MDC DSA Index 2016-2018 to the Washington Socialist newsletter



The project to make sure that MDC DSA’s socialist journey over the years since its inception in 1982 was documented has been pegged to the organization’s publications. In the 1980s a tabloid version of the Washington Socialist appeared on a roughly quarterly basis, printed at the union plant of the Baltimore Daily Record company and mailed to 300-500 members. The publications became infrequent, letter-sized duplicated newsletters or lapsed as the Reagan-Bush era trudged into the Clinton and then Bush 43 eras and re-appeared as a regular online-email monthly publication in 2012.

Our 2018 local chapter convention created a Publications Editorial Board/Working Group to formalize leadership and direction for all the chapter’s publications – periodicals, one-offs and web resources on

The archive and index of our periodicals shows the richness of our members’ work in the past two years and is the ground from which we continue to create a record of our socialism.

The archive also shows that our stable of authors is too small and un-diverse, which the Publications Editorial Board and Working Group are designed to remedy.

In this January 2019 issue we begin a key to the last two years’ worth of issues of the Washington Socialist, our monthly email newsletter (publishing since 2012!). This index, which includes December 2016, covers much of the tumultuous times since the 2016 election and the exponential growth of our local chapter.

In the index below you can pursue many paths.


You can stroll through the months since December 2016; each link below is to the email version of the monthly “leader,” which provides a table of contents that links from the summaries to the full versions of individual articles. You’ll probably have to scroll down several items to get to the “Articles in this issue” section that serves as linkable table of contents.

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

Labor Day 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

Labor Day 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016


Other choices: You can look for different types of articles. We sort them out a little here, again with an eye to showing the evolution of action within the local chapter. Also visible is some evolution of the publication’s style of presentation for the summaries and links. Maybe we’ll have a contest to settle on one style.

If readers find incorrect or damaged links in this index, please notify the publications team by emailing

 Readers can follow the ebbs and flows of MDC DSA’s range of activism over the past two years, as the local chapter grew from about 300-400 members to nearly 2,000 at this writing. Here is the tale told by the local accounts:

12/18 Local member Bob Guldin recounts a town hall meeting on Amazon’s proposed colonization of Crystal City. (published in a mid-December Update)

12/18 NoVa DSA’s 2019 – Elizabeth Stafford outlines what our Northern Virginia branch plans for the coming year.

12/18 The local NFL team’s continuing racism – Bill Mosley on plans to deliver a petition about the racist branding that it seems owner Dan Snyder just can’t quit.

11/18 Our Northern Virginia branch recently published this Statement of Principles or Manifesto earlier passed by the Nova branch’s membership.

11/18 Bill Mosley on the suddenly-hot DC Council At-Large race

10/18 Don’t forget to stay safe, comrades – digitally as well as otherwise. Here’s our advisory stemming from our recent round with Trenchcoat O’Keefe and Veritas; it includes links to our own digital security tips as well as several other useful resources.

10/18 Bill Mosley on how to punish the DC Council majority that seems bent on repealing the will of the voters on Initiative 77, “One Fair Wage.”

10/18 A week ago we published Adam Strømme’s account of the raucous and lengthy public hearing on the proposed repeal of I-77; here it is with an update on yesterday’s (Sept. 27) activist turnout at the Wilson Building.

10/18 Also from a previous Update, Chip Gibbons’s explainer on how disentangling the Metropolitan Police Department from its training alliance with the Israeli military is part of a nationwide effort to end this nasty hookup.

 9/18 DC JUST SAVED THE COUNTRY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. YOU’RE WELCOME. Bill Mosley notes that even as an oppressed colony under the thumb of Congress, DC (according to Trump) put an end to his grandiose plans for a military parade. Just imagine what DC could do with statehood.

9/18 COALITION BUILDING AS A STRATEGY TO FIGHT FASCISM – two MDC DSA activists who worked on the local chapter’s engagement with the hugely successful August 12 rally against Unite the Right discuss some internal and external barriers to full success as a participant organization – and how to overcome them.

8/18 DC Needs a Public Bank – Kim Lehmkuhl explains the many ways that a public bank for public funds would benefit all of DC’s residents, rather than just the wealthy who benefit from the city’s funds being kept in the scandal-encrusted Wells Fargo bank. DC officials’ resistance is made clear by the undercover process of considering the proposal.

7/18 Elizabeth Stafford presents the case against Amazon’s exploitative call for a race to the bottom.

7/18 Andy Feeney describes the grinding work of rallying DC Council members to preserve the city against developers seeking to weaken the Comprehensive Plan.

7/18 Bill Mosley recounts the deep history of displacement in DC neighborhoods as partly outlined in a new museum exhibit

7/18 Zach Eldredge and Kim Lehmkuhl provide an account of the long-view project to get socialists on the Neighborhood Advisory Councils (ANCs)

6/18 Progressive pushback against the galloping local-government giveaway to Amazon’s imagined HQ2 benefits is detailed by Alex Howe

6/18 The mid-May SCOTUS ruling giving the green light to sports wagering elevated some principles that may help states control their sanctuary activities, Joseph Gulino argues.

6/18 “The Future of Work” and long-term strategies for regaining labor power were the topics at the rollout of a recent AFL-CIO commission report; Dan Adkins has the account.

6/18 Kurt Stand has a roundup of LaborFest, presented by our regional labor council, which overlapped nicely with Marx’s bicentennial.

5/18 In a letter to local members, motivators of a new national DSA North Star Caucus explain it as it is launched, with links to principles and those signing on.

5/18 Metro funding on a stable basis from all the local jurisdictions Metro serves is a huge advance toward the tattered transit system’s renewal. Bill Mosley recalls when MDC DSA (as MD-DC DSA) rattled Metro’s cage about a fare increase that would have impacted low-income users.

5/18 The Poor People’s Campaign brings a month-long array of activism and education to the heart of TrumpGov, highlighting the varied role of faith in struggles over issues of poverty and inequality. Eric Sommers recounts some history and the plan of work.

5/18 West Virginia teachers, in the midst of their struggle for justice, visited Northern Virginia recently to bring their message – raising hell works, but solidarity is critical. Dan Adkins reports.

4/18 THE CHOICES PRESENTED BY THE MARCH FOR OUR LIVES  Kurt Stand —  Stand explores the breakthrough qualities of the March for Our Lives and of the young people who fueled its passion.

 11/17 The DC ReInvest program is getting a lot of support from MDCDSA– we formally resolved to join the effort at our local convention. Learn about the environmental and public-finance aspects of this very socialist campaign.

10/17 “Health Justice for All” – Metro DC DSA takes the message of Medicare for All to a wider public on the wings of GOP failure in Congress and the growing appeal around the nation of the single-payer alternative. A Town Hall Saturday, Oct. 7, with experienced advocates tackling tough questions, outlines the path to a truly people-oriented health care system instead of one pivoting on profit.

10/17 Scaling Up – Metro DC DSA’s local convention Saturday, Oct 21, tackles issues of shaping a multi-issue action organization that keeps true to socialist principles – as illustrated by the first round of proposals to be voted on by the general membership.

9/17 Strength of Resistance Shows the Failure of White Nationalism   Sam Knight —  Knight, one of the Metro DC DSA members to go to Charlottesville for the antifascist protest August 12, provides an on-the-ground account of the events. Originally published in the Weekly Update Aug. 18. ALSO
Brian Wivell reported directly to the General Body Meeting Aug. 13 about the bloody events of the previous day in Charlottesville contesting white supremacists. His remarks were transcribed in the Aug. 18 Weekly Update

8/17 Austin Kendall and Jared Catapano discuss chapter solidarity actions with DCPS teachers, who have worked without a new contract for five years.

8/17 Dan Adkins applies lessons of the Reagan Reduction in Force (RIF) to the threat to federal workers from the Trump administration.

8/17 Kurt Stand anticipates the 2017 DSA national convention and brings a personal and deep-time view of the issues, their historical context and the stakes.

7/17  NOVA, MoCo branches extend diversity and reach of Metro DC chapter Wm. Hunter Tammaro — The local branches, while still under the umbrella of the Metro DC chapter, give current members opportunities to get involved in their own neighborhoods, help recruit new members, and bring our vision to bear on a wider range of issues.

6/17 The Communication Workers of America struck AT&T Mobile for three days in May, pushing back against an unwillingness to bargain on replacing an expired contract. John Grill details DCDSA’s support action of the CWA strike.

6/17 MDC DSA’s participation in the People’s Climate March April 29 was marked the previous night by a successful panel discussion on radical approaches to the politics of climate change response. Andy Feeney outlines the event (this article appeared first in the Weekly Update for May 12-18).

5/17 DC Reinvest Pressures City On Investment Policy
A new organization mobilizes to push the city to invest in its own communities, not the lucrative but harmful investments (such as Wells Fargo) it currently holds.


5/17 Transit As A Core Of Community Success
A public forum identifies the major role of transit for good or ill in the success of communities. The region’s deepening inequality in jobs and housing adds to the argument for a Metro funding solution…


 5/17 Carbon Fees/Taxes Debated In
Metro DC DSA Climate Committee Meeting

Carbon taxes, which some are arguing could get bipartisan support (as “fees”) in a polarized environment, are not every environmentalist’s cuppa. The local’s Climate Committee hosted a debate.



4/17 Organizational Observations – Eric Sommers likens a recent DSA membership meeting to a more familiar sort of get-together and finds it a good model.

4.17 Gareth Sparks  recounts the March Socialist-Feminist Salon and the intersectional context.

3/17 A jammed restaurant full of socialists glued to a discussion of Universal Basic Income is a sign of the times, Evan Ottenfeld asserts in his account of our February Socialist Salon .

2/17 Longtime members of the local, including Bill Mosley, watched with amazement as the January membership meeting swelled to over 100. As he reports, it’s the Trump surge. Read complete article

2/17 One of the committees that gathered at that January meeting hit the ground running the next day, joining allies in pushing back against a veto of a Montgomery increase in the minimum wage. Austin Kendall reports. Read complete article

2/17 The new climate change committee has likewise seized opportunities and begun building alliances to work locally and nationally on issues ranging from Trump’s truly awful environmental policies to state-level matters in Maryland and Virginia. Andy Feeney has the story. Read complete article

2/17 Cecily McMillan, a YDS member and Occupy Wall Street veteran at a young age, was jailed at New York City’s infamous Rikers Island prison after a bogus charge and put her experience in the book she brought to DC recently. Kurt Stand recounts her story. Read complete article

2/17 We probably will not be protesting less in the immediate future, right? Austin Kendall has tips offered in a “Protesting 101” session recently courtesy of an ACLU director and a seasoned defense attorney. Read complete article

1/17 Our issues, our Salons: The monthly Socialist Salons of 2016 mapped our concerns as the Sanders campaign fell short and prospects for progressives darkened. Kurt Stand details what we talked about and how we did, and will, act on what we learned. read complete article

1/17 DSA extended Committee Reports: Our swelling membership has generated new standing committees and extended capacity. Here are reports from our four main committees: Economic Justice, Racial Justice/Antibigotry, Communication Climate Change and Environmental Justice read complete article

As readers might expect, the December 2016 issue of the Washington Socialist, our first after the thunderbolt of November 8 2016, was singular in many ways, including being one of the largest issues we have published. Everyone had something to say about you-know-who, and that was before he began to assemble his gang of criminals and misfits. Selections are below.

12/16 How did a DC panel of progressives on The Day After shift gears from discussing how to influence President-elect Clinton to how to resist President-elect Trump? Woody Woodruff reports on a panel Nov. 9 at the Institute for Policy Studies. Read complete article

12/16 Two days after the election, DSA activists planning next steps at our monthly Salon found many, many new discussants showing up, spurred by a real sense of emergency for the newly enlarged categories of the vulnerable. The intensity continued three days later at a rally-size membership meeting. Read complete article 

The unpleasant unfolding history of the Trump gangster interregnum is recounted in subsequent issues; here’s a selection:

8/18 Endangered Species, Endangered Act: Andy Feeney outlines the Trump Administration’s attack on the Endangered Species Act and the declining opportunities for activists to comment.

8/18 Bill Mosley examines why confronting the malefactors in the Administration in their public and private lives is necessary in this Age of Trump.

4/18 TRADE: BEYOND GLOBALIZATION AND NATIONALISM Bill Mosley — Trump’s tariffs are a dodge to avoid the questions of global trade and multinational corporate hegemony that his crude ideology has no answers for. Yet he has perforce been joined by some unlikely allies

2/18 Soft power v. soft power; Dan Adkins examines China-US low intensity trade conflict

11/17 Puerto Rico is the poster island for US colonialist neglect after hurricane devastation exposed its weakness in commonwealth status. Bill Mosley makes the pertinent connection: the District of Columbia shares second-class status and capricious Congressional control with Puerto Rico.

9/17 Trump Fueled the Hate that Exploded in Charlottesville Bill Mosley –Hate groups – various racists, nativists, religious bigots and neo-Nazis – interpreted Trump’s expressed hostility to immigrants and Muslims as support and encouragement. Those groups were emboldened by Trump’s example to march on Charlottesville on August 12, with the proposed removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee the proximate object of their rage. Thousands, including dozens of members of Democratic Socialists of America, marched in a counter-demonstration to show with their presence that such hatred and intolerance cannot go unanswered.

7/17 Pushback comes quickly at state and local levels to Trump’s exit from Paris climate accord Woody Woodruff — Every level of economic and political society in the US — except the GOP’s federal monopoly — expressed immediate and constructive pushback in order to further the carbon-reduction goals of the international compact on climate change known as the Paris Accord and joined, now, by all but three national governments.

7/17 Trump’s FAA Privatization Scheme: One More Attack On The Public Sector  Bill Mosley — The idea [of ATC privatization], which seemed to have wings as recently as a few weeks ago, appears to be off the table for now – on June 30 the Senate approved an FAA authorization bill that kept the agency intact. And yet privatization has powerful backers who aren’t ready to quit after 30 years of trying, and it is likely to be resuscitated in the near future.4/17 Information and capitalism are oil and water, and governments go to some length to keep public information from the public, as Woody Woodruff describes.

4/17 Austin Kendall suggests having an actual capitalist as president may wake people up to the way government serves the needs of capital in Trump: A Capitalist Unmasks the Capitalist Bias of US Governance

 12/16 The Trump victory was stunning not only for its contravention of conventional polling but for the vicious culture that suffused the winning campaign. Just to set the historical context, Bill Mosley reminds us of the unpleasant parallels between the Thirties in Europe and current events. Read complete article


Previous iterations of the Washington Socialist (2012-16) focused frequently on articles about socialism as it is evolving in our minds and in our praxis. It might seem that the urgency of the resistance and focus on campaigns offensive and defensive damped our post-2016 enthusiasm for debating about socialism per se in the pages of the newsletter. But it still appears with heartening frequency, as we see here:

12/18 Adam Stromme, “The elections… (midterms) give us an opportunity to contrast the narrative of the Democrats with reality, particularly on crucial issues like healthcare.”

12/18 Kurt Stand, after the midterm wins, “the challenge facing DSA and other newly elected progressives is to build unity with mainstream Democrats (and even willing Republicans) to defend civil liberties while also organizing popular unity against corporate power, whether promoted by Democrats or Republicans.”

9/18 WHY IS IT SO EASY TO SAY THE MEDIA IS THE ENEMY? When 350-plus newspapers publish same-day editorials defending themselves against Trump’s canard, they should ask themselves why it is so easy for many to believe him, Woody Woodruff writes.  

7/18 Larry Stafford outlines the impact of a Ben Jealous victory in the Maryland primary

7/18 Eric Sommers surveys the first stage (but hardly the last) of the Poor People’s Campaign, which rallied Saturday

7/18 Joseph Gulino brings constitutional history to bear on Trump’s spurious claim he can pardon himself

7/18 Chris Riddiough recounts the discussion at a Left Unity phone conference (previously published, June 14).

9/17 Appeal to the Local — It’s about the Klan’s claims, but beyond that too… Woody Woodruff — Struggles over local control are not limited to Republican-dominated Red states but can crop up anywhere that the turf wars of federal, state and local officials intervene in favor of business and against working families. The brash renewal of white supremacist rhetoric and behavior is seeking, sometimes successfully, to find interstices in this alliance and to pass itself off as a virtuous renewal of community sentiment.

9/17 DSA National Convention 25,000 and Counting — how history helps point the way Kurt Stand –Working through DSA’s inevitable growing pains: a fundamental task is finding a way to function politically on a larger stage of society, of maintaining and solidifying roots within working-class communities, acting within society’s institutions while maintaining a radical politics that contests for power. It is the challenge inherent in asserting what Michael Harrington referred to as “the left-wing of the possible,”

8/17 Joe Schwartz and Mike Hirsh, in a multipart colloquy, take on the longest-running dynamic in DSA: electoral work vs. movement building, as the 2017 DSA convention approaches.

8/17 Sean Monahan, current and retiring NPC member from Providence, R.I., has some thoughts about what NPC members face, and what candidates and delegates need to think about.

7/17  A Free Concert Meditation: Will Socialism Look and Sound Like This? Andy Feeney — A Free Concert Of Thelonious Monk’s Work at the Kogod Courtyard brings the thought: If we ever achieve socialism here in the United States, will the revolution be able to offer more people the chance to enjoy concerts like this one, in other venues as attractive as the Kogod, with equal access to everyone, and without requiring anyone to pay for the experience?

7/17  How to Get the Real Straight News in the Alternative Fact Era Cecilio Morales   Morales, a veteran editor, is “concerned that we risk dismissing too much or too little, becoming a malleable, information-deprived, and ultimately undemocratic society. The antidote is a clear grasp of the kinds of publications and news outlets there are and the variety of content they carry.

7/17 For a mutually supportive self-care culture in the movement  Joseph Schwartz — …let’s remember that if we can’t live together as caring individuals in a socialist organization, how could we build a caring, mutually supportive socialist society (in which political and cultural disagreements will continue, I believe, but hopefully they can be tackled in a much more egalitarian and democratic manner than they are under capitalism)?

7/17 Progressive Values vs. New Realities: A Report  Chris Riddiough — Though we saw populism in both the Trump and Sanders campaigns, it is right-wing populism that represents a threat in American politics, and the democratic socialist populism of the Sanders campaign represents promise.

5/17 Inside, Outside: Communicating Our Socialism
 How do we manage our talk about our socialism inside the organization and outside it, and what contradictions do we have to deal with?


4/17 Glen Pine suggests we take a close look at how our Working Groups and committees are designed to make sure they don’t pull us away from central socialist analysis.

3/17 Henrique Calvo explores Fascism and why we are resolutely using that term to describe the perils of the present moment.

3/17 The debate over Putin, and the Russian government’s, role in our election or other problems of the moment shouldn’t obscure the real issues we face. “… we ought to reject any attempt to oppose Trump by falling into the path of looking toward the US military, the CIA or other intelligence agencies as allies,” Kurt Stand states.

3/17 Socialists can get isolated from their own comprehensive view of the interlocking of disparate issues in a capitalist framework, Woody Woodruff argues, in part because of the directions our political work takes us.


How does a socialist strategy take advantage of existing conditions in a capitalist polity without getting compromised? Examples:

10/18 It’s been ten years since the Great Recession was kicked off by the collapse of Lehman Bros.; has anybody learned anything? Adam Strømme outlines the lessons unlearned and the inequality that has only grown since.

9/18 WHY WE DEMAND THE ABOLITION OF I.C.E. Kaiser F. of the Socialists of Faith Caucus outlines the criminal behavior of this oppressor enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security. In a version of a speech he delivered Aug. 5 at an action at ICE headquarters, he explains why it should be not just changed, but removed from the equation.

1/18 Taxes and More Taxes and Less Taxes — The tax bill travesty recently signed by the impresario of Trumplandia raises the contrast-question: What kind of tax structure would actually be a public good? Steve McKevitt extends the discussion.

1/18 Trade And Its Discontents — A similar question arises with the convoluted international exchange map and how the new U.S. policy has blown it up. What would a good trade pact look like? Dan Adkins has some ideas for your consideration.


9/17 Strategy for Democrats: Remind Trump Voters of Broken Promises  Hal Ginsberg — A perhaps decisive number of working-class Trump voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania chose the putative billionaire over Hillary Clinton because he 1) promised to undo the trade deals that have harmed them and 2) bad-mouthed the wars that have disproportionately injured or killed them, their friends, and family members. Top Democrats have the ability to appeal directly to these voters by recommitting to their party’s traditional pro-worker pro-peace values.

7/17 Single Payer Health Care Gains Popularity, Posing Problems for Democrats Margaret Flowers, M.D. — Democratic Party voters have been strong supporters of single payer health care for a long time, Maryland health care activist Margaret Flowers makes clear. Polls have consistently shown that super-majorities of Democratic Party voters want single payer, but Democratic Party candidates keep telling them that they can’t have it.

7/17  DSA nationally and locally plan action with allies to win health care battle
National DSA and our local are mounting plans now to join allies and keep the pressure on Congress to defeat the attempt at massive wealth distribution from poor and working people to the rich that has taken the guise of “repeal and replace” health care reform.

7/17  Notes from the People’s Summit  Daniel Adkins — The People’s Summit in Chicago early in June had a great lineup of speakers and workshops, Dan Adkins reports. And it was big, post-Trump big. But navigating the McCormick Center and the accommodations available means lots of advance planning. 4/17 Universal Basic Income, a frequent topic in this newsletter recently, gets a different take from Lucy Duff.

2/17 The head of the Minneapolis Fed – a Bush functionary – has brought forward a plan to fail-safe the mega-banks against another 2008-style financial meltdown by giving them the choice of breaking into smaller pieces or cushioning themselves with enough cash reserves to trim their swagger. Andy Feeney reports some GOP members of Congress are taking a look. Could “too big to fail” become history? Read complete article

12/16 Where are the focal points of resistance to a near-takeover of national government by the right? Woody Woodruff argues that the existing institutional and governmental structure of states and especially cities are the most likely venues for progress, and notes that many other analysts concur. Read complete article

1/17 Repatriating corporate boodle stashed overseas as a shelter from taxes has superficial appeal, but will Trump’s version just be another boondoggle with opportunities for stock buy-backs and similar evasions? Andy Feeney surveys the terrain.  read complete article


Some focused on labor, the workplace and labor solidarity:

1/17 DSA’s relations with labor have become closer after the Sanders campaign but two longtime DSA labor activists think the relationship could be usefully reconceived.  read complete article

12/16 A November 17 labor rally that had been planned as a last defense against the Trans Pacific Partnership turned instead into a defiant throng ready to take on and defeat the Republicans who now stand astride the national government. Kurt Stand elaborates on the stakes and the ways to lead from our strengths. Read complete article

Some focused on our emerging definitions of ecosocialism and its roots in Marxist analysis (plus some advocacy for activism):

11/18 Andy Feeney develops an Ecosocialist response to the bad-news IPCC report on climate change

10/18 Andy Feeney wrote on the Trump administration’s rollback of auto and power company emissions regulations and how to combat them.

9/18 Climate Change Needs A Short-Term Plan And A Global One. Dan Adkins outlines the way to re-engage with the global effort to get to a sustainable economy through a Climate Marshall Plan.

6/18 In his article Long–term Thinking and Climate Change Dan Adkins focuses on the need for early environmental education if the worst of the catastrophe is to be ameliorated. From a mid-month Update.

6/18 in Climate Challenge II: How Selected Coastal Cities Are Planning for Rising Ocean Waters — or Not , Andy Feeney reviews the slow and hampered preparation for what’s already baked into the future. From a mid-month Update.

2/18 Andy Feeney puts an ecosocialist frame on California’s fraught encounters with water or no water in “The Mud This Time;

11/17 The value of Marxist analysis in plumbing the climate catastrophe is a matter of longtime debate; in the concluding essay in a four-part series Andy Feeney argues the affirmative: Marx casts light.

10/17 Marxism and the Environment – Andy Feeney’s examination of the relation between our core socialist principles and practices and the crisis of the environment continues with part 3. Planned waste, surplus and overcapacity, globalism and its selective appetite for the non-renewable resources and other factors are considered concurrently with their impact on “nature” as Marx appeared to have treated it and as we see it today. If you missed Part 1 or Part 2, check them out first.

9/17 Marx Probably Can’t Help Us Understand the Climate Crisis Steve McKevitt —  McKevitt, a member of the Climate Change and Environmental Justice Committee, expresses skepticism that attempts to relate classical Marxism — and classic Marx — to today’s climate concerns will not be analytically useful and overlooks the role of population in the crisis. First appeared in the Aug. 18 Weekly Update.

9/17 How Marxist Economic Theory Can Contribute To Understanding Capitalist Environmental Crisis  
by: Andy Feeney
Marxism is hardly a dead tradition on the democratic socialist left. Not all DSA members agree with Marx, and many have never read him, but many socialists both inside and outside of DSA do identify as Marxists, and this alone makes some grasp of a “Marxist” approach to capitalist environmental crisis important both to our organization and the wider radical left.

9/17 From the Abused Heart of Coal Country, Warnings and Lessons on Next Steps  by: Lucy Duff
Lucy Duff explores the devastation to the environment, communities and workers of mountaintop removal coal mining in her native state, West Virginia, now with both Part I and Part II (the latter originally posted with the August 18 Update) combined.

8/17 Lucy Duff explores the devastation to the environment, communities and workers of mountaintop removal coal mining in West Virginia, in the first of two parts.

8/17 Dan Adkins updates the development of micro-grids, independent energy sources that can deal big corporate power companies out of their, um, “dominion” over power and prices.

8/17 National parks like the one in which our local chapter held its recent picnic are under severe threat from the extraction-first mania of the Trump administration. Andy Feeney contextualizes this latest barbarism.

3/17 The environment and the planet’s future seem as threatened by Trump – or more so – than even dreamed of. Can a popular front approach contest and win on protecting the environment and future? Andy Feeney weighs the odds.

2/17 It’s hard to overstate how critical the effects of climate change will be, says Harry Baker. Plans for social change, no matter how well formulated, could be upended by the human catastrophe that will ensue as rising temperatures make large areas of the planet unlivable, and the people there act out of desperation with outcomes that are hard to imagine. Read complete article

Some focused frankly on political goals in local, state and national policy and elections:

12/18 An outgoing member of the Maryland General Assembly (and MDC DSA member) who was among the body’s most determined progressives will become a pro bono lobbyist for underserved progressive causes and groups.

9/18 LARRY HOGAN’S RACIST TRANSPORTATION SCHEME – PLAYING TO HIS BASE. The GOP governor who’s seeking a second term in Maryland has rolled out a plan for more roads and less transit that disadvantages poor and working families of color while dog-whistling his base.

8/18 Woody Woodruff analyzes the duplicitous stealth-centrist posture of GOP Gov. Larry Hogan as he seeks a second term in November – and the conservative and pro-corporate administration he leads. And many of Maryland’s establishment Democrats are all too comfortable with him.

6/18 Metrorail is not the worst off of big-city transit systems staggering under deferred maintenance woes, but like the others, our region could take a huge economic hit if the system doesn’t get brought up to par. Woody Woodruff reports.

4/18 MD GENERAL ASSEMBLY ENTERS FINAL TWO WEEKS IN A HYPER-POLITICAL YEAR  Woody Woodruff –The Democratic-controlled Assembly and Gov. Larry Hogan are squaring off in a political year, with payback on everyone’s mind.

3/18 How Democrats Can Win: Don’t Shy Away From Populist Themes Hal Ginsberg examines recent campaigns by Democrats Doug Jones (Alabama), Allison Ikley-Freeman (Oklahoma) and Mike Revis (Missouri) and asks how they won support from Red State voters. Ginsberg concludes that they won because they remembered workers and reminded them of benefits conferred by FDR’s New Deal.

 2/18 A new report details how Maryland criminalizes poverty

12/17 Join “Rebrand Washington Football” In Its Petition Delivery To Ashburn   Bill Mosley — For the past three years, the grassroots group Rebrand Washington Football (RWF) has been circulating petitions calling on the team to adopt a new name, as its current one is a dictionary-defined slur against Native Americans. This year, for the third December in a row, members and friends of RFW will hand-deliver petitions gathered during the year to team officials. This year’s petitions bear over 1,900 signatures, bringing the three-year total to more than 5,300.

Rights Of DC’s Disabled Citizens Are Under Attack From Mayor Bowser 
NOTE THAT THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THE WASHINGTON SOCIALIST ARCHIVE. A full statement about the removal is at the link above. 

12/17 Maglev? Hyperloop? Maryland Should Fix What It’s Got  Woody Woodruff — People who know this writer—a science fiction fan for nearly seventy years—know how much it hurts to dismiss these fancy thrusts into the future. But the future for Maryland and the Baltimore-Washington Corridor that is its nerve-and-muscle pathway lies in firming up the existing transportation network and reducing automobile use in favor of electric-powered mass transit on rail or roads.

11/17 GOP Gov. Larry Hogan and the Democratic majority in the Maryland General Assembly are on a collision course as the 2018 session abuts the primary next June. The stakes and the strategy are outlined here.

10/17 A Public-Private Partnership Scam – Maryland’s GOP governor unloads an election-oriented bag of transportation goodies in the form of a toll road-building scheme designed to enrich the road construction industry (donors!)  and reward the wealthiest drivers (his real base) while ignoring mass transit. Transit activist and former local chapter member Ben Ross subjects Larry Hogan’s scheme to unsparing analysis.

9/17 Get Rid of These DC Monuments — Now Bill Mosley — While the removal of racist monuments is on the agenda, we need look no further than in our own backyard for examples of memorials that should never have been erected in the first place – and not all of them dedicated to Confederates. Here are a few of the monuments in the District of Columbia that should be toppled right now.

9/17 As Rents Soar, DC Comprehensive Plan Is Being Amended: Will Developers Gain, While Poor and Working Families Lose? by: Bill Boteler and Andy Feeney
Bill Boteler and Andy Feeney provide an analytical history of this effort to revise the DC Comprehensive Plan and who might benefit, with interviews of experts and advocates on both sides of the discussion. Originally published in the Aug. 11 Weekly Update

9/17 Make Planning Fair & ‘Affordable’ Shelter Actually Affordable, DSA Says in Proposed Amendments to Comprehensive Plan by: Andy Feeney
Andy Feeney outlines the proposed DC Comprehensive Plan amendments that DSA members, sometimes in concert with allies, have submitted and the political and procedural minefield ahead as the plan moves through the process. Originally published in the Aug. 11 Weekly Update.

7/17 DSA surge in Charlottesville primary battle had impact, an activist reports  Michael Payne
 of Charlottesville suggests “ possible function of DSA is to have chapters operate as regional networks that work like ‘Momentum’ in terms of providing canvassing support to candidates & regions that the Democratic Party establishment would otherwise write-off and ignore.”

6/17 Voices from Maryland: Progressive Maryland ally Dylan Shelton examines the degree to which election finance reform can fuel progressive change. Not without fighting on other fronts too, is his assessment

6/17 A racist memorial persists outside RFK Stadium, more debris of the NFL team that shall not be named in this publication. Bill Mosley describes steps being taken to make sure the statue of team founder George Preston Marshall vanishes with the stadium’s probable demolition.

6/17 Maryland Voices II: Rep. Anthony Brown replaces the popular and progressive Donna Edwards in Maryland’s District 4. A visit by activists finds he checks some progressive boxes but there are other areas where he needs pushing. Kurt Stand, one of the visitors, has a report.

6/17 Maryland Voices III: Larry Stafford Jr., Progressive Maryland executive director (and DSA member) outlines his proposal for a Progressive Caucus that does electoral work both inside and outside party structures – and why the Democratic Party’s current deficits require this.

6/17 And More Maryland: After five years of activists’ struggle a paid sick leave bill passes the state General Assembly with a veto-proof majority – but GOP Gov. Larry Hogan vetoes it anyway, delaying the inevitable override to next January. Woody Woodruff suggests this could backfire on the Guv and his 2018 election hopes.

4/17 As RFK Stadium ages out of use and becomes a classic tear-down, DC, MD Opponents of Public Stadium Financing Play Offense in Bill Mosley’s narrative.

4/17 Our comrade  Carl Goldman’s award as Trade Unionist of the Year from the Metropolitan Council AFL-CIO celebrates a life of fighting the good fight.

4/17 The shadow of the 2018 election hangs over Maryland Politics as the Assembly battles the governor while the legislative session winds down. Woody Woodruff reports.

 4/17 Microgrids detached from the main public power grid are showing promise as alternatives to traditional energy use, Dan Adkins reports.

3/17 A bill in the Maryland legislature would retaliate against groups participating in BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – of Israel due to its human rights abuses in the occupied area. Chip Gibbons describes the conflict.

3/17 The short cuts and trims local governments are likely to make to the best-intentioned affordable housing programs are the current against which activists must push, John Reeder argues from experience as a Northern Virginia housing advocate.

3/17 Metro DC DSA sent a strong statement of support to DC government to keep it from wavering on protecting its most vulnerable residents from the Trump administration’s policies. Bill Mosley describes the parlous state of Sanctuary DC.

3/17 Metrorail’s need for power can be partly alleviated in a sustainable way by putting solar panels on highway noise barriers, in Daniel Adkins’s ingenious arrangement.

2/17 It can be pretty irritating, as Bill Mosley says here, to be a resident of the District of Columbia and to have organizations begging you to “call your Senator” about the latest Trump outrage. Statehood for the District is more important now than ever, as the Senate rubber-stamps Trump’s toxic nominees to run the US government. Read complete article

2/17 Maryland is supposed to be a Blue-ish state and a locus of resistance to the catastrophe of the national government. But as we face up against Trump do we in Maryland have to watch our backs for betrayals and sellouts from Democrats? Woody Woodruff works up a little rant… Read complete article

2/17 The Maryland General Assembly kicked off its three-month session in mid-January and progressive organizations are mobilizing to get pro-people legislation out of election officials whose re-election inevitably depends on keeping the forces of business capital happy. Read complete article

12/16 Maryland transportation activists have put forward a plan – with some support from officials – that would stress transit, including enhanced MARC, against the roads-happy Hogan administration. But the climate for transit spending is not likely to improve. Read complete article

12/16 If there was any doubt that residents of the District of Columbia really, truly wanted statehood, their vote in the November 8 referendum on the subject dispelled it.  In that election, Bill Mosley reports, 86 percent of DC voters who registered a preference checked “yes,” a significant increase from the 60 percent who voted in the previous referendum on statehood held in 1980. Read complete article

 12.16 The failure of the Democratic Party to counter Trump with a progressive Sanders candidacy, let alone any progressive vision, has infuriated many. Including Progressive Maryland Executive Director Larry Stafford. He argues here that “It’s time for progressives to take the reins of the party from the Democratic establishment and begin to boldly organize our base for the fight of our lives.” Read complete article

Despite the amplified focus on US domestic concerns, international conditions continued to be on our minds:

11/18 Caroline Debnam argues for DSA’s need to build a socialist antiwar program

3/18 “. . . to maintain this position of disparity” Robert Buzzanco explicates two quotes, one from Rep. Nancy Pelosi in February 2018 and another from George Kennan, the “ultimate cold warrior,” from February 1948, that show us how little US foreign policy has changed in the last 70 years.

12/17  Representing DSA at the European Parliament  David Duhalde —
On November 8, I woke up to historic DSA campaign victories across the country – some made possible by DSA’s new national electoral strategy. I then spoke on two European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) panels at the European Parliament – building real global party ties for a post-Socialist International DSA. Then, to top it off, I appeared on a Sinn Fein program and shared a special moment with a former political prisoner about the Irish and Chilean struggles against authoritarianism. This was probably the greatest day of my political life!

8/17 Our local comrade Enrique Calvo further explores the question of our relationship to the Socialist International, a topic on the 2017 DSA convention agenda.

7/17  Corbyn’s surge shows inequality issues on both sides of Atlantic ripe for addressing  Dylan Shelton — This new Labour party is a social democratic party that believes in something beyond the dreary inevitability of fear and despair proposed by Tories, Dylan Shelton writes. They see people mobilized from the bottom as the beginning of a left vision.

 6/17 International Reach: DCDSA launched a discussion May 24 of our national organization’s connections with the Socialist International (SI) and whether or how to maintain them. There will be a vote on this at the summer’s DSA convention. Andy Feeney provides an account. 

6/17 International Reach II: DCDSA member Enrique Calvo outlines his arguments for supporting and maintaining a presence in, the Socialist International.

1/17 Beneath the parlous problems of the post-Chavez Venezuelan regime are the communes inspired and enabled by the Bolivarian spirit but generated bottom-up by their communities. Austin Kendall reviews a new book on the communes, authored by an academic who recently came under assault from Breitbart.  read complete article

1/17 What was the context for Trump’s strange pilgrimage to Mexico in mid-campaign? Carolyn Byerly, who has studied and reported on our neighbors, reports. read complete article

The Washington Socialist has always been about radical history and continues to include locally-sourced articles on that subject. Many of the past contributors of history articles are members of the recently-recognized MDC DSA Socialist Heritage Caucus. Its mission statement includes: “explore the history of DSA both locally and nationally, as well as the history of left politics and culture locally, nationally and internationally, in order to provide a historic perspective that can contribute to the present-day thinking and practices of Metro-DC DSA.” Historical articles include:

11/18 Jules Bernstein – a long view on DSA yesterday, today and tomorrow

11/18 Steve Ramirez – an old/new member’s observations on MDC DSA Convention 2018

10/18 In a follow-up to Labor Day, published earlier in September, Kurt Stand outlines how a promising post-Civil War labor movement flagged because it failed to connect across race and gender barriers – and lessons for today.

12/17 Bill Mosley, docent of the revolutionary prowl, reminds us of the left-flavored stops on the DC grand tour.

11/17 Radicals’ hobbled ability to connect with the working-class voters who desperately went for Trump is illuminated, Hal Ginsberg contends, by a 1963 Bob Dylan song. Score one more for the Nobel Laureate.

3/17 The convergent messages of the Oscar-nominated “13th” and the James Baldwin memoir film “I am not your Negro” are analyzed by Kurt Stand in a meditation on the uses of our past.

1/17 The new Museum of African American History has been so popular that it wasn’t till halfway through December that Bill Mosley could get a ticket. “It was worth the wait,” he writes, and you’ll agree. read complete article

5/17 Goings On: Talk, Theater, Music And More
 Union struggle and George Bernard Shaw on the stage; history of oppression and struggle in neighborhoods we know — stay current with culture. 

We have also published many reviews of books and cultural analysis – from a socialist perspective:

12/18 The DC region’s newest museum, in Bill Mosley’s account, promotes police officers and their culture, well financed by elements who make big money from oppressive law enforcement.

11/18 Getting an international perspective: Dan Adkins – the fresh perspective of NHK

11/18 Kurt Stand– Passion, Principle and Patience: Jack Odell and Paul Robeson, among others, in cinema  

10/18 Bill Mosley has been to the Dick Gregory bio-theatrical at Arena Stage, “Turn Me Loose.” Here is his report.

8/18 Andy Feeney reviews the shifting perspectives on the mixed benefits of promoting a “creative class” in urban redevelopment, as outlined in the influential work of Richard Florida over several decades.

7/18 Ecosocialist Organizing and Health – Andy Feeney surveys two books and a batch of articles on how some nasty diseases are moving north in our direction with the climate line. (previously published; updated).

5/18 Max Elbaum, a veteran activist of the ‘60s, brings an updated edition of his classic Revolution in the Air to a local book talk. Kurt Stand has a preview

5/18 In a world of mega-cities planted on coasts and estuaries, significant sea level rise (almost unavoidable at this point) will cost a great deal even if everyone behaves intelligently, but many trillions more if denial continues. Andy Feeney reviews a foreboding new book.

5/18 “Isle of Dogs” is an animated (sort of) film that is situated in a Japan both realistic and fantastic – but has many valences to the polarization found all over the globe. Bill Mosley reviews the latest film from stop-motion maestro Wes Anderson

5/18 Facebook is the corporate bad behaver of the moment but the development of the tech sector in past decades provided no escape from the effects of capitalism – or our own habits, with which it was cruelly compatible. A review essay by Woody Woodruff

 3/18 Playing Indian: The Use and (Mostly) Misuse of Native American History and Imagery
Bill Mosley reviews a new exhibit titled “Americans” that recently opened at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. The exhibit shows how “Native imagery and history have been used and abused for entertainment, profit-making, and painting a pretty face on the policy of Manifest Destiny.”

2/18 Local History: Bill Mosley on The sleazy side of Francis Scott Key

2/18 review of James Forman’s Locking Up Our Own, black activists desperately protected their neighborhoods; mass incarceration followed.

2/18 review of Richard Rothstein’s The Color of LawUS federal agencies actively promoted policies that kept housing and neighborhoods segregated, as late as the ‘80s and ‘90s.

 2/18 review of Mark Bray’s Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook,

1/18 The Long Game of the Right, Koch Bros. Edition — Acclaimed historian Barbara MacLean recently brought to an AFL-CIO book talk her account of the obscure Nobel laureate — yes, that’s possible — whose “public choice” rationale has fueled the Koch brothers’ attack on democracy. Woody Woodruff examines the history of the very present danger MacLean developed from a mass of private papers cluttering an unused building at George Mason University, the Koch brothers’ academic satrapy.

1/18 The Influencing Machine delivers another high-priced private museum — Bill Mosley examines the materiality and background of the Museum of the Bible, a private affair near the mall aimed at getting tourist spillover. It’s financed by the Hobby Lobby owners, whose appetite for artifacts has not always had a happy ending.

12/17 A History of D.C. Through the Lens of Race  Bill Mosley — In Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital by Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove, faculty members at the University of the District of Columbia, have produced possibly the best concise history of D.C. to come along to date. The fact that the authors locate race at the center of that history is nothing but an asset, for every significant development in the history of the district has had a racial component. This is a city whose very existence is steeped in racial geography.

12/17 A Two-Century Tour Through the World of Work in the US  Bill Mosley — The artists we now call modern increasingly adopted the world around them as their subject matter, a world that was still largely agrarian and yet was in the process of being reshaped by industrialization and by revolutions in energy, transportation, and conquest. Images of men and women at work became popular subject matter…

9/17 A Call to Root Labor Action on Climate Change in a Revolutionary Struggle Against Alienation  Andy Feeney — As a whole, the labor movement has not committed itself to ending greenhouse gas emissions that most scientists believe are likely to produce climate catastrophe by the end of this century. The reason this is so, radical labor journalist Jeremy Brecher argues in Climate Solidarity, is because of the basic problem of alienated labor – a reality that Marx saw as central to the functioning of modern capitalism, although in this book Brecher doesn’t go out of his way to identify Marx as the source of this insight.

7/17  Michael Harrington’s “The Vast Majority” – Forty Years On  Louis F. Cooper — Among other things, the book is notable for its candor: it admitted the complexities of the problems, their resistance to easy solutions, and insisted nonetheless that steps toward a more just global order were both possible and morally necessary.

6/17 Books: Michael Bindner reviews Jonathan Smucker’s Hegemony How-to, a recent read by the DCDSA Socialist Book Group, with illustrations from local activism past.

4/17 Kurt Stand recounts the recent presentation We Were There: chronicling women of radical courage.

4/17 Timothy Snyder’s book On Tyranny provides a Handbook for the Anti-Trump Resistance. Bill Mosley reviews it.

4/17 Another book full of advice for radicals, Smucker’s Hegemony How-to, was a Book Group selection and is reviewed by Lynne Williamson.

4/17 Cecilio Morales surveys two very different books on the Perils of Automation and the remedies for an increasingly jobless future.

2/7 Donald Trump’s grandiloquent gestures toward keeping jobs in the US mask a long-term and destructive trend in the auto industry that has eroded the power of workers and typifies trends in US manufacturing. Austin Kendall outlines the history of a savage restructuring of this core US manufacturing sector. Read complete article

2/17 When Frank Zeidler, a socialist, was elected Mayor of Milwaukee at the beginning of the Cold War, he looked like continuing the social-democratic, growth-friendly urban trend of the years since the Depression. But he ran into a concerted effort by business to erode those gains. Kurt Stand reviews a new book that traces that postwar pushback from capital that ended “sewer socialism,” union progress and much else. Read complete article

1/17 A Long Island billionaire playboy humiliates two petty thieves but the last laugh is theirs after a drawn-out, patient sting operation. Donald Westlake’s decades-old caper novel has echoes of today, Andy Feeney reports. read complete article

1/17 James Livingston’s new book, No More Work, explores the unknown country for all of us when work – “what do you do” – inevitably stops being the value factor in many lives. Reviewed by Woody Woodruff  read complete article

12/16 Bernie Sanders’s long-awaited account of his presidential race is, as always, packed with his trademark policy proposals but contains warm biographical material that shows a young man finding socialism and sticking with it throughout an unexpectedly successful political career. Bill Mosley reviews Our Revolution. Read complete article

12/16 Peter Frase discussed his new book, Four Futures, at a recent event in the District. Austin Kendall combines an account of his talk with a review of the book, which he finds weak in its linkage between the possible futures and the fractious present.  Read complete article

12/16 One of the most compelling and comprehensive progressive perspectives on offer today comes from Rev. William Barber, whose “Moral Mondays” in North Carolina galvanized the state’s progressives and who rocked the Democratic Convention with a widely praised speech. Carolyn Byerly reviews his new book, The Third Reconstruction. Read complete article

12/16 How did the corporate influence-peddlers get “inside our heads,” from the 19th-century penny press to today’s fake-news firehose on the Internet? Tim Wu, media scholar and activist, has chapter and verse in The Attention Merchants. Woody Woodruff reviews his analysis of the persistence of monetarized attention. Read complete article

Readers will note, or perhaps recall, that July 7, 2017 we began publishing our weekly Update on the website, because our level of activism kind of exceeded the time-scale of a monthly publication. Most of the content of those is ephemeral now but it is all part of our archived history, and also traces the ebbs and flows of our activism:


READERS WILL ALSO NOTE that the Washington Socialist issues from September 2012 to May 2016, which were imported from our local chapter’s former website, have been available in PDF form on this site, a monthly issue access service,  since its introduction. An issue-date key index for articles on those PDFs is a goal for 2019. An index for issues of June through November 2016, which are not on PDF, is being added to the live site as time allows.

The Washington Socialist is the newsletter and editorial publication of Metro DC DSA. The views and opinions expressed here may not reflect those of the chapter, and publication of any information should not be considered an endorsement. For our chapter's official statements, please visit the Statements section of our main site.

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