Metro DC DSA Weekly Update for Friday, December 20, 2019

Tomorrow (Saturday, December 21) is the shortest day, the winter Solstice, and most of us on the left have our eyes on January 2020, when new struggles emerge and continuing campaigns are refreshed with the new dateline. But there’s no harm in gliding through Susan Cooper’s poem, “The Shortest Day,” written for the Revels and providing calm and long-game perspective for tough times well beyond the Eurocentric seasonal tradition in which it is rooted.


CAMPAIGNS UP FRONT on Sunday, January 12, 2020 – Kick Off 2020 with Metro DC DSA’s Winter Campaigns Fair & January GBM 3:30 — 5:30 PM   The Festival Center, 1640 Columbia Rd NW · Washington, DC – Save the date for MDC DSA’s first General Body Meeting/Campaigns Fair for 2020. We will have a few business items to discuss but this Campaigns Fair is for members, guests and interested folks wanting to get involved with the chapter’s various campaigns! There will be hot chocolate to warm us up — and feel free to bring some cookies or snacks to share!


On Monday December 16  a packed audience came to MDC DSA’s Socialist Night School on the Coup in Bolivia. Both MDC DSA and the national DSA have condemned the coup, in which President Evo Morales was forced to resign by the military.

The Socialist Night School was joined by Kevin Cashman and Guillaume Long. Cashman is a senior associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). Long is a senior policy analyst at CEPR. Prior to joining CEPR, Guillaume held several cabinet positions in the government of Ecuador, including Minister of Foreign Affairs.

As the panelists explained, this was not the first coup attempt. An earlier one failed in 2009.

In the leadup to the election, there was a destabilization campaign. The opposition has been more emboldened, more radicalized. Bolivia had been a champion of the reduction of severe poverty; at the same time they had strong growth rates. Across the countries that were part of the Pink Tide, high levels of development and stability obtained. So what happened? Latin American elites prefer inequality to prosperity. And they pushed back across the continent.

The panelists covered the controversy around Morales’ run for another term, despite his popularity.  Morales had maintained much of his support among the poor and indigenous but had been losing support among the middle class.  Morales had a strong lead, but narrowly passed the point where a runoff was needed. And this opened the door for the opposition. The opposition insisted there would be a runoff long before any results were in. 

The Organization of American States, US-dominated, jumped on the claim that the final results were improbable, but there was no basis for this. They haven’t been able to provide evidence since then.  CEPR analysts did projections based on the early results (when OAS made its statement.) All of the models produced a result that meant no runoff. But the seed of doubt had been planted. Morales agreed to an audit, and agreed to new elections. But he was toppled.

At the same time, the law has been weaponized across Latin America to go after popular presidents that could not be defeated politically. The case of former Brazilian president  Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is an example of this, as is the arrest warrant issued by Bolivia’s rightwing interim president against Morales.

During the discussion party, activists from DMV Bolivian Solidarity talked about how to get involved locally, as well as why it was important to do so in the DMV area.

–Woven from livetweets by the Socialist Night School organizing team


FROM THE MDC DSA LABOR WORKING GROUP: We’re taking on Right to Work in Virginia! After decades of conservative rule—under Republicans and Democrats alike—Virginia is one of the worst states in the country to be a worker. Everywhere you turn, the cards are stacked against working people. 

The recent election in Virginia means Democrats now control the state’s government, an opportunity to reverse that legacy. The Labor Working Group is making plans to take on Right to Work, and more broadly to advance an agenda for working people in the state.  We plan on organizing Virginia workers to change these laws, bringing our agenda to town halls and Richmond, and incorporating racial and gender justice as core parts of our framework. If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact Chris at



In 2017 the DSA national convention voted to form the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission (DSLC). This body is responsible for leading the organization’s work around labor and workers rights. At this most recent convention in 2019 our organization voted for a whole new set of ambitious priorities for labor. Now the DSLC is preparing to elect a new steering committee to carry this work out.

If you are part of the labor working group, a current or retired union members, staff for a union, part of an active organizing campaign, or are otherwise involved with labor as a journalist or academic you are eligible to join the DSLC and vote in this election. You can join the DSLC by using this form to become eligible to vote.

Even if you are not intending to vote, you should still join the DSLC so that you can stay updated and involved in labor work in DSA happening at the national level. If you do intend to vote you have until January 6th to join. Even if you are currently on the DSLC list or the local labor list, you must still fill out this form in order to retain your seat and have a vote. The election itself will be held in February. MDC DSA publications will circulate more information about the DSLC election as it is released.


The weekly newletter from MoCo DSA, with the legislative briefing from DSA members Dels. Gabe Acevedo and Vaughn Stewart.


ACTION REPORT: DSA 4 Bernie Working Group Update:

Debate Watch Party In All Certainty Was A Smash Hit!  The Thursday Debate Watch party at Penn Social took place past deadline for this Weekly Update…but the DSA 4 Bernie Work Group has projected that the watch party a resounding success! We are confident we had fun catching up with old friends and making new ones–and copped some snazzy DSA 4 Bernie buttons. We are also confident that Bernie swept the floor with the candidates that joined him on stage. But how can Bernie lose with a political platform of Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, Universal Childcare and Pre-K, Tuition-free public college and debt forgiveness, Ending Mass Incarceration…and more?

January Canvassing: We are still looking to the weekends of January 11th and/or the 18th to do some Bernie canvassing in the Metro DC area. We want YOU to join us! Send us an email at to be added to our volunteer list and we’ll be sure to keep you updated on all opportunities.

Reach out to us:

  • Email us at:
  • Join the convo on Slack: #bernie

—Kristen B. 



Attention all writers, editors, photographers, illustrators, and designers: The Washington Socialist wants you! If you’re eager to contribute your talents to the Publications Working Group, fill out our contributor’s form and we’ll be in touch. We need your help to spread socialist ideas and news about the chapter’s work.

  • Meanwhile, our publications schedule: This is the last Weekly Update for December, and for 2019 – though if circumstances warrant it, we’ll send out an infoblast in the meantime. The January 2020 Washington Socialist will be sent/published Friday, Jan. 3 with an article deadline of Dec. 28.
  • Actually existing right-now socialism – This newsletter is published Friday. As the weekend and the week unfold, make sure to keep up with any changes in the events in our calendars by following links we helpfully provide here to Facebook Events pages or Meetup, where the latest information will be found.
  • What does the MDC DSA local chapter do, week in and week out? See our working groups, caucuses and campaigns in the DMV here.
  • And speaking of info: Many of our campaigns, working groups and caucuses keep the conversation going between meetings on our MDC DSA Slack platform. If you are a DSA member in good standing and aren’t on our Slack you may not be getting the full picture about the rich array of activities suggested above in the chapter structure link. To get on Slack, use the email by which DSA knows you and request access from


Follow links for details.


Sunday JAN 5  2:00 PM

MoCo DSA 🌹General Branch Meeting

Connie Morella (Bethesda) Library, 7400 Arlington Rd, Bethesda, MD 20814

Please join us for our January branch meeting! Help us build our vision for equality, democracy, and socialism in Montgomery County. Afterwards, we’ll adjourn to a local bar for a social hour. See you then!

Sunday JAN 5  1:30 PM

Stomp Out Slumlords Anti-Eviction Canvass

L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station, 600 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

We’re canvassing tenants facing eviction in DC! Come out and inform tenants of their rights in court, how to get a lawyer, and see if they’re interested in organizing their building. Meet at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station near the 7th & Maryland exit above the escalators (if the weather is bad, we’ll be downstairs) Follow links for details.

Saturday JAN 11  2:00 PM

January Labor Working Group Meeting

Central Library, 1015 N Quincy St, Arlington, VA 22201

Join us at the January Labor Working Group meeting where we will have updates on our organizing campaigns (wage theft, street vendors), solidarity work (ATU), Labor for Bernie, and continue our discussion on a DSA campaign to repeal Right to Work and expand workers’ legal rights in Virginia Follow links for details.

Saturday JAN 11  1:30 PM

Stomp Out Slumlords Know Your Rights Canvass with DCTU

L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station, 600 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

We’re canvassing tenants in DC! Come out and inform tenants of their rights in court, how to get a lawyer, and see if they’re interested in organizing their building–and help build connections with the DC Tenant Union! Meet at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station near the 7th & Maryland exit above the escalators Follow links for details.

Sunday JAN 12  3:30 PM

Winter Campaigns Fair & January GBM

The Festival Center, 1640 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009

Please join the members of Metro DC DSA for our Winter Campaign Fair and January GBM. We will have a few business items to discuss but this is for anyone wanting to get involved with the chapters various campaigns! There will be hot chocolate to warm us up and feel free to bring some cookies Follow links for details.

Tuesday JAN 14  7:00 PM

NOVA Branch DSA 🌹 Organizing Meeting

Kingstowne Library, 6500 Landsdowne Centre Dr, Alexandria, VA 22315

Welcome to our monthly NOVA DSA organizing and planning meeting. Please take a minute to read our short, brief, not very long, sort-of-illustrated NOVA DSA Socialist Meeting Participation Guidelines. We will be welcoming new members and continue discussing planning for our current actions and campaigns Follow links for details.

Saturday JAN 18  3:30 PM

Participatory Budgeting Planning Meeting

Mount Pleasant,  Washington, DC

Help plan our chapter’s participatory budgeting process! More details to come. Follow links for details.

Monday JAN 27  6:30 PM

So You Want to Organize #1: Socialist Night School

Shaw (Watha T. Daniel) Neighborhood Library, 1630 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Part 1 of 5: What Is an Organizer Anyway? Everyone wants to be an organizer these days—but what exactly does an organizer do? What makes for a good organizer, and a good organizing project? What’s the difference between organizing and activism, and what is the difference between organizing a workplace or apartment building and “community organizing”? Join experienced organizers from Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America for a five-part training program learn the answers to these questions—and how to become an organizer yourself. Follow link for details.

Tuesday JAN 28  7:00 PM

Participatory Budgeting Planning Meeting

Cleveland Park Bar and Grill, 3421 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

Help plan our chapter’s participatory budgeting process! More details to come. Follow links for details.


Friday, January 17, 2020 – Sunday, January 19the 2020 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference  Capital Hilton 1001 16th Street NW RSVP  Conference theme is “Give Us the Ballot,” drawn from Dr. King’s pivotal voting rights speech delivered here in 1957. we are still facing voter disenfranchisement at alarming levels [so] ensuring full voting access and a fair count of every ballot are the most important work we are doing.

Saturday JAN 25, 2020, 10 AM -2 PM, CCAN Polar Bear Plunge, 

 Sun Jan 26, Medicare 4 All Town Hall in Annapolis 2-4 PM at Stanton Community Center, 92 W Washington St, Annapolis, MD 21401 among co-sponsors, Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition.



A selection curated by MoCo Branch newsletter worker-bees

Good Reads:
 From The Guardian: “Labour won’t win again until it works out why it lost” by Gary Younge. “It’s not enough to blame Jeremy Corbyn, Brexit or the media. The picture is far more complex than that.”

 From Huffington Post: “Brexit is the reason Labour lost. This is how it can win again” by Len McClusky. “When our losses are concentrated in former coalfield constituencies that voted Leave, the reason is staring us in the face.”

From Jacobin: “How Kshama Sawant Defeated Amazon” by Meagan Day. “Amazon went all out to defeat Seattle’s socialist city council member Kshama Sawant in this year’s election — but Sawant emerged victorious. In an interview with Jacobin, she reflects on why it’s so important to pick fights with capitalists, and what every socialist running for office should know.”

And our finds: Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford joins the analysts who see the UK election showing similarities to possible outcomes in the US Democratic primaries. If Bernie threatens to win, “Sanders faces the same demonic alignment of corporate/media-national security forces in 2020 [as did Corbyn], against an identical ‘Russiagate’ backdrop that has, over the past three years, revealed the fascist face of late stage capitalism on both sides of the Atlantic.”


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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