Walking Tours with Metro DC DSA
Since January 2021, Metro DC DSA has hosted Walking Tours as part of its regular political education programming. This webpage is to guide people to upcoming Walking Tours and related work, share information on past events, inform those outside of Metro DC what Walking Tours involve and how they can bring them to their own political education — and more!
Learn More — Training and Contact
Metro DC DSA Walking Tours connect the geography of our region to its history and to socialist theory to understand the world. Walking Tours either research material related to a site or bring in scholars to share spatially specific work that incorporates the history of capitalism in the region and current organizing. Walking Tours don’t just educate — they make sure the material and attendees are connected to ongoing campaigns on the topics of the tour and to organizations such as Metro DC DSA fighting to undo capitalism and create a better world.
Past Walking Tour Events
Led by Katie Wells and Declan Cullen, the authors of Disrupting DC, participants at the Big Tech and Capitalism: DC Walking Tour visited three sites in downtown DC to learn how tech firms like Uber have undermined racial justice, remade urban spaces, and profited through lobbying and influence in local government. Tour members heard how Uber was a social and geographic “solution” to an economic crisis—but one that came with a cost to labor rights and the city’s democracy.
Led by Malcolm Harris, author of Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World, this tour brought Malcolm’s DC-related research to 3 stops downtown connected to capitalism and the American Empire. At the Tour, attendees learned how Herbert Hoover organized American capitalism before and after his Presidency, what the real “Iran-Contra” scandal was, and how Stanford and tech money enable reactionary organizing.
Hosts from the Chapter explained how institutions such as the Carlyle Group, Pepco, and City Center DC create and maintain extreme wealth in the District — and how they reshape DC’s skyline and public spaces to make the city safe for the 1%. The Walking Tour drew on original research on private equity, public utilities, and luxury real estate in DC to document how they exploit rentier capitalism and political connections.
During this tour, host Christy Thornton connected the rise of neoliberal methods abroad and locally to lobbying firms, international institutions, and the Wilson Building around downtown DC. Christy shared the history of neoliberalism as propagated from DC, and Chapter members made connections to DC local governance and contemporary campaigns to democratize DC and build international socialism. See video of the Tour here.
During this tour, hosts Tanya Golash-Boza and Mara Cherkasky explored three sites in Northwest DC connected to how Brightwood Park was segregated and resegregated in ways that connected to race and class. The Walking Tour linked the area’s history to contemporary struggles over policing and housing.
Stuart Schrader and DSA members shared their work on the exchange of violent police tactics and its roots in DC at four stops: the former International Police Services site, the Letelier-Moffitt Memorial at Sheridan Circle, the Anti-Defamation League, and the former International Police Academy site at the Car Barn in Georgetown. Attendees connected organizing work against policing and the exchange of violent policing tactics to the present day, specifically to ongoing organizing to ban Israeli Occupation Forces training with the Metropolitan Police Department.
January 30, 2021. Chapter members learned more about the history and structure of organizations that police DC by visiting four sites around Judiciary Square: Metropolitan Police Headquarters, the US Attorney of DC, the Law Enforcement Museum, and the Fraternal Order of Police regional lodge. Attendees heard original research on DC police, prosecution, police unions and the ideological apparatus supporting it all — provided by volunteer tour guides.