The Washington Socialist <> May 2017
By Sam Knight and Lynne Williamson
RACIAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE
The first few months of the Trump administration have injected additional urgency into this year's May Day commemorations.
Republican attacks on immigrants and Muslims, and the party's anti-labor agenda are giving organizers extra motivation to agitate for this year's International Workers Day.
Signs have been up for weeks all over Washington, in English and Spanish, encouraging city residents to walk off the job on May 1, to join in demonstrations.
The Racial Justice Committee has been doing work with like-minded groups to help promote demonstrations. The committee is spearheading local DSA work on the DC May Day Steering committee, organizing alongside Many Languages One Voice (MLOV) and CASA.
Committee members have been preparing for the event, in part, by raising money to promote the call to action and by canvassing businesses. Part of the steering committee's work has involved outreach to encourage worker participation without fear of retaliation.
Demonstrations are slated to begin at Lamont Park, in Mt. Pleasant, at noon. From there, organizers have planned to march first to Columbia Heights, then to Malcolm X Park. The protest will eventually end up outside the White House.
The campaign to withdraw city assets from Wells Fargo over its dirty energy portfolio is stepping up early next month.
Activists from the DC ReInvest Coalition are putting out a call to “Pack the Room” at a DC City Council Finance Committee hearing on May 4.
The chair of the panel, Council Member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), refuses to consider divestment legislation, even though six of his colleagues support such a proposal. There are only 13 members on the DC City Council.
The Environmental Justice Committee, which is part of the ReInvest Coalition, is encouraging local DSA members to attend the demonstration.
The Events and Logisitics and the Economic Justice Committee are also helping with the divestment campaign. Wells has made headlines in recent months both for supporting the Dakota Access Pipeline and for selling millions of products to customers who never requested them.
Wells has also invested in private prisons and been caught engaging in racist lending practices. The city invests $2 billion with the bank, according to organizers.
SOCIALIST FEMINIST COMMITTEE
A woman facing an unplanned pregnancy needs and deserves medically-accurate information and guidance on her options at a full-service women’s health center. That is not, however, what is available to many women in Washington, DC.
There are two Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) in DC, where staffers are employed to mislead, shame and dissuade women from obtaining abortions. These clinics use false advertising to lure vulnerable women into an anti-choice environment.
The Socialist Feminist Committee has begun a campaign to call attention to their existence, expose how they operate and how they misrepresent themselves. The panel plans on investigating how to create informational campaigns and ways to counter the CPC advertising.
Members are currently preparing to research anti-CPC actions in other cities and to contact chapters of local pro-choice organizations for strategies.
* * * As part of the committee's continuing goal of fostering education on socialist feminism, members have formed a reading group. The first readings are two essays from the book “Women: Class and the Feminist Imagination.”
ECONOMIC JUSTICE COMMITTEE
Mayor Muriel Bowser released her annual budget proposal earlier this month to widespread criticism from labor and social advocates.
Analysts on the left said the Mayor is ignoring wide swaths of the city, pointing to low levels of funding for worker protections, child care, housing, healthcare and medical services.
The Economic Justice Committee served as Metro DC DSA's contingent at a symposium held to discuss Bowser's proposals.
The DC People's Budget Forum, which was earlier this month, hosted job and worker protection training sessions. Organizers also collected food donations for those in need.
* * *
Good incremental news on the continuing fight for a $15 minimum wage: Dulles and National airport workers will see an hourly pay bump of $4 in January 2018 to $11.55.
Minimum airport wages will eventually rise to $12.75 by 2020. Workers at these two travel hubs are currently receiving as low as $7.25 per hour.
* * *
Non-union federal employees have been discussing organizing options under the new administration.
Committee members are investigating the possibility of setting up a space where employees from different agencies and postal workers could come together to talk and organize.
Information on all of Metro DC DSA's committees and contact information are at http://www.dsadc.org/join-our-committees.html
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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