Reading Groups

Spring 2023 Reading Groups

In Spring 2023, Metro DC DSA is excited to host 15 different reading groups—and we’d love for you to join one! Reading groups provide an opportunity to share learning and political education in a group setting, allowing members and supporters’ organizing and knowledge to develop alongside comrades.

Most (but not all) reading groups will be held virtually, though many groups have scheduled in-person social meet ups. Some groups are topic-driven and read a series of articles, while others are focused on a specific book. All meetings will be held in the evenings except where specified. No experience or knowledge is necessary before entering any group and all readings and materials will be made available online for free! Sign up here!

Capital in the Capitol RG – Marx’s Capital Vol. I:  Reading Capital is difficult but not impossible, and it’s not just for academic types. Marx wrote it with working people in mind. It’s important not to think it’s too hard. Also don’t be fooled. This is a good read. As David Harvey says in A Companion to Marx’s Capital, “One important reason for taking such an open stance toward this reading is that Capital turns out to be an astonishingly rich book. Shakespeare, the Greeks, Faust, Balzac, Shelley, fairy tales, werewolves, vampires and poetry all turn up in its pages alongside innumerable political economists, philosophers, anthropologists, journalists and political theorists.” More information here


Stomp Out Slumlords RG – Gibbons’ City of Segregation: With Gibbons’ work, City of Segregation: 100 Years of Struggle for Housing in Los Angeles, we will follow her analysis of three periods of housing activism in the LA area and seek answers for a number of questions still relevant to current housing politics. In what ways did developers in LA enforce and benefit from segregation through the 20th century? How are the home ownership struggles of the 20th century different from renter struggles of today? How did reactionary movements change their organizing strategy over the course of the civil rights movement? More information here


Defund Nova PD RG – Wilson Gilmore’s Abolition Geography: The goal of the group will be to engage with Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s analysis of racial capitalism, neoliberalism, “organized abandonment,” and the prison-industrial complex in order to discuss the role of prisons and policing in sustaining racial capitalism, and the role of Defund and other abolitionist movements in dismantling it. The core text for the group will be Abolition Geography: Essays Towards Liberation (2022) by Ruth Wilson Gilmore, with supplemental readings on topics of policing, prisons, and abolition as suggested by the group. More information here


Socialist Feminism RG – bell hooks’ All About Love: TBA







Roediger’s Wages of Whiteness RG: While this reading group will focus primarily on David Roediger’s text, we will also be using other texts and supplemental reading if you are interested in readings beyond our reading group. The goal of this reading group is to analyze the meaning and construction of whiteness in David Roediger’s text. While we will primarily focus on David Roediger’s text, we will also be focusing on other texts and helping us think through what whiteness means. Moe information here.



WePower DC Public Power RG: The WePower DC Public Power RG will explore how power systems work through an ecosocialist lens, with the goal of building a public power utility in DC in mind. We are not reading a book―we will focus instead on sets of articles and presentations. Not only are they shorter, but by juxtaposing different arguments and opinions we can better learn how to integrate a campaign for public power into broader ecosocialist themes! More information here



Publishing WG Socialist Nonfiction Writing Group: The Socialist Nonfiction Writing Group will provide a structure to encourage political writing and thinking and to provide writers with mutual feedback and accountability – generally, to be a resource for each other. This is a new endeavor so we will be learning as we go, figuring out what works and what the group wants. More information here




Marx at the Museum Ben Davis’ Marxist Art Criticism RG: This weekly reading group will engage closely with socialist art critic Ben Davis’ inquiries into the political economy and sociology of the global art market, as well as the political uses of art under capitalism. We will read Davis’ 9.5 Theses on Art and Class and Art in the After-Culture. The group will meet weekly, with two optional in-person events. More information here




Animal Liberation RG and Potluck Group: This RG will come together once a month to share food then have a discussion about the readings. We’ll be reading Sunaura Taylor’s Beasts of Burden and Alex Blanchette’s Porkopolis. Our goal with this group is to hold space for meeting like-minded vegan socialists, learning together, enjoying good vegan food, and possibly setting the table for greater animal liberation organizing. More information here.




Marxist Economics RG – Their’s A People’s Guide to Capitalism: The goal of this group is to gain a deeper understanding of Marxist Economics in an accessible, unintimidating manner. We will read Hadas Thier’s A People’s Guide to Capitalism: An Introduction to Marxist Economics in order to better understand the role of capitalism in history and society and the ways in which we can overcome capitalism. More information here.




Internationalism WG Palestine Liberation and Anti-Zionism RG: TBA.






Killing the Black Body RG – Roberts’ Killing the Black Body: The reproductive rights movement, mainly led by white feminists, has historically been focused on establishing, protecting, and reestablishing a legal right to abortion, free from government interference. However, this framework has been over-reductive: a legal right to abortion has never meant meaningful access for Black people who can get pregnant. Moreover, Black people’s reproduction has been policed according to the needs of the white supremacist state, which can look like the state preventing you from having children or forcing you to. We will examine Killing the Black Body to learn how reproductive justice, a framework coined by Black women scholars in the 1990s, colors our understanding of Black labor oppression and challenges us- in our post-Roe reality- to create a world where all people can create a family if, when and how they want to. More information here.

Astra Taylor / Socialist Democracy RG – Taylor’s Democracy May Not Exist but We’ll Miss it When it’s Gone: The Socialism and Democracy Reading Group will begin on 1/25/22 and be based in the DC metro region. Over the course of 12 weeks, we’ll read Astra Taylor’s book Democracy May Not Exist but We’ll Miss it When it’s Gone, a political philosophy book about democracy, primarily from a U.S. perspective, from a former Occupy Wall Street leader and founder of the Debt Strike Collective. In engaging and didactic prose, Taylor encourages us to question what democracy is and how its principles can be understood in the 21st century. Conveniently, Taylor’s book is set up so that each chapter is a largely self-contained essay on juxtaposed qualities of democracy such as coercion and choice, spontaneity and structure, and so on. There will also be a few other readings to add some additional context and support discussion. More information here.

Law & Political Economy RG – Pistor’s The Code of Capital & Kennedy’s People Money: This group will spend the first half of spring learning how legal arrangements create assets (money, debt, etc.). Readings will include excerpts from various books and academic articles. The second half of the group’s time together will be focused on evaluating alternative legal structures being discussed by policy makers and academics. More information here.