Welcome to the February 2017 issue of the Washington Socialist, the free monthly email newsletter of Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America
NOTE A CHANGE IN OUR MEETING LOCATION SUNDAY, FEB: 12 -- 3-4:30 p.m. at Southwest Branch Library, 900 Wesley Pl. SW
As Metro DC DSA has moved adaptively into the Trump Crisis, the rhythm of our socialism has changed
A pace we had become used to – some outreach education, frequent internal discussion, coalition action – has shifted rapidly through the exhilaration and disappointment of the Sanders candidacy and the surge in interest in democratic socialism that followed his decontamination of the S-word, doldrums of the dreadful campaign and the shock of recognition that a confluence of contingent, often malign forces had brought us an actual Trump presidency.
What happened after Nov. 8 has been dizzying, exhilarating and a test of our local’s resilience as an organization. National DSA’s doubling of membership in a space of several months has been mirrored by the evidence in our region that this crisis is instilling the lesson: Progressive campaigns for single issues can only survive in concert, because of their intersections in the wealth-power nexus. That’s our trademark, and it is being recognized.
So it is a humor-inspiring twist that this unifying impulse, which has brought Metro DC DSA so much new energy (and caused our median age to plummet), has nevertheless divided us in a very good way. In order to get quickly to work, a number of working groups/”committees” have emerged on specific issues and functions and they in turn have identified and addressed specific crisis points associated with the corporate-capitalist coup that is the Trump ascendancy.
Several of our working groups – economic justice and climate change – are the subject of reports in this issue. The communications committee, more process than ideology, is building out from our grounding in the email/online newsletter and Facebook/Twitter platforms both to improve our external communication in both nontraditional and traditional media and strengthen our nimbleness in internal communication as well. Committees on antiracism/antibigotry work and socialist feminism are growing and active as well. Each of our last two membership meetings has broken out into committee work quickly and productively and committees are meeting separately as well.
These are not precisely the kinds of exciting times we would have chosen, but they are churning with change and opportunity and the opening for socialism is significantly wider than anticipated. The path of most resistance is forward.
-- Woody Woodruff
THE MONTH AHEAD
THE LOCAL’S EVENTS
Sunday Feb 12: Metro DC DSA monthly membership meeting 1 p.m. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library 901 G St NW, Washington, DC (map)
Sunday Feb 12 Socialist Book Group Discussion 3 p.m. RSVP National Portrait Gallery Kogod Courtyard 8th St NW & F St NW, Washington, DC (map) Join us for a discussion of Four Futures: Life After Capitalism by Peter Frase.
Thursday Feb. 16 Socialist Salon on Full Employment & Basic Income 6:30 p.m. at Young Chow , 312 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC (map)
Wednesday, Feb. 22 DSA Happy Hour 6:30 p.m. RSVP at The Big Hunt 1345 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC (map) Join us as we relax and enjoy some brews with our brothers and sisters of DC DSA. No agenda, no schedule, no topic, just some good conversation and beer. Learn more
Sunday, Feb. 26 Intro to DSA: Socialism 101 1:30 p.m. RSVP 13 spots left Tenley-Friendship Neighborhood Library ,4450 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC (map) Are you new to our group and wondering just what the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is all about? Are you interested in continuing the political revolution... Learn more
FROM OUR ALLIES
SAT, Feb. 4, 10:30 a.m Our Revolution inaugural Prince George's regional meeting 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at The Atrium, Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland, College Park. Stamp Union is at the center of campus. Free parking is available in Lots 1 and Z. RSVP to OurRevolutionMDteam@gmail.com, via Facebook or map.revolution.com .
Monday, February 20 – The Reel N Meal at the New Deal shows Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated documentary 13TH (see more below) at the New Deal Café, Roosevelt Center in Greenbelt. Film is free and begins at 7; a community buffet meal is served ($14) beginning at 6:30 p.m. Info here.
Tuesday, February 21 The local labor community’s Bread & Roses series shows the film 13TH (6-8 pm at Busboys and Poets in Takoma, 235 Carroll St. NW). Carmen Berkley, AFL-CIO Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Director, will introduce filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s movie (at this writing an Oscar nominee in the documentary category) which explores the history of racial inequality in the United States and within our nation’s prison system, which alone is exempted by the Constitution’s 13th Amendment prohibition of involuntary servitude. The screening of 13th is free, but those who wish to attend must RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/dclaborfest13th
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IN THIS ISSUE
TRUMP AND SOCIALISM: OUR PATH
It can be pretty irritating, as Bill Mosley says here, to be a resident of the District of Columbia and to have organizations begging you to “call your Senator” about the latest Trump outrage. Statehood for the District is more important now than ever, as the Senate rubber-stamps Trump’s toxic nominees to run the US government. Read complete article
Maryland is supposed to be a Blue-ish state and a locus of resistance to the catastrophe of the national government. But as we face up against Trump to we in Maryland have to watch our backs for betrayals and sellouts from Democrats? Woody Woodruff works up a little rant… Read complete article
It’s hard to overstate how critical the effects of climate change will be, says Harry Baker. Plans for social change, no matter how well formulated, could be upended by the human catastrophe that will ensue as rising temperatures make large areas of the planet unlivable, and the people there act out of desperation with outcomes that are hard to imagine. Read complete article
The head of the Minneapolis Fed – a Bush functionary – has brought forward a plan to fail-safe the mega-banks against another 2008-style financial meltdown by giving them the choice of breaking into smaller pieces or cushioning themselves with enough cash reserves to trim their swagger. Andy Feeny reports some GOP members of Congress are taking a look. Could “too big to fail” become history? Read complete article
Longtime members of the local, including Bill Mosley, watched with amazement as the January membership meeting swelled to over 100. As he reports, it’s the Trump surge. Read complete article
One of the committees that gathered at that January meeting hit the ground running the next day, joining allies in pushing back against a veto of a Montgomery increase in the minimum wage. Austin Kendall reports. Read complete article
The new climate change committee has likewise seized opportunities and begun building alliances to work locally and nationally on issues ranging from Trump’s truly awful environmental policies to state-level matters in Maryland and Virginia. Andy Feeney has the story. Read complete article
Cecily McMillan, a YDS member and Occupy Wall Street veteran at a young age, was jailed at New York City’s infamous Rikers Island prison after a bogus charge and put her experience in the book she brought to DC recently. Kurt Stand recounts her story. Read complete article
We probably will not be protesting less in the immediate future, right? Austin Kendall has tips offered in a “Protesting 101” session recently courtesy of an ACLU director and a seasoned defense attorney. Read complete article
The Maryland General Assembly kicked off its three-month session in mid-January and progressive organizations are mobilizing to get pro-people legislation out of election officials whose re-election inevitably depends on keeping the forces of business capital happy. Woody Woodruff reports. Read complete article
REVIEWS AND ESSAYS
Donald Trump’s grandiloquent gestures toward keeping jobs in the US mask a long-term and destructive trend in the auto industry that has eroded the power of workers and typifies trends in US manufacturing. Austin Kendall outlines the history of a savage restructuring of this core US manufacturing segment. Read complete article
When Frank Zeidler, a socialist, was elected Mayor of Milwaukee at the beginning of the Cold War, he looked like continuing the social-democratic, growth-friendly urban trend of the years since the Depression. But he ran into a concerted effort by business to erode those gains. Kurt Stand reviews a new book that traces that organized postwar pushback from capital that ended “sewer socialism,” union progress and much else. Read complete article
Good Reads for Socialists – recent articles with links and summaries of interest to leftists and progressives. Read complete article.
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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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