May 26, 2023

May 26, 2023



  • Public Power Socialist Night School — Tuesday, May 30 at 6:30pm

  • Initiative 82 under threat by corporate-backed Councilmember

  • MDC DSA Delegate Election under way, ends Saturday

Public Power Socialist Night School — Tuesday, May 30 at 6:30pm

You’re invited to the Public Power Socialist Night School at 6:30pm this Tuesday, May 30, which will take place in-person at the Cleveland Park Library (Meeting Room 1) and online. The Night School will describe the current state of DC’s electricity utilities, how publicly-owned municipal utilities could lower rates, prevent shutoffs and increase the shift to renewable energy, and how DSA’s WePower DC campaign is organizing to bring about this bright future. Learn how the fight for public power will help us build power — after all, publicly owned power systems represent one of the most effective means of bringing energy justice to our community.

Make sure to sign up in advance. Signing up through Action Network provides attendees with a Zoom link on the next page, under “Instructions From Your Host.”

Initiative 82 under threat by corporate-backed Councilmember

In November 2022, DC voters overwhelmingly voted to approve Initiative 82, the DSA-endorsed ballot initiative to raise the tipped minimum wage from $5.35/hr to DC’s regular minimum wage by 2028. 74% of voters supported the Initiative citywide, with support in incredibly high numbers in Ward 5 (79%), Ward 7 (84%), and Ward 8 (85%). After failing to defeat the initiative at the ballot box, the Restaurant Association of Metro Washington, an industry lobby group, is pushing to undermine the will of the voters through legislation introduced by Councilman McDuffie. Most important, by encouraging restaurants to use “service charges” that go to owners, the bill would confuse customers and reduce tipping, leaving workers worse off. Among other changes, the proposed bill would:

  • Override the implementation timeline that voters approved and delay the scheduled 2024 increase
  • Change the gradual implementation over the course of 5 years to full implementation in 2025, from $8/hr to about $17/hr, creating an unnecessary financial emergency for many restaurants, and intentionally making implementation of Initiative 82 look more onerous
  • Incentivize owners to use “service charges” that will go to owners but will seem like tips to many customers, resulting in less tipping, which was never the intent of I-82
  • Decrease the transparency and accountability required of restaurants around service charges
  • Provide special tax treatment to restaurants that no other retail sector receives, by exempting the service-charge portion of restaurant prices to be exempt from sales tax

Any delay to implementation is lost income for restaurant workers, nail technicians, car valets, delivery drivers, and other tipped workers across the city. Additionally, in the wake of COVID-19, service charges have become more common at restaurants to help defray costs. These charges are not required to go directly to the staff, creating consumer confusion and obscuring how much restaurant workers receive in take home pay. The Office of the Attorney General recently had to issue a consumer alert to ensure that service charges are clear to the customer and transparent about where they go. In his 2022 campaign, A substantial amount of the financial support McDuffie received for his 2022 At-Large race against the labor-backed Elissa Silverman came from corporations and owners associated with the nightlife, hotel, service and restaurant industries in 2022, making up over $50,000 of his $600,000 cash haul.

We need you to sign up to defend Initiative 82 and testify against McDuffie’s pernicious bill! Sign up to testify against Bill 25-0280 at the public hearing on June 8.

MDC DSA Delegate Election under way, ends Saturday

The MDC DSA delegation (38 delegates plus four alternates) to the August DSA convention is being elected now via OpaVote. Ballots are due Saturday (tomorrow!) at 11:59pm. All MDC DSA members in good standing should have received one by email on Tuesday afternoon. If you feel you should have received a ballot but did not, first check your spam folder and then email


Stop the Swipe Vigil — TODAY, Friday, May 26 at 7pm

Tuesday will mark the last chance to reverse a $20 million cut to Mayor Bowser’s budget originally meant for so-called ‘excluded’ workers — including returning citizens, undocumented and informal workers, and those with past criminal convictions. We will be holding a vigil on Friday at 8pm at the CVS (500 12th Street SE) near DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson’s house to make our voices heard.

Rally & Sip-In at Courthouse Starbucks to Support Workers — Saturday, June 3 at 10am

The fight to organize Starbucks continues — Starbucks is still closing stores out of retaliation, illegally firing organizers, and ramping up efforts to decertify union elections. Join us at the Courthouse Starbucks (2100 Clarendon Boulevard, Arlington, VA) for a sip-in in support of baristas continuing to fight for union recognition and collective bargaining despite Starbucks’ continued union busting. We’ll be gathering in the store from 10am – 2pm, so bring a friend, a book, and cash for tips. RSVP here.


National Institutes of Health Union Filing Rally with UAW in Bethesda, MD

NIH workers announced their intent to form a union with the UAW in December 2022 — two weeks ago, NIH Fellows United announced that they have achieved majority support! NIH workers will gather for a celebratory rally on Thursday, June 1 from 11:30am – 12:30pm to hear organizers speak. After the rally, join the workers to show your support as they submit their union petition at the Federal Labor Relations Authority. RSVP here, and learn more about NIH Fellows United here.


Demystifying the Federal Reserve Socialist Night School — Thursday, June 15 at 6:30pm

Everybody involved in campaigns to make change in DC (or looking to get involved in one) is invited to the Demystifying the Federal Reserve Socialist Night School at 6:30pm on Thursday, June 15. The Night School will take place both in-person at the Mt. Pleasant Library and online — make sure to sign up in advance! Demystifying the Federal Reserve will help attendees understand one of the world’s most powerful institutions shaping our economy and our world: the Fed. 

Historian and writer Tim Barker will detail how the Federal Reserve works, with an emphasis on its key functions and the class dynamics of how the Fed’s policies affect workers and the world economy. The Night School will specifically cover the effects of the Fed’s policies on Metro DC DSA’s priority campaigns around housing, climate and labor, and address current issues related to inflation, the debt limit and bank failures. It will help attendees understand macroeconomic constraints that affect organizing work and connect them to organizing around debt.

Sign Up for Villains of Silicon Valley: DC Walking Tour and its Volunteer & Wheatpasting Teams!

Sign up for the Villains of Silicon Valley: DC Walking Tour with best-selling author Malcolm Harris on Saturday, July 1 at 1pm. Not only will it register you for day-of updates and reminders for the Tour, it will connect you with volunteer opportunities leading up to the Tour. You can join our outreach team wheatpasting posters on June 6, 10, and 17 or our volunteer team to help at the tour itself. Walking Tours depend on volunteers to help out on the tour and spread the word beforehand! 

The Tour will explore sites in downtown DC connected to how Silicon Valley leaders used institutions in Washington DC to promote a capitalist world order over the past century, drawn from material and research for Malcolm’s Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World. The Villains of Silicon Valley: DC Walking Tour will visit sites related to the spread of US labor and business practices worldwide through President Herbert Hoover, the global networks distributing technology that represented the real “Iran-Contra” scandal in the 1980s, and the tech money and institutions funding contemporary conservative organizing in the District.

Montgomery County Rent Stabilization Picnic — Sunday, June 4 at 3pm

May 15 marked one year since temporary rent stabilization expired in Montgomery County — and one year of skyrocketing rents and destabilizing evictions. The HOME Act Coalition, which includes the Montgomery County branch of Metro DC DSA as well as dozens of labor unions, service providers, impacted tenants, community advocates and housing experts, is fighting back for permanent rent stabilization. 

Join the HOME ACT coalition on Sunday, June 4 from 3 – 5:30pm for a picnic and potluck at Takoma Piney Branch Local Park, a 15 minute walk from the Takoma Metro Station, to celebrate our multiracial, multilingual and interfaith community that is organizing for tenant protections. You do not need to be a renter to attend — all are welcome, including children! Let us know you are coming and sign up to bring something for the potluck here.


The Full Picture: The Metro DC DSA 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 source 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: Here is the Washington Socialist newsletter/zine for May 2023. The June issue of the monthly Washington Socialist will accompany the Update of Friday, June 2. Other June Updates are scheduled for Fridays, June 9, 16 and 23. The article deadline for the June Washington Socialist is May 27; send submissions to

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.


Tuesday, May 30

6:30 – 8:30pm | Socialist Night School on Public Power (hybrid)

Wednesday, May 31

7 – 8pm | Defund NoVA Police Working Group Meeting

8 – 9pm | Why You Should Join DSA/New Member Orientation

7 – 8pm | Repro Justice Working Group Meeting

Thursday, June 1

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

6pm – 7pm | NoVA Tenant Organizing Meeting

Friday, June 2 

10am – 2pm | NoVA Labor Supports Courthouse Starbucks Sip-In

6:30 – 9pm | NoVA DSA GameNite

Saturday, June 3rd

5 – 9pm | NoVA Branch June Mobilizer Party

Sunday, June 4th 

7 – 8pm | NoVA Branch Electoral Working Group Meeting

Wednesday, June 7th

7 – 8pm | Repro Justice Working Group Meeting

Thursday, June 8th

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

Thursday, June 15th 

6:30 – 8:30pm | NoVA Branch Social Meetup

Wednesday, June 21st

5:30 – 8:30pm | Labor Red Hot Summer Session 1


30th Annual DC Dyke March | DC Dyke March

The 30th Annual DC Dyke March will be held on Friday, June 9 and they are still looking for volunteers, marshals and monetary donations. If you are interested in getting involved, please see their Instagram page for sign-up information. This year’s theme is trans visibility. Come out for a day of protest against the national astroturfed movement campaigning against gender-affirming healthcare, classroom representation, and access to public accommodations. You can also reach out to @Marie, Fae/They/She on Slack if you are interested in forming a delegation.


Global Public Health in the neoliberal vise

As it turns 75 years old, the World Health Organization’s “impact has been diluted by the influence of transnational corporations and other global institutions, particularly the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Neoliberal economics and attacks on multilateralism have created a difficult context for WHO’s work, severely impacting its independent functioning and ability to address dire health needs, especially in resource-poor settings.” The WHO in the age of persistent neoliberalism, from People’s Dispatch via Portside.

“People wouldn’t be kicked off Medicaid if we had Medicare-for-all”

An old friend and comrade from DC (for many years now in Baltimore) had a letter to the editor published in the Washington Post on Medicaid disenrollment and Medicare-for-all.

Reproductive Justice and Trans Healthcare

Moira Donegan in The Guardian reminds us how the attacks on abortion rights and trans rights come from the same place: “It is a part of the right’s ongoing project to roll back the victories of the feminist and gay rights movements, to re-establish the dominance of men in public life, to narrow possibilities for difference and expression and to inscribe in law a firm definition and hierarchy of gender: that people are either men or women and that men are better.”

Is the Surge to the Left Among Young Voters a Trump Blip or the Real Deal?

NYT’s Tom Edsall muses on some slow-building but startling findings from new demographic/social survey research and works through them with his experts contact list: “Defying the adage among practitioners and scholars of politics that voters become more conservative as they age — millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) and Gen Z (those born in 1997 and afterward) have in fact become decidedly more Democratic over time, according to data compiled by the Cooperative Election Study.” Via Portside.

Florida continues its journey out to sea

In response to Florida Senator and healthcare fraudster Rick Scott’s sarcastic travel warning for Socialists, itself a response to the NAACP’s very real travel warning for people of color and the LGBTQ community, DSA has issued a travel warning of its own. You can read the Freedom Advisory Against Florida Fascism here.

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