April 21, 2023

April 21, 2023



  • MDC DSA General Body Meeting — Sunday, April 23 from 7 to 9pm

  • NoVA Tenant Organizing Training: How to Have Effective Organizing Conversations — Sunday, April 23 at 1pm

  • Testify to end police stops for minor traffic violations in Montgomery County — STEP Act hearing, April 25 at 7pm

MDC DSA General Body Meeting — Sunday, April 23 from 7 to 9pm

Our general body meetings convene all chapter members once a month. Working groups, caucuses, committees and leadership provide key updates on campaigns and other activities. Members may also propose and vote on business. This event is open to both DSA members and supporters. This month’s general body meeting will include:

  • Information on the upcoming DSA National Convention (and how to run to be a delegate!)
  • Final read (motivation and debate) on the General Body Meeting Frequency Bylaw Amendment
  • Motivation and debate on updates to the internal elections standing rules

Register here for the April general body meeting.

NoVA Tenant Organizing Training: How to Have Effective Organizing Conversations — Sunday, April 23 at 1pm

The NoVa Tenant Organizing working group is growing as new tenants across Northern Virginia reach out about organizing their own buildings! Since so many tenants are mobilizing, we plan to hold exploratory canvasses in the next two months to gauge tenants’ interest in and capacity for organizing. In preparation, we are hosting a training session on how to have effective organizing conversations for folks that may want to join one of these canvasses. The goal of this training is to teach canvassers how to have deeper, more effective conversations in a short time by asking open-ended questions and doing more listening than talking! 

This training does not only apply to tenant organizing — the same principles can be used when talking to neighbors at a farmers market about Medicare for all or at a brake light clinic about policing. The training aims to help participants ask questions that get community members thinking about the issues they are experiencing, laying the blame on the landlord/politicians/power structures at the root of their issues, and connecting their experience to our fight. This virtual training is open to all MDC DSA members interested in learning and practicing how to have effective organizing conversations. Please join us!

Testify to end police stops for minor traffic violations in Montgomery County — STEP Act hearing, April 25 at 7pm

Montgomery County DSA is joining the Silver Spring Justice Coalition (SSJC) — in which MoCo DSA participates — to support the STEP Act, a bill that would prohibit Montgomery County police from stopping people for minor traffic violations and limit their ability to prolong stops by pressuring drivers to consent to searches. This bill is an important step towards reducing the extreme race-based disparities in traffic enforcement in Montgomery County. A public hearing on the bill will be held at 7pm on April 25.

If you’ve had a negative experience with a traffic stop, please consider sharing your story in one of three ways: 1) sign up here to testify (in person or via Zoom) on April 25; 2) submit written testimony in support of the bill here; or 3) email silverspringjustice@gmail.com to share your story with SSJC and MoCo DSA and give permission to share it in our testimony or in public materials we create in support of the bill. You can read the full text of the bill here. SSJC will be proposing amendments to make the bill even stronger than it currently is (including requesting a prohibition on searches of cars based on the odor of cannabis) so please consider framing your position on the bill as “favorable with amendments.” If you’d like to testify orally, please sign up ASAP. Organizers with MoCo DSA will share talking points to assist you with your testimony soon (you do not need to submit anything in writing when you sign up to testify orally, you can submit your written testimony anytime before the hearing)!

The SSJC is also encouraging supporters to attend the County Council hearing, which starts at 7pm on April 25 in Rockville. RSVP here.


Coalition rallying to End the Era of Fossil Fuel on Earth Day — TOMORROW, Saturday, April 22

The biggest challenge in securing a livable future for the global working class is ending fossil fuel capitalism and transitioning to democratically owned renewable energy. The bottom line: To secure a livable future, we cannot afford new fossil fuel projects. That’s why a broad coalition of District organizations are rallying this Earth Day to tell the Biden administration: Say NO to fossil fuels! 

At 12pm TOMORROW, Saturday, April 22, gather for a youth-led (but all-ages) rally in Freedom Plaza featuring the voices of young people from around DC and across the country, frontline leaders fighting the worst impacts of climate change and music from the Too Much Talent Band. At 1pm, there will be a march to the White House to demand that President Biden take bold action to follow through with his promises to End the Era of Fossil Fuel. At 3pm, there will be an organizers’ fair back at Freedom Plaza to provide space for participants to connect about continuing the work.


Metro DC DSA Reproductive Justice Happy Hour — Wednesday, May 3 at 5:30pm

Join the Repro Justice Working Group for our monthly public meeting — open to all! We will be gathering at Lyman’s Tavern on Wednesday, May 3rd, from 5:30–8:30pm. Join us as we discuss Reproductive Justice and build community and camaraderie along the way. Register here.

May Day canvass for Union Kitchen workers

Come spend May Day with DSA in support of Union Kitchen workers! Union Kitchen workers have been subject to despicable union-busting tactics, and we are standing up with them on International Workers’ Day to say enough is enough. Metro DC DSA will be joining Union Kitchen workers on May Day (May 1) to canvass in support of their unionization efforts.

The canvass launch will be held outside the Shaw location of Union Kitchen (1251 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001) at 5:30pm on Monday, May 1. The plan is to canvass until 7pm. Following the canvass, we will hold a happy hour for chapter members to attend and socialize. 

Fill out this form to stay in the loop!


Metro DC DSA members join socialists to build working class power at DSA Electoral and DSA Labor conference in Chicago

Metro DC DSA organizers joined more than 100 fellow socialists from DSA chapters across the country for the DSA Electoral and DSA Labor conference in Chicago last weekend. Our chapter attendees learned about electoral and labor work in other chapters, and led sessions on ballot initiatives and volunteer engagement – and attendees from all over brainstormed ways to bring electoral and labor campaigns together to create militant worker movements supported by electoral achievements. “Building a socialist world is going to require us campaigning in every arena: electoral, labor, tenant, and more.” 

If you are looking to get involved in the chapter’s electoral and/or labor working groups (and beyond) contact @Carl R (electoral) and @kurtis (labor) on Slack, and RSVP for this Sunday’s general body meeting!

Virginia Starbucks organizing fight continues; NoVA DSA supports workers on the picket line

The Virginia Mercury reports: “The biggest morale boost for Richmond Starbucks barista Tyler Hofmann is when customers make up names like ‘union solidarity’ to identify their orders. ‘It gets printed out and [employees] have to call out union stuff in the café,’ he said. That opens up an opportunity for discussion about workers’ ongoing grievances against the specialty coffee giant.” 

“To date, workers in nearly 300 of the more than 9,000 U.S. locations have voted to unionize, but Starbucks has yet to reach a contract agreement with any of those stores. … Five Starbucks locations in the Richmond area were the first in Virginia to vote to unionize in April 2022. Workers at Starbucks stores in Merrifield and Leesburg quickly followed suit. In November, employees at the Arlington Courthouse Plaza store joined the list.” 

The ongoing battle of Starbucks workers represents a crucial struggle as workers across the US seek to grow the strength of organized labor — including in right-to-work states like Virginia. Starbucks’ bad-faith, anti-union practices include pernicious union busting in NoVA, and on Monday, Nova DSA and Virginia organized labor joined baristas on the picket line at the Arlington Courthouse Starbucks in protest. We will continue to support Starbucks workers in their organizing and bargaining efforts!


Two MD-based AFSCME Councils to merge, to represent nearly 45,000 workers

And more labor news, this from Maryland: “Two of Maryland’s largest — and most politically active unions — have voted to become one.” AFSCME Council 67 and AFSCME Council 3, which collectively represent close to 45,000 workers, will combine to form AFSCME Council 3. This is not the first time in recent years that AFSCME Councils in the area have merged; In 2017 there was a merger of AFSCME Council 26 (consisting of certain DC federal workers) and AFSCME Council 20 (consisting primarily of DC city workers). Mergers are positive in that they can build solidarity between different groups of workers and, together, provide more resources for organizing, mobilization and bargaining.

PG Branch urges attendance at Dem Club labor discussion — TONIGHT

Tonight, Friday, April 21 at 7:30pm, the Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt Democratic Club will be having a membership meeting at the Local 5 Plumbers & Gasfitters Union Hall, 4755 Walden Lane, Lanham 20706. This month’s topic will be labor matters in the county. Metro DC DSA’s PG County Branch is urging PG socialists to show up in attendance wearing red or DSA identifiers.


Metro approves 2024 budget and July 2023 fare increase

On Friday, Metro voted to approve its 2024 budget and a fare hike — the first in five years. Both go into effect in July. A breakdown of Metro charges (courtesy of 730DC):

  • The max fare will remain $6.
  • Late-night and weekend rides will stay a flat $2, and Metro will lower the weekday base fare from $2.25 to match. 
  • HOWEVER: the surcharge you pay after going three miles is going up 40¢ per mile, so longer weekday rides will cost more.

Tortuguita Birthday Memorial — Sunday, April 23 at 3pm

Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, or Tortuguita as they were known, was shot and killed by Georgia police in January while protesting the construction of a police urban combat training center, dubbed Cop City, in an old-growth forest outside Atlanta. Despite police claims of shooting Tortuguita in self-defense, state and private autopsies have shown they were shot over 50 times while sitting with their hands up, and had no gunpowder residue on their hands. In honor of what would have been Tortuguita’s birthday, Shutdown DC wil be hosting a memorial service on Sunday, April 23rd from 3 to 4pm by the Joan of Arc statue in Malcolm X Park to exchange plants, seeds and cuttings.


About MDC DSA: The local chapter’s website is here. 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. We have published the Washington Socialist in paper and on the web since the 1980s; see this topic-indexed archive. It is also the base of a home-grown history of our local chapter. Our political education, ongoing every day, is also inscribed in the record of our Socialist Night School. Watch for the next round of our pol ed reading groups, coming up for summer.

Publications Schedule: The May Day issue of the Washington Socialist will accompany the Update sent on Friday, April 28th. The article deadline is April 22; send submissions to thesocialist@mdcdsa.org. May Updates will arrive on Fridays the 5th, 12th and 19th, and the June Socialist will accompany the Update on the 26th.

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, but please don’t wait till the last minute.


Sunday, April 23

1 – 2:30pm | NoVA Branch Tenant Organizing Workshop: Having effective conversations

Wednesday, April 26

7 – 7:30pm | Repro Justice Working Group Meeting (see #repro-justice in Slack)

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

Thursday, April 27

5:30 – 8:30pm | Socialist Feminist Section Happy Hour

Saturday, April 29

3pm | Monthly Washington Socialist/Publications WG planning meeting — interested comrades welcome

Tuesday, May 2

7pm | Medicare4All Trivia Night (in person)

Thursday, May 4

6:30 – 7:30pm | Social Housing Organizing Meeting

Friday, May 5

6:30 – 9pm | NoVA DSA GameNite Cottagecore Extravaganza (in person)

Sunday, May 7th

12 – 3pm | Soccer Sundays

7 – 8pm | NoVA Branch Electoral Working Group Meeting

Thursday, May 11

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

Saturday, May 13th

1:30 – 4:30pm | Stomp Out Slumlords Anti-Eviction Canvas


Remora House Summer Fundraiser | Remora House

Help the DC homeless outreach advocates at Remora House continue to support our unhoused neighbors by donating to their summer fundraiser! Remora House provides weekly meals and supplies (including tents, bug spray and hygiene items)  to encampments across the District. As a mutual aid organization, they rely on support from the community to continue meeting the needs of our under-resourced neighbors.

Get Green for Earth Day Weekend | Share a Seed

Mutual aid seed sharing and growing project Share a Seed will be going all out to get DC green thumbs (and aspiring green thumbs!) ready for spring with a series of seed sharing and planting events over Earth Day Weekend. On April 22, Share a Seed will be sharing seeds and running a potting station at the PLNTR Earth Day Market from 11am to 3pm and will also be tabling and sharing seeds at the Sunrise GW Fossil Free Festival from 12 to 5pm. On Sunday, April 23, Share a Seed returns to Upshur Community Garden in Ward 4 for a spring work day. Attendees will have the opportunity to work in the garden, share seeds and swap plants/cuttings, meet the local beekeepers and taste some honey from the gardens’ bees and more! All these events are free to attend. For volunteer opportunities or questions, email reana@slowfooddc.org.

Wangari Gardens Spring Festival | Wangari Gardens, Ward 1 Mutual Aid

Celebrate spring at Wangari Gardens (Park Place NW and Kenyon Street NW) on April 22! From 11am to 4pm, the garden will be open for volunteers to work in the garden, enjoy free food and drinks, get educated on a plant walk (11am) with Holly Poole-Kavana, and listen to live music by Veronica Faison (12pm).

Local Food and Beer Trivia Night | Slow Food DC
Join Slow Food DC on Tuesday, April 25 at 7pm for a night of local food and beer trivia and drink specials at DC’s own City State Brewing. Trivia will start at 7:30pm and there will be prizes! No cover or RSVP required.

Cop Watch with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement  — Tuesday, April 25 at 7pm

Come join the DC chapter of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement for a virtual Cop Watch training on Tuesday, April 25. Learn about the history of Cop Watch, its role in social justice and community defense and how you can participate in keeping our neighborhoods safe from agents of state violence. Register here.


A new report from a Georgetown researcher details the ramifications of the exploitative gig economy model, finding that “51% of drivers surveyed said they had felt unsafe or feared for their physical well-being on the job,” “49% of workers received underpayment or no payment for delivery for at least one delivery,” 23% experienced vehicle collisions or accidents and 15% did not have health insurance.

A philosophy/philanthropy movement called “longtermism” is getting some attention, due in part to being backed by some big money from the looney-libertarian groves of Silicon Valley. An Axios explainer works through the complex proposition that resources should be devoted to making life better for the trillions of humans who, well, may populate the far future — with less emphasis on improving the lives of the mere billions living or soon to live on the planet of today. The article is about six months old, fair warning.

It’s from earlier this week, but Maryland comrades might like this lightly digested roundup of state (and other-state) action as our legislature as well as many other state bodies throughout the nation wrap up their work. It’s the Progressive News You Can Use compendium, a Progressive Maryland BlogSpace weekly feature.

The most recent comprehensive federal law that governs agricultural and food-related policy – AKA, the “farm bill” – is set to expire on September 30. In other words, the legislation that governs the functioning of American food and agriculture is starting to be negotiated as we write, “and as the public becomes more aware of the environmental issues and climate impacts surrounding industrial agriculture, the upcoming farm bill’s designation of public funding will play a critical role in shaping our environment for the next five years and beyond.” More from Modern Farmer via Portside. And check out this study on the relationship of land use policy and climate change.

Striking workers at Rutgers University look to have won enormous gains, including a 43% pay increase for adjunct professors and a 33% bump for graduate student employees. But it’s important to note, Bob Hennelly writes in Insider NJ, that “the dramatic double-digit gains were the result of years of abject neglect of this workforce that’s been exploited because they love what they do and care about humanity” – and “the Rutgers strike can’t be seen in isolation but as part of a massive national movement looking to counter the corporate takeover of higher education.” Via Portside.

Portside’s review of the latest book by Sylvia Federici, whose Caliban and the Witch is one of our Pol Ed book group choices this round. Federici continues her examination of unpaid women’s work through a Marxist lens (what Arlie Hochschild called “the Second Shift”) in Patriarchy of the Wage: Notes on Marx, gender and feminism.”

From WaPo: AOC and Sen. Markey reintroduced the Green New Deal yesterday, aiming to make sure the Inflation Reduction Act is “implemented so that front line environmental justice communities, who have for too long borne the brunt of the climate crisis, are getting the benefits which they were promised.” Markey and Rep. Ro Khanna also introduced a separate piece of legislation, the Green New Deal for Health.

Nick Wisseman released Chapter One of his hopeful cyberpunk story The Bone Rush in After the Storm. We follow an anthropologist retracing the steps of a lost colony, and what exactly caused it to go missing in the first place.

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