Jan 20, 2023

January 20, 2023



  • First General Body Meeting of 2023 — This Sunday, January 22, 7 to 9pm

  • Socialist Night School: The Next Shift on Health Care, Labor and Deindustrialization — Monday, January 23, 6pm

  • Montgomery County Rent Control Canvass Sunday, January 22, 12:30pm

First General Body Meeting of 2023 — This Sunday, January 22, 7 to 9pm

Our General Body Meetings are opportunities for members new and old, from all across the chapter, to get together, hear updates on working groups and chapter business, and debate any chapter resolutions that might come up. This month’s GBM is going to be a continuation of leftover business from our 2022 December Convention. The convention bulletin (which includes details of all the proposed bylaw amendments and general resolutions) can be found here. The items that were not voted on during convention and will be debated on the 22nd are:

Note: The sponsors of “Amendment to GR1” and “GR1” have decided to pull their resolutions from consideration for this GBM and will propose a joint resolution at a later date. ALSO — there will be no live voting at the meeting, only motivation and debate on each item. Voting will take place over OpaVote in the week following the GBM.

Socialist Night School: The Next Shift on Health Care, Labor and Deindustrialization — Monday, January 23, 6pm

At 6pm this Monday, January 23rd, the Political Education Working Group is hosting a Socialist Night School in a virtual setting on The Next Shift: The Fall of Industry and the Rise of Health Care in Rust Belt America — make sure to sign up here for the link! Gabriel Winant, the book’s author, will take chapter members inside the Rust Belt to show how health care became a dominant economic sector in the US through the crises of the 1970s onward. In Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods, he found through his research that, as steelworkers and their families grew older, they required more health care. The insurance benefits they had acquired through their unions and class struggle funded hospitals and nursing homes’ expansions and hiring — even as the industrial plants that funded their benefits closed down.

But many care jobs bear little resemblance to the manufacturing work the city lost. Unlike their blue-collar predecessors, home health aides and hospital staff work unpredictable hours for low pay. And the new working class disproportionately comprises women and people of color. The Next Shift documents the changes through a Marxist feminist analysis and suggests the power health care workers and care workers have to create a better world. The Socialist Night School will cover The Next Shift, take questions and comments from attendees, and inform attendees how to get involved in Chapter organizing and education. This is a virtual meeting — make sure to sign up for the link!

Montgomery County Rent Control Canvass Sunday, January 22, 12:30pm

Join the Montgomery County Branch this Sunday in Silver Spring to talk with renters about our fight for rent control in Montgomery County! Together with coalition partners in the Montgomery County Racial Equity Network, democratic socialists will canvass an apartment complex in downtown Silver Spring where tenants are experiencing large rent increases. Canvassers will talk to tenants about permanent rent stabilization, which would limit rent increases, and a member of the County Council will be on hand to hear directly from tenants about how rent stabilization would impact their lives. If you would like to join this effort, RSVP here to get full details. With enough support, the working class can win permanent rent stabilization.

For those who can’t make the canvass — Montgomery County residents are urged to send an email to their council members about passing rent stabilization. You can also continue to check the Metro DC DSA chapter calendar, as well as this newsletter, for details about future canvasses and upcoming actions in support of this front.


Initiative 82 update: DC Council delays first wage increase for tipped workers

Last November, DC voters overwhelmingly voted to pass Initiative 82, which will gradually phase out the tipped minimum wage over the next five years. Metro DC DSA played an integral part in getting this initiative on the ballot, canvassing in support of the initiative and selling this proposal to the public, where it eventually won in every single ward of the city, with 73% of total votes in the affirmative.

This week, the Council unanimously approved emergency legislation that will postpone implementation of I82 by two months. The legislation, motivated by At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds, will delay implementation in order to align with the Congressional calendar since it is subject to federal review. According to the Council’s legislative tracking system, the initiative should have taken full effect on March 8. Representatives of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) disagreed with this and advised Bonds to push back the effective date. The Build a Better Restaurant Industry, which motivated the initiative, told DCist that they believe RAMW misled CM Bonds in order to delay the effective date of this legislation.

Under this new schedule, tipped workers’ base wages will rise from $5.35/hr to $6 in May, to again be raised in July to $8/hr. 

The Metro DC DSA Steering Committee provided the following statement to DCist on the matter: “We understand the reasoning behind the change … [but] we expect that there won’t be any more delays in implementing the initiative and that our Council will work to uphold the will of the voters. During this time of skyrocketing rents and increased cost of living, tipped workers deserve to take home higher pay to sustain themselves and their families as soon as possible. This is further proof that DC deserves statehood and the right to govern ourselves — it is unfair to delay raises for DC workers and undemocratic for Congress to oppose the will of the voters.”

Read the full story at DCist. Organizers within DSA’s labor working group will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the initiative is fully implemented.

Spring 2023 Chapter Reading Groups — Sign Up Soon!

Sign-ups for MDC DSA Political Education Spring 2023 Reading Groups will remain open until Sunday, February 5th! You can find the sign-up form here — make sure to enroll before some kick off as early as next week. Reading groups are the perfect opportunity to meet comrades, learn socialist theory, make it through Capital Vol. 1 with a group by your side, study together on a topic you’ll be organizing on or even write together …

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 that include Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s Abolition Geography sponsored by the Northern Virginia Branch, David Roediger’s Wages of Whiteness, bell hooks’ All About Love sponsored by the SocFem section, a Marxist art criticism group called Marx at the Museum, the Public Power Reading Group sponsored by We Power DC, a housing reading group on City of Segregation sponsored by Stomp Out Slumlords, the Palestine and Socialism reading group sponsored by the Internationalism Working Group, the Animal Liberation Reading Group with monthly vegan potlucks, a Law and Economy reading group, a nonfiction writing group sponsored by the Publications Working Group and much more! Learn more and sign up today!


Interested in Political Education? Attend the Working Group Meeting — Sunday, January 29, 1pm

All chapter members are invited to attend the online Political Education Working Group meeting on Sunday, January 29th at 1pm! Sign up here for the link. If you’re interested in getting involved with Walking Tours, book exchanges, reading groups, Socialist Night Schools or similar events, or shaping the chapter’s political education in 2023, this is the perfect event for you! Especially for members active in priority campaigns and other organizing work, this meeting can be a way to suggest or generate ideas for how to integrate political education into new parts of the chapter. The meeting will introduce the Political Education Working Group’s setup, detail ways to get involved and go through upcoming work in 2023. The link to the meeting is only available through registration.


The Future of DSA: A National Political Committee Debate — Thursday, January 26, 8pm

Ahead of the 2023 DSA National Convention, join National DSA for a debate and discussion between National Political Committee members on the future of DSA. We’ll dig into important political questions facing our organization and what the terrain looks like for us and for the left broadly. This call will also include an orientation on the format and structure of the Convention and Pre-Convention.

New proposed legislation in DC would expand support and protections for District students

At-Large Councilmember Christina Henderson has introduced three pieces of legislation designed to add to the support offered to DC students of all ages and abilities: the Universal Free School Meals Act of 2023, the Out of School Time Special Education Inclusion and Standards Amendment Act of 2023 and the New Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights Amendment Act of 2023. Only three states currently have permanent universal school meal legislation on their books. Henderson’s legislation would make permanent the federal pandemic rules (which expired last year) that made school breakfast, lunch and after-school snacks free to all students in public, public charter and nonprofit private schools in the District of Columbia that participate in the National School Lunch Program. The Out of School Time Amendment would ensure that students with disabilities have access to outside-of-school programming with trained providers, and the New Student Loan Amendment would add a number of new protections for student loan borrowers, including the prohibition of unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices.

After the Storm Seeks Artists for Socialist Comic Book

Metro DC DSA’s anti-capitalist futurist magazine After the Storm is looking for artists and illustrators to help bring to life the vision of a socialist serial comic that’s fun and educational. The comic is written by a student in the PG County Public Schools system and is geared towards middle grade readers. Artists will be paid for their work. To learn more about the project and how to get involved, send a sample of your work along with your availability to afterthestormmag@gmail.com.

Maryland comrades: Environmental Legislative Summit — Tuesday, January 31, 6pm

Tune in virtually to the annual Maryland Environmental Summit, sponsored by Maryland’s Environmental Community. Turnout for this signature event demonstrates to our legislators the power and public support behind environmental issues, so showing up for this event is invaluable. Join us and register for tickets here. You will hear from our environmental leaders and learn about important environmental bills in the General Assembly’s 2023 session (and maybe bring some ecosocialism to the party).

Attend the Reproductive Justice Working Group Meeting — Wednesday, February 1, 7pm

Join the Reproductive Justice working group for our first public meeting on Wednesday, February 1 at 7pm. It is open to all, including non-DSA members. For our first public meeting we will read articles and hold discussions about Reproductive Justice and what it means in this post-Roe era. We hope these monthly meetings will foster conversations, expand our network, and build community with our DC comrades. Stay tuned for the registration link.


About MDC DSA: The local chapter’s website is here. That’s where 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 including our branches covering the DMV.

Publications schedule: January’s final Update appears Friday the 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. Deadline is Thursdays at 4pm for the following Friday publication.

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

The January 2023 issue of the Washington Socialist newsletter features these new articles:


The Constitutional Case for Disarming the Debt Ceiling — Tom Geoghegan in TNR argues that “The Framers would have never tolerated debt-limit brinkmanship. It’s time to put this terrible idea on trial.” Via Portside.

‘We need to unite’: how Yolanda Díaz is galvanising the left in Spain — Yolanda Díaz, [Spain’s] deputy prime minister and a lifelong member of the Communist party, is heading Sumar (Unite), a platform to the left of the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, that plans to put up candidates at the general election due on 10 December. From The Guardian.

A relevant investigation by the NYT, especially given the DC Council’s recent vote to push back I82 implementation: “The National Restaurant Association uses mandatory $15 food-safety classes to turn waiters and cooks into unwitting funders of its battle against minimum wage increases.” Read “How Restaurant Workers Help Pay for Lobbying to Keep Their Wages Low.”

Jacobin details the electoral successes of DSA in New York, where eight DSA-endorsed socialists now hold elected office in the state government. Proving the value of winning material advances for the working class, the DSA slate has managed to help win an expansion of tenants’ rights, reform parole, and save important social services from being cut in the last few years. They are now forming the Socialists in Office caucus, and are planning to work to increase funding for public transit as their next goal.

An opinion piece from Deutsche Welle looks at the fight over coal mining as it prepares to destroy the village of Lützerath in Germany. Despite government studies indicating additional coal is not needed to meet Germany’s energy demands, and the coal in question being the particularly environmentally destructive lignite coal, Lützerath is in the midst of being needlessly and apocalyptically sacrificed in the name of fossil fuel profits.


Sad Plant Open Hours | Very Sad Lab

Plants feeling the winter weather blues? Can’t tell if your new houseplant is dead or is supposed to look like that? Bring in your sad plants to Eaton DC (1203 K St NW, first floor) on Saturday, January 21 from 11:30am to 1:30pm for Very Sad Lab’s open hours. The Very Sad Lab team will diagnose plant problems, offer treatment recommendations, and answer all your sad plant questions!

DC Peace Team Trainings

DC Peace Team, whose mission is to “cultivate the habits and skills of nonviolence in our communities, so we can better resist injustice, and thus, build a more sustainable just peace,” is leading several community trainings over the coming weeks. Sessions take place online and payment options are on a sliding scale. “Nonviolent Communication & Mental Health Training,” January 21, 10am to 1pm; “Active Bystander Intervention Training,” January 28, 9am to 12pm; “Restorative Justice Practices & Family Dynamics,” February 4, 9am to 12pm; “Nonviolent Self-Defense Training,” February 4, 2 to 5pm. See DC Peace Team’s website to register and for training details.

Info Session and Narcan Training | HIPS, DC Safety Squad

Join this info session to learn how to get plugged into the DC Safety Squad! HIPS will share skills necessary to identify someone overdosing on opiates and how to use Narcan to reverse an overdose. They will also provide a community-level perspective on using harm reduction to reduce morbidity and mortality from IV drug use and opiate overdose in the community. This is a virtual event that takes place on January 30 from 6:30 to 8:30pm. Register here.

Deanwood Cleanup | Deanwood Citizens Association

On Saturday, February 4, join the Deanwood Citizens Association and other Ward 7 neighbors for a community cleanup! Cleanup will start at 9am and convene at 5002 Hayes Street NE. Be aware that this event starts at a Metropolitan Police Department office and is held in coordination with the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services. Interested community members are asked to register in advance.


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