Anyone who cares about justice and peace needs to mobilize against the U.S. government's new escalation of the bloodshed and repression in the Middle East. Below is a special editorial (PDF) by Socialist Worker—the newspaper of the International Socialist Organization—condemning Trump’s cruise missile attack on Syria and calling for resistance to his escalation of the U.S. war in Syria.April 8, 2017
The Trump administration's April 7 missile strike targeting the Shayrat Syrian Arab Air Force base in Syria is a frightening escalation of a six-year-old conflict that has already had catastrophic consequences for the Syrian people.
Trump said the decision to launch 59 Tomahawk Cruise missiles was in retaliation for the April 4 Sarin gas attack in Idlib province, carried out by the Bashar al-Assad regime, that killed scores of civilians and left hundreds sickened. "I will tell you that attack on children had a big impact on me," Trump said. "My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much."
But this claimed concern about civilian casualties is nothing but rank hypocrisy coming from Trump.Read more
FOR APRIL 8, 2017
As socialists, we've been known to use the term "crisis" a lot, usually in connection with the crisis of capitalism. That's still a thing, but it's the crisis inside the crisis -- Donald Trump's regime -- that leads us to move beyond the monthly frequency of the Washington Socialist to add these weekly updates. We include both calendar items and timely articles, as you see.
This weekend (April 8-9) satisfyingly grubby action by the (Anacostia) riverside, and a town hall that examines capitalism's central role in oppressing vulnerable groups in "Connecting Race and the Socialist Resistance." Sunday, Metro DC DSA's monthly membership meeting, amping up for the struggle. Here are details:
Today, Saturday 4/8
9:00am - 11:00am
Potomac River Cleanup
DSA members will meet to dispose of trash alongside the Potomac River near the Washington Canoe Club in Georgetown before heading to the Racial Justice Town Hall (12:00pm)
Washington Canoe Club
3700 Water St NW, Washington, DC 20007
12:00pm - 5:00pm
Town Hall: Connecting Race & the Socialist Resistance
Join DSA for a range of speakers, workshops and more to highlight the connections between attacks on vulnerable communities and capitalism. It's going to be a big event for members and non-members alike, so please bring friends!
Communications Workers of America
501 3rd St NW, Washington, DC
3:30pm - 5:00pm
DC DSA April General Membership Meeting
Metro DC DSA will conduct its monthly general meeting, which will include a floor vote to set rules and conditions for the Steering Committee vote, scheduled for the next general meeting (now May 7). Please be sure your national DSA membership is current and be able to provide some verification of membership to vote! (If you are not found on the member list your membership card or an members email from DSA will serve, or else two documented members may vouch for you.)
Friends Meeting of Washington
2111 Florida Ave NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20008
Activity update: Leo Gertner reports on the latest meeting of the Jobs with Justice Steering Committee, on which Metro DC DSA is represented. Organizations from many parts of the struggle converge on this committee for mutual information, support and decision-making. Read the complete article here.
By Leo Gertner
[filed 4/1/2017] On the first of March, the DC Jobs with Justice Steering Committee met at SEIU Local 32BJ’s offices on Vermont Avenue to take up new business, re-double its commitment to local fights, and welcome a new member to the coalition. Brian Wivell and Leo Gertner attended as Metro DC DSA representatives. Our chapter is one among nearly fifty leading local organizations that belong to the Committee, which has led the fight against social and economic injustice in the region.
The Committee took several important votes. Max Toth, a long-time organizer, most recently with Working America, was elected a treasurer to the DC JwJ Executive Board. The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) was welcomed as a new member of the Steering Committee with broad support. It hopes to start a campaign to tax polluters to create a universal basic income. The Committee voted to endorse the National Reentry Network for Returning Citizens’ proposal to the fight to fund the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results (NEAR) Act, which embraces a public health approach to violence and builds on Black Lives Matter proposals.
Elizabeth Falcon, DC JwJ’s executive director, led discussion on its new Solidarity Squad, a rapid response organizing program designed to engage people who want to participate in the local resistance against Trump. DSA was singled out as a group that could offer advice on how to best harness energy built around resisting the current administration. DSA is welcome to propose events or actions to be sent out weekly by the Solidarity Squad by emailing email@example.com by Monday at 8:30 a.m.
UNITE HERE Local 25 then discussed its support of a bill councilmember Kenyan McDuffie introduced in January to limit the power of commercial AirBnB operators, who have seized up to 40 percent of the AirBnB market, transforming scarce affordable housing into short-term rentals. The committee finally discussed the continuing Paid Family Leave fight as councilmembers backpedal on their earlier commitment. A final vote is expected after the June budget.
Numerous organizations also provided updates on campaigns, several of which Metro DC DSA has supported: ROC spoke about its tipped minimum wage campaign; SEIU Local 500 reported on organizing drives at American University, George Washington, and Howard; National Nurses Union talked about mobilizing around the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; ATU discussed the WMATA budget; CWA offered an update on the AT&T Mobility contract fight, and MLOV reported on its sanctuary cities organizing.
The Steering Committee's next meeting will be in June.
Video of the first panel from the Seattle Socialism Conference, titled “Building the Socialist Movement in the Age of Trump.”
Credit: Mike McCormick
Video of the first panel from the Seattle Socialism Conference, titled “Making Seattle a Center of Resistance.”
Credit: Mike McCormick
“Obamacare is the law of the land. We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.” –House Speaker Paul Ryan
On Friday March 24, 2017, the resistance movement enjoyed another major win against the Trump administration by saving the Affordable Care Act (ACA). After 7 years of vowing to repeal the ACA and promising to introduce their own plan, Congressional Republicans failed on those promises. The American Health Care Act (Trumpcare) that the GOP put on the table as the repeal and replace option to the ACA failed to get enough support. After the House delayed a vote on Thursday March 23, Trump demanded a vote, giving the ultimatum that if they did not vote, that this would be their last chance to repeal the ACA and that he would leave it in place. The threats were unsuccessful. Criticized as too lenient by the far-right Tea Party Freedom Caucus while being deemed too radical by moderate Republicans who feared repercussions at the ballot box, the bill was pulled because they could not muster up enough votes to pass it.
Public pressure on Members of Congress has been key in this victory. New Jersey Working Families Alliance, in coalition with Citizens Action and other groups, held health care “stakeouts” at the offices of the state’s congressional delegation to protest Trumpcare. They even delivered an ACA birthday cake to Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen who seemed to have trouble deciding his position on the American Health Care Act.
— NJ Working Families (@NJWFA) March 24, 2017
Working Families Party Communications Director Joe Dinkin made the following statement in response to the failure of Trumpcare to receive a vote in the House today:
“The defeat of Trumpcare is a victory for millions of Americans who will keep their health care, and also for a massive resistance movement that would not give an inch to Trump. The far right will no doubt try this again, and we will organize against and defeat every single attempt to strip away health care.
“Trump promised he would make healthcare better and cheaper, but it was a massive con from the start. Trumpcare was a naked attempt to siphon billions of dollars into the pockets of the richest, paid for by stealing health care away from 24 million Americans. That’s why today’s vote fell apart.
“The American people do indeed deserve a better and more affordable health care system, and progressives have a real solution to offer: a Medicare for all system to guarantee affordable health care for every single person.”
Since Election Day, the Working Families Party has mobilized grassroots resistance to Trump with its #ResistTrumpTuesdays campaign. Tens of thousands of people have participated in more than 750 #ResistTrumpTuesdays protests at congressional offices, which are “quickly becoming a staple of this charged moment,” according to CNN. With our persistence and diligence, we look forward to continued success in stopping Trump’s agenda.
Our thanks and congratulations go out to everyone who has taken action in the resistance movement.
We are excited to announce that Yes We Can Columbus (YWCC) is now an affiliate of the Working Families Party. The Ohio based group is a progressive organization that is focused on moving their local government to equalize opportunities for all citizens in an effort to combat income and educational inequalities among the various neighborhoods of Columbus. Recognizing the worth of all of the city’s communities, their mission statement is one of inclusion, fairness, and opportunity — with working families at the forefront of their vision.
YWCC shares the core values of the Working Families Party. We believe that the government works for and is accountable to everyone despite our disparities, and work to insure that everyone is treated fairly and equitably based on our mutual connection as Americans. In an article from the Columbus Dispatch, YWCC spokeswoman, Madeline Stocker, states “joining WFP means we’re part of a bigger movement of progressives all around the nation who are ready to take the electoral process into our own hands and transform the nation, city by city, town by town, so that our economy and our democracy really work for all working families.”
The Working Families Party will support YWCC by backing Working Families Democrats who will advance our values and challenge corporate Democrats in primaries. Currently, YWCC is endorsing three progressive Democrats in their upcoming May 2 primary: Abby Vaile for the Columbus City Schools Board of Education and Will Petrik and Jasmine Ayres for the Columbus City Council. All three are working to rectify income inequality and its manifestations.
We welcome YWCC in becoming an affiliate of the Working Families Party to promote a progressive agenda across the nation.
The post Yes We Can Columbus joins the Working Families Party appeared first on Working Families.
Tuesday, April 11
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105
America is the world’s reigning imperialist power – constantly invading and attacking other countries for economic gain but in the guise of “freedom” and other humanitarian reasons. In 2016, America’s military budget was by far the greatest, exceeding the combined budgets of the next ten largest military budgets in the world.
Trump, despite his economically nationalist attitude, now wants to increase the military budget by 10% and extend America’s Imperial legacy.
Sit in and learn more about modern imperialism in the age of Trump.
Talk by: Phil Gasper
Professor in Philosphy and editor of The Communist Manifesto: A Road Map to History’s Most Important Political Document (Haymarket Books)
Tuesday, April 4
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 some background on Seattle city politics and Nikkita Oliver’s campaign for mayor of Seattle. We’ll also have breakouts into working groups to organize different aspects of our local work.
Join us every week for a conversation about current events, history, and theory. Fueled by coffee!
Every Saturday at 2-3pm
Memorial Union on UW Campus800 Langdon St, Madison, Wisconsin 53706
Welcome to the April 2017 issue of the Washington Socialist, monthly email newsletter of Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America.
April 1 has always been a potential stumble for this newsletter, which has tried to walk the line between acknowledging the existence of All Fool’s Day and insisting that we won’t be frivolous about our socialism on that account and that if there are any fools out there we are not among them.
Well, good luck. We are living in this world, after all, even as we struggle for the one we want.
Tempting to say that Trumpland offers special instances of the All Fools definition, but we need to qualify that. All Fools Day is one of the traditional festivals when oppressed peoples could slyly overturn the standard hierarchy and be ruled by disruptive underlings for a day, under the very noses of the elites who are in charge the other 364 days (unless folks can invent more festivals). The Silly Season ruled, one of the "weapons of the weak.".
And where are we today? Trump the Lord of Misrule is inverting the inversion and providing a clownish but always-moving target for media scrutiny – creating a thick fog over the substantive and very damaging practices of his administration. Give him credit: he's no sort of governance talent but a hell of a showrunner.
As March in Trumpland staggered to a close, the House and White House together collaborated on a gigantic, in-front-of-everybody fail and, as Paul Ryan ruefully acknowledged, “The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land.” Incompetence was on display for all to see. Democrats more or less successfully shelved their gloat mode and got to work; Bernie Sanders on the Senate’s first day back at work filed a “Medicare for All” bill that presumably will be an apt counterpart to Rep. John Conyers’s HR676 “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act,” already boasting 72 sponsors before the Trump/Ryan train wreck (now up to 80).Here is National DSA’s pre-debacle statement on the path ahead which is suddenly looking more promising. But...
But who’s looking? As long as Trump and his enablers can pull Deven Nunes’s strings and dance around the Russia inquiry – serious as it is -- the significant cracks in the GOP’s aura of three-branch invincibility will be hard to see and harder to exploit. The Showrunner-in-chief will continue to dodge the penalties he should be paying for the biggest conservative sin of all – being bad, inept, at wielding conservative power.
It's a fight against distraction. So education, even paddling upstream as we must, has to be part of our task. And that brings us to this issue of the newsletter, which has that purpose. Again, welcome.
DSA MEETINGS AND EVENTS IN APRIL
Check our Meetup page for updates and changes. Coming soon: an emailed update between issues.
Saturday, April 1 4:30-6 p.m. The Racial Justice and Anti-Bigotry Committee meets TODAY at the IPS office, 1301 Connecticut Ave.
Sunday Apr 2 DCDSA Electoral Committee meets, 3 p.m. at IPS, 1301 Connecticut Ave. NW. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are coming. Agenda is here.
Sunday Apr 2 Intro to DSA: Socialism 101 6:30 PM RSVP Arlington Central Library Auditorium 1015 North Quincy Street, Arlington, VA (map) Are you new to our group and wondering just what the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is all about?
Tuesday, April 4, Economic Justice Committee 6 to 7:30 p.m. at 1616 P Street NW, Suite 150, updates from working groups on AT&T Solidarity, Fight for $15/One Fair Wage, Defending Federal Workers and Contractors, Housing Justice, and Healthcare for All. Plus: What must be done to "de-dude" socialism and economic justice.
Saturday, April 8 Town Hall: Connecting Race and the Socialist Resistance noon to 5 p.m. at CWA, 501 3rd St. NW.
Sunday, April 9 3:30 p.m. Metro DC DSA Membership Meeting at Friends Meeting, 2111 Florida Ave. NW
Thursday, April 20 Socialist Salon at 6:30 p.m., location tbd – topic is Public Banking and Transformational Economics.
Wednesday, Apr 26 DSA Happy Hour 6:30 p. m. at The Big Hunt, 1345 Connecticut Ave. 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
Friday, April 28, Building the Green Economy: Panel 7 p.m. at Friends Meeting of Washington
2111 Florida Ave. NW Washington, DC Metro DC DSA presents a panel discussion on the intersections of economic and environmental justice. Is a meaningful reduction in carbon emissions possible under capitalism?
Saturday, April 29 People's Climate March 11 a.m. Both national DSA and our local Metro DC chapter have endorsed the People's Climate March (PCM) scheduled to take place here in DC -- and at many other locations around the country.
Sunday, April 30 Socialist Book Group Discussion 3 p.m. National Portrait Gallery Kogod Courtyard 8th St NW & F St NW, Washington, DC (map) Join us for a discussion of Evicted: Poverty and Property in the American City by Matthew Desmond.
Saturday, April 8 National Day of Actions on Improved Medicare for All National DSA has endorsed this action; the link includes more info plus local actions around the country.
Sunday, April 23 – Tuesday, April 25, 2017 People’s Action Founding Convention Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street NW Registration opens at 1 pm and program begins at 6 pm on Sunday, April 23rd; last activity ends at 5 pm on Tuesday April 25th on Capitol Hill. Progressive Maryland's national affiliate.
IN THIS ISSUE:
<>Doing Our Socialism
Organizational Observations – Eric Sommers likens a recent DSA membership meeting to a more familiar sort of get-together and finds it a good model.
Gareth Sparks recounts the March Socialist-Feminist Salon and the intersectional context.
Glen Pine suggests we take a close look at how our Working Groups and committees are designed to make sure they don’t pull us away from central socialist analysis.
<>The Struggle Now
Universal Basic Income, a frequent topic in this newsletter recently, gets a different take from Lucy Duff.
Information and capitalism are oil and water, and governments go to some length to keep public information from the public, as Woody Woodruff describes.
Austin Kendall suggests having an actual capitalist as president may wake people up to the way government serves the needs of capital in Trump: A Capitalist Unmasks the Capitalist Bias of US Governance
<>In Our Backyard
As RFK Stadium ages out of use and becomes a classic tear-down, DC, MD Opponents of Public Stadium Financing Play Offense in Bill Mosley’s narrative.
Our comrade Carl Goldman’s award as Trade Unionist of the Year from the Metropolitan Council AFL-CIO celebrates a life of fighting the good fight.
As our committees continue to be the leading edge of our local’s activism, Sam Knight keeps us updated with committee reports.
The shadow of the 2018 election hangs over Maryland Politics as the Assembly battles the governor while the legislative session winds down. Woody Woodruff reports.
Our Climate Change and Environmental Justice committee is ramping up for the April 29 People’s Climate March ; Lucy Duff provides details.
Microgrids detached from the main public power grid are showing promise as alternatives to traditional energy use, Dan Adkins reports.
<>Books, Culture, etc.
Kurt Stand recounts the recent presentation We Were There: chronicling women of radical courage.
Timothy Snyder’s book On Tyranny provides a Handbook for the Anti-Trump Resistance. Bill Mosley reviews it.
Another book full of advice for radicals, Smucker’s Hegemony How-to, is reviewed by Lynne Williamson.
Cecilio Morales surveys two very different books on the Perils of Automation and the remedies for an increasingly jobless future.
Good Reads for Socialists rounds up online articles you might have missed.
You can be writing in the Washington Socialist. In fact, there are very few reasons why you should not be writing in the Washington Socialist -- and access is not among them. Find out more about the Washington Socialist and how you can take part as writer, editor or designer here.
You can read these as well as past articles in the Washington Socialist on our website where they are archived, dsadc.org
By Jared Abbott
Thanks to Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign and Donald Trump’s election as president, DSA’s membership has nearly tripled over the past year. Sanders brought the “S” word out of the closet, and Trump sent thousands of people in search of an effective organization both to fight the right and to push forward with Sanders’s political revolution.
By Duane Campbell
Over 1,500 marchers from around California descended on the Capitol on Wednesday March 15, to support the passage of SB 54: The California Values Act, which would significantly prohibit local law enforcement from coordination with federal immigration agents. While many cities, counties, school districts and universities have sanctuary policies, this bill would make such policies state law and shield many immigrants from mass deportation efforts of the federal authorities. The bill is strongly opposed by the Association of County Sheriffs who manage county jails and receive federal funds for their cooperation.
Democratic Socialists of America’s National Political Committee’s Statement and Fact Sheet on TrumpCare, the House Republican Plan to “Repeal and Replace” the Affordable Care Act
March 15, 2017
For democratic socialists, the most reprehensible aspect of the House Reconciliation Budget Bill to “Repeal and Replace” the Affordable Care Act is that it will gut Medicaid coverage and severely weaken Medicare’s viability as a single-payer system for the elderly and disabled. The bill does so in order to provide a major tax cut for the wealthy, equal to $650 billion over ten years. The bill would lead over 24 million individuals to lose health insurance coverage (according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office or CBO). The bill attacks the single-payer aspects of the U.S. health system (Medicaid and Medicare) in which the government as the sole insurer has the bargaining potential to curtail healthcare costs forced on us by private hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.