June 4, 2021

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

JUNE 4, 2021

Weekly Update



  • SATURDAY 2PM — Defund MPD Mass Mobilization at BLM Plaza
  • NEXT TUESDAY — Virginia primaries close; GOTV for Karishma Mehta 
  • DSA International Committee condemns France’s prohibition of pro-Palestinian marches

Defund MPD Mass Mobilization at BLM Plaza — 2pm on Saturday, June 5

We are just over one year out from the massive uprisings against police that began last year. The movement sparked a clear demand: defund the police so that we can refund the social services that actually keep us safe.

This Saturday, June 5th at 2pm @ Black Lives Matter (BLM) Plaza, the Defund MPD coalition will be showing up in force to march against the Fraternal Order of Police. The mobilization will educate allies on DC’s budget process, harm-reduction-based approaches to delivering public safety and the harmful ways the Fraternal Order of Police stalls attempts at public-safety reform.

The FOP is the world’s largest police association, with more than 356,000 members in more than 2,100 lodges. The FOP routinely blocks police accountability at the local, state and national level, helping lodges across the country protect even the most violent cops. While the FOP claims to protect police in support of public safety, the numbers say otherwise. The police are one of the leading causes of death for Black people in the United States.

For the past two weeks, volunteers in the Defund MPD coalition have been phone-banking, text-banking and engaging in education sessions to prepare our multi-organizational, city-wide coalition to keep public pressure on local politicians. Now it’s time to mobilize.

VA primary elections close on June 8 – GOTV push for Karishma Mehta

For the past few months, socialists and allies have been pounding the pavement in VA’s 49th House District to get the word out about Karishma Mehta — a school teacher running for state government in Virginia. Over the past weekend alone, comrades and our allies have knocked on over 3,000 doors across Northern Virginia.

The last chance for Virginians to vote will be Tuesday, June 8. Here’s how allies and Metro DC DSA members can get involved in the home stretch of this important campaign:

  • Sign up for Get Out the Vote door knocking here.

  • If you need to carpool or can offer a ride to canvasses, please fill out this form.

  • You can check out a full list of our upcoming volunteer opportunities here.

And on Tuesday night, you can join comrades and the Karishma campaign for an election night watch party.

If you have never knocked doors before, don’t worry! We go over a full training, review the canvassing script, and answer all your questions at the start of every canvassing shift to make sure that our volunteers feel confident and prepared to talk to voters.

DSA IC condemns the French government’s attempts to suppress demonstrations in solidarity with Palestine (May 30, 2021)

Opposing policies of apartheid and colonalism, as well as working for justice, should not be a crime. Yet, across the Global North, governments complicit in the attacks on the Palestinians have sought to shred basic democratic rights to shield Israel from criticism. 

On May 15, the 73rd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, people across the globe took to the streets to protest the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Paris was the only world capital city that prohibited pro-Palestinian marches last Saturday.

With a demonstration in solidarity with Palestine planned in Paris on Saturday, May 15, interior minister Gérald Darmanin declared a ban on protests in Paris exclusively on this issue. While leaving a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the president of the Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS), Bertrand Heilbronn, was arrested on Wednesday evening for participating in a “forbidden demonstration.” The DSA International Committee condemns again the proto-authoritarian backsliding of the neoliberal government of Emmanuel Macron and its La Loi Sécurité Globale. Read DSA-IC’s full statement here.

Last weekend, Metro DC DSA members proudly joined local protests in support of Palestine. At the march, a speech provided by Black Lives Matter organizer and ANC commissioner Anthony Lorenzo Green emphasized the connection between the Palestinian struggles against Israeli forces to District resident’s struggles against over-incarceration at home. MPD has consistently received training and instruction from the IDF and Israeli police.


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

Here’s what we’ve got this month …

A comrade recounts two decades of watching — and participating in — a Palestinian rights movement that has made great gains with the public and attracted sophisticated new opposing strategies in that time. Complementing this — a photo and text account of the Nakba anniversary protest of several Saturdays ago.

And more on the imperial beat … MDC DSA has what could be seen as an average proportion of US military veterans compared with the larger society — one in which the “volunteer” military has both shrunk the armed services and isolated the folk in them. So why would any of them join DSA? Does their experience in uniform provide a unique perspective? Find out in this group of personal accounts from socialist veterans.

Covering DSA’s activity, an entry recounting how DSA’s local Medicare for All working group came together to organize alongside allies and mutual aid formations to address the Bowser Administration’s bumbled (and inequitable) COVID vaccine rollout.

Explaining the emotions and language surrounding the sometimes-embattled term “Defund” is one of the toughest tasks in our issue-strategy array. Two articles explore this work in progress: From Defund to Abolish; and Reimagining the Police.

And something a little different, maybe even sobering: a DIY guide to infusing antiracism into every aspect of our organizing — focused on where it can creep into our own, even personal, praxis through institutions we imagine are neutral. Recognize it, fix it.



2021 DC Labor FilmFest: Last five days! 

This year’s Labor FilmFest is going, but it’s not gone yet! All eight great DCLFF movies are available through this Sunday in the AFI Silver’s Virtual Screening Room, including films about Ida B. Wells, Karl Marx’s youngest daughter Eleanor and (below) another Well(e)s of note: CLICK HERE for details and immediate access. 

PLUS: The latest Labor Goes to the Movies podcast is now available in both audio and video versions (the video includes some great WPA arts graphics)! In Movie Club Discussion: The New Deal For Artists, Lincoln Cushing and Harvey Smith discuss The New Deal For Artists, now showing in the DC Labor FilmFest, with Elise Bryant, Chris Garlock and Evan Papp. Narrated by Orson Welles, this remastered classic features interviews and commentary by John Houseman, Studs Terkel and more. Find out more on The Living New Deal website. 

We have a bonus guest this week, as longtime union organizer (and our MDC DSA comrade) Carl Goldman drops by to tell us about the brand-new film We Made Matzah Balls For The Revolution.

Chris Garlock, Director, DC Labor FilmFest


Environmental Racism in DC reading and discussion group continues on Monday, June 7

Join our reading group on environmental racism in DC to discuss the environmental and public health impacts in the River Terrace community in DC — this Monday, June 7 from 7 to 8pm. We will discuss how the community got there, how the local pollution disproportionately impacts the Black residents in the area and what this has to do with Pepco and our fight for energy democracy in the District. Dr. Janet Phoenix, a GWU professor whose work involves the public health effects of the power plant on residents of the River Terrace community, will speak at this event. Registration at link


MD Dems and labor leaders denounce Hogan’s efforts to end UI

After Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced his decision to end supplemental unemployment benefits in early July, Maryland unions applauded the efforts of members of the General Assembly to oppose or mitigate his action.

“Governor Hogan’s suggestion that pandemic-induced unemployment has abated is completely out of touch with our industry trends and the pain workers statewide are still experiencing,” said UNITE HERE Local 25 Executive Secretary-Treasurer John Boardman. “I rely on that extra money to keep a roof over our heads,” said Felicia Gibbs, who worked at Gaylord National Harbor before being laid off in March 2020. “This just sends us scrambling as we waited to hear back from our old jobs. Governor Hogan should reverse this terrible decision.” 

In a letter to Hogan, Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) and Unemployment Insurance Oversight Committee co-chairwoman Kathy Klausmeier (D-Baltimore County) wrote, “Solving problems requires more than buying into partisan narratives that ignore the very real plight of countless Marylanders facing complex futures,” reported Maryland Matters. —Union City, May 3 

Here is the Progressive Maryland BlogSpace wrap from Thursday: Hogan UI cancellation spurs Dems’ focus on his vetoes, too

Battle against Enbridge Corp escalates in Minnesota

Indigenous Anishinaabe leaders have put out a call for people to converge on northern Minnesota from June 5 to 8 and engage in direct resistance to stop Line 3. Line 3 is a tar sands oil pipeline whose intended path cuts from Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wisconsin, in violation of indigenous rights and crossing the Mississippi headwaters. The pipeline would result in emissions equivalent to 50 coal-fired power plants

Busloads of allies are shipping up to Minnesota in order to fend off this corporate aggression. If you have the means, you can chip in for the fight here. 


Saturday, June 5

2pm | Defund MPD Mass Mobilization Against the Fraternal Order of the Police

Sunday, June 6

2 – 4:30pm | MoCo DSA June Branch Meeting
Maryland State Delegates Gabriel Acevero and Vaughn Stewart will join our monthly branch meeting to discuss the 2021 General Assembly session.

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

Monday, June 7

7 – 8pm | NoVA Branch Office Hours

7 – 8pm | Environmental Racism in DC Reading & Discussion Group

7 – 8:30pm | June Labor Speaker Series — AFSCME members, U of Maryland

Tuesday, June 8

5:30 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Phonebank

7 – 9pm | Biweekly Steering Committee Meeting

Wednesday, June 9

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

Saturday, June 12

6 – 8pm | NoVA Branch Picnic

Sunday, June 13

3 – 5pm | General Body Meeting

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

8 – 9pm | Birth Strike Reading Group — Session 3/4 [New River Valley DSA + MDC DSA SocFem]

Wednesday, June 16

5:30 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Phonebank

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

Thursday, June 17

7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Executive Meeting

Saturday, June 19 

7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Book Club — People’s Republic of Walmart

Sunday, June 20

3 – 5pm | Defund MPD Working Group — IRL Social and Monthly Meeting

4 – 5:30pm | AfroSOC Monthly Meeting

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

Monday, June 21

7 – 8:30pm | June Labor Working Group Organizing Meeting

7 – 8:00pm | Queer Section Monthly Meeting (Zoom link coming soon.)

Tuesday, June 22

5:30 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Phonebank

7 – 9pm | Biweekly Steering Committee Meeting

Wednesday, June 23

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

Thursday, June 24

5:30 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Phonebank

7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Branch Monthly Organizing Meeting

7 – 9pm | MoCo Advisory Committee Meeting


Saturday, June 5

4pm | Takoma Park Mobilization Catch Up / Take Stock Meeting
Activists from the various committees will give an update on their work and let you know how you can get involved. Registration at link

Wednesday, June 9 

7 – 9pm | Greenbelt Climate Action Network: Focus on National Climate Legislation
Interested in learning more about the American Jobs Plan and the Clean Energy Standard, which are two current national legislative proposals? Registration and more info at link

Saturday, June 12

10:30am – 12:30pm | Rally for the PRO Act with Our Revolution
Crystal City Waterpark, 1601 Crystal Dr, Arlington, VA
On May 1, we rallied 175 people in front of Warner’s house. Join us today as we double our size and demand that Senator Warner take urgent action and co-sponsor the PRO Act. Registration and more info at link

Monday, June 21

7 – 9pm | Reel & Meal Film Screening: Third Harmony
This month’s Reel & Meal film program features Third Harmony, a 2020 documentary that draws on interviews with veteran political and civil rights activists, scientists, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and others to help portray what nonviolent protest is and how it works. Sponsors this month: Prince George’s County Peace and Justice Coalition. Registration at link


Wednesday, June 9 | 8pm
The Big Scary “S” Word and Climate Change
Join the Democratic Socialists of America Fund, Dissent magazine, DSA’s Ecosocialist Working Group and Green New Deal Campaign Committee, Sunrise Movement, Verso, Haymarket, Lux magazine, and In These Times for the second installment in a series of virtual events inspired by the film The Big Scary “S” Word. This month’s discussion will focus on … more at link


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

The Greenbelt Black History and Culture Committee has planned activities for the 156th Anniversary of Juneteenth — the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas learned that they had been emancipated. The District of Columbia has celebrated Juneteenth for many years. For details about the Greenbelt activities, contact Lois Rosado at
loisblades510@gmail.com or Greg Varda at gvarda@greenbeltmd.gov.

Juneteenth with ONE DC! 
ONE DC is excited to announce their
Juneteenth in DC 2021 event where they will celebrate the grand reopening of the newly renovated Black Workers & Wellness Center and commemorate the continued struggle for Black liberation and justice! On Saturday, June 19 from 11am to 5pm, they will host tours of the BWWC building, feature live go-go music by local artists and others and celebrate a one-and-a-half-year effort. Find out more here!

Racial Equity in DC: The REACH Act & the Lived Experience
On Thursday, June 17, the Racial Equity Cohort, a group of Empower DC, will be joined by the author of the REACH Act, DC Councilman Kenyan McDuffie, Dr. Brian McClure (Director of the new Council Office on Racial Equity) and Dr. Amber Hewitt (DC’s first ever Chief Equity Officer) to discuss racial equity in DC. Registration and more info at link


Publications Schedule: Updates for June will be sent Fridays, June 11, 18 and 25, and the July newsletter issue will be published Friday, July 2. Send submissions for July to thesocialist@mdcdsa.org and be sure to join our #publications Slack channel to join the chatter about how to write our socialism.


If you haven’t heard of Mary Beard, who is an ace at helping us manage history and make it usable, here is an intro.

Bernie, as usual, has better ideas than Joe B about how to levy taxes to best effect. Given the problems Joe B’s plan is having in the Senate, “What he needs is a smarter corporate tax plan, one that would be harder for the likes of [Joe] Manchin, and maybe even some populist-leaning Republicans, to resist. Fortunately, there is one — proposed by, of all people, Senator Bernie Sanders,” says a writer in the Washington Monthly.  

In the Washington Post: Brookland Manor residents wanted to watch a film on gentrification. Some said they got a firsthand look at how it works. 

From The New Republic: “The lie that police tell is not only rendered in deceptive language. It’s not about the words they choose. The lie is baked into the institution. The core of policing is not safety. It is social control. All the other lies obfuscate this function.”

From Jacobin: A new report coauthored by labor analyst Jane McAlevey presents overwhelming evidence that democratic unionism that puts workers at the center of collective bargaining wins strong contracts. Just as important, such unionism also has a transformational effect on workers’ consciousness.”

From Politico, ‘We Know Occupation’: The Long History of Black Americans’ Solidarity with Palestinians. Why the Black Lives Matter movement might help shift the conversation about a conflict thousands of miles away.

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