The Washington Socialist <> January 2017
By Andy Feeney
It’s a very ill wind that does nobody any good, as the saying has it, and support for DSA, both nationally and locally, has surged in the wake of the 2016 election. Nationally, Democratic Socialists of America gained some 3,000 new dues-paying members within a month of Trump’s victory. Here in the Metropolitan DC area, attendance at our chapter’s local membership meetings has grown from maybe 15 to 20 members and supporters, in a good month, to more than 60 supporters at our last two meetings.
Among the new committees that the Metro DC chapter has formed to channel the new supporters and provide them with opportunities for activism is a new Climate Change and Environmental Justice Committee that came together at our general meeting on December 11. Seventeen people, most of them new to DSA, gathered at the end of the December general meeting to express interest in climate and environmental justice concerns. Only seven of us gathered the next weekend, on Dec. 18, to get better acquainted and to adopt an initial structure and focus for the committee, which will be meeting again in mid-January.
About an hour of our Dec. 18 meeting was devoted to introducing each other and doing a quick inventory of our personal climate and environmental concerns, our educational and professional backgrounds, and the skills and network-building possibilities that each of us can bring to the group. We also elected a three-person interim steering committee and divided into two work groups, which are focusing on relatively short-term challenges and opportunities facing climate activists and environmentalists on the eve of the Trump administration taking power.
One of the two work groups will focus on doing outreach to existing climate activist organizations, mainstream environmental groups, and renewable energy groups – both nationally and locally – to determine what their major priorities and projects are in the immediate future and how Metro DC DSA members can best support them.
The second work group will focus specifically on the possibilities of blocking the worst nominations that Trump has proposed to make to relevant federal agencies – such as Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson to head up the State Department and Texas Governor Rick Perry to head up the Department of Energy, for example.
Over the longer term, members of the core group that has assembled to form the committee also hope to expand our individual and collective knowledge of climate change, renewable energy and other environmental issues, and we envision exploring the more theoretical aspects of eco-socialism in time. However, these are provisional goals for now, and we’re leaving open the possibility of modifying them and the group leadership structure in coming months if the members so desire.
Anyone interested in participating in the committee should look for future notices on the DC DSA Facebook page and on the Metro DC DSA Meetup site for details about scheduling, which is a little fluid at the moment. DSA members and supporters seeking more information also may email Andy Feeney at firstname.lastname@example.org, although I may not be able to answer your questions immediately.
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.The Washington Socialist is Metro DC DSA's monthly e-newsletter. Focusing on our local's events, socialist analyses of current events and book reviews, among other topics, The Washington Socialist is a great way to stay on top of the progressive goings-on in DC, Maryland and northern Virginia. We also encourage our readers to submit their own articles! Contact Editor Woody Woodruff for more info at email@example.com.
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