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
[On the evening of 1/8], activists with the Metro Atlanta Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America sent a message directly to Donald Trump and his proto-fascist administration - they are not welcome in the City of Atlanta.
“F--- Trump”, “Dismantle White Supremacy”, “No One is Illegal” and “Medicare for All” was projected onto the side of Mercedes-Benz Stadium just moments before Trump took the field at the NCAA National Championship game.
The projections are a statement of our anger and disgust with the racist Trump administration but they are also a vision of a more prosperous future for our community - a future where our bodies aren't used for profit in an unjust healthcare system and a future where no one has to live in fear of deportation or racist violence.
We believe that future is attainable through mass working class mobilization against the evils of capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy and imperialism. -- Officers, Metro Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America
Ho, ho, ho. . . Oh, oh, snow! Our holiday party, originally scheduled for Dec. 8, had to take a snow day. But, thanks to our hosts, the 1st Existentialist Congregation of Atlanta (470 Candler Park Dr. NE, Atlanta 30307), we were able to move to a new date:
7 PM, FRIDAY, JANUARY 12. Celebrate a great start to 2018 while enjoying good company, refreshments and the inspiring music of Veronika Jackson (folk/blues) and Frank Hamilton (former member, the Weavers) with Payton Scott. Bring a dish if you wish, and a beverage.
Our bi-monthly Socialist Dialogue Dec. 3 focused on the shortcomings of what passes for a healthcare system in the U.S. and one alternative: Medicare for All (single-payer) which was declared a top priority for DSA at our national convention.
Speaker Rita Valenti (left) is a registered nurse; a long-time healthcare justice activist in organizations including Healthcare-Now! Georgia, National Nurses United, and Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP); and a former member of the Georgia General Assembly. MADSA's Stephen Friedrich moderated, and invited interested members to a Dec. 9 national DSA conference call to launch our Medicare for All campaign (contact Stephen.email@example.com).
Right: Dr. Henry Kahn, MADSA member and PNHP leader, was among many attendees who participated in the "dialogue" portion of the program.
Photos: Reid Freeman Jenkins
Some MADSA members helped Food Not Bombs and member Marshall Rancifer of the Justice for All Coalition feed the growing number of homeless people in Atlanta Nov. 26 in spite of the City of Atlanta's efforts to sweep this urgent need and those people under the rug to make the city more corporate-friendly.
Atlanta Food Not Bombs has been sharing free food with anyone who is hungry for over a decade. "We believe that food is a human right, and that no authority should be able to prevent anyone from eating," their website statement explains. "Georgia State University Police has begun a campaign of harassment aimed at anyone who tries to share food with people [downtown]. They claim that giving away food is illegal without a food service establishment license from the City. The cops’ legal claims are confusing, contradictory, and ultimately false. What it comes down to is that they don’t want homeless people in the park, they want them to go somewhere else.
"But when they’re forced out of the park, the homeless won’t be going into a shelter, since the City finally won their years-long fight to shut down Atlanta’s largest shelter. And they certainly won’t be going into housing, in a city where gentrification and speculation has created what many are calling an affordable housing crisis. Developers, university administrators, and city planners do not care that there’s nowhere for poor people to go. As far as they are concerned, the homeless are a nuisance to be dealt with the same as rats and pigeons.
"The cops have already charged one of our volunteers with this supposed crime, but we will not stop. If the government makes sharing illegal, then we have no choice but to be criminals. Not just because our conscience requires it, but because helping each other is the only way we will all survive."
To find the next opportunity to feed homeless people in a public park, see the Teardown Community's Facebook page.
MADSA has been supporting the Georgia Beer Garden and the Justice for All Coalition to collect supplies for unsheltered people at our social event at the Garden (420 Edgewood Ave.) on the third Friday of each month (scroll down to Oct. 23 story). We continue to urge our members and friends to support this emergency effort. Anat Fintzi reported "When we spoke with Marshall after [the Nov. 26 feeding], he said they would do another event (HIV testing) on Wednesday or Thursday and the supplies that he most requested for donations in the near future are: socks, canned goods (esp tomatoes), dried beans, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, sanitary products. All supplies can be dropped off at the Georgia Beer Garden."
Photo by Anat Fintzi (L to R): Robin, Earthworm, Josh and Scott in Hurt Park, Nov. 26.
“While there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” -- Eugene Victor Debs
At the 2017 Douglass-Debs Dinner Nov. 18, we packed the Loft at Castleberry Hill with a beautiful celebration of our campaigns for democracy, socialism, and human rights. (Right: The Communication Workers of America's table.) This was MADSA's 11th annual fundraiser where we recognize and celebrate the work of progressive leaders in the Metro Atlanta community.
This year's honorees:
Brother Mawuli Davis (left), founding partner of the Davis Bozeman Law Firm, received an award for his continued work as a true people's lawyer across so many struggles.
Brother khalid kamau, councilman for the new City of Renaissance (aka South Fulton) received an award for his community justice work and help leading the new city just south of Atlanta to a better, more progressive, future. (Above: Khalid with award presenter and MADSA officer, Teamster Local 728's Eric Robertson.)
Sister Lani Amina Ledisi accepted the MADSA Creative Activism Award for Southerners on New Ground (SONG) and their Black Mamas Bailout Project.
Thanks to Chair Adam Cardo; outgoing Chair Milton Tambor (right) who organized this event for the its first 10 years; keynote speaker Sarah Jaffe (left); all the awardees; the Douglass-Debs Organizing Committee; singer Payton Scott; graphic designers Emma Latham and Barbara Segal; our labor movement supporters; and all members and attendees, for the inspiration we need to continue these difficult struggles into 2018 and beyond. - Daniel Hanley and Lorraine Fontana.Read more