Atlanta DSA Condemns SB202: As Workers, We Must Organize Against Voter Suppression and More
States in the US have often been lauded as the “laboratories of democracy”. Georgia, on the other hand, has once again made a name for itself as an experiment in authoritarianism.
On March 25th, while confronting Brian Kemp for once again restricting basic democratic processes in Georgia, State Representative Park Cannon was arrested. Since it is illegal to arrest Georgia legislators by misdemeanor during session, Capitol Police charged her with trumped-up felony charges. The bill that Kemp signed into law, SB202, is indefensible; it restricts voting methods, adds complicated and inaccessible hoops, allows the state to intervene in county elections processes, and bans voters taking care of each other while waiting for hours in lines. Instead of allowing criticism, police closed ranks around Kemp and the state Republicans, deflecting the heat by throwing accusations at a Black woman trying to represent her district’s residents.
Let us be clear: racist police and judicial violence has a long and horrible history in this state. For generations, state law enforcement, business interests, and officials have fabricated charges and defended or deflected violence against unionists, Jewish, Black, Asian, and Latino people, and political opponents of a regime of white supremacist capitalism. If Georgia were not a part of the United States empire, it would be painted as an authoritarian oligarchy; instead, our ruling class is given license to consolidate power by violence in the name of “civil political debate”.
As socialists, we of Atlanta DSA recognize that Georgia’s multi-front assault on the rights of its residents is part of a larger project of capitalist domination. ICE imprisons and demonizes immigrants, law enforcement arrests Black State Representatives while tacitly approving racist mass-murder, and unionization rates, worker protections, and wages all remain at rock bottom. The exploitation of the working class has always been racialized; the most exploited workers are those forced to the bottom of a racial caste system. We see this assault on voting rights as only the most recent in a long line of rollbacks of the rights of working people.
Georgia’s ruling class is trying and has always tried to make solidarity illegal. But, as CWA-AFA President Sara Nelson once said, “solidarity is a force stronger than gravity.”
In the past year, working people have expressed tremendous power and won real victories. Unions, especially the predominantly Black Unite Here local 23, delivered a historic defeat to Republicans last November. Latino organizations like Mijente worked tirelessly to defeat the 287(g) program in Cobb and Gwinnett county, ending local law enforcement’s formal collaboration with ICE. In the past few days, national unions like IUPAT and CWA have worked alongside DSA chapters across the country to deliver over half a million phone calls to working people, asking them to flood the voicemails and mailboxes of US Senators and flipping votes to end the filibuster, pass the PRO Act, and pass HB1, the “For the People Act”. Victory is possible, but we must organize and fight together to achieve it.
We, the Steering Committee of Atlanta DSA, call on all working people in the state of Georgia to get organized. This fight did not start with SB202, and it will not end with SB202. As a class, our strength is in our numbers and our coordination. We must overcome racial, gendered, sexual, and caste divisions by fighting alongside one another.
Solidarity is a verb, and we practice it by organizing together, committing together, and moving into struggle together. We ask you to join DSA, to join a local organization, and to join a union if you can.