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September 3, 2021
MDC DSA releases statement on spate of MPD shootings
Strike support — solidarity with Nabisco workers this weekend, with Strathmore theater workers next week
Accepting applications for Chapter-wide Fall 2021 organizer trainings
MDC DSA released statement on An’Twan Gilmore murder
Last Friday, the chapter released a statement on the string of shootings by MPD. It reads in part:
Metro D.C. DSA was devastated to learn of yet another series of violent acts by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). On the night of August 24–25, MPD officers shot two people in separate incidents in less than 12 hours—seriously injuring one (whose name has not been released) and killing the other, An’Twan Gilmore, who was asleep in his car. We grieve and stand in solidarity with their families and loved ones and join Black Lives Matter DC and others in demanding justice for Gilmore’s killing.
As an active member organization of the Defund MPD Coalition, we understand that policing is inherently violent and that members of our community, predominantly Black people, will continue to experience targeting, harassment, and harm as long as police and prisons continue to exist … MPD proves every day that they are a source of harm. The police do not keep us safe. They kill us in our sleep.
Before the District was finished processing this senseless murder, an MPD officer murdered 34-year-old George Watson this past Tuesday night in Northwest DC. This was the third shooting and second killing in one week by this violent police department that continues to profile, target, harass and harm DC residents, especially our Black neighbors. MPD spuriously claims Watson was armed, and that there was an exchange of gunfire. This turned out to be a brazen mischaracterization contradicted by a photograph of the supposed “firearm” MPD itself shared on Twitter, showing that Watson’s supposed weapon was a paintball gun.
If you want to get plugged into the Defund MPD movement ongoing across the city, the coalition will be hosting a Study & Struggle Reading Group set to meet every other week through September and December. People of all experience and knowledge levels are encouraged to join, and all reading materials will be freely available online.
Additionally, Black Lives Matter DC has flagged an urgent call to action this Friday (TONIGHT) at 6:30pm at the intersection of New York and Florida Avenue. We encourage folks who want to protest MPD’s abuse and grieve the lives lost to senseless gun-violence to attend.
Strike support THIS SUNDAY, September 5 — Nabisco plant in Richmond
This Sunday, come down to Richmond with us to support some of the 1,000 striking Nabisco Workers (who are also on strike in Georgia, Oregon, Chicago and Denver, read more here). We are planning to arrive in Richmond around noon. If you’re interested in supporting striking workers, please fill out this google form. You can also DM Andy L on the chapter Slack.
There is also a call and fundraiser for the strikers on Sunday at 8pm that the DSA Labor Commission has organized. RSVP here.
Closer to home on September 11th, come to support Strathmore theater ticket agents represented by IATSE Local 868 who are still fighting for job security and a fair contract. The local has authorized a strike, so demonstrating support is critical in the lead up to a walk out. RSVP here (this is Metro accessible).
Now Accepting Applications: Chapter-wide Fall 2021 Organizer Training
Applications for the Fall 2021 Organizer Training are open and chapter members are invited to apply here! The training will form a cross-chapter cohort of ~20 members looking to improve their organizing skills and use hands-on methods to teach principles of being an organizer. Modules will include: Why We Organize, Building Campaigns, Developing Leadership, Relational Organizing Conversations, Principles of Campaign Strategy, Power Mapping and more. Apply ASAP, and be sure to get it in before September 10th!
We’re seeking both new and rising organizers looking to gain skills, along with experienced organizers. We hope to build this group with cohort members from across working groups, branches, caucuses, sections, campaigns and committees looking to practice and renew their organizing skills. The training will be held at a mutually convenient time weekly for about five weeks in a virtual setting from late September to early November. We will do our best to match those not selected with other training and organizing opportunities.
“… as community members and creative subjects ourselves, our lifework is about engaging in creating a shared dream for the future. It is through the arts that we can confess our private hopes, play with being the selves we want to embody, jolt understandings of the world that feel more “absurd” and, in communion with others, reach genuine political insights.” —Amanda L, “The Role of Art and Communal Imagination in our Movement Work”
“AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka died suddenly last month at age 72. At this moment of transition — marked by the election of Liz Shuler, the first woman to serve as the head of the AFL-CIO — it is important to keep in mind how Trumka’s legacy can inform efforts underway to continue labor’s revival. Below are some reflections on the connection he made to building worker’s political strength while fighting for democratic rights that is relevant to the work of DSA.” —Kurt Stand, “Richard Trumka and the Search for Labor’s Political Independence”
“The Labor Day issues [of the Washington Socialist in its print form, 1983-2000] also featured articles from local members (and sometimes friendly non-members) about the state of labor — local, national and international — and DSA’s relationship to it. There were articles about local organizing campaigns and DSA’s work in alliance with labor. But the highlights of the issues were the analytical articles about the state of the movement. A review of these articles from the 1980s and 1990s provides a window into the labor issues of the day and how much has changed, but even more how fundamentally so much remains the same.” —Bill Mosley, “DSA Members on Labor: Two Decades of Engagement”
“Line 3 [pipeline] strikes at the core of the socialist struggle. … the disastrous consequences of Line 3 will not be limited to the states that the pipeline runs through. We will all suffer. … [moreover] the commodification and exploitation of Native land in service of Western capital and settler-colonialism is a foundational pillar of American capitalism. We are witnessing the capitulation of democratic politicians to transnational capital; as socialists, we need to reject this completely and name it — we must support our Indigenous comrades. This is a struggle against racist, anti-Indigenous policy. It’s also a class struggle.” —Les P, “The Fight Against Line 3”
Sai Englert, an editor at the UK publication Notes from Below, told interviewer Sam DiBella, “We take working-class agency in the transformation of society seriously. Organizations on the left tend to share this idea in theory. They will hark back to a high point in the UK in the 1970s, in which there was impressive rank-and-file mobilization. Groups will speak about rank-and-file strategies, but in practice they will spend much time vying for influence in the union bureaucracies. This reality is an outcome of the general disorganization of the labor movement.” —Sam DiBella, “Interview: Notes from Below”
“Bringing high-function and low-carbon building improvements, plus additional wraparound staff that can make schools centers of community resilience, will give students the sense that they are not returning to some Hollywood zombie-apocalypse studio set but to a terrain in which they can stay safe and continue learning. Students — who may have learned more than many credit during their time at home — might be an easier sell on this form of change than teachers, parents or the schools’ communities.” —Woody Woodruff, “Winning a Green New Deal for Public Schools”
Medicare Expansion Rally at Steny Hoyer’s office Wednesday, September 8 at noon
Maryland comrades are encouraged to attend a rally with Our Revolution Maryland on Wednesday, September 8 from noon to 1:15pm to demand M4A/Medicare expansion, protecting worker rights and ending fossil fuel subsidies. Meet at the district office of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD’s 5th) in Greenbelt. Sign up here.
The M4A Working Group also asks you to send this letter to your senators and representatives to demand that Medicare expansion remain part of the latest budget reconciliation package. It only takes a few clicks. Right now, Congress is drafting the final bill and we need every Democrat to non-negotiably insist that Medicare be expanded to cover dental, vision and hearing, as well as lower the age of eligibility and authorize the program to negotiate prescription drug prices.
Metro DC DSA to table at Greenbelt Labor Day Festival – this Saturday, September 4
We’ll be out in PG County’s Roosevelt Center this Saturday, September 4 from 10am to 4pm educating our Greenbelt neighbors about some of the great campaigns socialists in PG County are working on! We’ll be talking about the Greenbelt reparations ballot initiative (which our MDC DSA chapter has endorsed), and on our national campaign for the Green New Deal for Public Schools, a bill that was introduced in the House in July and which we demand be included in the big reconciliation/budget bill.
Want to take a shift at the info table? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com , or drop by the Roosevelt Center in Greenbelt between 10am to 4pm this Saturday!
Two Reading Groups Kick Off This Week!
The Rosa Luxemburg reading group and Palestine and Socialism reading group (sponsored by AfroSOC) will hold their first meetings this upcoming week! Rosa Luxemburg will meet at 6pm on Tuesday, September 7th, and Palestine and Socialism will meet at 8pm on Thursday, September 9th. These reading groups are part of the eight sections of reading groups meeting in fall 2021 through Metro DC DSA. All reading group meetings are being held virtually, though they may plan in-person social events. Last week, three reading groups (Capitalism and the State, Capital Vol. 1) kicked off — and next week, three more (Marxism and Technology, Socialist Feminist, Black Radical Tradition) will do so as well. To join a fall 2021 reading group, click here or find more information here.
Native Plants Nursery and Landscaping Cooperative Seeks Worker-Owners
A group of Metro DC DSA members are thrilled to be launching the Swamp Rose Cooperative, a worker-owned business offering native plant sales and ecologically responsible landscaping services. We’re searching for comrades who have worked in the landscaping industry or at retail nurseries and would like to spend a few hours a week envisioning and creating beautiful native plant gardens in the DC area. Our goal is to complete some model landscaping projects this fall, followed by a public launch in Spring 2022. Please email hello@SwampRoseCoop.com if you’d like to discuss!
Regional DSA organizer reaches out to at-large Maryland members
Members of various Maryland chapters have been working during the pandemic with national staff organizer Eric W to coordinate DSA work where possible. The most recent outgrowth from that was an email from national to at-large members throughout the state:
Hello Maryland DSA members,
Maryland DSA chapters are excited that you’re a DSA member! We want to invite you to participate in our events, actions and meetings, even if you don’t technically live in our chapters’ jurisdictions. Plus, most DSA chapter activities remain virtual at this time, so that makes it super-easy for you to join us.
A list of Maryland chapters, branches and OCs with activity roundups and contact information followed, and an invitation to at-large members that they might consider starting chapters where they live — offering support from national DSA and Maryland chapters.
If you know an unaffiliated comrade in Maryland, make sure they hear about this. They can contact Eric W at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We Power DC Campaign Launch
DC’s public power campaign, We Power DC, is more formally integrating with DSA and is hosting a campaign launch on Tuesday, September 14th at 6pm. Join us to learn more about We Power DC, why public power is important to us as socialists and for reaching DC’s climate goals, and how to get plugged into our current efforts. Look out for an event link in next week’s newsletter!
Publications Schedule: September Friday Updates are scheduled for the 10th, 17th and 24th and the October Washington Socialist will be published Friday, October 1 with an article deadline of September 25 — so send your articles about fall plans for your campaign or WG to email@example.com to signal your socialist intentions and recruit for your cause.
A reminder of what’s up in the newsletter: here’s the Labor Day issue and here’s an example of our theme-oriented indexing, a deep dive into more than two years of extensive coverage of the abolition/defund movement in the DMV and elsewhere. You can find much more on what you care most about indexed in our Topic Hub.
Wondering how to get into MDC DSA’s Slack, where campaign channels host the essential daily conversation about all our diverse ways of making socialism happen? If you are a member in good standing of DSA, email our secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading “Slack access request” and use the email address by which national DSA knows you.
John Nichols, author of The “S” Word, remembers Ed Asner, a very underappreciated early supporter and member of DSOC>DSA, radical union president and activist on US intervention in Central America in the Reagan era. Asner, who died last week at 91, was “Lou Grant” in two very popular TV series (a career he put at risk with his outspoken leftism) … And here is (TX to Portside) a personal recollection from Jacobin.
As if last week’s SCOTUS decision tipping the whole US into an eviction crisis hadn’t already provided due warning, NYT columnist Paul Krugman shows how culture and housing issues interact, within capitalism and often for the worse, with California as the example. A solid view from 30,000 feet.
More from the NYT — how supposedly “climate-woke” corporations keep the focus on consumer behavior and supposedly carbon-neutral corporate practices, using “rhetoric aimed at shifting responsibility for climate change away from [fossil fuel corporations] and onto consumers. …” while it “allows fossil fuel interests to monetize their remaining assets unhindered.” It’s a lucrative PR practice but does anything but actually reduce carbon. A very good account to share.
Via Popular Resistance newsletter: Our comrades at the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee (EWOC) kick off a three-part series on this question: “surveys show that nearly 50% of non-union workers would vote to join a union [and] considering just the private sector, there are about 100 million non-union workers … let’s assume that roughly 50 million workers want a union. How do we reach more of these workers when current union efforts only organize a very small fraction?”
Big surprise right? “Corporate America launches massive lobbying blitz to kill key parts of Democrats’ $3.5 trillion economic plan” — from the newspaper owned by the billionairey-est billionaire there is. Guess they would know.
DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Going forward, we’ll be putting the National DSA and local DSA events into one Calendar list. Check out our full public event calendar here.
Wednesday, September 8
Thursday, September 9
7 – 8:30pm | Internationalism Working Group Monthly Meeting
The Internationalism Working Group (IWG) has set up monthly meetings on the 2nd Thursday of every month. Make sure to check our #internationalism channel.
8pm | IRWG presents Migrant Representation: soy de aqui y de alla (From Here and From There) (National DSA event)
El pasado 6 de junio México el gobierno izquierdista de MORENA de Andrés Manuel López Obrador aumentó su mayoría. En la Ciudad de México, por primera vez en la historia, se eligieron diputados migrantes al Congreso mexicano. Con esto, los de la Ciudad de México que residen en el exterior están representados en el … more at link.
Saturday, September 11
6 – 8pm | Picket and Leaflet at the Strathmore
Meet on 4th floor of Metro Garage (Grosvenor-Strathmore Station)
Strathmore ticket agents represented by IATSE Local 868 are still fighting for job security and a fair contract. It is critical that DSA shows solidarity by participating in this action to support these brave workers who have recently voted to authorize a strike.
Monday, September 13
Tuesday, September 14
6 – 7pm | We Power DC Launch Call
Wednesday, September 15
Thursday, September 16
8 – 9:30pm | BDS & Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Monday, September 20
7 – 8:30pm | MDC DSA Labor Working Group
Thursday, September 23
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Branch Monthly Organizing Meeting
Wednesday, September 29
7 – 8:30pm | Workplace Organizing Workshop — September
Donations for Afghanistan Refugees | Sunrise Movement DC
On Sunday, September 5 from 12 – 2pm Sunrise Movement DC will be collecting supplies to support Afghan refugees in Malcolm X Park. Can’t donate? You can send support funds via Cash App to $sunriseDC and/or spread the word!
Planning Your Fall/Winter Garden | Share a Seed
Think the end of summer means the end of gardening? Think again! Join Share a Seed on Saturday, September 11 at Upshur Community Garden for a great garden day featuring interactive lessons on what to plant for fall and how to prep for winter (free cover crop mix included!). Share a Seed will also be celebrating the launch of DC’s first seed library program in partnership with Mt. Pleasant Library friends! RSVP for a great day of gardening and be among the first to check out seeds from the public library.
Housing Rights and Accommodations: Disability and Long-term COVID | Equal Rights Center
Learn what counts as a disability under the law, find out how to make a request for accommodation and learn where to get individualized assistance as part of this online event presented by the Equal Rights Center Tuesday, September 7 from 6 to 7:30pm. RSVP here.
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.