For DC home rule now!

For DC home rule now!


The Communist Party of the District of Columbia, CPUSA unequivocally condemns the recent string of attacks on democracy and, in particular, Home Rule in Washington, DC led by an alliance of MAGA Republicans in Congress, the DC police union, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Washington Post, and extreme right big business interests like Opportunity DC.

Since the repeal of the Revised Criminal Code in 2023 by President Biden, inspired by the Mayor’s veto, Republicans in Congress have eagerly been stripping away DC’s right to govern itself. This pressure from federal lawmakers has led to the passage of the recent draconian crime bill, Secure DC, led by conservative councilwoman Brooke Pinto of Ward 2, backed by the big business-led Federal City Council, the police union and the Mayor. The bill turns the clock back to the 1990s with tough-on-crime policies and larger criminal penalties for youth, including expanding pre-trial detention. The Council also re-criminalized fare evasion by installing new fare gates, hiring additional transit police, and cutting free Metro fares for DC residents. None of these policies will stop crime, and will likely lead to higher incarceration rates for Black youth in the District.

The Gaza solidarity student encampment was attacked in DC, like around the country. Students and community members at George Washington University were raided by DC police while they were sleeping on May 9, on orders from the Mayor, leading to 33 arrests. The Mayor and Police Chief were scheduled to testify in front of a GOP-led Congressional committee regarding their decision to not shut down the encampment when it began, and to not join other campuses around the country who had brutally arrested students and faculty protesting. The Mayor wound up caving to the pressure, and sent in her police to raid the encampment before the hearing in order to save face. We wholeheartedly condemn these cowardly actions.

Several days later the same Congress passed the DC CRIMES Act, which prohibits the District from changing its sentencing laws, completely undermining Home Rule and DC’s ability to address public safety concerns in the District. Eighteen House Democrats joined with Republicans in supporting this measure. This interference in DC’s affairs is nothing like we’ve seen in over thirty years, and the Republican Party is on the march to repeal the entirety of Home Rule.

Furthermore, House Republicans with 52 Democrats, passed H.R. 192, which would repeal the Local Voting Rights Amendment Act, which granted the right to vote to non-citizen residents of Washington, DC. House Speaker Mike Johnson and the Republican Party have vowed to take on non-citizen voting as a national platform, by bringing forth the “Safeguarding American Voter Eligibility Act” in the House, which will require citizenship to participate in any U.S. election. This is part of the anti-immigrant agenda of the Republican Party and we stand against this. Immigrants are part of our communities, pay taxes, rent, and other expenses and should have a say in local policy instead of being dehumanized and demonized.

In the recent House Appropriations bill for the District, Republicans are trying to remove provisions to allow DC to enforce traffic, including speed cameras and enforcement to prevent automobiles from turning right on red traffic lights at certain intersections. The riders that have also been included in the bill are:

  • Prohibit DC from spending local funds on abortions for low-income women
  • Prohibit DC from using local funds to commercialize adult-use marijuana
  • Prohibit DC from using local funds to implement its Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2022
  • Reduce the maximum age of eligibility for D.C.’s Youth Rehabilitation Amendment Act of 1985
  • Prohibit D.C. from using local funds to implement its law that allows no-citizens to vote in local elections
  • Prohibit the use of local funds to enforce any COVID-19 mask or vaccine mandate
  • Leading Republicans are also proposing a 50% cut in funding for DC tuition assistance programs, which may eliminate possibilities for students to pay for out-of-state tuition costs and put them in more student debt as they graduate from college

The Communist Party of the District of Columbia, CPUSA also recognizes the corporate money and far-right influence that is seeping into our local affairs. The same forces that are behind the Congressional interference have also been funneling money and resources into two recall campaigns against progressive council members Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1) and Charles Allen (D-Ward 6). We oppose these efforts on the grounds that they are trying to split the progressive bloc in the DC Council and also trying to undermine Home Rule by ousting two pro-statehood council-members.

We vehemently reject these efforts by extreme right forces to interfere in DC’s affairs to undermine Home Rule and urge all democratic and progressive forces to take up the mantle and fight for DC Statehood. These colonial-minded efforts by the Republican-led House of Representatives can only be defeated by a mass democratic movement to finally end the stain of second-class citizenship in the nation’s capital. The fascist-like attacks to strip DC of its limited democracy is part of the MAGA agenda to install a full dictatorship of finance capital in the rest of the country.


Images: Washington DC Communist Party by CPUSA; Home-rule rally, 1966 courtesy of MLK Library; button used in a 1974 referendum campaign encouraging residents of the District of Columbia to vote for the Home Rule Charter: Home rule charter yes button by Anacostia Community Museum (public domain).



    Communist Party of the District of Columbia, CPUSA.

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