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JUNE 18, 2021
- SUNDAY 3PM — Defund MPD in-person meeting
- WEDNESDAY 5PM — Stand with striking theater workers in Bethesda
- THURSDAY 7PM — Socialist Night School: Palestine and BDS 101
Defund MPD Working Group — monthly meeting (in-person), Sunday, June 20 at 3pm
Last week, the DC Council heard oral testimony on MPD during the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety’s Budget Oversight Hearing. A wide network of allies provided oral testimony urging the Council to meet the demands as outlined by the Defund MPD Coalition.
We need to keep the pressure on the Council to defund MPD and refund our communities. This Sunday at 3pm, join us at Malcolm X Park for an IN-PERSON gathering to meet folks we’ve primarily seen through screens for the past year, sign up for sub-groups if you’re not plugged in already and learn about the Coalition’s vision for defunding the police and refunding our communities here in DC.
DSA membership NOT required to attend — members of the Defund MPD Coalition and individuals interested in getting involved with organizing for police abolition are welcome to join. Whether you’ve been deep in the work or you’re relatively new to organizing, you are welcome and encouraged to attend this event to build community. (But hey, non-members, while you’re here, why not consider joining today?)
Stand with Strathmore Theater Workers! — Wednesday, June 23 at 5pm
With Montgomery County lifting COVID-19 restrictions, Strathmore Theater in North Bethesda is preparing to start holding in-person performances regularly for the first time since March 2020. However, a proposal to add ticket kiosks to Strathmore in North Bethesda as in-person performances return has drawn the ire of a local theater union, which worries that machines would replace employees.
Join unionists and allies around the region in standing with the workers of Bethesda’s Strathmore Theater and their union, IATSE Local 868. Strathmore, just as things are reopening, are proposing eliminating all the front-of-house workers who handle tickets. Management is trying to kick these workers while they’re down. We’ll be meeting on the 4th floor of the parking garage at the Grosvenor Metro Station.
Socialist Night School: Palestine and BDS 101 – Thursday, June 24 at 7pm
Why is Palestine a socialist issue? Join us for our Socialist Night School: Palestine and BDS 101 on Thursday, June 24, 7 – 9pm EST 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, Greater Baltimore DSA and Middle Tennessee DSA, featuring panelists from the Palestinian Youth Movement, Students for Justice in Palestine and the Elmahaba Center.
Afrosoc Monthly Meeting — Sunday, June 20 at 4pm
Join the Afrosocialists and Socialists of Color Caucus for our monthly meeting! This is an affinity space for Black, Indigenous and other People of Color to organize. We encourage new and curious members to join us, but as a caucus, we emphasize that this space is intended to be an affinity space only for those who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color. This is separate from our monthly caucus happy hour, where we set an informal time to connect.
This event is open to both DSA members and supporters but this space is intended to be an affinity space only for those who identify as Black, Indigenous and other People of Color.
Senate to hold hearings on DC Statehood bill — Tuesday, June 22
A Senate committee will hold a hearing for legislation to make DC the country’s 51st state next week. The hearing will begin at 10am on Tuesday, with opening remarks delivered by DC’s Congressional Rep Eleanor Holmes Norton. The House has passed the bill twice in the last year, and will be introduced this time with a record 45 cosponsors, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Socialists in the DMV have long been demanding statehood for the residents of the District. You can read more about DC Statehood from our archive on the Washington Socialist, which includes some historical articles from the ’80s and ’90s republished for record.
Maryland’s Eviction Crisis continues to devastate families
Evictions in MD continue to rocket through the recently reopened court system and low-income renters and homeowners continue to get shafted. The state’s emergency declaration will expire at the end of June and eviction moratoriums are already unenforceable — especially if your one-year lease expired during the pandemic, meaning you are totally unprotected. Eviction-threatened tenants have to appear in court (losing a day of work and maybe a job) and are frequently SOL without a lawyer (the landlords always have one). We’ll publish a wider account of this crisis by our MoCo comrade Stephen M in the July newsletter but meanwhile renters or advocates can seek help at Renters Alliance (MoCo) or CASA. Here is the very latest from Maryland Matters.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em: DC Council votes to ban flavored tobacco products
The Council voted Wednesday to ban flavored tobacco products from sale in the District.
Only Trayon White (Ward 8), Phil Mendelson (Chair) and DSA member Janeese Lewis George (Ward 4) voted against the ban (Kenyon McDuffie of Ward 5 voted present). All four voted to approve an amendment to the bill which carved out an exception for bars and restaurants that offer hookah.
In a statement on the vote, Councilmember Lewis George noted that “enforcement of minor violations has often been the pretext with catastrophic encounters with law enforcement for residents like Eric Garner and George Floyd.” Just last week, a viral video from Ocean City documented another example of egregious use of force by police against a teenager over a vaping infraction. Here is the Progressive Maryland Justice Task Force response to the OC outrage.
In DC, the bill will be enforced by the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs; however, MPD could decide to enforce the law on its own.
Metro DC DSA now has a YDSA Liaison!
Steering recently approved a new role for our chapter: the YDSA Liaison! Young Democratic Socialists of America is the youth and student section of the Democratic Socialists of America. Kristen B was approved to serve in that role temporarily in an acting capacity. The resolution that describes the position is found HERE. Kristen will begin to reach out to local campuses and schools to offer support to existing YDSA chapters and help interested students create a chapter if none currently exists. If you’d like to get involved or learn more please email Kristen at YDSALiaisonMDCDSA@gmail.com.
MDC DSA Steering Committee Actions
The following are resolutions that have been approved by the Steering Committee via Loomio since the beginning of our term.
All future posts of minutes, reports, statements and resolutions on the Member Portal shall use a standardized titling system as described in the resolution.
Steering has adopted its distribution of work. View the portfolio lineup here.
Steven M is now Security Department Steward.
Metro DC DSA Steering Committee created a “YDSA Liaison” position within the Mobilization Department of the Administrative Committee, and Kristen B. is the Interim YDSA Liaison. DM her in Slack to help build our work in local campuses, higher ed and secondary — or email her at YDSALiaisonMDCDSA@gmail.com
- Resolution 2021-06-R08: Appoint an Interim Chair and Establish the Role of National Convention Delegation Chair
Abel A. is appointed interim Delegation Chair to administer an election among delegates and alternates to elect a delegate to serve as permanent Delegation Chair for Metro DC at the 2021 National Convention, with the guidelines and responsibilities described therein.
—Brendan G, MDC DSA Secretary
Upcoming Quarterly Joint Steering Committee and Campaign Council Meeting — Tuesday, June 29 at 5pm
Washington Socialist June Issue
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 …
- An article posted last week: 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.
It wasn’t that long ago — maybe 2016 — that the summertime for activists was sleepy enough that the monthly Washington Socialist published a combined July-August edition, published on, yep, July 14 — Bastille Day. Things are a little busier now, what with Trump, a weekly email Update and so forth. But we still (see below) publish articles monthly, dropping urgent ones into the Update between monthly newsletter issues, and that seems to work out well. What has not changed: MDC DSA members need to write those articles. So don’t stop thinking your socialism out loud, write it down before you forget and keep the conversation rolling and productive.
Oh, and send it in (email@example.com is fine) of course. On time helps, definitely. Frank Bruni published his last column in the NYT yesterday (Thursday) and the opinion editors were full of praise for his many years of work. But what stuck in this ageing editorial worker-bee’s mind was this: “he never missed a deadline.” Bruni was no socialist, but that’s a record to admire.
Submissions don’t need to be manicured or perfect (how would you know, anyway?) Our Pubs WG folks are on station to help shape your work, collaboratively.
Publications Schedule: The final Update for June will be sent Friday, June 25, and the July newsletter issue will be published Friday, July 2. Send submissions for July by June 26 to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to join our #publications Slack channel to engage in the ongoing chatter about how to write our socialism.
Bob Dylan turned 80 a few weeks ago, but the tributes keep turning up, including this one from The Guardian. Your Dylan is always nobody else’s Dylan, but “Where once he was the most interesting Hamlet of his generation, he is now the most interesting Prospero” might keep your own Dylan evolving … to hear that “All Along the Watchtower” has been “the song he has performed most in his career — at more than 2,200 concerts — ahead even of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’” indicates that our Dylan (that is, this writer’s, which may or may not be your, the reader’s, Dylan) might overlap more with Dylan’s Dylan than he or we know.
Touted by our comrade Dave R, a left view of the revival of empire-think: “Biden is promising to restore a violent, rapacious system that had increasingly lost its legitimacy.”
Sobering insights on VA’s primary results last week from Chair of the VA Young Democrats.
Ezra Klein in NYT: “What the Rich Don’t Want to Admit About the Poor” — that is, that wealth requires poverty, because capitalism …
A recent ProPublica investigation sheds some much needed light on how the wealthiest Americans avoid paying taxes — legally. The IRS tax returns they received and reviewed cover more than 15 years of financial data belonging to the nation’s richest, including Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and more.
What Donald Trump both represents and is part of — a planet-wide ferment within societies of real inequality mixed with resentment of imagined lost supremacy and the political exploiters who gain ascendancy by amplifying those trends. NYT’s Tom Edsall checks the temperature of researchers on this matter: “The peculiarly American characteristics of the Trump years have blinded us to the spread of this radical disorder worldwide …”
DSA comrades and allies are asking in Maryland Matters why Maryland State Senator Jeff Waldstreicher (D-18, Silver Spring, Kensington) — a media hound, fake progressive and sadly their state senator — quietly worked with Montgomery County police leadership to push bills and amendments that undercut even the modest reforms undertaken by the Maryland General Assembly.
MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Saturday, June 19
6:15 – 8pm | MoCo DSA June Happy Hour
Enjoy some in-person socializing with comrades at Denizens Brewing Co. in downtown Silver Spring this Saturday. Non-MoCo comrades are also invited to join!
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
Tuesday, June 29
Wednesday, June 30
7 – 9pm | MDC DSA Workplace Organizing Workshop
Friday, July 9
White cis straight males are asked not to attend, thanks.
NATIONAL DSA HIGHLIGHTS
Sunday, June 27
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
Tuesday, July 6
8pm | DSA Convention Info Call
If you’ve been elected as a delegate to the 2021 DSA Convention, join us for an info call that will cover all of the basics on the 2021 Convention, including what to expect as a delegate, the proposed schedule, the role of chapters leading up to Convention, the platform and resolutions process, important dates and next steps, and … more at link
Wednesday, July 7
Interested in building working class power through DSA, but don’t have a chapter in your area? Want more info on what it would take to start one? This call is for you! We will lay out the organizing and administrative steps to take so that you can grow from a small group to a full fledged DSA chapter, featuring DSA staff/leaders and first hand lessons from … more at link
ALLIED EVENTS CALENDAR
Monday, June 21
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
Tuesday, June 22
Monday, June 28
Juneteenth Fundraiser, The Mutual Aid Movement DC (MAM DC)
MAM DC is raising money to support their ongoing work providing food and other essential services to Ward 1 (and other) District residents, as well as to support their participation in Long Live Go Go’s “Million Moe March” on Juneteenth (they will be providing food and outreach services). Click here to donate/learn more.
Juneteenth in Greenbelt!
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 email@example.com or Greg Varda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
noon – 4pm | 5119 River Road, Bethesda, MD
Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition invites you to celebrate Juneteenth with the community. The event will include speakers from local anti-racist organizations, as well as the unveiling of our new Tabletop Exhibit! Gather with us at Macedonia Baptist Church to celebrate Juneteenth and our collective resistance. More details about the great lineup of speakers and sponsors can be found here.
2 – 4pm | 100 State Cir, Annapolis, MD
Tell Governor Hogan: Pay unemployed workers ALL the benefits they are owed NOW! Stop the cut off of federal pandemic benefits. We will be social-distancing — please wear masks. Come and speak out! Co-sponsored by Peoples Power Assembly, Our Revolution Maryland and Unemployed Workers Union.
3pm | 500 Malcolm X Ave SE
Convene in Shepherd Park for Serve Your City’s first Juneteenth Day of Service in partnership with the National Black United Front. The service day goal is to provide 100 families in vulnerable communities with care packages and resources that can empower them to be more self-sustaining. Additionally, volunteers will help clean up along the Malcolm X Ave SE and Martin Luther Jr. Ave SE corridor. Performances by The Malcolm X Drummers and Dancers, live DJ, gifts and more!
The flame of thought,
the magnificence of art,
the wonder of discovery,
and the audacity of invention
all belong to revolutionary periods
tired of the chains of its restrictions,
and stops inebriated to breathe the breeze
of a vaster and freer horizon.