October 22, 2021

October 22, 2021



  • Update on Reconciliation Bill

  • “Striketober” Continues to Build Momentum

  • Endorsement Questionnaires Received from Candidates

Update on Reconciliation Bill

On Wednesday night, Bernie Sanders took to online streaming platforms — joined by Rep AOC, Pastor William Barber II and others — to go over what’s in the damn bill. The virtual rally came as press breaks over the last week have all but confirmed a narrowing of the Build Back Better bill’s scope. Though socialists and progressives might be eager to believe that “something” is better than nothing, without expanded spending on clear prerogatives the bill could leave the US in a worse position on climate.

From POLITICO Playbook Thursday am: For most of the year, mainstream media coverage has focused on portraying Biden as FDR, but the current phase of lowered expectations has reporters reaching for LBJ analogies, a president “paring back his ambitions” as he plays the roles of “a mediator, a listener and at times an exasperated negotiator.” Sen. Joe Manchin, former college quarterback and perennial hot dog, told reporters Thursday afternoon he didn’t think negotiators (“they” not “we”) would get a framework for the reconciliation bill together by the Hallowe’en deadline.

“It’s hard not to notice that the major changes to Biden’s sweeping policies are coming from the kind of corporate interests he promised to tame,” the POLITICO gaggle observed. “Drugmakers are scuttling his health care promises, coal and natural gas interests are neutering his climate goals, and corporate America [with Sen. Sinema’s help] is rebelling against his tax hike.”

“Striketober” Continues to Build Momentum

Workers and students across the country are continuing to fight for fair treatment and living wages as Striketober energy builds. Many analysts are pondering if labor is “having a moment,” but we socialists know that supporting labor and the working class needs to be an every day, every moment kind of thing. Locally, our comrades at Howard University are hosting a sit-in-style protest to demand provision of housing, representation on the school’s board of trustees and myriad other health/safety concerns. Nationwide, strikes are taking place across numerous industries from healthcare to farm machinery. 

A request to all urban comrades — please take an extra beat this Striketober to consider how you can learn more about, ally with and support rural and peri-urban strikers like those at John Deere (over 10,000 workers striking nationwide in states including Illinois, Kansas and Iowa) and Kellogg (1,400 workers in plants across Michigan, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Nebraska). Whenever you can stand with striking workers or students, try to find out if they have organized a strike fund. Strikes are hard on workers and their families and can stretch on for months or even years. Your support can help them keep their families fed while they hold the line.

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
  • Max Socol, who is running for Maryland State Senate in District 18 (Silver Spring, Wheaton, Kensington, Chevy Chase)
  • Adam Cunningham, who is running for Maryland State Senate in District 39 (Germantown, Montgomery Village)

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 on Slack.

Completed endorsement questionnaires must be emailed to pec@mdcdsa.org by November 1, 2021, for consideration for the 2022 primary cycle. For more information, see the endorsements page on the chapter website.


Socialist Night School back in session

The new semester of Socialist Night School resumes Monday, November 8 — see details in MDC DSA Calendar and Info Access sections.

Reinforcements needed for mutual aid operations in the DMV

Three complexes where Stomp Out Slumlords organizes are seeking mutual aid assistance. We are looking for volunteer coordinators and drivers who can help build out our mutual aid network. You can sign up here!

Mutual aid strengthens our organizing efforts. Mutual aid distribution provides an opportunity for tenants and tenant leaders to speak with and organize their neighbors. Mutual aid builds solidarity between tenants and relieves people’s material needs. And mutual aid is a great way to get to know your neighbors and region.

Recently, it’s been difficult to organize as many mutual aid drives as intended. SOS gets the majority of food from a volunteer group called Food Justice DMV (different from DSA’s Food | Justice working group), which only offers pickups for a couple of hours a few days a week. Many tenant leaders who were unemployed or underemployed are now working five or six days a week and can no longer pick up food. This is where you come in! If you can drive supplies from Food Justice DMV’s pickup sites to the complexes where mutual aid drives are being held, we would be able to have these events more regularly, and our organizing would deepen.

Please fill out this form (linked again here) if you can help drive supplies to buildings or if you can help coordinate the pickup schedule.


Decriminalize Poverty campaign launch

The DC Decriminalize Poverty Coalition is a grassroots advocacy coalition spearheaded by the Drug Policy Alliance and HIPS DC that is committed to decriminalizing poverty by working to end stigma, violence, criminalization and other forms of oppression. Metro DC DSA is a proud member of the coalition.

Last Thursday, the coalition formally launched its campaign that is calling on the DC council to decriminalize the possession of all drugs, provide for expungement and resentencing of past drug possession arrests and convictions, and fund a 24-hour harm reduction center where people can access critical health and overdose prevention services. You can send notice to the DC council urging adoption of these policy calls here. Additionally, you can learn more about the Decriminalize Poverty campaign here.


Veterans for Socialism study group meeting Sunday, Oct 24

The Veterans Section will be hosting a study group on The Socialist Manifesto by Bhaskar Sunkara. The readings are mandatory for participation. Read up to page 33, Part 1. Sundays, starting on 10/24 from 1 to 1:45pm. We are doing a deep dive with no time limit. Meetings will be short and everyone will pick a sentence or paragraph to talk about. All are welcome to join!

Reimagining Public Space Without the Police — next Saturday, Oct 30

What do we truly need to feel safe? Join members of MDC DSA at Alethia Tanner Park in DC 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.

Garden Space at Upshur Community garden — tilling this Sunday, Oct 24, at 11am

Following outreach from our local Food | Justice WG, Metro DC DSA will be maintaining a 15×20 plot at Upshur Community Garden in DC. The space is roughly 15×20 and will be used for gleaning/donating to Ward 4 mutual aid. Because winter is setting in, the plot needs to be prepared for winter gardening ASAP. DSA members will be working on the plot this Sunday, Oct 24, starting a little after 11am. Folks of all experience levels are welcome to attend (look for folks in red — socialists aren’t that hard to find in the wild) and folks can find more info in our #food-justice channel on Slack.

Prince George’s branch joins allies in denouncing county council’s neolib power grab in redistricting map changes

Progressive groups in Prince George’s are pushing back hard in coalition against the introduction of a self-serving alternative county council redistricting map that drastically shifts boundaries in a transparent, undemocratic attempt to exclude progressive challengers to incumbents or open seats in the 2022 election. The neolib core of the Council voted 6 – 4 last week to abruptly insert its own scheme to overturn a map with minimal changes submitted by the county’s own appointed redistricting commission. Tweaks to the new map Tuesday of this week failed to ease the controversy. Members on the losing side continued to cry foul and progressives, including PGDSA members, plan to pack the virtual November 16 public hearing, including with written testimony.

In discussion at Wednesday night’s GBM, the PGDSA branch agreed to draft a standalone statement as well as join with progressive forces to oppose the power grab, which features some of the same retro Council members (notably Derrick Leon Davis of Dist. 6) who have loudly taken sides in the county’s ongoing battle between progressives elected to the school board and appointed members who are carrying water for both the Council’s conservative Democratic machine and their ally, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. A petition by PG Changemakers pushes back on the new map and its clear undemocratic intent.

P.S. The GBM also welcomed the newest branch Steering Committee member, Emily F, elected by acclamation.

Rally to Vaccinate the World and End the Pandemic — Thursday, Oct 28

On October 28, join a coalition of activists, including Metro DC DSA, at McPherson Square at 4pm to put pressure on the Biden administration and ensure that we enact a real plan to vaccinate the world and end the pandemic. Biden currently has no plan to vaccinate the world and, at the current pace, millions of people in the Global South will not get access to the vaccine for years. The world needs 11 billion vaccines and we simply do not have that as of yet. Big Pharma has thus far resisted the international call for a TRIPS Waiver at the WTO and, despite the Biden administration’s announcement of support for the waiver in May, the US has done nothing to push for the waiver. Join us in calling for the administration to make good on its promise.

MDC DSA Labor WG: New co-chairs elected; October meeting set

Welcome to the New Chairs!

One candidate per position accepted their nomination, so we can declare each candidate as elected by acclamation. The newly elected candidates will fill the roles of Working Group Chair, Worker Organizing Chair, Solidarity Chair and Education Chair.

Congrats to the new working group leaders! There was no nominee for the Communications role, so that position is still open. If you are interested in the Communications Chair position (here are the roles and responsibilities), please reach out to the LWG. 

Labor Working Group Meeting — Monday, October 25th

Reminder to RSVP for the next general LWG. We’ll welcome the new chairs, go over current work and plan for the coming year.

Unionize in the Charm City! Sunday, October 24

Greater Baltimore DSA is hosting a catered picnic in Pearlstone park followed by a workshop at Red Emma’s on how to form a union with your coworkers. We believe it is important to empower each other with the skills to grow the Labor Movement from the bottom up, even as we’re fighting for labor law reform through legislation like the PRO Act. RSVP and workshop details here! (Shout out to the Baltimore-area socialists clicking around in these weeklies — we know you’re out there).

Donate to our local YDSA chapters!

Please donate to our YDSA General Fund, which will be distributed equitably among the 11+ YDSA chapters in the Metro DC region. Most are just (re)starting and need a boost to launch their campaigns and recruit new dues-paying members! We hope to give a monthly payment to each chapter, at $100 per university and $50 per high school — so please give generously and even make a recurring commitment.

As the YDSA Liaisons, we can attest that these young people are incredibly sincere and dedicated to our cause, even as they juggle studies and personal life. Please donate here to invest in the future of our movement!


Publications Schedule: This is October’s final Update and the November issue of the Washington Socialist goes up on the boards Friday, October 29, in time for the Haunted House Ride that the reconciliation bill increasingly promises to be. Article submission deadline for the November issue is October 23; hit us up at thesocialist@mdcdsa.org

What belongs in the Washington Socialist? Find out via our Topic Hub.

MDC DSA’s acclaimed Socialist Night School begins a new semester Monday, November 8 | 5:30 – 7:30pm | MDC DSA Socialist Night School — What Is Socialism?

For our first session, we’ll tackle the question of socialism. While everyone is welcome, this session is designed for newer members and those who are relatively new to socialism. The session will be led by Socialist Night School co-organizer David Kaib. 

During the years MDC DSA’s Socialist Night School has enriched the local chapter’s understanding of where we are coming from and what we do every day as socialists, a deep archive on a wide variety of issues has developed and is handily indexed here on our website with some critical episodes transcribed. Dive in, and share it with not-yet-comrades who are curious about DSA.

Missing out on good socialist chatter? Paid-up DSA members can email info@mdcdsa.org, headed “Slack access request,” and use the email address by which national DSA knows you.


Friday, October 22

6pm | Farmer Steve’s Oktoberfest

Sunday, October 24

1 – 4pm | Veterans for Socialism Reading Group

5 – 6:30pm | Green New Deal for Public Schools Meeting

Monday, October 25 

7 – 8:30pm | October Labor Working Group

7 – 8:30pm | Medicare for All Working Group Biweekly Meeting

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)

8 – 9pm | Why You Should Join DSA/New Member Orientation

Thursday, October 28

8 – 9pm | Defund MPD Biweekly Organizational Outreach Meeting

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

5 – 6:30pm | Green New Deal for Public Schools Organizing Committee Meeting

Monday, November 8

5:30 – 7:30pm | MDC DSA Socialist Night School — What Is Socialism?

For our first session of the new semester of Socialist Night School, we’ll tackle the question of socialism. While everyone is welcome, this session is designed for newer members and those who are relatively new to socialism. The session will be led by Socialist Night School co-organizer David Kaib.


STAY DC Support is Ending!

DC’s fund to help tenants struggling to make rent and facing eviction, STAY DC, will stop accepting applications on October 27. If you or someone you know is behind on rent, can’t cover future rent, or owe utilities, apply ASAP before the fund closes! Organizers from Cancel the Rents are holding an emergency rally at Mayor Bowser’s residence on October 24 at 1pm to demand the fund stay open and funded.

How to Get Your Cash — Do You Qualify for Child Tax Credits? | Mother’s Outreach Network

On October 26 at 7pm, Mother’s Outreach Network is holding a free clinic for DMV parents interested in claiming the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, Keep Child Care Affordable Tax Credit, or Homeowner Renter Property Tax Credit. One-on-one advice will be available at the end of the zoom workshop, and Spanish language interpretation will be provided.

Gearing Up for Winter, Mutual Aid Support Needed

As the weather gets colder, many mutual aid groups will need to ramp up their fundraising so they can provide essentials like warm clothing, tents, and funds for indoor shelter. Please consider donating to these or any other local mutual aid organizations if you are able: Total Liberation Collective, Remora House, Ward 4 Mutual Aid/Unhoused Advocacy 

Looking for Volunteers | Ward 4 Mutual Aid

Ward 4 Mutual Aid is looking for more volunteers in all aspects! Help with grocery delivery, unhoused advocacy, answering the hotline/emails, fundraising, social media and more. Some volunteering opportunities can be done remotely.

Mayor Bowser Should Join Mayors for a Guaranteed Income

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the economic divisions in American society. Mayors of several cities, including Atlanta, have signed up to work towards a guaranteed minimum income. Guaranteed Income, also known as Universal Basic Income, is direct cash payments available to all to ensure that everyone can meet their basic needs. Advocates are demanding that Mayor Bowser add her name to the list of mayors demanding UBI. Read more here.

Boeing’s War Profiteering: A Teach-In (Oct 23 at 10am)

Come learn about how Boeing profits off of the death and destruction of Palestinians, Filipinos, Yemenis and other oppressed peoples through its weapon sales. This teach-in will also expose so-called “progressive” institutions such as universities and museums that partner and receive funding from Boeing.


Why Joe Manchin is blowing up his own base back home in our neighbor West Virginia with his resistance to climate provisions of the reconciliation bill: from Paul Krugman in the NYT.

“This strike wave isn’t the 1940s, when 1 in 10 U.S. workers went on strike in the space of a year. But it isn’t the labor lull of the 2010s, either …” Jonah Furman and Gabriel Winant write on the John Deere strike and Striketober in The Intercept.

Professional Managerial Class (PMC) elite workers labor in a world of performative identity and virtue signaling, publicizing an ability to do ordinary things in fundamentally “superior ways.” Catherine Liu’s short but powerful book, Virtue Hoarders: The Case against the Professional Managerial Class is a great read for anyone working to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

Hey, very online leftists — ready to bring your politics into the real world but don’t know where to start? Watch this layperson’s guide to elevate your political engagement from online activism into real-world political organizing. Produced by a local comrade.

How do we feel? Do we experience more life satisfaction than, say, Ted Cruz or Tucker Carlson? Tom Edsall in the NYT has aggregated some fun research on the topic.

Heard about donut economics and wanna know why we should be skeptical about it? Jordan Teicher of Jacobin published an article on the socialist critique of donut economics.

Changing hearts and minds: The grieving family of Peyton Ham, the 16-year-old who was slain by a Maryland State Police officer back in April, tells Defector that their connections and former faith in the system were no match for the “blue wall” that shields law enforcement from being brought to justice.

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.

Virgilia D’Andrea