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JUNE 25, 2021
- New York primaries bring big win for socialists in Buffalo
- Political Engagement Committee applications due Sunday, June 27
- Defund MPD — Judiciary Committee vote on MPD budget coming June 29
Red Flag flies over Buffalo — NY Democratic primary election roundup
Primaries closed up in New York last Tuesday, putting an end to the (near endless) mayoral race news cycle. New York chapters of the DSA battled the Democratic Party establishment across the state. In Troy, DSA member Kiani Conley-Wilson was elected to the Council in addition to another endorsed ally. Close races in Ithaca and Syracuse are still too close to call — and the slate of city council races in New York can’t be called until later next week — though one District has already been declared for a DSA elected (Queens, District 22) and another is likely to be certain for DSA (District 38). DSA NYC did not endorse any candidate in the NYC mayor’s race. However, due to NYC’s ranked choice voting process, full results are unlikely to be confirmed for a few weeks.
However, the breakout hit was in Buffalo, New York, where insurgent socialist India Walton ousted the four-term mayor of the city and close ally of Governor Cuomo. Before running for mayor, India was a nurse and activist, and her campaign was powered by collective efforts of the Buffalo DSA, the Working Families Party and a wide panel of community groups and activists that rallied together to oust the Buffalo political establishment. In her victory speech, she was quick to denote her victory as the result of a collective alliance of rebels and revolutionaries.
When asked if she considers herself a socialist, India Walton chuckled and provided the following response:
“Oh absolutely! The entire intent of this campaign is to draw down power and resources to the ground level and to the people. When it comes to socialism, we’ve been perfectly fine with socialism for the rich — we’ll bail out Wall Street banks and give tax incentives to the richest people in the world … but when it comes to providing the resources working families need to survive, socialism becomes scary. So I’m very proud to be a democratic socialist, I’m proud to have the support of Buffalo DSA and National DSA.”
While we wait for full results, the lessons imparted from India’s victory are clear: The left wins when we unite with each other behind a candidate who communicates with a class-conscious message and is bold in challenging the establishment.
Interested in helping shape Metro DC DSA’s electoral work? Well …
Metro DC DSA Political Engagement Committee application due Sunday, June 27
The election of the new Steering Committee means that we are also kicking off the process of appointing the next Political Engagement Committee (PEC). The PEC is a five-member committee comprising three at-large Steering members and two rank and file chapter members, with at least one member from Virginia, Maryland and DC. The PEC coordinates chapter processes related to the recruitment, vetting and recommendation of electoral candidates for endorsement by chapter members. The power to endorse or not endorse candidates still rests with the chapter’s general body membership, but the PEC will seek to make the endorsement process as accessible, transparent and democratic as possible. Members of the PEC will also assist chapter members in supporting endorsed candidates during campaigns and with legislative advocacy of the chapter’s priorities to current elected officials.
Additionally, the PEC will be political in nature, in that the committee members will vote on questions that affect our chapter’s role in electoral and legislative engagement. Members of the committee should expect to publicly state their positions on such questions. These questions will likely include, but not be limited to, recommendations about the following chapter activities: how the chapter should structure its endorsement process; what criteria and factors chapter members should consider in evaluating candidates and races; and ultimately, whether or not the chapter should endorse prospective electoral candidates.
This should be an exciting term, with quite a few big races coming up in 2022. If you’re interested, please fill out the following application / interest form by 11:59pm Sunday, June 27.
Defund MPD Alert: The Judiciary Committee vote on the MPD budget is on June 29th
This is a key vote! If you are a DC resident, could you please call your Councilmember on the committee in support of the Defund MPD Coalition’s demands to defund MPD and refund our communities? Here is the call script.
Budget hearings were held just two weeks ago. You can read a roundup just published on Washington Socialist here.
Have you signed the Defund MPD, Refund DC petition yet? If not, here it is. It only takes a click! And if you would like to get more involved with the MDC DSA Defund MPD Working Group, fill out the interest form here.
This Sunday — panel discussion with socialist feminist author Jenny Brown
All are encouraged to attend an hour-long virtual panel on female reproductive labor, exploitation and liberation. Men and individuals of all identities can join. Reading the book is not required to attend. RSVP HERE.
Book Synopsis: Feminists generally blame conservatives for the battle over reproductive freedom in the US. But obscured is a fight over women’s reproductive labor: policymakers want an expanding workforce reared by under-paid or free labor. But US birth rates are at historic lows. With little access to childcare, family leave and health care, and with insufficient male participation, US women are conducting a spontaneous birth strike. In other countries, panic over low birth rates has led governments to underwrite childbearing and childrearing with generous universal programs, but in the US, women have not yet realized the potential of our bargaining position.
Stop Ethnic Cleansing in Silwan, Jerusalem & All of Palestine
Palestinian people in Silwan, Jerusalem, are in danger of being forcibly expelled from their homes. The Israeli government is threatening to demolish the homes this Monday for Jewish Israeli settlers to take over the land. The Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Silwan is part of Zionism’s long and violent history across all of Palestine, which the US has funded for decades. DSA’s BDS and Palestine Solidarity Working Group, together with organizations such as AROC, PYM, JVP and AMP, have called on comrades to rally at the State Department on Monday, June 28 at 3:30pm to demand that the US government stop giving Israel the green light on ethnic cleansing.
Quarterly Joint Steering + Campaigns Council Meeting — Tuesday, June 29
Next Tuesday, June 29 at 5pm, MDC DSA is holding the Quarterly Joint Steering and Campaign Council Meeting. At this meeting, representatives from Metro DC DSA’s various working groups and ongoing campaigns will meet to discuss projects, share information and provide updates on planning and activity. This meeting is open to the public and is a great way for folks to peek into the various projects and operations your friendly neighborhood socialists are working on.
MDC DSA Virtual Campaigns Fair scheduled for Sunday, July 11
Are you a new member looking for ways to get involved in DSA? Are you a longtime member interested in what the chapter is up to? Come out to join Metro DC DSA for its first virtual Campaigns Fair on Sunday, July 11th from 3 to 7pm.
Come on out (virtually) and meet representatives from our Priority Campaigns, Working Groups and Sections. The event will provide an opportunity to meet comrades, hear about the good work being done in the chapter and get involved. The event will be held on the Gather program, a website you can access with your web browser. We have used this program for our AdCom socials and it is very easy to use. Get familiar with navigating Gather with demos right at the site.
Nominations Open for DSA National SocFem Steering Committee
Nominations for DSA national steering committee are now open. The bylaws of the Socialist-Feminist Working Group (SFWG) call for a 7-person steering committee to be elected annually and for elections to be held every June. The bylaws also highly recommend diversity in the composition of the SC as follows: at least 4 non-cis men including at least one trans or non-binary person, and at least three non-white people.
You can nominate (or self-nominate) someone for the committee by filling out this form.
Metro DC Community Garden Working Group Launched
Metro DC members Amanda L and Reana K have launched a working group centered on several comrades’ interest in gardening, mutual aid, agriculture, growing and holding shared space. This group is small but mighty, so every comrade’s participation and thoughts are valuable in shaping the work! Join the conversation on the Slack channel #community-garden.
Stomp Out Slumlords — Spanish-language report now available
Stomp Out Slumlords’ No Job, No Rent report, released earlier this year, looked at 10 months of work in order to assess victories and shortcomings of the tenant organizing activities engaged by SOS. A Spanish-language version was released just last week — translated by comrades in the LA Tenants Union.
Howard University YDSA Demands Student Representation on Board of Trustees
On June 15, Howard University announced that it would be phasing out the role of “Affiliate Trustee,” which gave trustee status to students, faculty and alumni. This means zero representation from faculty, alumni and the students. The Howard University Young Democratic Socialists of America Afro-Socialists (HUYDSA) fully denounces this action and demands that the Board of Trustees reverse this decision effective immediately. You can sign the petition organized by Howard University YDSA here.
This is the final Update for June; we’ll have a full issue of the Washington Socialist publishing on Friday, July 2. Nominal deadline for articles for that issue is tomorrow, Saturday, June 26, so polish up that draft and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or chat us up about it on the #publications Slack channel, where we routinely collaborate on speaking and thinking our socialism.
A standard but useful history of the rise and fall of rail transportation in the US, with the fall abetted by government bungling. As Europe has demonstrated, even social democrats can do it better — just think of what socialists could do.
Via Portside, our comrades at Data for Progress say Voters Prioritize Creating Jobs Over Inflation and the National Debt — “voters across party lines are rejecting the GOP’s narrative, and are enthusiastic about creating jobs and stimulating our economy.”
An important slice of history on how the need for Defund got so acute, How the Father of Modern Policing ‘Abolished’ the Police by a polymath historian of science (Scatter, Adapt, and Remember; Four Lost Cities).
Recommended by our PGDSA comrade Vijay P, a good framework for ensuring that the electrification of transport — now the top producer of carbon impacts — is conducted in a measured way, always making sure good jobs are a priority and with strong oversight and transparency. These guidelines have been sent to the Biden admin by brothers and sisters in the major transport unions.
From The Guardian, touted by our comrade Stephanie G, who wondered if there are faint echoes of some 19th-century German dude … ; “People are quitting their jobs in record numbers. Companies should take note — and treat them better.”
Red Flag over Buffalo — details on our lead story here, from Politico.
The inequality in vaccine distribution is now a clear line drawn between the global rich and poor — the rich have hoarded most of the vaccines while leaving many behind. As Maria De Jesus explains in her recent article in The Conversation, “Overall, countries representing just one-seventh of the world’s population had reserved more than half of all vaccines available by June 2021. That has made it very difficult for the remaining countries to procure doses, either directly or through COVAX, the global initiative created to enable low- to middle-income countries equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.”
A key pedestrian bridge over 295 collapsed on Wednesday, cutting off access to key essentials for an already underserved community. A 2021 bridge inspection report had stated that “consideration should be given to replacing the bridge.” Too little, too late!
MDC DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Sunday, June 27
4 – 5pm | MoCo DSA Member Orientation
Monday, June 28
6 – 7pm | NoVA Branch Member Mobilizers
Tuesday, June 29
7 – 8pm | Queer Section Meeting
Wednesday, June 30
7 – 9pm | MDC DSA Workplace Organizing Workshop
Thursday, July 1
5 – 6pm | NoVA Tenant Organizing Planning Meeting
8 – 9pm | Vets for the PRO Act
Sunday, July 4
5 – 6:30pm | Medicare for All Work Group Weekly Meeting
Tuesday, July 6
7 – 8pm | NoVA Branch Office Hours
Wednesday, July 7
Friday, July 9
6 – 9pm | Social Hour for Us: Afrosoc, Queer Section, SocFem
White cis straight males are asked not to attend.
Sunday, July 11
3 – 7pm | Metro DC DSA Virtual Campaigns Fair
Wednesday, July 14
7 – 8:30pm | July Labor Speaker Series
Thursday, July 15
7 – 8:30pm | NOVA Executive Meeting
Saturday, July 17
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Book Club
Gar Alperovitz’s What Then Must We Do?
Sunday, July 18
6 – 8pm | NoVA Branch Picnic
Monday, July 19
7 – 8:30pm | July Labor Working Group Meeting
NATIONAL DSA HIGHLIGHTS
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
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
8pm | So You Want to Start a Chapter?
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
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; led by DC Jobs with Justice.
Saturday, June 26, 4 – 6pm | No Return to Normal, Teach-In and Art Build
Learn about ending US complicity in Israeli apartheid and help prepare art/signs for the follow-up rally (July 8) at Representative Raskin’s (D-MD) district office. More details here. D8 for Justice, a local grassroots campaign in Raskin’s district also asks that you sign-on to this constituent letter.
Tuesday, June 29, noon | Join the Rally for Union Workers and the “American Jobs Plan” on Capitol Hill
It’s time to rally — in person — for good union jobs and strong climate action from Congress. Join us June 29th at noon near the Capitol lawn to demand passage of the “American Jobs Plan.” Cosponsors include Our Revolution.
Thursday, July 1, 2pm | Your Rights at Work and the New Minimum Wage
On July 1 the minimum wage in DC will be increasing to $15.20. Join us for a webinar on your rights at work in DC!
Share a Seed, Plant Swap & Share | Saturday, June 26, noon – 1pm
This Saturday, the mutual aid seed sharing and gardening program Share a Seed will host a Plant Swap & Share in partnership with the Mt. Pleasant Library Friends at Mt. Pleasant Library (3160 16th Street NW). In addition to exchanging/sharing plants and seeds, donations of spare plant pots and gardening supplies are also welcome. Clic aquí para español.
Goods for the Hood, a Mutual Aid Market | Saturday, June 26, 2 – 5pm
Organized by Until Freedom, Goods for the Hood is a regular mutual aid market designed to provide support to in-need residents East of the River. This Saturday there will be two distribution sites: 1) The Park on Malcolm X and MLK SE; 2) Eastover Plaza. Wishlist, donation portals and volunteer details can be found here.
Serve Your City / Ward 6 Mutual Aid, DC 101 Organizing to Win in DC | Monday, June 28, 6 – 8pm
Learn all about DC’s recently passed Comprehensive Plan (“Comp Plan”) to understand what was won and hear from organizers and activists about what we are still fighting for. Registration and info here.
DSA Mutual Aid — Call for Volunteers!
The DSA Mutual Aid Working Group is seeking artists, writers, editors and people who do publication design to create a new ‘zine (online for now, but likely printable) showcasing Mutual Aid work in DSA. Sign up for the action network to get involved. Questions? Comments? Concerns? Contact email@example.com
(Skill) Sharing is Caring
Some mutual aid DSA comrades created a skill share document as a way to share resources across chapters and with like-minded allies. This document covers a wide array of issues, from de-escalation to gardening and composting, and is open source. Please add any vetted resources you might have and use this document as a reference and resource!
The flame of thought, the magnificence of art, the wonder of discovery, and the audacity of invention all belong to revolutionary periods when humanity, tired of the chains of its restrictions, shatters them, and stops inebriated to breathe the breeze of a vaster and freer horizon.