Metro DC DSA Weekly Update for Friday, May 24, 2019

Metro DC DSA Weekly Update for Friday May 24 2019

THIS WEEKEND: Canvassing works and there are data to prove it (see the Stomp Out Slumlords entry below). Canvassing this weekend for MDC DSA-endorsed candidates Irma Corado and Yasmine Taeb, Saturday and Sunday, and for Stomp Out Slumlords Sunday; Saturday there’s also a Community Garden Work Day.

Leadership changes in MDC DSA

An electorate of 290 MDC DSA members chose a new Steering Committee in elections conducted electronically from Friday, May 17 to Tuesday, the 21st

The nine new at-large steering members are Cassandra C, Irene K, Liz G, Nate S, Stu K, Gabriel R, Kim L, Chip G, and Danny T. The new Secretary is Zach E and the Treasurer is Brian W. One co-chair of the Internal Organizing Committee was chosen, Brandon H; a second will be up for election when delegates are elected for the DSA National Convention.

Six of the nine at-large steering members plus the treasurer ran on the Towards Power slate, which published this joint statement in advance of the election. Lots of animated but civil discussion ensued on the # 2019-local-election MDC DSA Slack channel and those who want to see how that went down might want to take a look…

Montgomery County DSA’s active and coalition-minded organizing committee was (at long last) approved in our election as an official branch of MDC DSA. Keep up with their activities with their weekly newsletter. And for those haven’t encountered it already, check out Commonwealth, a socialist newsletter for Montgomery County. Many MoCo DSAers are involved but it is independent of the branch. You can subscribe .

Tuesday, May 28 at 9 AM activists will rally to demand that the DC City Council not cut funding for United Medical Center.  Just Tuesday, the DC Council voted to severely limit the care and services that will be available at United Medical Center, the only hospital east of the Anacostia River. The Council cut $25 million in funding intended for the hospital from the proposed budget, and capped the DC subsidy at $15 million a year in all future years. This dangerous action has already brought a first round of layoffs for 100 people, more than 10% of the current staff. More layoffs are likely. This will have an extreme impact on patient care in Ward 7 and 8 and will have a ripple effect on already overburdened hospitals, especially in Emergency Rooms, across DC.  UMC is the only hospital in Wards 7 or 8. – Sam Nelson, Labor WG

Fletcher’s Talk Draws Max Crowd
The large meeting room at Mt. Pleasant Library was jammed for the afternoon version of Socialist Night School last Saturday (May 18). DSA member and longtime union and social justice activist Bill Fletcher Jr.  talked about capitalism’s roots in the slave trade and colonialism, the Black contribution to Marxism, and the need to organize. See his talk livestreamed here

Stomp Out Slumlords (SOS) has had a very exciting spring. In April, the group of tenants we have been working with at The Vistas officially became a tenants association and elected an executive committee. The Vistas is owned by notorious slumlord Joe Kisha, who forces his tenants to live with  toxic mold, rats, and roaches. The DC attorney general sued over the slum conditions and violence last year, but Kisha has declared bankruptcy to escape accountability. The tenant association will force whoever buys the building to bargain and sign a binding agreement to improve conditions, and SOS will support them every step of the way.

This month, we also ran the numbers and saw that tenant organizers at Park 7 (referred to as “Garden Terrace” in our reports) have made a serious dent in eviction lawsuits. After successfully getting the company that had mismanaged the building fired earlier this year, eviction numbers have dropped from double and triple digits to a single case in May (see the exciting chart below). Tenants are still fighting to improve conditions in the building, but we’re happy that the landlord no longer has the capacity to threaten them with eviction every month.

SOS has our next canvass this Sunday, May 26. We meet at 1:30 PM at L’Enfant Plaza and do a short training before pairing up newbies with veteran canvassers. Anyone interested in getting involved or taking on non-canvassing data work) can email — Allison H (from her report to the GBM Sunday, May 18)



Alexandria DASH Operators Win Historic Contract Fight

After three long days of negotiations, DASH bus operators reached a tentative agreement with management on Saturday (May 17) for pay increases and a pension. The tentative agreement also includes provisions for a Retirement Health Reimbursement Arrangement (RHRA) that many are excited about. On Wednesday, May 22, DASH workers will held a vote on whether to approve the agreement. UPDATE: DASH bus operators and members of Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 689 (ATU Local 689) voted to approve their contract with Alexandria’s DASH transit company. The vote was unanimous with 111 DASH Operators voting in favor of the contract. Voting was conducted by secret ballot and had 79% turnout. This is the first time in its 35-year history that DASH workers will have a union contract. “ We’re proud to say that we’ve been able to reach a tentative agreement that will resolve many of the problems voiced by the operators” said Local 689 President Raymond Jackson. Jackson called one early bargaining offer an “admission by DASH that they don’t pay their own employees enough to live in the community they serve.” These factors all contributed to DASH having a high turnover rate among operators. DASH even spent over $40,000 on union busting legal counsel to fight the right of their workers to organize. – Submitted by Brian W; see complete May 22 release here.

 Our Socialist Feminist and Queer Comrades caucuses are talking up this event as a possible cross-caucus engagement opportunity: Making Spaces Safer book launch / author event at Potter’s House, May 28 from 6:30 PM-8 PM: Baltimore’s Shawna Potter, singer for the band War On Women, has tackled sexism and harassment in lyrics and on stage for years. Taking the battle to music venues themselves, she has trained night clubs and community spaces in how to create safer environments for marginalized people. Now she’s turned decades of experience into a clear and concise guide for public spaces of all sorts—from art galleries to bagel shops to concert halls—that want to shut down harassers wherever they show up. See more at link .


Saturday, June 1, 2:00 pm – “No Shortcuts to Building Power” with Jane McAlevey (National DSA conference call) Join DSA members across the country for the first of three conversations with community and union organizer Jane McAlevey about her book, No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age. RSVP here.


From DSA National Director Maria Svart

I’m excited to tell you about Socialism: An American Story. From the communes of the 1800s, to the Cold War “red panic” that pushed socialism to the margins, the directors examine how socialism has challenged the inherent inequities of capitalism. And they’re showing DSAers in action across the country, working to build our movement.

DSAers are organizing for a better future for us all. And showing our stories brings more people into our movement. That’s why this project is so important. But these filmmakers need your support. Will you help finish this important documentary today?  The Kickstarter for this project ends in just four days. If the project doesn’t make its goal, they will lose over $100,000 that’s already been pledged. Right now, you can get the word out about democratic socialist organizing — past, present, and future. Give today!


Inquiring Minds: How do you find out more about Metro DC DSA?

You can suss out MDC DSA’s activity and process at the “Structure and Campaigns” page on our website ( . You can subscribe to our publications whether you are a member or not. Current DSA members can join our MDC DSA Slack, where a lot of our activist work and info is in regular exchange in many committee, working group or caucus channels.  Join our Meetup page to get regular notifications about our chapter and working group meetings.

Publications schedule

This is May’s final Weekly Update; the June Washington Socialist newsletter will be sent Friday, May 31, with an article deadline of Sunday, May 26. June Updates will be published Fridays on the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th and the July issue of the Washington Socialist will be sent Monday, July 1 with an article deadline of Monday, June 24. Want to join the Publications Working Group? Look in on the # publications channel in MDC DSA Slack or email



Follow links for complete details

Saturday MAY 25  11:00 AM

Community Garden Work Day

643 G St SE, 643 G St SE, Washington, DC 20003

The community gardening initiative is working to get our new space cleared out! This is our first work day at the site and there’s a lot to be done, but we know with plenty of comrades working together, it’ll be done in a flash. We can’t wait to see you there!

Saturday MAY 25  10:00 AM

DSA Canvass for Virginia Primary

Fairfax County, VA

Come canvass for our DSA-endorsed Virginia candidates! PLEASE RSVP HERE:  We have a unique opportunity to reshape the state this year. Join us! Further details on location, time, etc. will be announced later. Please bring weather appropriate clothing, a small bag bag for walk cards, and water. Follow link for details.

Sunday MAY 26  10:00 AM

DSA Canvass for Virginia Primary

Fairfax County,  VA

Come canvass for our DSA-endorsed Virginia candidates! PLEASE RSVP HERE:  We have a unique opportunity to reshape the state this year. Join us! Further details on location, time, etc. will be announced later. Please bring weather appropriate clothing, a small bag bag for walk cards, and water. Follow link for details.

Sunday MAY 26  1:30 PM

Stomp Out Slumlords: Anti-Eviction Canvass

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

Come help us connect tenants facing eviction with legal resources! Tenants we speak to are twice as likely to go to court and fight their eviction, so every volunteer can make a big impact. We’re meeting at the L’Enfant metro — 7th St and Maryland Ave Exit. Training at 1:30, canvass stepoff at 2.


Thursday MAY 30  6:00 PM

Disability Justice Working Group Meeting

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

Join Metro DC DSA Disability Justice Working Group for our monthly meeting. Learn how to get involved in the various campaigns to empower and liberate the disabled community from the oppressive capitalist system. We meet on the first floor of the ADA-compliant Festival Center. ASL interpretation will be provided on request. More at the link.




Friday, May 24 Social Justice Iftar: We Are Our Best Defense – 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Thurgood Marshall Center – 1816 12th St. NW
Hosted by Justice for Muslims Collective — Join us for Justice for Muslims Collective’s annual iftar celebrating a year of resistance! RSVP

Sat., May 25 Maryland Poor People’s Campaign Prince George’s County Regional Meeting: 12-2pm, Upper Marlboro Library, 14730 Main St., Upper Marlboro, MD

Saturday, May 25 Cop Watch DC – May Training 2:00 – 4:00 PM  Mount Pleasant Branch DC Public Library Washington, District of Columbia  Join us and get trained to watch the cops with Cop Watch DC! Follow link for details.

Monday, May 27 ROC DC Monthly Meeting 6:00 – 8:00 PM Restaurant Opportunities Center DC, Second Floor, 1100 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009   Come together and meet other restaurant and tipped workers in DC who want to build worker power.

Tuesday May 28th For Us Not Amazon coalition has a social event for coalition members to meet up, talk a little about the future of the larger campaign but mostly hang out and socialize. 7 PM in Arlington. Check the # regionalamazon channel in the chapter Slack for more details and location and RSVP there or email

Tues. May 28th – NoVA Labor Night at Busboys & Poets – 6 pm     Film: “Call Me Intern” – Meet three intern-activists who don’t think young people should have to work for free to start their careers. 4251 South Campbell Ave., Arlington. Free but RSVP here:

Monday June 3rd DC United Against Hate invites you to a public panel with thoughtful speakers and a Q&A on the rise of fascism in Turkey. Join others who are concerned about the growing fascist threat in the United States and around the world to better understand the situation developing in Turkey at 7 at the Petworth library:

Thursday, June 6, 6:00-9:00 pm – MoCo Community Forum on Policing at Kennedy High School
County Executive Marc Elrich and Councilmember Will Jawando will host a community forum on policing in Montgomery County. Residents who cannot attend can provide feedback live during the forum via a mobile online survey. More info here.

Wednesday, June 12 Raising Incomes in America: Debating the Best Path Forward, 9 to 11 AM, Spire, 750 First Street NE, 12th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20002  — What are the best ideas to achieve a high-wage America? Panel includes Angela Hanks, Dylan Matthews, Joe Guinian, Robert Hockett, Jeff Madrick, Sharon Parrott, Andrew Stettner, and Pavlina R. Tcherneva—plus, a keynote address from Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA). RSVP. Will be webcast.  Sponsors: The Century Foundation’s Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative (RGI), with additional support provided by Cornell Research Academy for Development, Law, and Economics (CRADLE) and the Democracy Collaborative.

 Sat, Jun 15 ONE DC — Juneteenth in DC 2019, events celebrating Black liberation and justice! Juneteenth is an annual celebration to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved Black people in Texas on June 19, 1865. 1 PM at 2500 Martin Luther King Junior Avenue Southeast Adjacent Lot, Washington, DC 20020

Good reads

A new video from the Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill about the “War on Whistleblowers” starts with Debs’s conviction under the original WWI Espionage Act and continues to detail the threat to free speech and open discussion of war crimes and other US misdeeds. The video was made before Julian Assange was charged under the Espionage Act Thursday (May 23) but during the ongoing tragedy-farce of Chelsea Manning’s multiple jail terms for declining to testify to a grand jury.

This past week’s first-ever US House hearing on Medicare for All was accompanied by a letter from a batch of economists and other academics promoting the bill, including Dean Baker, EPI’s Josh Bivens and Heidi Shierholz, Jeffrey Sachs (!), Richard D. Wolff, Robin Hahnel, Christian Parenti, Jamie Galbraith, Barbara Garson, Nancy Folbre, Thomas Ferguson and 200 or so others. This Common Dreams account has a summary and includes the letter text and signatories.

From our comrade Dave Richardson: “Outrage over Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections obscures the fact that America has been doing the same to other countries for decades.”


A genuine love letter in Current Affairs:


The Current Affairs article above referenced this much deeper dive by the sage Doug Henwood; this one is a must because of both its unsparing, myth-busting history of how we got here and its detailed portrait of our organization today, a big tent with shapes heaving under the canvas, headed shambolically toward Atlanta this summer.


Experience with a carbon tax in Canada’s British Columbia mirrors the experience of the Macron government in France – all by itself it’s an incentive for fossil barons to keep producing (revenue stream doncha know) and it’s really hard to make the impact on the sub-middle class neutral – and when it’s an obvious lie, there is political hell to pay, rightly so


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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