April 30, 2021

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

APRIL 30, 2021

Weekly Update



  • SATURDAY 11:30 AM — PRO Act Rally in Alexandria
  • Defund MPD updates and information
  • Harassment and grievance officer town hall postponed

May Day demonstration — get Warner on board with the PRO Act 

Tomorrow is May Day, or International Workers’ Day — a holiday commemorating the hard-won gains of the labor movement and ongoing struggles of the working class around the world.

This year, there’s no better way to celebrate our collective power than rallying to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. If enacted, the PRO Act would be the most important piece of pro-worker legislation since the New Deal era. The bill would eliminate so-called right to work laws across the country, crack down on illegal union busting tactics, expand workers’ ability to strike and make it significantly easier to form a union and bargain for a contract. The PRO Act would not only advance labor rights but also build a path to achieve a Green New Deal.

An elected official in our own backyard, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, is one of the last three Democrat holdouts on the PRO Act. That’s why we’re showing up to his Alexandria home on May Day to demand that he stand with workers.

Here’s the battle plan:

  • Meet at Windmill Hill Park (500 South Lee St. in Alexandria, VA) at 11:30am ET. From there, we will rally and drop a petition at the senator’s door, calling on him to co-sponsor the bill.
  • A carpool will be available to drive people between the King Street-Old Town metro and Windmill Hill Park. If you need a ride (or can offer rides), please fill out this form. (Organized by our comrades from Baltimore DSA!)
  • And don’t forget to RSVP at this link

The rally will feature speakers from Our Revolution, Virginia Justice Democrats, La ColectiVA and other local labor leaders. We’ll also be joined by Virginia and Baltimore DSA chapter members. 

Looking for other ways to engage with the campaign? 

  • Check out DSA’s online resource to learn more about the PRO Act. 
  • DSA, in coalition with IUPAT and hundreds of other labor unions and progressive organizations, has helped make more than 700,000 calls in key states to pressure senators to sign on to the bill. We’ve flipped Sens. Angus King (I-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), but still need to get Warner and Arizona’s Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema on board. Sign up here to phonebank and help us keep up the pressure after May Day.
  • This Saturday at 7pm ET, join Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Andy Levin for a talk on the importance of unions and why we need to pass the PRO Act, hosted by Michigan DSA chapters.

Eyes are on us.

Updates from the Defund MPD Campaign

This week, three quick updates from the Defund MPD working group:

HGO Town Hall Postponed and Applications Reopened

Reflecting on the application process and outreach for Harassment and Grievance Officers (HGOs) and current applicants, the Steering Committee would like to reopen the application for HGOs and do more targeted outreach to encourage a larger and more diverse applicant pool. This means that we’ll also postpone the town hall and will aim to reschedule it for Thursday, May 13.

HGOs and the commission they will lead must address both informal and formal grievances related to implicit and explicit discrimination based on members’ racial identities. As such, this steering committee has committed to targeted outreach to BIPOC members about applying for the HGO position. We will also do intentional, targeted outreach about the position to chapter formations that support or represent other protected classes, including the Queer Section and Socialist Feminist Caucus.

Please consider applying to be an HGO or a member of the Harassment Policy and Grievance Procedure Commission! Fill out the form here.


The Washington Socialist is our chapter’s monthly publication — produced by volunteer writers and editors on our Publications Team.

Only a brief intro this month. May Day is a busy time for socialists — and the local Left is mobilized and on the move. Not much time to write: lotta action on the streets, lotta moving parts, lotta plans. Let’s see if we can sink it.

Here’s what we’ve got this month …

The Metro DC Mobilization Model — A long assessment of Metro DC DSA’s member mobilization tactics. Our authors suggest that they’ve found a strong way to turn paper-members into politically engaged socialists.

On Climate, Biden Falls Far Short Biden’s infrastructure plan is a fair start to mobilizing, but no one should mistake it for a Green New Deal.

My Socialist Kick-Start 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. One member recounts a familiar journey.

How Racism Hurts All of Us In this summary of Heather McGhee’s The Sum of Us, we are reminded how crucial racial divisions between the working class are to upholding capitalist exploitation.

Reflections from 2000: The Communists of Shaw A short article republished from an old edition of the Socialist recounts far-left activity in one of the District’s most cherished neighborhoods.

Good Links from April Sleep through March? We’ve got you covered. Here’s an article roundup from April.



Metro DC DSA’s Vaccine Outreach Updates

Our comrades in the Medicare for All Working Group returned to the Woodner Apartments on Thursday, April 29, to speak to the residents of the 1,181-unit building. We helped the Woodner Tenants’ Union book vaccine appointments for residents while also collecting the contact information of those who need help with the application for the STAY DC rental assistance program.

After the chapter’s May Day action, we will be canvassing the Marbury Plaza apartments in Ward 8. We will be hosted by the tenants’ association at Marbury Plaza and will be joined by organizers from Stomp Out Slumlords. Please meet at the apartment building (2300 Good Hope Rd SE) at 3:30pm on Saturday, May 1. Please reach out to Gayatri S. or Abel A. on Slack if you would like to join us so we can add you to the canvassers Signal chat. You can also fill out this Google form to get regular updates on our vaccine outreach efforts and how you can volunteer.


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: 

  • [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).


Labor Working Group Updates

A few updates from our Labor Working Group:

  • THIS SUNDAY, May Day at Mark Warner’s House
    Virginia DSAers will be rallying in Charlottesville, Richmond, Norfolk and Alexandria demanding that Sen. Mark Warner listen to Virginians over Amazon and sign on to the PRO Act. Metro DC DSA’s rally in Alexandria begins at noon! Rides from the King Street metro station (about 1 mile from the rally point) are available on a first-come, first-served basis. RSVP here.
  • NEXT MONDAY, Labor Speaker Series
    Our next LSS will feature Jana Silverman, a member of OPEIU Local 2 and the DSA International Committee’s Labor Subcommittee. May’s LSS will be on Monday, May 10th at 7pm. RSVP here!
  • MAY 5, Virtual Rally for Essential Workers’ Bill of Rights
    On May 5, DC Jobs With Justice and the Metro Washington Labor Council will hold a virtual rally demanding that Mayor Bowser enact the Essential Workers’ Bill of Rights to ensure protections for these front-line workers in DC. RSVP here.

Fund-A-Thon Campaign benefitting DC Abortion Fund

We are just $800 away from our team goal of our benefit goal! Join us May 8 at 10am in Mitchell Park for a yoga class led by one of our comrades. There are five more spots available, so sign up today! On May 25, we will host a Zoom trivia night along with local abortion rights community organizer RJ Lucas of Abortion AF. Teams can sign up here


Saturday, May 1

11:30am – 3pm | May Day Action
Join us on May 1 as we 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.

Sunday, May 2

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

2 – 4:30pm | MoCo DSA May Branch Meeting

5 – 6:30pm | Medicare for All Work Group Weekly Meeting

5 – 7pm | Defund MPD Phonebank

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

2 – 4pm | DC Funk Rally to #FreeTheVaccine for Everyone, Everywhere
The surge in COVID-19 deaths in India has proven that a global pandemic requires a global solution. Join a coalition of health justice organizations, including Metro DC DSA, for the DC Funk Rally to #FreeTheVaccine as we call on the Biden administration to support the TRIPS waiver at the World Trade Organization. Meet at the National Mall (4th St & Madison Dr NW), starting at 2pm. 

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 6

5:30 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Phone Bank

Saturday, May 8

10 – 11am | Fund-A-Thon Yoga in the Park

11am – 1pm | PG County Branch Ecosocialism WG Meeting

Sunday, May 9

5 – 6:30pm | Medicare for All Working Group Weekly Meeting

Monday, May 10

6 – 8pm | Queer Caucus Happy Hour

7 – 8:30pm | May Labor Speaker Series
Join Metro DC DSA’s Labor Working Group for our monthly Labor Speaker Series event! For May, we’ll be joined by Jana Silverman, member of the Labor Subcommittee of DSA’s International Committee and member of OPEIU Local 2. Jana will speak on her history as a labor activist in the US and abroad and her work at the Solidarity Center supporting the international worker movement.

Wednesday, May 12

5:30 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Phone Bank

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

Thursday, May 13

7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Executive Meeting

7 – 9pm | SocFem Grrrlz Night Social Hour 
Note: Currently, all SocFem gatherings and discussions are welcoming only those who identify as womxn, nonbinary people or those of marginalized genders. We ask that men do not participate at this time.

Saturday, May 15

7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Book Club: The Happiness Industry
Join the next NoVa Book Club to discuss The Happiness Industry by William Davies. Registration and book details at link.

Sunday, May 16

5 – 6:30pm | Medicare for All Working Group Weekly Meeting

6 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Working Group – Monthly Meeting

Sunday, May 23

3 – 5pm | General Body Meeting | May


Saturday, May 1

7:30pm | Slavery By Another Name: May Day Teach In and Noise Demo
Join the No New Jails Coalition as we discuss the history of slavery from the plantation to the prisons as well as the legacy of prison strikes and resistance. We will also participate in a noise demo to show love to our loved ones and community comrades behind bars and continue to demand that the city #FreeThemAll and #DecarcerateDC. Meet us at the Stadium-Armory Metro Station at 7:30pm on Saturday, May 1! And BYON (bring your own noisemakers) — pots, pans, drums, kazoos, horns, ANYTHING! And since it’ll get dark, bring your lights too!

Wednesday, May 5

6pm | Virtual Rally for the DC Essential Workers’ Bill of Rights

DC just received $2.5 billion in federal aid and has a substantial rainy day fund. It is critical that Mayor Bowser use these funds to improve the lives of the workers who risked their lives to keep all of us safe. If enacted, the DC Essential Workers’ Bill of Rights would guarantee every essential worker: two weeks of COVID-19 sick leave; hazard pay; paid bereavement leave; presumptive eligibility for COVID-19 workers’ compensation; and stronger workplace safety.

Hear directly from essential workers about why we must enact the DC Essential Workers’ Bill of Rights. With your support we can make these policies a reality.

Saturday, May 8

7:30pm | DC Labor Chorus 23rd Annual Spring Sing-Along Concert
Join the DC Labor Chorus for a virtual celebration of spring with some of our favorite songs! The chorus has chosen the best sing-along songs from their 23-year repertoire — some of your old faves as well as new songs inspired by recent events. Join on Zoom or livestream on Facebook! Free, but donations gratefully accepted.


Friday, April 30

7pm | Anti-Racist Movements in Brazil: Activist Series – Iêda Leal
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 health care. … more at link

8:30pm | Impunity of an Empire: The Cost of Plunder in the Philippines and the Resistance
Hear from Filipino solidarity activists about the historical relationship between the US and the Philippines and the dire consequences of its colonial dynamics. With updates on the current situation in the Philippines under the Duterte dictatorship … more at link

Saturday, May 8

3pm | DSA Q&A feat. 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.


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

DC Labor FilmFest Launches on May Day
The 2021 DC Labor FilmFest launches with the Global Labor Film Festival presentation of the new film HAYMARKET: The Bomb, The Anarchists, The Labor Struggle. You’ll be able to watch the film online at your convenience starting on April 28. 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.

Viva La Raza X Heal Da Homies May Day Flea Market
On Saturday, May 1 from 2 – 6pm, Heal Da Homies will be hosting a flea market in Adams Morgan Plaza. All proceeds go to support DC mutual aid and organizers!

La ColectiVA
For those who missed out on the tamales fundraiser, La ColectiVA’s next dish for mutual aid fundraising is carne guisada! Available Sunday, May 2, with delivery for folks in Arlington/Falls Church/Alexandria. Orders must be placed TODAY!

Pantry Tacos with Sohla | Instagram Live
On Sunday, May 2 at 5pm, join DC Fridge Collective for a virtual cooking demonstration using items found in DCFC’s vessels! DCFC has also been looking for fridge mechanics recently, so please reach out if you have this skill!

Audelia Community Response Team (ACRT) Cherry Blossom Fundraiser
Celebrate spring and raise money for a great cause by registering for ACRT’s Spring Art Workshop Series on how to make flower crowns and springtime collages. All funds will support the ACRT, a mutual aid network based in Langley Park that has been supporting immigrant, undocumented and mixed-status families with food, essential items, academic support and COVID-19 testing throughout the pandemic. Workshops take place on May 7 and 8. If you’d like to reserve supplies provided by the event organizers, the priority registration deadline is this Friday, April 30 at 5pm. Click here for all details and registration info.


Publications Schedule: May updates are published Fridays, May 7, 14, 21 and 28. The June issue of the Washington Socialist will be published Friday, June 4.

WHERE’S the #@%&ing Zoom link!?!?  Are you trying to join an MDC DSA event that you RSVP’d for but can’t find the Zoom link? Don’t throw your laptop out the window! Here’s the solution: Go to your confirm or reminder email for the event and click “Click here to view the event details.” Zoom link! Conversely, you can always re-register for the event to access the link. 

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. Are you an MDC DSA member who wonders how to get on our chapter Slack? Just email info@mdcdsa.org and identify yourself as a member. Put “request for #Slack” in the subject line. Use the email address national DSA knows you by. If you are a new member, forward the email national DSA initially sent you acknowledging your status. 


How is Republican Governor Larry Hogan one of the most popular governors in the country, despite governing a deep-blue state? Dan Watson examines this and reviews Hogan’s COVID “victory” memoir in Current Affairs.

For those of you who like reporting about organizations, Aaron Freedman investigates the identity crisis at the progressive Jewish advocacy group IfNotNow in Jewish Currents.

In New York Magazine, Sarah Jones discusses the liberal rehabilitation of George W. Bush and the murderous, oppressive legacy of his “compassionate conservatism.” 

Santi Elijah Holley, writing for The New Republic, talks with veteran Black Panthers about how Hollywood mythologizes the group and conveniently erases the members who, to this day, remain imprisoned. 

Good listen: After spending the first season investigating (and retelling the story of) the Iraq War, Brendan James and Noah Kulwin explore the Cuban Revolution in Blowback, season two.

From Common Dreams: “‘How can Americans who don’t watch Fox News and find Tucker Carlson’s conduct repugnant stop subsidizing his $10 million salary?’ … Until companies like AT&T, Comcast, Spectrum and Verizon step up to break the bundle — or we see policy changes favoring consumer ‘a la carte’ — cutting the cord is the only option for those who don’t want a cent of their monthly bills to subsidize hate and disinformation.”

Also from Common Dreams: “With people dying in India’s streets, Biden’s failure to share vaccine doses, ingredients, and tech is becoming a moral failure that will haunt America … The pictures coming back from India — and the world’s worst COVID-19 outbreak since the pandemic was declared over a year ago — look more like images from a medieval Black Death plague than anything you’d expect to see in the 21st century.”

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