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October 1, 2021
Reconciliation fight intensifies on Capitol Hill — MDC DSA joins the fray
IATSE — Film and television workers’ union prepares for strike vote
Message from MDC DSA Steering on recent Steering Committee election
Reconciliation fight intensifies on Capitol Hill — MDC DSA joins the fray
Check one box — the House and Senate have voted to dodge a government shutdown.
The House is heading for a vote on the “bipartisan” infrastructure bill and the Progressive Caucus is holding solid — no reconciliation, no vote. The fight in many ways will determine the future of Biden’s agenda — without passage of the reconciliation bill, it’s likely that many of the big changes needed to course correct the country away from capital will be stalled indefinitely. DSA also has skin in the game — the Green New Deals for Public Schools bill, introduced by Rep Bowman, is intended to be passed with the reconciliation package.
On the big $3.5T reconciliation BBB bill, the biggest problem for Biden has apparently been not getting topline numbers (that is, less than $3.5T) that would get their votes from Sens. Manchin and Sinema. Business Insider apparently has a topline number from Manchin ($1.5T), and Politico leaked his (quite self-serving) conditions, so only Sinema remains an enigma — PLUS our local comrade Max S has hit the e-pages of In These Times just today (9/30) with the latest on the stakes, the BS and the whole rumble of renewed austerity-mania (see Manchin, Joe III) that is overhanging the debate and must be resisted in the street, however we define it.
As seen in the New York Times, DSA members turned out on Thursday, along with an alliance of progressive and labor solidarity groups, to make sure Capitol Hill understands that there can be no reconciliation. And here is a video of the protests by MDC DSA and Code Pink at Manchin’s press gaggle tweeted by Bryan Metzger @metzgov.
No facts will escape being changed by the time this hits your inbox Friday morning, but we are doing our best and expect the same of you, comrades. In the meantime, brace for impact…
He said to the fireman
Boy, you’d better jump
Cause there are two locomotives
And they’re bound to bump
—Pete Seeger, “Ballad of Casey Jones”
Democratic Socialist Labor Commission calls for labor solidarity in potential IATSE strike
Members of IATSE — the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees — are preparing for a potential strike across the film and television industries. Citing brutal conditions like 15+ hour days, inadequate rest periods or meal breaks, and unlivable wages for the lowest paid members, IATSE members are fired up and ready to fight back. Several employers in the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) now include streaming services run by massive corporations like Amazon and Apple. These tech giants even get away with paying lower rates than the traditional studios, arguing they deserve a break as “new media.” We don’t buy it and neither do the 60,000 IATSE members gearing up to strike!
The DSA’s Labor Commission has identified a few ways to help:
- Sign the petition to the AMPTP.
- Follow @ia_stories on Twitter and Instagram. Share their posts using the hashtag #iasolidarity.
- If you’re a DSA member who’s also in IATSE, fill out this form to connect with other IATSE members and get organized.
- And if you’re an IATSE member who’s behind on dues, fill out this form for a member to member mutual aid fund so you can vote!
Contact email@example.com if you have any questions about how to support IATSE.
Message from MDC DSA Steering on recent Steering Committee election
Two weeks ago, the MDC DSA steering committee discovered that two comrades violated our Code of Conduct. To address this situation and develop a path toward accountability, the chapter Steering Committee collectively wrote and unanimously adopted a resolution at the Steering Committee meeting this past Tuesday, September 28. If you have any questions, please reach out to the Steering Committee on Slack in the #steering channel or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. One or more of us is usually around to field questions.
A link to the full resolution text can be found here.
In this month’s Washington Socialist …
Merit pay — an alluring, kitschy term that is surreptitiously used by neoliberals to market a monetary “reward” for DC public school educators. But it has a dark side that can diminish teachers’ autonomy while fully handing power over to administrators. If DC Educators Want to Leave the IMPACT Evaluation Behind, We Must Also Let Go of Merit Pay —Dylan Craig
August 25, 2021. Early morning before the sun rose, An’Twan Gilmore was shot dead by MPD for falling asleep in his car and then being startled awake as police officers surrounded his vehicle, guns ablaze. The MPD attempted to spin lies by once again blaming the victim, but a phone video surfaced to show what really unfolded. Police Brutality, Gentrification and the Thin Blue Line: Rest in Power An’Twan Gilmore —Guest post from The Washington Revolutionary
Capitalism encompasses every aspect of our lives. And as most democratic socialists know, capitalism is not working for us. But how can we restructure our society and economy to potentially change our world? Perhaps it starts with defining and measuring value. On Actual Freedom: Examining the Revaluation of Value in Martin Hägglund’s This Life —Amanda Liaw
The US’s interest in curbing China’s global reach may seem new, but it in fact spans back to Obama’s presidency when the administration at the time began to ramp up military flexing power around China. Trump continued to grow this imperialist policy and Biden has gone further. China and the Left: A Report from the People’s Forum —Ryan Mosgrove
Gerrymandering, voter suppression and abortion restrictions: a minority imposing its political will against the greater populace. This is something the Texas governor and Taliban currently have in common. From Austin to Afghanistan: Outrages Against Democracy —Bill Mosley
Power Grid 101 with We Power DC — Thursday, October 7
We all love electricity! But where does it come from? What is this mysterious thing called “the grid” and — just as important — who owns it? Join WePower DC Thursday, October 7 at 7pm for a primer on the exciting world of electricity, and learn not just how it’s made, but how this important public good has been captured by private companies. We’ll be discussing how these monopolies came to be and the alternatives that exist for a democratically controlled, green grid that puts people over profits. Register here.
Updates from the MDC DSA Labor Working Group — next meeting Monday, October 25th
Fairfax is looking to be the next locality in Northern Virginia to enact a collective bargaining ordinance for public workers! This would expand the right to bargaining to firefighters, librarians, parks staff, sanitation and more. If you live in Fairfax County or nearby and especially if you are a public employee, you can sign up to testify here or at least email the Board of Supervisors. There will also be a rally on Tuesday, October 5th at 3pm at the Fairfax County Government Center.
The next monthly general meeting will be on Monday, October 25th. We’ll welcome the new chairs and dive into the work that remains for the year. RSVP here.
Stop Maryland Evictions: Sleepout Action in Annapolis, MD, TODAY
Tenants facing eviction across Maryland have been left without any protections following the expiration of Governor Hogan’s state of emergency/eviction protection and the CDC order. Thousands of tenant families across the state are on the verge of eviction. CASA, Baltimore DSA, Renters United Maryland and several other organizations are joining together TODAY, October 1, for a sleepout action to call on Governor Hogan to implement protections for renters and the Maryland legislature to pass tenant protections next session. The event starts with a rally at 6pm at Lawyer’s Mall in Annapolis, then continues overnight at St. Anne’s Parish (Church Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401) until 9:30am, Saturday, October 2.
Jobs with Justice Eleanor Roosevelt (Virtual) Awards Celebration — Wednesday, October 6
Jobs with Justice reminds us: “We are just ONE WEEK AWAY from our 2021 Eleanor Roosevelt (Virtual) Awards Celebration, and NOW is the time to get your tickets. We’re starting the 2021 Eleanor Roosevelt Awards Celebration LIVE at 8pm on Wednesday, October 6. It’s going to be a spectacular event, where we can gather together from the comforts of home and join in a joyous celebration of the leaders, visionaries and champions of our movement.”
If you haven’t purchased tickets yet, they’re available here, but don’t wait — we’re starting the 2021 Eleanor Roosevelt Awards Celebration LIVE at 8pm ET on Wednesday, October 6.
The eviction moratorium is over, but Stomp Out Slumlords is still fighting back
DC resumed evictions on September 13; Maryland and Virginia did the same when the Supreme Court struck down the national eviction moratorium weeks earlier. More than 300 DC households are scheduled to be evicted between now and November.
Stomp Out Slumlords, DSA’s tenant organizing project, has been fighting against evictions throughout the pandemic, and we’re not done fighting. Landlords and their cronies pushed for an end to local eviction moratoriums, but we beat them. When the government dragged its feet distributing hundreds of millions in federal rent relief, we kept up the pressure until money started going to the families who needed it. Dozens of volunteers from the DSA helped hundreds of tenants navigate the STAY DC program and get their rent paid off.
In September, we resumed our regular anti-eviction canvassing efforts to educate people at risk of eviction about their rights and prepare them to resist. We have helped tenants get lawyers and rental assistance and marched on landlords to get their rent evictions canceled. We’re going to keep canvassing, and we need your help! Our next canvass is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday evening in Northwest DC. On Saturday, October 9 we will also be convening a tenant assembly to discuss the direction of our work as evictions resumes. If you’re interested in getting involved in our work, please email us to get plugged in: email@example.com . You can follow SOS on Twitter to keep plugged in to SOS’ ongoing activities, or read reports published throughout the last year on SOS’ blog.
NoVA Branch Picnic — next Saturday, October 9th at 11am
Oct. 9th at 11am, NoVA Branch is having an outdoor “picnic”/button-making social. The event will be held at James S. Long Park in Haymarket. Fill out this survey to let us know if you’re interested in participating! We will be following all the safety protocols necessary.
Publications Schedule: Updates are scheduled for October 8, 15 and 22 — all Fridays of course — and the November issue of the Washington Socialist goes up on the boards Friday, October 29, in time to remind you to stock up on sugary All Hallows Eve blessings for the trick or treaters.
A reminder of what’s up in the newsletter: here’s the October issue of our monthly publication, the Washington Socialist, and here’s an example of our theme-oriented indexing, a deep dive into our work with allies to raise restaurant worker wages and end the tipped-wage subminimum scam. That battle will resume in 2022 with a new initiative and holding faithless DC Council members accountable for their betrayal, so get steeped in that sorry history. 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.
DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Going forward, we’ll be putting the National DSA and local DSA events into one Calendar list.
Friday, October 1
Sunday, October 3
1 – 4pm | NoVA Tenant Organizing Canvass
Note: event is in-person; see signup for location
2 – 4:30pm | MoCo DSA October Branch Meeting
Monday, October 4
Wednesday, October 6
7:30 – 9:30pm | Reading Group Facilitation Training
8pm | Sidewalk Socialism in Somerville (National DSA event)
This upcoming November, Boston DSA has the chance to elect seven DSA members, a socialist majority, on Somerville (Mass.) City Council.
Sunday, October 10
5 – 6:30pm | Green New Deal for Public Schools Meeting
Monday, October 11
Wednesday, October 13
Wednesday, October 20
Sunday, October 24
5 – 6:30pm | Green New Deal for Public Schools meeting
Wednesday, October 27
7pm | October Workplace Organizing Workshop (MDC DSA Labor WG)
Thursday, October 28
8 – 9:30pm | BDS & Palestine Solidarity Campaign
The Price You Pay: Straight Talk About Climate Change & Environmental Injustice | DC Office of People’s Council
On Saturday, October 16 from 10am to 1pm, learn about climate change and higher utility costs, environmental injustice in communities of color and the electric vehicle revolution! Andy Shallal facilitates.
Labor Solidarity Picnic | AFSCME Local 1072 & United Students Against Sweatshops
On Friday, October 8 from 11am to 1pm at Hornbake Plaza, University of Maryland College Park, AFSCME Local 1072 and United Students Against Sweatshops will host a Labor Solidarity Picnic for campus workers. Prepare to have a good time as there will be free food, music and speakers. After you register, we’ll email you a link to a collaborative playlist if you’re interested in adding songs to be played at the event.
Keep Casa Ruby’s Remaining Beds Open | Casa Ruby
Casa Ruby is currently raising money on GoFundMe to continue some of its emergency shelter services after DC’s Department of Human Services decided not to renew a grant for the nonprofit, dedicated to LGBTQ+ youth, to run an emergency low-barrier shelter for people experiencing homelessness.
Support the Douglass Community Land Trust | SW DC Action
As Coy McKinney, member of SW DC Action, told the Washington City Paper, “Southwest has been bombarded with a lot of development and a lot of that development has been majority market rate.” Now, the Douglass Community Land Trust and SW DC Action are working to turn government-owned land into community-controlled property that can serve as permanently affordable housing and/or commercial space for local businesses. Learn more and sign their petition.
Our comrade (and prolific analyst of radical perspectives on climate) Andy Feeney is a regular near Congressional office buildings/adjacent Metro stops especially during high-traffic times to remind visitors, staff and officials that climate catastrophe does not sleep, so why should they? If you want to join him at this essential work (and spell him while he answers the call of jury duty mid-October to mid-November) you can check in with him at 248-558-0610.
GOOD READS / ESSENTIAL TRAFFIC
Our local DMV comrade Bill Fletcher tackles the question of international oppression, how to parse the role(s) of imperialism and the incomplete analysis that may have put the Left in disarray on the question. From CounterPunch.
So pungent it was picked up from The Guardian by the NiemanLab Digest: “Has Mark Zuckerberg’s total control of Facebook turned into a liability?”
A fascism-enabling Fox News commentator promotes his own book on-air, blaming his notion of “Marxism” for US decline, and gets (surprise!) lots of traction and sales among the faithful. Several comrades have touted Benjamin Balthasar’s skeptical review-essay in Jacobin of Mark Levin’s American Marxism as a remedy: “Mark Levin wants a New Red Scare”
Writing in CounterPunch, Steve Early reviews three important recent books on the nature and future of work by Sarah Jaffe, Eyal Press and Jamie McCallum. Via Portside.
On the resurging interest in worker co-ops: Mother Jones documents co-ops in six regions of the country.
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.