Our new format for the July 16 Socialist Dialogue, “An Age of Unrest,” was a big hit. Participants said they enjoyed meeting in small groups where they took turns reading from short stories about world and U.S. events of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, then reflecting on what they heard in light of our current concerns.
The events highlighted ranged from movements in the U.S. for women’s suffrage, labor unions and racial justice to the global fight against colonialism and imperialism. We shared insights and additional information from our various perspectives, enriching everyone’s understanding. The handouts were provided by Dialogue coordinator and people’s historian Ian Fletcher (see photo below).
MADSA's elected convention delegates and alternates celebrated the finish of an intense 4-hour "virtual" conference on national priorities for DSA, which they participated in on July 15 through a computer hookup in the back room of the (member-owned) Joystick Gamebar. With convention delegates from other DSA groups across the U.S., they debated online resolutions submitted by local groups on single-payer healthcare campaigns, electoral work, and labor organizing, designed to set priorities for DSA's deployment of its national resources during the next two years. The national Resolutions Committee will send the versions that received the most support to the convention for a final vote. Left to right: Maxwell Ruppersburg, Jeb Boone, Michael Lavender (seated), Barbara Joye, Reid Jenkins, Erin Parks, Matthew Wolfsen, Tom Ladendorf, Adam Cardo, Brad Lathem, Anat Fintzi, Scott Douglas (standing). Not shown: Chadwick Floyd, Daniel Hanley. Also delegates: Eric Robertson, Ron Spears. Photo: Daniel Hanley
On July 8, members of MADSA’s newly hatched North East Georgia DSA branch (NEGADSA) and a group of Athens DSA members spent an afternoon getting to know each other at the Hi-Lo Lounge, joined by members of the progressive group Athens for Everyone and other friends. Metro Atlanta DSA is very pleased to welcome NEGADSA, with special thanks to organizer Brad Lathem! (See story below about one of their recent actions.) The Athens group voted to apply for branch status as well.
The man in the blue shirt at the far right (below) is R. J. Hadley, candidate for Georgia Secretary of State. Richard Dien Winfield, a UGA prof contemplating a run for Congress, addressed the group as well. We are hot! Reach NEGADSA at NortheastGADSA@gmail.com or onTwitter and Facebook: @NortheastGADSA
Photos by Reid Freeman Jenkins.
A half dozen intrepid members of our new branch: Northeast Georgia DSA (NEGADSA) protested the Campus Carry bill that went in to effect July 1, at the U. of North Georgia campus, along with Indivisible Lumpkin, Students for a Progressive Society @ UNG, and Young Democrats of Hall County. “There was a good turnout at the event,” reports Brad Lathem. (Photo by Jeff Casper. L to R: Brad Lathem, Michael Lavender, Kit Carson, Emma Lathem.)
Leah Christine Terry, born on the 7th of March, 1993 in San Jose, California. sadly passed on May 29 in Atlanta, Georgia. A passionate socialist activist, Leah's dedication to social justice was borne out of her own struggle with disability and her family's struggle against corporate America.
Leah was born with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, a condition characterized by obsessive thoughts, habits or rituals. Leah's father, Alton Terry, a poultry farmer, sued Tyson Farms for canceling his contract after he helped to organize his fellow farmers. Her experiences with both of these struggles propelled Leah on a path of organizing, with a focus on the intersection between capitalism and ableism. While attending Sewanee: The University of the South, she was an active member of Sewanee Young Democratic Socialists. During this time, she also served on the 2014-2015 YDS Coordinating Committee. After leaving Sewanee, she moved to Atlanta, where she was involved with the Metro Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America.
She will be missed greatly, and her generous and caring spirit marches on.
By Adam Cardo (in photo with Leah)
The Task Force for the Homeless’s shelter at Peachtree and Pine that has offered temporary housing, advocacy and many creative programs to Atlanta’s homeless since 1997 will soon close, as Atlanta Progressive News reported. Former shelter director Anita Beaty was honored at MADSA’s 2010 Douglass-Debs awards dinner and has been a MADSA member. (Be sure to note the comment that follows APN's article by MADSA member and Task Force board president Chuck Steffens.)
APN closes by pointing out that "The City of Atlanta has identified no plan to house the current residents of the Task Force and does not appear to have caused new resources to materialize that would provide new shelter beds to replace the ones that would be lost."
From a news release from Atlanta Jobs With Justice (MADSA is a proud member):
The City of Atlanta has unanimously approved raising all city workers to a $15 minimum wage as a part of the FY2018 Budget vote. City of Atlanta workers will receive at least $13 per hour on July 1, 2017, $14 per hour in 2018, and finally to a $15 minimum wage in 2019. Over 1000 firefighters, sanitation, parks & recreation, watershed, and other employees will now see their wages move up to at least $15 an hour, moving many of them out of poverty.
Seven year Atlanta parks and recreation worker Marquee Scales who earned just $12.85 before the move said “I am abundantly thankful that the Council and the Mayor have decided to prioritize the needs of all workers in this budget”.
Atlanta Jobs with Justice held the first fight for $15 rally in 2013 to support fast food workers going on strike for $15 and a union. The courage of workers that day showed that today’s victory for workers was possible. Atlanta Jobs with Justice has been working with city workers, community, labor, and faith organizations since 2016 to advocate that the City of Atlanta restore its promise of living wages from 2005.
Metro Atlanta Democratic DSA joined incredible activists and friends from Our Revolution Georgia and United Students Against Sweatshops at the The People's Summit this weekend! We strengthened our bonds with coalition partners around the country, articulated a positive platform for human rights -- beyond the resistance -- and attended trainings and workshops for movement organizers. — with Michelle Sanchez Jones, Anoa J Changa, Emmanuel Morrell, Susana Durán Perez, JT Pennington, Erin Parks, Scott Brown, Daniel Hanley and Adam Cardo. (Report thanks to Daniel Hanley; photographer unknown,)
Great turnout for our June general membership meeting! We heard a report from DSAer Khalid Kamau on his recent electoral victory in South Fulton (standing in photo at left); updates from Asma Elhuni on the vicious destruction of Tent City by GSU police; inspirational words from Erin Parks about Our Revolution's local electoral work; and many other agenda items, including a straw poll in favor of leaving the Socialist International (the actual vote will take place at the convention); a motion regarding a local Confederate monument; and - last but not least - we voted to endorse Sen. Vincent Fort for Mayor of Atlanta.
We also elected a full slate of 13 delegates and 2 alternates to represent us in August at the Democratic Socialists of America's National Convention! The delegates: Jeb Boone, Adam Cardo, Scott Douglas, Anat Fintzi, Chad Floyd, Daniel Hanley, Barbara Joye, Brad Lathem, Erin Parks, Eric Robertson, Maxwell Ruppersburg, Ron Spears, and Matthew Wolfsen, and alternates Reid Jenkins and Tom Ladendorf, will be meeting during the next couple of months to discuss the issues that they will be voting on at the convention.See y'all in Chicago! #yallidarity Report and photo: Scott Douglas
Minutes after daybreak on Friday, June 2, the Tent City ATL resistance camp at Turner Field was raided and destroyed by a task force led by GSU police. Camp protesters awoke to officers wearing rubber gloves and wielding knives as they began to slash tents from their pallets. Five protesters, including both GSU students and community allies, who had camped overnight were present as the raid began.
During the raid, one officer was overheard saying: “They should have been warned last night.” Turner Field Coalition leadership affirmed that the raid and destruction of the camp came without warning, despite GSU Police Chief Joseph Spillane reportedly having contact information for the resident leadership. This wasn’t the first encounter with GSU police during the 63-day occupation. During the raid, campus police also tried to intimidate camp members by threatening them with charges of criminal trespass; however, no arrests were made.
Residents, along with students and allies, have been holding space in front of Turner Field since April 1 in an effort to raise awareness about the lack of community involvement with the planning of upcoming developments around the Turner Field neighborhoods, including Summerhill and Peoplestown. For over three years, the Turner Field Benefits Coalition has been meeting and studying successful models for a legally binding community benefits agreement and has created a draft proposal. In fact, over the last few weeks Georgia State University and Carter Developments have been in ongoing negotiations with the Coalition. This raid and destruction of the camp clearly indicates a lack of good faith on the part of the university and illustrates their continued disrespect for the very communities of which they want to be a part. GSU student activists and allies are now calling for the removal of GSU President Mark Becker. While next steps for the Coalition are still being determined, the fight against gentrification and displacement of these neighborhoods is far from over.
For more information on how to get involved follow Housing Justice League on Facebook or visit the Coalition website at turnerfieldcoalition.org.
Report and photo: Reagan Cooper