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November 19, 2021
DSA Chapters Demand Biden Lift Blockade on Medical Aid to Cuba
Endorsement Resolutions Received
Chapter Steering Committee Elections Kick Off Monday, November 22
DSA Chapters Unite to Demand that Biden Lift Blockade on Medical Aid to Cuba
From November 14 to 15, four DSA chapters — Metro DC, Miami, Philly and NYC — launched coordinated protests demanding the Biden administration end the medical blockade on Cuba.
These actions were planned to counter the “international day of action” by SOS Cuba, an anti-Cuban government group, which called on supporters around the world to protest the Cuban government for the difficult living conditions on the island. In the US, DSA counter-protests outnumbered SOS protesters at most of the actions. Internationally, SOS protests fizzled.
One hundred eighty-four UN members called for an end to the Cuban embargo in June — for the 29th consecutive year. It is clear that the world understands who is responsible for the calamity Cubans are experiencing — including 74% of Cuban Americans, who agree the blockade on medical materials should be lifted, according to a 2020 poll from the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs.
In his last week in office, Trump doubled down on his sanctions (including barring remittances) on Cuba by designating it a state sponsor of terrorism — a move with no factual basis, according to the nonpartisan Cuba Study Group. This designation has scared off nearly all pharmaceutical companies from selling medicine to charities attempting to help Cubans despite embargo exemptions for humanitarian aid.
The blockade has prevented Cuba from purchasing essential medical supplies, like antibiotics or antiviral medications. COVID-19 has exacerbated these shortages, forcing the Cuban government to ration PPE, ventilators and COVID tests. In spite of the blockade, Cuba developed five internationally recognized COVID-19 vaccines with plans to distribute millions to the Global South.
Biden promised to end the injustices of Trump’s Cuba policy but after almost a year has not reversed any of Trump’s sanctions. DSA members across the country are demanding he do so.
Learn more about the US War of Attrition on Cuba in this study guide prepared by the DSA Internationalism WG. If you are interested in participating, you can check out our #internationalism or #m4a channels on the chapter slack (see info access for more)
-MDC DSA Medicare for All Working Group
Endorsement Resolutions Received
At least five chapter members sponsored a resolution in favor of endorsing nine candidates running for office in Maryland and DC. These candidates received a first read during the November 14 general body meeting.
The endorsement resolutions are as follows:
- Saqib Ali – Maryland House of Delegates, District 15
Questionnaire | Resolution | Sponsor: Kristian B
- Max Socol – Maryland State Senate, District 18
Questionnaire | Resolution | Sponsor: Nicole Z
- Gabriel Acevero – Maryland House of Delegates, District 39
Questionnaire | Resolution | Sponsor: Nicole Z
- Adam Cunningham – Maryland State Senate, District 39
Questionnaire | Resolution | Sponsor: Adam C
- Brandy Brooks – Montgomery County Council, At-Large
Questionnaire | Resolution | Sponsor: Elissa L
- Mckayla Wilkes – U.S. House of Representatives, Maryland District 5
Questionnaire | Resolution | Sponsor: Zuhayr A
- Lisa Burnam – Prince George’s County Council, District 9
Questionnaire | Resolution | Sponsor: Emily F
- Oye Owolewa – Shadow US Representative, District of Columbia
Questionnaire | Resolution | Sponsor: Abel A
- Zachary Parker – District of Columbia Council, Ward 5
Questionnaire | Resolution | Sponsor: Stu K
Our steering appointed Political Engagement Committee (PEC) will be arranging Q&A Zoom calls with each candidate. The first is this Sunday, November 21 during the November Montgomery County Branch meeting. All chapter members are invited to join to ask questions and meet candidates Max Socol (Maryland State Senate, District 18) and Gabriel Acevero (Maryland House of Delegates, District 39).
The membership will hear from candidates and debate on candidate endorsements during the 2021 local convention in December. This debate will be followed by an online vote on endorsements via OpaVote. We will also arrange space for members to provide resolutions in support or in opposition to candidates as we’ve done in the past so that members can make informed decisions on voting.
An overview of our Metro DC DSA endorsement process has been added to the endorsements page of the chapter’s website, where you can also find a more detailed endorsement handbook. Keep an eye on these updates, or in the #electoral channel on our chapter Slack to stay in the loop. For questions, chapter members should email firstname.lastname@example.org or post in the #electoral channel. Members can also message the Political Engagement Committee members on Slack directly. Slack usernames for members of the PEC are: @irene (she/her) (Chair), @Abel A., @Brian W. (he/him), @amortell and @Nicole Z (she/her).
Chapter Steering Committee Elections Kick Off Monday, November 22
As we rapidly approach the end of the current term of the chapter’s Steering Committee next month, the chapter’s Internal Elections Facilitation Department (IEFD) will kick off an election for a new Steering Committee this Monday, November 22.
The members of the IEFD are still confirming the timeline for the upcoming election, but chapter members should expect the candidate nomination form for this election — along with other details — to be published widely on Monday.
The chapter’s Steering Committee, according to our bylaws, “is the highest elected body of MDC DSA and is the political leadership of the chapter when the membership is not assembled.” All seats on the 11-member Steering Committee will be open for this election. These seats include: at-large (8 seats), treasurer, secretary and campaigns coordinator.
If you have any questions — whether about the election itself or because you’re interested in running — please post in the #steering channel on the chapter’s Slack platform or send an email to email@example.com.
Rally for Better Bargaining Rights for Virginia Workers — Tuesday, December 7
Ahead of the Virginia School Board Association meeting in Charlottesville on Tuesday, December 7, we will be holding a rally on Monday, December 6 to advocate for a better bargain for public workers. City Council will have their first discussion on collective bargaining at the Council meeting on December 6. Join organized labor in Virginia to stand in solidarity with both educators and our city workers. RSVP here!
The rally will be held at 4:45pm at 546 E Market St in Charlottesville, VA. Comrades interested in attending can check out the #labor channel on our chapter’s Slack to learn more.
Join Metro DC DSA at the DC Punk Rock Flea Market this Saturday from 12 to 5pm
Metro DC DSA will be tabling at the annual DC punk rock flea market on Saturday, November 20th, from noon to 5pm. Come out to meet members of Metro DC DSA, learn about our campaigns and purchase union-made shirts. Members who show up, as well as attendees who sign up for this weekly, will be able to grab handmade buttons.
The market is taking place at St. Stephens Church at 1525 Newton Street NW from 12 to 5pm on Saturday, November 20th. Attendance is free for entry, but attendees are asked to bring canned food to donate. Canned food donations will be provided to We Are Family, a DC nonprofit that provides connection, services and material support to seniors in DC. The market will have a wide range of local vendors, vintage clothiers and record merchants as well as community organizations like Mt. Pleasant Library Friends and HIPS DC.
Resolutions and Bylaw Amendment submissions for MDC DSA Convention
The period to submit resolutions and bylaw amendments for consideration at the local convention is now open! Please submit your resolutions at this link.
The deadline to submit resolutions and bylaw amendments is Sunday, November 28th at 11:59pm. Submissions will only require one sponsor, who must be a member in good standing. Cosponsors are welcome but not necessary. If you have any questions, feel free to DM Kareem E on Slack.
DSA Statement on Rep Bowman
On November 16th, the DSA’s National Political Committee — DSA’s elected leadership — released a statement regarding Congressional Rep Jamaal Bowman, a DSA member representing New York’s 16th Congressional District. Jamaal Bowman has been criticized by some DSA chapters regarding his vote for $3.3 billion in military aid to Israel, and in approving $1 billion in funding for Israel’s “Iron Dome” air defense system. The statement notes:
The National Political Committee is aware of the trip that DSA member and Congressman Jamaal Bowman took to Israel this week, and has received letters from various DSA chapters and members about the situation.
DSA unapologetically stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their ongoing struggle for liberation. Our platform proudly states continued support for and involvement with the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and efforts to eliminate U.S. military aid to Israel, while resisting the “normalization” of relationships between the Israeli government and other governments.
The NPC is treating this as its highest priority right now; to work with the DSA BDS & Palestine Solidarity Working Group and the Congressman’s local chapters to address this directly with Representative Bowman. We will be meeting with him in the next few days. We will update the members as soon as possible following that meeting.
Howard Students Reach Memorandum of Understanding with University
After 33 days of protest and nearly 20 rounds of negotiation, student protesters at Howard University have reached a resolution with the University administration over housing conditions on campus.
The Live Movement, Howard University YDSA, HU NAACP were joined by supportive alumni, staff, local politicians (including Ward 4’s Janeese Lewis George and Ward 8’s Trayon White) and local community organizers who supported the outreach.
The terms of the specific agreement are confidential.
Read more at Washington Informer.
It’s Mutual: Restaurant Worker Organizing and Mutual Aid — DSA’s Restaurant Organizing Project
On Tuesday, November 23 at 7pm EST, the Restaurant Organizing Project’s (ROP) November national call will focus on mutual aid and workplace organizing in restaurants. During this pandemic, many service workers have participated in mutual aid. ROP will be talking about how we can incorporate that into our workplace organizing, as well as use our workplace connections to further mutual aid efforts. So far, mutual aid organizers in Chicago and Los Angeles are already lined up. Register here.
DSA Religious Socialism Publication Looking for Volunteers
The national DSA Religious Socialism Working Group is undergoing a redesign of its publication Religious Socialism and is looking for volunteers committed to writing provocative pieces and sharing news from a socialist faith perspective. Folks who can solicit such pieces, as well as those who can edit, source art, translate, transcribe and publicize, are encouraged to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 Vaccine Approved for Children Ages 5 to 11
Sites across DC and the region are now offering initial doses of the pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Families are encouraged to check providers’ websites and coronavirus.dc.gov for more information about which sites have received their doses and have started vaccinating children. Click here for a full list of vaccination sites across DC, sorted by ward. You can also check in with @_DCHealth on Twitter for real-time updates.
Click here to schedule a vaccine appointment through Montgomery County, MD.
For Prince George’s and Southern Maryland:
- For Calvert County Public Schools, click here.
- For Charles County Public Schools, click here.
- For St. Mary’s County Public Schools, click here.
- For Prince George’s County Public Schools, click here.
In Maryland generally, find a vaccine clinic in your area today. Virginia residents can navigate the VA government’s online portal here.
Red Desk Overview: Red Desk is the central help portal for our chapter where members can submit requests for events, social media posts and more. If you’re involved with our chapter’s working groups/campaigns and need a quick introduction or refresher on how to navigate Red Desk, we now have a general overview video that can walk you through using the portal!
Publications Schedule: The final Weekly Update for November is scheduled for Friday, November 26. Get your updates in early that week — by Wednesday, November 24 — to give us a head start on the holiday. The December issue of the Washington Socialist will be published Friday, December 3. Finish that article you’ve been sweating over on the day after turkey day and submit by November 26 to meet the article deadline; hit us up at email@example.com. In the meantime, check out the November issue.
What kinds of articles appear in the Washington Socialist? Refresh your memory in our indexed archive.
MDC DSA Convention Resolutions: Don’t forget — members in good standing can submit resolutions, including bylaws changes, here by November 28 at 11:59pm.
DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Saturday, November 20
11am – 5pm | Join the Picket Line with Kellogg’s Workers (Baltimore & Philly DSA)
noon – 5pm | DSA at the DC Punk Rock Flea Market
Sunday, November 21
2 – 4pm | MoCo DSA November Branch Meeting
Monday, November 22
6 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD WG Biweekly Meeting
Tuesday, November 23
6 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Comms Meeting
Wednesday, November 24
6:30 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Research Meeting
Thursday, November 25
Sunday, November 28
Monday, November 29
7 – 8pm | Defund MPD Working Group Meeting
Miner Mutual Aid Community Table | Miner Mutual Aid Network & Ward 6 Mutual Aid
Come by Miner Elementary School (601 15th Street NE) if you are in need of food, household essentials, Thanksgiving meal items and more. Supplies are available on Saturday, November 20, only between 11am and 12pm. Interested in donating/volunteering? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mutual Aid Is a Year-Round Sport
As Metro DC DSA continues to work alongside our DMV mutual aid partners, we have observed an alarming trend — widespread burnout with little sign of fresh support on the horizon. Mutual aid is beautiful, soulful work, but it can also be really challenging for those doing the work. We’ve heard from many of our mutual aid allies that they are struggling to keep a strong cadre of volunteers engaged and that long-time allies are feeling a big case of burnout. What can you do to help? Volunteer! Whether you can become an integral part of a mutual aid group’s daily functionality or just an occasional extra set of hands, your engagement makes a real difference. There are many amazing mutual aid groups in the DMV, including ward-based groups.
Building Capacity for Mutual Aid Groups | Workshop Series by Dean Spade
In this workshop series, Dean Spade, author of Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During this Crisis (and the Next), will present four interactive workshops designed for people working in mutual aid groups. Each workshop provides tools for addressing common obstacles and growth areas for people doing sustained work together to meet basic survival needs in their communities. The workshops are appropriate for people doing work in all-volunteer groups or in groups that have some staffing. Past workshops are available for viewing online (click the more info buttons). Upcoming workshops include: December 9: Skills for Abolitionist Practice and January 20: Leadership.
Warder Street Clothing Shop | Ward 1 Mutual Aid & Da Boutique by Kadis
The Ward 1 Mutual Aid Park View Pod is teaming up with Da Boutique by Kadis to host a food & clothing swap on November 20 from noon to 4pm at the 3500 block of Warder Street NW. The event is completely free, and all are welcome! Contributions of clean, wearable clothes and vegan food are encouraged but not required.
GOOD READS / ESSENTIAL TRAFFIC
Worth checking out is David Schwartzman’s presentation, “A critique of Degrowth in the context of a Global GND: an Ecosocialist perspective,” and those of other contributors in the Marxism, Ecology, Politics session of the Historical Materialism 2021 Conference. To request an abstract and a PDF of his presentation, email email@example.com. Three other presentations include: “climate justice, migration and the state: what should we say about environmental refugees?”; “The ecological costs of imperialism and war”; and “The Canadian Extractive State Apparatus in the Pandemic Present.”
Circulated by our comrade Sam N: A working paper released during COP 26 that promotes “the need to focus efforts on reclaiming these companies [corporate power companies serving cities] to public ownership.”
Grumpy about bad housing policy? This NYT video explainer makes a good case that the bluest of states have the worst records when it comes to equitable housing policy.
The neolib Dems and the big-money business sector on whom they feed definitely rallied behind Byron Brown (who is a DNC stalwart) to defeat India Walton, with Brown’s well-financed write-in campaign coupled with the abject refusal of the NY State party structure to support the woman of color who beat Brown in the primary for Buffalo mayor. Not fair, agrees Fredrik DeBoer. But, he adds, “Americans have lived in a capitalist system for generations; that will not be an easy obstacle for socialists to overcome.” A self-described socialist, he argues in the NYT that thinking that our ideas and policies are more popular than they actually are is dangerous.
Defund news from Austin DSA: “Prop A, the Republican-backed effort to mandate higher police funding at the expense of city services, was soundly defeated by Austin voters last week. We should use this victory as a springboard to create a more organized working-class movement in our city.”
China. Everyone is paying more attention, including to shifts in political culture in the People’s Republic. Here’s a recent guide from Portside. See also our comrade Ryan M’s report on a recent conference on China by US leftists.
In the Boston Review, Justin H. Vassallo uses a thorough review of Terence Renaud’s New Lefts: The Making of a Radical Tradition to chronicle the history of the New Left, connecting the struggles of “neoleftists” to present-day political battles. One possible interpretation of Renaud’s book, Vassallo writes: “ … any leftism without a concrete policy agenda — and the tactical focus needed to win the formal power to implement it — is ultimately a betrayal of its overriding aim: to create a more just world.”
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.