MADSA Marches, Tables With Pride

The MADSA Pride festival booth was even more popular this year, with a steady stream of visitors all weekend. The button maker never cooled off; we gave away about 2,000 buttons saying "Black Lives Matter," "Metro Atlanta DSA," and "LGBTQ Liberation, not Rainbow Capitalism."

A young student dropped by to say he is starting a YDS chapter at his high school (see photo)! Over 120 people signed up for our email list and took literature; we hope we see a lot of you at our open house Oct. 16 (2 pm at the Decatur Recreation Center) so we can get to know you better.

The parade contingent was lively and greeted with cheers, as always.

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Speaking Out Against Shelter Shutdown

MADSA members joined Black Lives Matter Atlanta, Justice for All Coalition, Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (SNaPCo), Women on the Rise, Racial Justice Action Center, Lawyers United for a New Atlanta and other community organizations who rallied at Atlanta City Hall Oct. 3 to oppose legislation proposed by Council members Kwanzaa Hall and Alex Wan that would permit the City to move towards acquiring the Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter for the purpose of building a massive police facility. The rally and educational speak-out was followed by people packing the City Council chamber for their meeting at which the ordinance was to be voted on. Photo: Lorraine Fontana

During the time allotted for public comments, among many moving speakers opposing the closing of the shelter (no one gave a public comment supporting the closing) was Fight for $15 activist Dawn O’Neal. She told Council President Ceasar Mitchell that at one time while she was his daughter’s substitute teacher she was actually homeless and earning only $8.50 an hour. After the public comment period, many audience members broke out into vocal protest, chanting "Vote!  Vote!" and one person was arrested. See the Atlanta Progressive News report for details.  The ordinance passed, with Council member Felicia Moore the only dissenting vote. Meanwhile, the Task Force’s lawsuit disputing the ownership of the property is still going through the court system.  Photo: Marshall Rancifer

Tabling for Social Justice

MADSA, WRFG, Atlanta Jobs with Justice, Rise Up, ATL Raise Up and other friends reached out to hundreds of festival goers at the Many Rivers to Cross: a Festival of Music, Arts and Social Justice Festival’s “Social Justice Village” in Fairburn during the first weekend in October.

Daniel Hanley reported on “great experiences and conversations!. . .Organizing highlight: our DSA table spoke with so many Atlantans who pledged to participate Monday in the campaign to save Peachtree-Pine shelter. People were appalled by Kasim Reed's attempt to displace hundreds of shelterless Atlantans and replace their beds with a SWAT command center. We also spoke with people from out of town, who are eager to get plugged in to work with DSA locals in their home regions.” Photos: Daniel Hanley

September Meeting Celebrates Open Door History, Elects Officers

MADSA’s membership meeting Sept. 24 was one of our most inspiring. We heard recollections of the Open Door Community (ODC)-led 1990 occupation of the then-abandoned Imperial Hotel, which resulted in the re-opening of the hotel for homeless people and other gains in affordable housing. Historian Charles Steffens called it “one of the most dramatic street actions in Atlanta since the student-led civil rights protests of the 1960s.”  The main speaker, Terry Easton, author of Raising Our Voices, Breaking the Chain: The Imperial Hotel Occupation as Prophetic Politics, was joined by ODC founders MADSA member Ed Loring and Murphy Davis, other veterans of the occupation, and ODC board and community members. See the Summer 2016 MADSA newsletter “Equality”, posted on this website, for an article by Easton. For a copy of his book ($10 donation), contact the ODC.

Following the general discussion, MADSA members present elected officers for 2016-2017: Chair Milt Tambor, Treasurer Travis Reid, Membership Secretary Barbara Segal, Recording Secretary Barbara Joye and members t-large Adam Cardo, Cecily McMillan, and Eric Robertson. Thanks to Nomination Chair Bob Caine and outgoing officers Daniel Hanley and Greg Ames. We continue to explore ways to develop new leadership to help us grow in the years to come.

Solidarity With Charlotte, Tulsa

An estimated 1,000 Atlantans led by the Georgia NAACP, Black Lives Matter, #stopkillingus and allied organizations quickly organized Sept. 23 to demonstrate downtown in solidarity with the protests against police killings of Keith Scott in Charlotte, NC and Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, OK. (Crowd estimate from Atlanta Progressive News.) They marched from the Center for Civil and Human Rights to the King Center and from there to the Atlanta Police Department and jail, where to the approving flicker of lights from the cell windows they assembled peacefully until midnight for a “Midnight in America” rally. Protests continue. Above, center with DSA shirt and sign: Daniel Hanley; for right with sign, Megan Harrison.  Photo: Steve Eberhardt

Moral Monday Georgia Fights for $15

Members of Georgia Raise Up, Moral Monday Georgia, MADSA, the NAACP and other organizations demonstrated at our State Capitol during a National Day of Action on Monday, Sept. 12, called by Rev. William Barber's Moral Monday movement.

People of faith, workers and community activists gathered at state capitols in 25 states to deliver the “Higher Ground Moral Declaration,” which calls on governors, senators, state legislators, and candidates for office to move away from extremist politics and policies that benefit the few and move toward policies and laws that are just and fair and guarantee a better life for the majority of the people. 



Lorraine Fontana (holding sign) and Ann Mauney (arm raised) were among the MADSA members who marched from Trinity Methodist Church to Liberty Plaza for a rally before a delegation delivered the Declaration to Governor Deal's office. (Photo: Reid Freeman Jenkins)

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MADSA Celebrates Labor Day With AFL-CIO

MADSA members celebrated Labor Day with our union brothers and sisters at the Georgia AFL-CIO's annual Labor Day picnic. Here, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) member Al Herman (left) and State Sen. Vincent Fort (right) check out the MADSA table, staffed by (left to right) Adam Cardo, Barbara Joye and Milt Tambor. (Photo: Reid Freeman Jenkins)

Busy Weekend: Book Party and Film Screening

On Saturday night, Aug.13, the Music Room, a popular venue on the trendy Edgewood Ave. strip in the Old Fourth Ward, hosted MADSA's party to celebrate member Cecily McMillan's new book and benefit the Georgia Civil Disobedience Fund.

The Emancipation of Cecily McMillan, an American Memoir (Nation Books) describes the author's difficult childhood growing up in Atlanta and Texas, her struggle to get an education, her Occupy Wall St. activism and the three months she spent in NYC's notorious Rikers Island Prison following an OWS-related arrest - which inspired her to become a fervent advocate for prisoners' rights. The event raised $1,100 for the Fund, which pays bail and legal expenses for people arrested while nonviolently protesting for justice.

Thanks to A Capella for selling many copies of the book, signed by Cecily (far left in photo), who also read passages and engaged the packed audience in a Q and A, and to the outstanding musicians who performed for us following the reading (Feat, RAHBI, Hero the Band, Loner, The Queedom and Shalom Little). Special thanks to MADSA supporters Johnnie Martinez and Brandon Ley, owners of the Joystick Game Bar and the new Georgia Beer Garden, and to Keiran Neely, owner of the Music Room who made his club available to us so generously after our first host, the Beer Garden, met with a last-minute delay of its long-anticipated opening. 

The following afternoon, at the Decatur Recreation Center, we screened "She's Beautiful When She's Angry," an inspiring documentary about the 1960's Women's Liberation Movement. Betsey Miklethun, a veteran of the movement, introduced the film and Megan Harrison, a young law student, responded afterwards - pointing out, among other things, how much the film could have added had it brought the story up to the present. The audience, which included people of diverse ages, races and genders, enjoyed participating in the discussion.

Check out the calendar on this web page for future events designed to keep you plugged into activism in our area and important issues and questions facing the movement for a more just society.  We are planning a special October meeting geared to welcoming new and prospective members interested in learning about democratic socialism and what our group does.

Young Democratic Socialists: From Sanders to the Grassroots

Adam Cardo, founder of Emory U. Young Democratic Socialists, a MADSA officer and member of the national DSA Anti-Racism Working Group, and Dave Littman, founder of U. GA YDS, represented us at the summer YDS conference "From Sanders to the Grassroots" Aug. 5-7 in Chevy Chase, MD. Dave led a workshop on environmental socialism at the conference. Details here.

From Atlanta to the DNC With the People's Revolution

At a July 16 gathering at the Mammal Gallery in downtown Atlanta, roughly 50 Bernie delegates, alternates, and supporters discussed plans to assert Bernie's platform at the convention, protest a rigged primary process, and bring the momentum of Bernie's political revolution home to local and state campaigns, both electoral and issue-oriented. Bernie alternate Khalid Kamau shared his plans for a CWA-funded t-shirt initiative (see photo), highlighting four areas of the Democratic platform where strategic visibility on the convention floor would be crucial, especially considering the expected suppression of Bernie delegates and confiscation of unapproved signs -- which turned out to be even more intense, violently enforced, and broadly coordinated than anticipated.

One Metro Atlanta DSA member (who authored this blog post) also announced plans to caravan to Philadelphia with at least a dozen other Atlantans for the purpose of expressing dissatisfaction and outrage towards the anti-democratic nomination process that gave general election voters the two least popular options in decades, both largely in opposition to the popular social and economic justice platform advanced by Bernie Sanders.

Bernie's delegation from Atlanta, reportedly one of the most militantly irreverent groups in attendance, shared first-hand accounts of harassment, dismissal, and even physical abuse towards Bernie delegates from Georgia and elsewhere around the country. DNC security threatened to revoke the credentials of anyone who might dispel the illusion of party unity. One member of the Georgia delegation, expressing grief at an emotional moment, was struck  by a laughing Clinton delegate's cane. In one widely-circulated video, Democratic Party of Georgia chair DuBose Porter, his sons, and Clinton delegate Will Fowlkes are seen deliberately blocking several Bernie delegates with large signs ( One Atlanta delegate confirmed that Clinton delegates were given written instructions to drown out any dissenting issue-oriented chants (for a living wage or against the TPP, for instance) with Hillary-oriented chants.

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