Metro Atlanta DSA joined numerous other community and environmental justice organizations—totalling over 500 Atlanta —activistsin clamoring for bold action by the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, coinciding with many grassroots mobilizations around the globe. DSA contributed to the Atlanta Climate March in terms of finances, people power, and radical analysis, demonstrating its deep concern and outrage toward ongoing and escalating environmental devastation, wrought by economic systems that assume limitless production, consumption, and investment in carbon based energy sources. The Emory Graduate Sustainability Sustainability Group coordinated the march, which drew participation from a wide range of organizations and individuals, including the Sierra Club, Georgia for Bernie, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, and other prominent friends of DSA such as Senator Vincent Fort and Daniel Blackman.
The UN Climate Change Conference follows last year’s UN Climate Summit in New York, which was similarly met with a massive mobilization, also directly supported by DSA. Last year, DSA helped send roughly a dozen Atlantans to the People’s Climate March and Flood Wall Street, both manifesting wide participation — over 300,000 people! — and bold civil disobedience culminating in a 4000-person sit-in on Wall Street. The DSA contingent was one of several anti-capitalist organizations composing the “We Know Who Is Responsible” segment of the 2014 march, asserting the obvious truth that, despite a growing scientific understanding of the problems and solutions, the overlapping environmental crises have a firm basis in material relations, with the dominant capitalist class creating, defending, and (for now) benefiting from the unsustainable status quo.
Metro Atlanta DSA helped to maintain this socialist and humanist tenor throughout this year’s Atlanta Climate March, spreading the message that our institutions should value people and planet over profit: “Climate devastation / will not be solved by corporations! / That’s bullshit, get off it! / Put people over profit!” stated one popular slogan, which quickly spread through the crowd. Aside from mobilizing several Metro Atlanta DSA members, DSA’s organizing committee also worked with the Georgia for Bernie network of Bernie Sanders supporters to boost turnout. This effort was at least moderately successful, as pro-Sanders buttons and signs were visible throughout the march. Metro Atlanta DSA hopes that the Sanders candidacy may embolden some progressives (and working people generally) to take action through grassroots political organization for the first time; perhaps it is no coincidence that some activists present at the march had no prior experience in political direct action, per APN’s thorough coverage of the march.
We hope that this Atlanta grassroots coalition developed through this action not only preserves the bonds we created last weekend, but also continues to fight for climate justice and challenge the highly entrenched interests of carbon based energy producers and other polluters.