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March 18, 2024 44 mins

Sabotage attacks continue across the country as state repression intensifies. Meanwhile, organizers experiment with new forms of mass action.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Cool zone media, get ready for anarchy in Atlanta.

Speaker 2 (00:09):
Visit you got me first, or you won't be a
rend anarchist start work. They struck again this week.

Speaker 3 (00:19):
Cops are approaching now obviously.

Speaker 4 (00:25):
Got a flashbuyn there. This is it could Happen Here.
I'm Garrison Davis. For the past three years, a wide
range of people in Atlanta, Georgia have been working to
prevent the construction of a now one hundred and ten
million dollar militarized police training facility in the South River
Forest in southeast Atlanta. I've continuously covered the evolving struggle

(00:47):
on it Could Happen Here for the past few years.

Speaker 5 (00:49):
Now.

Speaker 4 (00:50):
In this episode, I will attempt to summarize some of
the actions from the past six months and the wave
of recent repression targeted against the movement. I will also
so who offers some analysis and critique on behalf of
anonymous Force Defenders who spoke with me in dedicated conversations.
After the last week of action in summer of twenty
twenty three, it was clear the movement needed a new

(01:13):
way of people to engage in the struggle against Cop City,
beyond the referendum and the occasional night time sabotage. Forest
encampments were essentially impossible, and the weeks of action seemed
to expunge their usefulness. A small group of people began
organizing what would become known as block cop City. The

(01:34):
idea was that on Monday, November thirteenth, a mass mobilization
would descend upon the cop City construction site in an
act of non violent protest, and perhaps plant tree saplings
where the forest once stood. This marks the first time
that the framing of quote unquote strategic nonviolence and nonviolent

(01:54):
direct action were embraced for a mass action like this,
hoping that it may attract NGOs and activist groups to
co sign onto the action. Historically, throughout this struggle, such
quote unquote nonviolent framing was at least avoided, if not
explicitly rejected, as a limiting restriction toward achieving measurable victories

(02:15):
against the Atlanta Police Foundation and Cop City contractors. Throughout
the end of summer and the start of fall, a
speaking tour for Block cup City traveled to over eighty
cities around the country to promote the action and recruit
people to travel to Atlanta come November. Block cup City
started as a very vertical top down plan the central

(02:36):
Conceit was decided upon by a small number of individuals,
many of whom were not from Atlanta, and the finer
details would be worked out in a series of public
meetings in the days before the action. Whether or not
local force defenders liked or disliked the proposal, block up
City acted as a gravity well, sucking nearly all of
the energy, time, and attention into its orbit for the

(02:58):
entirety of a fall in Atlanta throughout the nationwide block
cop City. Speaking to her, a small subset of attendees
voiced objections and disagreements with the proposed strategy and its
use of time and resources. Those opposed to block cop
City thought the idea of a large public march to
the worksite was going to put people in unnecessary harm

(03:20):
without doing much to achieve a measurable blow against cop City.
I'm going to quote from a report back that was
published online shortly after the action. Quote. Something that tends
to happen in autonomous action is that there ends up
being an inner circle at the core, which can limit
the scope of who is able to meaningfully contribute to
the direction of an action, because it creates a hierarchy

(03:41):
at Spokes Council. It felt like this at times because
it was primarily a small group of speakers who were
directing the entire Block cop City movement. This led to
dismissal of certain concerns which were brought up by affinity
groups unquote. In the planning stages, organizers pushed back on
the notion that getting arrested was part of the plan,

(04:01):
but on the day before the November thirteenth action, a
Block Up City organizer told press and media in a
private meeting to have your cameras ready because there will
be arrests at noon, demonstrating some form of intent to
use people's safety and freedom as a way to generate
online buzz with the hope of inspiring people to once
again take action in the forest. The possibility of arrest

(04:24):
was obviously mentioned at the spokes Council meetings, but was
framed as far from a certainty, with rallying cries insisting
that the march will be able to all leave together.
During the two days of Spokes Council meetings, the route
and formation of the march to the construction site was
decided upon, and quote unquote, direct action trainings took place

(04:47):
to prepare people for the march on Monday morning. The
march was to be split into three distinct clusters, a frontline, middle,
and rear. Before the march, there was limited communication between clusters,
making it difficult to have informed expectations of how a
confrontation with police will happen. Part of the quote unquote

(05:07):
strategic nonviolence stipulation meant that throne objects and projectiles were
explicitly disallowed. On the morning of the march, words started
to spread around that what was left of the frontline
cluster decided that only bullets will make the frontline fall back,
and that they would withstand all other forms of police violence,

(05:29):
mostly les, lethal rounds, tear gas, batons, etc. Now, this
whole thing about live rounds was not widely communicated to
people who just showed up for the action. On Monday morning,
during the spokes councils, it was learned that a vast
majority of attendees had never before been to Atlanta or
the forest, and a great many of whom had never

(05:51):
attended a protest or engaged in a clash with police before.
Some local force defenders took issue with the perceived strategy
of primiery recruiting young people from across the country with
little to no experience going up against police. Come Monday morning,
the number of people gathered to march on cop City
was far fewer than what was initially hoped. It's impossible

(06:15):
to say for sure whether the limiting of acceptable tactics
and the non violent framing hurt or helped the final
number of attendees. Regardless, the four hundred or so brave
people that departed Gresham Park was not the mass action
initially envisioned by organizers.

Speaker 3 (06:33):
Got about three dozen riot cops and SWAT teams stationed here,
blocking off the road heading to the west. Got police shields,
We have air of fifteen's, We have tactical response vehicles ATV,
A lot of cops behind us, a lot of cops
in front of us. We are completely sandwiched in by

(06:57):
the police.

Speaker 4 (06:57):
Right now, the front liners approach the police riot line
at the big intersection near the entrance to Entrenchment Creek Park.
Two large banners formed a V shaped wedge and the
crowd advanced into the police line.

Speaker 3 (07:12):
People are pushing through, Cops are putting out the fight.

Speaker 4 (07:16):
People are continuing to move forward. The march is pushing
the cops back. Under the pressure from a few hundred people,
The police line was pushed back by one or two
dozen feet front liners. We stood, police batons and leslie communitions.
Steady progress was being made. That was until tear gas
got deployed. Cops are continuing to loop back, flash bang,

(07:41):
we got a gap. Cs Gas was first launched into
the middle of the crowd. Police paused to put on
their own gas masks, but instead of using this moment
to advance further, the bulk of the crowd held their position,
with large sections of the middle cluster subsequently entering into
the tree line of Entrenchment Creek Park as continuing volleys

(08:03):
of tear gas were fired by police. This caused the
front line to retreat back, effectively ending the offensive portion
of the action. As the group that entered into the
forest was later escorted out by police, rejoined the march
and eventually returned to Gresham Park. Everyone knew that it
was a near certainty that police would confront a mobile crowd,

(08:26):
and out maneuvering police all the way to the construction
site would be highly unlikely. The only way a mass
of people would be able to get to the work
site is if police allowed it. Still, there's much to
learn from Block cop City, and even just the brief
skirmish with police. So forgive me for engaging in some
tactical analysis based on the good portion of my life

(08:48):
spent in riot jousts and input from others with more
on the ground experience. We first have to think about
what will cause a mass of people to break up, scatter,
and retreat. Both on the protester side and on the
police side. The front lines are meant to act semi fluid. Typically,
projectile launchers are behind the front line and are designed

(09:09):
to scatter the opposing front line and middle sections of
the enemy side to disrupt an offensive formation so that
it loses its capacity for for momentum, or to stagger
a defensive line enough to force retreat, as was the
case on November thirteenth. When a layered defensive police line
is backed up with vehicles like a bearcat, the on

(09:32):
foot line will most likely not retreat back behind their vehicles. Frustratingly,
these massive police vehicles occupy a sort of paradoxical role
as a ten ton roadblock that would force a center
advancing line to break apart in order to pass, putting
the advancing line in a less strategic position, even though

(09:53):
if the vehicle was threatened by being overrun, police would
probably attempt to pull the vehicle back, signifying retreat. So
how has this paradox been solved before? Well with ranged
attacks like bottles, fireworks and what the State of Ukraine
was teaching its civilians to make in the early days
of the Russian invasion. This is why projectiles are of

(10:15):
such a strategic importance. One cannot break through a police
line without employing violence. Utilizing projectiles is necessary to force
rear police vehicles to retreat, along with the CoP's own
projectile launchers placed behind their riot line, which are used
to break up the opposing front line, and police have
no such tactical non violence scruples against using projectiles. Some

(10:39):
Atlanta anarchists have also noted that the resources put towards
acquiring a great number of plants that ended up just
being abandoned could also have been used to acquire gas
masks for the middle cluster, reinforced shields, and ancillary materials
put towards prioritizing the crowd's efficacy and safety against the
use of crowd controlled munitions. Thankfully there were no arrests

(11:02):
made in direct connection to the march, but I don't
believe this can be accredited to any comprehensive organizing. When
the day prior, media was told that arrests would be
taking place by lunchtime, for whatever reason, the police let
a kettled crowd of people go free. We can only
speculate on why, between the logistical hassles, the stretching of

(11:24):
prosecutor resources, and the bomb squad that was actively sweeping
the area of Entrenchment Creek Park and checking all of
the bags and backpacks that were dropped in the area
where the splinter of the march was escorted out by police.
When talking with Force defenders in Atlanta who've spent years
now engaging in militant struggle against police, they offered a

(11:45):
more fundamental critique of this action. If the choice to
employ a strategy of nonviolence is in response to grossly
inflated charges and repression the movement is facing, as some
block op City organizers have stated, that means that you're
a allowing the state to determine your rules of engagement.
The entire idea of announcing your plan to walk onto

(12:07):
one of the most policed areas in the country, did
in fact prevent people with more on the ground experience
from participating On the day of the action. Risk requires reward.
A small core of organizers were so steadfast in one
particular version of how this event would take shape, branding
people with disagreements as all overly online disaffected nihilists no

(12:30):
longer involved in the struggle in Atlanta. Not only were
online critiques discarded, but opportunities for in person conversations and
input from people with more on the ground experience in
Atlanta were also turned down. And I think it is
important to state hats off to the many young people
that traveled from around the country to participate in this action.

(12:51):
One can hope that block cop City broadly and going
up against this line of armed riot police was a
useful learning experience for whatever happens next in these people's
lives as we approach the twenty twenty four election and
who knows what is to come. The night after Block

(13:19):
Cop City, six vehicles owned by the company Ernst Concrete
were set on fire in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Earlier that fall,
Ernst Concrete trucks were seen working on the cop City
construction site. After the arson, Ernst Concrete released a statement
saying that they were not going to work on the
cop City project. In an Atlanta Police Department press conference

(13:42):
from December twenty twenty three, Chief Darren Sheerbaum discussed a
wave of recent arsons Gonda.

Speaker 1 (13:49):
The most recent one happened in Gwinnette County this past November.
This was Ernst Concrete when a number of construction equipment
was set on fire. Then we go to three arsons
that happened right here in Atlanta mcdonna Boulevard where a contractor,
Brent Scarborough, was targeted three different times in the month
of October of this year, July of this year, as
well as April this year. We see that the same

(14:11):
group takes credit each and every time on their source
of giving information out and so it is likely to
be that same group, very small in number, moving from.

Speaker 2 (14:19):
State to state. Is likely the profile of these individuals.
It's very very small.

Speaker 1 (14:24):
It is a handful of individuals that are having a
much larger impact on the safety of the city than
they should have.

Speaker 4 (14:29):
Atlanta Fire Chief Roderick Smith and John King, the Georgia
Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner. Both talked about how these
arsons negatively affect the contractors working to build cop city.

Speaker 6 (14:42):
As we talk about impacts caused by arson, it affects
our businesses, those that are participating in helping out building
the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. We suffer from additional
cost due to arson that these companies face. An individual
Jeel's faith.

Speaker 5 (15:01):
This affects every one of our citizens in the area because
all these losses. Yes, there's an insurance company that will
probably cover some of the costs, but those losses will
be passed on to customers, so we all will take
the losses.

Speaker 4 (15:15):
On January seventeenth, APD put out another press conference to
discuss even though the police are already doing such a
great job outstopping crime when it's fourteen degrees and homicides
continue to decline, even still, a new state of the
art police training facility is vital to maintain safety in
the city of Atlanta.

Speaker 1 (15:33):
We've asked you to come together again today because there
is an effort underway by very small groups of individuals
anarchists that want to impact the safety of Atlanta, Georgia.

Speaker 2 (15:43):
Just yesterday, piece.

Speaker 1 (15:45):
Of equipment aligned with one of the construction companies that
is building the public safety training center for every Atlantin
set on fire. Next door in a neighboring state of
South Carolina, we had a construction company that had a
loose connection to the project here that was targeted by
an individual that used one of the tools of violence
sphere and intimidation that has been used mainly by this group,

(16:07):
which is arson, set equipment on fire, going after concrete trucks,
and so soon the individuals that have been in the
dark of night, impacting everyone of our neighborhoods will be
held responsible as we bring these individuals to justice.

Speaker 4 (16:21):
Police in South Carolina were able to identify a suspect
and ended up arresting and charging them with arson. The
fire chief elaborated on the theoretical risks of arson, such
as injury to human life and the ugly sight of
burnt rubble left over in neighborhoods, as well as reiterating
how it affects the cop City project.

Speaker 2 (16:43):
What are the effects of arson financial?

Speaker 6 (16:46):
As we've heard earlier, the impact that the equipment being
burned plays of role with the company's working delays in
the project due.

Speaker 4 (16:56):
To this, less than a week later, the city had
a other press conference in front of burnt husks of
equipment outside a construction site run by a Cop City contractor.

Speaker 1 (17:07):
If you look over my shoulder, you will see the
equipment that was burned.

Speaker 2 (17:11):
It belongs to a private contractor.

Speaker 1 (17:13):
There were total four pieces of heavy construction equipment that
were damaged this morning.

Speaker 4 (17:18):
Chief Scheerbomb quickly linked the attack to stop coop City
due to a post online about the attack accompanied by
the hashtag stop cop City.

Speaker 2 (17:29):
The hashtag is present.

Speaker 4 (17:31):
Scherbomb also gave an updated account on the number of
arson attacks which have targeted construction equipment.

Speaker 1 (17:37):
I believe now we're right at thirty four that have
occurred here in the state of Georgia and elsewhere. The
vast majority of them are concentrated in North Georgia, but
there are others that have occurred elsewhere. We're very fortunate
of an arrest in South Carolina. There's clearly at least
one other person. This individual or individuals don't care about
life and safety. If they fire bombed police precincts. Their

(17:57):
go is to a road, proper public safety infrastructure, and
to row the government.

Speaker 4 (18:03):
Very cool stuff. Indeed, I do believe that thirty four
number is a gross undercount, but hey, if they've forgotten
a few attacks, really no real harm in that. We have, however,
gotten a few recent numbers on the monetary damages caused
by stop cop city activity. In a Georgia State Senate
committee meeting near the end of January, State Senator Debra

(18:26):
Silcox said that APD Chief Administrative Officer Peter Amman told
her earlier that day that the estimated cost of nationwide
property damage made in protest of cop City exceeds one
hundred million dollars. That beats the ELF numbers. Now four
days later, the Atlanta Police Department tried to backtrack that

(18:49):
number to New York Times reporter Sean Keenan, now saying
that it was ten million dollars in property damage, a
one thousand percent difference, which either way is a massive
amount of money. And we do know for sure that
the city has spent at least one point three million
dollars just in the legal fees related to cop City.

(19:10):
We know at least some of that one point three
million dollars was used to combat the cop City referendum campaign,
an initiative started last summer to collect petition signatures to
put cop city on an upcoming ballot. I talked with
Sam Barnes of the Atlantic Community Press Collective to get
an update on the current state of the referendum.

Speaker 7 (19:31):
The referendum has more or less been stalled out since
last fall. In response to a lawsuit from Decab County
residents who claimed that their First Amendment rights were being
infringed upon because they were not allowed to canvas for signatures,

(19:51):
A core issued down an injunction, basically allowing the referendum
campaign to have addition time to collect and then turn
in signatures. The city then appealed that injunction. That whole
situation is currently before the US Court of Appeals, who

(20:13):
heard arguments from the city's lawyers and the vote campaign's
lawyers in January and who have not yet issued a
ruling on that appeal.

Speaker 4 (20:24):
The referendum campaign has turned in what they say are
one hundred and sixteen thousand signatures, which, if verified, should
be more than enough to get the referendum onto the ballot,
but the City of Atlanta has said that they cannot
start counting these signatures until the Court of Appeals issues
their ruling.

Speaker 7 (20:42):
It's not really clear where in case law, or in
Georgia code, or wherever they are getting that legal precedent from.
But it is the line they are sticking to. So
long story short, even if the city was to start
counting votes today, and even if there were enough to

(21:05):
get this referendum on the ballot the next election, it
could appear on the ballot in is the general election
in November twenty twenty four. Cop City for APD and
the APF's repeated claims is going to open and fall
of twenty twenty four. Now, I don't personally have a
lot of faith in that at one point it was

(21:26):
going to open in August twenty twenty three, just the
simple fact of every construction project runs into delays. But
I think it is pretty clear, especially given the clear
cutting and the concrete pouring that has already happened on
the site, that it will make significant progress by by November.

(21:49):
It's pretty obvious that the city strategy here is to
just delay and delay and delay the referendum until the
thing gets built, effectively just making the refere random dead
in the water.

Speaker 4 (22:02):
On February eighth, the Federal Bureau of Investigation connected a
series of house raids on three homes in South Atlanta
that they suspected of being linked to Stop Coop City activists.
Phones and computers were seized, along with stop Coop City
related zines and posters. Occupants of the house were dragged outside,
sometimes literally. A few were detained for hours on end,

(22:25):
with one being driven to a police headquarters for interrogation,
but was released later that evening.

Speaker 1 (22:30):
This morning, at six am, investigators of the Land of
Fire Rescue, Georgia berl of Investigation, Federal Burial of Investigation,
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Atlanta Police Department,
joined by uniformed elements of this department, the Georgia State Patrol,
executed search warrants signed by judges who'd review the probable cause,
allowing us to enter three locations to seek evidence connected

(22:52):
to acts of vandalism and arson that have occurred over
the last few months. As investigators went to those locations,
they were armed with an arrest.

Speaker 4 (22:59):
War It's worth noting that the search warrants cited federal
statutes on the destruction of vehicles and reco While executing
one of these raids, police located in individual whom an
arrest warrant was issued for days prior and brought them
into custody. This arrest, along with the one in South Carolina,
also marked the very first arrests linked to clandestine nighttime

(23:24):
attacks in the three year history of the movement.

Speaker 2 (23:27):
We're processing all the locations now.

Speaker 1 (23:30):
The evidence to make that arrest had already been in
possession of law enforcement even before we executed the search
warrants this morning, So the arrest wort was signed before today,
and the arrest wort was not connected with the search
warsols were independent of the arrest we'd be making once
we located this gentleman.

Speaker 4 (23:45):
In a city press conference, the mayor opened by saying
this arrest was quote linked to multiple acts of vandalism
and arson unquote, yet they were only charged with one
account of first arrearson, which police linked to the burning
of eight police motorcycles last July, near the end of
that summer's week of action. This particular arson is unique

(24:06):
from the many other copcity related at arsens in a
few ways. This was not targeting construction equipment. Instead, it
was directly targeting police infrastructure. An unexploded plastic andcendiary device
was left at the scene and the police training building
that was singed, the city now claims was occupied by
a police officer.

Speaker 1 (24:27):
WI was often overlooked as inside of that precinct was
a protector of the city Atlanta police officers inside.

Speaker 4 (24:34):
As police have said they only had enough information to
make this one arrest linked to this one specific instance
of arson. Thus, these raids can be seen both as
an intimidation attempt and a last ditch effort to collect
additional information necessary to make future arrests.

Speaker 2 (24:52):
More rest will come.

Speaker 1 (24:54):
It will come soon and will continue to hold people
accountable to Everyone that has been involved in these acts
are in jail before a judge. The investigation is very active, ma'am.
There's a reason we serve three search warrants today.

Speaker 2 (25:06):
We do. We are looking in a wide range of areas.

Speaker 1 (25:08):
We believe evidence as hell that will identify whose responsible
for the others and who else was responsible.

Speaker 2 (25:13):
Besides this gentleman.

Speaker 1 (25:15):
The investigation will play that out, but there are others
that I anticipate will be resting in the end the
weeks to come.

Speaker 4 (25:19):
This messaging from Chief Sheerbam is obviously meant to spread
panic and paranoia amongst activists, organizers, and the anarchists of Atlanta.
Those in Atlanta were quick to prove that repression would
not stifle attacks against copp City. On the night of
February ninth, a police car was torched outside of the
home of an APD officer in the Lakewood neighborhood of Atlanta.

(25:41):
The next day, police claimed that they track the movements
of two alleged arsonists via ring, doorbell and street cameras
to a house in Lakewood and conducted a raid that afternoon.
Nothing was found and no arrests were made. The FBI
and the ATF viewed the vehicle arsen outside of the
home of Atlanta police officer as a significant escalation and

(26:04):
made their first on camera speaking appearance on Channel two
to discuss the possibility of introducing federal charges. The house
raids threats, doing all these press conferences, it's all part
of this media frenzy to elicit fear. Earlier this year,
Chief Sheerbomb unveiled plans to put four hundred and fifty
billboards all across the country offering reward money for information,

(26:28):
specifically placed in cities they believe anarchists are traveling from
to set fires in Atlanta. Every single press conference the
police do. They are desperately begging for members of the
public to snitch, saying the only way this case will
be solved is if anonymous tipsters come forward with information,
offering increasingly comical amounts of money if information leads to

(26:49):
a conviction. Fear is one of the greatest tools this
state has to bear. But through this sequence of events,
police and investigators are also kind of showing their hand here,
demonstrating the current limit of their actionable evidence. It has
now been well over a month since these raids, and
as of now, no subsequent arrests have been made. The

(27:22):
timing of these house raids also seemed intended to disrupt
an event planned for later that month called the Nationwide
Summit to Stop Coop City, a convergence located in Tucson, Arizona,
on Amazonia that was planned for February twenty third to
the twenty sixth. I was not able to attend, but
I spoke with Sam from the Atlantic Community Press Collective,

(27:44):
who covered the summit in person.

Speaker 7 (27:46):
It was a four day convergence in Tuo Sun, Arizona,
called for by the pretty well entrenched radical organizing scene
there in Tucson that was just intended to be the
kind of summits we've seen here in Atlanta that are
often called weeks of Action that can no longer take
place here in Atlanta. So it was intended to be
just a gathering of like minded people to share ideas,

(28:09):
build community, have fun, frankly, and there also were some
direct actions that occurred during the week. The hub for
the summit was a park kind of on what i'd
call the north end of Tucson called Mansfield Park, and
there was a small camp space set up and organized
by locals.

Speaker 2 (28:30):
The structure of.

Speaker 7 (28:31):
The summit and of the camp space in general was
again very familiar to anyone who has attended any of
the Weeks of Action in Atlanta. There were camp meals breakfast, lunch,
and dinner. There were camp announcements, a lot of spontaneous
activities within the camp. A couple movie nights were held.

Speaker 4 (28:47):
Tucson, Arizona on Amazonia is about one hundred miles from
the US Mexico border. Sam told me about a panel
they attended on the intersections between the border, Gaza and Atlanta.
If you've been paying attention to the cop city struggle,
you're probably already familiar with these themes. The Atlanta Police
Department participates in the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange the

(29:09):
GILLY program, where they trained with members of the IDF.

Speaker 7 (29:13):
The talk featured Jewish Americans, Palestinian Americans. A correspondent from
Indian Collective who was there to cover the summit as well,
also spoke during that event, and that intersection was I
think even before Aaron Bushnell self immolated that Sunday was

(29:35):
probably the most profound theme wunning through the weekend, again,
especially with Tucson's proximity to the border and to native
lands that are on the border and which are often
surveilled using wait for it, Israeli military technology. The sort
of official name of the summit was the Nationwide Summit

(29:59):
to Stop cup City, which was a sort of wink wink,
nudge nudge at Nationwide Insurance, which is the main underwriter
of the insurance policies that ensure what would be cop City.
Nationwide has a major corporate office in Scottsdale, Arizona, which

(30:22):
is in between Tucson and Phoenix.

Speaker 4 (30:25):
On the first night of the summit, a small group
of anonymous vandals attacked three subsidiaries of Nationwide Insurance in Tucson, Arizona,
tous'n Azugna, breaking windows and vandalizing their buildings. Later on
in the week, there were two more public direct actions
that happened during the summit. The first was a black

(30:45):
block march on the night of February twenty fifth in
downtown Tucson, Arizona, tousann Azugnia as a crowd of a
little under one hundred people moved through downtown stop Coop City.
Graffiti filled the plaza and a P and C bank
as well as they recently closed Wells Fargo branch had
their windows a smashed. Wells Fargo is affiliated with the
Atlanta Police Foundation and PNC is a financial backer of

(31:09):
the Mountain Valley Pipeline in the Appalachians. Police were able
to arrest at least three people suspected of participating in
the march. Oddly, they were charged with arson of an
occupied building, I believe due to fireworks being thrown in
or near one of the banks. Given the name of
the Nationwide Summit, it was expected that there would be

(31:29):
a public action targeting nationwide insurance.

Speaker 7 (31:32):
So Monday morning we headed up to Scottsdale, Arizona again
just outside of Phoenix. Phoenix is about two hours away,
where we stopped by a sort of sidewalk rally type
situation that was happening outside of the Nationwide Regional offices,
which was honestly quite locked down, quite hard to get

(31:55):
access to it. As we were leaving the sidewalk rally
and being followed by Scottsdale's finest bicycle riders, I thought
it was interesting that one of the bicycle cops had
a life behind Bars personalized painted bicycle bell. It was
Teal and said a Life behind Bars, And when when

(32:17):
we asked him about it, he just said, I just
thought it was funny because you know, I'm a cop
and I'm behind bicycle bars.

Speaker 2 (32:26):
It was.

Speaker 7 (32:27):
Delightful and look forward to further coverage of this exciting
story in a soon to be released ACPC video feature.
So after the rally outside of Nationwides offices, we got
a tip that a lockdown style action would be happening
somewhere in the Scottsdale Phoenix area that afternoon, So maybe

(32:52):
around four or five o'clock, we traveled to the hills
of Maricopa County, Arizona, formerly home to America's toughest Sheriff
Joe Arpio into this sort of enclave of gated, dead
end streets with fabulously expensive homes. One of these homes
is owned by a nationwide insurance executive. So the activists

(33:17):
that locked down placed their bodies in front of two
entrances to this enclave with the intention of disrupting the
evening of this nationwide executive and their neighbors. There were
six activists in total that locked down, three at each entrance.

(33:39):
They used a device that has been ascribed to me
as being called a cupcake, meaning it was a bag
of concrete placed on the inside of a car tire
set with some rebar and a kind of pipe sticking
out of it, where I assumed there was some sort
of like handcuff locking on the inside of the pipe.
The gates were also locked shut with like bicycle locks.

Speaker 4 (34:04):
People were locked to the entrance of the gated community
for almost four hours before being arrested. All six were
ultimately given misdemeanor charges and released within twenty four to
forty eight hours. Sam also talks to me about how
these big public gatherings like the summit in Tucson, Arizona, Son,
not Azamia seem like they just can't really happen in
Atlanta anymore.

Speaker 7 (34:25):
So in November here in Atlanta, we had the Block
Cop City Convergence, which was organized to a pretty significant
extent by folks not from Atlanta. I know. One reason
I heard for that was it's pretty well known that
organizers in Atlanta are tired, and there was a group

(34:45):
of people from outside of Atlanta that felt like they
could carry that lift to organize and action here in Atlanta.
The summit in Tucson, to my knowledge, is the first
major convergence that has been organized out side of Atlanta
with a call for folks to come from the nation over.
It was a very keen or a very sharp feeling

(35:10):
of grief that this was not happening in Atlanta, that
it could not happen in Atlanta, both because the forest
has had a huge chunk of it bulldozed, but also
due to the police occupation of the forest, that this
could not happen in Atlanta right now in the Willani Forest,

(35:31):
And I think, especially given recent events in Atlanta, in
anywhere in Atlanta in Georgia.

Speaker 4 (35:37):
Frankly, even if due to continuating circumstances, events like this
may not be able to happen in Georgia. Sam told
me that once the summit kicked off and things got going,
it became clear that, of course, convergences can and probably
will continue to happen anywhere and everywhere. For a long time,
a slogan of this struggle has been cop city is everywhere.

Speaker 7 (36:01):
Even if there weren't similar cop city like facilities planned
or already being built all over the country. I believe
the latest count was a sixty nine or seventy. I
can't quite remember who did that research, But even if
it wasn't for that again to go back to like

(36:23):
the sharp through line of Gaza, the border, Indigenous lands,
Gilly historal genocide, this struggle is the same everywhere. The
police are the same everywhere. As I recently discussed on
this podcast.

Speaker 4 (36:41):
As this episode draws to a close, I'd like to
air out some thoughts I've had ruminating around my head
for a while about inter conflict as desperation. These comments
are not about any specific city or situation. This simply
reflects a pattern I've observed in various struggles caught in
a down spiral, particularly during the fallout of the twenty

(37:03):
twenty protests nationwide. Historically, I think Atlanta has actually proven
to be pretty resilient against this sort of thing. But
as the stakes are quite high, I would hate to
see something similar happen, as the cop city struggle here
in Atlanta seems to be entering its latter stages. First,
I'd like to say it's always a worrying ticking clock

(37:25):
once people start getting treated as disposable or as political
props to be sacrificed in the service of spectacle. But
primarily I've been thinking about at a certain point far
enough within a struggle, it becomes easier to fight each
other than it is to fight police. Which is not
to say all conflict is bad. Conflict can often be good.

(37:46):
Tension can result in a new innovative action that otherwise
might not materialize. But when said actionable conflict starts to
materialize more frequently against each other rather than against the state,
that signals impending doom. Being able to consistently put your
beliefs into practice with a like minded group of people,
to directly engage against systems of oppression like the police

(38:08):
or the state, especially in your own city, is a
life affirming process, almost intoxicating it's very easy to become
addicted to high intensity conflict. Unfortunately, the state is a
resilient bastard. Even if you can land a few sizeable blows.
Over time, this state can gather a lot of resources
to push back, and it take a few days, weeks, months,

(38:30):
or even years. Only in our minds may the glorious
first spark of uprising last forever, the burning of the
Third Precinct, or the first year or so of defend
the Atlanta Forest. But nostalgia is a trap, and eventually
the empire does in fact strike back. But as it
becomes harder, more dangerous, more frightening to engage against the state,

(38:52):
the desire for that rush of conflict stays. It lingers.
So what is one to do? The walls are closing in,
but you have this need to fight, so you take
out your anxiety, PTSD and frustration on those around you.
It is much more scary to fight the police. This,
by comparison, is easy while still feeding that conflictual drive.

(39:13):
We must keep on fighting. And since it's harder and
more scary to continually fight the cops or the state,
we instead are looking for ways to fight each other,
to find scapegoats to purge, often in service of some
unrelated personal grievance or in group self preservation constant attack,
constant strength, constant purity. These conflicts can take form as

(39:33):
blame as to why desired outcome is not being achieved,
intensified a stratification of in group out group dynamics, as in,
these are the bad people in the movement, whereas we
are the enlightened definity group with the only successful strategy
or conspiratorial co intel pro like actions such as cop jacketing,
snitch jacketing, and more general bad jacketing against people who

(39:57):
you have simple organizational disagreements with. This can also manifest
as a deep unwillingness to hear preemptive critical commentary and
the assumption that all criticism comes from a place of
bad faith. A recent article in a popular anarchist publication
roped in genuine critique and disagreement as somehow being in
alignment with the state's motivations against the movement and is this

(40:21):
not just a form of cop jacketing, saying that if
you disagree with a particular strategy, that means you are
in alignment with police because they also dislike a particular strategy,
but the police dislike the strategy for a completely different reason,
because they dislike any form of resistance. Claiming that critique
from anarchists and criticism from the state come from the
same fundamental place is simply laughable. It is in moments

(40:45):
such as this, when repression is increasing, that justified frustration
and fear leading to paranoia, can be turned into a
weapon by the state. At these moments, people must be
the most vigilant against their own fear, resulting in retreat
from battle against the state and turning to intra conflict
as a desperate form of alternative struggle. Solidarity, love and

(41:08):
care are paramount, including harsh love, including well meaning critical commentary, debate,
and constructive conversation. Well, that's enough of that. Finally, I'd
like to give an update on the Copcity construction timeline.
The past few months, city officials and the Atlanta Police
Foundation have made a series of statements claiming construction is

(41:29):
very much on schedule and quickly approaching completion.

Speaker 1 (41:33):
I want to say this, the construction of those training
centers on schedule. We will be moving in in December.
It will be operational this time next year.

Speaker 2 (41:41):
The new facility is almost seventy percent complete with construction.

Speaker 4 (41:47):
Many have pointed out that this is a ridiculously high number,
considering that a video published by the police just a
few days ago showed an unfinished foundation and a single
paved road. Now Sam from the Atlantic Community Press Collective
helped explain what this number might be referring to.

Speaker 7 (42:06):
There are no walls built, to say the least, I
personally believe that to be a very charitable reading of
a document with a construction timeline. We've seen as a
result of our open records requests that sort of break
the what a lay person such as myself would call
it the construction process up into things like permitting, pre construction,

(42:29):
development construction. On that timeline, they were about seventy percent
done with the development, and they were also about seventy
percent done with the whole process, ranging from permitting to
cutting the red ribbon. What Again, as a lay person,
I would also call the construction process, meaning the whole

(42:51):
you know, roof, walls, doors, thing on. That particular document
was zero percent complete, or like, I shouldn't say zero
percent because they have like concrete paths and stuff. I
don't remember exactly what the date on this document was
but it was zero to a very small percentage of complete.
So yes on the grand construction timeline of filing the

(43:11):
first document to again literal walls. Yeah, sure, they're seventy
percent complete by any measure of construction to the average season. No,
they are not seventy percent complete.

Speaker 4 (43:24):
Before I close this episode out, I do want to
let listeners know about ways to support Jack, the person
rested in the house raid last month. In the show notes,
I will link to a fundraiser that goes towards his
legal fees, jail commissary, and phone calls. You can also
go to the website free Jack dot co. That's free
Jack dot Co for information on how to mail letters

(43:46):
and books to Jack while he is currently being held
in jail without bond. Trials and court cases related to
the Georgia Copcity recoindittment have all been delayed till at
least this summer. Follow the Atlantic Community Press Collective for
updates on that as they happen. See you on the
other side.

Speaker 2 (44:06):
If you think he's planed to stay, you.

Speaker 1 (44:08):
Know, obviously he's not here and we're seeking him, and
so we would ask him to come in and answer
our questions.

Speaker 4 (44:19):
It could Happen here as a production of cool Zone Media.

Speaker 2 (44:22):
Well more podcasts from cool Zone Media.

Speaker 7 (44:23):
Visit our website coolzonemedia dot com, or check us out
on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen
to podcasts.

Speaker 4 (44:30):
You can find sources for It could Happen Here, Updated
monthly at coolzonemedia dot com slash sources.

Speaker 7 (44:36):
Thanks for listening.

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