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September 24, 2021
Town Hall Session on the Green New Deal for Public Schools with National Educators United — Tonight
Next phase of We Power DC begins
WMATA Board Indefinitely Postpones Proposal to Give Police More Power
TONIGHT: DSA Collaborative Town Hall Session with National Educators United
Did you ever think that the government would recognize how important education is to the country’s future?
TONIGHT, Friday, September 24, from 8 to 9pm, National Educators United (NEU) presents a town hall on Rep. Jamaal Bowman’s Green New Deal for Public Schools bill, featuring labor sociologist Eric Blanc and policy experts. DSA national is a co-sponsor.
The GND for PS campaign is demanding $1.4 trillion to equitably fund and build the green public education infrastructure our kids deserve. Local organizers have been working to expand the public’s awareness of the campaign. (You can read updates from the campaign from September and August, posted in Washington Socialist.)
Learn more about this proposed legislation and how you can support it at this NEU town hall. Register here!
Next steps in We Power DC campaign
On Tuesday, We Power DC (WPDC) launched its 2022 strategy aimed at building grassroots power to pressure the DC Council to bring Pepco, DC’s investor-owned electric utility, into public ownership. The new organizing strategy will be led by the new We Power DC Organizing Committee, and WPDC is now a part of Metro DC DSA’s Green New Deal priority campaign (alongside the Green New Deal for Public Schools campaign).
To get involved, folks can fill out WPDC’s follow-up form and someone will be in touch. There are also opportunities to table with WPDC next week at the Columbia Heights Farmers Market (training at Malcolm X Park on Wed 9/29 from 6 to 7pm, then table Sat 10/2 from 9 to 11am and 11am to 1pm). And you can join their Power Grid 101 political education event on Thursday 10/7 (RSVP link forthcoming).
WMATA Board Indefinitely Postpones Proposal to Give Police More Power
Over the past few months, an alliance of activist and abolitionist organizations across DC has been rallying against a WMATA policy change that would have banned alleged criminals from the DMV’s transit system. Crucially, the policy would ban riders before they had been convicted of an offense and force riders who want to appeal an arrest to navigate a long and exhausting appeals process. Activists — including Metro DC DSA — opposed the policy as it has not been shown to be effective where implemented and would risk continuing over-policing of Black and Brown communities, low-income residents, young people and our unhoused neighbors who rely on transit.
At yesterday’s meeting (September 23rd), the proposal was initially on the WMATA Board’s agenda yesterday, but many of the comments submitted, including those by DSA members, were read out loud during the hearing. The chair of the board then begrudgingly announced that the board will not be considering the proposal at this time.
The effort is a clear win for a local alliance of activists in the DMV. The alliance deployed a multi-pronged strategy to make sure the public was aware of WMATA’s stealth decision-making: holding a rally at Columbia Heights Civic Plaza; speaking with riders on the Metro about the policy change; and having over 50 activists join a WMATA Riders’ Advisory Council (RAC) call earlier this month in order to recruit the RAC into the effort to oppose the proposed policy.
Karishma M elected to chapter steering committee
Following the special election, Karishma M has been elected to fill the currently vacant at-large seat on the chapter’s Steering Committee. Congratulations, Karishma, and welcome to the Steering Committee!
As background, the chapter’s standing rules for internal elections dictate the protocol for internal chapter elections. Electing candidates by acclamation occurs when the number of candidates is equal to or less than the number of vacant seats up for election (e.g. one candidate is running for one open seat). With no other candidates participating in the special election for a Steering at-large seat, Karishma M. is elected to the seat by acclamation. Please direct all questions about the special election to the designated special election channel, #september-2021-steering-committee-special-election, or DM @Stu K, chair, directly. Steering Committee meetings are open to all members and supporters. The committee meets next on September 28 at 7pm. All are encouraged to attend.
Sign letter urging DC to abandon plans to create No-Tent Zones
Metro DC DSA has signed on to a letter urging the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services (DMHHS) to “halt planned evictions of encampments of our neighbors experiencing homelessness. In mid-September public meetings, DMHHS has communicated last-minute plans to evict our neighbors living in tents at 20th and E Streets NW and the underpasses at M St NE and L St NE in NoMa to permanently establish ‘no-tent zones.’ This planned action by DMHHS is inhumane and criminalizes homelessness.”
We are firmly against no-tent zones and eviction sweeps that criminalize and result in violence against our unhoused neighbors. Sign on to the letter here.
Invitation: Facilitation Training on Wednesday, October 6
From 7:30 to 9pm on Wednesday, October 6th, MDC DSA’s Political Education Workgroup will be hosting a virtual Facilitation Training. Those interested in participating in or facilitating political education discussions are invited to attend!
This training is for people interested in improving their skills as a meeting facilitator. The training will familiarize attendees with the skills to facilitate a successful discussion, including the principles of good facilitation, the purpose of having a facilitator, preparation needed to facilitate a good meeting, techniques for facilitating an online training and more. This training is oriented toward political education and is designed as a resource for fall 2021 and future reading groups — but the techniques covered in the training will apply across organizing work. Sign up here and see you there!
Publications Team Meeting — Monday, September 27
Ever wondered how this Weekly Update or our monthly Washington Socialist comes together? Join Metro DC DSA’s Publications Working Group on Monday, September 27 from 6 to 7:15pm.
We prepare the Weekly Update, the monthly Washington Socialist and other digital and physical content. We act as the reserve army of editors, writers and content creators that help MDC DSA and the broader DMV left for the purpose of advancing socialism in the DMV.
Interested in getting involved? Sign up for our next meeting here! Folks with all levels of experience with writing, organizing social media or organizing are invited to attend!
Rally in Adams Morgan opposes developers looking to rob public space from District residents — second mobilization Saturday (9/25) at 9am
On September 22, a rally in Adams Morgan convened to protest the shut-down of Adams Morgan Plaza — a famous community space in the neighborhood — by SunTrust/Truist Bank. Shutdown of the plaza would forcibly evict the unhoused folks who have lived there for years, and cut off a vital community space. Fencing was pushed back thanks to the quick mobilization from neighbors.
In the ’70s, neighbors had won the right for the plaza to be subject to a public use easement because the bank that owned the plaza at the time was engaging in redlining and predatory lending practices, among other travesties. An open court case leaves the plaza’s future in question as SunTrust, the bank that now controls the plaza — is trying to sell the space to real estate developers for a luxury apartment building.
If you’d like to join the fight against big banks and rapacious developers, show up to Adams Morgan Plaza tomorrow at 9am, where locals will be canceling their SunTrust/BB&T accounts and calling on the DC government to divest. You can also follow the campaign at the local coalition’s website.
Publications Schedule: The October Washington Socialist will be published Friday, October 1, with an article deadline of September 25 — tomorrow — so send your articles about fall plans for your campaign or WG to firstname.lastname@example.org to signal your socialist intentions and recruit for your cause. October Updates are scheduled for Fridays, October 8, 15, and 22, and the November issue of the Washington Socialist will be published Friday, October 29.
A reminder of what’s up in the newsletter, past as well as present: Here’s an example of our theme-oriented indexing, a wide range of opinions on how best to “do” socialism and build our movement. This is a real trove of curated opinions. 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 email@example.com with the heading “Slack access request” and use the email address by which national DSA knows you.
DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Going forward, we’ll be putting the National DSA and local DSA events into one Calendar list.
Friday, September 24
8 – 9pm | A Town Hall on Jamaal Bowman’s Green New Deal for Public Schools
(National DSA event)
National Educators United & the Democratic Socialists of America is holding a town hall featuring Professor Akira Drake Rodriguez, policy expert and co-author of the Green New Deal for Public Schools Act, in conversation with labor sociologist Eric Blanc, author of Red State Revolt.
Saturday, September 25
noon – 2pm | Maryland State Climate Priorities Focus Group
Sunday, September 26
5 – 6:30pm | Green New Deal for Public Schools Meeting (MDC DSA WG)
Monday, September 27
6 – 7:15pm | Publications WG Team Meeting
Tuesday, September 28
4 – 5pm | For A Just Global Recovery: Debt, Solidarity, and the Left Case for Special Drawing Rights
(DSA National International Committee)
7 – 8pm | Defund MPD Comms Meeting
Wednesday, September 29
6:30 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Research meeting
7 – 8:30pm | Workplace Organizing Workshop — September
Thursday, September 30
6 – 7:30pm | NoVA Cannabis Justice Meeting
6:30 – 8:30pm | Joint Steering/Campaigns Council Quarterly Meeting
Wednesday, October 6
7:30 – 9:30pm | Reading Group Facilitation Training
Sunday, October 10
5 – 6:30pm | Green New Deal for Public Schools Meeting MDC DSA WG
Monday, October 11
Saturday, September 25 — Mutual Aid Picnic | Food Not Bombs
Join Food Not Bombs and mutual aid allies at 1pm at Franklin Square Park for a day of community. Food Not Bombs asks that you bring vegan and vegetarian food (potluck style), drinks, blankets, and mutual aid donations. Wear black if possible.
Saturday, September 25 — Harvest | Plantita Power
Join Plantita Power at Femme Fatale DC (3409 Connecticut Ave NW) for their first fundraiser dinner supporting QTBIPOC food access in the DMV! This event is BIPOC only and will help raise funds towards direct support of Plantita Power’s community and our upcoming outreach efforts for Trans-Visibility Awareness Month. The two time slots available are 5:30 – 7pm and 7:30 – 9pm. Tickets are here.
Sunday, September 26 — I Read to My Plants | LibeReaders
Inspired by the work of the “I Rap to My Plants” project, this event by LibeReaders encourages reading for the benefit of your plants’ growth and your own! I Read to My Plants will be a creative space to enjoy plant-y things followed by a conversation about food justice. The discussion will start with the question: “How is abolition key to building food futures?” Check out LibeReaders’ social pages for requested donations, things you can bring to the party, etc. Wear earth tones if you’re feeling fall. Malcolm X Park, 2 – 5pm
Monday, September 27 — Redistricting Briefing | Empower DC
Join Empower DC for a briefing and discussion on redistricting with Samuel Rosen-Amy, Chief of Staff for Councilperson Elissa Silverman, who chairs the Subcommittee on Redistricting for the DC Council. Zoom meeting is from 6 to 7pm.
The Ban on Evictions is Ending; Know These Dates (and your rights!) | Bread for the City
Very important dates to be aware of for DC residents who may be facing eviction, know neighbors facing eviction or want to support those struggling with housing. Bread for the City has also kindly provided a quick guide to your housing rights on the same infographic.
Stop Criminalizing Unhoused Residents, Petition | Serve Your City & Ward 6 Mutual Aid
When DC denies housing and access to basic necessities for all, unhoused neighbors are forced onto the streets. Many neighbors who have found a home in tents are now being forcibly evicted as part of “clean up” operations. Stand with Serve Your City and reject this criminalization of our unhoused neighbors by signing the petition here.
GOOD READS / ESSENTIAL TRAFFIC
The American Prospect reports on Sinema’s strategy for sinking the Democrats’ reconciliation bill — a retread of the ’90s.
Some crucial parts of the PRO Act survive in the reconciliation bill, as this Yahoo News roundup indicates, thanks to the markup by the House Education and Labor Committee. Hope kept alive, thanks to the strategy that frames new enforcement tools for the NLRB as a way to raise money (“pay-fors”) through meaningful fines on corporate violators.
Here is new news, as well, from Labor Notes about the overall intersection of labor and climate activism precariously embedded in the reconciliation bill …
In These Times reports on the 2021 DSA Convention: “From August 1 – 8, 1,300 DSA delegates convened on Zoom to wade through procedural issues and unanimously pass a new national DSA platform. The platform includes, among other things, calls for defunding the police, legislation for reparations, ‘social ownership of all major industry and infrastructure,’ a four-day workweek, and the abolition of the Senate and the Electoral College.”
The Fall Democratic Left is out and ready for you to read; if you aren’t a DSA member in particular, this is a good place for you to see what’s going on because it will not arrive in the mail.
Panel on “Ending the War on Terror at Home” moderated by local DSA member Chip G, featuring local comrade and DSA NPC member Ashik S.
“A group of 10 Black women filed a class action lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police Department Wednesday claiming they experienced racial discrimination and sexual harassment while working for the department …” Plus, last week, MPD provided the District Council with a list of disciplinary actions against officers and supervisors from 2016 to 2020.
Biden taps fossil fuel industry puppet for key oversight role: Joe Biden’s nominee for the federal energy oversight body (FERC), Willie Phillips, has strenuously defended corporate power throughout his career, from his time as an aide to the climate-denying nativist Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) up to his present role as Pepco’s chief apologist on the DC utilities commission. Here in DC, Phillips rammed through the Pepco-Exelon merger, rubber-stamped Pepco’s pandemic price hike and gutted DC’s community solar rules to safeguard Pepco’s profits at the expense of our climate. Our chapter’s public power campaign, We Power DC, knows Phillips well and believes that Senate Democrats must dump him for all the reasons laid out in this devastating American Prospect article.
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.