, profit-driven energy system.

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. More info and registration at link.


Medicare for All — Vaccine 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 Medicare for All Working Group is launching a phone campaign, as well as a door-to-door knocking and literature distribution drive. We will also be collecting information to register seniors who want the vaccine, but do not have reliable access to the internet. We will start our campaign in the coming weeks, which will include training to help get you started. 

If you’d like to sign up for phone-banking or door-knocking, fill out the interest form here.

AfroSOC February Monthly Meeting

Join the Afrosocialists and Socialists of Color Caucus for our February Monthly Meeting! This is an affinity space for Black, Indigenous and other Socialists of Color to organize internally. We encourage new and curious members to join us, but as a caucus, we emphasize that this space is intended to be an affinity space only for those who identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Color. 


Socialist Feminist Caucus (SocFem) is revving back up in 2021

We had a slow start this year but we are reinvigorating SocFem…

Reading Group: We will focus on shorter readings like essays and articles. We will pull from the National SocFem’s Day School curriculum — one essay per month. First article is “What is Socialist Feminism” in Teen Vogue. The author, Sara Leonard, has ties to DSA and SocFem. We will now meet on the 4th Saturday monthly at 2 – 3:30pm. Next one is in a couple days on Feb 27th. RSVP here.

Grrrls* Night/Happy Hour: Monthly on 1st Thursday — Next is March 4th. Let’s catch up. What campaigns are you working on? How are you managing? Let’s support each other. RSVP here.

Reminder: SocFem gatherings are open only to womxn, non-binary people or those of marginalized genders. We ask that men do not participate at this time. Pets of all identities continue to be welcome! The chapter’s code of conduct is strictly enforced and we treat each other respectfully at all times.
—Kristin B

Work, Love and Capitalism – Socialist Night School next Monday, Feb 22

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. 

Here’s a segment from Wednesday’s Democracy Now! interviewing Jaffe on the nature of work and workers in the pandemic.

National YDSA Conference – next weekend

Young Democratic Socialists of America will be hosting its first ever online Winter Outreach Conference from Friday, February 26 – Sunday, February 28. The 2021 Winter Conference is open to all who are interested in student organizing. Current students, especially those at high schools, HBCUs and community colleges are strongly encouraged to attend.

Trump has been defeated, but our fight for a better world is far from over. Radical change always comes from the bottom up, never from the top down. We know that a better world is possible if, and only if, we organize and fight for it. 

Alexandria residents — the city needs a fair collective bargaining law

Tell the Council & Mayor. AFSCME says “Front-line employees deserve to have a say in matters that impact them at work including safety, wages, benefits, and fair processes for grievances.” Click here to let officials know!


Saturday, February 20

11 am – 12:30 pm | Solidarity Rally with Striking Amazon Workers

7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Book Club: David Graeber’s Bullshit Jobs
Access to the meeting and readings at link.

7 – 8:45pm | AfroSoc Book Club – Critical Whiteness
Our discussion will go over white race consciousness and what it means to confront the ways in which our legal system uses whiteness to restrict citizenship. If you haven’t joined earlier sessions or read the book don’t worry, — this discussion is interested in really delving into the role white supremacy plays in the formation of capitalism. 

Sunday, February 21

11am & 2:30 pm | Virginia Canvassing for Karishma Mehta 

2pm | Phonebanking for Karishma Mehta

6 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Monthly Organizing Meeting

4 – 6:00pm | MDC DSA AfroSoc Monthly 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. 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. 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 could look like.

Wednesday, February 24

7 – 8:30pm | Workplace Organizing Workshop Planning Committee

8 – 10:00pm | Montgomery County Budget and Tax Equity Working Group meeting

Thursday, February 25

7 – 8:30pm | NoVA DSA Monthly Organizing Meeting

7 – 8:30pm | Relational Organizing for Abolition: Session 2

Saturday, February 27

4 – 5pm | MoCo DSA Member Orientation

2 – 3:30pm | Socialist Feminist Reading Group 

Wednesday, March 3

7 – 9pm | PG Co. DSA Steering Committee Meeting

Thursday, 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 subsequent hearings in the Rules Committee and Ways & Means Committee. This discussion will help us prepare for the reintroduction of the bill as the Medicare for All Act of 2021 later this month. 

7 – 9pm | Relational Organizing for Abolition: Session 3

7 – 9pm | Grrrls* Night/Happy Hour


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!


Saturday, February 20 | 3pm
The Fight for Safe Schools Today
Join the DSA Educators and School Staff Network for a call on Saturday, February 20th at 3pm ET/12pm PT on demanding safe schools under a Biden administration with teacher strike leader Michelle Gunderson from the Chicago Teachers Union and others. We demand: #1 No premature opening of schools before school communities have herd immunity; #2 Comprehensive … More at link.

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.

Tuesday, February 23 | 8pm EST
Reading Group: Socialist Legacy of Black Feminism
The National Political Education Committee is hosting this final meeting of 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.


Wednesday, February 24 | 4 – 5:30pm
Achieving Economic and Racial Justice for Black Workers: Policy Priorities for 2021 and Beyond
Economic Policy Institute
As the nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must define what economic justice and racial justice look like for Black workers in the 21st century. Join EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy (PREE) for a discussion that identifies essential policies for achieving recovery, as well as necessary structural and systemic changes that are key to remedying long-standing racial disparities in the labor market. Click here to register.

Sunday, February 28 | 2 – 4PM
The Art of Activism: Poster Making and Art Builds – Online Class
Good art is the key to a successful protest. In this free class, we will review how different kinds of visual art have contributed towards activism throughout history, and discuss foundational knowledge for practical art building skills. This includes how to do wheatpasting, banner drops, puppet building, etc. followed by creating our own posters together for the cause of your choosing. At the end of the class, we will discuss how to organize an art build in your community for causes that you care about. Click here to register.


Publications Schedule: Next week the March Washington Socialist appears (Friday, February 26). The deadline for articles is this Saturday, February 20. March Updates appear Fridays, March 5, 12, 19 and 26 and the April issue (no foolin’) of the Washington Socialist appears Friday, April 2.

What actually goes on in MDC DSA? Places to find out are in our Slack channels (not on Slack? Email info@mdcdsa.org); on our MDC DSA website; or in the Washington Socialist. But, um, all these committees, working groups, caucuses, branches? Yep, here is the encyclopaedic explainer for all those names we keep dropping.


Voting rights. From The Intercept, an explainer on the For the People Act (H.R.1/S.1, House sponsor John Sarbanes of MD, woo hoo) which would make voting easier and give advantages to small-donor contributions with public financing, as well as other pro-democracy voting reforms.

ACAB. Washington City Paper reports that a civil rights attorney and the Georgetown University Law Civil Rights Clinic have sued the District “on behalf of a host of predominantly Black clients and community groups who filed appeals against developments which they say were illegally and routinely mishandled or ignored.” The lawsuit argues that in pursuit of a vision of a younger and wealthier DC, agencies have “leveraged land use and housing policies to create segregated enclaves for 18- to 34-year-olds in favored professions at the expense of long time African American residents.”

Identity. Some interesting new findings here on ethnicity, identity and attraction to other “identities.” Raises our question again — how do we socialists counter the fading of identity with a cogent appeal to class?

Intrigue. In The Call, a NY DSA member makes the case for why socialists need their own ballot line — eventually. The new piece takes part in an ongoing debate between DSA members over the socialist relationship with the Democratic Party (you can read an earlier entry in this debate here).

Battles. How did a brand new group of DSAers get a reluctant Democrat to sign on to Medicare for all? You can read about how a focused cadre of Buffalo socialists’ pulled a Democratic Congressman left in Class Unity’s blog.

Schemes. When the headline is the explainer: “The head of every table: Joe Biden’s impossible foreign policy aspirations” from The Nation.

History. An in-depth review in The Nation of new books by Mike Davis gives a rich retrospective on the career of this essential and pathbreaking socialist geographer-historian.

Solidarity. Our comrade Cesar G. in #internationalism posted this instructive panel from DSA National: DSA, BDS and Palestine Solidarity

Policy. For Marylanders, work in the Assembly to expand an existing environmental justice framework (via Maryland Matters).

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