August 18, 2023

August 18, 2023



  • Fight carceral violence in NoVA phone zap TODAY, Defund NoVA picnic tomorrow 

  • Stomp Out Slumlords’ anti-eviction canvass — Saturday, August 19

  • Register Now for Fall 2023 Reading Groups

Fight carceral violence in NoVA phone zap TODAY, Defund NoVA picnic tomorrow

Join the NoVA Migrant Justice working group, La ColectiVA and the Free Them All VA coalition today at 2:30pm for a phone zap to free Paul White, a Black bisexual migrant who has been caged in immigration detention for three years. You can join the phone zap here. Then, join Defund NoVA on Saturday, August 19 for some fond farewells, warm welcomes and to celebrate our work in the past year. We’ll be in Quincy Park in Arlington starting at 2pm. RSVP here.

Stomp Out Slumlords’ anti-eviction canvass — Saturday, August 19

On Saturday, August 19, Stomp Out Slumlords will be holding our monthly anti-eviction canvass. If you are new to SOS, this is a great way to get involved and be introduced to the work we do. We will be meeting at L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station on D Street at 1:30pm. For new folks, we’ll have a quick training and pair you up with someone more experienced. After the canvass, we will meet at Sonny’s in Park View to debrief and socialize. Please reach out to Katlyn (she/her) on Slack if you have any questions.

Register Now for Fall 2023 Reading Groups

You are invited to sign up for Fall 2023 Reading Groups through Metro DC DSA and invite anyone else you know to join. There is something for everyone: an internationalism-focused film discussion group, a group on housing policy in Chile, Ursula K. LeGuin’s sci-fi classic The Dispossessed, a group on the origin of capitalism and so much more. Reading groups are great places to meet comrades, learn about topics of interest, talk through ideas with a group, and come into the chapter’s work through political education. Several chapter working groups are sponsoring reading groups, making them a great way to get more involved in specific organizing areas within Metro DC DSA. Ongoing political education is a necessity for both members and the chapter as a whole — our actions must be informed by theories and history. Groups will start the week following Labor Day. Sign up here.


MDC DSA August General Body Meeting — Sunday, August 27

Please make sure to save the date for our next (virtual) general body meeting — Sunday, August 27 from 2 to 4 pm. Our general body meetings convene all chapter members bi-monthly. Working groups, caucuses, committees and leadership provide key updates on campaigns and other activities. Members may also propose and vote on business. This month we’ll learn about the successful rent stabilization campaign in Montgomery County and hear back from delegates who went to DSA’s national convention about some of the decisions made at the national level and any takeaways for our chapter. Members, potential members and supporters are welcome to attend. Register here.

Social Housing working group canvassing operations begin in August — resources available at new homepage

The new Social Housing campaign homepage is now live. The website features links to our DC Council petition — sign it if you haven’t yet — a recording of last month’s Night School and a companion radio interview on Empower DC’s radio show, training materials from Councilmember Janeese Lewis George, educational articles and links to sign up for upcoming organizing meetings and canvasses. This includes signing up to be part of our presence at community events on August 27, September 10 and 16, and October 7 throughout DC. Take a look and come join us!


The fight for wage justice in the service industry continues

Last year, our chapter worked hard to help pass Initiative 82, which raised the minimum wage for tipped workers. The initiative passed overwhelmingly, but less than six months later, the DC Council is considering legislation backed by the restaurant lobby to undermine it. These changes would override the timeline for implementation, reduce income for tipped workers, confuse customers and once again subvert the will of DC voters — just like the 2018 repeal of the nearly identical Initiative 77.

Restaurants are increasingly using junk fees, described as service charges, to mask their real prices — and then blaming the fees on Initiative 82. These fees are misleading to customers and often violate DC’s consumer protection laws. As a result, consumers often are confused or resentful about what the service charge is for and whether it goes directly to workers — it does not! — and as a result are less likely to tip. Restaurant owners are profiting off junk fees at the expense of everyone else.

Tell the DC Council that we want steady wage increases for tipped workers until they reach the full minimum wage in 2027 AND the elimination of deceptive service fees.


Workers fight retaliation and union busting across the DMV; NIH workers win right to unionize

On Wednesday, workers across the DMV demonstrated in support of better wages and union protections. In Crystal City, ironworkers at Iron Fabrication Services facilities rallied for union protections after a vocal union supporter was fired from his job. In Southwest DC, janitors employed by QBM at the Constitution Center announced their intent to strike after workers unionizing with SEIU faced continual retaliation, including firings. Fellows at the National Institutes of Health won legal recognition as workers (as opposed to trainees), opening the door for their unionization with United Auto Workers. A Starbucks in the DC portion of Chevy Chase held a pre-election rally in advance of their successful union election, becoming the second unionized Starbucks in the District. And in College Park, despite being barred from striking due to Maryland’s capitalist-friendly labor laws, workers at the University System of Maryland rallied in demand of a fair consolidated contract across Maryland’s public universities. University of Maryland workers were joined by graduate student workers, who are themselves in the process of organizing their own union for stronger labor protections.

Meditation and Emotional Balance for Organizers Series — Saturday, August 19

Please join the MDC DSA Training Department on August 19 at 1pm in Lamond-Riggs/Lillian J. Huff Neighborhood Library (close to Fort Totten Metro stop) for an in-person session of the Meditation and Emotional Balance for Organizers training series. Have you ever felt burned out and discouraged from organizing? Join us and learn tools to reconnect with your intentions! Political organizing presents a lot of challenges in current times, with increasing life demands, competition for attention and endless distractions to navigate. Through this series, we will see and practice techniques to strengthen our inner resources when going through difficult emotions, as well as trust and lean on our comrades to share and navigate through what comes. Training Department Steward and certified meditation coach Elise R will guide participants through ways to manage emotionally in the midst of difficult conversations and find ways to make meditation practices integrate into our organizing work and daily life.

NoVA Medicare 4 All outreach on August 20, mobilizer party on August 26

On Sunday, join us for Medicare 4 All outreach at the Arlington County Fair. We will be meeting by the funnel cake stand at 11am — look out for Medicare 4 All t-shirts. Our goal is to reach out to local Arlington organizations as we start working on our Medicare 4 All effort in Arlington. RSVP here. Then, next Saturday, August 26, help us build out the NoVA branch while having fun! Come out to our Mobilizer party where we will have food, drinks and great music. Bring your laptop and phone to call NoVA DSA members and during/afterwards we’ll enjoy the party! RSVP here to get the address.

Repro Justice working group meeting Wednesday, August 23

Socialists must build a mass movement to protect the right to abortion and reproductive justice, and we need your help. The MDC DSA Repro Justice working group’s next meeting will be Wednesday, August 23 at 7pm. Join the fight for reproductive justice! RSVP here.

Join MDC DSA’s Socialist Feminist section for our monthly happy hour — Thursday, August 24

This month, the Socialist Feminist section will be hosting our monthly happy hour at Dog Haus in Bethesda, MD. From 5:30 – 8:30pm, join your comrades for conversation, drinks and camaraderie! RSVP here.

Renters United Maryland Housing Justice Summit Sunday, August 27

Join Renters United Maryland, Maryland’s statewide housing justice coalition, in Columbia on August 27 to celebrate our wins from the 2023 legislative session and plan for the future of housing justice across Maryland. This summit is an opportunity to continue advancing tenants’ rights statewide. Coalition organizers are still working on the potential for a hybrid event option. If you need to join virtually, please add a note in the accommodations description box of the registration page to receive more details. Register here. And please fill out Renters United Maryland’s annual survey to provide input on what housing justice issues are important to you and help inform our coalition’s advocacy for the 2024 Maryland state legislative session. The survey can be found here.

Sign up for the Big Tech and Capitalism: DC Walking Tour Saturday, October 7

Register now for the Big Tech and Capitalism: DC Walking Tour! The tour will meet at Farragut Square at 1pm on Saturday, October 7, and will explore three sites in downtown DC connected to how tech firms undermined racial justice, used illegal lobbying to displace existing companies and used DC as a model to remake urban spaces around the world in Uber’s image. The walking tour will be led by Katie Wells, Kafui Attoh and Declan Cullen, authors of the new book Disrupting DC: The Rise of Uber and the Fall of the City, and will draw on material and research from the book. The tour will adjourn at 3pm, with a happy hour afterward at outdoor tables at Penn Quarter Sports Tavern. We will provide snacks and water on the tour. Sign up here if you’d like to attend, and indicate your ability to volunteer and/or to wheatpaste leading up to the tour.


Publications Schedule: One more August Update is scheduled for Friday, the 25th. The Friday, September 1 Update will include our Labor Day Washington Socialist; the article deadline is Saturday, August 26. Please send submissions to Washington Socialist’s Bastille Day issue is available here and features articles by chapter members on the just-concluded convention, congressional Republicans’ assault on District autonomy and more. If you would like to see something included in the Update, suggestions can be submitted to the tip line.

Quick reference links for MDC DSA:



Fossil Fuel Fighter Festival | Earth Day 2023 collective 

On August 19, the Earth Day 2023 collective will hold a youth-led (but open to all!) Fossil Fuel Fighter Festival to bring together organizations and individuals from across movements. Get ready to learn, build community, play games, make art and more. The Fossil Fuel Fighter Festival will also help us prepare for the September 17 March to End Fossil Fuels in NYC. We’ll be in Malcolm X Park in NW DC (exact location to be determined) from 10am to 1pm. If you can bring anything (be it a game, food, music or a bunch of friends) or would like to help organize the festival, please say so on the RSVP form or reach out to

Beach Drive Bike Ride | Soul Trak 

Bring your bike down to the Beach Drive Walking/Biking Path for a community ride this Saturday, August 19 at 9am. This route is 5.4 miles long one way, and relatively flat (Beach Drive will be closed to car traffic). The ride will take bikers to Norman’s Farm Stand, where the group will stop for a brief break and riders can purchase fresh fruits or snacks, then head back to the starting point. Bikes and helmets will not be provided for this event, but helmets are REQUIRED to participate. This event is free; click here to register.

Seed and Culture Saturdays | Byrd’s Nest Box and DC Greens

This Saturday, August 19, Byrd’s Nest Box hosts its final session of Seed and Culture Saturdays from 12 – 2pm at DC Greens’ community farm, The Well at Oxon Run (300 Valley Ave SE). Through Seed and Culture Saturday events, participants learn about and practice how to grow crops from Africa and the African American diaspora, such as okra, collards, tomato, watermelons, squash and peppers. This event is free and open to the public. No RSVP is required.

Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North Film Screening | Reel and Meal

Reel and Meal will show the film Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North at 7pm on Monday, August 21 at the New Deal Café (113 Centerway in Greenbelt) and via Zoom. Traces of the Trade uncovers slavery’s pivotal role in New England’s economy. From Rhode Island to Ghana’s Middle Passage ports and Cuban sugar plantations, descendants trace their family’s significant slave-trading past and prompt reflection on historical injustices and ways to address them. The New Deal Café offers a full menu for the live screening. If you can’t make it in person, pre-register here to attend virtually.

89.3 WPFW Board Election Town Hall | Woodridge Library

WPFW, local affiliate of community controlled Pacifica Radio, will be holding their Community Advisory Board electoral town hall on August 24, 2023 at the Woodbridge Library (1801 Hamlin Street NE, DC) from 5:30 – 7:30pm. Those attending the Town Hall have the opportunity to talk with the candidates who are running in this year’s Local Station Board elections. For more information on the functions of the CAB or to receive an application, please email to The deadline for applications for the Community Advisory Board is September 15, 2023.


Housing crises, indigenous rights, settler-colonialism and climate catastrophe are intertwined in the tragic fires — and their aftermath — in Maui. Native Hawaiians and area residents who were already fighting displacement caused by soaring housing prices are now facing the prospect of rebuilding their homes and fending off developers seeking to capitalize on last week’s disaster. (Not to mention a state government that, activists say, hasn’t shown the necessary resolve to meet its people’s needs.) More from WaPo

The Inflation Reduction Act finally gave the U.S. a real climate change policy

From the Economic Policy Institute: “The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was signed into law a year ago this week. It is widely seen as the crown jewel of the “industrial policy” agenda of the Biden administration. While no piece of legislation is perfect, the full potential of the IRA to deliver a radically better future is often underrated. In this post, we highlight many of the IRA’s huge steps forward and also talk about the unfinished agenda for securing faster, fairer, and greener growth in the U.S. economy.”

And on the Maryland end of things, apparent good news on a clean, just transition looming after eight years of Larry Hogan’s indifference. From Maryland Matters, “New roles for veteran ex-lawmakers who are helping lead Md.’s energy transition.”

New DC Rent Increase Caps for Rent Controlled Buildings

Earlier this year, District tenants who live in rent-controlled units learned that the caps on annual rent increases for “Rent Control Year 2023” (5/1/2023 – 4/30/2024) would be the highest on record — 5% for elderly and disability tenants, 8.9% for all others. In June, the DC Council approved emergency legislation lowering those caps to 4% and 6%, respectively. These lower caps will be in effect for two years starting on July 1, 2023 and running through June 30, 2025. The Office of the Tenant Advocate (OTA) has recently published two resources to help clarify the legislation for renters: Explanation of rent increase caps effective May 1, 2023, through June 30, 2025, and OTA Rent Control Adjusted Caps 2023.

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