October 7, 2022
DC Ballots sent out — Initiative 82 briefer
US general elections will take place on November 8, and there are important, DSA-endorsed candidates and ballot initiatives taking place in DC, Maryland and Virginia.
In DC, the Board of Elections has begun to mail out ballots to registered voters, which can be dropped off at one of the many ballot drop-off locations across the District. Metro DC DSA has endorsed and mobilized voter outreach in support of Initiative 82 — which would end the subminimum wage in the District — as well as DC Ward 5 council candidate and DSA member Zachary Parker. In Maryland, MDC DSA has endorsed incumbent MD-House delegate and DSA member Gabe Acevero (District 39). You can find your voter registration status following these links: DC, Maryland, Virginia.
Metro DC DSA has been canvassing over the last two weekends in support of Initiative 82, and will continue to lead canvassing efforts in the run-up to election day. If you want to join our canvassing operations, please fill out this form and canvassing organizers will be in touch. Want to learn more about Initiative 82 and the fight to end the subminimum wage? Here’s the latest:
- Washington Socialist breaks down the fight for Initiative 82, how DSA has been involved in this effort and how corporate propagandists are mobilizing to confuse, distract and intimidate the public against the initiative.
- Washington Monthly profiles the near decade-long fight to end the subminimum wage in the District and what it would mean for a wide range of service workers in the District.
- Working-class musician Billy Bragg gave I82 a shout-out at his Lincoln Theater show over the weekend.
- Learn more about the citywide coalition organizing in support of the initiative from Build Better Restaurants DC.
Stomp Out Slumlords DC anti-evictions canvassing, this Saturday, Oct 8th
This Saturday at 1:30pm, DSA’s tenant organizing project, Stomp Out Slumlords, will be conducting an Anti-Eviction Canvass in DC. SOS will be informing tenants facing eviction about their rights in court and how to get a lawyer, as well as provide resources for building organizing. Tenants SOS speaks to are twice as likely to go to court and fight their eviction, so every volunteer can make a big impact.
Anyone interested in tenant organizing is invited to attend. Organizers will help train newcomers in the process. (Please sign up here so organizers can reach you.) SOS will be meeting at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station near the D Street exit between 6th and 7th, above the escalators (if the weather is bad, the meeting spot will be downstairs just before the turnstiles). If you have a car, please drive it down to the meeting spot, as cars are helpful for getting canvassers to Metro-inaccessible areas. After canvassing, the group will meet at Sonny’s in Park View to socialize and debrief.
Police Out of Traffic Enforcement campaign launch — Tuesday, Oct 18 from 6 to 8pm
Traffic stops are the most common way Americans interact with the police, and too often, these interactions escalate to violence. At the same time, research has shown that traffic stops by police do not result in better street safety. If we want real safety on our streets, we will need to think bigger.
A citywide coalition will be launching the Police Out of Traffic Enforcement Campaign in DC to promote a new way of thinking about traffic safety. The campaign will officially launch on Tuesday, October 18th from 6 to 8pm at the MLK Library Rooftop in downtown DC and will feature a panel discussion and Q&A to learn more about the push to shift traffic enforcement responsibility away from MPD and to the District Department of Transportation. We encourage you to register for the event here. The current campaign coalition includes the Washington Area Bicyclists Association, ACLU-DC, Sunrise DC, DC Justice Lab and Metro DC DSA.
Volunteers Needed for Upcoming Phonebanks for Repro Justice and SocFem
DSA has nationally endorsed three campaigns in two states to defeat anti-abortion ballot measures — two campaigns in Kentucky and one multi-chapter campaign in Montana. The MDC DSA Reproductive Justice Working Group and the Socialist Feminist Section are asking for volunteers to participate in an upcoming phonebank or textbank to reach out directly to voters across Kentucky and Montana.
Nominations Open for Socialist Feminist Section Stewards
The Socialist Feminist Section is currently taking nominations for Stewards through October 15th. A link to the nomination form is in the #socialist-feminist Slack channel. If you’re interested in leadership, please nominate yourself! Any comrades who are not men can nominate/be a nominee.
Actions at Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank — Oct 12 – 14
If you attended our recent Washington DC: Capital of Neoliberalism Walking Tour, then you have gotten a glimpse into the harm wrought by neoliberal institutions such as the IMF and World Bank. Well, here is your opportunity to resist. Beginning on October 12, the IMF and World Bank will hold a series of events and meetings in DC, and organizations from the Global South are calling allied organizations to action. In response, a local coalition of activists is planning a series of actions on Oct. 12 – 14 to disrupt these events and demand (1) the unconditional cancellation of all debts owed to the IMF and World Bank, (2) payment of climate and colonial reparations for past and ongoing wrongs perpetrated by the Global North and (3) the end of support for all new oil, gas and coal extraction, transport and use projects.
The For People, For Planet coalition, including ShutDownDC, CODE PINK, SPACEs in Action, Extinction Rebellion DC and others, is holding several events over the next week: An Art Build for messaging (today through Oct. 10, 11am to 5pm each day); Bike Bloc street action Oct. 12 at 5pm; noise demo at news conference Oct. 13 at 1pm; resistance festival at 7:30am, followed by rally and march at noon on Oct. 14. Details and signup here.
PGDSA and GCAN PolEd: Stop The Money Pipeline October 19, 7pm
Join the Prince George’s County DSA and Greenbelt Climate Action Network for an interactive discussion and political education event on the Stop the Money Pipeline Campaign. We will learn about the background of the campaign and how it intersects with local and regional actors and how you can get involved and bring bad actors to account. Sign up here.
Wall Street is fueling the climate crisis, poisoning communities and causing widespread environmental destruction. The power plants, oil rigs and pipelines that are harming frontline communities and cooking the planet wouldn’t be possible without Wall Street’s money — it’s the financialization of the Fossil Power that is keeping these zombie megacorps wrecking the planet. Big Oil is, by any reasonable measure, Big Stranded Assets. So we’re laying the blame at the feet of the big banks, insurance companies, asset managers and pension funds who are bankrolling the crisis.
President Biden Announces Plan to Pardon Prior Federal Offenses of Simple Marijuana Possession
In addition to the executive action on federal marijuana possession offenses, Biden asked for an “expeditious” review of how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. The change in marijuana classification will have a huge effect for DC — lack of statehood has allowed corrupt congressmen to sneak in legislation restricting DC from legalizing and taxing the sale of marijuana. (DC first voted to legalize marijuana in 1998 through Initiative 59, which passed with 69% of the vote; DC voted to legalize marijuana use through Initiative 71, which also authorized the “gifting” of marijuana as a work-around Congressional bans on legalization.) This executive action is severely flawed — all immigrants besides those with green cards are excluded, as are District residents convicted prior to more recent DC code.
The Drug Policy Alliance, a national advocacy group, issued a statement expressing strong support for the Biden Administration’s actions. DPA went on to urge Biden to fully deschedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and to support the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which was introduced in the Senate earlier this year.
District residents are encouraged to follow the Decriminalize Poverty Coalition in DC, which is organizing to end drug criminalization and expand drug treatment and support services in the city. Metro DC DSA is a proud member of this coalition.
NoVA DSA Monthly Branch Meeting — Thursday, Oct 13th at 6:30pm
We will welcome new members and discuss our current actions and campaigns. As always, we will address any current issues from our communities and allied organizations. Please RSVP. You can join virtually or in-person at Arlington Central Library in the Little Falls Room on the 2nd floor.
Plus: TONIGHT (10/7) at 6:30pm at The Board Room in Clarendon, VA
Ever wanted to play the Jacobin boardgame Class Warfare? Now you can! Join us and feel free to bring your own (board)games. We’ll be at The Board Room in Clarendon (Arlington). We hope this becomes a monthly event. All welcome. RSVP here.
‘Solidarity Is Brewing: Striketober!’ — DSA USA Labor Organizing Webinar — Monday, Oct 10 at 8pm
Last October, DSA Labor members across the country engaged in solidarity strike support for workers at Nabisco, Kellogg’s, John Deere and more. The energy of “Striketober” and the lessons learned helped launch our Solidarity Is Brewing campaign and our new DSA Labor Solidarity Fund. Join this call to learn about how labor solidarity across industries builds power for the working class.
And ICYMI: Starbucks workers organizing at 1429 P Street, DC location won their union election in a 10-6 vote! Metro DC DSA has and will continue to support labor organizing efforts for all workers in the region.
Ward 3 Mutual Aid Pantry Under Threat of Eviction
For the last few months, the barely one-year-old mutual aid food pantry in Ward 3 has been under threat of closure from its hosts at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). Currently, Ward 3 Mutual Aid operates the pantry out of a university-leased building next to its Van Ness Campus that had long lacked any need or use. The pantry provides household cleaning supplies and personal hygiene supplies, items which are cost-prohibitive for those with low incomes. Ward 3 Mutual Aid and the Feed the Family Pantry have only been given until the end of October to remain in the space, and as of yet no reasonable alternate space has been offered. Since UDC began offering the space in May 2021, the pantry has grown from serving 52 low-income households per week to over 100. Ward 3 Mutual Aid and Feed the Family are asking DC residents to support them by signing their Change.org petition and/or contributing directly to the pantry (rather than via the Change.org petition) at their GoFundMe. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about how to volunteer or donate cleaning supplies.
Sign Up Now for Training on Organizing Walking Tours — Wednesday, November 16 at 8pm
If you enjoyed or are interested in Metro DC DSA Walking Tours and want to get more involved in Political Education, sign up now for a 90 minute online training on How to Organize a Walking Tour! The training takes place on Wednesday, November 16 at 8pm and will cover all aspects related to safe outdoor political education, with a specific focus on walking tours. The training will cover what topics work for a walking tour, how to conduct signups, and how to route tour attendees to continuing education and organizing. It will also cover logistical details such as how to coordinate supplies, find volunteer roles, send attendee reminders, keep attendees safe, arrange content, and do follow up. The Political Education Working Group plans to hold outdoor political education events and walking tours this coming spring and summer — sign up now to get trained on how to help (and suggest some topics)! This signup form is being shared well in advance to better shape the presentation’s design based on attendee interest and knowledge.
Invite to Fall Speakers Training and Talking to Non-Socialists Training: National Political Education Committee
The National Political Education Committee (NPEC) of DSA is holding two important online trainings open to Metro DC DSA and all DSA members! First, it’s holding a Fall Speakers Training. The series is intended for active DSA organizers who would like to develop speaking skills, learn to argue in clear and compelling ways, help lead political education within their chapters or working groups, and to speak to an audience in any capacity. The course will be held on four consecutive Tuesday evenings: October 18 and 25 and November 1 and 8, from 5 to 6pm PT/8 to 9pm ET. Because this training is intensive, participation as a presenter is by application only. Applications will be accepted until next Friday, October 10 at this link. Learn more and RSVP here.
Second, NPEC is holding a training titled Speaking with Non-Socialists. As we organize toward a better world, our encounters with non-socialists of many stripes — from the socialism-skeptical to the socialism-curious — are opportunities to listen, connect and even find new comrades. The training will be held over two evenings: Wednesday, October 19, and Wednesday, October 26, from 5 to 7pm PT/8 to 10pm ET. Learn more and sign up here.
Endorsement Vote Outcome
MDC DSA members voted by OpaVote Sept. 21 – 25 on endorsing our member David Schwartzman in his bid for an at-large DC Council seat on the Statehood-Green ballot line in November’s general election. Resolution 2022-09-ER1 was debated at the September GBM and was subsequently defeated in the online OpaVote, 69-173.
Student Loan Borrowers: Here’s How to Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness
The Biden Administration recently announced broad cancellation of debt for student loan borrowers. While welcomed, the forgiveness is means tested and requires borrowers to jump through administrative hoops to access. Metro DC DSA’s Political Education working group held a session on explaining what the Biden Administration’s changes mean for borrowers and debtors and how to access the forgiveness program. You can view a recording of that session here.
Publications schedule: October MDC DSA Updates are scheduled for Fridays, October 14, 21 and 28, and the November issue of the Washington Socialist is scheduled for Friday, November 4. Join our Pubs WG gaggle in #publications channel or send articles to email@example.com. What do we publish? Check out the topic index.
Content(s): The October issue of the Washington Socialist includes Initiative 82: Here’s What to Know; Build Highways or Fight Climate Change: Biden Administration Can’t Do Both; Dispatch from Loudoun County: Democrats’ Virginia Problem; and Mid-Atlantic DSA Regional Organizing Retreat September 2022 Report.
Pubs Pitch: Doing the comms/publications work for MDC DSA is surprisingly fun but requires intensive and broad-scale teamwork at crucial moments in each Weekly Update production cycle. It also needs casual individual drop-in work to do thorough editing of our monthly Washington Socialist articles. What that means: There is room in our work for all kinds of personal schedules as well as the material pleasure of learning, thinking about and doing socialism as you pitch in. There is a good fit for every comrade. Join us on #publications or at our next Pubs WG meeting, Saturday, Oct. 29.
The Washington Socialist welcomes solo or collaborative responses from our many Fall reading groups; pass along what you are learning and thinking to your comrades who aren’t present and to our wider readership on the DMV left. Join our #publications channel to chat this up on Slack and send individual or group responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Available as a member resource on the local chapter website are up-to-date minutes on the Steering Committee’s 2022 meetings as well as on General Body Meetings 2022. The road map of MDC DSA’s activities — campaigns, working groups etc., including our three branches — is here.
Red Desk is where all members can go to request support, calendar links for events, etc. for their campaigns and working group needs. How to access and use Red Desk? Here are some visual how-tos.
DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Friday, October 7
6:30 – 8:30pm | NoVA DSA Game Nite
Saturday, October 8
1:30 – 5pm | Stomp Out Slumlords Anti-Eviction Canvass
3 – 4:30pm | Monthly Meeting for the MDC DSA newsletter
Wednesday, October 12
6:30 – 7:15pm | Pub’s Halloween Party Planning Meeting
Thursday, October 13
6:30 – 8pm | NoVA DSA Monthly Organizing Meeting (hybrid attendance)
Monday, October 17
Tuesday, October 18
2 – 5pm | Speak Up for Labor at Prince William County Board Meeting (hybrid)
7 –11pm | Speak Up for Labor at Prince William County Board Meeting (hybrid)
Wednesday, October 19
6 – 8pm | MoCo Branch October Advisory Committee Meeting (in person)
7 – 8:30pm | Stop the Money Pipeline Political Ed Town Hall
Thursday, October 20
6 – 8:30pm | Social Meetup — NoVa Branch DSA (in person)
Sunday, October 23
7 – 9pm | MDC DSA General Body Meeting
3 – 4:30pm | MoCo Branch Monthly Meeting (in person)
Wednesday, October 26
Friday, October 28
6:30pm | Pubs WG Ghostly Social (in person)
Saturday, October 29
Sunday, October 30
5 – 6:30pm | Internationalism Working Group Monthly Meeting
DMV Food Recovery Week | Manna Food Center, DC Food Recovery Working Group, et al
The global pandemic has revealed how much we need a more resilient food system — one that sustains the earth and provides sufficient, nutritious food for all who need it. During the DMV Food Recovery Week, October 16 – 22, free in-person and virtual events will be on offer to help individuals and our community become more resilient. Learn easy things you can do at home — and ways to support community efforts — to reduce food waste and increase food security for all. Check out the events and register here.
Defund the Police Deep Canvass | SURJ-DC
The SURJ-DC Deep Canvass and Trans & Queer teams are hosting their next deep canvass days on Sunday, October 16 and Saturday, November 19. Through these events, SURJ-DC is working to build a community that learns together about community safety and alternatives to policing. The canvass will run from 10am to 2:30pm and take place in the Columbia Heights neighborhood. Morning training will be outdoors, lunch will be provided, then canvassers will get out on the doors together with a script focused on shifting resources from policing to community needs. Find more information and sign up here!
GOOD READS / ESSENTIAL TRAFFIC
In Washington Monthly, Will Norris details the Initiative 82 campaign and the long, hard fight to win a living wage for tipped workers. “Finally, workers are, in this very historic way, saying, ‘I’m done … That’s it, I am not going to put up with this anymore.’”
Climate justice is energy justice is racial justice — public power is crucial for all three. Recent reporting from Grist found that Black, Latinx, and Indigenous households face disproportionately high utility shut-offs. More than 20 million US households have unpaid electricity bills, and one in three people living in the US experienced extreme heat advisories over this past summer. These findings are a reminder of why the fight for public power is so urgent: corporate energy utilities actively oppose or drag their feet on renewables goals, worsening climate change and aggravating environmental injustice.
Disasters widen inequalities: From 1980 through July 2022, the United States experienced 332 disasters that each caused at least US $1 billion in damages — and their frequency is escalating. Ian will certainly be added to the list after barreling across Florida, causing tens of billions of dollars in estimated damage and the deaths of at least 44 people. While the dollar amount may be astronomical, what it does not capture is the ways that this cost is borne unequally, both within and between communities. In other words, the total price tag doesn’t tell us how Ian will exacerbate existing inequalities. Research has shown that FEMA aid disproportionately goes to whiter and wealthier communities of homeowners in the aftermath. From The Conversation via Route Fifty
Adam Tooze in the NYT: “For the first time in the post-Cold War era of globalization, we are facing significant and widespread inflation. Why are we fighting it country by country? If we want to keep the pain of deflation to a minimum, we urgently need international cooperation to fully take into account all the spillover effects and to prepare the safety nets.”
What’s Bernie up to? You haven’t heard? “Bernie Sanders Wants Build Back Better Back” — “Ahead of critical midterm elections, Sanders says he will continue to prod the Democratic Party to connect with working-class voters — even as he believes the party may not be up to the task of defending their interests.”
Dig deep into this one — Bob Kuttner of the Prospect provides a long read — well, OK, a book chapter — on the slow and painful transformation of a Reagan-era sub-agency intended to block regulation into one that (under Biden) aims to manage regulation to increase equity of impact, dodge business influence as much as possible, and “bulletproof … regulations against reversal by right-wing courts.”
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.