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AUGUST 6, 2021
DSA National Convention kicks off with India Walton and Rashida Tlaib
Green New Deal for Public Schools campaign events over the next week
Have you filled out the DSA National Membership Survey? Complete by August 31
DSA National Convention Kicks Off with remarks provided from Rep Rashida Tlaib and Buffalo Mayoral candidate India Walton
Over the past week, more than one-thousand delegates from DSA chapters across the country met digitally to discuss, debate, and vote on resolutions and changes to DSA’s structures, bylaws, and national political positioning and the DSA 2021 National Convention. Catch up on all panels from the DSA Convention at this YouTube roundup (and we’ll have a full accounting of passed resolutions and debate next week).
On Sunday, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) provided opening remarks to convention delegates, urging members to continue organizing communities and neighbors for political action at all levels of government:
“I know all of you know the structure we are living under right now is designed by those that exploit the rest of us for their own profit. … we must replace it with a system where ordinary people have a real voice in our workplaces, neighborhoods, economies, politics and societies …
If there’s anything you take away from this convention, it’s that we need to run for office — more of us — at all levels of government … I’m asking all of you — get in there. Don’t change one ounce of who you are and what you believe in. Get rooted in your community, run for office and get in that room.“
Rep. Tlaib’s message was reiterated by the presumptive mayor of Buffalo India Walton in an address provided to the DSA National Convention yesterday. In her address, India explained how her experience as a young mother, nurse, and proud member of Buffalo’s working-class inspired her to stand up and fight for her city. India emphasized that though establishment actors were shocked by her win, the result was no surprise to the people of Buffalo:
“You may have heard that I ‘came out of nowhere’ to beat a sixteen year incumbent. But let me be clear – I didn’t come out of ‘nowhere.’ I came out of Buffalo. I came out of a historic black community. I come from all sorts of circumstances that most American politicians have never known…
When they say I came out of nowhere, what they really mean is that people like me aren’t supposed to become the Democratic nominee, and presumptive Mayor elect, of a major American city.”
We win when we get organized, and members of Metro DC DSA have been trying to do just that. Locally, past electoral victories are paying dividends in DC and Maryland. In DC, the recently elected Janeese Lewis George has been fighting for the working class in the District Council. In MD, Reps Vaughn Stewart and Gabe Acevero have been fighting for criminal justice reform, immigrant rights and greater support for public schools. Over the last year, members like Ed and Mysiki in DC, Mckayla in Maryland and Karishma in Virginia all ran insurgent campaigns against established capital interests. Though their campaigns came up short, the battles trained and united teams of socialists and progressives who will lead the charge of the local left’s next gambit.
We win when we get organized. If you’re a member who’s been on the sidelines, use this newsletter to help inform you about how to get connected to ongoing campaigns and community organizing efforts. If you’re a member who has an idea and a plan but you’re not sure where to start, use this newsletter to understand what your local DSA can do to help you bring your idea to action. And if you’re not a DSA member (and we know there are many of you out there) — consider joining today. Help us build a force for real, practical socialism to the DMV. The front against capital is wider than it’s ever been, and we need all the reinforcements we can get.
Green New Deal for Public Schools builds local MDC DSA team, activism
As national DSA surges capacity to meet the challenge of the Green New Deal for Public Schools initiative, the MDC DSA chapter’s GND-PS team is building out too, including initiatives to involve each branch (MD and NoVA) in the multi-prong strategy. Foregrounded are: choosing a qualifying school or schools as ground zero for community building and working-class empowerment efforts and engaging union labor formations and working-class communities to join in planning the material sustainability of the schools and the communities they serve.
Critical events ahead: The MDC DSA full team will meet Sunday, August 8 at 5pm. There will be an earlier interest meeting for union folks, especially teachers and school personnel and construction unions Sunday, August 8 at 3pm.
Tuesday, August 10 at 8pm, Rep Bowman and guests formally launch the campaign to build the labor-climate coalition our movement needs, and invest $1.4 trillion in working-class communities. (Note: the usual Tuesday weekly GND-PS national call gets bumped to Wednesday next week only in favor of the launch event.)
If the Green New Deal tops your list for socialist activism, THIS IS THE PATH RIGHT NOW. If labor, working-class empowerment and engagement with existing unions tops your agenda, THIS IS THE PATH RIGHT NOW. Join us Sunday!
Have you filled out the DSA National Membership Survey? Complete by August 31
DSA wants to hear from members about your engagement with DSA, your political and personal identities, your opinions of our organization and a few other critical questions. While thousands of members have already submitted, every submission matters — all DSA members are asked to submit a response to the national membership survey here.
The survey is critical for helping us understand who DSA is, where we are, what tactics are effective and what modes of analysis are popular across our organization. We’re asking all members — even those who might consider themselves more casual or passive DSA members — to fill out the survey! While our chapter ranks high on the number of participants to the member survey, we rank very low by percentage of members. Please fill out the member survey so our chapter is properly represented.
DC passes most equitable budget yet: “I’m in tears, we did it.”
On August 3, the DC Council passed arguably its most equitable budget to date by rejecting the Mayor’s $11 million request for more police officers and including funding to end homelessness for 3,500 households, including 2,370 individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. While the budget wasn’t a total win (… is it ever?), it was an immense victory for working-class people and community organizers across the District, including Jesse Rabinowitz, an organizer and advocate with Miriam’s Kitchen who jubilantly tweeted the good budget news for our unhoused neighbors. Additional budget highlights are included below. Lawmakers must take one more vote on another piece of the budget next week before they can transmit the final document to Mayor Muriel Bowser. That vote is scheduled for August 10.
- Less money for cops: While the Council rejected Bowser’s $11 million request, they did provide $5 million to further pad MPD’s budget. The additional requested funds were dedicated to community violence prevention programs. (We also highly recommend saving the DC Police budget tool created by DCFPI, which provides a great way to understand how the police budget is structured and how it’s evolved over the last decade).
- Taxing the rich: On an 8-to-5 vote, the council voted to add taxes that could raise about $100 million in revenue in fiscal year 2022, and to use that money for housing vouchers (i.e., the win for unhoused communities mentioned above), subsidies for day-care workers’ wages and monthly tax credits for low-income families.
- Apology dollars for the unemployed: An amendment was approved to provide one-time payment to 10,000 DC residents forced to wait at least 60 days for their first benefit check.
- Some additional dollars for excluded workers: At an initial vote on July 20, the council approved an additional $20 million to aid these workers. At-large Councilmember Silverman proposed an additional $6 million, but the recommendation failed after only two other Councilmembers voted in favor.
- Librarians for all!: Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George successfully introduced a budget amendment to ensure that all DC Public Schools are able to have a librarian on staff.
Fight for Marijuana Justice in VA Begins Next Monday, August 9
With the passage of new cannabis laws in Virginia, DSA chapters across the commonwealth are launching the Virginia Socialist Marijuana Coalition. At 6pm next Monday, come join DSA comrades from the VA Socialist Marijuana Coalition as we begin our work toward cannabis justice in Northern Virginia! This will be our kick-off meeting for NoVA.
Why work on cannabis? With the threat of new and continuously failed, racist, classist and deadly drug policies, we have the opportunity to build socialist power for transformational drug reforms. With the threat of another industry being corrupted by capitalism, we have the opportunity to demonstrate what worker power looks like as we unionize the cannabis industry — seed to sale. And with the threat of marijuana enthusiasts remaining politically passive, we have the opportunity not only to mobilize, but to also organize! Join the start of this campaign at 6pm Monday!
Next Friday from 6 to 8pm — demonstrate with Strathmore union/IATSE Local 868 ticket sellers and Scabby the Rat!
DSA members will be showing up to hand out leaflets to concert-goers (’70s band America) in protest of management’s union-busting initiatives which remove guarantees of minimum hours of work for theater workers. Wave signs at drivers on Rockville Pike and hang with Scabby, the giant inflatable rat!
Event will take place at the Strathmore theater, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, N. Bethesda, MD. We’ll be meeting on the Red Line at Grosvenor/Strathmore Station — meet on 4th floor Grosvenor/Strathmore Metro parking garage.
Please sign up using this link (where it asks for union affiliation, enter DSA plus any union membership).
Protests to continue over the weekend in support of the federal eviction ban
Anniversary of Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings
MDC DSA Vets for Socialism remind you that today, August 6, is the anniversary of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945 — a barbaric act followed days later with the bombing of Nagasaki and executed with the excuse of saving (American GI) lives. Over decades, the result is a multinational nuclear cloud of terror that has made the whole world much, much less safe, including for US soldiers on the US imperialist mission. On this day, vow to give attention in our activism to ending nuclear proliferation, pushing to reduce those arsenals to zero and using the terror as a lever to bring nationalist tendencies to heel in a socialist, post-capitalist and peaceful world. Sunday night at 9:45pm the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Committee has its annual candlelight vigil, this year at Black Lives Matter Plaza near Lafayette Park.
You can watch our own Socialist Night School’s coverage of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Metro DC’s website.
All DSA members are invited to complete the DSA Member Survey by August 31st!
Pubs Sked — Weekly Updates in August will be published Friday the 13th, 20th and 27th, and the Labor Day issue of the Washington Socialist will be published Friday, September 3, as the Labor Day Weekend begins (Labor Day is Monday, September 6). Every Labor Day issue of the Washington Socialist is a big deal; this year probably more so than average. WGs and campaigns, start writing your articles now; it is a great way of laying out your program and plans as we move from summer to fall on the activism meter. Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org; article deadline is Saturday, August 28.
SHELTER SKELTER — Despite the efforts of Cori Bush and even Pelosi and Biden, the formal end of the eviction moratorium and tattered catch-up moves have laid bare the shoddy work by many state and local governments in moving more than a tiny fraction of rent-relief funds that Congress appropriated through choked-up pipelines to the renters and landlords who need it. Politico recounts the shortfall.
From DCist, updated article from Tuesday’s DC Council meeting: D.C. Lawmakers Trim Back Bowser’s Request For Money To Hire Police — “The D.C. Council on Tuesday rejected Mayor Muriel Bowser’s request for $11 million to hire 170 new police officers, voting instead to set aside $5 million for half the number of officers while directing the remainder of the money to violence interruption efforts. The vote was unanimous.”
Local tenant organizers — including a DSA comrade — were interviewed in Current Affairs on organizing tenant strikes in Washington, DC.
“Free Public Transportation, the Time is Now!” writes David Schwartzman, citing the financial, environmental and other benefits of expanding access to bus, rail, etc. “… making public transportation free, more convenient, and accessible for residents and out-of-town commuters would … leave critically necessary dollars in the pockets of the low-income working class.”
From the Columbia Journalism Review via Portside: “The Media’s Climate Blindspot” — Last week, virtually every news outlet in the global North ignored a landmark meeting where leaders of low-income countries articulated their positions prior to the make-or-break United Nations COP26 climate summit in November. Tipped from our comrade Lucy D.
“Cuba and Degrowth?” — David Schwartzman writes on the various arguments made by “degrowthers” who point to Cuba as an example of success, addressing the importance of meeting the needs of ordinary people (and the devastation caused by the ongoing US embargo).
A former Metro DC steering member discusses their experience getting involved in local campaigns, connecting with communities and building relationships with neighbors in the local DMV-based, immigrant- and refugee-driven audio production Journeys Podcast.
“Free Public Early Childhood Education Is the Only Solution to the Current Childcare Crisis” — DSA comrades write in Jacobin that at a time of pandemic-related crises all throughout our society, the crisis in childcare is particularly brutal. There’s only one solution: free public early childhood education for all.
DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Going forward, we’ll be putting the National DSA and local DSA events into one Calendar list.
Sunday, August 8
Monday, August 9
6 – 7pm | VA Socialist Marijuana Coalition — NoVA Interest Meeting
7 – 9pm | NoVA Branch Office Hours
Wednesday, August 11
Thursday, August 12
Friday August 13
6 – 9pm | Solidarity with Strathmore Workers
Saturday, August 14
7 – 8:30pm | NOVA Book Club: A World to Build
Monday, August 16
7 – 8:30pm | August Labor Working Group
Tuesday, August 17
7 – 9pm | Biweekly Steering Committee Meeting
Wednesday, August 18
Thursday, August 19
7 – 8:30pm | NOVA Executive 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.
Thursday, August 26
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Branch Monthly Organizing Meeting
Artivist Pop-Up and Abolition Workshops | Good Trouble Co-Op, Sunrise Movement DC
Malcolm X Park in NW DC is the place to be this Sunday, August 8! Events start at 1pm, when Sunrise DC will present their ongoing school to prison pipeline series. Learn more about the criminalization of Black and brown children and enjoy community-made meals and drinks (available for a suggested donation). All proceeds will benefit Guns Down Friday DMV. The Artivist Pop-Up will start at 5pm and feature local artists and organizations who empower art communities. Sunrise DC and many other DC organizations/artists will also be tabling. Contact 202-351-9868 or @artisaright for questions about the event or tabling.
Back to School Drive | Christopher Brown Heart Beats
This Sunday, August 8, the mother of Christopher Brown (a SE teen who lost his life to gun violence) is bringing the community together to celebrate Christopher’s life by helping other youth prepare for a new school year. The event runs from 1 – 5:30pm and will be held at 3227 Dubois Place SE. There will be raffles, live music, food and more.
Back to School Bash | Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid
With the 2021-22 school year fast approaching, Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid is launching the Second Annual Back to School Bash to make sure that ALL DC students have the resources they need to thrive. Building off the success of last year’s inaugural campaign, which reached over 425 students and families, their teams hope to support even more students this year. Click here to donate and/or request a backpack of supplies.
August Online Organizer Series | Labor Notes
The Secrets of a Successful Organizer is being run from 7 – 9pm each Tuesday in August, starting August 10th. The training series has four parts: 1. Beating Apathy; 2. Assembling Your Dream Team; 3. Turning an Issue into a Campaign; 4. A workshop session. Register here; $10 total for four sessions is the suggested donation.
Ward 4 Mutual Aid Is Now on Instagram! | Ward 4 Mutual Aid
With support from Metro DSA members, Ward 4 Mutual Aid has launched their Instagram account! Be sure to follow them @Ward4Mutualaid if you’re an IG user.
Washington Revolutionary August issue
August issue of a local reporting effort conducted by a DMV abolitionist and activist collective was released just this week. Content includes recounting the legacy of black revolutionaries, coverage of the WMATA’s postponement of transit restrictions, and abuse perpetuated by the LAPD. You can read the entries on Instagram — and can DM the collective for a PDF version of their excellent grassroots journalism.
1 – 7pm | Colombia Solidarity Protest
National day of action to protest official violence by Colombian government (abetted by US aid) against its own people — at Freedom Plaza. More info at our MDC DSA #internationalism Slack channel.
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.