Record Turnout As We Head Into 2020

Over 100 MADSA members turned out for our first general meeting of the year on Jan. 25, a record high (thanks to the Membership Committee phone bankers!).This meeting was all about DSA looking for ways we can have a direct impact on the policies of our state. After a brief presentation on how bills are passed by the Georgia legislature and how citizens can lobby and track those bills, a distinguished panel including Sen. Nan Orrock, Rep. Park Cannon, and leaders of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, the Labor Council, SPARK, the Feminist Women’s Health Center and others, clued us in about what to expect from the upcoming legislative session; who is fighting for working people’s interests in Georgia; and how to get involved.

A breakout session provided an opportunity for members to connect with our working groups and committees that help us take action, among them Immigrant Justice, Afro-Socialism, Ecosocialism, Political Education, MADSA for Bernie, Anti-war, Women’s Caucus/Reproductive Rights and Mutual Aid (which had held a brake light clinic earlier that day and provided refreshments for the meeting).

After a lively debate, we voted on whether to endorse two candidates for Georgia congressional seats. A separate blog post on the results will follow soon. The proposal for bylaws revisions was tabled to February’s meeting due to lack of time.

Following announcements of upcoming events and singing “Solidarity Forever,” we adjourned and many of us gathered for more solidarity at a friendly bar and restaurant on the Edgewood strip.

MADSA’s monthly general meetings welcome everyone, although voting is limited to dues-paying members.W

Photo: Michael Roberts

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Free Film: “American Socialist: The Life and Times of Eugene V. Debs”

Bernie inspired a generation, but who inspired Bernie? Labor organizer Eugene Victor Debs led the United States socialist movement in the early 20th century. He received almost one million votes for president in 1920, running from his cell in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, where he had been jailed for protesting World War I — when our population was one third the size of today’s! Debs was a charismatic, extremely popular figure during his lifetime but this history, like so much of our radical history, is rarely taught.

Debs famously declared: “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!”

Metro Atlanta DSA and Georgia State U. YDSA are proud to present this film, produced by Yale Strom and Elizabeth Schwartz, two San Diego DSA members. Discussion will follow the film, so please plan to stay.

We also plan to have some copies available of Eugene Debs, a Graphic Biography, by DSA members Paul Buhle and Steve Max, at half price. You can order a copy at half price online from national DSA.

Admission is free, though donations to help pay for the screening fee and theater rental will be welcome.

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MADSA at King Day March

As we do every year, a contingent of MADSA members joined the Martin Luther King Jr. Day march on Jan. 20, along with hundreds of others from peace and justice organizations, labor unions, community groups, churches and schools, and individuals. The lead marchers chanted “Ho, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go!” and many other concerns were voiced, including demands for peace, reparations, and police accountability. Photos: Reid Freeman Jenkins.

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Rally, Sit-in: “Stop Displacing Black People From Atlanta”

A rally Monday 12/16 on the steps of The People’s House (Atlanta City Hall) demanded that Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms – who has dubbed herself “the Housing Mayor” – “Stop displacing Black people from Atlanta!” Several MADSA members were there, including Lorraine Fontana, who posted this report:

Speakers included Tanya Washington and Robert and Bertha Darden, Peoplestown residents whose homes the City has taken by eminent domain (we demanded that Mayor Bottoms resolve this issue immediately, as these families have been strung along for seven years now!); advocates for people without homes; members of the Housing Justice League doing work to stem the tide of evictions and to create a BeltLine for All; and other folks who gathered to demand that our mayor respond to the needs of the people in the City Too Busy to Hate!

The mayor was not to be seen or found while we were there. . .but there will be more demands that she talk with these Peoplestown residents directly and use her executive power to withdraw the lawsuit against them that is now in the court. Some Housing Justice League and other sisters and brothers decided to stay all night outside the mayor’s office at City Hall, so they’d be there when the mayor does get to her office in the morning. Singing justice songs to keep them energized!

Sitting in at City Hall to defend our Peoplestown neighbors’ right to their homes. Photo: Housing Justice League
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Holiday Solidarity at MADSA’s December Meeting

MADSA’s December general meeting, held at our downtown office, featured a holiday potluck feast and socializing in addition to a few business items and reports from working groups and committees. By breaking into groups of four we got to know some fellow members better, including new comrades from Athens (one plans to run for county commissioner!) and Kennesaw.

We also heard about plans for another break-light clinic in January (Mutual Aid WG); ongoing canvasses for Bernie; joining actions with our allies against climate change and a proposed Ga. Power rate hike, plus a popular ecosocialism book club (Ecosocialism WG); planning for public and internal education programs in 2020 (Education WG); a new MADSA YouTube channel, ready for your contribution (Digital-Communications Committee); and outreach to increase member engagement (Membership Committee). All members are encouraged to join these groups. Announcements included an Afro-Socialism group party, and the Housing Justice League’s City Hall protest against displacement of inner city neighborhoods by gentrification. We learned a lot but also had lots of fun!

MADSA Chair Councilman khalid opened the meeting. Photo: Catie Elle.

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