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October 15, 2021
Students sit-in at Howard University — support fund organized
MDC DSA endorsement questionnaire + deadline
Infrastructure/reconciliation battles continue as “Striketober” rolls across country
Students stage takeover at Howard University — relief fund organized in support
On Wednesday night, Howard University (HU) students began a sit-in at the university’s Blackburn building in order to demand the administration address ongoing issues. The takeover has been organized by a range of student groups on campus — including the Howard U chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America — in order to demand action on a range of issues affecting students on campus.
Protester demands have been clear:
- In-person town hall with HU President Frederick and other administration officials
- Commit (in writing) to authorizing undergraduate and graduate voting representation on HU’s Board of Trustees
- Reinstate ALL Affiliate Trustee positions (students, faculty and alumni) onto the Board
- Meeting with student leadership outlining the administration’s plan to address the ongoing housing crisis faced by students at the university
Despite peaceful protest, Howard’s administration has deployed a number of sinister tactics in order to break the will of protesters: calling police on students, pulling fire alarms, cutting off air conditioning and Wi-Fi, locking students out of access to Blackburn Building and threatening expulsion from campus.
As students, allies, neighbors and alumni show up to provide support, Metro DC DSA has organized a fundraiser for the HU YDSA chapter in order to provide relief to HU students. DONATE HERE. All funds raised will go directly to the Howard YDSA.
MDC DSA Endorsement Questionnaire + Deadline
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.
An overview of our Metro DC DSA endorsement process has been added to the endorsements page of the chapter’s website.
Endorsement Questionnaires Received from Candidates
The Chapter’s Political Engagement Committee has received the following electoral endorsement questionnaires for the 2022 primary cycle.
- Saqib Ali, who is running for Maryland House of Delegates in District 15 (North Potomac, Poolesville, Clarksburg)
- Oye Owolewa, who is running for re-election as the Shadow US Representative for the District of Columbia
- Carleah Summers, who is running for Congress in Maryland’s Sixth Congressional district.
Chapter members are encouraged to contact other members who may be interested in co-sponsoring an endorsement resolution in support of these candidates. At least five chapter members are required to co-sponsor an endorsement resolution before that resolution can move forward in our endorsement process. Please coordinate with chapter members to organize for support of a candidate endorsement in the #electoral channel.
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)
Infrastructure/Reconciliation Battles Continue on Capitol Hill as “Striketober” rolls across the country
Congress is out in home districts this week and doing nothing, ostensibly, but the churn always exudes new news. A Politico account yesterday said Medicare expansion (dental, vision, hearing) was seriously threatened because of cost and its focus on less-impacted groups. Part of the Dem caucus divisions are taking this shape: either benefits for all, including middle-class suburbanites, or for more targeted, lower-income groups — with Manchin’s argument for means-testing getting some traction.
“Progressives are closing ranks behind Medicare expansion because it represents the best chance of getting a sliver of their ‘Medicare for All’ vision into law. But in the process, they’ve drawn criticism from fellow Democrats that the benefits would flow to the wealthy at the expense of poor people and communities of color on Medicaid, along with threats from health industry groups that it could raise seniors’ premiums,” the Politico article continued. “Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) is making the case that adding dental, vision and hearing benefits to traditional Medicare will address pressing health needs for seniors and yield political dividends for Democrats in the midterm elections.
“The message, which the lawmakers delivered on a Zoom call with White House officials last week, is being amplified by outside groups, including the Service Employees International Union, Indivisible and the Working Families Party. ‘We have no intention of backing down,’ Jayapal said on a call with advocates Tuesday night.”
Meanwhile, Hollywood TV and film crews, John Deere workers, Alabama coal miners, Nabisco workers, Kellogg workers, nurses in California and healthcare workers in Buffalo are all striking or have voted to strike in what left commentators are calling “Striketober.” Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich in The Guardian says, “You might say workers have declared a national general strike until they get better pay and improved working conditions,” speaking more generally of workers’ clear resistance to rejoining the workforce for the same bad pay and conditions in a more dangerous time.
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 started on October 9th. If you’d like to get involved, fill out the campaign volunteer form here. Top priority ask is the canvassing TOMORROW, October 16th.
DSA’s Food | Justice October meeting and mutual aid support next Monday, Oct 18 at 5:30pm
The Food | Justice working group was formed to collectively learn about agriculture with each other and in partnership with existing farms and gardens in the DMV, while working toward establishing a physical garden and shared community space. The working group’s next meeting will be held virtually Monday, Oct 18 at 5:30pm.
In addition to debriefs on working group operations, the meeting will also include discussion on how to support Stomp Out Slumlords in providing mutual aid support to tenants at the Woodmont Park (Alexandria), LaSalle Park (Hyattsville) and Marbury Plaza (DC) residential complexes. To learn more, you can attend the meeting next Monday, join the #food-justice channel on our chapter’s Slack (see Info Access below), or sign up for volunteer shifts directly through Food Justice DMV (a separate org local volunteers are planning to coordinate with).
International Solidarity — DSA support for two upcoming internationally focused events
Steering Committee action: At their Tuesday, October 12 meeting, the committee reassigned portfolios following the recent special election and endorsed two allied actions:
Stomp Out Slumlords anti-eviction canvassing this Saturday, Oct 16
Evictions are back in DC. More than 300 families are scheduled for eviction by the beginning of November, and today landlords can start taking tenants to court over unpaid rent again. The DSA’s favorite DC councilwoman is fighting back — but broader support is needed in order to stop the slew of evictions anticipated as pandemic eviction protections relapse.
MDC DSA’s Stomp Out Slumlords have resumed regular anti-eviction canvassing to educate tenants about their rights and connect with people who want to organize. The next canvass will be taking place this Saturday, October 16, and will be meeting at L’Enfant Plaza Metro (Maryland and 7th SW at 2pm). All interested in getting involved are invited to join.
DC Jobs with Justice “I’ll Be There” honors — Thursday, Oct 21 at 7pm
DC Jobs with Justice is a local coalition of community, labor and justice organizations of which Metro DC DSA is a proud member. On Thursday, October 21, JWJ will be hosting its annual “I’ll Be There” event to honor local activists and community organizations who have fought for working-class interests in the District. This year, JWJ will be honoring Maria Gomez of the community healthcare organization Mary’s Center; Aura Cruz Heredia of Sunrise Movement DC; the Washington Teachers Union; the Restaurant Opportunities Center; and Just Recovery DC campaign.
Publications Schedule: October’s final Update is scheduled for Friday, October 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. Article submission deadline for the November issue is Oct. 23; hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 multi-story look at our chapter’s deep history with the questions of single-payer health care and, now, Medicare for All. 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
Friday, October 15
Yael Bridge, the director of The Big Scary S Word documentary, will join the Montgomery County Branch for a Q&A session TONIGHT. Comrades from across the chapter and the region are invited to join.
Saturday, October 16
11am – 2pm | NoVA Branch Picnic and Button-Making Social!
Sunday, October 17
1 – 4pm | NoVA Tenant Organizing Canvass
Monday, October 18
5:30 – 6:30pm | Food | Justice WG Monthly Meeting
8 – 9pm | NoVA Branch Member Mobilizers
Wednesday, October 20
7 – 8pm | Defund NoVA PD Meeting
Thursday, October 21
5 – 6:30pm | NoVA Tenant Organizing Planning Meeting
7 – 8:30 | NoVA Branch Monthly Organizing Meeting
Friday, October 22
Sunday, October 24
5 – 6:30pm | Green New Deal for Public Schools Meeting
Monday, October 25
7 – 8:30pm | October Labor Working Group
Tuesday, October 26
7 – 8pm | Defund MPD Comms Meeting
7 – 9pm | Biweekly Steering Committee 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
Saturday, October 30
1 – 4pm | Reimagining Public Space Without the Police
What do we truly need to feel safe? Join members of MDC DSA at Alethia Tanner Park for a workshop to rethink how we can experience our city where everyone feels free of overpolicing and police abuse. Interested in volunteering for this workshop? Reach out to SelaLewis and Amanda L. (she/they) on our chapter’s Slack!
Sunday, October 31
Eviction — Know Your Rights! | DC Office of the Tenant Advocate
October 12 was the first day landlords in DC may file for eviction for tenants who had past due rent during the Public Health Emergency. Filing is not the same as an active eviction procedure, however. Also, there are several criteria landlords must meet first BEFORE they can file. Click here for a very helpful graphic from DC’s Office of the Tenant Advocate. Call their office at 202-719-6560 if you are at risk of eviction.
Plastic Mat Teach-In | Heal Da Homies
On Sunday, October 17 Heal Da Homies will be hosting a plastic mat making event at 1:00pm at Malcolm X Park. They will be teaching participants how to weave mats from recycled plastic bags to distribute to unhoused folks. They will also be hosting a teach-in about DC’s unjust history of interactions with the unhoused community. Materials, water, and snacks will be provided. Register here.
Reel and Meal Presents “PFAS Diaries” | Utopia Film Festival + PGC Peace & Justice Coalition
Monday, October 18 at 7pm, Reel and Meal presents “PFAS Diaries” — A series of documentary shorts details the effects of PFAS contamination. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been used at military installations throughout the country for decades as a constituent chemical for firefighting foam; they leach into our soil and water and are released into the air through incineration. Register here for remote access — Intro at 6:30pm; films begin at 7pm.
Community Build Day and Festival | Wangari Gardens
Saturday, October 23 from 10am to 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!
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
What’s the story with COVAX — what was its promise and origin, and why is it falling way short in getting Covid vaccines to poor nations? A huge exploration by STAT and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism finds the answers in its history.
No longer is it appropriate to view the Democrats and Republicans as Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dumb. The Republicans are now the party for dictatorship, and it is highly unlikely that there is a way for them to walk that back — an assessment from our local comrade Bill Fletcher in Organizing Upgrade via Portside.
Our comrade Larry Stafford, exdir of Progressive Maryland, has outlined the benefits to Baltimore (and by extension all urban areas) embedded in the BBB reconciliation bill — and argues for protecting it against the death of a thousand cuts. Commentary from Maryland Matters via the PM BlogSpace.
In the hands of people who are both marginalized and disingenuous, identity has been stripped of meaning and transformed into a rhetorical cudgel, alternately used to silence detractors and assume a kind of moral posture. I call this “Identity Fraud”: a knowing misuse of identity that primarily benefits those brazen enough to wield this maneuver. From Jenny G. Zhang in Gawker.
A revoltin’ development: “A Year after ‘Defund,’ Police get their Money Back” from the NYT.
Parsing the Parsimony Landscape: “Democrats have two choices: They can either cut out major planks of the [reconciliation] bill, or they can winnow each program down, making them skimpier and temporary to fit into the budget. If you only extend the child tax credit for five years and bet that in 2026 the government of the day will extend it again, that brings down the price tag substantially. But if you bet wrong, the tax credit ends.” That’s a Buzzfeed deepish-dive piece by Paul McLeod on what options everybody is mulling while lawmakers have been home this week, tipped by Politico Playbook.
“We have to decouple the economic benefits of homeownership from access to the bounty of social goods it currently guarantees for some.” In Public Books, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor talks about the activists bringing back public housing and how the future of the left must be a mutual project.
From Balls and Strikes: “Courts Are Making the Climate Crisis Worse: For decades, judges have relied on the formalities of legal process to avoid intervening in the climate crisis.”
“The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90% — And That’s Made the U.S. Less Secure.” From Time magazine of all places. Henry Luce, call your office. TX to our comrade Dave R.
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.