Political Parties

Weekly Update for June 23-30

DC DSA - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 08:52
Weekly Update for June 23-30What's On This Week
The Metro DC DSA Week Ahead

TODAY Fri Jun 23 Lobbying and Vigil to save Temporary Protected Status for Central American allies. See Solidarity listings below.

Sat Jun 24   Metro DC DSA Communications Committee Monthly Meeting 1:30 - 3 p.m. Southeast Neighborhood Library 403 7th Street Southeast, Washington, DC (map) Join our efforts on Metro DC DSA's presentation of self! Comms committee works on internal and external communications: newsletter/updates; social media; design,... Learn more
Sat Jun 24 Road Trip! Our Baltimore DSA comrades “will be hosting a Stand Up for Socialism! fundraiser, to benefit our chapter, taking place at The Crown -- located at 1910 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21218. The event begins at 8 p.m., and will feature comedians Eric Dadourian, Naomi Karavani, Jessica Murphy Garrett, Denise Taylor, and Umar Khan. A $15 dollar donation is encouraged, but any amount is welcomed, as we work towards sustaining and building the financial viability of our chapter.”

Sun Jun 25 Climate Change & Environmental Justice Committee - Education & Outreach Event 1 p.m. Petworth Neighborhood Library 4200 Kansas Ave NW, Washington, DC (map) This meeting will feature representatives from two national organizations working in very similar ways for a rapid transition to a sustainable society powered only by... Learn more

Sun Jun 25 Speakout Against Fascism noon see Solidarity listing below.

Wed Jun 28 – DCDSA Steering Committee Meeting and Mailing Party, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Woodbridge Neighborhood Library, 1801 Hamlin Street NE Washington,  D.C.  20018 Our fundraising campaign for the chapter will be launched with this mailing – join us. Near(ish) Rhode Island Ave./Brentwood Metrorail station.

Wed Jun 28 DSA Happy Hour 6:30 p.m. 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

NOTE that because the July issue of the Washington Socialist will be published on Saturday, July 1 there will be no Weekly Update on Friday, June 30

Events in July: see the Meetup


More paths to information:
Maryland peeps – you can get an email once a week from our allies at Progressive Maryland with calendar items and activism news by clicking here. You can sample the goods here.

Baltimore comrades, Check in on Max Obuszewski’s highly useful calendar and tip sheet at http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

To keep up with progressive events in and around DC consult the invaluable calendar at the Washington Peace Center, http://washingtonpeacecenter.org/alerts

 
Solidarity with our allies

Save TPS Now! Solidarity with Our Central American Friends with lobbying activity and vigil. Today, June 23,  9 a.m. - 5 p.m. | All Souls Church, 1500 Harvard St NW / Capitol Hill
Several groups are coming together for a National Conference to defend Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Haitians just lost their TPS status a couple months ago and already face deportation! Hundreds of Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, Hondurans, Haitians and others will be coming to DC for the event to defend TPS. Come show support and solidarity.They need help lobbying on Capitol Hill Today. Plus there's a White House vigil at 5 p.m. More details in the MidWeek Update sent June 20.

Help DC Public Schools teachers by signing their change.org petition demanding a fair contract and retroactive pay from Mayor Bowser.  DCPS teachers have been working in good faith without a contract for 5 years during which they have not received any cost of living increases despite a massive DC budget surplus.  Mayor Bowser likes to tout that DC teachers are among the highest paid in the nation, but when you match cost-of-living to our wages, we rank 42nd in the nation.  The Washington Teachers Union plans a dramatic delivery of the petition signatures to Mayor Bowser, so the more signatures the more dramatic it will be and the more momentum the teachers will have as their struggle for a fair contract heats up.  If you have questions or want to get more involved in this struggle, email Jared Catapano.
 
The Fair Elections Act of 2017 Public Hearing is rapidly approaching. On June 29th at 9:30 a.m., the DC Council’s Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing regarding Working Families’ bill. It will take place in room 500 of the Wilson Building, located at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW. We’re encouraging any and all supporters to pack the house and wear blue. If you are interested in testifying please email Austin Kendall (Austin.Drake.Kendall@gmail.com) to be matched with the WF testimony bloc and Mat Hanson.
The bill, if passed would create a voluntary public matching funds program for candidates running for office and would help democratize our elections and empower voters. It would also help balance the scales of our campaign finance system in favor of the people who live and vote here, countering the influence of big money donors that currently fund our elections. 
The movement is alive and thriving in Maryland as well. Montgomery County has passed a public election finance law and progressives recently won a fight to get full funding for it in the county exec’s budget. Howard County’s council recently ratified a Nov. 2016 public referendum passage of the bill and now has to override a veto by the Republican county executive, probably in early July. Progressives in Prince George’s are trying to get public financing seriously on the County Council’s radar because of the heightened cost of local elections due to the new at-large Council seats. . Contact woodlanham@gmail.com for more information on Maryland Fair Elections action.


At the Climate Change and Environmental Justice education and outreach meeting this Sunday, there’s to be a brief update on DCDSA’s partnership with allies on keeping the city’s Comprehensive Plan pro-public rather than pro-developer. Our ally DCReinvest is spearheading development of alternative versions for the city’s Comprehensive Plan. This twenty-year plan is being reconsidered only halfway through its expected life at the behest of developers who feel constrained in their rush to gentrification. They hope to weaken the plan’s public-leaning provisions. Metro DC DSA is partnering with DCReinvest and other groups to fight back against this effort. Crucial deadlines are coming up and the progressive alternative plans, including these drafted by DCDSA, are poised to be submitted this week. They include:
  • A framework amendment establishing “increasing equity through environmental, social and economic justice” as an added core principle of the document;
  • a glossary defining affordable housing and related income and community factors from a progressive perspective as prime considerations, plus a declaration that the glossary should be given equal or greater weight than conflicting definitions in the Zoning Code;
  • Clauses establishing environmental equity for impacted communities as strong considerations in development decisions.
  • Clauses for prevention of displacement and “making affordable housing a required public benefit”.

Speakout Against Fascism Sunday, June 25 -- Defense and support of those arrested and charged Jan. 20 in Inauguration Day protests, sponsored by Smash Racism DC. "In a time of escalating violence against vulnerable communities, when leftists who speak against the powers that control our nation face intense and violent oppression, we have a moral obligation to stand together with those in harm's way against the state and rogue elements alike. Join us at DC Metro Police Headquarters, 300 Indiana Ave. NW, this Sunday, June 25, at 12 p.m. for a speakout that will include voices from community members, activists, including vice-presidential candidate Eugene Puryear, and others who will take a bitter day--a day of open fascist rallies in DC--and turn it into a day of solidarity against the racist, capitalist forces that want to lay claim to our city. Everyone is extremely welcome, and everyone's safety and security are a foremost consideration at this event." More info: Gareth Sparks, garethsparks@gmail.com.  Event Information and RSVP
 

GOOD READS
Nobody in DSA has ever agreed 100 percent with Joe Schwartz when he gets programmatic (but who does it better?). But that’s why we are a big-tent organization, and this is about how we maintain that status and extend our strength.  http://portside.org/2017-06-17/coalition-politics-and-fight-socialism
This post brought a response on [DSA-Activist] from NYC DSA’s Mike Hirsh, which then brought a riposte from Schwartz… and, well, you know. We will include this set of discussions in the July issue of the Washington Socialist.
More from James Livingston on Universal Basic Income and the end of work -- from The Baffler https://thebaffler.com/salvos/why-work-livingston
From a DSA tweet and the New Socialist: https://newsocialist.org.uk/full-corbynism-constructing-a-new-left-political-economy-beyond-neoliberalism/

Feel like you missed anything? Here is last week’s Update.
 
 
 
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Categories: Political Parties

Washington Socialist Midweek Update June 20-23

DC DSA - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 05:40

Wednesday Update - Metro DC DSAHi woody,
This is Metro DC DSA’s interim Weekly Update. There are some urgent actions that have been announced since Friday’s update, and we wanted to get the word out.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Speaking Out to Protect Our Care Wednesday, June 21 | 11 AM - 1 PM | East Lawn of the Capitol Building

When healthcare is under attack, we stand up and we fight back.
 
Event Information (Facebook)
 NoDAPL Rally: Status Hearing for Tribes vs Army Corps Wednesday, June 21st | 2-3 PM | 333 Constitution Ave NW

Join the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Indigenous Environmental Network, and Rising Hearts outside of the US District courthouse on Wednesday, 6/21, as both Tribes will go to court for status hearing vs Army Corps Engineers.
 
Event Information (Facebook)
Vigil for Nabra Wednesday, June 21st | 6:30 PM | 1609 Washington Plaza, Reston, VA

Vigil for Nabra, the 17-year-old student from SLHS who was killed this Sunday. The vigil is hosted by her friends and classmates.
 
Event Information (Facebook)
Metro DC DSA Steering Committee Meeting Wednesday, June 21st | 7 PM - 8:30 PM | Mezzanine Meeting Room @ Northeast Library, 330 7th Street NE

Come attend the open Steering Committee meeting to stay up-to-date with DC DSA's internal business. The agenda is available here.Monthly Salon: Corbyn and the Labour Party - What Happened and What's NextThursday, June 22nd | 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM, Young Chow (312 Pennsylvania Ave SE)

Glyn Robbins, an active trade unionist and socialist in Britain, will present his thoughts and analysis. Glyn, will also talk about his new book, There's No Place: The American Housing Crisis, and what it means for the UK.
 
Event Information (Facebook)
Save TPS Now! Solidarity with Our Central American FriendsFriday, June 23rd | 9 AM - 5 PM | All Souls Church, 1500 Harvard St NW / Capitol Hill

Several groups are coming together for a National Conference to defend Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Haitians just lost their TPS status a couple months ago and already face deportation! Hundreds of Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, Hondurans, Haitians and others will be coming to DC for the event to defend TPS. Come show support and solidarity.

They need help lobbying on Capitol Hill this Friday. They have training on how to lobby, but will need help navigating the halls of congress and filling groups from districts with few participants. There is also a vigil outside the White House that we are invited to.
 
Event Information and RSVP
 
Agenda:
  • Meet at All Souls Church, 1500 Harvard Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20009
  • 7-8 AM: Breakfast and registration
  • 8-9 AM: Welcoming / overview of the day / political analysis and importance of the campaign
  • 9 AM: Buses/vans leave All Souls Church for Capitol Hill
  • 10-11 AM: Legislative briefing, Cannon House Office Building, Room 122 (first floor)
  • 11 AM - 5 PM: Lobbying Representatives and Senators
  • 5:30-6:30 PM: Vigil at the White House. Transportation provided for lobbyists, but all are welcome
  • 6:30-7 PM: Buses/vans leave White House for All Souls Church for a dinner and Central American-themed party


VIEW ALL UPCOMING DC DSA EVENTS
Copyright © 2017 DC DSA, All rights reserved. 

Categories: Political Parties

June 27: Seattle ISO Working Meeting

Seattle ISO - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 23:11

Tuesday, June 27
7:00 p.m.
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105

This week’s meeting will be a working meeting. We’ll be discussing the Socialism 2017 conference happening in Chicago next week, our work on the UW campus, and breaking up into working groups to plan various aspects of our local work.

Categories: Political Parties

The question of caste

Seattle ISO - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 23:07

From SocialistWorker.org:

The debates about caste and class in India go back many decades, but they remain relevant today, writes Steve Leigh in a review of a new book by Arundhati Roy.

June 19, 2017

Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar (left) and Mahatma Gandhi

IN THE Doctor and the Saint, writer and political activist Arundhati Roy invites readers to take a new look at the “saint” M.K. Gandhi alongside a less-talked-about fighter for Indian independence and justice, Untouchable leader and intellectual Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

This book is based on an introduction that Roy wrote in 2014 for The Annihilation of Caste–a pamphlet of a 1936 speech by Ambedkar that he was never allowed to deliver. “When I first read it, I felt as though somebody had walked into a dim room and opened the windows,” writes.

After Ambedkar’s speech was canceled by the Hindu reformist organization that had invited him, it was printed as a pamphlet, and though the publishing houses were modest, it sold in the millions, becoming the source of great public debate over the question of caste in India–and social discrimination on the basis of caste. Gandhi was included among the opponents to Ambedkar’s views.

In The Doctor and the Saint, Roy uses this historic debate to underscore the centrality of caste in the past and present–and to take a deeper look at the myths about Gandhi.

Roy points out that the institution of caste continues today, as she outlines the brutal oppression suffered by the “scheduled castes” continues, not only in India but also in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and beyond.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

CASTE OPERATES throughout the population, but is, of course, especially onerous for the scheduled castes at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Estimates put this group at 17 percent of the population.

Besides Untouchables, there are Unseeables and Unapproachables–these are the scheduled or avarna castes, known as Ati-Shudras or subhumans. Other castes are grouped into four “varnas”: Brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (soldiers),Vaishyas (traders) and Shudras (servants).

Roy explains:

Untouchables were not allowed to use the public roads that privileged castes used, they were not allowed to drink from common wells…not allowed into Hindu temples…not allowed into privileged caste schools, not permitted to cover their upper bodies, only allowed to wear certain kinds of clothes and certain kinds of jewelry.

Some castes like the Mahars…had to tie brooms to their waists to sweep away their polluted footprints, others had to hang spittoons around their necks to collect their polluted saliva. Men of the privileged castes had undisputed rights over the bodies of Untouchable women. Love is polluting. Rape is pure. In many parts of India, much of this continues to this day.

Roy gives examples of horrendous attacks and murders still carried out today, based on and reinforcing caste.

There have been some attempts at “positive discrimination,” or affirmative action, so that some of the scheduled castes have made it up the social and economic hierarchy. But these efforts are extremely limited, Roy says, and have been resisted by right-wing movements that want to reinforce caste hierarchy, often leading to violence.

In spite of efforts at positive discrimination, the class structure lines up very well with the caste structure. Roy illustrates this with a list of the CEOs and billionaires who come from the upper castes. She goes on to explain the heavy overlap between lower castes and the poorest sections of the population.

Many lower caste people try to escape caste discrimination by converting to Christianity or Islam. But Hindu society treats the converts as if they are still in their hereditary caste. There are even cases of other religions in the subcontinent enforcing caste. “Though their scriptures do not sanction it,” writes Roy, “elite Indian Muslims, Sikhs and Christians all practice caste discrimination. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal all have their own communities of Untouchable sweepers.”

Thus, caste has a basis in religion, but the system of discrimination and privilege is embedded in society at a deeper level. In fact, Hinduism was at first the name given to caste society by outsiders. The promotion of Hinduism, and later Hindutva, was a political project.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

OF PARTICULAR interest to those on the left will be the section of the book looking at the Communist Party (CP) leadership’s disappointing view on the politics of caste. Under the guise of focusing on class divisions, they dismiss the importance of caste discrimination.

For example, CP leader E.M.S. Namboodiripad, the former chief minister of the state of Kerala, denounced Untouchable leader Ambedkar for focusing on caste, calling it “a great blow to the freedom movement. For this led to the diversion of peoples’ attention from the objective of full independence to the mundane cause of the uplift of the Harijans [Untouchables].” Harijan, or “Children of God,” was the condescending name that Gandhi gave the Untouchables.

Other political formations grew out of the fight against oppression, including Ambedkar’s Independent Labor Party and the Dalit Panthers in the 1970s. The Dalit Panthers descended in part from Ambedkar’s politics, but also from Marxism. They used the Marithi word “Dalit,” meaning oppressed or broken, to embrace all the oppressed of India. Unfortunately, the Panthers disintegrated, with some actually going over to the Hindu right.

According to Roy, the official Communist Parties became “bourgeois parties,” and their rejection of the importance of caste fit in well with their pro-capitalist politics. Even the more radical Maoist parties, the Naxalites, haven’t put caste at the center of their politics and haven’t won significant support from the scheduled castes.

Roy helps the reader conclude that without confronting caste, there can be no working-class unity and therefore no successful struggle against capitalism. Caste division hobbles a united working-class struggle.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE BULK of Roy’s book is an analysis of Gandhi’s politics in contrast to Ambedkar’s.

Gandhi has become revered around the world because of his part in the campaign for India’s independence and because of his commitment to nonviolence. But his first campaign in South Africa was in defense of upper-caste Indians, who were treated like Africans. Gandhi’s appeal was that apartheid should treat Indians better than Africans, especially businessmen from India.

Gandhi held a racist position against the “kaffirs”–a racial slur against native Africans used in South Africa by whites, Afrikaners and some Indians like Gandhi. One of his demands was that Indians not be put in the same jail cell with Africans. Through Gandhi’s life, he held a low opinion of the lower classes, castes and races–he felt they should get charity, but weren’t fit to actually take part in democracy.

Gandhi also wanted to reform the British Empire and work with it, rather than get rid of it. He signed Indians up to fight on the side of the British during the Boer War in Africa and supported Britain in First and Second World Wars. “Gandhi was not trying to overwhelm or destroy a ruling structure; he simply wanted to be friends with it,” writes Roy.

Funded by textile capitalist G.D. Birla, Gandhi preached collaboration between the classes. Roy quotes Gandhi, who argued:

It would be suicidal if the laborers rely on their numbers…In doing so, they would do harm to industries in the country. If, on the other hand, they take their stand on pure justice and suffer in their person to secure it, not only will they always succeed, but they will reform their masters…and both masters and men will be members of one and the same family.”

Gandhi’s attitude toward the scheduled castes was one of the main bones of contention with Ambedkar. Ambedkar proposed that the scheduled castes have a separate electorate so they could elect their own representatives and also be part of the general electorate.

Gandhi opposed this as “divisive.” Gandhi was for incorporating Untouchables into the Hindu body politic by allowing them to worship at Hindu temples, but otherwise leaving the caste system intact. Other changes in the treatment of Untouchables would be left to the good will of the privileged castes.

Gandhi only came around to the idea that it was acceptable for people from different castes to share meals toward the end of his life. For Gandhi, the caste system was necessary and an integral part of Hinduism. For Ambedkar, it needed to be abolished.

Ambedkar tried to support Gandhi, but broke with him on the issue of caste. His politics had a radical core–self-determination for the scheduled castes and abolition of the caste system, as well as for true equality generally.

But he often sought these aims through reformist methods. For example, he was part of the commission to design the Indian constitution, but quit when it became clear that it wasn’t going to achieve his goals. He organized independent political parties in support of the Dalits.

Ambedkar’s analysis of the struggle for independence was right on point. Referring to the Indian National Congress, the main representative of the nationalist movement, he wrote: “The question of whether the Congress is fighting for freedom has very little importance as compared to the question of for whose freedom is the Congress fighting.”

Replying to Gandhi, who questioned his sharp criticism of the Congress, Ambedkar argued in 1931, “No Untouchable worth the name will be proud of this land.”

In contrasting Gandhi and Ambedkar, Roy doesn’t lionize Ambedkar. But she points out the weaknesses and betrayals in the politics of the “saint”–and points out that that even in Gandhi’s time, there was a political alternative.

The Doctor and the Saint provides important lessons about the need to fully incorporate the fight against oppression into the fight to abolish capitalism.

REVIEW: BOOKS Arundhati Roy, The Doctor and the Saint: Caste, Race and the Annihilation of Caste, The Debate Between B.R. Ambedkar and M.K. Gandhi. Haymarket Books, 2017, 184 pages, $15.95.
Categories: Political Parties

Justice for Charleena Lyles!

Seattle ISO - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 20:50

 

Charleena Lyles, a pregnant mother of four, was murdered by Seattle cops on Sunday. Her children witnessed the cops kill their mother and then had to leave the apartment by being carried over her body. Community members from across the city will be taking action this week to demand justice for Charleena from the city and the Seattle Police Department. If you believe that Black Lives Matter, please come out to one of these events.

Categories: Political Parties

June 20: Crisis in the Trump Administration

Seattle ISO - Sun, 06/18/2017 - 16:51

Tuesday, June 20
7:00 p.m.
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105

This week’s meeting will include a discussion about the ongoing crisis in the Trump administration and how the left should respond to it.  We will also discuss the June issue of Socialist Worker newspaper and assess the “Seattle Stands with our Muslim Neighbors” protest that happened on June 11.

Suggested Readings:

Categories: Political Parties

Vote Nikkita Oliver for Mayor of Seattle!

Seattle ISO - Sun, 06/18/2017 - 13:54

The International Soicalist Organization is proud to say that we are endorsing Nikkita Oliver for Mayor of Seattle!  Find out more about the campaign at the Seattle People’s Party website and volunteer to help the campaign or make a donation.

 

 

From SocialistWorker.org:

Challenging Seattle’s broken system June 15, 2017

Jesse Hagopian, a Seattle educator, editor of the book More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing and a member of the International Socialist Organization, explains why the ISO has endorsed the Seattle People’s Party campaign of Nikkita Oliver for mayor.

Activist and artist Nikkita Oliver of the People’s Party in Seattle

“EVERY GREAT change that has occurred in this city in the past eight years has been because those communities have risen up and used their voice to ask for that change: shut down chambers, gone to people’s houses and into their offices, until we got the change that we most needed. It has not been because politicians moved for it.”

So declared the newly formed Seattle People’s Party candidate Nikkita Oliver–an educator, attorney, poet and political organizer–in the first Seattle mayoral debate in April.

Oliver continued her remarks:

HALA [Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda], MHA [Mandatory Housing Affordability], $15 [minimum wage], the No New Youth Jail campaign, Block the [Police] Bunker–even the [federal] consent decree [on the Seattle Police Department]–have all been because of movements of the people. What we need are leaders who listen to the needs of the most impacted in our communities and actually act on those solutions that are being brought forward by them.

Oliver, a Black, mixed-race, queer organizer, has been one of the most vocal leaders in the local movement for Black lives in Seattle. She has helped build actions against police brutality, against a new youth jail, and in support of local education initiatives that increase arts in schools and for the Black Lives Matter at School campaign.

She works full time in Seattle Public Schools as a resident artist educator with the Creative Justice program. As a renter in the city, she is all too familiar with rising rents and has been displaced from several homes due to high fees, even coping with homelessness during one difficult period.

When Oliver announced her candidacy for mayor in a video on March 8–International Women’s Day–she electrified the Seattle activist scene. A few weeks later, she drew hundreds of people to a standing-room-only campaign kickoff event–the auditorium was filled with a multiracial cross section of Seattle, including many youth and student activists.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

WHILE THE excitement for Oliver was already high among activists, youth and artists, at that point, Oliver’s campaign was widely viewed as a long shot against the incumbent, Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle’s first openly gay mayor.

Murray’s political power was based on his support from the political establishment, liberals and labor unions–which he solidified by using the language of progressivism, making limited concessions to organized social movements while maintaining a status quo approach to politics that made him quite acceptable to Seattle’s financial elites.

But in April, Murray’s re-election bid suddenly unraveled when four different men came forward to claim he had sexually abused them as teens.

As these allegations surfaced, a flurry of candidates entered the race–some 21 candidates are now running, including former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, state Rep. and former labor activist Bob Hasegawa, and business favorite Jenny Durkan.

Mired in scandal, Murray withdrew from the race, making this perhaps the most tumultuous and wide-open mayoral race in Seattle’s history.

Nearly all of the mayoral candidates are fluent in liberal talking points, including advocating for a city income tax on the rich, affordable housing and programs to address homelessness.

However, Oliver’s campaign has separated itself from the pack by being closely aligned with social movements in the struggle for oppressed and exploited communities in Seattle, which are being left behind by a massive tech boom and brutalized by an unaccountable police force.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE DIVIDE between the rich and “the rest” in Seattle could not be more apparent. Seattle has the fastest growing rental rate of any city in the U.S., and ranks eighth in rental prices nationally.

The city has over 3,000 homeless students in the public schools and over 3,000 people are on the streets every night–making the city fourth in the nation for homelessness, behind New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

The Seattle Police Department is also notoriously brutal and has been operating under a federal consent decree since 2012 when the Department of Justice (DOJ) found a disturbing pattern of excessive use of force, particularly against people of color. The DOJ report also found that one in four arrests involved a violation of that person’s constitutional rights.

Oliver’s policy platform forcefully takes up these issues of race, class and oppression.

Among other things, her policy agenda calls for rent control, 25 percent of all new up-zoned developments reserved for low-income tenants, increased public housing, and restorative justice programs in the courts and schools as an alternative to mass incarceration and school expulsions.

As she said at her campaign kickoff: “To actually stop the school-to-prison-pipeline, we must transform the legal system…We cannot arrest our way out of unaddressed social problems. We cannot imprison our way out of the trauma that the criminal injustice system has created…In fact, we must restore our way out of it…The system is broken, not our children.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

OLIVER’S ROOTS in social justice movements, her refusal to take any corporate donations, and her decision to run her campaign outside of the confines of the corporate two-party system show she is accountable to regular people and not business elites.

Seattle’s alternative weekly newspaper The Stranger wrote of her decision to run with the People’s Party, “Oliver’s independence from the Democratic Party may prove to be her greatest weakness in an increasingly competitive mayor’s race.”

Yet it is precisely her decision to run outside of the Democratic Party–a party that makes promises to be champions for the oppressed, but is more concerned about pleasing its corporate sponsors–that makes her campaign an important contribution to the struggle for social justice.

While the Seattle mayoral race is technically “nonpartisan,” it is a given that most candidates run as members of the Democratic Party. While Seattle and Washington state have long been run by Democratic strongholds, however, the state has the most regressive tax structure in the nation, and the city of Seattle has the highest taxes on low-income earners and fourth-lowest taxes on high-income earners.

While it may be true that running outside of the Democratic Party will cause some people not to vote for Oliver, it may also energize many people who don’t usually vote because they see nothing on offer from the political status quo that has resulted in Seattle’s affordability crisis.

Crucially, the activists and organizers that make up the People’s Party say that they envision the party as long-term project that can serve both to run social justice candidates in many different races, but also engage in actions and organizing to hold politicians accountable between elections.

As Oliver’s campaign manager, indigenous rights leader and member of the Blackfeet Nation Gyasi Ross, told me of the decision to launch the People’s Party:

We need an institutional memory of how we organize. Because this isn’t a one-year project. This isn’t a one-year experiment. Hopefully it’s a 10-year or 20-year project that says we are going to retain some of this knowledge and network of how we seep into some of the machinery and get involved in a more strategic level.

As a People’s Party position statement explains about the decision to launch a party outside of corporate duopoly:

We live in a time of grave political upheaval. The upheaval is the symptom or manifestation of issues that have plagued the United States since its inception. The political system in the United States has grown increasingly more dysfunctional. With each successive election the two-party system has become more adversarial. Accordingly, the system grows increasingly ineffective at addressing solutions that we, the People, care about and to which we require immediate action and response.

People do not believe their voices can impact the political process and actually lead to long lasting transformational change. For these reasons Nikkita and the People’s Party have chosen to declare independent. We are pushing a solution-based agenda which focuses on the issues faced by everyday working people rather than party politics.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

FOR THESE reasons, the International Socialist Organization has endorsed Oliver’s campaign for mayor. She is running the kind of independent, left-wing campaign that is needed to challenge both an emboldened right-wing in Trump’s America and a corporatized Democratic Party.

The ISO is not alone in our recognition of the importance of Oliver’s campaign. She has been gaining momentum with a growing list of endorsers that include the Seattle Education Association (the union representing teachers and other educators in Seattle), numerous community organizers, the Green Party of Seattle, Seattle Democratic Socialists of America, and Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant and Socialist Alternative.

The mayoral election primary will take place on August 1, and the top two candidates in the primary will advance to the November 7 general election. While Oliver’s independent bid for mayor will face an uphill battle, and she will likely continue to be portrayed as an “outsider,” with Mayor Murray out of the race, Oliver not only has raised the most money from small donations, she also has the largest activist base.

Win or lose at the ballot box, Oliver is clear that her campaign and the formation of the Seattle People’s Party is a step forward for Seattle’s 99 Percent.

As she said of her bid for mayor, “We need to create a sustainable model for political power for everyday people who may not have an interest in being career politicians but do have an interest in seeing the system being effectively transformed to show what access and equity actually look like.”

Categories: Political Parties

How free is “free” labor?

Seattle ISO - Sun, 06/18/2017 - 13:05

From SocialistWorker.org:

In the latest installment of our User’s Guide to Marxism series, Leela Yellesetty explains why exploitation is the secret behind the inequality built into capitalism.

June 14, 2017

RECENT ARTICLES in the New York Times and elsewhere have highlighted the spread of so-called “noncompete clauses” in employment contracts.

While such clauses have long been commonplace for executives or highly paid professionals– and justified by companies as a means of protecting trade secrets or market share–they are increasingly being demanded of even low-wage, blue-collar workers.

According to a recent University of Maryland study, about one in five workers are bound by noncompete clauses, and 42 percent of workers have signed one at some point in their working lives.

These clauses have rightfully come under fire for essentially trapping workers in their current jobs–and leaving them with little leverage to demand better wages and working conditions, since they couldn’t find another job if they left. For employees with a skill set for, or experience in, a certain field or industry, this could be crippling to their career trajectory. For low-wage workers, it could mean a lack of any job opportunities at all.

Take, for instance, the agreement that Amazon makes their warehouse employees sign: “During employment and for 18 months after the separation date, employee will not…engage in or support the development, manufacture, marketing or sale of any product or service that competes or is intended to compete with any product or service sold, offered or otherwise provided by Amazon.”

Given that Amazon sells practically everything, this would seem to effectively bar any employment for 18 months.

Often, these provisions don’t stand up to legal challenge–the sandwich chain Jimmy John’s, for instance, was forced to remove clauses barring workers from taking jobs at any other sandwich shop for two years after a lawsuit. In other cases, employers have successfully sued to prevent workers from leaving to go to a competitor.

As there are no federal regulations about noncompete clauses, enforcement varies from state to state.

Enforced or not, in the context of an economy in which the majority of workers are struggling to get by, many feel they have no choice but to sign whatever terms an employer demands–out of fear of losing their livelihoods if they challenge these provisions.

Connecting this issue to trends in health care coverage–which, since it is tied to employment for many workers, is also a means of keeping workers stuck in their jobs–New York Times columnist Paul Krugman observed:

You might say, with only a bit of hyperbole, that workers in America, supposedly the land of the free, are actually creeping along the road to serfdom, yoked to corporate employers the way Russian peasants were once tied to their masters’ land. And the people pushing them down that road are the very people who cry “freedom” the loudest.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

FOR CRITICS like Krugman, the solution lies in enacting progressive policies and reining in the worst excesses of employers, to the extent that they infringe on the free workings of the market. But for socialists, the problem–and the solution–goes much deeper.

Proponents of capitalism often claim that this is the ultimate expression of freedom: Workers and employers are free to enter into contracts for their mutual benefit. Yet even Adam Smith, one of capitalism’s early theoriests, acknowledged that employers have a built-in interest in limiting that freedom:

What are the common wages of labor depends everywhere upon the contract usually made between those two parties, whose interests are by no means the same. The workmen desire to get as much, the masters to give as little, as possible. The former are disposed to combine in order to raise, the latter in order to lower, the wages of labor.

It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of these two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms…A landlord, a farmer, a master manufacturer or merchant, though they did not employ a single workman, could generally live a year or two upon the stocks which they have already acquired. Many workmen could not subsist a week, few could subsist a month, and scarce any a year, without employment. In the long run, the workman may be as necessary to his master as his master is to him; but the necessity is not so immediate.

Karl Marx–who studied the work of Smith far more closely than many modern-day libertarians seem to have–argued that the apparently “free” market masked a hidden coercion.

In the first place, capitalism depends on one group of people that owns the means of production–factories, offices, machinery, raw materials, etc.–and another, much larger group that owns none of these, and must go to work for the smaller group to survive.

In this way, Marx argued that workers are free in a “double sense”–free to work or free to starve. As he wrote in Wage Labor and Capital:

The worker leaves the capitalist, to whom he has sold himself, as often as he chooses, and the capitalist discharges him as often as he sees fit, as soon as he no longer gets any use, or not the required use, out of him. But the worker, whose only source of income is the sale of his labor-power, cannot leave the whole class of buyers, i.e., the capitalist class, unless he gives up his own existence. He does not belong to this or that capitalist, but to the capitalist class; and it is for him to find his man–i.e., to find a buyer in this capitalist class.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THERE IS nothing natural about how this state of affairs came about. It was the result of a long and violent campaign of forced expulsions of peasants from the land in Europe and the conquest and enslavement of millions in the colonized world. As Marx put it, “[C]apital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt.”

Marx further observed that even the minimal freedom granted to workers to choose their particular employer evaporates once they set foot on the job. At work, the bosses exert complete control.

That this is a given is illustrated in a line in the New York Times article on noncompete clauses, which notes in passing: “Companies have always owned their employees’ labor, but today’s employment contracts often cover general knowledge as well.”

For Marxists, this goes to the heart of how the capitalist system works. Employers purchase not a given amount of work, but a certain number of hours of labor power–and their profits derive from the value of the goods produced for them beyond the cost they pay out in wages.

Employers therefore have every incentive to squeeze as much labor out of workers as possible at the lowest cost. Noncompete agreements are just one of many methods of intimidation and compulsion used to achieve this purpose–to get employees to work harder for less.

This exploitation is the secret behind the tendency toward inequality built into capitalism. What masquerades as a free and equal exchange–a certain amount of work for a certain amount of pay–is actually a system of organized theft.

That such theft is taking place can be verified simply by observing the tremendous rise of worker productivity in the past few decades, even as wages continue to stagnate. As a result, we have the highest levels of inequality in human history–and the ruling class uses its wealth and power to further control and subordinate the rest of us.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THIS LACK of freedom for workers has both a material and a spiritual cost. The vast majority of people are stuck in jobs we don’t find intrinsically meaningful or fulfilling, but are simply a means to survive.

This state of affairs leads to widespread alienation, not just from our work, but from ourselves and each other–which manifests itself in skyrocketing rates of depression, suicide and substance abuse, to name just a few of the bitter fruits of our so-called “free” society.

As British Marxist John Molyneux wrote in a pamphlet about the future socialist society:

The ultimate goal of Marxism, of socialism, and of the struggle of the working class is freedom. The bourgeoisie are, of course, keen to proclaim their commitment to freedom: freedom of speech, of the press, of the individual to do what they please with their money and so on. They know full well that as long as they control the means of production and therefore the wealth, the media, and the state, these freedoms remain enormously restricted and almost meaningless for the vast majority. They know also that they have the power to limit or indeed trample on such freedoms whenever they find it necessary.

In contrast, Marxists recognize that in a society divided into antagonistic classes, founded on exploitation and ruled by capital, there are and can be no “absolute” freedoms. We expose the sham abstract freedom offered by the bourgeoisie because what we want is real concrete freedom.

Freedom from hunger and poverty (without which all other freedoms mean nothing), freedom from war, from endless toil, from exploitation, from racial and sexual oppressions–these are the real freedoms we fight for. They can be made a reality only by establishing the positive freedom of the working class to run society.

Categories: Political Parties

Pride and justice stand together

Seattle ISO - Sun, 06/18/2017 - 13:00

From SocialistWorker.org:

Steve Leigh reports from Seattle day of protests for LGBTQ pride and equality.

June 13, 2017

Marching for LGBTQ pride and equality in Seattle

MORE THAN 2,000 people gathered in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood on June 11 and marched to the city center in support of LGBTQ pride and equality.

The march was one of several across the U.S., including a gathering in Washington, D.C., that were aimed at being more political than the official LGBTQ pride marches later in June, which started as a commemoration of the Stonewall Rebellion, but have morphed into an apolitical event, sponsored in part by corporations.

Brooklyn activist David Bruinooge called for the day of protests on a Facebook page back in January, saying he was inspired by the Women’s Marches on January 21. The vile homophobia of the Trump administration continued to drive interest in the demonstrations around the country.

Transgender pride was a strong theme throughout the day in Seattle. Speakers also expressed solidarity with other groups under attack in the age of Trump. One speaker introduced herself as a “radical, proud, out lesbian and Muslim” to loud cheers from the crowd.

Speakers urged people not to give their signatures to put Initiative 1552 on the ballot. If passed, the referendum which would enforce a law like the notorious one in North Carolina that forces people to use bathrooms of their birth gender, rather than the gender they identify with. Activists circulated through the crowd with ” decline to sign” petitions.

One extremely popular act was a beautiful rendition of John Lennon’s utopian socialist anthem “Imagine.”

The radical political message of solidarity was mixed with calls for support of gay businesses. One of the sponsors was the Greater Seattle Business Association, which also sponsors the official Pride event at the end of the month. Politicians in support of LGBTQ rights were also featured from the speakers’ platform.

Meanwhile, sections of the march broke out in chants defending immigrants, Muslims, the African Americans and other oppressed groups. One of the most popular was “When queer rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”

Categories: Political Parties

Washington Socialist Weekly Update for June 16-23

DC DSA - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 07:51
Weekly Update for June 16-23

Senate health care emergency looming
 
This is Metro DC DSA’s Weekly Update (for June 16-23) to the Washington Socialist, our monthly email newsletter.
 
HEALTH CARE CRISIS ACTIONS MAY BE AFOOT
 
Health Care activist alarms are going off as the US Senate moves with all non-deliberative speed to sneak a vote (before the July 4 recess) on the Senate’s messy revision of the House version of the “American Health Care Act.” Going from bad to differently bad, the Senate version contorts itself even more than the House version to preserve a semblance of coverage (unaffordable to many) while saving lots of money to cut taxes for the rich. The leadership-driven process itself is creating opportunities for us. and our allies.
 
 DCDSA’s Health Care Working Group has prioritized a possible mobilization for action this week. At this week’s Steering Committee open meeting the working group got the go-ahead to set the stage for quick action. Members should stay alert for further communications on this increasingly urgent issue.


 
We are still tickled by the huge comeback of Labour in the UK elections, putting the Tories in a corner when they hoped to have their boots on workers’ necks when it came to negotiating Brexit. The symbol of the comeback, of course, was Jeremy Corbyn. Sam Knight proposed a resolution at our last General Body Meeting in praise of the victory, which passed by acclamation. Progressive Maryland blogger and MoCo activist Dylan Shelton wrote last week about its meaning for electoral strategy.


 
The Wayback machine: was it only a week ago that the Weekly Update for June 9-15 included notes on the Climate Change/Environmental Justice working meeting with focus on comprehensive planning, divestment and a push for a DC public bank, remedies for food deserts and community service plans? Or before that, that our June newsletter, the Washington Socialist, highlighted local (DMV), national and international issues and campaigns?
Activist Training Opportunity: ICE accompaniment training
 
Want to become trained to go in very small groups (2-3) with people to ICE check-ins, immigration court hearings, and district court hearings? Sanctuary DMV is hosting their next ICE Accompaniment training next week!
 
The training will be Thursday, June 22 from 7-9 p.m. at River Road UMC in Montgomery County. Two steps to register: first, please fill out this general interest form to get on our interested volunteer listserv (future training opps go here first). Then, if you are available for June 22, fill out this registration form to confirm your attendance for that day.
 
There have been several cases of migrants being detained after going for a routine ICE check-in. They literally disappear without being allowed to inform their friends or relatives, creating panic among their loved ones.
 
ICE check-ins are at ICE field offices in Fairfax (for migrants living in VA or DC) or Baltimore (for those living in MD). Court dates are at courts, naturally, including metro-accessible locations in the DC area. Appointments will be during working hours on weekdays, except some court appointments may be on Saturdays. In many cases waiting times are quite long, so you may need to block off several hours or an entire day.
 
These are not designed to be public actions, although in the event that someone is detained, our teams are ready to mobilize. By volunteering to accompany migrants to ICE check-ins, immigration, and other court hearings, you are showing solidarity and helping to ease the anxiety of interacting with the legal system, reducing the likelihood of detention with your presence, and keeping relatives or lawyers informed in case the person with you is detained. This will be a huge help to efforts to find ways to stop the actual deportation.
 
Language skills other than English, and access to a car, are useful but by no means necessary.
More info from Chris Hicks.
News from our allies at DC Jobs with Justice

The DC Jobs with Justice (DC JwJ) Steering Committee met June 7. DCDSA is a participating member of the organization. Dave Richardson, a DCDSA member who also represents his AFGE local on the JwJ SC, passed along these official notes:
 
1. Two DC rent control amendments are coming up for hearings on June 22 and 28.  I suggest that members of our Chapter's Housing Committee get in touch with Emma of SEIU Local 32bj or Rob Wool (phonetic) of LEDC. See p. 20 of the attached material for a description of the reform goals.
 
2. Ari said that the enhanced attorney fee provision of the DC Wage Theft Law is working.  Private attorneys are taking wage cases now. Recall that this provision requires attorney fee awards at the Updated Laffey/Salazar Matrix rates, requires clear and convincing evidence that any reduction from the lodestar will serve the remedial purpose of the law, and provides for de novo appellate review of any reduction.
 
3. Local 689 of the Amalgamated Transit Union (WMATA employees) is leading a Fix It, Fund It, Make It Fair campaign for WMATA.  They also did a work-to-rule action last month to raise awareness of the understaffing of WMATA's Central Control. Bus managers verbally told drivers to skip the normal "radio check" with Central Control because the understaffing was leading to delays. Local 689 called for bus drivers to perform the radio check. When everyone did it, Central Control was swamped and buses were delayed. Management got pissed.  See there memo on page 17 of the attached materials where management claims that the verbal instructions (the contents of which management does not restate) were required for safety and the Union's action was unsafe and illegal and no one should listen to the Union.  Local 689 is planning actions on June 13 in Upper Marlboro (9:15 am to noon), June 14 at select Metrorail stations, and June 29, 5:30 pm, at Columbia Heights Metrorail. See pp. 11-17 of the materials.
 
4. The current draft of the DC budget has good news for food programs, 2 new wage theft workers for DOES, and disappointments for housing and homelessness advocates. Did you know that DC spends 15% of what is required to end homelessness in DC?  Meanwhile, DC has $3 billion in reserves.
 
5. DC's Juneteenth Day Celebration will be June 17, Saturday, 1-5 PM at Anacostia Park, Field #6. [See the calendar below for the ONE DC/SURJ announcement.]
 
6. We also endorsed the Language Access Amendments Campaign of Many Languages / One Voice (MLOV)
 
7. The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) joined the JwJ Steering Committee.


From the Metro DC DSA Steering Committee’s announcement earlier this week:
 
ELECTION RESULTS AND CONVENTION DELEGATE LIST
The Metro DC DSA Election Working Group has finalized a convention delegate list. The 29 delegates are listed in alphabetical order, and 3 alternate delegates listed in rank order.
Delegates
 Ariana Ascherl
E. Vannessa Assae-Bille
Harry Baker
Mike Beckidge
Enrique Calvo
Brian Doyle
Chip Gibbons
Daniel Hafner
Chris Hicks
Allison Hrabar
Alexander Alberto Jiron
Stuart Karaffa
Jessie Mannisto
Zach Maril
Aaron Marks
Adam Marshall
James McCormack
Margaret McLaughlin
Samuel Myers
Sam Nelson
Erin Oakes
Chris Riddiough
Franklin Roberts
David Shen
Jacquelyn Smith
Gareth Sparks
Natarajan Subramanian
Christina Waggaman
Rob Wohl


Alternate Delegates
Carl Goldman
Judy Nedrow
Merrill Miller

 
GOOD READS: Here’s a permanent good read… IPS’s regular “Inequality” newsletter curated by Chuck Collins; check it out; find it here.


ON THE DCDSA CALENDAR
 
Sat June 17 Economic Justice committee meets from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Lamond Riggs Library, 5401 South Dakota Ave NE, Washington, DC 20011. Open to all. We will debrief on Jobs with Justice training on tactics and how to use them in our working groups' campaigns.
 
Sat Jun 17 Ally Event: SURJ and ONE DC are planning a family-friendly Juneteenth Celebration at Anacostia Park from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 17. Dave Engel reports “This event is a fundraiser for ONE DC's Black Workers Center, a member-led space devoted to building racial and economic justice through popular education, direct action, and worker-owned alternatives. SURJ and ONE DC need volunteers for: Carrying things, setting up tents, grilling, food prep, supply runs, and cleanup. If you are interested, and can devote one or more hours to this on the 17th, contact Volunteer Coordinator Erik at erik.liam.blad@gmail.com.” Questions: contact Erik, or Dave at david.byron.engel@gmail.com
 
 Sun Jun 18  Socialist Feminism Reading Group  4 p.m. at the Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery in Chinatown, Washington, DC. 8th and F Streets, NW Washington, D.C., Washington, DC.  Please read our Socialist Reading Groups: Participation Guide and join us as we explore and discuss topics within Socialist Feminism
 
Monday, June 19 CC&EJC Comprehensive Plan Meeting 5:30 – 7 p.m. with Empower DC
Join members of the Climate Change & Environmental Justice Committee as we meet with Chris Otten of DC 4 Reasonable Development and Claudia Barragan of Empower DC to discuss amendments to the city's Comprehensive Plan. 
The Comprehensive Plan is a legislative and regulatory document that governs policy and actions around land use, economic development, housing, education, the environment, and more in here in the District. It is currently being amended midway through its 20 year life at the behest of developers and city officials intent on weakening it, following a set of lawsuits last year that will limit their ability to gentrify the city. 
Our meeting will focus on developing or supporting amendments to be submitted by the June 23rd deadline that align with the core principles of the coalition, including racial, economic, and environmental justice, housing as a human right, and preserving public assets equitably.

 Tue Jun 20 Grrl's Night  5:30 p.m. Mellow Mushroom, 2436 18th Street Northwest, Washington, DC  Come socialize at DC DSA Grrl's Night! Join other female-identifying and nonbinary comrades for happy hour and dinner. All ages welcome.
 
Sat Jun 24  Metro DC DSA Communications Committee Monthly Meeting  1:30 -3 p.m. Southeast Neighborhood Library  403 7th Street Southeast, Washington, DC (map)  Join our efforts on Metro DC DSA's presentation of self! Comms committee works on internal and external communications: newsletter/updates; social media; design;  brochures, website development and public and internal access to information. We schedule enjoyable and social off-meeting work sessions, too, to materially and collaboratively advance our work.
 
 Sun Jun 25  Climate Change & Environmental Justice Committee - Education & Outreach Event     1 p.m.  Petworth Neighborhood Library   4200 Kansas Ave NW, Washington, DC .This is our Committee's monthly education & outreach event, for helping our members explore new environmental issues & socialist ideas in addition to those we may be organizing around at the moment. Agenda is in formation but check the Meetup link for updates.
   
Wed Jun 28  DSA Happy Hour 6:30 p.m. The Big Hunt, 1345 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 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.


 
More paths to information:
Maryland peeps – you can get an email once a week from our allies at Progressive Maryland with calendar items and activism news by clicking here. You can sample the goods here.
Baltimore comrades, Check in on Max Obuszewski’s highly useful calendar and tip sheet at http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/
To keep up with progressive events in and around DC consult the invaluable calendar at the Washington Peace Center, http://washingtonpeacecenter.org/alerts

Categories: Political Parties

Release: Coalition Urges Gov. Walker to Appoint a People’s Sheriff

Working Families - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 11:12

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Grassroots Coalition Urges Governor Walker to Appoint a Real People’s Sheriff

MILWAUKEE – A coalition of Milwaukee grassroots organizations called the Coalition for a People’s Sheriff released an open letter (available here) Wednesday to Governor Walker outlining the qualities desired in a new Sheriff. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke has said he is leaving his job to work in the Trump Administration, and Walker would appoint a new Sheriff. The letter urges Walker to appoint a Sheriff who will not deportations and the separation of immigrant families, provide for humane treatment of community members in the jail, and collaborate with Milwaukee’s diverse communities to truly work for public safety. Video of the press conference announcing the letter can be seen here.

Signatories to the letter included Voces de la Frontera, Uplifting Black Liberation and Black Communities (UBLAC), Ex-Prisoners Organizing (EXPO), American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, WISDOM, Genderqueer Milwaukee, Working Families Party, Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (WFNHP), Progressive Moms of Milwaukee, Democratic Socialists of America – Milwaukee Chapter, Wisconsin Transgender Health Coalition, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Organizing for Action, the African-American Roundtable, Shorewood Solidarity Network, and State Rep. David Bowen.

“In 2014, my husband was the victim of a robbery,” said Rafaela Flores, a member of Voces de la Frontera. “With Voces’ support we reported this crime, but we know that there are many immigrant families in our community who suffer such crimes but don’t come forward out of fear. We want Walker to appoint who will reject the 287g program that Clarke has embraced. We want Walker to appoint a Sheriff who will not collaborate in deportations and the separation of our families.”

“Sheriff Clarke has provided the county with nothing but deaths and public disgrace,” said Alan Schultz, a board member of Ex-Prisoners Organizing (EXPO). “We are tired of his unacceptable behavior, his vitriolic speeches that suggest outrageous claims like Black Lives Matter is supposedly going to join ISIS and his calls to make his deputies de facto ICE agents with the federal 287g program. We do not need another sadistic Sheriff mismanaging the County Jail, harassing citizens at the parks, and generally fomenting a hostile environment here in Milwaukee County by placing the blame on the citizens alone and not acknowledging factors that contribute to creating crime such as poverty, mental illness, and limited opportunities to truly succeed.”

“We need to have a bold vision of humane, equitable, and constitutional policing in our society,” said Molly Collins, Associate Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin. “A vision where police departments reconceive their role not as warriors who occupy communities but as guardians who are part of communities they safeguard. A sheriff should protect everyone’s civil liberties and safety, and operate as a member of transparent organizations absolutely accountable to the communities they serve.”

“The people of Milwaukee deserve a sheriff who understands healthcare is a human right and actively works to protect that right for the people in the jail,” said Candice Owley, RN, President of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (WFNHP). “The lives lost should have been saved, and our collective demands will ensure that human dignity is preserved.”

“The Wisconsin Working Families Party stands in active solidarity with all Milwaukee people, activists and communities fighting for a just sheriff,” said Rebecca Lynch, Political Director of the Wisconsin Working Families Party. “We need a sheriff who honors, in our parks and freeways, the first amendment and protecting our youth and communities. A sheriff who respects the rights, dignity, humanity, mental health and physical health of the men and women in Milwaukee County jails. We need a new sheriff today who will keep all Milwaukee families safe.”

In support of the letter, a number of coalition partners released organizational statments.

Uplifting Black Liberation and Black Communities (UBLAC): “Our mission is to educate, liberate, and protect Black communities. Liberation is tied to autonomy, independence, and so much more. We hope that the Milwaukee Police Department, and Sherriff Department, will work with us instead of against us on building relationships between us. Our lives are not toys, or a part of video games. Most interactions between POC and the police look like war zones. We need to have alternatives.  We are not here for your amusement. We are here for the future of Black freedom in Milwaukee. That starts with the ones who are supposed to serve and protect us, to recognize our autonomy. This applies to those in public offices, as well. Unapologetically, UBLAC.”

Progressive Moms of Milwaukee: “This letter serves as a first step in the pursuit of a just Sheriff for Milwaukee county. Progressive Moms of Milwaukee is proud to unite with all the organizations involved in the pursuit for a Sheriff of the people.”

###

The post Release: Coalition Urges Gov. Walker to Appoint a People’s Sheriff appeared first on Working Families.

Categories: Political Parties

Boards & Commissions 2017 Leadership Institute

Working Families - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 16:52

Maryland Working Families is pleased to announce we are accepting applications for the Baltimore Boards & Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI). The 6-month program will prepare you to be an effective advocate for your community serving on a board, commission or task force!

CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE THE APPLICAION TODAY

Check out this video by one of our partner-organizations to learn more.

CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE THE APPLICAION TODAY

Be the change you wish to see in the world*

 

Program made possible by the Open Society Foundation

The post Boards & Commissions 2017 Leadership Institute appeared first on Working Families.

Categories: Political Parties

The Washington Socialist Weekly Update for June 9-15

DC DSA - Fri, 06/09/2017 - 21:01
Weekly Update for June 9-15
Updates on convention delegate election at June 11 member meeting; Pride March Sunday morning   
IMPORTANT CORRECTIONS to information in previous Update (May 26) and newsletter (June 1):
>>Metro DCDSA’s delegates to the DSA National Convention will be elected at the
general body meeting this Sunday, June 11th (not 10th).

>>Contrary to a previous statement, delegate nominations can take place up to the beginning of the election process; they were not cut off June 7.

Members have received separate emails about the election process and the general body meeting agenda with the correct information. They are included in full at the bottom of this Update.

Jeremy Corbyn! Just that…

Action item: June 13 the DC Council meets for a second vote on a budget. Among other things, it includes (so far) feasibility study money for a Public Bank, where city funds can be kept as opposed to in commercial banks such as Wells Fargo with unsavory holdings and ties. Several of our committees, including Economic Justice and Climate Change & Environmental Justice, are actively supporting the public bank measure as allies of DC Reinvest. See some details below in the report on the CC&EJ meeting. DCDSA members living in DC are urged to call or contact the councilmembers listed to urge keeping that $200,000 feasibility study allocation in the final budget.
Kenyan McDuffie (Ward 5) 202-724-8028 kmcduffie@dccouncil.us
David Grosso (at large) 202-724-8105 dgrosso@dccouncil.us


COMMITTEE REPORT: The DCDSA Environmental Justice Committee met Sunday, June 4 for an organizing meeting working on several campaigns that committee members are developing.
The group heard intros and quick summaries on the campaigns – watchdogging the developing DC Comprehensive Plan rewrite; allying with DC Reinvest (above) on a DC Public Bank project coupled with disinvestment campaigns from soiled commercial banks; remedying food deserts in impacted neighborhoods by developing food co-ops, and a proposal for an Environmental Community Works Program involving hands-on activism in beautification and cleanup.
The full committee then entered breakout groups.
 
>>The DC comprehensive plan agenda was outlined by DC for Reasonable Development reps and Sierra Club activists who focus on two plan chapters related to housing and the environment. An amendment period until June 23 offers opportunity for some progressive ones  More information on the process is here. There will be a citywide meeting of community groups on June 10th in Anacostia to discuss amendments, Contact David P and Andy F for more information and to get involved.
 
>>The breakout group for reinvestment/public banking agreed to work on ensuring that the public banking feasibility study funding stayed in the DC budget (above) and advocate for removing the city’s roughly $2 billion in Wells Fargo bank, infamous as a financier of pipelines. To participate contact Brian D and Alexander B.
 
>>The food desert breakout affirmed an involvement in a campaign to create and/or support grocery cooperatives. D.C. has a number of food deserts left unfilled by corporate grocers, so supporting grocery co-ops could allow us to put democratic management into practice while helping provide healthy, affordable food options to underserved communities in D.C. Contact Garrett S, Nick A, and Jacci S to get involved
 
>>And DCDSA activist Allen Firouz repped for efforts like park and river cleanups and beautification. Chains such as Ace and Home Depot have said they would donate tools and supplies for free for such projects. If interested in helping organize some great, worthwhile projects and activities across DC, please reach out to Allen F and Brian D.
 
The committee’s next meeting, Sunday, June 25, will be an educational session with presentations on matters of interest. The committee plans to meet twice a month, once to organize work and once to learn more.


 UPCOMING DC DSA EVENTS
(More information is at the individual Meetup links)

Sat Jun 10   DC’s Hidden Radical History: A Walking and Transit Tour. 10 a.m. This event is waitlisted Waitlist

Sun Jun 11  March for Equality 9 a.m. McPherson Square 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC (map)
 Info from longtime member and activist Christine Riddiough: "Mobilizing LGBTQ+ communities, our loved ones and our allies - with particular focus on those who have been actively silenced and neglected - in the fight to affirm and protect our rights, our safety and our full humanity."
The “Equality March for Unity & Pride” is a grassroots movement which will mobilize the diverse LGBTQ+ communities to peacefully and clearly address concerns about the current political landscapes and how it is contributing to the persecution and discrimination of LGBTQ+ individuals.
And note this Statement from the Metro DC DSA Steering Committee on No Justice No Pride

Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America stands in solidarity with No Justice No Pride. We support their resistance to a corporate Capital Pride that excuses the destructive nature of capitalism on queer and trans individuals. We echo their call for a Capital Pride leadership not dominated by cisgender, white, upper-class men, and we stand with them to demand a Capital Pride free of police that put members of the community at risk.
In the spirit of Marsha P. Johnson, Metro DC DSA members will join No Justice No Pride on June 11th to promote the radical Pride that accomplished so much for the LGBTQ+ community. We encourage our members to look for updates on how to get involved.

Sun Jun 11  Metro DC DSA monthly membership meeting 3:30 p.m.  Friends Meeting of Washington 2111 Florida Ave. NW, Washington, DC (map) Dupont Circle metro is closest. More information at Meetup link above; agenda and delegate voting procedures appended to this Update, below.

Tue Jun 13   Health Care Working Group Meeting 6:30 p.m.  Northeast Neighborhood Library 330 7th Street Northeast, Washington, DC (map) We will be planning actions to respond to AHCA, a Health Care Town Hall, and efforts to push for single payer. Learn more

NOTE the June 13 National DSA Webinar, “What is Democratic Socialism” is now sold out.

Wed June 14 DCDSA Steering Committee meets 7 pm to 8:20 at Northeast Library meeting room. SC member Merrill Miller reports that this meeting will “discuss the topic of chapter fundraising [and] is open to all Metro DC DSA members.”  330 7th St NE, Washington, DC 20002.
 
Sat June 17 Economic Justice committee meets from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Lamond Riggs Library, 5401 South Dakota Ave NE, Washington, DC 20011. Open to all. We will debrief on Jobs with Justice training on tactics and how to use them in our working groups' campaigns.
 
Sat Jun 17 Ally Event: SURJ and ONE DC are planning a family-friendly Juneteenth Celebration at Anacostia Park from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 17. Dave Engel reports “This event is a fundraiser for ONE DC's Black Workers Center, a member-led space devoted to building racial and economic justice through popular education, direct action, and worker-owned alternatives. SURJ and ONE DC need volunteers for: Carrying things, setting up tents, grilling, food prep, supply runs, and cleanup. If you are interested, and can devote one or more hours to this on the 17th, contact Volunteer Coordinator Erik at erik.liam.blad@gmail.com.” Questions: contact Erik, or Dave at david.byron.engel@gmail.com
 
 
Sun Jun 18  Socialist Feminism Reading Group 🌹  4 p.m. at the Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery in Chinatown, Washington, DC. 8th and F Streets, NW Washington, D.C., Washington, DC.  Please read our Socialist Reading Groups: Participation Guide and join us as we explore and discuss topics within Socialist Feminism 🌹
 
Tue Jun 20 Grrl's Night  5:30 p.m. Mellow Mushroom, 2436 18th Street Northwest, Washington, DC  Come socialize at DC DSA Grrl's Night! Join other female-identifying and nonbinary comrades for happy hour and dinner. All ages welcome. Learn more
 
 Sun Jun 25  Climate Change & Environmental Justice Committee - Education & Outreach Event     1 p.m.  Petworth Neighborhood Library   4200 Kansas Ave NW, Washington, DC .This is our Committee's monthly education & outreach event, for helping our members explore new environmental issues & socialist ideas in addition to those we may be organizing around at the moment. Agenda is in formation but check the Meetup link for updates.
   
Wed Jun 28  DSA Happy Hour 6:30 p.m. The Big Hunt, 1345 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 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.

INFO FILE: Maryland activist Dr. Margaret Flowers on the genuine surge for Medicare for All here; Recent Sunkara talk at Shorenstein here; copious “Good Reads” in the June newsletter here.
Other paths to info:
Maryland peeps – you can get an email once a week from our allies at Progressive Maryland with calendar items and activism news by clicking here. You can sample the goods here.
Baltimore comrades, Check in on Max Obuszewski’s highly useful calendar and tip sheet at http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/
To keep up with progressive events in and around DC consult the invaluable calendar at the Washington Peace Center, http://washingtonpeacecenter.org/alerts



Metro DC DSA June General Body Meeting Agenda
June 11, 2017


Meeting Chair:Margaret McLaughlin Location:Friends Quaker Meeting Hall
Parliamentarian:Brian Wivell Time:3:30pm - 5:00pm


  1. Organizational Updates (10 min.)
    1. Steering Committee Introductions
    2. E&L transitioning to Operations - Zack Maril
    3. NoVA Proto Branch - James McCormack
    4. Tenants Know-Your-Rights Canvassing - Margaret McLaughlin
    5. Grrl’s Night 6/20 - Jacci Smith
  2. Priorities Discussion (30 min.)

    • Small Group Breakout
      • Discuss national campaigns


  3. Delegate Selection (50 min.)*
    • Slate presentations

    • Ballot Collection
      • Delegates will be announced at a later date
 
Allotted time: 1 hour 30 minutes
 
*PROPOSED DELEGATE ELECTION RULES
Introduction
In preparation for the biennial DSA convention August 3-6 in Chicago, chapters must elect delegates who will represent them in votes on policies and procedures that National DSA will enact for the next two years.  Based on membership size, Metro DC DSA has been allotted 29 delegates and 3 alternates. We, the Steering Committee, propose the following procedural rules for the General Body Meeting (GBM) with the belief that they will ensure delegate selection is both democratic and efficient. If you have questions or comments, please contact a member of steering or email steering@dsadc.org.
 
We propose that delegate selection take place via slates. Slates, in this context, mean an individual OR group of 1-32 member(s) of DC DSA. To keep the election from running too long, there would not be a minimum nor a maximum on slate size. Chapter members may choose to run as a delegate up until voting procedure begins at the GBM on June 11th. While not necessary, it will help us allocate time on the agenda accurately if you could indicate your interest in attending the convention as a delegate here as soon as possible.
 
Delegate Election Working Group (EWG)
Much like the Steering Committee election, a group of DC DSA members will be empowered to act as the authority for running the election once procedure has begun. These individuals will not be able to run as a delegate in order to minimize personal conflicts of interest. In addition to this proposal, the Steering Committee will put forth suggested members at the beginning of voting procedure.
If you are not interested in attending the convention and would like to be a member of the Delegate Election Working Group, please contact a member of steering or email steering@dsadc.org.
 
Formation of Slates
To begin voting procedure, there will be ten minutes of time allocated for members of DC DSA to caucus and determine their slates. Slates will be exclusive, meaning one person can only be on one slate. A member of a slate does not have to physically present during the procedure, but each slate must have at least one representative physically present. If a member of a slate is not present, the representative must have some form of proof that the absent member assents to being part of the slate. After ten minutes, each slate must present a clearly legible list of its members. The EWG will then verify that each proposed slate is composed of members of DC DSA and follows all proposed rules.
 
Voting on Slates
Slates will be allotted 2 minutes each at the GBM to present their platform. Order of presentation will be chosen at random. The order will inform a corresponding slate number to be used in voting.
 
Once slates have presented, the general body membership will cast their ballots. Each member of DC DSA will choose their top five (5) slates on a secret ballot. The EWG will collect and tabulate ballots by ranked choice. Delegates will be chosen from highest-ranked onward and selection will stop when the slots have been filled. In the case that a slate must be split to satisfy the correct number of slots, the EWG will reach out to the slate to determine which slate members will become delegates.
 
 
Announcement of Delegates
At the end of voting procedure, all selected delegates will stand up in front of the membership.
 
Proposed Slates by Steering
The Steering Committee will put forth a slate of women/trans/nonbinary people and minorities to affirm representation of marginalized groups. To ensure agency, anyone on this slate is free to choose to leave and join another slate. The candidates on this slate are:
  • Enrique Calvo
  • Allison Hrabar
  • Judith Nedrow
  • Erin Oakes
  • Christine Riddiough
  • David Shen
  • Natarajan Subramanian
  • Elenore Wade
 
In order to ensure democratic accountability in allocating limited delegate slots, Steering Committee members who have nominated themselves/been nominated will also put themselves forward as a slate for the general membership to approve or reject in favor of other members.  It is not required that the Steering Committee serve as delegates, but historically, most SC members have attended the convention. The candidates on this slate are:

  • Marge McLaughlin
  • Jose Gutierrez
  • Merrill Miller
  • Jessie Mannisto
  • Zack Maril
  • Jacci Smith
 
To reiterate, candidates are opting-in to their own slates except for the non-Steering female/NB/minority and Steering slates, both of which are opt-out.
 
Rules submitted to the general body membership for vote, pass by assent, go from there.
 
Signed,
Metro DC DSA Steering Committee
 




Categories: Political Parties

Pelosi: NY Senate Dems Should “Caucus and Work Together for NY Working Families”

Working Families - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 15:24

NEW YORK, NY – Today, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement urging all New York State Senate Democrats to join the fight for working families:

“Yesterday, I was pleased to join New York Democrats in the ‘New York Fights Back’ rally to protect our health care and advance a progressive economy that works for everyone, everyday, everywhere. Given the high stakes, I join my New York Democratic Congressional colleagues in urging all New York State Senate Democrats join the fight, and caucus and work together for New York’s working families.”

Bill Lipton, New York State Director of the Working Families Party, made the following comments in response:

“We thank Leader Pelosi for adding her voice to the voices of tens of thousands of New Yorkers and a rapidly growing group of state and national leaders who are calling for a progressive majority in the New York State Senate. This momentum will only build. If New York wants to lead the resistance against Trump, it needs to start here and now with the Independent Democratic Conference ending their alliance with Trump Republicans.”

Pelosi joins all 18 Democratic members of Congress representing New York who have called on the members of the Independent Democratic Conference to end their alliance with Republicans as tens of thousands of New Yorkers have taken action over the last two weeks demanding the same.

Other leaders who have joined the call on the IDC to end their alliance with Republicans over the last two weeks include Sen. Kirsten GillibrandNYC Public Advocate Letitia James, DNC Deputy Chair Rep. Keith Ellison, DNC Vice Chair NY Assemblyman Michael Blake, DNC Vice Chair Rep. Grace Meng, National Democratic Redistricting Committee Executive Director Kelly Ward, Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Executive Director Jessica Post, Our Revolution, and MoveOn.org Political Action.

The post Pelosi: NY Senate Dems Should “Caucus and Work Together for NY Working Families” appeared first on Working Families.

Categories: Political Parties

June 13: The Red in the Rainbow: Socialism and Queer Liberation

Seattle ISO - Sat, 06/03/2017 - 18:13

Tuesday, June 13
7:00 p.m.
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105

RSVP on Facebook

Not many know that the radical fight for sexual freedom is deeply rooted in a socialist tradition. Some of the earliest pioneers for gay rights were proclaimed socialists and believed that the fight for queer liberation was a crucial part to building a society free from the policing of sexual freedoms.

Our agenda is different from the modern, “socially progressive” wing of the capitalist class that promotes formal equality within the bounds of a highly unequal society. Queer liberation for socialists is about questioning the fundamental nature of capitalism that is designed to pit us against each other.

In the 1970’s, a newspaper called The Body Politic emerged to become the leading international outlet for gay people to discover and explore the meaning of queer liberation. In an article called Strategy for Gay Liberation, the author highlights that the “aim for gay liberation is to root out the source of our oppressions”.

That is why queer liberation, and the liberation for any oppressed peoples, is at the heart of socialism.

An injury to one, is an injury to all!

Categories: Political Parties

June 6: Marxists and Elections

Seattle ISO - Sat, 06/03/2017 - 18:07

Tuesday, June 6
7:00 p.m.
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105

Our meeting this week will focus on the question of how Marxists should approach electoral politics.  For revolutionaries, there are a number of factors to consider when deciding when and how to participate in electoral politics within the capitalist political system.  For background on this discussion, read the article “Marxists and Elections” by Paul D’Amato from the International Socialist Review.

We will also be discussing our recent endorsement of Nikkita Oliver’s campaign for mayor of Seattle and the upcoming Socialism 2017 conference in Chicago on July 6-9.

Categories: Political Parties

6/3 – Socialist Party Los Angeles Monthly Meeting

SP-USA: California - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 16:46

This is our monthly meeting, held every first Saturday of the month. We talk about current campaigns, actions and events on a both local and national levels. Some political discussion. This is a good meeting to come to if you’re interested in socialism and/or are interested in getting involved in grassroots efforts to effect change from the bottom up.

WHEN
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

WHERE
2617 Hauser Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90016

Open to the public, except racists, fascists, sexists, Islamaphobes, neo-Nazis, the alt-right, provocateurs, moles and other assholes.


Categories: Political Parties

Stand up for the victims of racist hate

International Socialist Organization - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 14:41

In the face of renewed and spreading harassment and violence, the International Socialist Organization appeals in this statement for a large and united resistance against the far right .

WHEN RIGHT-WING thugs feel free to harass and murder, and a leading voice of the U.S. left faces racist death threats, the need for solidarity and activism against the far right could not be more urgent. The ISO appeals to left-wing, labor and anti-racist organizations of all currents to unite and take mass action against this surge of right-wing violence and fascist organization. Only by confronting these elements can we expose their real agenda of oppressing the vulnerable and destroying democracy. They will not go away if we ignore them. On the contrary, they will use every opportunity to advance--which means more racism, more murder, more terror.

Read more

Categories: Political Parties

50 Years of PFP

Peace & Freedom - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 04:00

Posted on June 2, 2017 by the Communications Committee/p>

Click on the image below to download the Adobe Acrobat (pdf) document for printing on 8.5 x 11 (letter) paper. Two half-sheet flyers per page.


50 Years of PFP Flyer



Categories: Political Parties

Welcome to the June 2017 issue of the Washington Socialist

DC DSA - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 14:08
This is the free monthly email newsletter of Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America.
This great new look for the Washington Socialist is thanks to a design working group on the local's Communication Committee.

But one last note -- this new format is so great-looking that some inboxes might want to save some for your dessert. Check the end of the email to see if "this message has been clipped" and if so, click appropriately to see the rest.

SCROLL DOWN to find the list of this month's articles with summaries and links -- handy navigation help.

FOR OPENERS...
Not to make too big a deal of it but information transparency, central to any vision of a socialist society, is undergoing a disappearing act at the federal level similar to the one that typified the Reagan years.
 
It happens on two tracks. First you notice that the government is making less (even less than before!) information available. Next you notice that the government is showing a deep lack of interest in collecting information to impart – or to withhold.
 
Possibly more visible to all of us – because it’s the lifeblood of the media – is the cloaking of existing information, such as the disappearance of certain kinds of discussion from US government websites “for revision.” That was a strategy unavailable even to the Reagan TV wizard Michael Deaver.
 
As the Trump “skinny budget” proposal is analyzed, it’s becoming clear as well that departmental budget cuts are concentrating significantly on areas where information has traditionally been gathered, such as EPA and Labor. That echoes many of the Reagan practices in, for instance, the reign of Interior Department zealot James Watt, who wanted to know zilch about the externalities and all that.
 
There’s a certain symmetry in budget cuts across departments. Areas where cabinet agencies are supposed to monitor violations and punish them are ratcheted down on both sides – collection of information that indicates violations, and funding of staff levels for inspectors who would also be enforcers. As the cuts shake down in Labor, we should watch for an overall decline in OSHA impact on both those fronts, for instance.
 
That of course is if the budget plan is sustained as proposed, which fortunately appears unlikely. But the trend is pretty alarming to anyone who sees open information – and its uniform collection across states and locality – as a critical element of democracy, capitalist or not. Certainly exposing the cloaking or dissimulation of information about our economic arrangements is one of the most labor-intensive elements of bringing our socialism to a wider society.
 
Ronald Reagan’s cabinet-level assembly of business titans like Cap Weinberger and William French Smith was echoed in the mid-level agency appointees, and all of them embraced the gospel that the “perfect information” of the business-school case study was for us insiders alone, not for the consumers (or voters) we want to fleece. Reagan’s agencies famously ended many research programs and routine information activities that provided the ground for understanding the country and its peoples that they were supposed to govern.
 
That appears to be an historical avatar of the Trump ascendancy. “Before Trump, Ronald Reagan set the mark for bringing the most career businesspeople into the Cabinet. Four of Reagan’s initial 13 department heads in his first term were corporate executives,” notes the Pew Research Center. And ominously, both the Trump and Reagan regimes excused some of the information shutdown on the grounds that too much proprietary corporate information was being laid before the public.

The Memory Hole that all undemocratic regimes hope to nurture in a compliant people starts with losing an understanding of the society in which you live. Gathering and sharing information about the society keeps the Memory Hole at bay; cloaking both the gathering and the sharing brings the Orwell metaphor into the everyday.
 
The outrages that affect people immediately, and send us into the street, are critical moments for resistance and our socialist response corresponds importantly to the impulses of a wider civil-society pushback. But like refashioning the judiciary, demolition of the information base of governance cripples the options and opportunities for whatever improvements we can bring after Trump, however long his moment lasts.
-- Woody Woodruff
 
SHORT TAKES
 
 
CONVENTION WARMUP… Our delegate call for this summer's DSA convention is getting plenty of responses. If you want to propose yourself for the delegate election, go here.The election is June 10 and cutoff date for self-nominations is June 7.

 
Statement from the Metro DC DSA Steering Committee on No Justice No Pride

Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America stands in solidarity with No Justice No Pride. We support their resistance to a corporate Capital Pride that excuses the destructive nature of capitalism on queer and trans individuals. We echo their call for a Capital Pride leadership not dominated by cisgender, white, upper-class men, and we stand with them to demand a Capital Pride free of police that put members of the community at risk. 

In the spirit of Marsha P. Johnson, Metro DC DSA members will join No Justice No Pride on June 11th to promote the radical Pride that accomplished so much for the LGBTQ+ community. We encourage our members to look for updates on to get involved.

Help DC DSA publish a socialist ‘zine by providing your content! Our theme is "A Socialist DC." Short for "magazine," zines are a fun, engaging way to bring our ideas to new audiences. The Omaha DSA chapter recently published a zine, "Building a Socialist Future", to great acclaim. The DC DSA Communications Committee is organizing the publication of our very own single-issue zine to distribute at the upcoming DC Zinefest and beyond to promote our vision of a fair, thriving, and Socialist DC.

If you want to submit fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comics/visual art, or anything else for the zine, please send your pitch here by June 6th. If you have any questions about the zine, feel free to reach out to Hallie, halliejay@gmail.com

 
 
UPDATE ON DC BUDGET (from Enrique Calvo Tuesday night, May 30) “ ‘Full funding for Paid Family Leave is in the DC budget, and it passed through the first budget vote today in the DC Council! There will be a second vote in two weeks, and after that the mayor will approve/veto the entire budget. In each of these subsequent steps, it becomes less and less likely that the money is under threat.’ – Alli McCracken, DC Paid Family Leave ”
She goes on to say that there is still a ‘huge risk’ that the Paid Family Leave law will be repealed and replaced, but so far it's good news!”

 ON THE METRO DC DSA CALENDAR FOR JUNE
(get updates at our Meetup page-- links here-- and watch for the Washington Socialist Weekly Updates, in your inbox June 9, 16 and 23).
 

Sat June 3 Racial Justice & Anti-Bigotry Committee    1:30 p.m.  Southwest Neighborhood Library, 900 Wesley Place SW, Washington, DC We will be going over our big new canvassing push for tenants' rights as well as planning future events.

Sunday, June 4 ROUND 2: Anti-Eviction Canvassing presented by Racial Justice and Anti-Bigotry Committee 3 p.m. – 6 at the We Work Wonder Bread Factory 641 S Street NW DC 20001  more here 
 
Sun Jun 4  Climate Change & Environmental Justice Committee-Organizing Meeting 1 p.m. Southwest Library 900 Wesley Place SW, Washington D.C., DC This meeting will focus only on organizing campaigns our committee is looking into or undertaking. 

Sun June 4 Socialist Book Group Discussion 3 p.m. National Portrait Gallery Kogod Courtyard 8th St NW & F St NW, Washington, DC (map) A discussion of On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Alice Goffman

 
TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES
Tuesday, June 6 We are excited to extend an invitation to a really great training hosted by DC Jobs With Justice, ATU Local 689, DC Democratic Socialists of America, Metro Washington Council, AFL-CIO, and the Washington Teachers Union.
Building Tactics for a Successful Campaign,  5:30 - 8:30 p.m. AFL-CIO Gompers Room (815 16th St NW)  Food provided; need ID to enter the building -- RSVP HERE REQUIRED or email info@dcjwj.org to register  Do you need to put pressure on someone who can give you what you want? Is your organization up against a CEO or corporation that is putting profit OVER people? Are you tired of rallying and are you looking for new fun tactics you can do? This training is for you! During this training, our experienced trainers will review: - how to plan creative tactics in service of a campaign goal - how to define a demand for a campaign - how to think about primary and secondary targets -- Taking action is the lifeblood of good organizing. This training will help you and your members build skills on how to take action toward campaign victories. We encourage groups of people who are working together to attend, so that they can strategize about their campaign in a small group setting. 
RSVP for the training here

Saturday June 10 Metro DC DSA Organizing Workshop 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Want to build power? Want to organize? Then this is the workshop for you! Have you wanted to do organizing for DSA but haven't known where to start? We'll talk about the "organizing attitude" and the basics of an organizing conversation. We'll put those organizing tips to work and practice organizing conversations together. For now they will be small sessions of no more than 10 people but they will be reoccurring and frequent, so if you can't make this one, hope to see you at the next. These workshops will be good preparation for recruitment campaigns that are in development. 
Email Austin.Drake.Kendall@gmail.com to sign up. Prep material and location will be in reply.

Sat Jun 10  DC’s Hidden Radical History: A Walking and Transit Tour. 10 a.m. Waitlist
Connecticut Ave & Dupont Circle 19th Street Northwest, Washington, DC (map)
DC’s Hidden Radical History: A Walking and Transit Tour. Join longtime DC DSA member Bill Mosley for a three-hour tour of the District’s little-known places of radical significance and monuments to the history of progressive movements. Learn more
 
Sun Jun 11  Metro DC DSA monthly membership meeting 3:30 p.m.  Friends Meeting of Washington 2111 Florida Ave. NW, Washington, DC (map) RSVP  The Agenda will be set the week before the meeting. Dupont Circle Metro is the closest metro station. Learn more
 
Tues June 13 National DSA Webinar “What is Democratic Socialism” with Bill Barclay, 9:30 p.m. ET, more here.
 
Sun Jun 18  Socialist Feminism Reading Group 4:00 p.m. RSVP   at the Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery in Chinatown, 8th and F Streets, NW Washington, D.C., (map) Join us as we explore and discuss topics within Socialist Feminism   
Tue Jun 20  Grrl's Night 5:30 p.m. RSVP it’s at the Mellow Mushroom 2436 18th Street Northwest, Washington, DC (map) Come socialize at DC DSA Grrl's Night! Join other female-identifying and nonbinary comrades for happy hour and dinner. All ages welcome. Learn more
 
Sun Jun 25  Climate Change & Environmental Justice Committee - Education & Outreach Event
1 p.m. RSVP   Petworth Neighborhood Library 4200 Kansas Ave Nw, Washington, DC (map)
 
For more info on allied events consult the invaluable Peace Center Activist Alert Calendar http://washingtonpeacecenter.org/alerts
 
 
VIEW ALL UPCOMING METRO DC DSA EVENTS
ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE: lots of Maryland items, as it happens. DC and Nova, represent!….
 
 
The Communication Workers of America struck AT&T Mobile for three days in May, pushing back against an unwillingness to bargain on replacing an expired contract. John Grill details DCDSA’s support action of the CWA strike. Read complete article
 
DCDSA’s participation in the People’s Climate March April 29 was marked the previous night by a successful panel discussion on radical approaches to the politics of climate change response. Andy Feeney outlines the event (this article appeared first in the Weekly Update for May 12-18). Read complete article
 
Voices from Maryland: Progressive Maryland ally Dylan Shelton examines the degree to which campaign finance reform can fuel progressive change. Not without fighting on other fronts too, is his assessment. Read complete article
 
International Reach: DCDSA launched a discussion May 24 of our national organization’s connections with the Socialist International (SI) and whether or how to maintain them. There will be a vote on this at the summer’s DSA convention. Andy Feeney provides an account.  Read complete article
 
International Reach II: DCDSA member Enrique Calvo outlines his arguments for supporting, and maintaining a presence in, the Socialist International. Read complete article
 
A racist memorial persists outside RFK Stadium, more debris of the NFL team that shall not be named in this publication. Bill Mosley describes steps being taken to make sure the statue of team founder George Preston Marshall vanishes with the stadium’s probable demolition. Read complete article
 
Maryland Voices II: Rep. Anthony Brown replaces the popular and progressive Donna Edwards in Maryland’s District 4. A visit by activists finds he checks some progressive boxes but there are other areas where he needs pushing. Kurt Stand, one of the visitors, has a report. Read complete article
 
 
 DCDSA Committee Reports: Sam Knight and Lynne Williamson have collected reports on our committees’ activities in the last month. Read complete article
 
Maryland Voices III: Larry Stafford, Progressive Maryland executive director (and DSA member) outlines his proposal for a Progressive Caucus that does electoral work both inside and outside party structures – and why the Democratic Party’s current deficits require this. Read complete article
 
And More Maryland: After five years of activists’ struggle a paid sick leave bill passes the state General Assembly with a veto-proof majority – but GOP Gov. Larry Hogan vetoes it anyway, delaying the inevitable override to next January. Woody Woodruff suggests this could backfire on the Guv and his 2018 election hopes. Read complete article
 
Books: Michael Bindner reviews Jonathan Smucker’s Hegemony How-to, a recent read by the DCDSA Socialist Book Group, with illustrations from local activism past. Read complete article
 
Good Reads for June are last but never least; recent online articles of a radical tenor that you may have missed first time around. Read complete article
 
 
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Categories: Political Parties

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