Supporting Sen. Vincent Fort for Mayor, we proudly made up about half of Fort's contingent in the Atlanta Pride parade Oct. 15. Some of our signs displayed issues we share with Sen. Fort, and we flew the red DSA flag. Photo at right: Reid Freeman Jenkins.
At the front of the contingent was a group of Ga. Tech students with a banner protesting the arrest of students from Tech and other schools for their actions following a vigil for the murdered Tech student activist Scout Schultz (above, left; photo: Matt Wolfsen). For background, scroll down to entry for Sept. 17. Below: Fort for Mayor, photo: Reid Freeman Jenkins.
Despite a threat of heavy rain, our Oct. 8 Socialist Dialogue drew a receptive crowd for a wide-ranging panel discussion of electoral politics and the significance of former State Senator Vincent Fort’s MADSA-endorsed campaign for mayor (more phone bankers, canvassers and donors needed!).
Stephen Day (right), chair of the Gwinnett County Board of Registrations and Elections, argued that in Georgia the white racial voting bloc has been the primary driver of electoral politics, but that the bloc is itself split between evangelicals and others. He indicated that there are strong possibilities for progressive candidates to wage targeted, “stealth” campaigns on the local level, mobilizing key Democratic constituencies - in particular African-American women - in order to flip municipal and county offices. He urged DSA members to engage with the Democratic Party, particularly those members who are more set on social democracy than democratic socialism per se.
Minnie Ruffin (left), MADSA member and veteran voting rights activist who has worked with the Coalition for the People’s Agenda, ran down a long list of vote suppression and restriction methods ranging from gerrymandering to purging voting rolls on spurious grounds - such as a voter’s failure to return an inconspicuous card they receive in the mail asking them to confirm their status. Ruffin said all these methods are being used in Georgia. She checks her own voter status weekly and found recently that her polling place had been changed, though she had received no notice of the change. She recommended watching the Supreme Court’s hearing (58 mins.) on gerrymandering: https://www.oyez.org/cases/2017/16-1161 (click on Gill v. Whitford at left).
“We need a man we can trust, and we can trust Senator Fort” said Ga. State U. law professor Tanya Washington (left), who both sang and spoke at a Sept. 30 rally for Atlanta mayoral candidate former State Sen. Vincent Fort, which featured Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT, below). Fort was the highest-ranking local politician to endorse Sanders’ presidential race, and Sanders returned the favor. To add even more star power to the event, the progressive and very popular Atlanta rapper Killer Mike introduced Fort.
MADSA has endorsed Fort’s candidacy, many of the event volunteers were members, and we handed out over 1,000 buttons. (Left: Anat Fintzi and Scott Douglas help sign in rally attendees as a near-capacity crowd of 2,453 filled St. Phillip A.M.E. church in East Lake. Photos: Reid Freeman Jenkins.
Lorraine Fontana (left, at podium) urged the DeKalb County Commission at their 9/26 meeting to remove the monument to the white supremacist Confederacy from the Decatur Courthouse Square. Judy Conder of Artemis Productions sent this video of the event https://youtu.be/cQllFj9bQ9M and a report:
"Young (compared to me), smart, well informed activists from Hate Free Decatur, NAACP Beacon Hill, Dekalb NAACP, and ATL NAACP (many of whom are attorneys and historians) are working their way through the hierarchy of clueless local Georgia politicians in an effort to remove the Confederate monument from the Decatur square. Since the city of Decatur has the highest concentration of attorneys in the state of GA, this coalition has been able to organize a group of pro-bono attorneys who are willing to defend the city and/or county against any litigation. The white supremacy law that prohibits the removal of Confederate monuments has never been tested/litigated. They believe that Dekalb county, the second most affluent African-American county in the country, is the place to do it.
According to Mawuli Davis, president of the NAACP, Beacon Hill branch: 'The people are prepared to stand up and defend what we believe our right is if the attorney general’s office for the state of Georgia seeks to impose their will and say that we do not have the right to self-determination in this city and county to remove this monument to white supremacy.' ”
Later that day, Erin Parks (right), one of our new MADSA officers, warned participants at a Change Walmart rally on the Morehouse College campus that every dollar spent at Walmart, whose owners are strong Trump supporters, helps enable people like Education Secretary Betty DeVos to siphon funds away from public education and other necessary programs. Parks is a graduate of Spelman, Morehouse's sister college. The "Trump and Walmart Make America Worse" campaign stop in Atlanta was co-sponsored by Atlanta Jobs With Justice.
Barbara Joye (left) spoke in Woodruff Park at a Georgia Alliance for Social Justice rally to protect the Affordable Care Act, reminding listeners that even though three Republican votes seem to have killed the right wing's latest attack on ACA, the struggle for universal health care has just begun. ACA (which needs improvement anyway) will continue to be attacked, and we need to work toward Medicare for All.
Photos by Reid Freeman Jenkins
Congratulations to the new officers elected at our Sept. 16 membership meeting! They are: Chair - Adam Cardo (in photo); Membership Secretary - Michael Lavender; Recording Secretary - Jeb Boone; Treasurer - Seth Ellingson; At-large (3) - Anat Fintzi, Erin Parks, Eric Robertson. Please give them all your support as they lead us during the next 12 months. (See "Minutes" above for more about the meeting.) Photo: Reid Freeman Jenkins.
The Metro Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America mourn the loss of Scout Schultz (pronouns they/them). Scout was a comrade to several members who knew them from their attendance at Eat, Drink, & be Marxist, a monthly social event, as well as from their leadership as president of the Georgia Tech Pride Alliance. Scout will be remembered as a kind person who fearlessly lived their life as a visible, proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. Their tireless efforts within Pride Alliance continuously reminded us of the ongoing struggles of the transgender, non-binary, and intersex community. Scout’s tragic passing reminds us that access to high quality mental health resources is vital to the wellbeing of everyone, especially members of the LGBTQ+ community.
STATEMENT FROM GA TECH PROGRESSIVE STUDENT ALLIANCE:
We are distraught over the loss of Scout Schultz. They were an incredible, inspirational member of our community and a constant fighter for human rights. Please join us in celebrating and honoring their life and the contributions they made to campus and the greater Atlanta community.
Starting at 4pm today we will begin to place flowers and memorabilia on 8th street in front of West Village.
Monday evening, there will be a vigil at 8 pm at the Georgia Tech Campanile.
We love Scout deeply, and we hope you will join us, along with Pride Alliance at Georgia Tech, to share memories of their beautiful life.
Photos Courtesy of Ga. Tech Progressive Student Alliance.
MADSA will share information through Facebook on memorials and donations for Scout’s surviving family.
Trans Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The Trevor Project 1-866-488-7386
The National Suicide Prevention Line 1-800-723-8255
Georgia Crisis Access Line 1-800-715-4225
We joined a MADSA-endorsed "Nothing Great About Hate" rally and march Sept. 10 to demand that the DeKalb County Commission remove a monument to the "Lost Cause" that currently defaces Courthouse Square in downtown Decatur. A spirited crowd of some 500, led by Hate Free Decatur and the DeKalb NAACP, heard speakers from many faith and community organizations, circled the downtown area behind a contingent of community youth and ended with a second rally in front of the monument. Most speakers called for the monument to be moved to a museum or cemetery. One sign read: "We don't want to erase history, we want to get on the right side of history!" The DSA's Southern Caucus has endorsed a "Tear it Down!" campaign, while recognizing that the monument issue is a symbol of the larger struggle against institutionalized white supremacy. Photos: Reid Freeman JenkinsRead more
National DSA's Immigrants' Rights Committee has published a strong statement denouncing Trump's decision to end DACA, signed by representatives of many DSA groups including MADSA (and more have signed on since this was posted).
The statement begins:
"President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, under pressure from a nine-state coalition led by the Texas Attorney General, represents another racist attack by his administration on immigrants, in this case on young people who were brought into the United States as children. The undersigned members of the Democratic Socialists of America denounce the repeal of DACA and maintain solidarity with the nearly one million DACA recipients who will become targets for harassment and deportation by ICE. . . "
Read the complete statement in English and Spanish here.
Yesterday, hundreds rallied at the detention center in downtown Atlanta in anticipation of the decision. Photo: Kevin Moran
Erin Parks (L), Barbara Joye (R), Reid Jenkins, Milt Tambor and Linda Lieberman tabled for MADSA at the AFL-CIO's annual Labor Day cookout at UAW Local 882's recreation center in Hapeville. Many friends dropped by the table, and several new people signed up for our email. Photo: Howard Romaine
And member Steve Gill sent this report from another Labor Day event:
"As chance would have it, I got back to Columbus last night and was able to head up to Atlanta in the morning for the Reclaim Labor Day: Thank a Worker event held by ATL Jobs with Justice and ATL Raise Up. So jazzed that my daughter and I had the opportunity to do this! Only wish I took more photos!
If you get a chance today, thank a worker who is working on Labor Day and tell others to do the same. We need all hands on deck to ensure a living wage and union representation for all. So, spread the love, get out the word to vote, and help tackle social and economic injustice!"
Photo: Steve Gill
By W.B. Reeves
Thousands turned out in downtown Atlanta Aug. 20 to oppose white supremacy and to honor the memory of Heather Heyer, the young woman murdered by a Nazi/white supremacist in Charlottesville, VA a week earlier. Gathering at Centennial Olympic Park adjacent to CNN Center, the swelling crowd heard speeches from representatives of various groups making up the sponsoring Georgia Resists coalition, which includes the American Friends Service Committee, Black Lives Matter Atlanta, Georgia Alliance for Social Justice, Georgia Moral Monday, Georgia NAACP, NAACP Atlanta, NAACP Beacon Hill, SisterCARE Alliance,SOS-Save OurSelves and the Metro Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America. The park was the site of the 1996 Olympics bombing by right wing terrorist Eric Rudolph, which killed one and injured 111.
Former state legislator and mayoral candidate Vincent Fort called for a moment of silence to honor Heather Heyer before stirring the crowd with a call-and-response chant of “Fired up!, ready to go!”
The crowd moved out down Marietta Street with chants of “The people, united, will never be defeated!”, “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “Tell me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!” On the way it passed the sculpture of Henry Grady where white racist mobs had thrown the bodies of murdered black men at the foot of the statue during the 1906 race riot. They continued through the central business district, their voices echoing and re-echoing off the high rise buildings that surrounded them. Along the way they were applauded and cheered on by pedestrians.
The march concluded at the M.L. King Jr. Center for Non-violent Social Change where Dr. King and his wife Coretta Scott King rest side by side in a common crypt. Local news outlets gave the rally and march extensive coverage.
W.B. Reeves is a member of Metro Atlanta DSA.
This article originally appeared in Daily Kos.
Photo at left by Steve Eberhardt