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 Labor Day 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.]
- We also endorsed the Language Access Amendments Campaign of Many Languages / One Voice (MLOV)
- 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.
E. Vannessa Assae-Bille
Alexander Alberto Jiron
GOOD READS: Here’s a permanent good read… IPS’s regular “Inequality” newsletter curated by Chuck Collins; 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.” Questions: contact Erik, or Dave at email@example.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