April 23, 2021

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

APRIL 23, 2021

Weekly Update



  • Defund MPD campaign update & statement from DSA on Chauvin verdict
  • PRO ACT campaign battle plans — upcoming mobilizations in Virginia
  • Metro DC DSA vaccine outreach program updates

Defund MPD budget fight next steps, and statement from Steering Committee on Derek Chauvin verdict

The Metro DC DSA Steering Committee wants to echo sentiments from the National Political Committee about the verdicts in the Derek Chauvin trial — a conviction that was read while Columbus police shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant:

“The verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial is not justice. Justice looks like a world where George Floyd grows old, where Black people can live with dignity, where police no longer terrorize our streets. As they did today, cops will sacrifice their own in order to quell outrage & maintain trust. But justice will not come from the institutions that uphold injustice. A conviction does not change the fact that George Floyd was murdered — that police will continue to do so to others. We share the rage of all those who are making themselves heard on the streets after years of being suffocated by policing and poverty, years of being looted by corporations, landlords, and billionaires. We fight for a world where Black people can breathe freely and challenge ourselves to grow the struggle for abolition, and the courage to pursue a just and liberated future. For George Floyd.” 

In DC, our Defund MPD working group continues to fight locally to bring us closer to abolition — because we know that a single conviction changes nothing. We’ve got a lot going on, and here’s where we need your help: 

Phonebank to get defund demands passed! Join us tomorrow, April 24, from 1 – 3pm to phonebank your fellow MDC DSA members to call their Councilmembers. Sign up here! (You can find the Defund MPD coalition demands here.)

Advocate at your ANC! Encourage your neighbors to support the Defund movement through advocating at your local Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC). Send us an email — we’ll send you a slide deck that you can use to present at your ANC meeting!

  • Specifically, if you live in Wards 2 or 3, please fill out this form. These wards are crucial to the success of Defund goals. 
  • We’re preparing for a mass wheatpasting campaign to be launched shortly. If you’re interested in helping out in any way, please email benmdcdsa@gmail.com.

Got questions about police defunding and abolition? Check out our Relational Organizing Guide here. Use this document to help navigate difficult conversations with people in your life around police & prison abolition. To get involved in general Defund MPD operations, you can sign up here!

PRO Act campaign battle plans: next chapter in labor struggle comes to Virginia

Over the past few months, DSA members across the country have made over half a million calls to voters where senators are on the fence about the PRO Act. The pressure we’ve built has flipped two of our five Senate targets — Senators Angus King of Maine and Joe Manchin of West Virginia — to co-sponsor the PRO Act. This is a major breakthrough in the battle for the PRO Act, but we’re not done yet: three Democratic senators have refused to co-sponsor the PRO Act in the Senate. 

But there are good signs that centrists in the Democratic Party are routed. Need proof? Watch Sen Kirsten Sinema — once a brave anti-war, anti-capitalist, Green Party activist — beg for big business to bail her out after she abandoned her allies on the left.  

Don’t worry, we’ll get to Sinema. But first, DMV area socialists are being called on to focus attention and energy on flipping Senator Mark Warner.

Here’s the local battle plan for the next two weeks: 

  • Next weekend: on May 1st, MDC DSA is paying a personal visit to Warner demanding that he support workers. More information is available at this link: http://bit.ly/PROactmay
  • Calling on artists this Sunday: on April 25 from 2 – 4pm, our chapter will be organizing an art build on the Alexandria Waterfront to paint banners and signs for the May Day action in support of the PRO Act. We’ll be at the Alexandria Waterfront, near the corner of Princess St. and North Union St. Come ready to paint, and bring any spare bed sheets! Sign up here.
  • This Saturday: Pre-May Day mass call — join DSA members across the country as we make phone calls to zap the offices of Sens. Warner, Sinema and Kelly demanding they pass the PRO Act.

See more under “Labor Working Group updates” in Briefs. You can learn more about the planning behind the DSA’s PRO Act campaign here.

Metro DC DSA’s Vaccine Outreach Program Continues

The Metro DC M4A Working Group has knocked on more than 2,000 doors and made more than 2,500 phone calls to educate people about the pre-registration process for the COVID-19 vaccine. We have also personally pre-registered nearly 100 people, many of whom are Spanish-speaking DC residents and almost all are people living in underserved communities.

With the help of Stomp Out Slumlords, on Thursday, April 22, we partnered with the Woodner Tenants’ Union to canvass as many of the 1,181 units at the Woodner Apartments. We continue to look for ways to pivot the outreach program to adjust to changing circumstances and needs. Moving forward, we would like to continue our efforts by focusing on apartment buildings and would appreciate your help in getting connected with tenants associations and building managers that would allow us access to buildings so we can canvass the units.

If you are interested in helping others pre-register for the vaccine, please fill out this Google form to join the campaign as a volunteer. Please also join us on our Slack channel (#m4a) and come to our vaccine outreach planning meetings every Wednesday at 5:30pm (Zoom link). You can also contact the working group by emailing m4a@mdcdsa.org.



PG County Steering Committee Election Results

Members of the PG County branch received ballots to vote in the Steering Committee election on April 4th. Voting was open until April 19th. Of the 234 voters in this election, 26 cast ballots, meeting quorum for business to be decided as outlined in Section 6 of the PG Branch bylaws. There were 5 seats for 6 candidates. The top 5 vote getters, in alphabetical order, are as follows: Ashley Morse, John Grega, Ralph Cyrus, Tom Boone, Zuhayr Ahmed.

Thank you to all the candidates and to everyone who participated in the election. Results will be sent out via OpaVote to all members who received a ballot.



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 held two meetings to discuss updates to our chapter’s endorsement process. Upcoming meetings will focus on our chapter’s candidate questionnaire and the PEC’s criteria for recommending candidates for endorsement. The schedule for these meetings is below: 

  • Questionnaire Session #1, Sunday, April 25, 2 – 3:30pm ET (RSVP)
  • Questionnaire Session #2, Wednesday, April 28, 7 – 8:30pm ET (RSVP)
  • [New!] Endorsement Recommendation Session #1, Sunday, May 2, 2 – 3:30pm ET (RSVP)
  • [New!] Endorsement Recommendation Session #2, Wednesday, May 5, 7 – 8:30pm ET (RSVP)

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!

Outside of the discussion sessions, chapter members can still provide input via the endorsement process form, the questionnaire updates form, and the endorsement recommendation form. As always, please feel free to send questions to the Steering Committee at steering-all@mdcdsa.org or to PEC Chair Stu K on Slack (@Stu K). 


DSA Harassments and Grievance Officer Town Hall — Thursday, Apr 29

The Steering Committee is in the process of interviewing and nominating our new Harassment and Grievance officers, and will be hosting a “Town Hall” with the selected nominees on Thursday, April 29th at 6:30pmRSVP here!

During this event, each nominee will have a chance to introduce themselves and share why they are a good fit for the position. Attendees will then have a chance to ask them questions relevant to nominee’s fit for the role. After the Town Hall, members will have a week to submit to the Steering Committee statements of dissent about any nominees that explain why they think a nominee is not suitable to be an HGO.

HGOs are responsible for managing the grievance workflows, which you can read about in our Harassment Policy and Grievance Procedure resolution. They receive filed grievances, conduct any necessary investigation of the claims, and present their findings to the Steering Committee with a written report. The incoming HGOs will also head a new commission that will be tasked with reviewing and suggesting revisions as necessary MDC DSA’s current harassment policy and grievance procedure. The commission will research and explore the potential for creating a parallel process to the chapter’s grievance procedure that would be used to handle disputes and provide conflict resolution for issues that arise between members that do not fall within the scope of the grievance procedure.

Labor Working Group Updates — upcoming events, campaigns and calls for support

In addition to PRO Act campaigning, our local Labor Working Group has a bunch of updates:

  • May Day at Mark Warner’s Place — with Senators King and Manchin signed on, there remain only three targeted senators who have not yet sponsored the Protect the Right to Organize Act, and Mark Warner is one of them. We’ll be rallying somewhere close by on May Day as part of a statewide DSA day of action. RSVP Here.

  • DC Jobs with Justice If you are looking to get more involved in DSA and the broader DC labor movement, we are looking for a chapter representative for the DC Jobs with Justice steering committee. If you are interested or would like to know more, reach out to labor@mdcdsa.org.

  • Essential Workers Bill of Rights We are pushing Mayor Bowser to enact the DC Essential Workers Bill of Rights, a bill that would enact hazard pay, bereavement leave, better safety standards and other vital protections for workers as COVID continues. Sign and share the petition here.

  • Volvo Strike in Virginia UAW Local 2069 in Dublin, VA, has been on strike at Volvo’s large truck factory for the past week. New River Valley DSA is organizing food and other support for them. You can donate to the strike support fund through Venmo, CashApp or PayPal here.

  • Support Myanmar Trade Unions Fighting the Military — the DSA Internationalism Committee is continuing to fundraise for the Myanmar Confederation of Trade Unions, one of the frontline groups in the civil disobedience and democracy movement in Myanmar fighting the coup. You can donate to the GoFundMe here.

Saturday Meet and Greet with Karishma Mehta in NoVA

This Saturday, come meet our fighter for VA 49 and hang out with comrades in a socially distanced park gathering. Food and fun will be provided! Feel free to bring your own dish too if you like! This will be hosted in between our morning (10am) and afternoon (2pm) canvasses, so come by after you knock on doors in the morning or before you knock on doors in the afternoon.

We’ll be canvassing this Saturday at 10am and 2pm and Sunday at 11am, phone banking on Sunday at 2pm. You can sign up for any of these shifts using this link.

Side note to all Virginia comrades, early voting starts on April 23rd!  For more information in your district, use the locality finder at the top of the VA Elections page.

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. 

Sign up to attend this hyper-local session here!


Socialist Feminist Caucus Updates

Don’t forget! This Saturday, the reading group meets (RSVP here) and our Grrrls* Night is on Thursday, May 13 (RSVP). You can also donate to our ongoing abortion fund-a-thon.

Our first fund-a-thon event, Yoga in the Park, will take place on May 8 from 10 – 11am to benefit DC Abortion Fund. RSVP on Action Network today! Spots are limited. You will get an email from the host with event details and how to donate after you RSVP.


Rental Assistance in DC 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!


Saturday, April 24

1 – 3pm | Defund MPD Phonebanking

1:30 – 3pm | Meet and Greet with Karishma

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

2 – 3:30pm | Discussion #1: Updates to Metro DC DSA’s Electoral Endorsement Questionnaire

2 – 4pm | PRO Act Art Build
Join us to paint banners and signs for the May Day action in support of the PRO Act! We’ll be at the Alexandria Waterfront, near the corner of Princess St. and North Union St. Come ready to paint.

4 – 5pm | Ecosocialist Reading Group: People’s Power Study Circle, Session 2
Join us for the second discussion session of Ashley Dawson’s People’s Power. This is a joint session with the Baltimore DSA, who are spearheading this text reading. 

56:30pm | Medicare for All Work Group Weekly Meeting

Monday, April 26

6:30 – 8:30pm | Mutual Aid + Policy Advocacy | Socialist Night School

Tuesday, April 27

7 – 8:30pm | Biweekly Steering Committee Meeting

Wednesday, April 28

5:30 – 6:30pm | NoVA Tenant Organizing Planning Meeting

7 – 8:30pm | Discussion #2: Updates to MDC DSA’s Electoral Endorsement Questionnaire

8 – 9pm | Why You Should Join DSA / New Member Orientation
New to DSA? Want to get involved? Come join us for an introduction to DSA and learn how you can get involved in the fight for our future!

Thursday, April 29

6:30 – 8:30pm | Harassment and Grievance Officer Nominees Town Hall
Meet and ask questions of the Steering Committee’s nominees for these posts, what they do, why they are important.

Saturday, May 1

12:30 – 4pm | May Day Action
Join us on May 1st as we march and rally in support of the PRO Act! Let’s tell Sen. Warner that he needs to stand with working people and help pass the most progressive labor bill in generations.

9 – 11pm | May Day Reggaeton Bash
Join us for music and dancing after the May Day Action! DJ Oscar V. is hosting a Reggaeton bash on May 1st. Sure to be a fun and safe way to let loose after a day of rallying!

Sunday, May 2

2 – 3:30pm | Discussion #1: MDC DSA’s Criteria for Electoral Endorsements

5 – 6pm | Medicare for All Work Group Weekly Meeting

Monday, May 3

7 – 8pm | NoVA Branch Office Hours

Tuesday, May 4

6 – 6:30pm | Medicare for All Working Group: Research Team

Wednesday, May 5

5:30 – 6:30pm | NoVA Tenant Organizing Planning Meeting

7 – 8:30pm |  Discussion #2: MDC DSA’s Criteria for Electoral Endorsements

7 – 9pm |  PG County Branch DSA Steering Committee Meeting

8 – 9pm | Why You Should Join DSA / New Member Orientation

7 – 8:30pm | Discussion #2 MDC DSA’s Criteria for Electoral Endorsements

Wednesday, May 12

8 – 9pm | Why You Should Join DSA / New Member Orientation

Thursday, May 13

7 – 9pm | SocFem Grrrlz Night  Social Hour
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.


Saturday, April 24 

10:30am – 12:45pm | Building Political Support for the Nuclear Ban Treaty 
NuclearBan.US presents this strategic planning session featuring speakers Beatrice Fihn of ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) and Rep. Jamie Raskin. Campaign to sign, ratify and implement the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) by adding congressional sponsors like Raskin.

10am – noon | Prince George’s Poor People’s Campaign Meeting

Wednesday, April 28 

4 – 5:30pm | Biden’s First 100 Days: Reflections from IPS Experts
Since FDR, the first 100 days of a presidential term has taken on symbolic significance. Join the Institute for Policy Studies to make such an examination of the Biden administration with panelists including our comrade Ashik S. Register here.

Noon | HAYMARKET: The Bomb, The Anarchists, The Labor Struggle
A feature of this year’s DC LaborFest. You’ll be able to watch the film online at your convenience starting on April 28 and then FilmFest director Chris Garlock will host a discussion with director Adrian Prawica and labor historians Joe McCartin (Georgetown University) and Steven Brier (CUNY School of Labor) on May Day (as part of the 2021 Global Labor Film Festival. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, May 5

4 – 5:30pm | DC Rally for a People’s Vaccine
Join us May 5th at the National Mall for a Rally for a People’s Vaccine and to call on the Biden administration to ensure urgent access to safe and effective COVID-19 treatments and vaccines for the Global South.


Friday, April 23 | 7pm
Anti-Racist Movements in Brazil: Activist Series
Around the world, Black-led movements are raising the stakes in our collective struggles. This discussion series with leading Black and Indigenous militants from across Brazil spotlights their experiences in organizing against state violence, workplace exploitation and structural racism everywhere from education to healthcare. … more at link

Saturday, April 24 | Noon
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

Thursday, April 29 | 8:30pm
Strategic Campaigns 101
Strategic Campaigns 101 will walk through the process of how to best choose and execute campaigns that will build long-term power for DSA, YDSA and the working class. You’ll learn which questions to ask when planning a campaign, as well as tools to assess your campaign plan for maximum impact. … more at link


A new section to amplify smaller notices from allied organizations, community groups and mutual aid formations.

Protests for Black Lives
Friday, 4/23 – Freedom Plaza @ 5pm
Saturday, 4/24 – BLM Plaza @ 3pm
Sunday, 4/25 – Location TBD (check @the_palm_collective Instagram for info)

Wear all black to all events. Tune in to their Instagrams for updates: @the_palm_collective, @freedomfightersdc, @goodtroubleco.op

Plant Swap + Share a Seed at 3 Stars Brewing
Join Slow Food DC, Kyanite Pantry and Plantita Power on Sunday, April 25 from 3 – 6pm at 3 Stars Brewing Company for an afternoon of seed sharing, plant swapping and beer drinking! Seeds and plants will be exchanged and given freely; those donated will cycle back through the community to get others growing. $1 off draft beers for donors. Event is free; reservations are required.

DC 101: Budget Justice
On Monday, April 26 at 6pm, join Serve Your City Ward 6 Mutual Aid to hear from local leaders on what they would like to see included in the Mayor’s fiscal year 2022 budget and how DC can create a budget that better serves District residents. The discussion will center around Serve Your City’s core priority areas of Affordable Housing, Education, Community Safety and Economic Justice. Event is free; registration required.

Virginia Political Cooperative
Progressives in VA are building a statewide political co-op to act as a shared services provider for progressive candidates, recruiting and training working-class candidates and a pool of shared volunteers to elect them. Join us in electing a government that serves ALL Virginians by filling out our interest survey! All are welcome — with a special call for folks with social media, data/analytics, volunteer engagement and organizing skills to join.


This is the last Update for April. Next Friday, April 30, we’ll publish our May issue of the Washington Socialist (the deadline for articles is TOMORROW, Saturday, April 24). Updates in May will be sent Fridays, May 7, 14, 21 and 28 (easy to remember) and the June newsletter issue will be published Friday, June 4. Send submissions for May (soon!) or June (at your leisure) to thesocialist@mdcdsa.org and be sure to join our #publications Slack channel to join the chatter about how to write our socialism.

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 thesocialist@mdcdsa.org with the subject line MY KICK-START — we’ll collect/curate them in the May Day issue of the Washington Socialist if you get them to us by the deadline TOMORROW, Saturday, April 24. If you want to discuss the project, visit our Slack channel, #publications.


A personal account from a local writer discussing the housing crisis, the bureaucratic shortcomings of HUD operations, the demise of hope during the early years of Obama-mania and the precarity of housing in DC. An excellent essay exploring the rampant gentrification of DC over the past decade — published earlier in the year in n+1 (but recently brought out from behind the paywall).

GOOD LISTEN: Jacobin podcast The Dig centers a discussion on ultra-leftism post-Bernie 2020, as informed by Washington Socialist article “The Liberal to Ultra-Left Pipeline: Breaking the Cycle” by our own chapter comrade Brian W. The debate also pulls from “Liberalism, ultra-leftism or mass action,” a speech delivered by Socialist Workers Party leader Peter Camejo in 1970.

From the Boston Herald: Country Catching Up to Bernie Sanders’ Way of Thinking. “Today it’s clear that on issue after issue, Sanders’ thunder on the left has carried the day among a majority of Americans, including substantial numbers of Republicans. Conservative attacks on Sanders-style proposals are increasingly falling flat.” 

The Intercept reports in “The Bigger Short” that Wall Street’s books are still being cooked and the 2008 implosion could be setting itself for a repeat. Our comrade Dave R. tipped us to this one.

“As organized labor grapples with the consequences of the … landslide defeat at the Amazon mega-warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, one potential direction for the labor movement lies in the types of power- and base-building activities of Black worker centers.” One of a series on alt-labor efforts from the American Prospect.

Calling the police can too easily turn into a violent act, especially for non-white, disabled or otherwise vulnerable neighbors. Here is a list of alternative resources you can call instead of police. See more in Don’t Call the Police: A Guide

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