Racism and Class: Atlas Restaurant Group

By Carlo

July 16, 2020

“Every Black person has an Atlas story”

-Robyn Murphy, Baltimore Sun, June 2020

BALTIMORE – It is no secret that capitalism is a racist system, and that true equality necessarily means its overthrow and replacement with socialism. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the heart of Baltimore, a city built on stolen Piscataway land, where a corporation known as Atlas Restaurant Group has openly engaged in class and racial warfare against the oppressed classes and nations of the city. The intensity of the corporation’s actions necessitates a response from the For The People – Baltimore branch. This corporation has openly discriminated on the basis of race and class, it has hurt its workers with exploitative pay cuts during a pandemic, and has even gone so far as to retract its already weak apologies.

Our attention was first brought to the corporation’s activities when an incident occurred on June 22nd: Marcia Grant, local realtor, went to Ouzo Bay (an Atlas Restaurant Group business) for a dinner with her young son, Dallas. They were stopped at the door and told that they would not be seated due to the restaurant’s dress code. However, there was a young white boy near them dressed very similarly to Dallas, and when Mrs. Grant brought this up, a manager shut her down and gave a flimsy excuse to get her to go.

According to employees, this is not the first instance of racial discrimination. One of the musicians whom Atlas hired for entertainment says, “I play in a jazz ensemble. The jazz bands that Atlas hires are mostly white, but there was this time one of the horn players was African-American. He walked to the entrance, with his instrument in his hand, and the security stopped him and asked him ‘what he was doing there’”. When a group of 50-60 musicians took their complaints about this persistent racial harassment to the management, they were all subsequently fired, and their contracts severed.

This is not the first misconduct within Atlas’ mediation process. They told one (now former) employee that there would be a meeting to discuss the event on the 22nd of June, but it would be during the workday, in their offices downtown. After making it downtown, the employee had to figure out how to get into the building. She was finally let in by someone and surprised the secretary by asking about the meeting. Not only was she the first and only person to show up, Alexander Smith (co-owner of Atlas, along with his brother Eric) was taken by surprise that someone managed to make it through all the obstacles he’d put up to prevent her from getting there! The meeting was not fruitful, and ended in her leaving the company in search of another job.

This does not begin to break the surface of the crimes committed by the capitalist colonizer class in Baltimore alone. Atlas Restaurant Group is the epitome of how racism became systematic. As a revolutionary organization for the workers and oppressed nations, it is our duty to struggle against corporations and individuals like this, and see that they are held accountable for the discrimination which the upper classes are not only complicit in, but profit from. We in FTP-Baltimore demand that Alexander and Eric Smith meet with us and other protestors to hear our demands!

We Demand Justice!

¡Exigimos Justicia!