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May 21, 2021
- Metro DC DSA General Body Meeting — this Sunday, May 23 at 3pm (virtual)
- DSA elections – local steering and national delegate voting begins May 23
- Fighting rollback of evictions moratorium in DC
Metro DC DSA General Body Meeting — virtual, this Sunday at 3pm
Please join us this Sunday for our chapter’s monthly General Body Meeting! During our monthly meetings, our various workgroups, caucuses, committees and leadership provide key updates on campaigns and other activities. The General Body Meetings are a great place to get to know chapter members and get plugged into ongoing chapter campaigns.
This month, we will have a special presentation from the Defund MPD working group outlining the budget advocacy battle taking place over the next two months in DC. We will also go over the chapter’s steering and national delegate elections and receive updates from other working groups on campaign progress.
Register and retrieve access info here. As always, new and non-members welcome!
(PS: Not a member? Why not join today?)
Local steering and national delegate elections — voting begins May 23
Voting on both Steering Committee and national delegate candidates will open on May 23 following the General Body Meeting on May 23. You will receive an OpaVote ballot to your email. 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 candidates there as well (no account required).
Last week, we held a candidate forum where steering candidates were provided an opportunity to introduce themselves and answer questions. We’ve uploaded a recording of the session here.
Want a digital place to chat about the local elections, ask questions or interact with steering and delegate candidates? Check out the #2021-mdcdsa-internal-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.)
You can read more about the Steering Committee, Treasurer, Secretary and Campaigns Coordinator roles 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. 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.
Proposed rollback of DC’s eviction moratorium fails — socialists and activists begin outreach to tenants on May 22
Last Tuesday, District Council Chairman Phil Mendelson attempted to pass a bill which would have cut into DC’s blanket eviction moratorium and utility shut-offs ban. The bill as written would have allowed landlords to pursue evictions and polluting utilities to shut off electricity, so long as they apply for rent relief for tenants first.
Mendelson angled to use the threat of eviction to compel those who have fallen behind on rent to tap into DC’s rental assistance program. STAY DC, the federal rental assistance provided to District residents, has some notorious issues that have created too many barriers to access for tenants. And yet, while there’s been more than 13,000 requests made to access funding over the last 36 days, as of this writing not a single applicant has received aid!
Socialists and progressives across the city jumped to preserve the stay on evictions and shut-offs. Stomp Out Slumlords, Metro DC DSA’s tenant organizing project, initiated an impromptu protest outside Mendelson’s house, while our chapter’s public power campaign, We Power DC, flooded councilmembers with letters demanding that they oppose Mendelson’s proposal, and progressives on the District Council rallied to stop resumption of evictions and shut-offs. An amendment has pushed consideration of the rollback to Friday (May 21), when the District Council’s special committee on COVID-19 recovery plans to meet again.
Organizers and activists will be testifying TODAY during the Special Committee on COVID-19 Oversight Hearing to ensure that real-estate bought politicians do not rescind eviction and utility shut-off protections that keep District residents safe.
Stomp Out Slumlords will also be training and organizing activists to help District residents fill out the STAY DC application. If you are interested in engaging in tenant outreach, fill out this form.
Additionally, this Saturday from 10am to 1pm, Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George and SOS volunteers will be instructing tenants how to navigate the STAY DC application and apply for aid. Those interested in getting involved can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or show up at 16th and Sheridan St NW.
Comment period for nominated Harassment and Grievance Officers (HGOs) still open
Last week, the MDC DSA Steering Committee nominated Noelle B and Kait F for the chapter’s approval to be our new Harassment and Grievance Officers (HGOs)!
Thank you to those who were able to make it to the Harassment and Grievance Officer (HGO) Town Hall last week, where the nominees introduced themselves and answered questions from members. Please see written statements and quotes from the Town Hall from the nominees:
There are still a couple more days left for members to submit statements of dissent on any of the nominees.
The HGO position:
- HGOs handle complaints that are filed by members and work to bring grievances and conflict to resolution, either through mediation or disciplinary measures.
- The incoming HGOs will also lead a commission that will review and possibly revise our current Harassment Policy and Grievance Procedure, and will research and explore the best approach to creating a parallel process to the chapter’s grievance procedure that will be used to handle disputes and conflict resolution for issues that arise between members that do not fall within the scope of the grievance procedure.
The HGO Nomination and Appointment Process:
- The nominees were selected by the Steering Committee after interviews and discussion.
- Members have a week to submit statements of dissent on any of the nominees. Serious concerns will be investigated by Steering and prompt another vote on the nominees.
- Barring any significant statements of dissent, the nominees will be appointed as HGOs for a one year term.
Please email email@example.com statements until Saturday, May 22 if you wish to dissent to any of the nominees.
Apartheid in Historic Palestine
Last week, protesters from across the DMV (including bands of socialists) stood up in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Although political leaders in the United States seem willing to absolve or ignore Israel’s appalling 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 this statement condemning Israel’s wanton aggression.
If you are looking for some immediate ways to get involved …
- Call your congressional representatives to demand that they support and cosponsor H.R. 2590, the Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act. CodePink also asks you to urge Congress to cosponsor bills by Bernie and AOC to stop the $735 million weapons sale/gift just approved by Biden from enabling still more transfer of precision-guided weapons.
- Join this letter campaign asking the AFL-CIO to break its silence, and to declare its unconditional solidarity with the Palestinian people and its support for the demands of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
- Join our #bds-palestine-solidarity Slack channel and the National BDS and Palestine Solidarity Working Group by filling out this form.
- Donate to the Palestinian Youth Movement and follow them on Twitter (@palyouthmvmt) and Instagram (@palestinianyouthmovement) for upcoming actions.
You can read more about BDS, the Israeli apartheid and DSA’s local and national positioning on the issue in this archive compiled from old entries in the Washington Socialist. Additionally, the National DSA BDS and Palestine Solidarity Working Group has a Resource Library.
Northern Virginia primaries on June 8 — Vote for Karishma Mehta!
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 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. One event we want to highlight is a watch party for a debate between Karishma and incumbent Alfonso Lopez on May 25 at 6pm.
Updates from the MDC DSA Defund MPD Campaign
Last call to sign up for wheatpasting! Taking place next weekend (5/28 – 5/31); sign up to get the word out and put some posters up!
Phonebank for DEFUND demands! Join us on Thursday, May 27 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! If an organization that you’re a part of would like to sign on to the petition, please do so here.
Got any questions? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updates from the Socialist Feminist Caucus
Our team has raised $3,771 to support the DC Abortion Fund! There is still time to donate to our team page, and we have two more fundraisers to close out this year’s campaign:
- May 25, 7:30pm Virtual Trivia Night: Sign up with up to six friends! This event is cohosted by the DC chapter of the Abortion Action Fund. There will be lots of laughs, learning and prizes!
- May 23 – 29 Tattoo Raffle with Cry Baby Studios: The artists at Cry Baby Studios have generously offered their talents in support of Fund-A-Thon. Forty time slots will be raffled off for exclusive flash (to be released this week). One tattoo per slot, arms and legs only. Raffle entries are $5 per entry (enter as many times as you want) and if you win the raffle the tattoo itself will cost $40 the day of. Raffle ends Saturday, May 29 at 12pm; winners announced May 29 at 8pm. To enter, send payment via Venmo (@simbalsym) or CASHAPP ($simbalysm).
Reading Group this Saturday from 2 to 4pm on socialist feminism and labor. Also, we are joining the New River Valley, VA, DSA chapter’s reading group series on Childcare 4 ALL. These sessions welcome everyone — including men! — to participate. We missed the first session but we can catch up. E-book is $5. Final session is a panel with the author. The three remaining sessions are on Sundays, May 30, June 13 and June 27.
Unions and Worker Justice Groups Urge DC Mayor to Support DC Essential Workers Bill of Rights
On May 19th, union leaders and frontline DC workers renewed their call for Mayor Bowser to include the DC Essential Workers Bill of Rights in her upcoming FY 2022 budget proposal. At a midday press conference at Freedom Plaza across the street from the Wilson Building, the DC Essential Workers Bill of Rights Coalition (which Metro DC DSA is a member of) made the case that with the DC government recently receiving $3.3 billion in federal aid including $2.4 billion in flexible relief funds and maintaining a substantial rainy day fund, DC has the resources to improve the lives of the workers who risked their lives to keep all DC residents safe.
The DC Essential Workers Bill of Rights would ensure that every essential worker has the right to:
- Two weeks of sick leave during an emergency
- Additional $3 per hour hero pay during an emergency
- Five days of paid bereavement leave during an emergency
- Presumptive eligibility for COVID-19 workers’ compensation
- Stronger workplace safety measures to protect against COVID-19
You can watch a full recording of the event here.
MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Saturday, May 22
2 – 4pm | Socialist Feminist Reading Group
Sunday, May 23
3 – 5pm | General Body Meeting | May
5 – 6:30pm | Medicare for All Work Group Weekly Meeting
Monday, May 24
Tuesday May 25
7 – 9pm | Fund-A-Thon Trivia Night
7 – 9pm | Biweekly Steering Committee Meeting
Wednesday, May 26
7 – 8:30pm | Workplace Organizing Workshop
Thursday, May 27
5:30 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Phonebank
Saturday, May 29
Sunday, May 30
2 – 3pm | MoCo DSA Member Orientation
5 – 6:30pm | Medicare for All Work Group Weekly Meeting
5 – 7pm | Defund MPD Phonebank
Tuesday, June 1
6 – 6:30pm | Medicare For All Working Group: Research Team
Wednesday, June 2
5:30 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Phonebank
Monday, June 7
Saturday, June 19
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Book Club — People’s Republic of Walmart
Monday, June 21
7 – 8:30pm | June Labor Working Group Organizing Meeting
ALLIED EVENTS CALENDAR
Saturday, May 22
1pm | Citywide Housing Town Hall
DC Mutual Aid Network and Current Movements cosponsors are coming together to host a town hall to: let DC residents know what their rights are and answer questions; provide an update on what the end to the moratorium means; inform DC residents of what resources they have access to for immediate relief … more at link
Monday, May 24
Eyes On Amazon: Shareholder Day of Action
On May 24, two days before Amazon’s annual general meeting, activists are heading to the doors of Amazon’s biggest shareholders: Vanguard, Blackrock, State Street, Fidelity and T. Rowe Price, to call on them to vote on a series of important shareholder resolutions. To get plugged in, sign up at link.
Tuesday, May 25
6:30pm | Remembering George Floyd, Bridging Communities to Stop the Violence
Observance in Greenbelt, PG County; PG DSA a cosponsor. Meet outside Greenbelt Community Center (15 Crescent Road, Greenbelt 20770) for remembrances and then walk to the Spellman Overpass, a bridge over the Baltimore Washington Parkway, where we will display our signs to the traffic below.
NATIONAL DSA HIGHLIGHTS
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 section to amplify smaller notices from allied organizations, community groups and mutual aid formations
Cooperative Arts Cohort
Applications are open for the Cooperative Arts Cohort, which will explore how anti-capitalism and art intersect in a nine-week, nine-member educational cooperative run by Anti-Capitalism for Artists. The cohort will be facilitated by a different member each week (some of whom will be DSA members), who will guide an educational session about anti-capitalism and art, organized around specific techniques or topics.
DC Hunger Solutions, Don’t Leave SNAP Out of the Budget!
Join DC Hunger Solutions in urging the Mayor to ensure adequate funding for SNAP, a federal emergency food access program (to which states and DC can add funding boosts locally). Join them by calling, emailing or posting on social media for Mayor Bowser to #BoostSNAP benefits in the FY22 Budget TODAY.
DC Food Project, Emergency Food Access Resource
Developed at the beginning of the pandemic and regularly updated, this free resource is a great guide for how to find food for yourself, your neighbors or your mutual aid effort.
Disband MPD’s Asian Liaison Unit (ALU)
Join Good Trouble Coop in demanding that the ALU, a $3.4M/year team within MPD tasked with intrusively surveilling Asian communities, be disbanded immediately. The ALU is NOT being used to keep Asian communities safer, but instead to fuel anti-Black sentiments that subject our neighbors, especially those who are unhoused, to additional violence. More here.
The final Update for May will be sent Friday, May 28, and the June newsletter issue will be published Friday, June 4. Send submissions for June to email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
For starters, here’s a recent talk to our San Francisco comrades on DSOC/DSA history and its founding spirits.
Every year, the US sends over $3 billion in aid and an additional $8 billion in loan guarantees to Israel, while continuously defending its existence and “right to self defense” whenever conflict arises in occupied Palestine. But why? What is the root of all this endless support to the apartheid state? Jacobin tackled the question “Why Does the United States Support Israel?” this week, starting with the early developments of Zionism in the late 19th century until the solidification of the “special relationship” between the two countries.
Damon King of Legal Aid DC explains why limiting the emergency ban on utility shut-offs to people enrolled in safety net programs is a terrible idea.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott delivered a victory to housing justice advocates when he vetoed a bill that would have created alternatives to the traditional security deposit for renters, opening up a new market for predatory financial schemes. Now, advocates, including Baltimore DSA, are shifting their attention towards stopping the Baltimore City Council from overriding Scott’s veto.
The Fight for $15 signaled Wednesday that it would not dwindle away, McConnell or no, and Sarah Jaffe (Work Won’t Love You Back) in the Prospect shows how the false narrative of UI benefits as disincentives to return to the workplace is slithering into the discourse — and how it needs to be fought at every level.
NYT’s Tom Edsall again with a wide take on how a recent research piece that showed discussion of race as reducing support for progressive policies created a furor among left academics and illuminated how important careful discourse can be to the project. One leading academic in the Race-Class Narrative Project argues, “if the left chooses to say nothing about race, the race conversation doesn’t simply end. The only thing voters hear about the topic are the lies the right peddles to keep us from joining together to demand true progressive solutions.”
Tax talk (unglaze those eyes!) from our economist comrade and frequent GOOD READS contributor Dave R: “‘Unless the stepped-up basis loophole is closed, we will soon have a large class of hugely rich people who have never worked a day in their lives.’ PS Every dollar a wealthy person has that he/she didn’t work for is a dollar that a worker worked for that he/she doesn’t have.”
Inspired by protests for racial justice last summer, a six-step DIY guide to steering institutional change. The animating idea: since racism is systemic, all institutions must change and each of us is well-positioned to advance racial equity in the institutions we are already part of. Prepared by a local comrade.
And just yesterday (Thursday), our comrade Jimmy Tarlau outlined in Maryland Matters why Maryland’s Dem power structure still jumps through hoops held by the business community and has left wide swathes of public sector workers unable to join unions.
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.