MADSA members have been busy, busy, busy for the past couple of weeks, so I'm posting a few photos to let you know what's been happening.
First, we enjoyed a very interesting Socialist Dialogue on April 24 on the topic of "The Precariat: Work Without Predictability or Security," a problem many in the audience recognized from first-hand experience. Education Committee Chair Ray Miklethun (far right) and moderator Steve Wise (second from right) introduced labor lawyer Debra Schwartz (second from left), who brilliantly summarized the state of workers' legal rights in the U.S. and in Georgia by stating "they suck" and supplying specifics. Child care worker, Fight for 15 and Black Lives Matter activist Dawn O'Neal (third from left) followed by eloquently reviewing the Fight for $15 and a Union and other aspects of current workers' struggles, and Teamster Local 728's Organizing Director Ben Speight shared many insights on organizing in the current political climate and the importance of a strong labor movement. (Photo: Reid Freeman Jenkins)
The May Day/International Workers' Day festival organized by Atlanta Jobs with Justice and other labor and community groups - the first such event aiming to bring together Atlanta's progressive community on that historic date - drew a good crowd despite some showers. MADSA members staffed an information table and helped portray important U.S. labor leaders whose courage and persistence enabled many achievements we take for granted, such as the eight-hour day. (See Milt Tambor's essay on the history of May Day in the Spring Equality newsletter, posted on this website.) In the photo (by Lorraine Fontana): Bob "Big Bill Haywood" Wolhueter, Adrian "Cesar Chavez" Bernal and Judy "Mother Jones" Wolhueter.
Some MADSA members joined Rise Up, Black Lives Matter and other groups in a counter-demonstration protesting the rally called by the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists on Stone Mountain April 23. Only a few dozen white supremacists showed up; the anti-racist side numbered at least 100, some say 400 (there was more than one gathering, in at least three locations). Some counter-demonstrators were arrested for wearing masks and one for allegedly throwing a smoke bomb at police. See Rise Up's excellent statement about the event, including a photo of Joel Solow and Daniel Hanley, at http://www.riseupga.org/time2escalate_statement . This photo, with Rise Up leader Nelini Stamp and Misty Novitch, thanks to Steve Eberhardt.
Several MADSA members made it downtown on April 14 for the "Fight for $15 and a Union" flashmob with spirited song, dance and chants at Ga. State U's Library Plaza, followed by a rally at the nearby Grady Hospital McDonalds. (L to R: Greg Ames, Barbara Joye, Steve Gill, Daniel Hanley. Photo by Reid Freeman Jenkins.) Member and ATL Raise Up organizer Joel Solow reported: "We stood with 300 cities and 40 countries all over the world, and if you want some serious inspiration, check out the #FightFor15 hashtag on twitter to see pictures and video from around the world."
Sergio of Freedom University was among the speakers expressing solidarity at the rally. (photo: Joel Solow)
On March 24 the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights held a rally at Liberty Plaza to demand an end to deportations that are tearing immigrant families apart and to oppose the anti-immigrant bills then before the General Assembly. Barbara Joye joined other allies who spoke in support, representing MADSA. Click on "read more" to see what she said. (Photo: Gloria Tatum)Read more
Gov. Nathan Deal has announced that he will veto the so-called "Religious Liberty" bill passed by the Georgia General Assembly, after a tsunami of business and community protest against the bill for its obvious intent to enable discrimination against LGBT people. The MADSA LGBT and Allies committee had sent a letter urging the veto, signed by our officers, which became a petition. We are proud that we could contribute our bit to this victory. Many more struggles to come! To see the text of the letter, click on "read more." (Photo by Reid Freeman Jenkins was taken at the 2015 Atlanta Pride march.)Read more
(Photo: Peace by Piece staff tell us about their new community center for Peoplestown youth.)
On March 19, some 40 MADSA members and friends, including students and professors from five area universities (Ga. State, Ga. Tech, Clayton State, Emory and Clark Atlanta), drew inspiration from and expressed solidarity with inner-city Atlanta residents who are resisting displacement by gentrification and stadium development.“Resilience, Tenacity and Self-Determination in Peoplestown, Mechanicsville, Pittsburgh and Summerhill” was the fifth annual bus tour of troubled neighborhoods sponsored by MADSA. Co-sponsors were Occupy Our Homes Atlanta (OOHA) and the Peoplestown Revitalization Corporation (PRC, #peoplestownwillnotgodown).
PRC President Columbus Ward and OOHA’s Tim Franzen provided background and accompanied the buses to meetings with neighborhood activists. The tours were initiated and are coordinated by Georgia Tech Professor Emeritus and MADSA member Larry Keating, author of an excellent survey of the devastation wrought on Atlanta’s black inner-city neighborhoods in recent decades: Race, Class and Urban Expansion. MADSA is an endorser and supporter of the Turner Fields Community Benefits Coalition, which represents the neighborhoods affected by the new stadium development.Read more
On March the 6th, Bhaskar Sunkara was in the metro Atlanta area to discuss socialism and the Jacobin Magazine. The conversation was moderated by myself, Brandon Payton-Carrillo and covered modern socialist thought and the importance of the Sanders campaign. Once the main thrust of our conversation was finished, an enthusiastic audience engaged in a thoughtful question and answer segment. If you were not in attendance, you really missed out on an amazing event. (NOTE: Members of MADSA have begun a reading group under the auspices of Jacobin magazine. See the calendar on this site for meeting info, or contact Norm at 404-378-4026.)
Thousands of Bernie supporters marched on Feb. 27 along the Beltline to Piedmont Park, where they dispersed to canvass in the surrounding neighborhoods. MADSA members participated as individuals, helping to make buttons, give out signs, serve as marshals, and of course carry Daniel's awesome DSA posters. (Photo by Steve Eberhardt)
On Feb. 20 over 40 people crowded into the meeting space at the Open Door Community to exchange information about a wide range of current issues and struggles. To name a few: attorney Chaka Washington's fight against the death penalty for Kenny Fults; Adam Cardo on the Young Democratic Socialists' winter conference; Becky Rafter's report on Ga. WAND's fight against radioactive pollution and other dangers from the Savannah River Plant and Plant Vogtle (with the low-income, mostly African American community of Shell Bluff on the front lines); Daniel Hanley on the Bernie campaign; and guest speaker Larry Pellegrini's wry and insightful report on the Georgia legislative session, complicated this year by the members' re-election campaigns. . . .Read more
(Photo by Rebekah Joy)
I had heard that Killer Mike was going to meet with Bernie Sander supporters at the Atlanta campaign office on the morning of the rally at Morehouse College. Killer Mike had electrified the crowd at the Fox Theater the last time Bernie was in town. So, I was looking forward to seeing him up close and even meeting him. When I arrived at the campaign office located at 236 Auburn Avenue, the meeting was already in progress. Approximately 75 people had gathered together and were listening to two young African-American men from Chicago attached to the campaign who were explaining why they were supporting Bernie for president. . .Read more