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December 24, 2021
MDC DSA Endorses Gabriel Acevero, Brandy Brooks, Zachary Parker and Max Socol in MD and DC ’22 Primaries
DC Councilmembers Christina Henderson and Charles Allen vote to continue DC encampment evictions
MDC DSA steering committee, priority campaign and endorsement election results
Metro DC DSA Endorses Gabriel Acevero, Brandy Brooks, Zachary Parker and Max Socol in the 2022 Primaries in Maryland and the District of Columbia
After an extensive endorsement process, Metro DC DSA members voted overwhelmingly to endorse Gabriel Acevero for re-election to the Maryland House of Delegates, District 39, Brandy Brooks for Montgomery County Council At-Large, Zachary Parker for DC Council, Ward 5, and Max Socol for Maryland State Senate, District 18. All of these candidates are running the types of campaigns that will position them to lead in the fight for social and economic justice in our region.
Del. Gabriel Acevero was first elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 2018. Since taking office, Acevero has been an unapologetic champion for justice and working-class power. Each year in the General Assembly, he routinely championed Anton’s Law, which sought to roll back protections for police officers who have been accused of misconduct. Because of Acevero’s efforts, and the work of policing reform advocates, that law went into effect October 1, 2021.
Brandy Brooks is a community organizer and justice advocate. Metro DC DSA endorsed Brandy Brooks for Montgomery County Council At-Large in 2018. Brooks ultimately came in seventh out of a crowded field of 31 candidates in an election where the top four vote-getters won seats. Based on her previous run, Brooks has emerged as a top-tier candidate for county council this cycle. We view electing Brooks as an opportunity to create a left pole on the Montgomery County Council, with three term-limited incumbents leaving open seats on the council, and two new districts being created for the 2022 cycle.
Zachary Parker is running on an explicitly people-first platform that includes: expanding and strengthening rent control, affordable housing and other tenant protections; addressing the legacy of environmental racism and committing to climate justice across the district; and supporting violence prevention and community safety efforts, not by increasing funding to the police, but by meaningfully addressing people’s needs. He was elected to the DC State Board of Education in 2018 to represent Ward 5. Parker’s campaign for the DC Council presents a massive opportunity for the progressive left to elect an uncompromising champion for our values, and to shift the balance of power on the council to a veto-proof progressive majority.
Max Socol is a long-time Metro DC DSA member with an extensive record of organizing for social and economic justice. He is challenging incumbent Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher, who voted with Republicans to water down the repeal of the Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights during the 2021 session of the Maryland General Assembly. Waldstreicher has also opposed LGBTQ protections, progressive taxation and building the Purple Line.
Each of these campaigns is facing strong opposition from corporations and lobbying groups. But with your help, we know socialist candidates and initiatives with an organized, people-powered movement behind them can win. Sign up to knock on doors, make calls, raise funds and more here.
All of these candidates also need money from regular people to defeat business-backed opponents:
- Donate to Max Socol here.
- Donate to Zachary Parker here. Donations of up to $50 from DC residents are matched through DC’s Fair Elections program.
- Donate to Brandy Brooks here. Donations of up to $250 from Montgomery County residents are matched through Montgomery County’s public financing program.
- Donate to Gabriel Acevero here.
DC Councilmembers Christina Henderson and Charles Allen betray progressives, houseless residents and advocates in cruel vote to continue DC encampment evictions
On December 21, the District Council voted against emergency legislation that would have put discrete checks on Mayor Bowser’s encampment eviction program (the CARE Pilot). The emergency legislation, drafted by Councilmember Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1), was crafted with input from local houseless activists and advocacy groups and was supported by more than 20 public and civil society organizations including: the District Attorney General’s Office, the ACLU, the DC Council’s Office on Racial Equity, the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, Empower DC, 80+ elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, The Way Home DC and more. The legislation would have put checks on the Bowser Administration’s ability to clear encampments until April 1, 2022. In addition to enshrining due process for unhoused residents, it would have required the city to provide fire extinguishers, lavatories and handwashing stations to residents at the sites.
Seven councilmembers voted against the legislation. “No” votes included typical conservatives on the council: private equity heiress Brooke Pinto (Ward 2), GWU law professor Mary Cheh (Ward 3), housing chair (and arguably corrupt) Anita Bonds (At-Large) and corporate cynic Phil Mendelson (Council Chair). Kenyon Mcduffie (Ward 5) also voted no, ignoring the advice of the Council Office on Racial Equity (CORE) – a new District agency which he often takes credit for establishing. In an assessment, CORE found that Nadeau’s legislation would protect the health and wellbeing of Black, Indigenous and other residents of color. CORE wrote that the “[approach], design, and implementation of the CARE Pilot is deliberately cruel, unreasonably punitive, and fails to acknowledge the root causes of homelessness.” Find CORE’s full assessment here.
Shocking no votes came from Christina Henderson (At-Large) and Charles Allen (Ward 6). In a prior hearing on the legislation, they raised reasonable concerns about the original crafting of the bill. When their concerns were addressed in amended emergency legislation as proposed in December 21, they failed to acknowledge the changes made by activists. In a statement released by The Way Home DC, which had been helping craft the legislation, the organization wrote:
“We worked with the drafters to negotiate in good faith and helped re-write this legislation to account for concerns raised by many Council members, especially Councilmembers Allen and Henderson (even though their concerns were often untrue and rooted in stereotypes about homelessness). Even though our coalition made multiple attempts to speak with their offices over the past several weeks, our attempts to compromise were met with silence and our meeting requests were unanswered. To our shock and despite these concessions, these two Councilmembers still voted ‘no.’”
Opposition to Nadeau’s legislation took on a racist and classist character, with opposition routinely implying that unhoused residents are dirty, dangerous or irrational. Contrary to pernicious lies spread by DC conservatives and property owners over social media, the legislation explicitly stated that it would not stop the shelter and housing allowances provided by the CARE pilot!
Councilmembers Silverman (At-Large), T. White (Ward 8), R. White (At-large), and Lewis-George (Ward 4) all voted in favor of the legislation, stressing the need to check the Mayor’s misuse of the program and to build trust with houseless residents in order to assess their needs and provide residents real housing, not just shelter. (Read more about DC’s cruel encampment evictions in Street Sense). You can find a full recording of the Council’s discussion on this emergency legislation here (discussion begins at ~1:12).
Metro DC DSA steering committee, priority campaign and endorsement election results
Local elections closed last Saturday, December 18 at midnight. Over the past week, 348 ballots were cast in consideration of sixteen questions up for a vote to the membership. You can find the full results on our member’s portal.
In our steering election, Aparna R, Kareem E, Philip B, Dieter LM, Hayden G, Carl R, Karishma M and Abel A were elected to the chapter’s steering committee along with Lauren K (treasurer), Kurt H (campaigns coordinator) and Stephanie G (secretary). The electoral campaigns of Max Socol, Gabriel Acevero, Brandy Brooks and Zachary Parker were all endorsed. Finally, Defund MPD, Electoral Organizing, the Labor working group, Stomp Out Slumlords and We Power DC were all affirmed to be noted as priority campaigns for 2022.
Free Rapid Tests in DC and Other Major COVID Updates
It’s been an extremely busy week for COVID response activities, both in the DMV and beyond. At the beginning of the week, the DC Health Department announced that free take-home rapid tests would be made available at DC Public Libraries (in addition to the take-home PCR tests). On Wednesday, libraries received their first batches of rapid tests and residents reported blocks-long lines at all locations. Here’s what you need to know regarding the library tests: 1) Take-home rapid and PCR tests are now available at eight DC Public Libraries from 10am to 6pm on M/T/F/S and 12pm to 8pm on W/TH. PCR tests are available at many more locations; 2) Rapid tests require that you show proof of residency (anything that shows your residence should work), and individuals are limited to two kits per day (each kit contains two tests). At this time, you cannot pick up for another, non-present person; 3) Live rapid test quantities for each site are available here. There are several other sites for free testing and vaccinations. Also, please be kind to the librarians! The libraries are not running these programs and are not responsible for how they are rolled out.
Following the lead of cities like Boston, Philadelphia and New York, DC has not only brought back our indoor mask mandate, but the District will soon also impose a vaccination mandate (patrons will be required to show proof of vaccination) for entry into most establishments. Unfortunately, DC’s indoor vaccination mandate will not start until January 15 and will not cover all establishments or all circumstances. Following legislation (the “Coronavirus Immunization of School Students and Early Childhood Workers Amendment Act of 2021”), all eligible public and private school students in DC must have received at least one of their coronavirus vaccination shots by March 1, 2022. To see all the details from the Mayor’s December 22 situational update, including the vaccination mandate and the schools info, click here.
Last, but certainly not least, President Biden announced on Wednesday that federal student loan repayments would be further paused until May 1, 2022 “as we manage the ongoing pandemic and further strengthen our economic recovery.”
Kellogg’s Workers End Their Nearly 3 Month Strike and Agree to a New Contract: ‘We stood up for what we believed was right’ [Business Insider] The agreement contains cost of living raises for all employees, with lower-tier employees seeing a nearly $5 bump; it’s the conclusion of another strike that exemplified the newly resurgent labor movement.
Following stark backlash, owners of Politics and Prose move to negotiate with the union effort. With ownership’s shift in position, employees are cautiously optimistic they will recognize the union outside a formal election. According to DCist, “If owners agree to voluntary recognition, a neutral third party would verify the union-authorization cards that employees have already signed. … Ownership may also have stopped working [with] Jones Day in the union negotiations.”
Public workers represented by AFSCME Local 3399 approved a new agreement with the city of Takoma Park guaranteeing a 3% retroactive wage increase, beating out the 1.8% increase offered by the city earlier this year.
NYT reports Thursday that “Amazon, which faces mounting scrutiny over worker rights, agreed to let its warehouse employees more easily organize in the workplace as part of a nationwide settlement with the National Labor Relations Board this month. … The agreement also made it easier and faster for the N.L.R.B., which investigates claims of unfair labor practices, to sue Amazon if it believed the company violated the terms.”
Support DSA’s labor organizing efforts by supporting the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee. EWOC is a collaboration between the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE). Together, with staff and volunteers from Bernie Sanders 2020, we’re bringing the Not Me, Us movement to the workplace! Help EWOC raise $20,000 before the end of 2021! Contributions will benefit the UE Research and Education Fund.
Left Wave Continues in Latin America With Historic Victory in Chile [Znet via Portside] “We believe in a plurinational state and the self-determination of our original peoples.” — Gabriel Boric, newly elected President of Chile.
Sign Up for Winter Reading Clubs (Jan and Feb) Now!
You’re invited to join short Winter Reading Clubs hosted by Metro DC DSA beginning in January and running through mid-February! These Clubs are for people looking to meet comrades, people starting their political education, people who can’t meet season-long and everyone who wants to learn more in the new year! Groups include Ecosocialism, Socialism 101, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy and Pedagogy of the Oppressed. You don’t have to be a member to join (invite your friends!) — everyone is welcome! Sign up here!
Stay on the lookout for the season-long Spring reading groups beginning early March, including Capital Vol. 1, Black Marxism, Socfem, Marx at the Movies and so much more.
Next week the first Washington Socialist of 2022 is launched (in 2021, but that’s how the calendar breaks) on Friday, December 31, just in time for New Year’s Eve, resolutions and all that. Reinforce your resolutions about revolutionary social change by writing about them now — how will your/our actions propel change and build socialism in all of our backyards, both globally and locally? Submit your text-vision by tomorrow night (Saturday, December 25 — yes, that day) to email@example.com.
Publications Schedule: Weekly Updates will be published Fridays, January 7, 14 and 21 and the February Washington Socialist will publish Friday, January 28.
The Washington Socialist has a rich archive, indexed by issues, in our Topic Hub here. See what we have been writing, and get ideas about topics that could be updated, or articles that (gulp) could be improved upon.
Between Friday publications of the Update, MDC DSA members can keep up with fast-breaking activities and news — and participate in the activist traffic — on the MDC DSA Slack. If you are a member in good standing and want to get on Slack, contact firstname.lastname@example.org using the email by which national DSA knows you.
DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Monday, December 27
6 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Working Group Meeting
Wednesday, December 29
8 – 9pm | Why You Should Join DSA / New Member Orientation – New Year’s Resolution Special
Sunday, January 2
1 – 2pm | Veterans for Socialism study group
Monday, January 3
Wednesday, January 12
7 – 8pm | Defund NoVA PD meeting
Thursday, January 20
7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Branch monthly organizing meeting
Wednesday, January 26
National DSA Political Education Committee presentation: What makes socialism a viable alternative to capitalism and what are the pathways to getting there? More at registration link.
Meal Deliveries for Seniors | Chef Mark Bucher
Chef Mark Bucher (also the founder of the Feed the Fridge initiative) and restaurant Medium Rare are continuing their community outreach by delivering holiday meals to seniors. Medium Rare is providing the meals free of charge to seniors in the DMV, but they need folks with wheels to help them deliver! As of the time of writing, several Christmas Eve (12/24) slots are still open. Click here to sign up.
Healthcare in Ward 8 | Bread for the City
Bread for the City is now offering primary care, dental care, behavioral health and vision care in Ward 8 at their Southeast Center Health Care Facility (1700 Good Hope Road SE). You can be seen regardless of your ability to pay or what health insurance coverage you have. Call 202-386-7020 to make an appointment.
GOOD READS / ESSENTIAL TRAFFIC
A veteran fighter for humans’ right to survive and thrive and author of the groundbreaking Diet for a Small Planet, Frances Moore Lappé recounts her stunning discovery that: “We couldn’t blame population growth for hunger and starvation. Instead, our supposedly bright species was actively creating scarcity, regardless of how much food we were growing. … I had to share the great news: We are not fated to overrun the Earth. Since we humans are creating the problem, we can fix it.” In The Progressive, “Acts of Rebel Sanity.”
The BBB debacle in the Senate was a death foretold, John Nichols writes in The Nation. “It was time for Democratic leaders to call Manchin’s bluff, by making it absolutely and unequivocally clear that the senior senator from West Virginia was not representing the people of the Mountaineer State—the majority of which, polls showed, favored the programs outlined by Biden and Sanders in the Build Back Better agenda. Unfortunately, the president and top Democrats refused to confront Manchin publicly. They chose to keep negotiating behind the scenes, and to keep promising that the corporate-aligned senator could be trusted. There was never any evidence that this was the case.” Tipped by our local comrade Dave R.
From the DSA Observer: “A look at structures and practices of the Chilean Left using translated documents.”
In a 1995 speech at Howard University, Toni Morrison “unflinchingly read fascism into the practices of US racism. Twenty-five years later, those ‘forces interested in fascist solutions to national problems’ are closer than ever to winning a multi-decade national fight.” This December 22 piece from The Guardian is being circulated in the DSA North Star caucus listserv. Qualifies as a long read; good history.
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.