Intense white supremacist beliefs and fragile white backlash on display today in response to the protest to tear down a racist Confederate statue in Gainesville. The cops spontaneously rolled in to intimidate and greatly escalated the tone of the event.
Great job to all the organizers and activists involved, holding their ground against an angry white crowd. Erin Parks was extremely courageous and chill as she confronted dozens of them. Thanks to Brad Lathem from NorthEast GA DSA as well for taking initiative on this.
"Cops and the Klan, hand in hand," I remarked. One old white guy was eager to get my attention to respond: "no, that's not true! They pushed me first."
-- Daniel Hanley
Editor's note: As Brad points out in the article below, no violence took place; about 150-200 folks of all persuasions attended, and DSA members from Atlanta and Athens joined our Gainesville comrades.
Our own photos to come; meanwhile, see this report in the Gainesville Times.
Saturday and Sunday (8/12-13) many of our members joined protest marches and vigils responding to the lethal attack on antiracist counter-demonstrators by white supremacists opposing removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Va. Here is Adam Cardo (on phone) in Sunday's march. (Photo:Steve Eberhardt.)
Erin Parks spoke at the rally in Woodruff Park, and Stephen Friedrich and Scott Douglas made the front page of the Atlanta Constitution, which showed them honoring Heather Heyer. More to come.
On Monday 8/14, Senator Isakson (R-GA) FINALLY held a town hall meeting to address his outraged constituents.However, he refused entry to many, despite ample space; he failed to answer many questions on matters of life and death; the event ended one hour early; and he ejected MADSA member Brad for being disruptive, including his calls for single-payer healthcare. So, immediately after the town hall, we decided to bring our demands directly to Johnny Isakson's office building. (Report and photo: Daniel Hanley)
Statement of the DSA National Political Committee Interim Steering Committee, August 13, 2017
The final number remains unknown. However, latest reports suggest that at least one person has lost their life and at least 19 injured. Two DSA members were hospitalized and have since been discharged. There are reports that an ISO comrade was also injured. A comrade reportedly from the Industrial Workers of the World lost their life on the front line of the battle against fascism. (Photo: Heather Heyer)
In the face of growing racist, anti-Semitic, white supremacist violence, comrades from across the left came together in an incredible display of left unity. They came from many different organizations but spoke with one voice, chanting “Black Lives Matter” and other pro-solidarity slogans. Undaunted, they held the line and showed the fascists that they shall not pass. The day ended with the streets of Charlottesville free of Nazi scum.
We call on the left to build a strong united front against this emboldened right wing. We need to be clear and recognize that white supremacist terrorism will not simply go away if it's ignored. This violent and dangerous movement should never be allowed to have a platform. It should always be fought against by the strength of our united front.
It is important to acknowledge the differing responses of the police to white supremacist marches and terrorism and their reactions to Black Lives Matter protests and marches. Black Lives Matter protests are always met with the worst police brutality and suppression while white supremacist marches are allowed to freely attack counter-protesters on many occasions.
In this way, we plainly see whose side the police are on. From the days of the creation of the modern day police in the 1800s, they were used as a violent force for the physical suppression of a resistant working class, of Black slaves, and indigenous people. Today, their role of social control and oppression remains largely the same.
Trump delivered a meandering and at times incoherent statement earlier this afternoon. During the statement, where at one point he even talked about totally unrelated "record employment", he predictably blamed "all sides" for the violence, as if the left has a centuries-long history of state, systemic, and societal violence against oppressed groups. This is a tired line that the right wing uses to justify its terror. Trump also spoke of the need for "law and order", but we know that this is a signal for more police and vigilante terrorism against Black and Brown communities and the left.
We believe that the terror unleashed on our comrades can be defeated. We also believe that the wider system of racist oppression can be defeated, but only with the ending of the capitalist system which birthed it.
We encourage you to donate to help with the medical costs of comrades injured in the attack. As we mourn for the dead, we must also fight like hell for the living. DSA members across the country are turning out for solidarity actions in their communities. Get in touch with your local chapter to find ways to participate.
Together, we will fight fascism and build the better world we know is possible. Solidarity forever.
At our membership meeting Aug. 12, our delegates to the national DSA conference (Chicago, Aug. 3-6) reported on this historic event, "with lots of important and hopeful info...especially how the national AND local org have grown in past year," said Lorraine Fontana. (L to R: Barbara Joye, Brad Lathem, Adam Cardo, Daniel Hanley, Jeb Boone, Anat Fintzi, Scott Douglas. Eric Robertson, Maxwell Ruppersburg, Matt Wolfsen, Tom Ladendorf and Reid Jenkins were also delegates. Photo: Lorraine Fontana)
The convention, which was attended by some 1,000 delegates, observers, staff and media, reflected DSA's growth; previous conventions had drawn just 150-200. The national blog (dsausa.org) lists some of the extensive media coverage and reports from our members, including a moving report by MADSA's Jeb Boone.
The convention passed a priorities resolution to guide DSA's staff in deploying national resources until the next convention is held in 2019. The priorities are: campaigning for Medicare for All (single payer health insurance); electing democratic socialists to office; and helping to build the labor movement. It will also be posted on the national website and blog. Chapters are urged to take action on the national priorities, but may pursue other issues as local conditions warrant.
(Left, above: Adam Cardo, Anat Fintzi, Scott Douglas (standing), Barbara Joye, Brad Lathem, Daniel Hanley, Matt Wolfsen, Cecily McMillan. Right, above: Plenary session. Photos: Reid Freeman Jenkins)Read more
Here's a sampling of recent activities by MADSA members (please send your info and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can consider featuring them here):
(Left) On Friday July 28, several members including David Joannides, Jeb Boone, Dani Washburn, and Adam Cardo stood with community allies in front of the Israeli consulate in solidarity with Palestine and the Al Aqsa mosque.
(Right) Saturday was a time for defending the rights of trans people to serve in the military, and the human rights of LGBTQ people in general, against recent actions against those communities by Trump and his administration. (L to R): Barbara Joye, Dani Washburn and Reid Jenkins, with (not shown) Travis Reid, Gifford Bery and Dave Hayward joined the spirited crowd that assembled in Midtown before marching to Tech Square for a second rally. Photos: Steve Eberhardt
Finally, MADSA canvassers for Sen. Vincent Fort were joined this Saturday by Geoffrey Meldahl, who came all the way from Chattanooga DSA to join us. Y'allidarity forever!
MADSA members were among a diverse crowd celebrating the launching of State Sen. Vincent Fort's mayoral campaign headquarters on Sat. July 22, at 2797 Campbellton Road. MADSA member Eric Robertson of Teamster Local 728 was one of the speakers from the labor movement and other sectors who expressed their support (24 local unions have endorsed Fort). After the speeches, some of us helped canvass homes in the neighborhood. Photo: Reid Freeman Jenkins
Our new format for the July 16 Socialist Dialogue, “An Age of Unrest,” was a big hit. Participants said they enjoyed meeting in small groups where they took turns reading from short stories about world and U.S. events of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, then reflecting on what they heard in light of our current concerns.
The events highlighted ranged from movements in the U.S. for women’s suffrage, labor unions and racial justice to the global fight against colonialism and imperialism. We shared insights and additional information from our various perspectives, enriching everyone’s understanding. The handouts were provided by Dialogue coordinator and people’s historian Ian Fletcher (see photo below).
MADSA's elected convention delegates and alternates celebrated the finish of an intense 4-hour "virtual" conference on national priorities for DSA, which they participated in on July 15 through a computer hookup in the back room of the (member-owned) Joystick Gamebar. With convention delegates from other DSA groups across the U.S., they debated online resolutions submitted by local groups on single-payer healthcare campaigns, electoral work, and labor organizing, designed to set priorities for DSA's deployment of its national resources during the next two years. The national Resolutions Committee will send the versions that received the most support to the convention for a final vote. Left to right: Maxwell Ruppersburg, Jeb Boone, Michael Lavender (seated), Barbara Joye, Reid Jenkins, Erin Parks, Matthew Wolfsen, Tom Ladendorf, Adam Cardo, Brad Lathem, Anat Fintzi, Scott Douglas (standing). Not shown: Chadwick Floyd, Daniel Hanley. Also delegates: Eric Robertson, Ron Spears. Photo: Daniel Hanley
On July 8, members of MADSA’s newly hatched North East Georgia DSA branch (NEGADSA) and a group of Athens DSA members spent an afternoon getting to know each other at the Hi-Lo Lounge, joined by members of the progressive group Athens for Everyone and other friends. Metro Atlanta DSA is very pleased to welcome NEGADSA, with special thanks to organizer Brad Lathem! (See story below about one of their recent actions.) The Athens group voted to apply for branch status as well.
The man in the blue shirt at the far right (below) is R. J. Hadley, candidate for Georgia Secretary of State. Richard Dien Winfield, a UGA prof contemplating a run for Congress, addressed the group as well. We are hot! Reach NEGADSA at NortheastGADSA@gmail.com or onTwitter and Facebook: @NortheastGADSA
Photos by Reid Freeman Jenkins.
A half dozen intrepid members of our new branch: Northeast Georgia DSA (NEGADSA) protested the Campus Carry bill that went in to effect July 1, at the U. of North Georgia campus, along with Indivisible Lumpkin, Students for a Progressive Society @ UNG, and Young Democrats of Hall County. “There was a good turnout at the event,” reports Brad Lathem. (Photo by Jeff Casper. L to R: Brad Lathem, Michael Lavender, Kit Carson, Emma Lathem.)