Welcome to the October issue of the Washington Socialist, the free monthly email newsletter of Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America.
The local and national DSAs continue to operate on two tracks as the election approaches… activities that are intended to make sure Donald Trump doesn’t get within sniffling distance of the Oval Office, and work to broaden the left coalition locally in this time’s new window of possibility.
As Bill Mosley asserts in this issue, critical local opportunities for the former (the Dumping of Trump) are largely in Virginia, where strategic voting choices like Jill Stein are not recommended (by him) at this point. In other locales like D.C. or Maryland, he suggests, “conscience” voting is more appropriate.
For the latter, the local is extending its reach and engagement more deeply with local labor and allied progressive groups in the Maryland suburbs. Carlos Jimenez, executive director of the DC labor council fashioned in progressivism by Jos Williams, spoke to the Socialist Salon in September. Kurt Stand has an account of that conversation, in which both DC DSA and labor in the person of Jimenez noted the need for mutual outreach to potential allies neither strictly socialist or strictly workplace-based. And DC’s labor council has jurisdiction in the near-in counties of Maryland, where we as Metro DC DSA in September also co-programmed a meeting of Sanders delegates with our Progressive Maryland allies. Stand has an account of that event as well.
Columnist Harold Meyerson spoke to Northern Virginia Sanders activists near the end of September (an account is in this issue) and noted that the Sanders campaign had failed in its promised goal to extend its refreshingly class-based policy proposals in a way that would attract voters of color — meaning Sanders never really got traction with those voting blocs. But Hal Ginsberg argues in this issue that the Sanders campaign’s broad antiracist reach is underappreciated.
Our local’s Antiracist Committee has been working with allied groups in the region – particularly SURJ, or Standing Up for Racial Justice – to bring our perspective to the efforts of white allies of the multipart politico-cultural movement of people of color that has grown out of, and in parallel with, Black Lives Matter.
The opening for socialism by name as a result of the Sanders campaign may or may not have brought big-time turnout for the socialist book group, but it has been teeming in what’s becoming “our” Sunday-afternoon corner at the Kogod Courtyard, National Portrait Gallery. The slender book The Future We Want has brought intense discussion – the group has agreed to have a third round of discussions on Leonard and Sunkara’s collection, after we take a break to read Tom Frank’s Listen, Liberal for an Oct. 16 conclave.
Book group member Mike Mirza has contributed in this issue a discussion of the essay “Imagining Socialist Education” from The Future We Want.
Cecilio Morales, a longtime specialist in employment and income issues, notes in this issue that buried under the latest cheery Census Bureau figures about household income and reduction of wage gaps, the word for the US working class’s fortunes is stagnant.
Andy Feeney’s book review in this issue explores a little-known target of colonial exploitation and racist globalist gangsterism stretching back to the days of Leopold II – natural rubber, a fiercely-contested commodity that brought misery in its time to Africa, Vietnam and South America.
If that’s not enough, there’s our usual bouquet of “Good Reads,” links to articles from a left perspective ranging from Jeremy Corbyn’s movement-building organization to feminist pamphleteer and author Juliet Mitchell.
So our local’s work continues apace. As socialists who have long worked toward perfecting an activism that keeps our vision of the future clear while working to significant effect within the debris of the political present, we have plenty to bring to the table and still plenty of lessons to learn. But the window for our perspective is, we feel, wider than it has been for decades because of the Sanders campaign. Inside and outside its latest iteration as Our Revolution, our task is becoming more sharply visible, though not necessarily less daunting.
Our readers are our best writers. Join that group and submit an article about activism you are doing or someone else is doing; reviews of important books you have read; think-pieces contributing to the left’s perennial search for a better way to explain our crisis to its victims. You are part of this conversation. Submit contributions to The Washington Socialist at a number of levels — send us nominee for “Good Reads” (they should be available online so send links); send news and notices of activism; submit articles. Send to email@example.com.
About The Washington Socialist
.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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Past issues of The Washington Socialist from 2012-June 2016 are available for viewing on our archive page.