July General Meeting: Engaging Our Members

Helped by phone banking and by energy from the inspiring training offered SE chapters by national DSA staff in Atlanta two weekends ago (scroll down for story), attendance at MADSA’s July 28 general membership meeting was about half again as high as in each of the previous two meetings. It also didn’t hurt that 121 new members have signed up since May, for a total of about 400 chapter members, according to Membership Secretary Michael Lavender! We had enjoyed meeting some of them at our monthly Eat, Drink and Be Marxist social gathering at the Georgia Beer Garden July 20, and house parties are in the works. (Everyone is welcomed at our general meetings and social events, members or not.)

Alexander Hernandez reports back from Immigrant Justice. Photo: Barbara Joye

We heard invitations to get involved in local actions during the coming weeks, from organizers for a new union for state university system faculty and staff; the leading disability rights organization Adapt; Atlanta Jobs With Justice, a coalition of labor and community groups; and Ga. Tech Young Democratic Socialists of America. Volunteers to serve as grievance officers stepped forward. Matthew Wolfsen and Jeff Corkill were voted in and the third will be voted on at the next general meeting. A nomination committee (Milt Tambor, Daniel Hanley and Barbara Joye) volunteered to search for candidates to run in our annual election of MADSA officers this coming September.

The meeting’s feature was a “fishbowl” conversation among some of the members who had attended the regional training: Lisa Ashway, Nate Knauf, Catie, Evan Seeds, and Speck. They reported learning about ways to assess and strengthen member participation and make effective plans for action, with examples of successful practice from other SE chapters. Finally, but not least important, some of our working groups: Socialist Education, Immigrant Justice, Health Care Justice, Mutual Aid/Brake Light Clinics and Electoral had lively and productive planning sessions during the second half of the meeting. Look for announcements of their events and actions on our FB page, Twitter and email blasts.

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