As Georgia's agricultural fields are finding themselves without its usual mirgrant workforce due to harsh immigration laws, the state is turning towards another cheap source of labor: prisoners. With increased privatization of prisons and inmates providing a "pliable" work source, Georgia's situation may present a harbinger of the kind of labor to come.
Describing if the program that has some of Georgia's "transitional prison inmates" picking onions is likely to spread, a WXIA Atlanta reporter says, "as long as labor shortage continues... this is going to be pretty appealing."
Steve Fraser and Joshua Freeman write on the ubiquity of prison labor: "Prisoners, whose ranks increasingly consist of those for whom the legitimate economy has found no use, now make up a virtual brigade within the reserve army of the unemployed whose ranks have ballooned along with the U.S. incarceration rate."
"All told, nearly a million prisoners are now making office furniture, working in call centers, fabricating body armor, taking hotel reservations, working in slaughterhouses, or manufacturing textiles, shoes, and clothing, while getting paid somewhere between 93 cents and $4.73 per day," write Fraser and Freeman.
Link to original article from Common Dreams
In this aerial view looking at I-75 north at Mount Paran Road, abandoned cars are piled up on the median of the ice-covered interstate after a winter snowstorm Wednesday. Officials estimate that more than 2,000 cars still litter the highways. (Photo: AP)
Americans are surrounded by examples of the extent to which the austerity compulsion has twisted the thinking of elected officials—December’s budget “compromise” failed to extend unemployment benefits, not just Republicans but many Democrats just voted for a Farm Bill that cuts aid for the hungry, states across the country...
John Nichols | The Nation 31 Jan 2014 Hits:513 Georgia
Georgia's 8th Judicial District underfunds its public defender's office so badly that its juvenile courts have more judges than public defenders, denying children the right to counsel, and sending adults to jail for months before trial, a class action claims in state court.
Four children and four adults sued Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal and the director of Georgia's Public Defender Standards Council W. Travis Sakrison, in Fulton County State Court.
Lead plaintiff N.P. by his next friend Shaneka Darden claims the Cordele Judicial Circuit is so "severely understaffed and grossly underfunded" that...
Iulia Filip | Courthouse News 10 Jan 2014 Hits:616 Georgia
Last November, Senate Democrats invoked a procedural maneuver that allowed them to confirm judicial nominees by a simple majority vote, thus cutting off the GOP’s ability to maintain control over a key federal appeals court by simply refusing to permit anyone to be confirmed. So it’s a bit odd that, just over a month after Senate Republicans effectively lost their ability to veto nominees from the minority. President Obama decided to outsource selecting nominees to most of the open judicial seats in Georgia to two Republican senators.
Presently, five judicial vacancies...
Ian Millhiser | ThinkProgress 07 Jan 2014 Hits:505 Georgia
Democrat Leslie Messinger made it official on Friday that she will be running in the 2014 U.S. Congressional race for Georgia's 1st District.
Messinger is running for the seat being vacated by 11 term Republican Jack Kingston, who is seeking a seat in the U.S. senate.
The two faced each other in the 2012 election with Kingston winning, but Messinger gaining more votes than any of his previous contenders-- thanks in part to newly drawn district lines.
Messinger sent me an e-mail earlier today confirming her decision. "After much encouragement and support from the base of voters...
Russ Riesinger | WSAV 29 Dec 2013 Hits:772 Georgia
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) wants kids to learn early in life that there's no such thing as a free lunch. To make sure they absorb that lesson, he's proposing that low-income children do some manual labor in exchange for their subsidized meals.
On Saturday, Kingston, who is vying to be his party's nominee in Georgia's Senate race next year, spoke at a meeting of the Jackson County Republican Party about the federal school lunch program.
Under that program, children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty line...
Amanda Terkel The Huffington Post 19 Dec 2013 Hits:566 Georgia
Since August 19, 2013, a “Moral Monday” movement has been building in Georgia to take back our State government from the interests of corporations and wealthy people. The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition, which includes people of faith and citizens of Georgia, has been meeting every two weeks to plan for progressive actions during the 2014 Legislative Session.
The group seeks to duplicate the organizing successes of the Moral Monday movement formed in North Carolina in April 2013, which has also focused on opposing repressive and oppressive social policies through protest tactics...
Kevin Moran | Atlanta Progressive News 13 Dec 2013 Hits:389 Georgia
Former President Jimmy Carter says he’s excited and proud that his grandson, Jason, has decided to run for governor of Georgia next year.
The elder Carter said in a statement Thursday that he believes his grandson has already done “great things for Georgians through his service in the state Senate and volunteer work throughout the state.”
The former president adds that Georgia faces serious challenges and would “greatly benefit from a smart and fresh leader focused on improving our schools, creating opportunities for a more prosperous middle class and restoring a sense...
Associated Press | New York Daily News 08 Nov 2013 Hits:775 Georgia
On the front page of Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the newspaper reports one reason so many Georgians feel that our state and our lawmakers are going in the wrong direction.
Corporate cash, in the form of industry-specific political action committees, fund the election campaigns of nearly all of our elected officials. (The full story is behind a paywall: Special-interest cash quickly eclipses hometown support)
Many leaders of the General Assembly collect 95 percent and more of their campaign contributions from special interests, bringing in more money from outside the state than from within...
Better Georgia 16 Oct 2013 Hits:551 Georgia
Georgia would gain nearly $100 million in state and local tax revenue each year if Congress allows undocumented immigrants now living in the United States to work here legally, according to a new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). Comprehensive immigration reform is under debate in Washington and passing a forward-looking bill would give a sorely needed boost to Georgia’s sagging state treasury after years of cuts to schools, health care and other vital services.
An estimated 186,000 undocumented families call Georgia home and, contrary to popular...
Wesley Tharpe | The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute Blog 10 Jul 2013 Hits:507 Georgia
Nothing makes me more angry than listening to the Very Serious People at CNN and MSNBC claim that single-payer health insurance (i.e. Medicare for all) is some sort of left-wing policy. It's not -- and that's why the rest of the developed world uses some variation of single-payer insurance to cover everyone for less than America spends to cover its elderly and poor alone.
Well, here's great proof from the Charlotte Observer that single-payer health insurance is indeed a mainstream -- dare I say conservative -- idea. Republican Hospital Executive Jack...
James 321 | Daily Kos 11 Jun 2013 Hits:926 Georgia
The Senate race in Georgia is shaping up to host the first test case for Democrats’ push to play in demographically diversifying states currently dominated by Republicans.
A surge in the black and Hispanic populations around Atlanta has altered the political outlook in Georgia’s statewide races for decades to come.
But for Democrats, the future is now. The party is banking on the burgeoning minority-populated and increasingly suburban electorate paying off in 2014, when an open-seat Senate race represents its most promising offensive opportunity of the cycle.
“I believe that Georgia is in...
Kyle Trygstad | Roll Call 06 Jun 2013 Hits:508 Georgia
Neither soaking rain nor the lack of permit from the City of Atlanta prevented advocates for the legalization of cannabis--commonly known as marijuana--from speaking out at the Great Atlanta Pot Festival 2013.
Paul Cornwell, Atlanta Coalition for the Abolition of Marijuana Prohibition (CAMP), and the festival organizer, was turned down for a permit to hold the festival at Hurt Street and Euclid Avenue in the Inman Park area.
He was earlier denied a permit to hold the festival in Freedom Park.
The Coalition for the Abolition of Marijuana Prohibition Legal Defense Fund filed...
Gloria Tatum | Atlanta Progressive News 12 May 2013 Hits:636 Georgia
The governor's spokesman called the effort to promote an integrated prom in Wilcox County a 'silly publicity stunt.'
A group of teens backed by a liberal group in Georgia want to end the segregated prom that exists in Wilcox County. But the governor thinks that effort is “ a silly publicity stunt,” as Think Progress notes.
In response to inquiries from Georgia news outlet 13 WMAZ about whether he supports efforts to end the segregated, whites-only prom that parents have organized in Wilcox County, the governor’s spokesman said: “This is a leftist...
Alex Kane | AlterNet 15 Apr 2013 Hits:833 Georgia
Four girls in Rochelle, Ga. are fighting to do in their hometown what the Civil Rights Act was meant to do for all of America in 1964: end segregation.
WSAV in Georgia reports that Wilcox County High School holds two proms for its students: a whites-only prom, and an integrated prom. WSAV notes that the school has never had a fully inclusive prom in its history.
Best friends Stephanie Sinnot, Mareshia Rucker, Quanesha Wallace and Keela Bloodworth are trying to change that. “We are all friends,” said Sinnot. “That’s just kind of...
Prachi Gupta | Salon.com 05 Apr 2013 Hits:863 Georgia
The town’s Police Chief said he hopes “having a gun would help residents take their protection into their own hands,” since the town has an understaffed police department.
Late Monday, Nelson, Georgia passed a law called the “Family Protection Ordinance” that requires every adult in the 1,300-person town to own a gun “for purposes of emergency management and general safety of the city.”
The town’s Police Chief, Heath Mitchell, told the AP that he hopes “having a gun would help residents take their protection into their own hands,” since the town has an...
Annie-Rose Strasser | ThinkProgress 02 Apr 2013 Hits:589 Georgia
It would be easy to think that the Atlanta cheating scandal by adults on standardized tests is the worst we have seen, given last week’s startling indictment against former Atlanta schools superintendent Beverly Hall and 34 others under a law used against mobsters.
But you shouldn’t.
In the past four academic years, test cheating has been confirmed in 37 states and Washington D.C. (You can see details here, and, here, a list of more than 50 ways that schools can manipulate test scores.) The true extent of these scandals remain unknown, and,...
Valerie Strauss | The Washington Post 02 Apr 2013 Hits:560 Georgia
On the banks of the Savannah River, the Rev. Terence A. Dicks of Augusta, Georgia now represents the Democrats on the Richmond County Board of Elections.
Terence represents the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) in the south and is co-founder of the PDA Southern Strategy with Andrea Miller (the pair co-host PDA Radio).
Rev. Dicks is the PDA Southern Regional Organizer and PDA State of Georgia Coordinator, where he has created 11 chapters and is working on others thanks to lots of support from Georgians ready for change whom hold progressive MLK-era...
Greg Peterson 24 Mar 2013 Hits:919 Georgia
Energy provider Dominion has signed a deal to take over a planned solar energy project in east-central Georgia that will have Cobb Electric Membership Corp. as its customer.
The 40-acre solar project, called the Azalea Solar Power Facility, will be on farmland and forest acreage about 60 miles southwest of Augusta. The plant will produce about 7.7 megawatts of electricity using photovoltaic technology.
Dominion said it has a 25-year purchase power agreement with Cobb EMC, which serves about 176,000 customers.
“When we can add renewable energy...
Christopher Sewart | Atlanta Journal Constitution 06 Mar 2013 Hits:642 Georgia
It is a matter of public record that the United States Senate is a terrible place where serious policy issues are ignored; routine votes are occasionally delayed over concerns aboutnon-existent terrorist groups; and proverbial cans are proverbially kicked down the proverbial road of sadness, gridlock, and despair.
What's less clear is why the Senate is such a congress of louts. Is it the endless pressure to raise money? The never-ending campaign? The fact that Americans hold lots of substantive disagreements on important things and are themselves—it's been said—somewhat dysfunctional?
Actually, according to Georgia...
Tim Murphy | Mother Jones 16 Feb 2013 Hits:852 Georgia
On the eve of Lent, and the 104th anniversary of the founding of the NAACP, which began as an organization fighting against the false and unjust convictions of African-American men, the Georgia criminal justice system has engaged in a kind of partial repentance.
John McNeil was wrongfully convicted nearly six years ago. Two white police officers and a white eye witness testified he acted in self-defense against an aggressor on his own property. His livelihood was taken away. A Georgia Superior Court ruled that there were substantial judicial errors in his...
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber | North Carolina NAACP 12 Feb 2013 Hits:675 Georgia
A day after mourning and celebrating the life of his wife and strongest supporter, the NC NAACP is traveling to Georgia today to attend a hearing for John McNeil. John McNeil was wrongfully convicted of first degree murder after defending his son from an attacker at his house in 2006. A funeral service was held yesterday for his wife Anita McNeil, who passed away last week after a long battle with cancer.
"No matter how dark the outlook, or slim the chances, we never gave up hope because Anita McNeil wouldn't...
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President, NCNAACP 11 Feb 2013 Hits:640 Georgia
While Big Green organizations, Latino and immigrant rights groups meet in Washington, D.C. to plot out their post-election strategies on climate policy, clean energy and immigration reform, an extraordinary alliance of students in Georgia is already taking the lead among campuses nationwide in uniting their movements with a shared vision: And Justice for All.
In red state Georgia?
With its draconian Arizona-copycat "papers, please" immigration law, including a special ban on college entrance for undocumented students, and its schools and communities dealing with the toxic fallout over coal-burning...
Jeff Biggers | The Huffington Post 13 Nov 2012 Hits:1002 Georgia
(Morrow, Georgia) – Determined to ensure Georgia’s rich history is readily available, Democrats in the Peach State are rallying to keep the Republican Administration from effectively closing the Georgia State Archives thus becoming the only state in the nation without a state archives that is open to the public.
In what Georgia Archives supporters describe as a major step backwards for the state’s civil rights history and citizens, Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp recently ordered seven employees laid-off when the facility ceases operations on Nov. 1.
Archive supporters described those...
Greg Peterson 02 Oct 2012 Hits:1337 Georgia
(Savannah, GA) - Georgia unions are holding a march and rally this Tues., Oct. 2, 2012 in Savannah, Georgia because organizers say "Corporations are Not People" as Democrats and labor unions gather to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution suggested by Pres. Obama to overturn the controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission (FEC), according to event organizers.
Goals of the event - entitled the "Hit the Road Jack" Day of Action - are to publicly fight the notion by Mitt Romney that...
01 Oct 2012 Hits:1285 Georgia
Judge Rules in Favor of John McNeil
In a great victory for justice in the State of Georgia, a judge ruled yesterday in favor of a habeas corpus claim brought to her by John McNeil's lawyers and supported by the NAACP. The judge ruled that there were several glaring omissions and mistakes during his original trial that compromised the final ruling and sentence.
This a great step for the judge to acknowledge something went wrong in the case and conviction of John McNeil. We have two white senior detectives, a white eye witness, a Chief Justice of the...
Rev Dr William J Barber and Atty Al McSurey | NC NAACP 29 Sep 2012 Hits:1418 Georgia
Links to maps: Find your state’s voting rights, voter ID laws and voter suppression info in Georgia and across USA:
Map of Shame: Voter Suppression Legislation Tracker
Cost of Freedom Map
Election Protection Coalition Map
Non-Profit Vote Definitions of Felon/Ex-Felon by State
Georgia Voting Rights, Voter Suppression, GA Voter ID Law and Felon Disenfranchisement info from ACLU, NAACP and more:
ACLU of Georgia
26 Sep 2012 Hits:1326 Georgia
The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law ("Lawyers' Committee") and its coalition partners seek volunteer attorneys, paralegals and law students for Election Protection on Election Day, November 6, 2012. Election Protection is the country's largest non-partisan voter protection program and is supported by a national coalition that works throughout the year to break down barriers to the ballot box for traditionally disenfranchised voters.
To that end, the Lawyers' Committee and its partners are seeking legal volunteers in the Atlanta area to serve at a call center or as part of...
American Constitution Society 25 Sep 2012 Hits:1196 Georgia
NAACP leaders on Monday again demanded the release of a black man imprisoned after shooting a white man on the shooter's property.
The activists said John McNeil's conviction was proof that self-defense laws, which McNeil cited in his 2006 trial, are not applied equally to all races in the United States. McNeil is serving a life sentence for the 2005 shooting death of Brian Epp, whom he had hired as a contractor on his Kennesaw home.
"Something is wrong here. Morally wrong. Legally wrong," said the Rev. William Barber II, an NAACP...
Bill Barlow | Associated Press 10 Sep 2012 Hits:1108 Georgia
Pictured left to right on a PDA Peoples Convention panel on Election Reform are Terence Dicks, Steve Cobble, David Segal, David Cobb and John Nichols. View a slideshow of photos of this and other events from Progressive Central 2012 on the PDA America flickr site.
07 Sep 2012 Hits:1148 Georgia
(Charlotte, NC) – Progressive Democrats and others must work like never before to get out the vote to re-elect President Obama as they fight Republican voter suppression and other illegal tactics like buying legislators, said the Rev. Terence A. Dicks, Progressive Democrats of America Southern Regional Organizer and PDA State of Georgia Coordinator.
Dicks outlined the Republican efforts to stop Democrats and other Obama supporters...
05 Sep 2012 Hits:2430 Georgia
The facts are clear. Justice was denied in Georgia.
Let me remind you of the details of a case from 2005.
In self-defense, John McNeil, a successful African American businessman and father of two, shot and killed a Caucasian man. The deceased was a former builder who worked on John's property and had threatened John and his son with a weapon.
The police were called, but they didn't arrest John. It was clear that John acted in self-defense and that no crime had been committed. But 274 days...
Edward DuBose | Georgia NAACP 24 Aug 2012 Hits:1370 Georgia
The Stand for Peace 10th Anniversary event is this Friday, August 24, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia hosted by Georgia Women's Action for New Directions (WAND).
Join Georgia WAND, U.S. Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), civil rights icon Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery and Mrs. Evelyn Lowery to mark ten years of Standing for Peace.
Friday, August 24, 201212 NoonColony SquarePeachtree Street and 14th StreetAtlanta, GA
According to Ga WAND:
Dying at a rate of one per day, 80,000 American troops are still fighting in Afghanistan - the forgotten war.
The American death toll is 1,968
Terence Dicks 23 Aug 2012 Hits:1044 Georgia
This is the "Stop Plant Vogtle Week of Action" (August 19-25) hosted by Georgia Women's Action for New Directions (WAND).
The Department of Energy (DOE) announced Tuesday, January 31, 2012 that it does not plan to honor its promise to restore environmental monitoring in Georgia communities surrounding the Savannah River Site (SRS), a U.S. nuclear weapons complex notorious for its Cold War legacy radioactive waste.
This monitoring, which was cut in Georgia 2003, tests drinking water, rain, crops, fish, air and more near SRS in order to...
Terence Dicks 23 Aug 2012 Hits:1046 Georgia
Augusta National admits women and only admitted blacks in 1990 due to sponsor pressure
It's about time.
While admitting women is a long overdue stroke - do not expect me to praise the Masters Mecca because it is finally attempting to enter the modern era.
Don't be fooled - it's an extremely snobbish, exclusive club that will never welcome even the moderately rich - unless you can buy the expensive tickets.
Financial backers of the national were upset by the negative publicity - just like when they finally admitted African Americans
The Augusta National...
Terence Dicks | PDA Georgia 21 Aug 2012 Hits:1366 Georgia
(Macon, Georgia) – Georgia chapter chairs for the Progressive Democrats of America were out in force in Macon on June 16, 2012 at the Democratic Party of Georgia (DPG) 2012 State Committee Meeting.
The Progressive Democrats of Georgia are actively working within the DPG to keep progressive issues in the forefront.
Pictured left to right are David Robinson, Miguel Camacho, Eric Pines, Terence A. Dicks, Fenika Miller and Elliott Smith.
All served on the DPG State Committee and are active Progressive Democrats seeking change within the party.
Among the issues before...
Terence Dicks | PDA Georgia 19 Jun 2012 Hits:1333 Georgia
A fascinating legal battle is brewing in Georgia over a mile-long piece of road.
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:The Georgia Department of Transportation is reviewing the May 21 request filed by International Keystone Knights of the KKK in Union County and are set to meet with lawyers from the state attorney general’s office today to decide what to do. The application — which covers a one-mile stretch of Route 515 in the Appalachian Mountains near the North Carolina border — has placed Georgia officials in a bind....
Sarah Seltzer | Sourced from AlterNet 12 Jun 2012 Hits:973 Georgia
The eviction might have been another anonymous descent into poverty were it not for Occupy Atlanta activists who tried to help the family stay.
Four generations of a Georgia family…
State Sen. Nan Orrock, D-Atlanta, one of the Gold Dome's most liberal members, has cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, the controversial think tank that's…
As Georgia's agricultural fields are finding themselves without its usual mirgrant workforce due to harsh immigration laws, the state is turning towards another cheap source of labor: prisoners.…
The state of Georgia has settled a lawsuit with a coalition of voting rights groups to enforce a requirement in the federal National Voter Registration Act to…
John McNeil killed a white man who assaulted him on his property. But, unlike George Zimmerman, he's serving life
As the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and the failure of …
Power4Georgians in Tenuous Position on Plant Washington After Legal Agreement
Clean air advocates and environmental groups won a victory today when Power4Georgians (P4G), the only company trying to develop…
After an emotional 14-hour workday that included fist-fights between lobbyists and a walk-out by women Democrats, the Georgia House passed a Senate-approved bill Thursday night that criminalizes abortion …
ATLANTA -- His name is not important; his story is. Let’s call him Joe. Life has been bad lately for Joe and others like him. And now, thanks to …
In my last blog I said that Georgia has a unique situation in terms of its voter ID law, which was put into effect in 2007. As is often…
For support in organizing within your state, contact:
State LeadershipTerence Dicks
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cobb County PDACoastal Georgia ChapterGeorgia Mountains ChapterMacon/Middle Georgia Progressive Democrats of AmericaMetro Atlanta PDA of Fulton CountyMuscogee County Progressive DemocratsProgressive Democrats of Augusta CD 10 and 12Progressive Democrats of Clayton & Henry CountiesProgressive Democrats of CSRA (Tri-Counties)Progressive Democrats of Gwinnett CountyProgressive Democrats of SavannahProgressive Democrats of West Georgia
Want to bring progressive change to Georgia? Start a PDA chapter; send us an email and we'll get you started.
PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:
Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.
Legislators Who Have Cut Ties To ALEC