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October 8, 2021
MDC DSA General Body Meeting — This Sunday
DC Council passes resolution demanding Medicare for All
Reconciliation bill battle continues on Capitol Hill
MDC DSA General Body Meeting — This Sunday at 3pm
Our general body meetings convene all chapter members every month. Workgroups, caucuses, committees and leadership provide key updates on campaigns and other activities.
If you are a new or lapsed member, this is a great place to get plugged into our ongoing campaigns and mobilizations. If you’re not a member but interested in what the DSA’s been cooking up, these meetings are open to the public and a great place to learn about what we do.
DC Council passes resolution demanding Medicare for All
The DC Council passed the M4A resolution proposed by DSA + other allied groups, 11 – 1, with Vincent Gray (Ward 7) voting no and Council Chair Phil Mendelson abstaining. Before voting against it, Gray first attempted to commit the resolution to a hearing in the Health Committee which failed 11 – 2 (with only Gray and Pinto voting to refer) before the resolution itself passed with only Gray opposing. The resolution’s passage means DC joins neighboring PG County and Montgomery County in having local jurisdictions in demanding a federal Medicare for All program.
The legislation was introduced by Councilmember Christina Henderson and was the culmination of a broad coalition effort by local health advocacy groups, including Public Citizen, SPACES in Action, National Nurses United, SEIU Local 1199 and Metro DC DSA.
“The last 18 months have exposed longstanding inequities in our health systems, further placing an unjust burden on Black and Brown residents,” said Henderson. “This resolution urges Congress to act. The Affordable Care Act was a strong start, but now it’s time to go further and provide comprehensive access to health care regardless of employment status. It is past time we eliminate discriminatory barriers to health care in the United States.”
In addition to DC, Public Citizen’s resolution effort has helped more than 70 other cities and counties pass resolutions in support of Medicare for All, including Detroit, Philadelphia, Seattle, Los Angeles and New Orleans.
Reconciliation battle continues on Capitol Hill — protesters hound corporate Democrats
Negotiations over the reconciliation bill are continuing on Capitol Hill.
The reconciliation bill as negotiated by Democrats is a $3.5 trillion bill which would undoubtedly improve life for the American working class: it would make two years of community college free to every American; extend the child tax credits established in the COVID relief bill earlier this year until 2025; expand free lunches to students across the country; expand vision and dental care to medicare recipients; embark on restorative ecological justice; and it would incorporate elements of Rep. (and DSA member) Jamaal Bowman’s “Green New Deal for Public Schools” bill, which is a DSA national priority and continuation of the PRO Act campaign.
All of this is being held up by two senators — the cynical ultraleftist turned corporate pawn Kyrsten Sinema and working-class traitor Joe Manchin. Socialists moved to challenge Manchin in DC last week — interrupting a press gaggle, while constituents from West Virginia confronted him on his yacht later in the week. Meanwhile, socialists and immigration rights activists tracked down Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona, as activists again met up with Sinema as she landed back in DC earlier this week.
If you are interested in taking part in rapid response protests happening over the course of this fight, keep an eye on our #action-alert channel on Slack (not in our chapter’s Slack? Check out the Info Access section below).
Regardless of what happens, don’t forget that the fact this battle is happening at all is a demonstration of newfound organized power on the left. Allies have been applying acute pressure to political actors in the streets, a socialist is keeping the pace of negotiations in the Senate, while progressives are dictating terms in the House. It’s good evidence that leftists have demonstrated some ability to control popular political narratives through coordinated mass action.
Deadline for MDC DSA Electoral Endorsement — November 1, 2021
The deadline for candidate questionnaires will be November 1, 2021. Please share this deadline with any candidates interested in a Metro DC DSA endorsement in the 2022 primary cycle. This deadline will give chapter members sufficient time to review questionnaires and submit endorsement resolutions before our November General Body Meeting on November 14. Per our chapter’s by-laws, five chapter members must submit a resolution in support of the candidate to be considered for an endorsement by the full body. After a first read at the November General Body Meeting, the chapter membership will hear from candidates during the 2021 convention in December and vote on endorsements via OpaVote.
To submit an endorsement questionnaire or to ask any questions, email email@example.com. Chapter members can also message the Political Engagement Committee members on Slack with questions: @irene (she/her) (Chair), @Abel A, @Brian W. (he/him), @amortell and @Nicole Z (she/her).
The Political Engagement Committee has received its first completed endorsement questionnaire for the 2022 cycle from Saqib Ali, who is running for the Maryland House of Delegates in the 15th district (North Potomac, Poolesville, Clarksburg). Read his endorsement questionnaire here.
Greenbelt Reparations Referendum
The City Council of Greenbelt has passed a resolution creating a referendum question on this November’s election on whether to create a 21-member commission to review, discuss and make recommendations related to local reparations for African American and Native American residents of Greenbelt, Maryland.
The City of Greenbelt has historically enforced racially discriminatory housing policies as part of the FHA program — the legacy of which is still apparent in Greenbelt’s de facto segregation along racial lines — and the city’s Black residents continue to face the effects of racism.
DSA’s 2021 National Platform directly demands the passage of reparations legislation due to the legacy of white supremacy in the United States and its relationship to the development of capitalism in European colonies. Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America stands in support of the proposed creation of the Reparations Commission in the City of Greenbelt. Read the endorsement here.
The election (and voting on this referendum) is on November 2nd but early voting starts October 9th — tomorrow. If you’d like to get involved, fill out the campaign volunteer form here. Top priority ask is the canvassing on October 16th.
DC Government harrasses unhoused residents, plus other legislative updates
During the destruction of a houseless encampment at an L St. NE underpass, a DC lifter hit someone still inside their tent. In response, Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau released a statement that begins: “One of the reasons that we do not disassemble encampments is because there are risks involved. There are risks involved in asking people to move all of their belongings and risks involved in forcibly removing people from their home.” Councilmembers are facing pressure to pause encampment clearings, and several have released similar statements; read more coverage at Washington City Paper.
This issue is just one battle in a larger political front that is aiming to make DC a saner place to live for the city’s working class. Over the last week, the progressive leaning city council has been passing and introducing legislation that protects residents and expands social services provided by the city:
- Charles Allen (Ward 6) reintroduced his Metro for DC bill, which would give DC residents $100 a month on a SmarTrip card and dedicate $10 million annually to better bus service in underserved communities.
- The Protecting Our Children Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 passed this week with some modifications. Find the link to full legislative text here. Among other changes, the legislation adds 350 virtual option slots, requires schools to notify parents of COVID cases in students’ classrooms, and expands school testing to 20%.
- Councilmember Janeese Lewis George successfully moved an amendment that extends the foreclosure moratorium until February 4, 2022.
In case you missed it — October edition of the Washington Socialist
We released the October edition of our monthly publication, Washington Socialist, just last week. Here’s what we’ve got this month:
- On Actual Freedom: Examining the Revaluation of Value in Martin Hägglund’s ‘This Life‘ —Amanda Liaw
- China and the Left: A Report from the People’s Forum —Ryan Mosgrove
- To Leave the Impact Behind, District Educators Should Let Go of Merit Pay —Dylan Craig
- From Austin to Afghanistan: Outrages Against Democracy —Bill Mosley
- Police Brutality, Gentrification and the Thin Blue Line: Rest in Power An’twan Gilmore —The Washington Revolutionary
Publications Schedule: Updates are scheduled for Friday, October 15 and 22 — 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.
Sunday, October 10
3 – 5pm | General Body Meeting | October
5 – 6:30pm | Green New Deal for Public Schools Meeting
Monday, October 11
Tuesday, October 12
7 – 8pm | Defund MPD Comms Meeting
Wednesday, October 13
6:30 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Research Meeting
6:30 – 8pm | Virtual Game Night, hosted by NoVA Branch
Thursday, October 14
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Executive Meeting
Sunday, October 17
Monday, October 18
8 – 9pm | NoVA Branch Member Mobilizers
Wednesday, October 20
Thursday, October 21
7 – 8:30 | NoVA Branch Monthly Organizing Meeting
Friday, October 22
Sunday, October 24
5 – 6:30pm | Green New Deal for Public Schools meeting
Wednesday, October 27
6:30 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Research Meeting
7pm | October Workplace Organizing Workshop (MDC DSA Labor WG)
Thursday, October 28
8 – 9:30pm | BDS & Palestine Solidarity Campaign
The Criminalization of Poverty and Homelessness | Black Knowledge Coalition + Ward 2 Mutual Aid
Sunday, October 10 from 2 – 3:30pm at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Learn about and discuss the institutional design that creates poverty (and then persecutes it) and how it relates to the criminalization of Black people. This will be an in-person discussion focused on the criminalization of poverty and homelessness.
Transformative Justice Picnic + Mini Retreat | Sunrise Movement DC
Sunday, October 10 at 3pm, Grove 9 in Rock Creek Park. Join the Sunrise DC Transformative Justice team for a picnic and mini-retreat where neighbors will be building community, discussing transformative justice (TJ) and abolition, learning how we can make TJ part of our everyday lives and eating good food. All are welcome!
Community Build Day and Festival | Wangari Gardens
Saturday, October 23 from 10am-4pm at Wangari Gardens. Gardeners and nature-lovers of all ages can participate! Meet up with the Food | Justice group, who will be there volunteering to make improvements to Wangari Gardens. There will also be BBQ, music, games, crafts, vendors and more!
HIPS DC is Looking for New Leaders!
If you have the desire to support the marginalized, are passionate about sex worker rights and believe drug users deserve resources for better health and well-being, maybe a role on the HIPS Board of Directors is right for you! HIPS is looking for people to lend their time and energy to champion their mission, spread the word to their networks, support staff activities and provide counsel to the Executive Director. Click here to find out more about the HIPS DC board and learn how to apply.
Building Capacity for Mutual Aid Groups | Dean Spade with Barnard Center for Research on Women
Dean Spade is facilitating this multi-session series on building capacity for mutual aid groups. Topics covered include group culture, capacity and overwork; decision-making; giving and receiving feedback; and what leadership looks like in mutual aid groups.
GOOD READS / ESSENTIAL TRAFFIC
Unlike many in the MSM chattering class, the WaPo’s Perry Bacon Jr. sees clearly what Jayapal and the Progressive Caucus did this week. They stayed together. And they won.
From Boston Review via Portside: “From Revolution to Reformism: Leaders of the left abandoned the language of transformation in the 1980s — at a cost. Can it be regained?”
“Infrastructure in a monopoly-dominated economy is not just about money, it’s about who governs.” Matt Stoller writes about the Congressional debate over “infrastructure” in his newsletter, BIG, about the politics of monopoly.
Lest we forget: “Trashing the planet and hiding the money isn’t a perversion of capitalism. It is capitalism. Exploiting people, exploiting land, and keeping its ugly side secret. Its historical effects are all too recognizable in the Pandora papers now.” From George Monbiot in The Guardian.
Somehow, striking anywhere in the world from “over the horizon” doesn’t sound exactly like “defense.” Norm Solomon notes that the deceptive definition “defense budget” masks a violent history (after all, till 1947 it was the War Department). Noted by our comrade Dave R.
A chunk of the difficult argument: “Averting Afghanistan’s Economic and Food Crises” — The Taliban’s cruelties are horrendous, but withholding international support and maintaining blanket sanctions will only hurt the long-suffering Afghan people, says the author, who is Asia Advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. From Foreign Policy in Focus.
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.