Montgomery County Rent Control Rally — Friday, Sep 9 at 10am
For the past two years, rent stabilization has kept families in their homes. Yet, the Montgomery County Council failed to extend rent stabilization before leaving for their August recess, allowing landlords to massively increase rents and forcing tenants to leave their homes and the county. Since then, tenants have received rent increases of 20% and more, far exceeding the rate of inflation and the cost of doing business. A resumption of rent increases must be stopped.
Montgomery County DSA will be meeting at the County government offices in Rockville TODAY, Friday, September 9th at 10am to rally against price gouging for housing and say that rent stabilization works in Montgomery County. On September 9, landlords and real estate developers will poor-mouth members of the council to pressure them for the right to price-gouge on rents and raise the cost of housing even further, just to pad their own pockets. We are showing up at the same time to say NO to price gouging and YES to a policy that helps working families. Speakers will include future council members, other elected officials and top advocates for affordable housing. RSVP here.
Can’t make it? Send a letter to the Montgomery County Council telling them to extend rent stabilization and sign up to get involved in our rent stabilization campaign here.
Also, join Montgomery County DSA this weekend at the Long Branch Festival (Saturday, September 10 at Flower Ave Urban Park) and the Takoma Park Folk Festival (Sunday, September 11 at Takoma Park Middle School). Sign up to volunteer here or just stop by to say hi!
Support Prince William County unionization efforts — this Tuesday, Sept 13
Prince William County is debating whether or not to pass an ordinance that could give Prince William general county employees new rights and freedoms to build a union and negotiate a union contract. This Tuesday, Sept 13th, support is requested at the McCoart Building at County Complex Ct in Woodbridge VA at 7pm. Please RSVP so we can follow up with you and provide more info. If you are a PWC resident, please consider registering to make a public statement.
Organizers will also be hosting a planning call the night before at 7pm, during which we’ll provide more background and answer questions. RSVP here for the zoom link.
Get your car's brake light repaired for free at the Metro DC DSA Brake Light Clinic — Saturday, Sept 10
Do you have a car with a broken brake or tail light? Metro DC DSA will be replacing brake lights for free this Saturday, September 10 from 11am to 4pm outside the Autozone at 519 Rhode Island Ave NE. You can request a repair in advance so we can be sure to have the right bulbs on hand: bit.ly/dsabrakelight. (Please spread the word to your neighbors!) If you’d like to volunteer in support of the event please fill out this form, and one of our organizers will be in touch with you.
Broken lights are used as an excuse for cops to pull people into the criminal legal system. A simple traffic stop can end in police violence, and trap folks in our racist policing systems. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Seattle, WA, Berkeley, CA, and Cambridge, MA are among cities considering moving traffic enforcement from the police department to the department of transportation. The DC Council’s Police Reform Commission recommends this too. In DC, we want to build support for a bill that would ban cops from stopping cars for minor infractions like broken lights, noise, tinted windows and exhaust. Instead, let’s move these functions over to a helpful DDOT worker who could help you fix it instead.
Stomp Out Slumlords fundraiser for Buena Vista tenant organizers — Thursday, Sept 15
Join MDC DSA and Stomp Out Slumlords at Midlands Beer Garden on Thursday, September 15 from 6pm to 9pm for a chapter-wide happy hour and fundraiser to benefit the tenants of Buena Vista Apartments as they try to use their TOPA rights to form a tenant co-op. For the past two years, the tenants of Buena Vista Apartments have fought to protect their homes and families from the greed of their slumlord. Now, they have the chance to cooperatively buy their building and create dignified, permanently affordable homes. Join us for fun times and fundraising as the Buena Vista tenants make this dream a reality!
Rum and Paint to support DSA international campaigns — Saturday, Sept 10
This Saturday, join Metro DC DSA’s Internationalism working group for a “Rum and Paint” fundraiser for the chapter’s international solidarity advocacy campaigns. Take home a beautiful painting of a Cuban sunset and support DSA’s International campaigns toward progressive foreign policy. An experienced artist will guide you in a step-by-step process to create your masterpiece! A minimum donation of $25 will be collected at the event via cash, Venmo or Cash App — all welcome! Register here.
Last Call: Sign Up for Fall 2022 Reading Groups
Sign up now for nine reading groups sponsored by MDC DSA’s Political Education Working Group! These groups are great places to meet comrades, learn about topics of interest, talk through ideas with a group, and come into the chapter’s work through political education. All groups are kicking off with introductory meetings and will hold a social meet-up in the first weeks. Whether it’s reading through W.E.B. Du Bois’ Black Reconstruction in America, joining the Marx at the Museum group to read Ways of Seeing by John Berger, fighting the Capitalist Patriarchy by reading Zilla Eisenstein’s classic with the SocFem section, discussing Hammer and Hoe by Robin D.G. Kelley on communist organizing by Alabama sharecroppers in the 1930s or reading through Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò’s Reconsidering Reparations and Elite Capture, there’s something for everyone! Several chapter working groups are sponsoring reading groups, making them a great way to start organizing within the chapter. Sign up here!
Next Saturday, 9/17: Washington, DC: Capital of Neoliberalism Walking Tour, 1pm, Farragut Square NW
Want to learn about how international institutions in DC exported neoliberalism? Want to walk together with comrades on one of our signature Metro DC DSA Walking Tours? Sign up nowfor the Washington, DC: Capital of Neoliberalism Walking Tour at 1pm Saturday, September 17th! The tour will start in Farragut Square NW and will visit four sites in downtown DC connected to the way neoliberal tactics were exported from international institutions located in the District — and how they came to local governance. The tour will be led by Christy Thornton, a professor at Johns Hopkins whose writing and work includes a focus on how international institutions have interfaced with Latin America — and how resistance to those institutions through large scale protests and social movements has shaped their policies and meetings. The tour will connect attendees to current efforts to democratize the District led by Metro DC DSA.
Join us afterward for a happy hour at outdoor tables at the Penn Quarter Sports Tavern. We will provide snacks and water on the tour, which will be under two miles. Sign up here and step up to volunteer if you can!
Green New Deal for Social Housing scheduled for November 17th Council Hearing
Legislation put forth by DC Councilmember Janeese Lewis George (Ward 4) has been scheduled for a hearing in the DC Council on November 17th. The legislation would create publicly owned social housing funded by the DC Housing Production Trust Fund and Green Bank. Under the model, ⅓ of the housing would be affordable at 30% of the median income, ⅓ at 50% median income, and ⅓ at market rate. The plan designates surplus rents extracted from market rate units to maintain affordability for subsidized units in perpetuity, marking a shift away from privately funded models of housing development in the city. The bill’s production and support comes from a range of local advocacy and community groups in the city, including Sunrise Movement DC, Empower DC, LiUNA, the DC NAACP, and many more. Stay tuned for updates on how to support this plan.
Prominent socialist thinker and local DSA member Barbara Ehrenreich passes at 81
Pioneering reporter and socialist thinker Barbara Ehrenreich, who passed away recently, is noted for her contributions to DSA in an LA Times appreciation: “Ehrenreich, the bestselling author… and an early member of the Democratic Socialists of America, … departs as a sort of prophet redeemed: Her incisive work on the grinding poverty of wage laborers and the downward mobility of white-collar workers has taken on the cast of common knowledge” (The LA Times obit, linked in the appreciation, joined other MSM obits in totally omitting mention of DSA.) And in Jacobin, Peter Dreier writes that “Barbara Ehrenreich Made Socialist Ideas Sound Like Common Sense.” National DSA’s Democratic Leftalso published a memorium from longtime MDC DSA member Chris Riddiough.
Workers at Politics and Prose bookstore reach contract agreement
From DCist Tuesday: “Nine months into bargaining, Politics and Prose workers reached a contract agreement with their employer, voting in favor of a deal that secures wage increases for nearly every union member. … “‘I am excited,’ said employee Isa Salazar during a press conference outside the flagship store on Connecticut Avenue NW. ‘This is what we started out to do. We were coming from a place of care and concern to improve this workplace that we definitely love.’
“Salazar [and nearly all the 50 unionized workers] will see pay increases under the contract.”
Workers shared details of the contract with DCist — so there’s much, much more to this story. A great reminder that forming a union is only the first (giant) step when it comes to workers’ ability to organize together and lift their collective conditions.
September NoVA DSA Gamenight! — Friday, Oct 7 at 6:30pm (all welcome)
Have you ever wanted to play the board game Class Warfare by Jacobin? Now is your chance! Join us in October and feel free to bring your own (board) games with you. We plan to convene at The Board Room in Clarendon (could change so RSVP to get the latest info). We hope to make this a monthly event. RSVP here so we can anticipate attendance.
Doing the comms work for MDC DSA is surprisingly fun but requires intensive and broad-scale teamwork at crucial moments in every week of Update production. It also, additionally, needs casual individual drop-in work to do thorough editing of our monthly Washington Socialist articles. What that means: There is room in our work for all kinds of personal schedules as well as the material pleasure of learning, thinking about and doing socialism as you pitch in. There is a good fit for every comrade. Join our September Communications WG meeting, focused this month on the Washington Socialist, on Saturday, September 24 at 3pm. Join us then, and get in on the fun at our #publications Slack channel in the meantime.
Our Publications Schedule — September Updates are scheduled for Fridays, the 16th and 23rd, and the October issue of the Washington Socialist is scheduled to go out with the weekly Update of Friday, Sept. 30. Article deadline for the October Washington Socialist issue is Sept. 24th.
Reading Groups can become Writing Groups — next week, the fall round of MDC DSA Reading Groups kicks off (you can check them out and sign up here) and every word you read becomes (in your head) writing in/out/about the topic that feeds into the rich environment of your co-readers’ group conversation. The Washington Socialist welcomes articles that are collaborative responses from reading groups; pass along what you are learning and thinking to your comrades who aren’t present and then onward to the wider world that’s increasingly paying attention. Join #publications channel to chat this up on Slack and send individual or group responses to [email protected].
Red Desk is where all members can go to request support, calendar links for events, etc. for their campaigns and working group needs. How to access and use Red Desk? Here are some visual how-tos.
Organizing Fair | Rising Organizers, DC Punk Archive, et al. Looking to get involved in local community organizations? Want to meet and connect with other local advocates who share your passions? Join Rising Organizers and DC Punk Archive this Saturday, September 10 at MLK Library (901 G Street NW) from 10am to 2pm for an Organizing Fair! Workshops, food, childcare, networking and more will be on offer. Register for free here.
Mental Health and Wellness Fair | ANC 1A, et al. This Saturday, September 10, head to Mt. Pleasant Library (3160 16th Street NW) for a free mental health and wellness fair from 12 to 4pm. Activities on offer included meditation, Narcan training, arts and crafts, and a chance to connect with participating organizations (ANC1A, Children’s National Hospital, La Clínica del Pueblo, SMYAL and Latin American Youth Center).
Fall into School Gardening | Washington Youth Garden, Share a Seed It’s almost fall, and that means time for back-to-school gardens! Are you a DC educator looking to learn more about gardening with kids and/or need to pick up supplies? Register online to join Washington Youth Garden and Share a Seed at WYG (inside the National Arboretum) this Saturday from 11am to 12pm to get hands-on garden support and pick up supplies, including: straw, mulch and compost, seeds, seedlings (kale, collards, cabbage, broccoli and more!). Not an educator, but still want to come by? No registration required, feel free to join in!
Defund the Police Deep Canvass | SURJ-DC The SURJ-DC Deep Canvass and Trans & Queer teams are hosting their next deep canvass day on Sunday, September 18. Through these events, SURJ-DC is working to build a community that learns together about community safety and alternatives to policing. The canvass will run from 10am to 2:30pm and take place in the Columbia Heights neighborhood. Morning training will be outdoors, lunch will be provided, then canvassers will get out on the doors together with a script focused on shifting resources from policing to community needs. Find more information and sign up here!
From The Guardian; Douglas Rushkoff updates and expands on his encounter with “The Mindset” and its super-rich seekers of safety from the consequences of their/our exploitation of nature — first outlined in his “Team Human” (2019).
The US’s spotty state by state electric power regulation at least offers some public-interest bright spots. As Varoufakis outlines here via Portside, the EU’s unified system, under the burden of a dominant market theory, is the paradigm of how not to do it.
Lula leads in Brazil’s polls for October’s election, but “Bolsonaro Isn’t Preparing for a Coup. He’s Preparing for a Revolution,” says a NYT observer. And he might succeed. “For all Mr. da Silva’s popularity, left-wingers seem to have lost their capacity to rally the masses. The 13 years of a left-led government that ended in 2016 did much to disperse and weaken social movements, and they have struggled in the years since to recover their dynamism. Demonstrations against Mr. Bolsonaro, for example, have been poorly attended.”
A couple of econobloggers at the Economic Policy Institute provide context for the Gallup article we posted here last week stating approval of unions is highest among US respondents since 1965. No surprise, they say, when (for example) union workers are paid 10.2% higher than unorganized peers and are more likely to have contractual health insurance, paid holidays and sick days. There’s more in the EPI blog.
DSA CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Most MDC DSA meetings remain remote-only. To join remote meetings, members will need to register at the event link provided and receive the remote-access link by email.
The flame of thought, the magnificence of art, the wonder of discovery, and the audacity of invention all belong to revolutionary periods when humanity, tired of its chains, shatters them and stops inebriated to breathe the breeze of a vaster and freer horizon..
- Virgilia D'Andrea
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