APRIL 16, 2021
- PG County DSA branch elections end Monday — don’t forget to vote!
- Updates from the MDC DSA Defund MPD campaign
- How to get your COVID shot in the DMV
PG County DSA Elections End Monday
Prince George’s comrades are reminded that our election for our new branch’s first elected Steering Committee is under way now but ends at 11:59pm Monday, April 19. There are six candidates for five positions. Several OpaVote reminders, including one Wednesday morning, have been sent to PG DSA members in good standing since the election period began April 5. The election is by approval voting so PG comrades can vote for as many or as few candidates as they choose. See candidate statements at PG Branch DSA Election 2021 — INFORMATION CENTRAL. And VOTE.
Updates from the Defund MPD Campaign
Between uprisings in Minneapolis and the disturbingly consistent stream of murders from police — including the murder of Peyton Ham in Southern Maryland just this week — it should be clear that policing in this country is just not working. MDC DSA’s Defund MPD working group — which works in part of the city-wide Defund MPD coalition — is mobilizing to make sure our local political leaders act on the demands of the working class made resoundingly clear last year: defund the police and refund in the communal and social services that actually keep us safe. Here are some of the most recent updates from the working group:
WHAT WE’RE UP TO:
- The Defund MPD Coalition has released its list of demands
- We’re starting weekly phonebanking to turn out MDC DSA for Defund actions this Saturday, April 17! Check out the “Ways to plug in” section below to find out how you can help
- Developing a chapter mobilization plan
- Planning a community-wide direct action in late June targeting the DC Fraternal Order of Police
- Coordinating with Defund MPD Coalition to develop shared actions across organizations
TENTATIVE TIMELINE FOR OUR BUDGET FIGHT:
- Mayor’s proposed budget: late May
- MPD Budget Oversight Hearing: June
- Judiciary Committee Vote: June
- Full-Council Budget Vote: July
WAYS TO PLUG INTO OUR CAMPAIGN:
- Phonebank to organize your fellow DSA Members. Join the Defund MPD Working Group Saturdays from 1 – 3pm, April 17 – May 8 to phonebank and encourage participation in the actions described above. Our first phonebank is tomorrow! Learn more and register here.
- Attend our Defund MPD Monthly Meeting this Sunday, April 18, at 6pm to learn how to get more involved! RSVP here.
- Send in designs for Defund Coalition wheatpasting! If you’re interested in creating a graphic for a massive Defund MPD wheatpasting project all across DC, please contact email@example.com to get the content copy, timeline and more information.
- Advocate at your ANC. Encourage your neighbors to support the Defund movement through your local Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC). If you live in Wards 2, 3, 6 or 7, your advocacy is especially needed, since your Councilmember serves on the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety. The Defund MPD Working Group has created a slide deck and engagement plan to help you shape your advocacy. If you are interested in organizing through your ANC, email firstname.lastname@example.org for materials and support with the subject line “ANC Organize.”
How to Get Your COVID Shot in the DMV
Last week, our email edition of the newsletter only included the Virginia vaccination info by error. As always, you can find the “corrected” version of our newsletter in our online archive.
Vaccines for the coronavirus are being made more readily available to all residents of the DMV over the month of April. But you do not have to wait. You can pre-register right now!
Virginia vaccine info: All Virginia residents 16 years and older will become eligible to receive the vaccine in Virginia on April 18 (while some localities have made this move already). You can pre-register for the vaccine in Virginia here (Fairfax Co. residents can register here).
Maryland vaccine info: All Maryland residents 16 and older are now eligible for vaccination. You can pre-register to receive the vaccine at one of Maryland’s mass vaccination sites here. PG residents can also sign up here, and MoCo residents can also sign up here.
DC vaccine info: All DC residents 16 years or older are now eligible for vaccination. You can pre-register for the vaccine here. Many vaccination sites are also offering walk-up services. Find the full list of locations and times here.
Want to learn more about the vaccine? Check out this video created by Gayatri S, co-chair of MDC DSA’s Medicare for All Working Group, for our Vaccine Outreach Program. If you are interested in helping others pre-register for the vaccine, please fill out this Google form to join the campaign. We hold door-to-door canvassing events every Thursday from 6 – 8pm and Sunday from 2 – 4pm. We will also have phonebanking events every Monday and Tuesday from 5 – 6:30pm. Be on the lookout for email invites to join our efforts once you have filled out the Google form
Discussion Sessions on Reforms to Candidate Endorsements
The chapter’s Political Engagement Committee (PEC) is in the process of reforming our electoral endorsement program. As part of this process, the PEC has scheduled four meetings to discuss these reforms with chapter members. The first two meetings will focus on the procedure by which our chapter endorses candidates. The next two meetings will focus on our chapter’s questionnaire that all candidates must fill out before seeking our endorsement.
The full list of scheduled PEC meetings is below:
- Endorsement Procedure Session #1, tomorrow, Saturday, April 17, 2 – 3:30pm ET (RSVP)
- Endorsement Procedure Session #2, Tuesday, April 20, 7 – 8:30pm ET (RSVP)
- [New!] Questionnaire Session #1, Sunday, April 25, 2 – 3:30pm ET (RSVP)
- [New!] Questionnaire Session #2, Wednesday, April 28, 7 – 8:30pm ET (RSVP)
Although not scheduled yet, there will be two additional meetings (likely early next month, hosted by PEC members Irene K and Paola S) where chapter members will have a chance to discuss the PEC’s endorsement recommendation criteria.
You can sign up for any of these sessions at the linked RSVP pages in the above bullets. The two sessions for each topic will be identical in structure and are offered to provide daytime and evening options, but you can attend as many sessions as you’d like. If you’re unable to attend, you can still provide input via the endorsement process form and/or the questionnaire updates form. And stay tuned for more information about discussion sessions about the PEC’s criteria to recommend candidates for endorsement.
These sessions are scheduled for 90 minutes, so there will be plenty of time for discussion, interaction, and planning among chapter members who attend. Please come with lots of ideas! And as always, please feel free to send questions to the Steering Committee at email@example.com or to PEC Chair Stu K on Slack (@Stu K).
DSA for Karishma Mehta: Electoral Organizing Continues in NoVA
We’ll be canvassing this Saturday at 10am and 2pm and Sunday at 11am. You can sign up for any of the canvassing opportunities using this link.
If you have a moment and have a question, be sure to ask a question via the AKA (Ask Karishma Anything)! This is a chance for members to ask NoVA Branch member Karishma Mehta about her campaign to win the 49th VA House of Delegates seat, her platform or anything else — please use this form to ask a question, we will be filming answers and sharing to the membership. If you haven’t already and are interested in getting involved, fill out the interest form.
Upcoming PRO Act Rallies in Virginia and PG County
Two upcoming rallies seek to rally supporters and boost awareness of the PRO Act.
Join Virginia DSA chapters and labor leaders Saturday, April 17 at 3pm for a virtual rally to support the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. Featured speakers include leaders and members of NoVA-Labor, United Food and Commercial Workers, United Steel Workers, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Communication Workers of America and Amalgamated Transit Union. Senator Mark Warner is one of just four Democratic Senators and one independent who have not yet supported the PRO Act, but momentum is gaining for this campaign. Now is our chance to fight and win the PRO Act!
PG DSA and some allies in Prince George’s discuss the PRO Act and how empowering labor organizing is central to our overall socialist project. Register here or see the April 21 entry in the MDC DSA Calendar below.
Socialist Night School: Mutual Aid + Policy Advocacy — Monday, April 26
Food lines, PPE lines, supply lines. The lines for mutual aid and other critical services can feel endless, especially during a global pandemic. We’re in them or serving on them because we need resources or want to help our community members access them. But the question of this session, “Why Are We on the Line?” asks something more.
Panelists for this event include: Trupti Patel, a Foggy Bottom Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and member leader of ROC-DC; Diana Ramirez, a fellow at the National Women’s Law Center and one of the leaders of the 2018 local ballot initiative which would have raised the wages of DC’s tipped workers; Reana Kovalcik, a community organizer and founder of DC’s Share a Seed program; and Kya Parker, plant-based chef, local activist and founder of Kyanite Pantry. Our panelists will ask us to think about the larger political and capitalist forces that create the need for these support lines in the first place.
What got you into socialism? Send your origin story to Washington Socialist.
Was it The Grapes of Wrath in high school English class? Or some other book, encountered some other way, that set you on a path to being a socialist? Talk about it in a few paragraphs, or more, in the Washington Socialist’s May Day issue. See INFO ACCESS, below, for details.
Rental Assistance for DC Residents Launched Under the Stay DC Program
The DC government is providing $350 million in rental and utility assistance. If you are struggling to pay rent or meeting housing expenses, check out the system launched by the DC government this week. Though the program has been found to have some noted issues and oversights, this is money that can be used by people who are in need. Please get the word out to networks — we don’t want to give the city any excuse not to use this funding!
Maryland House of Delegates Passes Immigration Reform Bill Sponsored by DSA Member
DSA member and Maryland House of Delegates rep Vaughn Stewart sponsored and passed the Dignity Not Detention Act in Maryland. The bill bans ICE detention centers in Maryland, among other reform. Though it’s unclear if Governor Hogan will sign the bill, it’s a start to ending the profiteering off human misery and family separation.
The Maryland legislature also passed a series of police reform bills which override Hogan’s veto. The law isn’t everything activists in Maryland have demanded, but it’s a strong step forward. Shout out to DSA member and MD House delegate Gabe Acevero who had been leading the charge for these police reforms for sometime, and was key for anchoring the demand of the bill.
Political grassroots organizing for 2021 & beyond by Virginia Political Cooperative
Our mission is to increase the viability of progressive political candidates in Virginia statewide and down ballot elections. We plan to do this by building capacity and infrastructure that will enable us to provide full campaign services to progressive political candidates in Virginia who are in support of our bold, inclusive platform and pledge. We are looking to recruit volunteer interns with previous campaign management experience. If you’re curious to learn more or ready to join us in stirring up state politics, fill out this interest survey. An organizer will follow up with more information and next-steps.
Socialist Feminist Caucus Updates
Also, don’t forget to donate to the Abortion fund-a-thon! Our chapter’s goal is to raise $3,000. This effort is led by DSA National Director Maria Svart through the Nationwide SocFem Working Group. Note: The DC Abortion Fund is 100% run by unpaid volunteers and virtually all donations go directly to abortion costs.
MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Saturday, April 17
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Book Club: America Beyond Capitalism
7:30 – 9:30pm | Movie Night: America’s Socialist Experiment
Sunday, April 18
5 – 6:30pm | Medicare for All Work Group Weekly Meeting
6 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Working Group Monthly Meeting
Join the Defund MPD Working Group for their monthly meeting to receive updates and get plugged in to the work!
Tuesday, April 20
Wednesday, April 21
8:15 – 8:45am | Warner Wednesday with NRV DSA
500 S Lee Street, Alexandria, VA
The Repeal the Right-to-Work Coalition has invited DSA members to help deliver breakfast to Senator Warner’s house and urge him to sign on to the PRO Act. Can’t make it? Participate online!
5 – 6pm | NoVA Tenant Organizing Planning Meeting
7 – 8pm | PG DSA PRO Act Town Hall
PG DSA members and co-sponsor organizations discuss the PRO Act and its importance. The Town Hall (7 – 8pm) is followed by PG DSA’s monthly General Body Meeting, 8 – 9pm.
Thursday, April 22
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Branch Monthly Organizing Meeting
Saturday, April 24
1:30 – 3pm | Meet and Greet with Karishma
Come meet our fighter for VA 49 and hang out with comrades in a socially distanced park gathering. Food and fun will be provided!
2 – 4pm | Socialist Feminist Reading Group
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.
Sunday, April 25
5 – 6:30pm | Medicare for All Work Group Weekly Meeting
Monday, April 26
6:30 – 8:30pm | Mutual Aid + Policy Advocacy | Socialist Night School
The lines for mutual aid and other critical services can feel endless, but we should think about the larger political and capitalist forces that create the need for these support lines in the first place. Without critically assessing and actively working to dismantle those systems of oppression, we risk burning out our most precious community leaders. Join our panelists for more. Register at link.
Wednesday, April 28
ALLIED EVENTS CALENDAR
Monday, April 19
7pm | Reel and Meal movie presentation: Ram ke Naam (In the Name of God)
A 1991 documentary about the events leading up to the 1992 destruction of the Babri Masjid, one of the largest and oldest Muslim places of worship in India. The film begins at 7pm; entry to the Zoom event starts 6:45pm. Register at link.
Tuesday, April 20
1 – 2pm | One Fair Wage National Day of Action
Join One Fair Wage, RAISE High Road Restaurants, Service Workers United for Power, Women’s March and other allies for a national day of action uplifting the tipped service industry in response to the National Restaurant Association’s (the other “NRA”) Annual Lobby Day.
Wednesday, April 21
6 – 8pm | Webinar: A Century of Racism and Resilience Along the Purple Line
Explore how communities along the corridor have been affected by discrimination and urban renewal, as well as how patterns of residential and economic segregation are perpetuated by contemporary policies.
Thursday, April 22
6 – 7:30pm | MD ACLU Book Discussion
The Lines Between Us: Two Families and a Quest to Cross Baltimore’s Racial Divide. Join the ACLU of Maryland and the University of Baltimore for a panel discussion with the author, Lawrence Lanahan, and ACLU’s lead counsel who worked on the landmark Thompson v. HUD case, Barbara Samuels.
Troublemakers’ School — Ongoing Throughout April
Our comrades at Labor Notes present an April virtual “Troublemakers’ School” lineup of webinars and organizing workshops full of tasty stuff, like another round on Work Won’t Love You Back with author Sarah Jaffe; a deep dive into the pernicious concept of austerity; and an analysis of Labor and Climate Change Solutions. It costs $20 total for a raft of events throughout the month but reduced costs can be discussed. Find more here.
NATIONAL DSA HIGHLIGHTS
Sunday, April 18 | 4pm
DSA4USPS: Rural Free Delivery — Past, Present and Future
In its fifth educational webinar, DSA4USPS will explore the postal service’s mandate to serve all customers equally, whether they live in New York City or an unincorporated town. Rural delivery is one of the most important functions of the postal service, but because it is unprofitable, attacks on it are more likely than ever. more at link
Tuesday, April 20 | 9pm
DSA Q&A featuring the PRO Act
Interested in DSA but haven’t joined yet? Looking to get involved in the fights to stop evictions, win Medicare for All, defund the police, or pass a Green New Deal, but unsure how to get started? Join DSA leaders from across the country to talk about how passing the PRO Act is central to our goals. RSVP here. Also scheduled for April 30 and May 8; see the calendar here.
Saturday, April 24 | 12pm
Building the Religious Left: DSA Religion & Socialism Virtual Conference
From April 24 – 25, join your religious socialist comrades for two days of panels, workshops and skills training as you work to build the religious left. Hear from Andrew Wilkes, Sarah Ngu, Charles Howard, George Lakey, Matthew Sitman, Fran Quigley, Jewish Currents magazine, the DSA Muslim Caucus, the Institute for Christian Socialism, Megan Romer, Nicole-Ann Lobo … more at link
To amplify smaller notices from allied organizations, community groups and mutual aid formations.
Justice for the Black Lives Lost, Good Trouble Cooperative
Friday (BLM Plaza, 8pm), Saturday (Location TBA, 8pm), and Sunday (Location TBA, 2pm). Good Trouble asks protest participants to wear all black for these events. Tune in to their social channels for updates: @goodtroubleco.op (IG), @goodtroublecoop (Twitter).
Sunrise Movement DC Mutual Aid Drive
Saturday, April 17, 11am – 1pm. Sunrise Movement DC is hosting a mutual aid drive in Columbia Heights (14th and Kenyon NW) to give out necessities to neighbors and help folks register for the vaccine registration. Spanish and Amharic-speaking assistance available.
Share a Seed in the Garden w/ Ward 1 Mutual Aid
Sunday, April 18, 1 – 3pm. Join Slow Food DC and Ward 1 Mutual Aid for a day of gardening, seed sharing and mutual aid organizing at Euclid Street Garden. This event is free and open to all. Donation requests include: seeds and garden equipment donations for the Share a Seed project (redistributed into the community via mutual aid partners); diapers (sizes 5 & 6); menstrual products; cleaning supplies; paper towels and toilet paper; shelf stable foods.
The Chapter Branch Commission asks all members to fill out this brief survey. The results will steer the draft recommendations for the membership on how we can improve our branch model to help improve that operation of current and future branches in our chapter. The survey can be found at bit.ly/branchcom. Members can reach out to commission chair Frankie SF with questions.
Your personal socialist kick-start — a May Day issue roundup in the Washington Socialist. Somewhere embedded in all of our socialist souls is the memory of that first book — fiction or nonfiction — that set us on our course to socialism. You might have encountered it well before you actually decided to join DSA. But without it you wouldn’t be a socialist. Tell us about it, in a few paragraphs or more, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line MY KICKSTART — we’ll collect/curate them in the May Day issue of the Washington Socialist if you get them to us by the deadline, April 24. If you want to discuss the project, visit our Slack channel, #publications.
Check out Monday night’s Bloomberg (!) Briefing: Make the Rich Pay … “United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling on nations to institute a wealth tax to help reduce global inequality exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. There has been a $5 trillion surge in the wealth of the world’s richest in the past year even as those at the bottom were made increasingly vulnerable, Guterres told a UN economic and social forum on Monday. With the Covid-19 fallout causing government debt to swell, and hurting poorer people most, wealth taxes are being debated from California to the U.K.”
Politico has a fun roundup on a group of Democratic pollsters who are rehearsing what went wrong in their calls on the 2020 election. Their internal memo concludes, among other things, that they don’t know how Trump voters behave. Duh.
The concept of “racial capitalism” gets an extensive workout in these podcast excerpts in Portside: it’s “the ways that capitalism works as being based on extraction from particular groups of people. This brand of short-term American capitalism is based on this notion of extraction from Black and brown and Indigenous folks in particular. … Wealth extraction is an intentional process. … This isn’t a market inefficiency. It’s a strategic choice made by a set of actors.” The interviewee is Maurice BP-Weeks of Action Center on Race and the Economy.
From Common Dreams via Portside: “Climate Crisis: Those responsible should be held accountable.” An investor advocacy group, Majority Action, has released a list of 30 corporate directors who are obstacles to climate progress — directors who should be voted out of positions of power to make way for people who are more climate literate.
“The warning signs of defeat were everywhere,” Jane McAlevey explains in her recent article “Blowout in Bessemer: A Postmortem on the Amazon Campaign.” National hope grew among progressives that the Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, AL would vote to unionize, but were crushed last week when they rejected it. The Nation article dives into why it was doomed to fail from the start and lessons learned for others who want to unionize.
A lengthy, thoughtful consideration on digital appropriation and internet etiquette that has been making rounds across certain parts of the Very Online left.
What’s the cost of union membership loss? The Economic Policy Institute’s Larry Mishel calculates that the decades-long crash in unionized workers as a proportion of the labor force “translates to a loss of $1.56 per hour worked, the equivalent of $3,250 for a full-time, full-year worker. The erosion of collective bargaining lowered the median hourly wage by $1.56” — and this huge wealth transfer to capital from labor has increased inequality drastically in the overall society. Passed along by Portside.
Recent news on Nevada Dems’ sulking over DSA wins: The Intercept reports “When a democratic socialist slate won [state party seats] in March, establishment staffers rushed to drain party funds. Now the new staff has raised it back — and then some.”
A deep dive into the MPD’s particularly awful gun recovery unit, with quotes from some coalition allies within DC’s Defund MPD coalition.
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.