Reagan Cooper posted on FB: "This card-carrying socialist just finished canvassing Grant Park for my man, Sen. Vincent Fort for mayor!"
Members Marshall Rancifer (Justice for All Coalition), Johnny Martinez(GA Beer Garden), and friend of DSA Amy Mei Willis (National Lawyers Guild) expose businesses' discrimination against Atlanta's homeless population, despite the progressive and hip trappings of Atlanta's rapidly gentrifying Edgewood Avenue corridor, in a report by Creative Loafing: "The Fight for Edgewood Avenue." (Check out Marshall's buttons in the photo.) Thanks to Daniel Hanley for bringing this to our attention!
We joined Atlanta Jobs With Justice and the Georgia AFL/CIO in Rev. James Orange Park April 30, to commemorate Workers' Memorial Day honoring workers killed or injured on the job and build for the next day's May Day rally and action at City Hall.
Here, MADSA's Ian Fletcher, people's historian, recalls for us the origins of May Day/International Workers' Day. Background, center: MADSA chair Milt Tambor. Wearing signs: Three of the MADSA members and friends who brought to life heroes and heroines of U.S. labor history (left to right): Cesar Chavez (Adrian Bernal), Albert Parsons (David Christian), and Lucy Parsons (Jaira Burke). Others not shown portrayed Big Bill Haywood (Michael Lavender), Mother Jones (Heather Gray), Joe Hill (Georgia Slim, a.k.a Cullen Brown, of the band I Want Whiskey), Eugene Victor Debs (Walter Reeves), A. Phillip Randolph (Edward Young), and Dorothy Bolden (Pat Sauls). At right, blue shirt: Barbara Joye coordinated the history project. Photo: Reid Freeman Jenkins
Our contingent enthusiastically joined many other organizations at the May 1 rally led by Atl. JwJ and the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, to call for a minimum of $15/hr for Atlanta city workers, sanctuary for immigrants, a Community Benefits Agreement for the Turner Field neighborhoods, and other demands for dignity and human rights. After the rally we swarmed into the City Council meeting, where dozens of us spoke out in the "public comment" section of the agenda. Photos: Barbara Joye, Reid Freeman Jenkins
MADSA member Ian Fletcher will kick off the April 30 event with a brief history of May Day, followed by MADSA members and friends bringing to life "Heroes and Heroines of U.S. Labor History" and much more. For details: bit.ly/MAYDAYATL2017PREP. May 1 will be a day of action at City Hall, with the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Atlanta Jobs with Justice, and many others. For details: bit.ly/MAYDAYATL2017
Daniel Hanley and Barbara Segal, among other MADSA members, marched for science with thousands of other Atlantans, April 22.
Khalid kamau, a Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) member and endorsed candidate for City Council in South Fulton, Georgia (center in photo), won in today’s election with 67 percent of the vote. Kamau defeated Charlean Parks, who finished second in the five-way primary race on March 21st. In addition to DSA, he was endorsed by Our Revolution, Teamsters Local 728, and Street Groomers.
“Far too many elected officials start their day thinking of your boss instead of you — but the working people of South Fulton will have a City Council member on their side: khalid kamau,” explained Maria Svart, Democratic Socialists of America's national director. “Khalid’s win today is a tremendous victory for his community and a shot across the bow for politics as usual nationwide.”
Erin Parks, a Metro Atlanta DSA chapter member and kamau campaign volunteer expressed enthusiasm: “Khalid's campaign and victory prove that teamwork and a people-centered platform can prevail against all odds. His win is a harbinger of things to come in the Metro Atlanta progressive movement.”
Khalid is a co-founder of the Atlanta chapter of Black Lives Matter and a labor organizer for the Amalgamated Transit Union. As an active member of Atlanta’s Neighborhood Planning Units, he helped develop a neighborhood watch program and negotiated on behalf of his community in development projects. Khalid is also active in environmental justice and LGBTQ rights advocacy.
Khalid entered today’s runoff election after coming in first place in a five-way primary election held in March with 43%. In that race, khalid won twice as many votes as the next runner up, and the highest percentage of any candidate running for any office in South Fulton. DSA members across the country made thousands of phone calls on behalf of khalid for both rounds of the election.
Khalid is the second DSA member to win local office this month. Dylan Parker was elected to Rock Island, Illinois’ City Council as 5th Ward Alderman on April 4th. There are now 14 DSA members holding public office, including Carlos Rosa, Chicago’s 35th Ward Alderman; Mike Sylvester, of the Maine House of Representatives; and Julie Ann Nitsch, Austin Community College Board of Trustee in Texas.
When I received an email invitation from Gus Cochran inviting me to speak to his April 17 political science class on democratic socialism at Agnes Scott, I jumped at the opportunity. Talking up democratic socialism and the work of DSA would be an experience I could only relish. In my conversation with Gus I learned that the Sanders campaign had prompted him to offer a first-time class on democratic socialism entitled the "Politics of Social Democracy." Gus had begun teaching at Agnes Scott in the 70's and helped bring Michael Harrington to speak at the campus in the early 80's.
The syllabus included readings by Marx, Bernstein and Lenin in a survey of socialism in the first part of the 20th century. In assessing the prospects of democratic socialism in the 21st century, he examined movements in the US - Occupy, Black Lives Matter and the Sandernista political revolution - as well as the alternative left political parties in Europe - Die Linke, Syriza and Podemos. A most pleasant surprise was the inclusion of The ABCs of Socialism (Jacobin) as a key reading.
My presentation revolved around a packet of literature I distributed to the 20 students in class: Isserman's history of the American Left, Cornel West's flier on the alternative to capitalism being socialism, and copies of our own MADSA pamphlet, newsletter and Douglass Debs 2016 program booklet.
The students raised interesting questions: “How does democratic socialism differ from social democracy? How can millennials talk to their parents about democratic socialism? How does the Democratic Socialists of America as an organization relate to the Democratic Party?” A high point of the morning came after class when several students expressed interest in starting a Young Democratic Socialists chapter on their campus.
(Note: Our national office now employs a YDS organizer to help campus groups form chapters of our youth section. See http://www.ydsusa.org/start_a_chapter)
MADSA member Josh Tuccio brought this flag to the Tax Day rally and march April 15, demanding that President Trump release his tax returns. Way to go, Josh!
MADSA and United Students Against Sweatshops member Patricio Cambias was among five people, including four Georgia State U. students, arrested April 10 for sitting in at the GSU president's office. They were demanding a meeting to discuss the Community Benefits Agreement which the Turner Field Benefits Coalition, representing long-established communities neighboring the stadium and in danger of displacement, has presented to the university and the developer for months in vain. For details see the Atlanta Progressive News story. Photo courtesy of APN; Cambias is seated center, in plaid shirt.
The defeat of the Ryan/Trump plan to replace the Affordable Care Act - itself a compromise measure based on Republican Governor Mitt Romney's Massachusetts health insurance program - with something much worse gives progressives a chance to renew our decades-long call for a "single payer" system, also known as "Improved Medicare for All." Bernie Sanders championed single payer during his campaign, and says he will soon propose legislation to that effect. In Atlanta, on April 8, about 150 people rallied in front of Grady Hospital to show their support for this cost-effective and common-sense measure. Above, Dr. Henry Kahn, a MADSA member and Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) activist, addresses the crowd. For more info see healthcare-now.org and pnhp.org. Photo: Reid Freeman Jenkins