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MAY 14, 2021
- SATURDAY 3PM — Protest against Israel’s attacks on Palestine
- SUNDAY 1PM — local steering candidates forum
- SUNDAY 6PM — DSA Defund MPD meeting (plus, campaign updates)
Injustice against Palestine — DC protest on Saturday at 3pm in response
Over the past week, video and images revealed Israeli aggression against Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah and the Gaza Strip. Although political leaders in the United States seem willing to absolve or ignore Israel’s apalling aggression, the apartheid state’s ambitions are not complicated to understand: Israel is executing operations intended to ethnically cleanse the people of Palestine.
The DSA National Political Committee released the following statement last night in response to these disturbing and harrowing actions:
The Democratic Socialists of America unequivocally condemns the ethnic cleansing (aka illegal “evictions”) of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah, the ongoing racist violence by Israeli police and Jewish settlers, as well as Israel’s latest bombardment of Gaza. We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against apartheid, colonialism, and military occupation, and for equality, justice, and self-determination. … we call on our comrades in DSA chapters across the country to continue to mobilize around BDS. We have seen powerful displays of Palestine solidarity across America this week with more still to come. DSA and its network of allies will continue to grow, and we will continue to expose and fight against the injustices of racism, colonialism, imperialism and capitalism wherever they exist.
These injustices have been a daily part of every Palestinian’s life from the day they were born, but the fiery resistance of the people remains unyielding. DSA unapologetically stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their ongoing struggle for liberation: from Sheikh Jarrah to Gaza and beyond.
You can read the full statement here.
On Tuesday, activists (including Democratic Socialists) made an appearance at the State Department to protest the unfolding aggression. As Israeli aggression has only gotten worse, activists in the DMV are planning larger demonstrations to make it clear that the DMV will not accept the state of Israel’s dire ambitions. We encourage all outraged by Israel’s mania to show up at the Washington Monument this Saturday, May 15 at 3pm (the event is being hosted by the Palestinian Youth Movement, though groups and organizations from across DC are likely to be in attendance).
A group of DSA members will be meeting across the street from the Jamie L. Whitten Building (1400 Jefferson Dr SW). DSA members can also find additional information on our chapter’s Slack account, in channels #bds-palestinian-solidarity and #action-alerts. (Are you a member and need access to the chapter Slack? Check out INFO ACCESS section below.)
Local chapter steering and delegate elections: steering candidate forum Sunday at 1pm
Voting on both Steering Committee and national delegate candidates will open on May 23 following the General Body Meeting on May 23. You can find a list of candidates running for the local steering committee and national delegate positions on our members portal, and can find statements supplied by the steering candidate on our members portal (no account required).
We’ll be hosting a candidate forum this Sunday at 1pm. This is a great way to get to know the candidates and find out where they stand on chapter management and socialist praxis. Can’t attend? We’ll be making a recording available following the event so you can follow up on your own. And you can also submit questions in advance of the forum here.
Want a digital place to chat about the local elections, ask questions or interact with steering and delegate candidates? Check out the #2021-local-elections channel on our chapter’s Slack. (Are you a member and not on Slack? Check out the INFO ACCESS section of this newsletter below.)
Our elected Steering Committee is responsible for a range of local chapter functions — not least, making sure decisions made by the general body are carried out and that chapter functions are operating efficiently. You can read more about the Treasurer, Secretary and Campaigns Coordinator roles on the Steering Committee on our website. Delegates will be responsible for representing our chapter as voting members at the 2021 DSA National Convention.
These elections are important. Capitalism only falls when working people come together, collectively organize pooled resources and make strategic decisions about how to deploy our shared time and labor. This is not a Bezos-backed NGO or an art-house revolution-styled roadshow — this is a socialist organization serious about organizing the working class. It’s why we ask all members — even those who only see themselves as marginally engaged — to take these elections seriously and participate in the voting process.
Got questions? Feel free to email any questions to email@example.com, or reach out to @Alex J (he/him), @Ryan W, @Christian CW or @Gary Z on Slack with any questions.
Defund MPD campaign updates
Below are a series of updates from DSA’s Defund MPD campaign, including steps to get plugged into the campaign:
- Join our wheatpasting ops — Want to explore DC and meet new comrades and spread the word of Defund MPD? Our goal is to make sure defunding MPD is on the top of District residents’ minds, and we have a city-wide battle plan to do so. Sign up for wheatpasting to take place May 28 – 31.
- Phonebank for defund demands — Join us on May 19 to get MDC DSA members to call their DC Councilmembers in support of Defund MPD demands!
- Sign the Defund MPD petition — If you’re reading this and you haven’t already signed the Defund MPD petition, click that link and get signing!
- Come to our monthly meeting (this Sunday!) — Our working group monthly meeting is this Sunday at 6pm via Zoom! Join us for updates and ways to get involved!
- ANC 2B passed a resolution supporting Defund MPD demands! A good show of support from Ward 2, one of the primary local faultlines in the push to fund care, not cops.
Got any questions for the working group? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virginia primary elections on June 8th — campaigning for socialist Karishma Mehta reaches final stretch
We’re nearing the final stretch of the campaign to put a socialist in Amazon’s backyard. The primaries in Virginia are on June 8 and we’re in it to win it with NoVA branch member Karishma Mehta! The campaign is ramping up activities as we get closer to the Get Out the Vote weekend — starting up Tuesday evening canvasses, Saturday potlucks/meet & greets (next one is tomorrow, Saturday, May 15th) and of course the path to victory: doors, doors, doors! You can find links to everything to do with getting signed up for a canvass, phonebank or recruitment call night here.
Reinforcements from Montgomery County are on the way: Maryland Del. Gabriel Acevero will be joining MDC DSA comrades and the Karishma campaign tomorrow, May 15. Montgomery County comrades — RSVP and sign up to drive to Arlington together here.
Metro DC DSA’s M4A Campaign Updates
On May 4, in a unanimous vote of the council, Prince George’s became the first county in Maryland to pass a resolution in support of the Medicare for All Act of 2021. The bill (H.R. 1976) is currently co-sponsored by 115 Democrats in the House, including Congressman Anthony Brown (MD-4), who represents a large portion of Prince George’s County. Our DC coalition also secured the support of three more councilmembers for a resolution in support of the Medicare for All Act in the DC Council. A total of five councilmembers, including CM Janeese Lewis George and four out of the five members of the Health Committee, have agreed to champion the resolution through the Council.
The Vaccine Outreach Program has been ongoing throughout the month of May. The group canvassed more than 300 units at the Marbury Plaza apartments in Ward 8 on May 1. On May 6, the program collaborated with organizers from Stomp Out Slumlords to disseminate vaccination information and recruit residents for the Marbury Plaza Tenants’ Union. On May 6, we returned to the Woodner Apartments in Ward 4 for the third in a series of canvasses of the 1,181-unit apartment building. On May 8, we joined with DSA for Karishma for a community canvass in Arlington to hand out flyers with information on how to get registered for vaccinations in Virginia. And today at 4:30pm, we will join a door-to-door canvass with Park View Mutual Aid Pod in Ward 1.
Join DSA’s Mobilization Team
Want to help get unengaged DSA members involved in our chapter’s crucial political work? Want to join an awesome team of mobilizers helping to build up our chapter’s capacity? Want to learn organizing and mobilization skills that we’ll all need to make socialism a reality?
If you’re interested in talking with other DSA members about their skills and helping them get involved in our chapter’s work, we’d love to have you join our Mobilization team!
If interested, please fill out this when2meet with your availability and we can set up a 30-minute call to talk more about this awesome opportunity. I can also be reached at email@example.com, or on Slack as Andrew Schneider.
Abortion Fund-A-Thon update
Thanks to your generosity we have surpassed our Fund-A-Thon goal! DC Abortion Fund is still $13k away from its funding goal so we aren’t stopping yet. Sign your team up for Trivia Night in partnership with DC Abortion Action Force on Tuesday, May 25th. Teams can be up to six members and donations are pay what you can. There will be fun prizes!
Washington Socialist May edition
In case you missed it, we released our May edition of the Washington Socialist earlier this month. Included are writings prepared and edited by socialists in the DMV. Here’s what we’ve got:
- The Metro DC Mobilization Model — A long assessment of Metro DC DSA’s member mobilization tactics. A good read for folks interested in knowing the strategy that informs our chapter’s member mobilization models and political tactics.
- 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. Important to remember as we extract small bits of hope from the Biden administration.
- 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 his journey (and we suspect many socialists will find this path quite familiar).
- 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.
Interested in helping out with the Washington Socialist or this Weekly Update? Fill out our Publications Working Group signup form, or join the #publications channel on Slack and someone from the group will reach out.
MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Friday, May 14
6 – 8pm | Afrosocialists and Socialists of Color Happy Hour
Join the AfroSoc caucus for our monthly happy hour, an informal space for Black, Indigenous and other people of color to connect and get to know one another. Location and other details available at the link.
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
1 – 2:30pm | Steering Committee Candidate Forum
5 – 6:30pm | Medicare for All Working Group Weekly Meeting
6 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Working Group – Monthly Meeting
Tuesday, May 18
6 – 6:30pm | Medicare For All Working Group: Research Team
7 – 9pm | Abolitionist Reading Group
Wednesday, May 19
5:30 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Phonebank
7 – 9pm | PG Co. DSA General Body Meeting
Thursday, May 20
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Branch Monthly Organizing Meeting
Saturday, May 22
2 – 4pm | Socialist Feminist Reading Group
Sunday, May 23
3 – 5pm | General Body Meeting | May
Monday, May 24
Tuesday, May 25
7 – 9pm | Fund-A-Thon Trivia Night
ALLIED EVENTS CALENDAR
Saturday, May 15
3pm | Nakba 73: March for Palestine
Join the Palestinian Youth Movement DMV chapter to commemorate 73 years of ongoing Nakba (Palestinians in Israel mark 73 years since Nakba, when they were first forcibly removed from their lands, and affirm their right of return annually on May 15). Meet at the Washington Monument, bring signs of solidarity and be sure to wear your masks. #freepalestine
Sunday, May 16
10am – 1pm | Intro to Union Organizing Bootcamp
Join Rising Organizers and the Non-Profit Employees Union for a Union Organizing Bootcamp! This bootcamp will provide attendees with skills they need for building union support in their workplaces, and is specifically designed for people at the start (or start-ish!) of their unionizing journey.
Wednesday, May 19
9:30 – 11am | Fast Food Strike Day: Demand $15!
Join Our Revolution and SEIU on national Fast Food Strike Day demanding that Biden and the Democrats take this opportunity of triple control and deliver on $15/hr.
1 – 2:30pm | Webinar: Healthy Housing, Healthy Maryland
Presented by MD Center on Economic Policy. Join us as we discuss why housing is healthcare. Details and registration at link.
NATIONAL DSA HIGHLIGHTS
Friday, May 14
7pm | Colombia from the Frontline: Fuego en el Alma
Since April 28, Colombia has mobilized against the Duque administration in what started as a national strike and became a nationwide mass mobilization. The state has responded to the mobilizations with militarization of the major cities, with tanks lining up along the streets and avenues. The riot police, ESMAD are now responsible for … more at link
Sunday, May 23
4pm | Fighting Postal Cuts and Closures
In the sixth of a series of webinars on saving and improving the postal service, this panel takes up the emerging struggle to defend post offices and postal processing plants from cuts and closures. Jess Campbell, director of Oregon’s Rural Organizing Project; Debby Szeredy, Executive Vice President of the American Postal Workers Union; and Jonathan … more at link
Tuesday, May 25
8pm | Building a Mass Working Class Organization
Why build a mass organization and what will it take? This training includes historical context, discussions, and breakouts to explore the idea of building a mass organization, and why DSA is committed to becoming a mass working class organization. … more at link
A new section to amplify notices from allied organizations, community groups and mutual aid formations in the DMV
Plantita Power, Sunflowers for Sibs
The Sunflowers for Sibs project is Plantita Power’s effort to remind QTBIPOC folks that they are sunflowers worthy of love, loyalty, long life and adoration. This first year of the project features work from @thebrooklynbruja, Rio (he/they), a Nonbinary mental health advocate and artist from NYC who uses digital collaging as a tool of healing, centering and bringing awareness to QTPOCs and issues that impact the community. Packages can be requested here until May 15 and will include a variety of sunflower seeds, an art print and a seed-starting zine.
Upcoming Worker-Owned Café Launches Fundraising Drive
Bol Café, a soon-to-open café, bookstore and venue is slated to join DC’s growing ecosystem of worker-owned businesses in October 2021. Organizers are currently applying for grants, nailing down the brick-and-mortar location, creating an advisory board of co-op and food service experts and bringing on as many as 10 worker-owners, according to MDC DSA member and organizer with the cooperative Vijay Yagnamoorthy Gnanaprasad.
Care for Black Hair and Minds
BIPOC-led mutual aid organizations, including Good Trouble Co-Op, Libereaders DC and DC Fridge Collective have launched a new campaign called Care for Black Hair and Minds. Together, they are raising funds to stock the community fridges with books and Black hair/skincare products, in addition to produce and groceries. Click here to donate and/or reach out to any of the leading organizations on social media to tag your favorite Black hair/skincare products.
Remora House Updated Guide to “Homeless Encampment Engagements”
DC defines an “encampment” as a “set-up of an abode or place of residence of one or more persons on public property or an accumulation of personal belongings that is present even when the individual may not be.” But what does “engagement” with such an encampment mean? Check out Remora House DC’s updated guide to learn how the District treats our homeless neighbors and how you can be a better ally.
Updates in May will be sent Fridays, May 21 and 28, and the June newsletter issue will be published Friday, June 4. Send submissions for June to firstname.lastname@example.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 continuing project 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 email@example.com with the subject line MY KICK-START — we’ll collect/curate them in upcoming issues of the Washington Socialist. If you want to discuss the project, visit our Slack channel, #publications. We read, we write, we act, and this is how we extend our socialism to the world we live in and work to change. Check out what we published in the May issue.
As Palestinians continue to face a daily violent barrage of attacks by the Israelis, the mainstream media once again blatantly paints it as a “both sides” conflict — as if both parties are on an equal footing. In Jacobin this week, Branko Marcetic rightly calls them out in his article “On Palestine, the Media is Allergic to the Truth” and provides a thorough explanation of how mainstream news incorrectly and unfairly depicts the current reality.
Our comrade Dave R calls this “More about the economics of infrastructure than you ever wanted to know.” It’s by Dean Baker, passed along by Portside: Financial Transactions Taxes: The Perfect Way to Pay for Biden’s Infrastructure Package
In this long read on n+1, Tobi Haslett chronicles the “Magic Actions” that powered the George Floyd rebellion and connects last summer’s uprising with abolitionist efforts and freedom fighting around the world.
One of our readers, Emma M, read our January 2021 article “Embrace the Base” and was inspired to seek out an article listing Black-owned businesses to provide a framework for supporting ALL of our community. She found this one, anecdotal but rich and geographically diverse. Equally inspired, we tracked down the Color of Change Black Business Green Book, a title of great historical resonance, and hereby add that to the mix.
On May 12, BLM DC released an official statement on the removal of the mural from Black Lives Matter Plaza and its plan for a permanent art installation. An important statement that cuts through Mayor Bowser’s cheap propaganda.
A very useful dive into a problem that ecosocialists and Green New Deal advocates will have to grapple with — localizing manufacture of renewable tech as well as putting it in place. How to keep renewables competitive on the grid? Issues not raised (or raised insufficiently) as a part of this article may include full-on industrial policy and serious carbon pricing. “For Clean Energy, Buy American or Buy It Quick and Cheap?”
From The Intercept: “‘Liz Cheney’s Stand Had Nothing to Do With Principle. Ask Her Sister.’ Don’t expect much sincerity from the same Wyoming representative who once threw her sibling overboard for political gain.”
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.