Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America

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Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America is the District of Columbia affiliate of Democratic Socialists of America.

MDC DSA Solidarity PAC is a "Maryland-registered, grassroots political action committee affiliated with the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America."[1]

Convicted East German spy Kurt Stand is active in the leadership of the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission takeover?

Socialist candidates appeared on the 2018 ballots for Advisory Neighborhood Commission seats in five of the District of Columbia’s eight wards. It’s the largest election push by the Democratic Socialists of America in any city in the country.

“For me, socialism is someone who doesn’t want to be controlled by politics or the typical political standards,” said Jewel Stroman, a candidate running for an ANC seat in Southeast Washington. “Socialists just think that the people should run the system, that the people should have a bigger voice. And I agree; we should have the biggest voice in these decisions that are made about our lives.”

Jewel Stroman, candidate for a Ward 7 Advisory Neighborhood Commission seat, talks with fellow Democratic Socialists of America members Justin McCarthy and Kim Lehmkuhl after participating in a candidates’ forum at the DC Dream Center.

The DSA — an organization that has endorsed candidates such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old who unseated New York’s top Democratic congressional incumbent and is poised to win on Tuesday — is supporting 11 ANC candidates in the District. There are 296 commissioners serving on 40 ANCs.

It’s the largest electoral effort the DSA has spearheaded in the District and the beginning of bigger things to come, organizers said.

“Two years from now, we’re going to run a whole lot more people,” said Matthew Sampson, 27, a DSA organizer and graduate student at Georgetown University running unopposed for an ANC seat representing the Dupont Circle neighborhood. “We want to show our neighbors that socialists are not people to be afraid of. We’re people who want to push for change from the bottom up instead of the top down.”

Focusing on ANC races instead of backing a D.C. Council candidate will put candidates closer to the issues facing communities, officials said. Organizers said it could be a precursor to having a socialist candidate run for higher city office.

DSA candidates are running for seats in Northwest, Northeast and Southeast Washington. ANC members, who serve two-year terms without pay, are nonpartisan elected representatives who advise District government leaders.

On the campaign trail in the District, ANC candidates said they’ve gotten a largely positive reaction.

“I think a lot of people are feeling like they don’t have a voice in politics or a seat at the table,” Stroman said. “Especially with the president and what he’s said and done, I think people just want to take their government back, and they want to have a say-so in what’s going on. That’s why I think all this new energy is there around socialism.”

Other residents don’t know what it means to identify as a socialist, candidates said. Socialism is predicated on the idea that wealth, goods and services should be shared by the community as a collective.

“People are so used to the liberal-conservative thing that I think most people, when they hear my platform, just assume I’m a liberal,” said Sampson, running on a platform of more walkable and bike-friendly communities, fighting gentrification and distributing resources from wealthier wards to poorer areas. “When I say, ‘Well, actually, I’m a socialist,’ usually they’re just surprised. Like, ‘Oh, wow. Okay. Cool.’ ”

Incumbent Beau Finley, a Cleveland Park resident endorsed by the DSA who is running for reelection to the ANC, said neighborhood issues aren’t always as politicized as national ones.

“When I’m going door to door, people are really asking questions like, ‘What are you doing about the pothole on my street?’ ” he said. “And there really isn’t a [socialist] specific answer to that question.”

Finley’s other platforms are more informed by his politics, such as affordable housing and construction of a short-term housing facility for families in crisis.

Stroman is also running on housing issues — with a unique perspective: She once was homeless herself.

Sampson said the diversity of the DSA’s field — LGBT candidates, candidates of color and people from various socioeconomic backgrounds — is its biggest strength.

“Our current political parties don’t address the realities in our local neighborhoods and communities,” he said. “They treat people like resources and wallets rather than constituents. The ANC campaign is part of our movement to challenge that and push back on that thinking. We’re going to change the way D.C. politics is done.”[2]

Abolish ICE Protests covered by Media Matters

Media Matters interviews socialists who want to abolish ICE

In August 2018, Media Matters covered Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America-led protests against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) field office for the D.C. area, located in Fairfax, VA. Six members were arrested. Interviewees included Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America members Matt Shields (arrested), Irene Koo (arrested), Jesse Rabinowitz (arrested), Hailey Huget (arrested), Deidre Nelms (arrested), Austin Kendall, Jace Smith (arrested), and Arjun Comar.

Protesting at people's private homes

In June 2018, Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America members protested "outside the homes of those they saw as profiting off of the unjust detention of immigrants."[3]

"Austin Kendall was one of the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America members who gathered to jeer [Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen] Nielsen on Tuesday. He told me over the phone that it was a spontaneous action thrown together quickly over a group text he and fellow activists use for rapid organizing, but his DSA chapter has organized several similar protests against individuals far more deliberately, even if they didn’t make the national news. These protests, all of which happened this year, he said, consisted of more than 60 people gathering outside the homes of those they saw as profiting off of the unjust detention of immigrants."
“The idea is to expose to their neighbors the sort of person that they are,” said Austin Kendall. “We think the neighbors don’t always realize these are people who make a profit off of destroying immigrants’ lives.”

DC Metro DSA Endorsements

Washington DC, January 14, 2018. A packed house of over 100 DMV democracy activists affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America assembled at the historic Friend's Meeting House on Florida Avenue to vote on endorsements of Brandy Brooks, Danielle Meitiv and Chris Wilhelm for Montgomery County Council At Large seats as well as for Marc Elrich for County Executive.

The affirmative votes were nearly unanimous. Debate before the vote was spirited but civilized and very fairly managed by DSA leadership. Two Thumbs Up to all who participated. This is the way we keep our democratic institutions functioning when our national government has been hijacked by anti-democratic forces.[4]

"We're socialist organizers"

"We're socialist organizers"

On June 20, 2018, the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America tweeted[5] "We're not 'liberals,' not vague 'activists.' We're socialist organizers."

Tweets address of the DHS secretary at dinner

Tweet Doxxing DHS Secretary

On June 19 2018, Margaret McLaughlin tweeted the address of DHS secretary, prompting fellow comrades to come troll her at dinner. Other DSA members included Allison Hrabar and Jesse Rabinowitz as reported at the Daily Beast[6] in an article titled "DSA Says They’re Coming After More Trump Officials After Ruining Kirstjen Nielsen's Dinner." The group Smash Racism DC tweeted that the D.C. branch of the Industrial Workers of the World were also in attendance.[7] Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America member Austin Kendall also joined the ambush.[8]

Tweet Doxxing DHS Secretary from IWW

From the New York Post:[9]

"Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was forced to leave a trendy Mexican restaurant in Washington, DC, Tuesday night when protesters descended on the eatery shouting “Shame!”
"Demonstrators occupied DXDC Cocina Mexicana at around 8 p.m. as Nielsen was attempting to have a meal with an unidentified man, according to a video posted on Facebook.
"Staff members try to contain the situation as members of the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America flood the restaurant, the video shows.

2018 leadership

Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America leaders, as of May17 2018;[10]

Congratulations to the newly elected Steering Committee for 2018

At-Large Members (7) Elizabeth Golden, Allison Hrabar, Stu K., Kim Lehmkuhl, Margaret McLaughlin, Jacquelyn Smith, Rob Wohl.

2017 leadership

Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America leaders, as of July 2017;[11].

2017 leadership

Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America leaders, as of July 2017;[12].

Disavowing Police Organizing

Resolution 7: Disavowing Police Organizing Voted on at October 21st, 2017 Passed by Majority at Convention Sponsor(s): Brian Dickey, Natarajan Subramanian, Daniel Hafner, Austin Kendall

On Disavowing Police Organizing

Metro DC DSA shall commit to not, under any circumstance, organizing with any direct police union.

Under capitalism the police exist, as an institution, to uphold the power of capitalists. They serve to protect the property of those capitalists and subjugate the masses, most specifically black persons and others persons of color. While we as socialists enthusiastically support workers organizing and unions as a whole, we cannot support any work with a police union as they do not organize worker power but instead organize capitalist power. When we accept police officers and organizers as comrades, we risk signaling to the communities they are charged with subjugating that we do not prioritize their struggles or desire to fight with them for their liberation. This would catastrophically damage our ability to organize alongside marginalized groups and betray our stated values as socialists.[13]

Convention Delegate list

Circa June 2017, the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America Election Working Group finalized a Chicago National Convention delegate list. The 29 delegates are listed in alphabetical order, and 3 alternate delegates listed in rank order.

Metro DC DSA Public Facbook group

Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America, public Facebook group, as of March 12, 2017;[15]




More members had joined by October 14, 2017.[16]




1990 AGM

The local's annual meeting, held June 16,1990 selected electoral politics, outreach work and D.C. Statehood activism as the top external priorities for the year. Producing local literature, working toward a more diverse organization and stressing member education were voted the key internal priorities.

The new 1990 Local's Executive Board consisted of  : Bill Mosley, Chair; Loretta Schuman and Peter Nixon, Vice-Chairs; Richard Bruning, Membership Secretary; Lisa Dowden, Treasurer; David Bryden, Arnie Chien, Suzanne Crowell and Krista Schneider, At-Large members. Board members selected as representatives of committees were Pleasant Mann, Publications Committee; and Joe Slater, Labor Committee.[17]

1990 endorsements

The DC/MD/Northern VA. Democratic Socialists of America local plunged into the electoral fray on June 12 1990 with a meeting to choose candidates for DSA's endorsement in that year's D.C. elections. Receiving the local's endorsement in September's Democratic Primary were Eleanor Holmes Norton for Congressional Delegate; Jim Nathanson for City Council, Ward 3; and Harry Thomas for City Council from Ward 5.

The local also endorsed DSA National Vice-Chair and Statehood Party member Hilda Mason for re-election to her at-1arge Council seat, the only general election endorsement made.[18]

Washington Socialist Newsletters 1989

The DC/MD/NoVa Democratic Socialists of America published a newsletter, apparently on a monthly basis in which they wrote about their meetings, officials, position articles, connections to other groups, etc.

  • May 1989 issue, Volume 10, Number 11

Statement of purpose: "The DC/MD/NoVa local needs the active participation of those members of the local community who are dedicated to economic justice, peace, and others goals of democratic socialism. All members who pay national dues receive Democratic Left, DSA's national publication. Join us!" Writers:

DSA members mentioned in the newsletter including those identified as its staff:

DS newsletter, P.O. Box 33345, Washington, D.C. 20033-0345

Book launch

In early September 1993 DC/MD/NoVA DSA sponsored a book party — in support of DSA member Marty Langelan's new book Back Off: How to Stop Sexual Harassment and Harassers.[19]

"Economic Insecurity" meeting

In 1995, DC/MD/Northern VA. Democratic Socialists of America co-sponsored the first of DSA's national series of town meetings on economic security. This hearing was held in a church on September 27 and was scheduled to feature three members of Congress: Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Maxine Waters (D-CA). [20]

DC "Democracy"

At its national convention in November, 1997 DSA adopted a resolution urging its locals lo join the campaign for democracy in the District of Columbia.

DSA activists and locals around the country con help by writing and calling their members of Congress and demanding that they work with the people of the District to address the city's problems by expanding democracy and empowering the citizens-not through enacting punitive legislation and treating D.C. as their personal plantation.

D C / M D / N O V A DSA will provide materials to participating locals containing background information on the state of the District, sample letters and phone scripts, op-eds and other materials. Besides contacting their members of Congress, locals can place op-eds and letters lo the editor in their local newspapers, speak to other local organizations and apply other strategies to educate their communities and build support for democracy in D.C.

A movement to make the District the 51st state one of whose leaders has been Councilmember and DSA Vice- Chair Hilda Mason, with the local DSA chapter an active participant —gained momentum in the early 1980s.[21]

2001 endorsements

According to Pleasant Mann. The DC/MD/Northern VA local held a meeting for endorsements in DC races. The endorsed slate included many candidates from the Green Party (formed from a merger of the DC Statehood Party and the Green Party) which pushed progressive ideas (but lost). The local also endorsed two Democrats, who won easily: Eleanor Holmes Norton as delegate to Congress (serves on committees and speaks but cannot vote) and Florence Pendleton as shadow senator (in essence a lobbyist).[22]

Gay rights victory

In 2002 hundreds of District of Columbia activists joined Mayor Anthony Williams, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and members of the DC Council to celebrate the removal of Congressional restrictions on the District’s domestic partnership program after a decade-long struggle.

Even though the Council passed a 1992 act permitting any unmarried partners—gay or straight—to register with the city (DSA National Vice Chair and DC Council member Hilda Mason was one of the original backers), right-wing members of Congress blocked implementation of the program by placing a rider on the District’s budget.

The District, like Puerto Rico and other territories, is subject to budgetary and legislative oversight by Congress. Congress must approve the annual DC appropriations bill, and it uses this power to impose restrictions on the District.

Gay-rights organizations, such as ACT-UP DC and the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, and the movement for DC democracy joined together to fight the ban, with DC/MD/Northern VA. Democratic Socialists of America and its members playing a significant role in the victory. DSA member Judy Nedrow chaired a local commission that developed strategy for the domestic partnership struggle, and Nedrow’s partner Christine Riddiough, former DSA Political Director, also played an important role on the commission. Riddiough was also former chair of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, a local gay-lesbian Democratic organization instrumental in convincing the District government to take up the issue.

The Stand Up for Democracy in DC Coalition, of which the DSA local was a member, conducted an annual campaign against this and other budget riders, holding rallies and walking the halls of Congress. Several of Stand Up’s members were arrested engaging in civil disobedience during congressional votes.

The local campaign finally gained the support of openly gay Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.), who in 2001 was instrumental in having the ban removed. “This is a real step forward both in the domestic partnership fight and for DC sovereignty,” Riddiough said.[23]


A revitalized Washington, DC-area DSA local began meeting in 2009 and sponsored a meeting with Alex Main of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, who led a discussion of the recent coup in Honduras.[24]

Occupy DC involvement

Coleson Breen, holding banner at left, marching during an Occupy D.C. action

According to a report from Peter Bolton on November 23;[25]

DC DSA members Peter Bolton and Coleson Breen joined Occupy DC protesters yesterday for a protest outside Constitution Hall where the twelfth Republican Party presidential candidates debate was being held. Protesters invented ad hoc chants addressing the candidates. Chants included: "Romney, Cain, Gingrich: help the poor and tax the rich," "Jesus said to help the poor, who is it your fighting for" and "who is it you it you represent? Clearly it's the one percent!"
Before heading to Constitution Hall, Bolton and Breen met with Occupy protesters at the McPherson Square encampment including local DC occupiers and people who had traveled in from the occupations in Richmond, Memphis and Pensacola. Breen gave out coffee and snacks in an act of solidarity between DC DSA and the movement. The DC DSA members then went to an Egypt solidarity demonstration outside the White House where Egyptian-American anti-Mubarak protesters shouted back-and-forth slogans in both English and Arabic. The Egyptian protesters later joined Occupy DC for the protest at Constitution Hall. Tensions with the police did not arise at either site and the officers at the scene of the candidates debate even invited protesters to move closer to the building, behind a barricade across the street from the entrance.
The protests took place the very night that a contingent of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, called "Occupy the highway" arrived in Washington. Upon arrival in DC, the Occupy Wall Street protesters held a joint General Assembly with Stop the Machine outside the Capitol building. The protesters had marched from the OWS site in Zuccotti Park, renamed Liberty Square, to Washington over the last few days. OWS's website states that the goals of the initiative were "to make the new movement visible in more communities, to connect with other occupations along the way, and to further a national dialogue about how to reclaim our democracy." OWS says that the march was deliberately scheduled to coincide with the super committee decision deadline and that the protesters wished to "bring a message to Congress to end corporate welfare and tax breaks for the rich and to stimulate the economy by rebuilding the country's infrastructure and investing in education, clean-energy and public health." The super committee protest, however, was cancelled due to the committee's implosion over the last few days. Occupy protester James Ploeser tweeted, "Super committee #EpicFail. No need to shut it down, it shut itself down."
The action also comes as DC DSA anticipates the publication of a statement from Occupy Wall Street about its ideas and demands for change. The statement will be a interesting development for the movement and a further opportunity for DSA to engage with the movement and analyze its implications for public discourse and the political landscape.

2014 endorsements

In February 2014, Metro-DC Democratic Socialists of America made its endorsements for the April 1 DC primary election. As Bill Mosley writes, the local made three endorsements in the Democratic primary: Andy Shallal for Mayor, Phil Mendelson for Council Chair, and Eleanor Holmes Norton for Delegate to the House of Representatives.[26]

Metro-DC DSA steering committee

Metro-DC DSA elected a new steering committee at its May 2015 membership meeting, a roughly annual turnover with continuity. Returning were committee members Jose Gutierrez (co-chair), Andy Feeney, Ingrid Goldstrom, Bryan Kovalick and Kurt Stand. Returning also is former SC member Dr. Carolyn Byerly. New to the SC was Jonathan Phipps, a national member and activist living in suburban Baltimore who said he will spend considerable time getting a covalent Baltimore-area local under way with support from both national DSA and the Metro-DC local.[27]

Backing Bernie Sanders

DC/MD/Northern VA. Democratic Socialists of America members canvassed with fliers for the Bernie Sanders campaign at the Takoma Park Maryland Farmers Market in August 2015. They were Bill Mosley and Andy Feeney; Ingrid Goldstrom, Kameron Burt, Carlos McKnight, Woody Woodruff and Merrill Miller.


Tabling at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival for DSA and Bernie: from left, Woody Woodruff, Lisa Foley Stand, Kurt Stand and Lucy Duff.[28]

DSA - May Day & People's Climate March Weekend


DSA - May Day & People's Climate March Weekend Hosted by Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America

April 28 – May 1 Apr 28 (2017) at 12 AM to May 1 at 11:59 PM EDT, Washington, D.C.

From April 26th through May 1st, join the Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) for a week protesting capitalism’s environmental degradation and celebrating workers and the resurgence of socialist ideas.

Invited on Facebook