January 7, 2022

January 7, 2022



  • MDC DSA Initiative 82 Campaign kicks off this week

  • National DSA Medicare for All campaign kickoff event Monday, January 10, 8pm

  • 2022 Steering Committee elects new chair, passes measures

MDC DSA Initiative 82 Campaign kicks off this week

Join us on Zoom on Tuesday, January 11 from 6 to 7pm for a virtual campaign kickoff to launch our campaign in support of DC Ballot Initiative 82, which would raise the city’s tipped minimum wage from $5.05/hr + tips to its regular minimum wage of $15.20/hr + tips. Last month, Metro DC DSA overwhelmingly voted to endorse Initiative 82. Along with the opportunity to materially improve the lives of tipped workers in DC, we have the chance to grow Metro DC DSA and connect it with the broader working class. Come discuss DSA’s strategy for the campaign and learn how to get involved, including canvassing and worker outreach. 

Following the virtual campaign kickoff, we will begin gathering petition signatures next weekend (Saturday, January 15th & Sunday, January 16th) to get Initiative 82 on the DC June ballot. We need all hands on deck to make sure we get the 27,000 signatures needed by February 22. More details to come.

National DSA Medicare for All campaign kickoff event Monday, January 10, 8pm

We get sick, they get rich. The US has the most inefficient and dysfunctional healthcare system of all similar nations. Receiving health coverage through our jobs rather than as a public good gives the employing class incredible leverage over workers and deprives the unemployed of healthcare, as well as pits workers against each other not only for a wage but benefits. Make no mistake: This is class warfare. 

COVID-19 has shown us that now more than ever, we need protection from private, employer-based insurance. Even before the pandemic, 87 million Americans were uninsured or underinsured (unable to afford their healthcare), and 60,000 Americans died every year from lack of health insurance. Those of us with insurance bear increasingly unaffordable premiums, deductibles and copays, and we are all at risk of losing our healthcare along with our jobs. We have to organize for something better.

We can’t expect politicians and bureaucrats to do the right thing: what we need is a mass movement of working-class people that gives them no choice. The kind of movement we need to achieve universal healthcare through Medicare for All will only be built by connecting with millions of people across the country, in our neighborhoods, membership organizations and workplaces. How do we move beyond pressure campaigns and into building a base that will truly refuse to donate to, vote for or authorize union independent expenditures for elected officials who fail our class by leaving healthcare on the bargaining table? 

Join the Democratic Socialists of America as we launch the next round of our campaign to win Medicare for All. Hear from organizers, healthcare and essential workers, and legislators about why this fight is so important and how we are going to win it. In this call, we’ll connect with other DSA organizers to build strategic campaigns wherever you are and coordinate throughout your region. Learn what resources are available to embolden our local M4A effort. RSVP HERE.

2022 Steering Committee elects new chair, passes measures

The 2022 MDC DSA Steering Committee had its public organizational meeting Tuesday night and elected Kareem E. as chair. During the past December, 290 members cast ballots in our local leadership election (reminder, results for full ballots can be found here).  

The 2022 Steering Committee passed measures (listed below) and made a preliminary assignment of portfolios — special areas of responsibility and initiative for each newly elected member. Work plans on those assignments are being developed and the package will be adopted at the next meeting.

Measures passed:


Join the 2022 Political Engagement Committee

It is an exciting time to be a Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America member. We have chosen new priority campaigns, including electoral, which will be led by the Political Engagement Committee (PEC). Now, our chapter seeks to fill the seats of the PEC which is responsible for coordinating the recruitment and vetting of candidates for chapter endorsement and oversees electoral work within the chapter. 

The Steering Committee has chosen to appoint Abel A. to chair the PEC in 2022, but we still need to fill seats on the PEC reserved for “two additional members of the Steering Committee and two nonmembers of the Steering Committee” per section 6.1.4 of Our Bylaws. At least one member of the Political Engagement Committee must be a resident in each of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

The chapter needs you! Please fill out this form to show your interest in becoming a member of the PEC.   

After this form closes on January 16 at 11:59 p.m. ET, the Steering Committee will review responses and build a consensus slate of candidates for appointment to the PEC, with the goal of a PEC membership composition that reflects a holistic array of skills and experiences. If the Steering Committee cannot reach an agreement on a consensus slate, then the Steering Committee will take an approval vote on the full pool of candidates — which is similar to how the chapter conducts Steering Committee elections.

PG Elections Matter: Burroughs posts big lead in low-turnout Council race

A small crowd of Prince George’s voters went to the polls on Tuesday to cast primary ballots for a County Council vacancy in District 8. Just over 100 people voted in person on Tuesday; 191 people cast ballots during early voting.

Former school board member Edward Burroughs III (D) attracted 199 votes, 68% of the 294 ballots cast. Former County Councilmember Tony Knotts (D) received 51 votes, 17% of the electorate. Four other candidates accounted for the other 15%.

The tally does not include 2,200 mail-in ballots. Those votes will be counted in two canvasses, one of which occurred on Thursday, and the second will take place Friday, January 14. Allies in Progressive Maryland and other local groups, including several unions, hit the doors for Burroughs during the short run-up to the special election.


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 mid-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.


Join us for a film screening and discussion of Naila and the Uprising on Thursday, January 20th, 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 (bit.ly/mdcnaila) widely, and get your popcorn ready!

Palestinian Hisham Abu Hawwash ends his 141-day hunger strike against apartheid Israel’s administrative detention policy

In a #FreeThemAll victory, Hisham Abu Hawwash was able to force Israel to agree to his release in February due to his 141-day hunger strike against Israel’s administrative detention policy. Abu Hawwah, a father of five, was arbitrarily arrested by the Israeli Occupation Forces in October 2020 and has had his detention extended since then. He started his hunger strike this past summer; at 141 days, this is the longest since an eight-month strike by Samer Issawi that ended in 2013. He was recently transferred to an Israeli hospital under the guard of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) due to his health being at severe risk. 

Israel illegally holds hundreds of Palestinians in administrative detention each year, an anti-Palestinian policy that allows detention without charge or trial and can be indefinitely renewed without the possibility for appeal. This past November, Kayed al-Fasfous ended his hunger strike of 131 days after reaching a similar agreement with the IOF to release him this past December. Over 500 Palestinian administrative detainees are boycotting military courts to end this illegal policy of administrative detention in solidarity with Abu Hawwash and the other Palestinian prisoners who have refused food and water in demand of their freedom. 

Vets for Socialism General Meeting and Book Pick

Next Sunday, January 9 at 1pm, the MDC DSA Veterans for Socialism section will hold a general meeting and pick the next book for our study group. MDC DSA vets and mil-affil persons welcome to join; get info in our #veterans-active-duty Slack channel.


The January 2022 Washington Socialist (published Friday, December 31, 2021) is included in this Update and features some “best of” roundups of our Publications WG from 2021. It also includes 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 thesocialist@mdcdsa.org, and we’ll work with you to get it freshened.

Publications Schedule: Weekly Updates will be published Fridays, January 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 info@mdcdsa.org using the email by which national DSA knows you.


Monday, January 10

6 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Working Group Biweekly Meeting

8 – 9pm | NoVA Branch Member Mobilizers

Wednesday, January 12

7 – 8pm | Defund NoVA PD meeting

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

Wednesday, January 19

7 – 9pm | Virtual Game Night hosted by NoVA Branch

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 

Sunday, January 23

3 – 5pm | MDC DSA General Body Meeting (note, 3rd Sunday) registration link to come

Monday, January 24

6 – 7:30pm | Defund MPD Working Group Biweekly Meeting

Tuesday, January 25

7 – 9pm | Socialist Feminist Section Quarterly Business Meeting

Wednesday, January 26

7 – 8pm | Disability Working Group Interest Meeting

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.


Patreon Launch Alert | Ward 1 Mutual Aid

To bolster their efforts to serve Ward 1 community members in 2022, Ward 1 Mutual Aid has launched a Patreon page where supporters can subscribe to provide regular donations and receive updates. Regular donations allow mutual aid organizations to better plan and provide better service to community members in need. Ward 1 is currently using a pay-what-you-can model, wherein you can set the monthly donation amount that works best for you.

Navigating Federal Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs, Toolkit | DC Hunger Solutions

DC Hunger Solutions and their partners have created a Federal Nutrition Program Toolkit for individuals and/or community organizations to help navigate and sign up for feeding programs. The Toolkit breaks down programs by age group and details how to apply for a variety of programs, including but not limited to: Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (Senior FMNP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Protecting Our Neighbors During Inclement Weather

The new year brought the DMV its first real snowfall and, with it, serious danger to our unhoused neighbors. Protect vulnerable community members from cold weather injury or death by calling DC’s shelter hotline at 202-399-7093 or call 311 if you see someone in need.

Donate to Support the Museum of Palestinian People

The Museum of Palestinian People in DC is the first museum in the nation’s capital celebrating Palestinian history, culture and resilience. What started as a traveling exhibit in 2015 has now blossomed into a permanent museum space just north of Dupont Circle. Since finding a permanent home in DC two years ago, the museum has grown and has big plans for the new year. Please support their work and consider making a donation or joining the Resilience Monthly Club, which includes free visits to the museum as often as you’d like. You can also view the museum’s virtual interactive tour for free online.

The museum graciously hosted our chapter for a lovely visit in December, and we are hoping we can plan another visit in the spring if things improve with COVID and it is safe to do so. Make sure to join #bds-palestine-solidarity on Slack if you want to get plugged in!

Magazine seeks submissions for stories and essays about an anti-capitalist future

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 afterthestormmag@gmail.com and check out our submission guide here.


January 6 reflections: A Canadian scholar wonders — if the US descends into civil conflict/war, what should Canada do? “What seems to have pushed the United States to the brink of losing its democracy today is a multiplication effect between its underlying flaws and recent shifts in the society’s ‘material’ characteristics.” Passed along by our local (PG) comrade Carolyn B. And the Canadian scholar touts this young colleague, who in The Guardian observes, “The [US’s] problem is not who is in power, but the structures of power. … At this supreme moment of crisis, the left has divided into warring factions completely incapable of confronting the seriousness of the moment,” which includes the near-takeover of police forces by the white-supremacist right. 

From DCist: “The workers of Politics and Prose have successfully unionized, becoming the first bookstore in D.C. to do so. … ‘We are proud to join the growing movement of booksellers and baristas across the country who have unionized their workplaces,’ wrote the Politics and Prose organizing committee in a statement. ‘Forming our union has not only served as an affirmation of our shared values within the Politics and Prose community, it will also strengthen our workplace and ensure the long-term success of our beloved community hub.’”

Seventh State examines the political insiders that are supporting MDC DSA endorsed candidate Max Socol for Maryland State Senate, concluding that “[Socol’s] early strength indicates that [incumbent Sen. Jeff’ Waldstreicher hasn’t nailed down his base even after sixteen years in the General Assembly.”

Dying to Serve? A Restaurant Worker’s Plea for Organizing

From Organizing Upgrade, a rundown on national DSA’s Restaurant Organizing Project, strongly relevant to MDC DSA’s campaign to get parity for tipped workers despite the DC Council’s illegal betrayal.

Poet’s Corner: a 1940 classic from Bertolt Brecht, “To Those Born Later”The man who laughs/ Has simply not yet heard/ The terrible news. Tipped our way on Facebook from a formerly PG comrade, Bob Buzzanco.

From our local comrade Dave R, via Portside, 3 Retired Generals: The Military Must Prepare Now for a 2024 Insurrection

From David Schwartzman, also a local comrade: an ecosocialist critique of degrowth in the context of a Green New Deal, plus a contribution to ongoing discussion of energy commodification and decommodification — specifically thermodynamics. “Illuminating how the science of thermodynamics was born and how energy manifests itself in the context of capitalist economy … should not make this science in itself a necessary ideological servant of this economy.”

By Steven Greenhouse in The Guardian: “Workers Across the US Are Rising Up. Can They Turn Their Anger into a Movement?

“Will this surge of worker action and anger [in the US] be a mere flash in the pan or will it be part of a longer-lasting phenomenon? At least for now, America’s labor leaders seem to be doing very little to tap all this energy and hope and to build it into something bigger and longer lasting.” It’s via Portside.

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