I meant to write about this a couple days ago, but I just completely forgot about it until I sat down to go through my open tabs today. Still, better late than never, I guess? Last month I wrote about Atlanta forest defenders being arrested and charged with “domestic terrorism”, for the heinous act of sitting in trees that the cops wanted to cut down. The people working to stop the destruction of the Atlanta Forest for a massive, militarized police training facility are calling for demonstrations of solidarity around the country:
We received this call for a weekend of solidarity with the Atlanta Forest to #StopCopCity.
6 people are charged with domestic terrorism for tree-sitting, as police kill more people in 2022 than any year before, & the climate crisis rages.
We can all take action for our future. pic.twitter.com/udOVshVuVF
— Defend the Atlanta Forest (@defendATLforest) January 5, 2023
It’s Going Down has the following list of events being planned for this weekend, as of a day or two ago:
Roundup Of Solidarity Events
January 14th, Savannah, GA
January 14th, Brooklyn, NYC
In response to the call for a weekend of solidarity with the movement to stop cop city we will be hosting this info session and documentary screening. pic.twitter.com/sEvZQfbzDW
— MACC NYC (@macc_nyc) January 11, 2023
January 15th, New Haven, CT
The battle for Atlanta’s forest is about all of us. Further militarization and destruction of nature; placing value on the destructive colonial violence that is policing anywhere. We can’t do much from here, but solidarity knows know bounds. We’ll be there to show it. pic.twitter.com/jHRUhLDLbE
— CT John Brown Gun Club (@ctjbgc) January 12, 2023
January 15th, Atlanta, GA
Tomorrow (Saturday) at 7 PM: Too Early Too Late – a screening at Maysles Cinema in New York City (343 Lenox Ave.) to raise funds and support #DefendtheAtlantaForest @defendATLforest
Followed by a panel featuring Suneil Sazgiri#NYCevents @protest_nyc @blmnewyork @blmnewyorkcity pic.twitter.com/CB08nG8ZPU
— firstname.lastname@example.org (@survivalresist) January 13, 2023
January 16th, Decatur, GA
— Insert Creative Name (@falcon_0_4) January 11, 2023
January 28th, NYC
NYC! fundraiser screening of "Too Early Too Late" & panel discussion with Suneil Sazgiri at @mayslescinema
— Defend the Atlanta Forest (@defendATLforest) January 12, 2023
As you’ll note, some of these things are not happening this weekend. While having a lot of actions happening on the same day is a tactic to get more attention on the issue, demonstrations and other events happening spontaneously over time and across the country can also serve that purpose. This is a long-term fight, not just because the backers of Cop City are still intending to build it, but also because even if we do win this fight, there will be new ones for as long as we’re dealing with a system like the one we’re fighting to change. If we ever want to have real democracy and freedom, it will require this kind of sustained effort both to create, and to maintain the world we want.
On that note, I also think you should check out this interview that the Youtuber F.D. Signifier did with commentator and activist Kamau Franklin about the issue:
As Franklin describes, “Cop City” is intended to have, among other facilities, 11 firing ranges, and a mock city for police to train in crowd control. As he says, this seems far more about general control of the populace and of any movements for change, than it is about any concern for public safety. It sure seems as though the police and ruling class looked at the BLM movement, and decided that they had to be able to just outright crush anything like that. It wouldn’t shock me to learn, down the road, that some of this is about the increasing popularity of left-wing thought and political tactics in the U.S.. Bolstering this interpretation is the fact that U.S. police often train with the enforcers of Israeli apartheid, working to develop tactics for controlling the population through force. With worsening inequality, rising fascism, and a warming climate, this should worry you, as should the ever-increasing U.S. military budget.
The movement towards authoritarianism is not unique to the Republican Party. The Democrats have been on board every step of the way, from pouring cash into the Pentagon, to developing the humanitarian nightmare that is the U.S. carceral system. It is Democratic mayor Eric Adams that wants to declare houseless people insane and lock them up. I don’t think the Dems are full-on fascist like the current GOP, but they do very clearly value capitalism more than democracy or freedom. They have been on board through the bloody history of U.S. interference with left-wing governments and movements around the globe. They have been on board with supporting the genocide being waged in Yemen, and the ethnic cleansing in Palestine. This is why we need organizing that’s separate from political parties and the electoral system. This is why we need direct action like the work of land and water defenders – because both parties in power serve the ruling class, and actively work to suppress working class power. It’s evident in Democratic policy over the years, in the people from whom they seek advice, and in the many corporations supporting the development of this facility, to the tune of $60 million of the $90 million budget.
And white supremacy is absolutely a part of that, both within the United States, and in its actions around the world.
I’ve probably mentioned it before, but the communities in which this monstrosity is being built are majority black, and have not been consulted on this project that will destroy a forest for the sake of building what amounts to a military training facility for the same cops who have been brutalizing and murdering black people in Atlanta and around the country. Kamau Franklin and F.D. Signifier have a much better discussion of the racial issues here than I’m able to summarize, so I recommend you watch the video. It provides a good overview of the problem from a systemic perspective. If you want to help out, Franklin pointed people to the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, Community Movement Builders, and Stop Cop City, and even if you can’t do anything this weekend (sorry again for dropping the ball on this!), it still helps to get “stop cop city” in front of people, be it signs, bumper stickers, or you could even organize your own demonstrations just to get attention.