Mathew Wolfsen joined other Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) members from Georgia at the YDSA winter conference, held Feb. 16-18 in Washington D.C. Some 350 members from more than 80 schools attended. Matthew and six others came from Ga Tech, with two recent Tech graduates, a recent Emory U. graduate and one student each from U. Ga. and U. of West Ga. During the long ride home, he sent this report. – Editor
The conference was what student activists needed. There was very clearly a stronger focus on praxis over theory: How to organize. How to branch. How to cultivate leaders. It didn’t shove theory forward. It enabled students to carry out their own politics. I loved that.
It brought real and controversial issues forward in a space that was safe for critical but fruitful and friendly discussion. With the exception of one situation that was almost entirely laughed off, no one was overtly confrontational, but rather collaborative. And, it allowed time for networking. For example, I met individuals from Colorado, West Virginia, and Indiana who I plan to keep up with.
Several Ga Tech students who were involved with the activism related to Scout Schultz’s death [at the hands of campus police] came to the conference to learn how to be more effective with their actions. In a panel about students unionizing against the administration and student government (photo, right), the panelists asked two of the Ga Tech students about the backlash they faced in organizing for a cause, and were completely shocked when they heard what they had to deal with. Other students from Pittsburgh, Savannah, Chattanooga, and San Antonio pledged their support and some even promised to travel to Atlanta to help if needed.
Overall, the conference struck a nice balance in programming with a clearly organized goal of empowering students. I enjoyed my time in DC, and I won’t forget it anytime soon.
Amazing day at our first brake light clinic! We changed over 40 people's lights and even picked up some new members. Thanks to all the awesome comrades involved in planning, fundraising, implementation and day-of work! And thanks to manager Watson of the Ingles store, who welcomed us warmly and even offered to bring us water.
More to come! - Jeb Boone and Barbara JoyeRead more
The MADSA Afro-Socialists' first event, the Black Power Bowl, drew this great crowd to a get-together at the Phillip Rush Center, Feb. 4. Attendees included South Fulton Councilman khalid kamau; MADSA officer Erin Parks; BLM and Rise Up activist Dawn O'Neal; attorney and Atlanta NAACP Vice-President Gerald Griggs; attorney and political commentator Anoa Changa; and representatives of several other organizations, educators, and small business owners. The group came together for a moment of fellowship and trivia fun. Councilman khalid explained on FB: "#SuperBowl quarterback with a multimillion-dollar #NFL contract, took a knee — not just for a game, but an entire season — and brought a national conversation about police brutality and the #BlackLivesMatter movement into the homes of Americans desperate to avoid it. And when the NFL, in retaliation, stripped him of his career, it sparked an #NFLBoycott that cost the league 2 MILLION viewers. Around the country, #NFLBlackOut parties & protests are creating networks of new activists."
Stay tuned for an announcement of our first Afro-Socialist Happy Hour! Date and location TBA.
Since 1987, Atlanta Jobs with Justice has been working as a coalition with progressive grassroots leaders across Atlanta, bringing together labor unions, community based organizations, faith based organizations, youth organizations, and individuals to lead and support campaigns for economic and social justice in our workplaces and in our communities. MADSA helped revitalize the organization after a period of transition about 10 years ago and has been a member of the coalition ever since.
On Jan. 30, MADSA members helped celebrate AJwJ's move to a new office at 420 McDonough Blvd. Coalition members announced our plans for the new year and heard about AJwJ's campaigns, including Vote With Justice, which alerts Atlantans to what's at stake in the fall elections; raising Georgia's minimum wage; expanding Medicaid; and stopping the profiling, detention and deportation of immigrants. For more info and a calendar of AJwJ events: atlantajwj.org. (L to R: Logos from AJwJ member organizations; AJwJ staff organizers Chartisia Griffin and Dee Dee Lay. Photos: Erin Parks.)
(This is a POC space only.) MADSA AfroSocialists are calling for NFL boycotters, freedom fighters, POC activists and organizers to join us for an evening of libations, celebration, and liberation as we close out this year's NFL boycott with the 1st annual Black Power Bowl. We will have members of many of metro Atlanta's leading black and POC grassroots organizations in attendance. This will be an opportunity to socialize with fellow movement builders and sign up to join the fight for racial justice.
WHERE: The event will take place in the Rush Center Annex: 358 Mell Ave., Suite B, Atlanta 30307. (Not South Fulton)
RSVP through Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/black-power-bowl-tickets-42611884293
The financial and in-kind donations of our allies would be greatly appreciated. If you'd like to contribute, please contact Erin Parks at email@example.com or make a donation at https://paypal.me/pools/c/81pgPNWWZi
Watch this page for news of an AfroSocialist happy hour, coming soon!
Some 60 new, old and soon-to-be MADSA members met at the Communication Workers of America Local 3204 hall on Jan. 28 to launch our year of activism. (Photo: Nate Knauf) Following a new, faster-moving format, in the first hour we heard information on several current campaigns we support:
- Sara Patenaude of Hate Free Decatur reported recent progress in the fight to remove a Confederate monument from Decatur square (scroll down for story).
- Bert Skellie of End the New Jim Crow told us about the campaign to end cash bail.
- MADSA member Marshall Rancifer of the Justice for All Coalition updated us on his efforts to help homeless people survive the winter despite the cruel negligence of the City of Atlanta and Central Atlanta Progress (for more info or to help Marshall click here or 678-396-5768).
- Nate Knauf reported on the thriving new Young Democratic Socialists of America group at Ga. Tech, which is planning a campaign against police violence among other activities on and off campus.
- MADSA officer Erin Parks announced plans for our new Brake Light Clinic community service/solidarity project (see calendar for details) and the first gathering of the Atlanta Afro-Socialist caucus (details TBA).
(MADSA is a partner of Hate Free Decatur. DSA's Southern Caucus endorsed a "Tear Them Down!" campaign for removal of Confederate monuments, at DSA's 2017 national convention, while recognizing that this is just one aspect of the larger fight against white supremacy. Below: People's Attorney Mawuli Davis addresses the DeKalb County Commission meeting while supporters stand in solidarity. Photo: Eric Voss)
Decatur, GA: On Tuesday, January 23, the DeKalb County Commission voted 6 to 1 in favor of relocating the Confederate monument from Decatur Square. The sole dissenting vote was Commissioner Nancy Jester. This is a historic moment in Georgia history, as the Commissioners affirm their commitment to stand to represent all people in DeKalb County regardless of race. The Commissioners showed that they understand the monument was erected in 1908 to celebrate the continued subjugation of black residents in DeKalb County, and that they reject the continued celebration of the men who took up arms against the United States to defend slavery and the Confederacy.
With this resolution, the County will solicit proposals for relocation of the monument to another publicly accessible space to stay within the confines of current state law OCGA 50-3-1(b), which protects Confederate symbols and monuments. This law was put into place in 2001 as a compromise measure to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state flag of Georgia but has yet to be challenged in court. This law contains specific provisions allowing for the relocation of such monuments for the purposes of preservation, protection, and interpretation. The resolution also includes plans to lobby for the repeal of the law as part of the DeKalb legislative agenda for 2018.
We commend the Commissioners who voted in favor or relocating this historic symbol of white supremacy on taking in taking a courageous stance against the continued hatred and bigotry that this monument represents.
Hate Free Decatur and our supporting organizations including Beacon Hill, Atlanta, and DeKalb County chapters of the NAACP, along with our numerous community partners, look forward to continuing the work to address the remaining systems of racial injustice within DeKalb County. We will update you as the process for relocation progresses.
With love and solidarity,
Hate Free Decatur
Powerful coalition-building at today's Power to the Polls GA, organized by Georgia Alliance for Social Justice! Our outreach team engaged local activists, distributing our free swag while discussing our local campaigns, direct services, and direct actions.
Many members of the local resistance were interested in our upcoming general meeting on Saturday (1/27): https://www.facebook.com/events/518040921892768/?event_time_id=518498195180374
- Daniel Hanley
Daniel's buttons flew off the table - "Fuck Trump" the all-out favorite (photo: Nate Knauf) - while he and Nate energetically engaged the crowds, with help from Erin Parks (above, R), Brad Lathem, Barbara Joye, Reid Jenkins. (Photo of rally crowd: Steve Eberhardt) - Editor
MADSA members continued our tradition of marching with the labor contingent in the annual MLK Day Parade and Peace March.
Veteran members welcomed many who had joined DSA during the past year and were participating for the first time, including several members of the new Young Democratic Socialists of America group from Ga. Tech (holding banner, above left).
(Above right) Josh Tuccio waved the DSA flag.
Our sister coalition, Atlanta Jobs with Justice, belted out spirited chants and songs by our side, while the Teamsters and several other unions led the way.
Photos: Reid Freeman Jenkins
MADSA members and friends had a great time at our "holiday" celebration Jan. 12, socializing and enjoying songs by Veronika Jackson (top[), Frank Hamilton and Payton Scott (bottom), despite rescheduling due to snow. It was a collective effort, with many members contributing refreshments, a slide show of our activities, and setup/cleanup labor.
Chair Adam Cardo (above, left) introduced speakers Bob Caine, who enlightened us about the venue's roots in an African American community that had built the First Existentialist Congregation building but been expelled from the area in the 1950's, and our beloved founder Milt Tambor, who announced the start of a project to archive historic MADSA documents at Emory U. (contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org). Caine also sadly informed us that our comrade Joe Corrado had died the previous week - no announcement yet of funeral arrangements. (Above right, photographer unknown) Some of the partygoers: (L to R) Marshall Rancifer, Shelly Berlin, Milt Tambor, Daniel Hanley, Anat Fintzi.
Photos by Reid Freeman Jenkins