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JUNE 11, 2021
- SUNDAY 3PM — Metro DC DSA General Body Meeting
- Defund MPD Budget Hearing Roundups + Next Steps
- VA Election Roundup
Metro DC DSA General Body Meeting — Virtual, this Sunday at 3pm
Join fellow chapter members for our monthly general membership meeting this Sunday, June 13 from 3 to 5pm! At this meeting, we’ll take a deep dive into how the Metro DC DSA chapter is structured and functions, meet the new Steering Committee and hear updates from Priority Campaigns, Branches, Working Groups and Sections across the Chapter. Sign up at the RSVP form!
Register and retrieve access info here. New and non-members welcome!
(PS: Not a member? Why not join today?)
Defund MPD Budget Hearing roundup and next steps
On Saturday, the Defund MPD coalition entered the next phase of its battle to Defund MPD and reinvest in systems of care — which actually prevent crime and keep us safe. The Defund MPD coalition braved a heatwave to march from BLM Plaza to the Fraternal Order of Police in order to deliver a clear message: DC wants to fund care, not cops.
Yesterday, the District Council held hearings on MPD’s budget allocations. Chaired by Charles Allen, over 50 testimonies were provided by members from the Defund MPD coalition. MDC members provided testimony alongside other organizations in the Defund MPD coalition, including DC Justice Lab, Stop Police Terror Project DC, Working Families Party DC, Black Swan Academy, Sunrise Movement DC, SURJ DC, Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, Empower DC and many more.
You can find the full roadmap demanded by Defund MPD on the coalition website.
Hours of testimony were provided to the DC Council — the vast majority of which highlighted the need to move away from dependence on police and carceral policies. Testimony stressed the need to move towards violence interruption and community reinvestment, while emphasizing the need to end violent policies like jump-out squads, stop-and-frisk and police presence and surveillance in schools.
Our Defund MPD working group rounded up statements over Twitter, though you can watch a full recording of the Oversight Hearing here (the MPD budget session begins at around the 2:42:00 mark).
This hearing is over, but the budget battle continues. MDC DSA is leading a series of phonebanks to reach out to District residents and notify them of the Defund push. You can sign up for one of these sessions here.
Virginia election roundup
Amid a disappointing election night for progressives in Virginia, Metro DC DSA–endorsed candidate Karishma Mehta conceded her race for the House of Delegates in the 49th district.
Thanks to our comrade Karishma for fighting an incredible campaign, as well as the leaders of the DSA for Karishma Working Group — David W, Alex L, Chris T, Alex H and Quin T — and the many chapter members who knocked on doors, made calls, worked on communications and fundraising for the campaign and much more.
From the DSA for Karishma team:
Unfortunately we did not get the result that we wanted, but we are so proud of the work this campaign has done! We’ve knocked on nearly 20,000 doors, made thousands of phone calls and talked to voters about Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, Universal Pre-K and a Home Guarantee, all rooted around the belief that a better world is not only possible but on the way! From trudging through the ice and snow in the freezing cold at the start of this campaign, to swatting away cicadas in the muggy heat at the end, we have given our all to fight for a greater NoVA, and we are so proud and grateful for the work so many people have put in to this campaign! In the words of Karishma, ‘We have shown Northern Virginia that our policies are popular here, that a dignified life is possible here, and that this district is not just for the wealthy and privileged few, it’s for all of us.’ The fight has just begun y’all!
We also congratulate our comrades in the Hampton Roads, VA area, where Tidewater DSA–endorsed candidate Nadarius Clark unseated an incumbent in the primary. This is a victory for the people of the 79th district and everyone who worked on the campaign, and we know that Nadarius will be a great fighter in Richmond.
As Karishma notes, we will continue the work to dismantle exploitative systems that oppress and harm working-class people and hold politicians accountable by all means necessary.
Protect the DC Eviction Moratorium with Stomp Out Slumlords — Sunday, June 13
Two weeks ago, tenants in DC won a major victory when the Council voted to postpone a proposed loophole in the eviction moratorium. The loophole was proposed by Chairman Mendelson, a man who has spent years enriching landlords and gutting tenants’ rights. We fought his proposal and won: Every single other Councilmember spoke out against it, and Mendelson withdrew it.
In the weeks to come, DC will vote on that loophole again. We can stop them again, but we need your help to tell them why the eviction moratorium is so important to DC families.
Join us on Sunday, June 13th at 10am! We especially need drivers who can shuttle tenants. You can register for the action and get more info here.
Chapter Leadership Transitions, Updates to Steering Committee Operations and New Chapter Sections
The chapter’s new Steering Committee held its first voting meeting of this term on Tuesday night. During the meeting, Steering members voted on a handful of items affecting Steering Committee leadership and operations:
- Leadership Changes
- The Steering Committee voted unanimously to elect Stu K (he/him) as chair of the committee. [A note from Stu: “Thank you to the committee! I’m not running again for Steering after this term, so I look forward to working with chapter leaders to ensure we’re able to keep building working-class power long after this current short Steering term ends in December.”]
- New chair of the Political Engagement Committee (PEC). The committee also voted unanimously to appoint Irene K to the chapter’s Political Engagement Committee, which coordinates the chapter’s electoral activities. Based on the PEC transition plan, Irene will send Steering a draft process for appointing members to the remaining four seats on the PEC.
- Steering Operations Updates
- Committee members voted unanimously to adopt a schedule of Steering meetings that occur every other Tuesday, from 7 to 9pm ET (or whenever we exhaust the agenda for a meeting). Check out the full meeting schedule in the resolution as approved.
- Committee members voted unanimously to approve the posting of Loomio vote results in the #steering channel in the chapter Slack and on a biweekly basis in the Weekly Update. Loomio is the online voting application that Steering uses to vote on proposals between Steering meetings.
- Other votes
The next Steering Meeting will be on Tuesday, June 22, from 7 to 9pm ET. All members are welcome to attend the meetings; look out for a Zoom link and meeting agenda in the days before the meeting in the #steering channel on our chapter’s slack.
National DSA Community Town Hall on State Surveillance — Monday, June 14
Along with the Justice for Muslims Collective, DSA Muslims is organizing a community town hall Monday, June 14 on state surveillance. The virtual event, starting at 6pm, will bring in speakers who have worked to fight against state surveillance and understand how it affects the Muslim, Black and other racialized communities in the US.
At this town hall, we will take a historical lens to understand why state apparatuses created mass surveillance programs, how those programs evolved in the aftermath of 9/11 and what the future of surveillance will look like. The second half of our town hall will be a community discussion on how state surveillance has affected our communities and what demands we want to raise against state surveillance. Our ultimate aim is to harness the power of our communities to abolish the war on terror, including mass surveillance.
The speakers include: Thenmozhi Soundararajan, Executive Director, Equality Labs; Myaisha Hayes, Campaign Strategies Director, MediaJustice; Meral Kocak, Legal Fellow, Project South; Yazan Za3za3, Community Organizer, Vigilant Love; Darakshan Raja, Cofounder/Codirector, Justice for Muslims Collective.
DSA Socialist Night School: Palestine and BDS 101 — Thursday, June 24
Why is Palestine a socialist issue? Join us for our Socialist Night School: Palestine and BDS 101 on Thursday, June 24th, 7 – 9pm EST / 6 – 8pm CST to learn about the basics of the history of ethnic cleansing, settler-colonialism and apartheid in Palestine. You will also learn about the BDS Movement, which DSA endorsed at the national convention in 2017, and what we, as socialists, can do to support Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. Our panel will contextualize the recent uprisings of Palestinians in response to the escalation of violence and dispossession in Jerusalem neighborhoods like Sheikh Jarrah and the Gaza Strip.
The panel is cosponsored by Metro DC DSA and Middle Tennessee DSA, featuring panelists from the Palestinian Youth Movement, Students for Justice in Palestine and the Elmahaba Center.
Review and next steps on DC’s Comp Plan update with Empower DC — Grassroots Planning Coalition — Saturday, June 12
We did it! After four years of monthly meetings engaging over 1,200 residents in the Comp Plan amendment process, the DC Council finalized the Comprehensive Plan update last month. While it’s not everything we want and there are big questions about implementation, the plan as passed represents a huge improvement over the Mayor’s initial proposal. Join us TOMORROW, Saturday, June 12 from 1 to 2:30pm as we highlight key improvements made to the plan, discuss some of the plan’s top pitfalls and lay out next steps for the Coalition.
We will also hear from residents who have joined as plaintiffs in a suit challenging changes to the Future Land Use Map, and get an update from the Wardman Park Strategy Group on their push to transform the now closed Wardman Park hotel into affordable housing. So join us to celebrate our accomplishments!
—Parisa Norouzi, Empower DC
Sen. Warner says he worries about freelancers. Freelancers for the PRO Act are worried about Warner
“The PRO Act campaign has an urgent need of Freelancers, Gig Workers, or Independent Contractors of any kind who live in Virginia for an action targeting Sen. Mark Warner!” —an ask from the MDC DSA Labor WG. “If that is you, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP with ‘VA Freelancers for the PRO Act’ in the subject line.”
Pass this along to your friends in these categories. Questions? See the #Labor channel in our chapter Slack.
Washington Socialist for June
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 for June ICYMI …
- A BONUS ARTICLE just posted for this Update: Our MDC DSA comrade Andy Feeney, who has explicated Marxist approaches to environmental activism in past issues, puts that lens on the Biden admin’s infrastructure plan in the current issue.
- 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.
- A photo and text account of the Nakba anniversary protest of several Saturdays ago.
- What would make a military veteran join DSA? Does their experience in uniform provide a unique perspective? A 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.
MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Saturday, June 12
6 – 8pm | NoVA Branch Picnic
Sunday, June 13
3 – 5pm | General Body Meeting
Monday, June 14
6 – 7pm | NoVA Branch Member Mobilizers
Wednesday, June 16
5:30 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Phonebank
7 – 9pm | PG Co. DSA General Body Meeting
Thursday, June 17
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Executive Meeting
8 – 9pm | Vets for the PRO Act
Saturday, June 19
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Book Club — People’s Republic of Walmart
Sunday, June 20
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 forthcoming)
Tuesday, June 22
5:30 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Phonebank
7 – 9pm | Biweekly Steering Committee Meeting
Wednesday, June 23
Thursday, June 24
5:30 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Phonebank
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Branch Monthly Organizing Meeting
7 – 9pm | MoCo Advisory Committee Meeting
Sunday, June 27
4 – 5pm | MoCo DSA Member Orientation
5 – 6:30pm | Medicare for All Work Group Weekly Meeting
Wednesday, June 30
7 – 9pm | MDC DSA Workplace Organizing Workshop
ALLIED EVENTS CALENDAR
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 tomorrow 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
1pm | Philippine “ENDependence” Day Cultural Fest & Picnic
DMV Filipino grassroots organizations and solidarity allies will be having a Cultural Fest & Picnic on Saturday, June 12 at 1pm at the National Mall in Washington, DC, to celebrate Philippines “ENDependence” Day. The event will feature performances, educational discussions and Filipino food to celebrate the people’s continued struggle for national liberation.
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.
Thursday, June 24
6pm | Wages, Benefits and Fair Pay: 20 Years of DC JWJ
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the creation of DC Jobs with Justice. Over the course of the last two decades DC JWJ has been proud to play a key role in raising the minimum wage, passing groundbreaking leave policies and fighting wage theft. Join us on Thursday, June 24th to hear from movement leaders in a panel discussion on the history and legacy of these campaigns.
Saturday, June 26
3pm | New Minimum Wage and Wage Theft Canvass
On July 1 the minimum wage will increase for all workers in the District! Join us to help spread the word about this important change. Together we can ensure that all workers receive the pay they are owed. Sign up here!
NATIONAL DSA HIGHLIGHTS
Tuesday, June 15
8:30pm | Socialism and Electoral Politics
This call features members of the National Electoral Committee who will present on DSA’s successes and challenges in the last few years as well as our official electoral strategy. Multiple resolutions about electoral politics were submitted to be debated at this summer’s convention … more at link
Sunday, June 27
6pm | DSA’s Labor Strategy: Organizing Worker Power for a Socialist Future
Please join your comrades for a deep dive into our labor strategy, focused on strategic, multiracial workplace organizing and rebuilding the labor movement in every red, blue and purple corner of the country. We’ll be talking with labor militants and union organizers on the importance of building rank-and-file power among Black and Latino workers and in the South … more at link
Hardship Grants Available for DMV Families
The Kimmy Duong Foundation is providing financial aid grants between $500 and $1,000 for DMV families in need. Qualified families must have a head of household with income under 150% of the federal poverty line and reside and work in the Virginia, Maryland and DC area. The Foundation will give out 20 grants each month; families are limited to one grant per year. Click here to learn more and/or apply for support.
Mutual Aid Donations Drive
3409 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC
Femme Fatale has a weekly donation drop-off to support Total Liberation Collection on Wednesdays and Fridays, 4 – 6pm, until June 18th. See list of donation needs at link.
Anacostia Skate Pavilion, 1500 Anacostia Dr, Washington, DC
Total Liberation Collective sponsors a collaborative celebration of liberation! Activities and festivities will go on Saturday, June 19th from noon – 5pm; 4 – 5pm is Black folks ONLY.
Publications Schedule: Updates for June will be sent Fridays, June 18 and 25, and the July newsletter issue will be published Friday, July 2. Send submissions for July by June 26 to email@example.com and be sure to join our #publications Slack channel to join the chatter about how to write our socialism.
The headline says it all. From In These Times via Portside, The AFL-CIO Releases Its Police Reform Report, But Doesn’t Want to Talk About It — Bottom line: to make police unions themselves the primary mechanism for reforming police practices … the subcommittee [that wrote the report] itself is made up solely of unions that represent police members.
From The Boston Review: Housing is a Social Good and must be taken out of the private market.
From the NYT no less: Workers Are Gaining Leverage Over Employers Right Before Our Eyes … but if employers are figuring this out faster than workers are, workers are still in trouble.
The Green and Red podcast gets a visit from Chomsky.
From CounterPunch: “Liz Fowler is Back! And She’s Writing US Health Policy Again”; and from Common Dreams: “Let’s Go All Out for Universal Health Care in the US.”
In Washington City Paper: insight into local elections in DC leading into 2022. Elissa Silverman to stay in play, Karl Racine and Robert White considering a jump for Mayor, Ward 5’s Kenyon McDuffie (who, some will remember, voted to overturn the will of voters back in 2018 during the Initiative 77 fight) mulls AG bid.
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.