July 23, 2021

JULY 23, 2021

Weekly Update



  • DC Council takes first step towards tax increases on the rich

  • SATURDAY 10:30am — Medicare for All march in DC

  • Tell WMATA Board of Directors that more police will not make Metro safer

DC Council passes tax increase on wealthy District residents

The DC Council voted 8-5 on a budget amendment to raise taxes on individuals who earn $250,000 or more a year. The estimated $100 million in revenue will fund early childhood education, 2,400 housing vouchers and a monthly basic income for certain families. Budget legislation must undergo two more votes before it can be sent to Mayor Muriel Bowser, but is likely to pass as is.

The tax increase sent the rich of DC screaming — with some attempting to claim that $250,000 is “not a lot of money” in Washington, DC. Who came to the wealthy’s defense? Mary Cheh of Ward 3, the Trump-connected heiress Brooke Pinto of Ward 2, council-chair Phil Mendelson, at-large councilmember Anita Bonds and Kenyon McDuffie of Ward 5 (who, bizarrely, opposed the increase because he thought a wealth tax would be more effective — given that McDuffie is up for re-election next year, we look forward to holding him to that). Suggestions that the nominal tax increase will drive the wealthy from DC are as suspect as they’ve always been (our loss) — but you can check out the DC Fiscal Policy Institute’s rebuttal on the subject, which was published last week if you’d like to read more about the implications of tax policy changes.

Raising tax rates represents a clear ideological change in the District. In fact, a similar measure to raise taxes on DC’s wealthy residents failed just last year. But with ex-Republican Brandon Todd and the seedy David Grosso replaced by Democratic Socialist Janeese Lewis George and progressive Christina Henderson, the ideological balance of the Council has swayed tremendously to the favor of working-class interests in the District. (Though we still have ways to go: the Council failed to pass additional funding for excluded workers as demanded by the Excluded Workers Coalition).

Saturday at 10:30AM — Metro DC DSA joins Medicare for All advocates in DC march

An effort by the Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition — of which DSA is a proud member — succeeded in passing a resolution in support of Medicare for All in Montgomery County. MoCo joins PGC and Annapolis in passing resolutions in support of granting healthcare to all. A similar resolution is making its way through the DC Council.

Now it’s time to make it clear that Medicare for All is a popular, common-sense and essential policy. Metro DC DSA will be joining the nationwide March for Medicare for All this Saturday in support of the message that we need healthcare for ALL in the United States. Stand in solidarity with healthcare activists demanding representatives pass this transformative legislation to make healthcare a human right! There will be a legendary speaker panel (including former presidential candidate Marianne Williamson and the Maryland Green Party’s Margaret Flowers), marching and live music. 

Wear DSA colors (red and roses!) and meet us across from Wine & Butter Cafe & Market at 10:30am on Saturday (July 24). Sign up at our event link here to get the full schedule and info.

Tell the WMATA Board of Directors we do not need more criminalization

The WMATA Board of Directors could potentially expand police powers when they vote on a new rule that will allow Metro Transit Police to suspend or ban people from transit after being arrested — not convicted, just arrested — for certain criminalized actions. Expanding police power will not make us safer, but will expand police control. Tell WMATA that riding transit is not a crime and sign the petition! It only takes a few clicks!

We cannot afford to fall back on these failed carceral approaches to crime and violence. Prompted by the death of a six-year old and an evening shooting which took place outside Nationals Stadium, Mayor Muriel Bowser directed MPD to use “any overtime necessary” to meet “public safety needs.” (The sites where those shootings occured are already heavily policed — with some down the block from each of those shootings). This failed “tough on crime” approach to violence hasn’t worked for the last 30 years, and it won’t work now. It’s a pointless and reckless move that only gives gangs like the DC Police Union room to spread fear and paranoia across the city so that they can pad their retirement accounts.

Doubling down on failed policies will not work. It’s essential that we treat gun violence as a public health issue. CM Lewis George put it best in a statement provided on Twitter

“… gun violence is a symptom of all the ways in which we fail our people. Education, poverty, joblessness, displacement, and more … Our laws and our budget need to change that reality — not incrementally but enough to be transformational …”


Say No to Charter Schools in Montgomery County, MD

Montgomery County, MD, is known for its public schools. It is one of the reasons so many want to live in Montgomery County. However, two charter schools are applying for approval from the Board of Education and would be the first charters in the county. Charter schools are privately run schools that suck money out of our public education system. They contribute to the re-segregation of our kids’ schools, and they are notorious for corruption and they do little to help (and often harm) kids’ education.

The Montgomery County branch’s letter writing campaign against charter schools garnered the attention of the Board of Education and the Board delayed their vote on this issue from July 15 to next Tuesday, July 27. Send a letter before Tuesday to keep up the pressure!


MDC DSA’s Labor WG — Street action Saturday and upcoming events

Metro DC DSA’s Labor Working group has two events coming up over the next week.

  • PRO Act Tabling Saturday — Volunteers needed!
    There will be tabling for the PRO Act this Saturday from 9am – 12pm at the Courthouse Farmers Market in Arlington. If you’re able to help, email labor@mdcdsa.org or ping us on Slack!

  • August Speaker Series: National Domestic Worker Alliance
    Our August Labor Speaker Series will be on August 2nd at 7pm, and we’ll be joined by members from the National Domestic Workers Alliance to discuss their organizing in the District and the struggle for a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights! RSVP here.

Veterans for Socialism Meeting — Sunday, July 25 at 1pm

The Veterans for Socialism of Metro DC DSA will be meeting on July 25 at 1pm! Come join us as we discuss plans for upcoming outreach and events, veterans issues and how we can help build socialism in the DMV and beyond. Interested in learning more about the veteran perspective on anti-imperialist organizing? Check out this entry published in last month’s Washington Socialist.

Sunday at 2PM — Welcome Rally for Cuban American “Miami to DC” Walkers

This Sunday, July 25th the DC Metro Coalition in Solidarity with the Cuban Revolution will be holding a rally to welcome the brave Cuban Americans who have walked from Miami to DC on foot to demand an end to the illegal US blockade on Cuba! Please join us at this DSA Internationalism Committee-sponsored event! Lafayette Park in front of the White House at 2pm.

Carlos Lazo, a Cuban-American school teacher and Iraq War veteran, has been on a 1,300 mile pilgrimage — with six other Cuban Americans — all the way from Miami! He will arrive in Washington, DC to present the Biden administration with a petition signed by over 25,000 calling for an end to the US blockade and demanding the end of all sanctions, the restoration of remittances, the resumption of flights from the US, not only to Havana but to all the regional centers of Cuba, the reopening of the US Embassy in Havana, and a restart to the program of family reunification.

Join the call to end the US sanctions now. DSA has also signed on to a letter to Biden (which you can also sign) calling for the end of the embargo and fully normalize relations between the United States and Cuba.

Reminder: Sign Up for the Fall 2021 Reading Group

Final reminder to sign up for a reading group this Fall! The Metro DC DSA Political Education team is getting several reading groups going this fall on Capital Vol. 1 and a variety of other subjects, including labor-related issues (and which ones aren’t?). Reading groups provide an opportunity to share learning and political education in a group setting, allowing members’ organizing and knowledge to develop alongside comrades. All experience levels are welcome — sign up here! Groups will start just before or after Labor Day and may meet in-person, virtually or in a hybrid format depending on responses and interest.

Do you attend Georgetown, Howard, American or George Washington University? 

And do you want to get involved with Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA)? Please email our YDSA Liaison, Kristen B, so she can connect you with student activists at your school. Her email: YDSALiaisonMDCDSA@gmail.com 


Metro DC DSA Happy Hour is back: Thursday, July 29 from 5:30 to 9:30pm

The day we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. After a long year and a half hiatus, the Metro DC DSA happy hour is back! The event will take place from 5:30 to 9:00pm at Midlands in the Petworth neighborhood in DC. You can sign up for an email reminder here.


PRO Act campaign segues into public school focus

Our MDC DSA comrade Ashik S, who serves on the national Ecosocialist coordinating committee, reported last week:

“The first phase of our campaign focused exclusively on the PRO Act. We have made strides, and that fight continues. We are now adding a new demand: a Green New Deal for Public Schools. Our campaign will organize key groups around public schools with the aim of politicizing a public institution that exists in every community and from which we can make broad-based demands for aggressive green investment. This is a campaign for dignified, unionized green jobs; it is a campaign for climate resilient and zero-carbon, public buildings; it is a campaign for high levels of public, green investment in multiracial working class communities across the country. This campaign, like all DSA work, is based on the foundation of chapter-level leadership and organizing.” [editor’s emphasis]

A big collaborative DSA webinar fleshing out this initiative happened last week (call recording viewable here, passcode = K5V3?z?b), and the campaign for a GND for Public Schools publicly launched the following day at an event with Rep. Jamaal Bowman in the Bronx, also covered in WaPo. You can read the organizing plan and chapter guide for this project, expected to run through the end of September 2021 — the fiscal year deadline for a reconciliation package to be passed in the Senate. Members in the main MDC DSA chapter and branches are mobilizing to join this effort; DC is exploring community schools efforts and Maryland’s newly passed blueprint for school improvements has a focus on community schools as well.

Expect to hear more about this consequential project advance during the August DSA Convention. Please sign up in the general interest form if you’d like to join the national campaign email list, and check out the social media tool kit to amplify in your networks! Email ecosocialism@mdcdsa.org if you’re interested in getting involved in our chapter, especially if you’re in the MoCo, PG County or NoVa branch, and especially if you’re a teacher, education worker, parent or student!


2021 DSA Convention Update

Following a survey of delegates, the DSA Convention organizers have announced the resolutions that will be passed at the convention via the consent agenda. These will include:


Tomorrow — Saturday, July 24 — is the nominal deadline for articles for the August issue of the Washington Socialist, to be published Friday, July 30. Send submissions to thesocialist@mdcdsa.org or chat us up about it on the #publications Slack channel, where we routinely collaborate on speaking and thinking our socialism. If you are engaged in a campaign or interested in digging into how we theorize our praxis, visit our Washington Socialist Topic Hub, where past articles are grouped thematically and you can see how your particular area of interest has played out in our discourse and our street work over the years. And if you somehow overlooked it, here is our July Washington Socialist.


Because we make understanding capitalist practices the core of our revolutionary work, we know how hard every part of achieving our future is going to be. Those high-paying green jobs? They will only come through struggle.

About our DMV anti-labor Senator: sounds like Mark Warner got the NYT reporter to embellish his own self-portrait, but maybe some insights here. We are told there’s also a current WSJ article of similar tenor, but behind the paywall.

Again in the NYT, Priya Krishna explores the recent wave of unionization efforts in the world of small restaurants, from Minneapolis to New Orleans, New York, the Bay Area and beyond. 

Makia Green, organizing director for DC Working Families, and Kandace Montgomery, co-director of Black Visions, sat down with The Forge to discuss mutual aid, the relationship between organizing and care work and how to build a bigger “we.” 

From New Politics via Portside, “How Contingent Faculty Organizing Can Succeed in Higher Education” — More than half of higher ed faculty are contingent: on contract, one semester at a time. Steve Early, the reviewer, says, “To help the contingent faculty movement prepare for its next big battles, the authors [of a new book] have produced a timely history of union activity among ‘second tier faculty excluded from the tenure system.’” The working class is everywhere within the new society and DSA members have a front-line role.

730DC compiled responses from a wide survey on District residents on the way the coronavirus impacted their lives. Though it can sometimes feel that the nightmare year was all a bad dream, for many of us (particularly those vulnerable to health, social and economic burdens hoisted by the pandemic), the memories of lockdown and health turmoil are not so easily cast aside.


Going forward, we’ll be putting the National DSA and local DSA events into one Calendar list. 

Friday, July 23

6pm | MoCo DSA July Happy Hour

Saturday, July 24

10:30am | March for Medicare for All
11am | MDC DSA Queer Section

Sunday, July 25

1pm | MDC DSA Veterans for Socialism
Know someone who’s a veteran or active duty? Tell them about us.

Monday, July 26

6 – 7pm | Nova Branch Member Mobilizers

Wednesday, July 28

7 – 8pm | VA Socialist Marijuana Coalition Launch
8 – 9pm | Why You Should Join DSA / New Member Orientation

Thursday, July 29

5 – 6pm | NoVA Tenant Organizing Planning Meeting
5:30 – 7:30pm | July Chapter Happy Hour

Friday, July 30

8pm | National DSA Convention Kickoff | National DSA
Join us as we come together to celebrate all our movement has accomplished and to raise funds for the work we still have ahead of us. Tune in to hear from special guests like John Early, Judge Franklin Bynum and DSA chapters around the country! We’re organizing to win and that’s worth celebrating. Get your ticket today!

Sunday, August 2

1 – 3pm | MoCo DSA Branch Summer Picnic

Monday, August 2

6 – 7pm | Medicare for All Working Group Biweekly Meeting | #M4A
7 – 8:30pm | August Labor Speaker Series

Tuesday, August 3

7 – 9pm | Biweekly MDC DSA Steering Committee meeting

Sunday, August 22

4pm | DSA4USPS: Dump DeJoy — Why and How | National DSA
This panel, seventh in a series on USPS, takes up the fight against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. Trump crony and Republican megadonor, DeJoy has launched a 10-year plan (“Delivering for America”) featuring mail delay, price hikes, cuts and closures of mail facilities and privatization schemes — this is an in-depth look at why we need to remove DeJoy and how we’re going to do it.


Ward 1 Safety Block Party — July 24 from 5 to 8pm
Join DC Ward 1 Mutual Aid, HIPS DC and Humanities Truck at Temperance Alley (garden space between 13th, 12th, U and T streets) for free food & music + conversation about how to keep our communities safe from overdose. Narcan training will be offered.

Bag to Mat, Call for Plastic Bag Donations | Heal da Homies
Plastic bags piling up? Now you can spare the environment and put them to good use! Heal da Homies is collecting plastic bag donations to create sleeping mats for houseless neighbors. DM @heal_da_homies on Instagram to coordinate drop-off/pick-up or volunteer to help with construction!

Washington Revolutionary July issue
The seventh issue of a local reporting effort conducted by a DMV abolitionist and activist collective was released just this week. Their writing provides coverage of the encampment evictions at Mt. Vernon, ongoing protests at Nellie’s on U Street and a roundup of the fight for funding staged by the residents of Brookland Manor. You can read the entries on Instagram — and can DM the collective for a PDF version of their excellent grassroots journalism.


July 25

6:30 – 8pm | Our Revolution Northern Virginia speaker panel
Our Revolution Northern Virginia is hosting a virtual event with a world-class panel discussing major topics ranging from Big Tech influence to countering US imperialist propaganda. Register for the Zoom event in the link above!

July 28

12 – 1pm | DC Jail Food, a Community Conversation
Don’t Mute My Health and Impact Justice present part two of a series of community conversations on the impact of DC jail food on physical and emotional health as explored through firsthand accounts. 

July 28

4 – 7pm | Statehouse Futures: A Progressive Policy and Strategy Summit
Run for Something Action Fund and the Democracy Policy Network invite you to an afternoon summit on progressive strategy and policy on July 28th. The summit features panels on transformative policies your fellow leaders plan to push next year and workshops on approaches to help you raise big ideas in your state. 

July 31

1 – 4:30pm | Festival of Tenants, Cancel Rent DC
A community festival with food, games, music and more! Sponsored by Cancel Rent DC, who encourages folks to come to Triangle Park to “learn more about your community, Ward 5, Cancel Rent and CM McDuffie.”

5pm | Farm (and Other F Words) Book Talk
Farm (and Other F Words) is a book that explores why we farm the way we do, what’s wrong with the current system and what the f*&! we can do about it. The Share a Seed project is putting on this event with author Sarah Mock at The Pug (1234 H Street NE).

August 5

1pm | Health Policy Insights — Advancing Health Equity (Maryland)
Virtual panel and webinar on solving health disparities — Maryland Center on Economic Policy

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.

Virgilia D’Andrea