January 21, 2022

January 21, 2021



  • General Body Meeting this Sunday, January 23 from 3 – 5pm

  • Technology and Inequality at the next Socialist Night School — Monday, January 24

  • Save Eyad: Medical Negligence in Israeli Prisons Teach-In Saturday, January 22 at noon

General Body Meeting this Sunday, January 23 from 3 – 5pm

This Sunday, Metro DC DSA will be hosting its monthly General Body meeting. Held digitally, our general body meetings convene chapter members, working groups, caucuses, committees, and leadership to provide key updates on our local campaigns and activities. For newcomers or the politically curious, our GBM is a great way to be plugged into the local left. For veteran leftists looking to get back into the fight against capital, this is a great place to begin your next gambit. For casual socialists — this is a great event to meet your neighbors and comrades. Sign up here!

Technology and Inequality at the next Socialist Night School — Monday, January 24

Why do we keep trying to solve poverty with technology? On Monday, January 24, we’ll explore how a technocratic doctrine emerged in local governments and why it continues to appeal to policymakers. With a special focus on DC, this session will examine why it is so hard to get rid of the idea that poverty can be solved with novel technology and the right skills. Led by Dan Greene, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies, the session will explore how this issue has played out in Washington, DC’s technology startups, public libraries and charter schools. With attention towards the future, the session will close by inviting attendees to consider how we can form new political alliances that can change the terms on which we understand technology and fight poverty.

Sign up to attend the event here! And if you’re interested in seeing what the night schools are like, check out our digital archive on the Metro DC DSA website.

Save Eyad: Medical Negligence in Israeli Prisons Teach-In Saturday, January 22 at noon

Join us tomorrow, Saturday, January 22nd at noon, for a conversation with Eyad’s family. Eyad is a Palestinian political prisoner in an Israeli occupation prison and has suffered medical negligence resulting in paralysis, memory loss, and gangrene as a result of Israel’s systemic practices of apartheid and discrimination. He has also been prevented from seeing his family during this time. Register here: tinyurl.com/d8teachin 

The education session comes on the heels of a recent victory for Palestinian solidarity efforts. Following 18 months of sustained direct action, Palestine Action organizers and the broader community in Oldham, England forced a shut down of an Elbit weapons factory. Elbit is Israel’s largest arms producer, notoriously known for their drones. The direct action campaign included occupations that forced weeks of factory closures and paint being thrown down the sides of the building to symbolize the lives lost to Elbit’s war profiteering, and cost Elbit millions in damages. Thirty-six activists have been arrested, but charges have repeatedly been dropped before anyone is brought to court. Read this press release from Palestine Action (the direct action network behind the campaign) and check out this video interview hosted by rapper and activist Lowkey.


Workplace Organizing Workshop — Tuesday, January 25, 7:30pm

The first Workplace Organizing Workshop of the year will be held next Tuesday, January 25th, at 7:30pm! If you’re ready to take action at work, no matter where you are in this process, this is the place for you! We will talk about the steps in the process, answer any questions, share do’s and don’ts for successful organizing and hear advice from experienced organizers. The WOW is open to both DSA members and non-members, so invite your friends! Please sign up here.

Residents stand up against biased police accountability boards in MoCo

Advocates in Montgomery County showed up in strong force against the county’s proposed Police Accountability Board legislation. MDC DSA-endorsed candidate for county council Brandy Brooks and MoCo DSA Branch Chair Nicole Z were among the organizers that castigated the County Council and County Executive Marc Elrich for attempting to create policing accountability boards that would be biased towards the police and exclude representatives of communities most impacted by police violence. Next, the County Council will hold a work session for this bill Jan. 24. The Silver Spring Justice Coalition, which MoCo DSA participates in, has put together an action alert asking council members to significantly alter the bill to better shift power away from police and towards communities


Electoral working group co-chairs and organizers needed

The Political Engagement Committee (PEC) is looking for co-chairs and organizers for our electoral working groups in DC and Montgomery County. In the past, our electoral work for endorsed candidates has been led by two to seven co-chairs and organizers with varying levels of time commitment. They are responsible for coordinating and leading our canvasses, phonebanks, fundraising, and comms support for candidates. This document explains how campaign-specific electoral working groups have been organized in the past. This year, we are seeking to fill these co-chair and organizer roles for two location-specific electoral working groups, one for DC and another for Montgomery County. 

Please fill out this form by Sunday, Jan 23, at 11:59 PM ET to show interest in taking on one of these roles. A member of the PEC will be in touch to discuss further.


Defund MPD Working Group — Labor Night workshop — Thursday, February 10

The MDC DSA Defund MPD Working Group invites labor union leaders and members in the DMV to a Labor Night workshop to discuss the role of police in our society and how the struggle to reduce funding for police and refund our communities aligns with unions’ values and goals. Register here.

Free Rapid COVID Tests Now Available Via USPS

Four free rapid tests per household are now available via a newly rolled out Biden Administration initiative. Rapid coronavirus tests can be ordered directly from the USPS website and are available across the continental United States plus Alaska, Hawaii, and the territories. “Household” relates to a unique address; those in apartment buildings should not have any issue ordering the free tests so long as you list your apartment number. Shipping is likely to take some time, so ordering soon is recommended.

DC has also expanded its COVID testing and vaccination sites. DC Health launched its first four coronavirus testing and vaccination sites in wards 1, 2, 7, and 8 on Tuesday, January 18. Next Monday, additional centers will open in wards 3, 4, 5, and 6. DC residents can get initial doses of a vaccine, a booster shot, at-home rapid test kits (the same ones you can currently get at DC public libraries), and walk-up PCR testing. Addresses and hours for each of the first four sites are available here. DC Health says it plans to publish details about the additional sites within the next week.

STAY DC Receives Infusion of Federal Funds

STAY DC, the District’s ​​pandemic rental assistance program, has received $17 million in new funding following a reallocation of unused federal assistance funds. More on this story from DCist. When STAY DC closed applications at the end of October 2021, $155 million in rental and utility assistance had been distributed to more than 23,000 residents — an additional $105 million in requests, however, were still stuck in the application process. Metro DC DSA’s own Stomp Out Slumlords have been among the leading local organizations helping residents apply for STAY DC funds and advocating for improvements to make the program more equitable and accessible. As of yet, there is no firm re-start date for STAY DC, despite the fact that the Council allowed landlords to resume filing evictions for lease breaches as of January 1, 2022. According to the Office of the Tenant Advocate, more than 40 evictions were scheduled between January 4 and February 2, 2022

Voting Rights legislation stalled in Congress along with Biden’s broader agenda

Over the past week, activists took to Capitol Hill to demand Democrats abandon the filibuster to pass expanded voting rights legislation in the Senate. On Wednesday evening, corporate-backed Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema voted with Republicans to maintain the filibuster, killing the expansion of voting rights. Across the country, Republican legislatures are instituting policies with the aim of making it harder to vote — explicitly for working-class and non-white voters. We don’t have to look far to see Republicans schemes in action: Republicans in Virginia have already introduced over 20 bills to restrict mail-in voting, limit ballot drop-boxes and impose burdensome identification requirements (Virginia Republicans seized the Commonwealth’s Governorship and House of Delegates last year).

/// Notice — Planned Anti-Vaccine March This Weekend

For the past few weeks, community organizations like Remora House have been warning of a potential “anti-vax” march coming to DC on January 23 (Sunday) and this Tuesday local media finally caught up with the story. The event, headlined by several conservative, anti-vaccine advocates, is taking place on federal land, but many activists worry that attendees plan to enter DC establishments and openly challenge the District’s vaccine and mask mandates. Please exercise extra caution if going out this weekend and support our friends and comrades in the hospitality and service industry to the best of your ability. 

The anti-vaccination march comes following reactionary pushback against local public health ordinances. In DC, Texas Senator and bonafide creepshow Ted Cruz has introduced legislation impeding DC’s city-wide COVID ordinances (DC’s Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton has vowed to block the effort). Because DC is not a state, the District’s 700,000 residents are vulnerable to colonial exploitation by right-wing grifters looking to produce cheap distractions for their sadistic base. In prior Congresses, Cruz has introduced bills that have interfered with DC’s public school system, anti-discrimination and health insurance legislation


Wondering if you are up to date on your DSA dues? That’s how you stay current nationally AND locally. Here’s the link to find out your paid-up status with national DSA http://proof.dsausa.org/ — you may be a socialist in your heart, but as DSA’s founder once said, “an unorganized socialist is a contradiction in terms.” BTW you can contribute $ to our local MDC DSA chapter separately at this link and also by getting your externals right via shopping our merch store.

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 (self-check process is shown one entry above) and want to get on (or stay on) Slack, contact info@mdcdsa.org using the email by which national DSA knows you.

Publications Schedule: This is the final Weekly Update in January; next Friday, January 28 we publish the February Washington Socialist. The article deadline for that issue is TOMORROW, Saturday, January 22. Send your articles to thesocialist@mdcdsa.org.

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.

A big-tent organization like MDC DSA is no homogenous pudding but a swarm composed of many campaigns and tendencies putting thought into action. Organizationally, what do we look like? Here are our internal formations and campaigns, articulated and active, with contact info. Get to know the big picture outside your immediate campaign or issue. 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.


Sunday, January 23

1 – 3pm | PG Co. DSA January General Body Meeting

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

3 – 4pm | MoCo Branch Member Orientation

Monday, January 24

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

6:30 – 8:30pm | Socialist Night School — Technology and Inequality

Tuesday, January 25

7 – 9pm | Socialist Feminist Section Quarterly Business Meeting

7:30 – 8:30pm | January 2022 Workplace Organizing Workshop

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.

Thursday, January 27

8 – 9:30pm | Defund MPD Organizational Outreach Meeting

Friday, January 28

7pm | MoCo DSA January Game Night

Monday, January 31

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

Thursday, February 3

8 – 9:30pm | BDS Palestine Campaign Meeting


Sign-on to Support UMD Student Organizers

Fearless Student Employees (FSE), a graduate student group at the University of Maryland, will be testifying on January 27 at 2pm in favor of SB118, a state senate bill that would grant graduate assistants bargaining rights across the Maryland university system. With collective bargaining rights, UMD grad workers will be able to bargain for fair pay, accountability in grievance resolution, family leave, and proper representation within the university system. FSE is asking for allies to sign their petition to show popular support for the bill.

Volunteer with Ward 4 Mutual Aid 

Ward 4 Mutual Aid is looking to start 2022 off right with a fresh infusion of volunteers. If you’re able to lend a bit of your time to help community members, please consider joining their organizers for an online orientation event on January 25 from 8–9pm. The orientation is a great chance to learn about all the different ways you can support Ward 4 Mutual Aid (e.g., packing groceries for neighbors, serving on the communications and media team, political advocacy). Register online here.

Donate Extra Rapid Tests | Ward 6 Mutual Aid/Serve Your City DC

Don’t need your free COVID-19 rapid tests from the Biden administration (see details in our Briefs section)? Some local organizations, like Ward 6 Mutual Aid, may be able to use them to help unhoused neighbors and other residents in need. If you have unused and unopened test kits you’d like to donate. Please contact Meera@serveyourcitydc.org.

2022 MD General Assembly Session Town Hall | Our Revolution Maryland

Our Revolution Maryland will be hosting four Maryland legislators, including Dels. David Moon of MoCo and Julian Ivey of PGC, to discuss progressive legislation being introduced in the upcoming legislative session.

Magazine seeks 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.


From our MoCo comrade Ingrid G: Where do we go from here? “On the one-year anniversary of the January 6th assault on the Congress, we in the US face the threat of an authoritarian movement seizing state power, dismantling our democratic institutions, and launching repressive attacks on progressive organizations.” In a January 1 statement, DSA’s North Star Caucus proposes explicit steps DSA can take in building multi-racial unity on the left — and enriching and diversifying DSA’s culture and strategy — to confront the rise of neo-fascism and to defend democracy.  

Grappling with what is, after all, the bottom line: Class Struggle and the Fight for Democracy: 8 Propositions — from The Platypus via Portside.

An excellent summary of another way Maryland District 18 Senator Jeff Waldstreicher failed to turn up for progressive voters in Montgomery County. 

More than 8,000 workers at around 80 King Soopers grocery stores (owned by Kroger) are on strike, protesting low pay and rising healthcare costs — despite Kroger’s 2020 profits reaching nearly $3 billion, with CEO Rodney McMullen receiving a $6.4 million raise — among other things. In The Nation, Kim Kelly writes: “Two-thirds of the 10,000 Kroger workers … surveyed said that they do not earn enough money to cover their basic expenses every month, with 44 percent of them reporting that they cannot pay rent and 39 percent saying they can’t afford groceries.” 

A review of a new book on US labor is tagged by our comrade Jules B; it is making the rounds of longtime labor commentators and raises questions about where unions can get their support. “… labor leaders have too often mistaken the survival of their own unions ‘with the survival of the union movement itself.’” But unions’ fundamental problem, the book’s author, William Scheuerman, argues, is that, given the corporate-government assault upon them, their “organizational structure no longer serves the mission of the labor movement.”

The union movement is still constrained by outmoded labor law and high, easily exploitable barriers to organizing, we hear from our comrades at the Economic Policy Institute: “One of the most important things that could be done to generate a more equitable economy is to dismantle the barriers to union organizing and collective bargaining … New data on unionization from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2022), coupled with evidence on the value of unions and on workers’ desire to be unionized, reinforce the importance of this goal and the urgent need for policy reforms.” 

Earlier this week, Microsoft purchased game studio Activision Blizzard for over $70 billion, making it one of the largest corporate media consolidations in history — for context, Disney’s purchase of Fox media assets a few years back was valued at just over $71 billion. Kotaku explains why this consolidation was inevitable, and what it might mean for the media industry going forward. (Last December, Activision Blizzard employees took their first steps towards unionizing the media company following a deluge of scandals and mismanagement emanating from executive leadership … bold steps in an industry known for its exploitation and lack of organized labor). FTC chair Lina Khan suggests in this NYT interview that the acquisition/merger might get close scrutiny.

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