Jan 6, 2023

January 6, 2023



  • Newly elected Steering Committee approves GBM schedule, elects chair

  • House Republicans signal intent to bust Congressional Workers Union

  • Councilmember Zach Parker helps improve access to and integrity of Council hearings

Newly elected Steering Committee approves GBM schedule, elects chair

At its first meeting Tuesday, the newly elected 15th Metro DC DSA Steering Committee approved a schedule for General Body Meetings that starts with Sunday, January 22, and elected Aparna R. to serve as Steering chair. Important note: At the January 22 GBM, those parts of the 2022 Local Convention agenda that have yet to be covered will be discussed/debated. Voting on resolutions will take place in a chapter-wide OpaVote in the week following the meeting.

House Republicans signal intent to bust Congressional Workers Union

In 2022, Congressional workers (including Metro DC DSA members) fought tooth and nail to win the right to organize the first Congressional staff unions in United States history. This was a monumental victory for workers’ rights on Capitol Hill and beyond, as Congressional staffers negotiated their first contract and pushed their elected employers to back workers with their lawmaking. But House Republicans have already made clear their plans to union-bust in the House and beyond, democracy be damned. The incoming GOP majority introduced its House rules package on January 1; among other provisions, the package announced the party’s intention to “eliminate Democrats’ creation of House staff labor unions so that Congressional staff are accountable to the elected officials they serve.”

In response, the Congressional Workers Union (CWU) stated on Twitter: “We organized and unionized offices in the 117th Congress, and we’re not going to stop in the 118th Congress. When we fight, we win, and we’re ready to take on any anti-worker battles that may come our way.” Notably, it is unclear whether Republicans actually can nullify the union via the rules package — legislation may be required. In a statement to the Prospect, CWU member Taylor Doggett said, “As of now, we have no plans to stop our organizing drive and this has in fact invigorated workers to want to utilize their collective power even more and cement their seat at the table.”

The GOP rules package is more than a shameless (if expected) assault on organized labor and workers. It is a signal of intent: The 118th Congress has made it a priority, from day one, to undermine the rights of workers, unions and the left on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. As socialists, we are well-versed in the struggle against capital and its anti-worker avatars, and we will organize in the DMV and beyond to continue and to win that struggle. If you’re not yet a member, consider joining us.

Councilmember Zach Parker helps improve access to and integrity of Council hearings

In the DC Council’s first Committee of the Whole (COW) Meeting of 2023 — and Metro DC DSA-endorsed Councilmember Zach Parker’s (Ward 5) first COW ever — CM Parker introduced two amendments to improve engagement in and the integrity of DC Council hearings and committee meetings. Both amendments affect the Council’s Rules of Organization and Procedure and were accepted unanimously. 

Parker’s first amendment requires the Council Secretary to establish a uniform process for public witnesses to sign up to testify at committee hearings and roundtables. The amendment also requires that the registration process allow witnesses to state any accessibility and interpretation needs so that the Council can better accommodate all public witnesses. A second amendment requires that the Mayor and all agency witnesses testify under oath. This is already a common practice, but it is not a requirement and was previously left to the discretion of the committee receiving testimony. This change will make clear that the Council expects the Mayor and agency witnesses to provide truthful testimony and could make it easier for the Council to pursue consequences for witnesses who make knowing, material misrepresentations under oath. 

That CM Parker introduced these amendments within days of joining the Council is a testimony to the importance of establishing a left wing bloc on the Council and highlights the vital work our members perform on Metro DC DSA electoral campaigns! If you’re interested in strengthening our chapter’s electoral organizing, consider applying for a place on the Political Engagement Committee — more info in Briefs.


Political Engagement Committee applications now open

The 15th Steering Committee is now asking for applications to be on the Political Engagement Committee (PEC). The PEC coordinates chapter processes related to the recruitment, vetting and recommendation of electoral candidates for endorsement by chapter members, as well as assisting chapter members in supporting endorsed candidates during campaigns and with legislative advocacy of the chapter’s priorities to elected officials. The PEC must have three current Steering members, as well as a minimum of one resident from DC, Maryland and Virginia, respectively. People who would like to be on the PEC must fill out this form by January 24 — applications are welcome from any and all chapter members! All applicants will be interviewed by At-Large Steering Committee Member and PEC Chair Carl R. as part of the appointment process, and the Steering Committee aims to appoint new members in the first week of February. Please reach out to Carl R. on Slack (@Carl R (he/him)) if you have any questions about the application process or the PEC more broadly!

NoVA Branch monthly organizing meeting — Thursday, January 12 at 6:15pm

Join us at our monthly NoVA Branch DSA organizing and planning meeting! 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. You may join us in person at the Arlington Central Library or virtually via Zoom. We invite you to join us however you prefer!


Spring 2023 Reading Groups — sign-ups now open!

Sign-ups for MDC DSA Political Education Spring 2023 Reading Groups are now open! You can find the sign-up form here. Reading groups are set to begin in late January/early February. 

We have a great line-up this semester. In addition to the return of our classic Capital in the Capitol reading group on Vol. I of Marx’s Capital, we have groups on Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s Abolition Geography, David Roediger’s Wages of Whiteness, bell hooks’ All About Love, the Marxist art criticism of Ben Davis and much, much more!


Find fresh ideas in After The Storm, an anticapitalist magazine

After The Storm is a publication — and sister initiative of Metro DC DSA — that gives voice to stories describing a world beyond our current systems of oppression. We believe that for us to reach a place, we first have to imagine it. So, start your year with some inspiration by reading pieces like “Sunlight,” a postcapitalist LGBTQ romance by Shauna Gordon-McKeon; “Borderlands,” a short story about journalists and the media by Sudip Bhattacharya; “On Human Herds,” a novel-in-progress by Alex Mell-Taylor set in a world built in the wake of climate change; and more. Have your own stories to tell? We’re always looking to publish essays and fiction and can pay our writers modestly. You can also support more storytelling by joining us on Patreon.

Workers unionize at MOM’s Organic Market, La Colombe Coffee Roasters and ZeniMax Studios

Worker momentum keeps building in the DMV! From Union City: “In double victories on December 23, workers at both MOM’s Organic Market in College Park, MD, and the La Colombe Coffee Roasters Chinatown location in Washington, DC, voted to unionize with UFCW Local 400. The College Park store is the third MOM’s Organic Market to unionize. In August, workers at a Baltimore store in Hampden voted overwhelmingly in favor of unionizing with the Teamsters, and in October, workers at the MOM’s Organic Market in Timonium voted to unionize as well. The Chinatown La Colombe is the first La Colombe cafe in the country to successfully unionize.” Local 400 added that “union organizing efforts are sweeping through the DMV region, where in the last few months workers at Books-A-Million, Union Kitchen, Politics and Prose and Zen Leaf dispensary have all unionized, announced plans to unionize or ratified their first union contracts.”

Plus, over 300 QA testers at Rockville-based ZeniMax Studios formed a supermajority in favor of unionization in late December; CWA announced the news earlier this week. ZeniMax, which is owned by Microsoft, swiftly and voluntarily recognized the union, making it the largest group of union-represented QA testers at any game studio.


About MDC DSA: The local chapter’s website is here. It’s a public site, so if you are working to move a friend or coworker from liberal to organized socialist, you can confidently offer them links to info about what we do and how we make socialism every day.

Members and interested leftists can scan the most recently updated versions of the Steering Committee’s 2022 meetings as well as 2022 General Body Meetings. Also, explore our deep and current history in archives of Socialist Night School, our chapter leadership’s statements on events past and present, the range of our sponsored Reading Groups and the topic-organized archive of articles in the Washington Socialist.

The road map of MDC DSA’s activism — campaigns, working groups, etc. — is here. And here is an introduction to the chapter. Our name is Metro DC because we have branches covering the DMV. 

Publications schedule: This is the first Update of 2023 and includes the January issue of the Washington Socialist monthly newsletter. January’s Updates appear Fridays, the 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th, and the February issue of the Washington Socialist goes out with the Friday, February 3rd Update. Articles for the February issue should be submitted by January 28 to thesocialist@mdcdsa.org. 

Weekly Update Tip Line: The Metro DC DSA Tip Line is live. If you have news or events that you think should be promoted in the Weekly Update, please submit it to the form above. Include your contact information and all possible details for consideration.

Our Pubs Working Group meets twice monthly, besides this month; check out the #publications channel on Slack for discussion, scheduling, etc.


From DCist: “Exhausted By Another Crisis Year, Local Hospital Workers Demand Change.” Throughout 2022, DC nurses and healthcare workers “staged protests, unified with other unions and labor associations for support, and at one point, held a strike to get their demands met. With more D.C.-area nurses re-entering into contract negotiations in 2023, labor leaders and workers say this type of direct action will continue until they feel they’re paid what they deserve, and working in an environment that values both them — and most importantly — their patients.”

This Right-Wing Think Tank Is Hell-Bent on Defunding Public-Sector Unions. Is It Working? After the Supreme Court gutted rules to protect unions, the Freedom Foundation has been on a national mission to erode labor’s base of support. From The New Republic via Portside.

“Southwest Airlines’ pilot and flight attendant unions warned for years that the company’s rickety computer systems left the airline vulnerable. The carrier stuck with outdated technology and never heeded those warnings, they say.” In a pleasant surprise, WaPo’s postmortem coverage of Southwest’s holiday travel catastrophe highlights the workers’ perspectives. And Paul Krugman’s NYT column, focusing on Southwest’s risky embedment in a point to point (rather than hub-and-spoke) logistic, notes also that “Southwest hadn’t spent the money needed to upgrade a scheduling system many people inside the airline knew was inadequate. Instead, before the pandemic it spent billions on stock buybacks.”

“… flanked by eight representatives of Brazil’s diverse society including one of its most revered Indigenous leaders, Raoni Metuktire, a rap DJ and metalworker and a 10-year-old child,” Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva officially re-ascended to Brazil’s presidency on New Year’s Day. The Guardian covered Lula’s inauguration, where he vowed to fight hunger, poverty and environmental destruction.


Intro to Restorative Justice Circles, Intro to Unarmed Civilian Protection | DC Peace Team

DC Peace Team has two upcoming trainings this January: Introduction to Restorative Justice Circles on January 14 from 9:30am to 12:30pm and Introduction to Unarmed Civilian Protection on January 14 from 1 to 5pm. Both trainings are free, held online and can be registered for on the DC Peace Team website.

MLK Day of Service Cleanup | Deanwood Citizens Association

Celebrate MLK Day in service by joining the Deanwood Citizens Association on Monday, January 16 for a Deanwood Cleanup! Participants should meet at 10am at Marvin Gaye Mosaic (4215 Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave NE). Breakfast pastries, water and cleanup supplies will be provided. Contact trailranger@waba.org with questions.

Worker Co-op Employment Opportunity | Brighter Days Collective

Brighter Days Collective is a 16-year-old dog-walking and pet-sitting operation serving Washington, DC. Brighter Days Collective requires all applicants to commit to a year (or more) of work. Experience with dogs and collectively run groups is a plus! You can find out application information on Brighter Days Collective’s website.


Friday, January 6

6:30 – 9pm | NoVA monthly Game Nite (in person, all welcome)

Wednesday, January 11

7:30 – 8:30pm | We Power DC Organizing Meeting 

Thursday, January 12

6:15 – 7:45pm |  NoVA Branch Monthly Organizing Meeting (hybrid)

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