December 31, 2021

December 31, 2021



  • Important Message from the Steering Committee Regarding Indoor Events

  • DC COVID Updates — vaccination requirements, rising caseload and new CDC guidance

  • Sign Up for Winter Reading Clubs (Jan and Feb) Now!

Important Message from the Steering Committee Regarding Indoor Events

At this time, the Steering Committee is advising chapter formations not to hold INDOOR in-person events until it becomes safer to do so again. We won’t put a time frame on this advisory as the history of the pandemic has shown such timelines to be difficult to predict.

The case numbers in DC are skyrocketing, and we know that death toll numbers lag behind case numbers. Stopping indoor events now will be crucial for preventing deaths that would occur in just a few weeks. Per Resolution 2021-07-R01 (MDC DSA In-Person Meetings and Events Best Practices), we’re asking all our comrades to pause holding indoor events to keep each other safe. Chapter events should move to virtual or outdoors with social distancing, masks and comprehensive contact tracing. 

The best way to defend yourself and your community from serious COVID-related illness is to get your vaccination and booster, and to wear a mask when around others.

Find vaccination and booster information in the DMV:

DC COVID Updates — vaccination requirements, rising caseload and new CDC guidance

Over the past two weeks, DC has become a noted epicenter for spread of the newest COVID strain (omicron). The new strain is less deadly but more contagious relative to other COVID strains.

Data released by the DC government shows that COVID hospitalizations have more than tripled over the past month (358 COVID hospitalizations were counted on December 28 compared to 101 on December 7) and the ICU rate has nearly doubled (40 ICU hospitalizations were counted on December 28 compared to 21 on December 7). Thankfully, available ventilators and total available ICU beds have remained steady (you can explore the data for yourself here).

Last week, the DC Health Department announced that free take-home rapid tests would be made available at DC Public Libraries (find Rapid Antigen tracking HERE). 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.
  4. Don’t forget to self-report at DC’s Over the Counter Self-Reporting Portal!

The District previously announced that it will impose a vaccination mandate (patrons will be required to show proof of vaccination) for entry into most establishments effective January 15. Legislation also passed in the District Council to mandate all eligible public and private school students in DC to receive at least one of their coronavirus vaccination shots by March 1, 2022. Mayor Bowser also announced that all DC Public School students and staff will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test to return to school on January 5.

Despite rising cases, the CDC issued new guidance on Dec 27 recommending a shortened isolation and quarantine period for the general population (from 10 days to five). The CDC did not release a science brief to back up this change in guidance, suggesting that the update is likely the result of corporate pressure placed on the CDC to reduce PTO/staff downtime commitments. Labor leader (and friend of the DSA) Sara Nelson called this out on CNN, noting that the guidance was “all about the staffing issues” to satisfy corporate America. (Read more on labor anger in Politico.)

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 — everyone is welcome! More info and 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.


January leads off with the 2021 Steering Committee’s report to the 2021 MDC DSA annual Convention — the level and range of activity is pretty astonishing, even to those who thought they were paying attention.

Read our two companion pieces on the state of play in Defund and Abolition, In DC, the local coalition can claim progress. Nationally, message cooption by the opposition may be stalling progress.

How equitably can the federal funds released for infrastructure — material and (we can still hope) human-needs infrastructure as well — be distributed in the communities that need the help? As we see, that can vary a lot depending on how skilled local and state governments are at scooping up and effectively managing those funds. And there is a history behind these efforts.

Finally, you get another crack at the GOOD READS/ESSENTIAL TRAFFIC we’ve laid before you during the past year. We round up the best of them to walk us into a high-information — and high stakes — 2022.


Metro DC DSA Endorses Gabriel Acevero, Brandy Brooks, Zachary Parker and Max Socol in the 2022 Primaries in Maryland and the District of Columbia

Last month, 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.

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. Max is also holding his first major campaign fundraiser Jan. 3. Longtime District 18 Delegate and Bernie supporter Ana Sol Guttierez, Brooks and other prominent Montgomery County progressives are on the fundraiser’s host committee.
  • 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.

Join us for a film screening and discussion of Naila and the Uprising on Thursday, January 20th, at 7:30pm

All community members are invited to participate in our chapter’s virtual film screening and discussion of Naila and the Uprising, an inspiring documentary about the key role of women’s community organizing during the first Intifada. The first Intifada was a key part of Palestinian resistance during an important historical moment in the struggle for Palestinian liberation.

The film screening and discussion will take place on Thursday, January 20th. Join us at 7:30pm EST to watch the film together, or you can watch the film on your own and join us at 9pm for the discussion. By filling out this form, you will be emailed a link and password to watch the film anytime between January 13th and 20th, 2022 (the week leading up to the virtual event). Please note it is not required to attend the virtual event on January 20th to sign up and view the film on your own. All are welcome; please share the sign-up link ( widely, and get your popcorn ready!


Magazine seeking stories and essays about an anti-capitalist future seeking submissions

After The Storm is a digital publication that describes a world beyond our current oppressive society. We want to tell stories that span beyond white supremacy, patriarchy, ableism, imperialism, capitalism and so much more. We operate under the assumption that to reach a place, you first have to imagine it. 

And we want your vision of that future! We will be paying $50 for writers in the DC area for all accepted stories, sponsored by Metro DC DSA. Send your pitches to and check out our submission guide here.


NEW! Fundraisers for Local Uni YDSA Chapters!

Students are digging into their own pockets to fund their activism. Students must also fund 100% of expenses (travel, lodging, food, etc.) to attend the 2022 YDSA Winter/Spring Conference in person in Chicago from April 1 to 3. Some schools and Metro DC DSA have provided token funding, but much more is needed. Please give generously and consider recurring donations:

American UCatholic UGeorge Mason UGeorge Washington UGeorgetown UHoward UU of Maryland, College Park


Teach-in on Amazon workers’ organizing demands, and ways to support

The For Us Not Amazon coalition held a teach-in last Wednesday, December 22nd, where we heard directly from organizers about conditions faced at Amazon warehouses, how Amazon continues to put lives at risk and what we can do to support workers’ and organizers’ demands. The live teach-in was recorded (and for further reading check the National Employment Law Project’s report on conditions at Minnesota warehouses), and the coalition is asking those who are able to donate to a support fund for families of Amazon workers killed by the tornado in Edwardsville, Illinois.


The first Washington Socialist of 2022 is included in this Update and features some “best of” roundups of our Publications WG work from 2021 as well as the full “Steering Committee Report to the [2021] Convention” — MDC DSA membership’s detailed account of our local chapter’s action during the past year. It’s an amazing litany of hard work, occasional leftist opportunism and programmatic assaults on capitalism local, national and international that will astound any reader, even one who has been in the thick of it throughout. 

Where did all that socialist action come from, and how did you manage to miss any of it? A big-tent organization like MDC DSA is no homogenous pudding but a swarm composed of many campaigns and tendencies putting thought into action. Here are our internal formations and campaigns, articulated and active, with contact info. See something missing or have new information about your activity or campaign? Contact the MDC DSA infosphere at, and we’ll work with you to get it freshened.

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 using the email by which national DSA knows you.


Sunday, January 2

1 – 2pm | Veterans for Socialism study group

Monday, January 3

6 – 7pm | Medicare 4 All Working Group Biweekly Meeting

Wednesday, January 5

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

Wednesday, January 12

7 – 8pm | Defund NoVA PD meeting

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

Wednesday, January 19

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

Thursday, January 20

7 – 8:30pm | NoVA Branch monthly organizing meeting

7:30pm – 10pm | Naila and the Uprising Film Screening and Discussion 

Wednesday, January 26

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

8:30pm | Introduction to Socialism and Capitalism
National DSA Political Education Committee presentation: What makes socialism a viable alternative to capitalism and what are the pathways to getting there? See more at the registration link.


Support our unhoused neighbors and local mutual aid efforts in Prince George’s County

From the Roots 240 is a people of color-led, anticapitalist, Black liberation group that has been organizing with PG County’s unhoused community members since the summer of 2020. The group focuses on providing material support such as food, clothing, Metro cards, tents, etc. to our unhoused neighbors, as well as growing relationships, community and power to get to the root cause of the conditions that create housing insecurity. From the Roots 240 is a completely grassroots organization and relies on donations to provide food and other material resources to our unhoused community. Become a monthly donor here and learn more about the group’s work and other ways you can support here and here.

Crime and Punishment in Black America Reading Group | The WIRE

On Monday, January 17, join The Women Involved in Reentry Efforts (The WIRE) for a community book discussion on DC criminal justice reform and reentry efforts. Several local attorneys and advocates will deliver remarks about the road ahead. The first 25 guests will receive a FREE copy of the book: Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman Jr.

Organizing for Power/What Winning Looks Like | Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung

On Thursday, January 27 at 6pm CET, Jane McAlevey talks to workers in Berlin and elsewhere who have had big wins — a Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung session. Register here.


THE question for the onrushing year; recc by our comrade Janette C: How Workers Can Win in 2022 — “They need to create a crisis in order to turn this country around.” From The Nation and a familiar source. See above, Jan. 27 in Community Bulletin.

In ScheerPost, Ellen Brown identifies the real antidote to inflation: “The Fed has options for countering the record inflation the U.S. is facing that are far more productive and less risky than raising interest rates.”

Making rounds on social media, musician and poet Gil Scott Heron explains the difference between real DC and tourist-trap DC in this clip from the free-associative documentary Black Wax (1982).

Who’s left out when Democrats talk about the ‘dignity of work’?” From the WaPo, a decent analysis … “any intimation that the sole or primary pathway to dignity lies through paid work has troubling implications in a country that is home to 100 million nonworking adults, roughly three-fifths of whom are women and a quarter of whom cite disability as their reason for remaining outside the labor force.” 

Mohammed el-Kurd, a Palestinian journalist and resident of Sheikh Jarrah, interviews Gaza-based journalist Maram Humaid on the shaping of media narratives and the stories of Gazans that are kept out of newsrooms. “Whether people like the resistance or not, we have a right to resist. We have a right to defend ourselves … The future is return. And the future of Palestine is the end of Israeli occupation.”

From the Brit newspaper The Morning Star: how Marx, with help from Dickens, had a Marxy little Christmas, with gifts (and, later, tales of pudding) contributed by Engels. This is via Portside.

Social media? The Village of the Damned … but wait. “… if organizers make strategic choices about their online organizing, social media can be used to build mass militant actions like strikes,” writes Eric Blanc in Jacobin (via Portside).

The trouble with the central critique of the film ‘Don’t Look Up’ is that it reinforces a problematic liberal theory of media as a private “marketplace of ideas” led by influencers. This prevents viewers from critically analyzing media as contestable public infrastructure, says this review in Money on the Left.

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