We have assembled this publication in solidarity with the ongoing Wet’suwet’en resistance to industrial expansion. This struggle for Indigenous self determination and land defense has become a landmark moment of rupture across the colonial nation of Canada and beyond. We felt the need to compile this zine in an effort to take a step back and witness the breadth and fierceness of these last few years – with a particular focus on the year that has just passed since the start of ‘Coyote Camp’ and the specific battle against the attempt to drill under Wedzin Kwa. Not to produce some stale collection for the history shelves, but to inspire and learn from these events as they continue to unfold.
As we go to print, CGL has just begun the drilling under the river that many have fought so hard to prevent. It’s a sad day and this part of their destruction will have devastating effects. But this doesn’t mean that this fight has been in vain, the project is not complete and opportunities for intervention abound.
Inside you will find an overview of Wet’suwet’en resistance from the emergence of Unistot’en Camp until the most recent endeavors on the Gidumt’en yintah, as well as the closely related Lihkts’amisyu actions and Gitxsan rail blockades nearby. We’ve included a centerfold map outlining the widespread scope of coast to coast solidarity actions from fall 2021 to summer 2022, along with communiques found online that offer reflections and analysis from people behind some of these actions. The topic of anti-repression and overturning the state’s attempts to isolate and criminalize us is also explored. A Well Oiled Trap introduces the history of the British common law, tracing it as foundational to the Canadian state, its justice system and colonial projects, outlining their incompatibility with our dreams. Lastly, we address another anti-pipeline fight brewing up in Gitxsan territory (Wet’suwet’ens neighbors and ancient allies); An analysis of the proposed related projects is presented in the article Face to Face with the Enemy: An Introduction to WCCGT line, PRGT line and Ksi Lisims LNG Terminal.
This publication is intended to be printed on 11×17 size paper, if printed using normal paper size its likely to become difficult to read.
It’s been a long time since this column has come out, but that’s not because of a lack of activity. In recent months, a new wave of antifascist action and community self-defense has kicked off, largely in the face of attacks by the GOP, Proud Boys, and white nationalists against the LGBTQ+ community during Pride. As the midterm elections draw near, the GOP continues to lurch to the far-Right, pushing baseless conspiracy theories in an effort to feed their base a never ending stream of outrage, fear, and click-bait.
We have put together a list of best practices for exposing fascists based on dozens of conversations with anti-fascists & crews across the country.
Slinking out of their holes and following the Proud Boys lead, white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups are increasing their level of activity, both in the form of supporting MAGA and Proud Boy led rallies against Pride and LGBTQ+ events, and also by carrying out unannounced flash protests, banner drops, and sticker campaigns.
Cities coordinated banner drops + outreach against far-Right activity. “As forces of reaction grow + liberals place hope in the voting booth, now’s the time to increase visibility of community self-defense, mutual aid + solidarity against white supremacy.” https://t.co/EmQKBWF2wy
As the GOP continues to push for draconian laws against LGBTQ+ people and attack reproductive freedom, we should be working to not only oppose the far-Right on the streets, but also stand in solidarity with students organizing walkouts and protests, and communities coming together to protect themselves from ongoing attacks on all sides. There is much work to be done.
Passed to us from multiple sources: Patriot Front stenciled their logo in the Krog Street tunnel, but local antifascists almost immediately covered it with a “FUCK NAZIS” message. Thanks for helping keep Nazi trash out of our city! pic.twitter.com/v2BVhafRuk
There’s also a lot to cover, lots of upcoming actions (see a roundup at the end of this column), so let’s dive right in!
Republicans, Proud Boys, and White Nationalists Continue Attacks on LGBTQ+ Communities
Thanks to the Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club and anti-fascists for defending Drag Brunch in Roanoke Texas from armed fascists who have NO RIGHT to intimidate these entertainers and got a little of their own in return. No tolerance. pic.twitter.com/nWE1lVP4kV
Republican candidates across the US are engaging in a legislative and messaging barrage against transgender people that they hope will win over voters in November’s midterm elections.
The strategy comes as the GOP finds itself on unfavorable political ground when it comes to certain social issues. On abortion rights, which have emerged as a top voter concern since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a majority of US adults align more closely with Democrats.
Meanwhile, same-sex marriage can no longer can be counted on to energize the GOP base as it has gained widespread acceptance among voters, even Republicans. A bill protecting these marriages passed in the House earlier this year with the support of 47 Republicans, and will likely get a vote in the Senate after the elections.
“You can be a Republican who supports marriage equality and equality issues, but not buy into the radical gender theory debates that are going on right now,” said Charles Moran, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, the country’s largest group of LGBT conservatives. The organization has supported bills targeting trans athletes.
A bill backed by more than 30 House Republicans could be used to strip federal funds from public schools, libraries or hospitals that recognize Pride month, host popular drag queen story hours or make any mention of LGBT+ people.
Hundreds mobilized outside of #BostonChildrensHospital to shout down less 10 anti-LGBTQ bigots led by Canadian Chris “Billboard” Elston, on a “tour of stochastic terror,” attacking gender-affirming care. Rally comes after bomb + terror threats targeted same facility. Thread. pic.twitter.com/HaJ4ReQN9W
The good news is that resistance to this manufactured “trans-panic” has set the stage for a new round of antifascist activity. Successful mobilizations in Roanoke, Texas, Boston, Massachusetts, Boise, Idaho, and Modesto, California, helped develop positive relationships with antifascist groups and broader communities while also highlighting the need for community self-defense. With increased awareness of the threat posed by the far-Right, antifascists should continue to make connections and build relationships, promoting education and fostering networks which can respond to far-Right activity and threats.
Over 250 people shut down the white nationalist “Straight Pride” rally today in #Modesto in front of Planned Parenthood. Police attacked the crowd with projectile weapons, injuring several, after it successfully repelled an attack by a small group of Proud Boys. pic.twitter.com/1snmjIcq5i
In a recent interview with It’s Going Down, Shane Burley stated, “Communities need to think about what it actually takes to protect queer communities and large Pride events,” as “safety depends on mass participation.” Burley went on to argue that such organizing “is going to require a lot of people,” and antifascists must work to reach outside of established political scenes, building broad networks and coalitions with those that want to defend their communities and spaces.
Gender Fascist Matt Walsh Faces Protests as Far-Right Attacks Gender Affirming Health Care; Threatens Hospitals
In recent months however, Walsh has been pushed into the spotlight at Fox News, as the culture war around LGBTQ+ people and in particular transgender youth has hit a fever pitch. In recent months, Walsh has been at the center of a far-Right campaign against gender-affirming health-care; working to amplify conspiracy theories about the treatment of trans people at various hospitals, which has led to a wave of death and bombing threats. According to Media Matters:
Walsh, and others targeted Boston Children’s Hospital in August, wielding misinformation about gender-affirming care to falsely claim the hospital was “mutilating children,” the facility was inundated with phone calls harassing clinicians and staff, including threats of violence. Users on far-right online forums threatened to “start executing these ‘doctors.’” Twitter users replying to [LibsofTikTok]’s own posts called for people to “take justice into your own hands.” The threats culminated in a bomb threat against the hospital on August 30.
Some of those responsible for driving harassment against Boston Children’s Hospital promptly attempted to discredit the threat and claim it was a hoax. The morning after the threat was first reported, and then deemed a false alarm, Walsh claimed that there was “plenty of reason to wonder whether false alarm really means a leftist hoax” and that “there was never any threat.”
After another caller targeted Boston Children’s Hospital with a second bomb threat on September 9, Raichik, Walsh, Dillon, and Posobiec were all silent about the threat on Twitter.
Conservative podcaster Matt Walsh went after Vanderbilt University Medical Center last month, claiming doctors “mutilate,” “castrate” and “butcher” children. The next day, Walsh appeared as a guest on Tucker Carlson’s show as Carlson projected photos of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s board of directors, along with their names. The chyrons for Carlson’s segment read, “Vanderbilt ghouls castrate kids for big profit” and “We will show you who is responsible for this.”
Tennessee’s House majority leader, William Lamberth, tweeted in support of Walsh’s report, decrying “child mutilation,” and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee called for an investigation into Vanderbilt’s pediatric transgender health clinic. Vanderbilt Medical Center responded with a statement saying that Walsh’s claims “misrepresent facts” and that the clinic requires parental consent to treat patients.
While some conservative politicians have echoed Carlson, others have more explicitly nodded toward calls for real-world violence. A day after Carlson’s show, Texas state Rep. Briscoe Cain tweeted, “Prison is too nice of a punishment for those who perform gender surgeries on children.”
Posts from large online accounts and right-wing media coverage often precede threats of violence downstream. Groups and individuals — online and off — have bombarded hospitals and providers with harassment and threats in recent months.
Protest Against Gavin McInnes Planned at Penn State on Monday, October 24th
Millionaire gang leader Gavin McInnes crying about students protesting his talk at #PennState on Oct 24. Students angry they’re forced to foot bill for washed up Alt-Right troll whose career amounts to interviewing + posing with neo-Nazis + then pretending he doesn’t know them. https://t.co/3Kgyoki2Xcpic.twitter.com/eIJ83eDqul
British-Canadian millionaire and washed-up racist streamer Gavin McInness is planning to speak at Penn State under the banner, “Stand Back and Stand By,” a reference to Trump’s comments about the Proud Boys. Ironically, after McInnes helped found the gang, in 2018 he later abandoned his followers, after members of the group were sentenced to prison time for violent beatings in New York. In recent years, McInnes has again taken on a more public leadership role within the group.
McInnes is scheduled to speak at Penn State’s Thomas Building on Oct. 24 at 8 p.m., along with far-right social media performer and provocateur Alex Stein. Stein, who is little-known outside the far-right’s online subculture, achieved fleeting moments of broader prominence through trollish publicity stunts, such as an incident where he filmed himself hurling racist and sexist abuse at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The October speaking event is hosted by UA’s Penn State branch, one of three listed on the organization’s website along with branches at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT), and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At UT, meanwhile, the group is advertising an event scheduled for Nov. 14 at the university’s Strong Hall in which “John Doyle will be debating Hunter Avallone on Gender Roles and gender politics.”
John Doyle is a far-right social media personality associated with white nationalist streamer Nick Fuentes and the so-called “Groyper” movement he leads.
According to Uncensored America’s website, Sean John Semanko founded the group in 2020. Semanko reportedly served in 2018 and 2019 as the secretary for Penn State’s Bull Moose Party, which members described as an “alt-right club.” Also in 2019, Semanko was reportedly president of Penn State’s branch of the right-wing student group Turning Point USA (TPUSA).
🤯 CANCELED: The Vixen in McHenry has issued a statement regarding the Gavin McInnes event:
“The ownership, through valiant efforts of the community, has become aware of the deplorable views of the “artists” scheduled to perform this evening and chose to cancel the event.” pic.twitter.com/B3f24G7Ktf
Evidence Shows that the Security State Ignored far-Right Threat in Lead up to January 6th; Far-Right Political Culture at FBI Exposed
More evidence is shining a light onto the degree in which the security state was aware of the threat of violence from the far-Right, in the lead up to the attempted coup on January 6th. Moreover, newly released emails show that the vast majority of FBI agents were by and large sympathetic to the MAGA rioters.
FBI internal records: -“sizeable percentage” of bureau employees were “sympathetic” to J6 rioters -Agents & analysts equated J6 to 2020 BLM protests -Black agents wouldn’t volunteer for SWAT for fear of other agents not backing them in lethal situations https://t.co/4j3Dr3609epic.twitter.com/gbbZ72HbKu
In the message, the sender referred to an unnamed retired senior FBI analyst who had packed his Facebook page with “Stop the Steal” propaganda, referring to former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the election he lost was rigged.
The email noted that several agents insisted the violence at the Capitol was little different than Black Lives Matter protests. Still, Capitol rioters were being singled out because of “political correctness.”
The divide on law and order enforcement — often impacted by racism — is so pronounced in the bureau that the email author claimed Black agents were afraid to join SWAT teams for fear their co-workers would not protect them.
Despite Trump’s ongoing attacks on the FBI, the emails paint a picture of a very conservative, far-Right culture at the agency, with many agents holding far-Right views sympathetic to the J6 rioters and consuming far-Right media
Upcoming Antifascist Actions and Community Mobilizations
Friday, October 21st: Nashville, TN. War Memorial Plaza at Tennessee State Capitol, 2pm. Counter-protest against gender fascist Matt Walsh, who is leading a protest against gender-affirming healthcare. More info here.
Sunday, October 23rd: Eugene, OR. Old Nick’s Pub, 211 Washington AVE, 10 AM. “Fascist bullies will attempt to intimidate Drag Queen Story Hour. We will remind them Eugene is no place for them.” More info here.
Monday, October 24th: Penn State, Thomas Building, 6pm. Protest against fascist, millionaire founder of the Proud Boys, Gavin McInnes.
Tuesday, October 25th: Davis, CA. UC Davis, Vanderhoef Quad, 6pm. “Turning Point USA is bringing Stephen Davis (aka “Maga Hulk”) to UCD on Oct. 25th for an event denying systemic racism. Show up and make it clear that these fascists aren’t welcome on our campus.” More info here.
Thursday, October 27th: South Bend, Indiana. Rally begins @ Morris Performing Arts Center, 5pm. “Join local community groups protesting anti-abortion extremist group Right To Life Michiana’s yearly fundraiser where they are paying Ben Shapiro to speak.” More info here.
Share This: twitter facebook A critical look at the past four years of organizing against the “Straight Pride” rally in so-called Modesto, California and how antifascists built an autonomous coalition to shut it down in 2022. Originally posted to Pinko. On…
This following report back and interview, written by folks at Spirit of May 28th, looks at the growing mass struggle to defend the Atlanta forest and stop construction of Cop City and beyond.
The South River Forest (also known as the Weelaunee forest, or the Atlanta forest) is a massive 3,500 acre wooded parkland in Southeast Atlanta. In the wake of the 2020 George Floyd uprising, local residents are actively defending this land from encroaching dispossession by the police and the film industry. The Atlanta Police Foundation (APF) is bulldozing the forest in order to build an 85 acre police training facility, which would be the largest in the country, and would include a mock city for training in urban policing. Next door, the film production company Shadowbox Studios (formerly Blackhall Studios) seeks to construct an airfield and a soundstage. In response to these developments, a movement known as Defend the Atlanta Forest, as well as coalitions like Stop Cop City, came together to disrupt and ultimately stop the plan to demolish the forest.
Since the first week of action in the Spring of 2021, this movement has grown into a broad, decentralized, mass struggle. Its openness allows for an independence of action which can be taken up by anyone who chooses to pursue the overarching goal of the movement: to stop the demolition of the forest. Anyone who takes the initiative towards this goal is welcome to do so, wherever they may be, and however they may choose to do so. Contractors involved in the plan have been targeted by protesters and vandals not just in Atlanta, but across the country. While for much of civil society there is a strong taboo against illegality and violence in social movements, the struggle to defend the Weelaunee forest has refused to dissociate the peaceful protester from the violent rioter. This flexibility results in a highly complex ecology of struggle, where property destruction, arson, and clashes with police happen alongside music festivals, raves, barbecues, film screenings, all of which are free.
Traveling to Atlanta and living in the Weelaunee forest for the most recent week of action, I was struck by the composition of the movement. You had working-class Atlantans who like to hang out in the forest. New age hippies and music fest kids. Indigo children from the hip hop scene. Queer and trans punks. Insurrectos and veterans of Earth First! Hipster grad students. Ex-frat bros turned anarchist militants. Parents and their kids. And lots of dogs.
“Now Leaving USA”: Arrival and Overview
I ended up parking at what is still considered the parking lot for the South River Trail Intrenchment Creek Trailhead on Google maps. Cretin shit-fucker Ryan Millsap supposedly acquired this land after a controversial land-swap agreement with the Dekalb County government, which gave 40 acres of public land to his film company, Shadowbox Studios. Millsap recently had workers block the entrance to the parking lot with concrete barriers and posted “private property” and “no trespassing” signs there. This parking lot is still used by locals as the entrance to what they consider to be a public park, where they take dogs for walks, ride bikes, go on hikes, and generally escape from the city. Luckily, forest defenders took down the “private property” signs, moved the barriers so that cars could get in, and even replaced the entrance sign that Millsap had taken down with an even better one, which read “Weelaunee People’s Park.”
Driving along the edge of the woods, you could see that forest defenders had barricaded any openings on the perimeter with old logs, spiked branches, used tires, old furniture, and random objects. It was quite a sight. After I parked, and entered the forest, I found what they called “the living room,” where meals were served each day and people tended to gather. From there, I found a spot with some privacy to set up my tent. There were about 150 people camping and living in those woods. Eventually, a friend led me and others deeper into the forest, into what they called “the other side,” the Old Prison Farm part of the land, where the police have a firing range and there is a smashed up, upside down pickup truck with “Defend the Forest” spray painted on it. The walking paths are less visible out there and it is a much more fluid and wild space. This is where the most committed forest defenders live, what we might call the front line. Some of them live in treehouses up to 30 feet above the ground. There were security cameras around here before, but they’ve been dismantled.
The dialectic between legal, above-ground activity and illegal, underground activity is developed to the point that the line separating the two becomes blurred. Sometimes the forest felt like a warzone, the site of a low scale insurgency, other times it felt like the site of a music festival, or a mutual aid hub, or a place of leisure.
No one is technically supposed to be in the Weelaunee forest right now. The APF has already begun to clear-cut part of it. Ryan Millsap wanted to start cutting down trees by this point, but the forest defenders are forcing him to postpone his plans.
Unlike most activist campaigns, the struggle to defend the Atlanta forest seems to be actually going somewhere. Maybe this is because it avoids many of the common trappings of activism and its endless uniformity. Notably, there was no assembly at the camp to stall the self-development of the movement. This allowed momentum to develop and change organically, although there was still a formal structure for coordination and communication. Every day there were morning meetings in the “living room” where people discussed the logistical needs of the camp, volunteered to get shit done, announced the schedule of that day’s events, and discussed any concerns.
On the way back from the “other side” I come across some old tear gas canisters near the Creek, which I am told is highly polluted and cannot be used for bathing. It was hot as hell, so I had to ask!
Interview with a Forest Defender
Q: Okay, so here we are in the Weelaunee forest of Atlanta. How are you feeling about how everything’s going so far with the fourth week of action?
A: I feel really good about it. There’s been a lot of people who have come from out of town for the first time and of course those who have come multiple times, and there’s been an influx of people from the city and the suburbs who have never been here before, especially because of the music festival.
Q: How would you break down the political-cultural composition of everyone who’s been coming out here? I know it’s very complex, with many different layers…
A: Yeah, so there’s the people who sleep in the woods and many of those people have been involved in land defense before, who want to experiment with new tactics, and who don’t want to be constricted by non-violence. So that’s one layer. But then there are also people who are getting involved in a land defense struggle for the first time, who lived in the city but have now stopped living in their homes, or quit their jobs, or only work a few days a week so that they can be here full-time. And then, there’s a larger layer that I would say I’m a part of, that’s made up of people who live close by, in the city, who are doing stuff inside the forest and outside of the forest. That involves organizing public pressure campaigns, strategy building, running the social media accounts, getting interviews with small and large publications, and making sure that supply runs happen here. And then there’s the autonomous political current, which can overlap with any of these layers.
See, Atlanta doesn’t really have a large institutional Left, because we’re in the deep south. Union membership is and has always been very low. So, the autonomist organizational left is not attached to the unions, nor the non-profits for that matter. Some of them are abolitionists, some of them are mutual aid anarchists, some of them are left-wing black nationalists, and the alphabet soup variety of authoritarian communists have not really involved themselves at all in this struggle, at least locally, from what I can tell. And then there’s the civic organizations, which predate the Defend the Atlanta Forest struggle, but which are about defending the land. Like Stop the Swap coalition, Save the Old Atlanta Prison Farm, and environmental civic groups like the South River Watershed Alliance and the South River Forest Coalition. These people use legal means through the court system and conduct folk history tours through the forest. And then, there’s all of the people who live outside of the city, who come in for the weeks of action and who have started to organize in their own locales around this and around other city-based land defense struggles, such as in Chicago where green space is going to be turned into the Tiger Woods golf course. And in Lincoln, Nebraska people connected it to an indigenous land defense struggle inside the city there.
Q: I wonder if more people will see what’s happening here as a kind of light post to help frame what they are doing in their own cities and towns.
A: Yes, I mean, until mass scale riots are happening again, that makes sense. This seems to be the largest land defense struggle happening in the US right now. From the autonomous, anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian side of things, this would seem to be the light post, or the horizon for what’s possible when mass revolt is not happening.
Q: Right, the way I’ve thought about it is that this is the closest struggle happening right now that can help prepare us for the next large upsurge. Do y’all think about what’s happening here in relation to future uprisings?
A: Definitely. I know that the people who come here for weeks of action, or for an indeterminate amount of time, end up meeting people from other cities and end up forming connections with each other. So, networks of partisans are being built that will be able to share lessons learned over the years in other struggles and in this struggle. The organization and the affinities developed in the forest can be reapplied in the coming uprisings.
Q: Yes. And also, to what extent do you think the George Floyd uprising contributed to this struggle in Atlanta and gave it its political contours?
A: One of the first things that happened publicly to kick off the Defend the Atlanta Forest struggle in the mid to late spring of 2021 was a public barbecue that like 200 people attended. The next day there was a communique that stated that people had gone to a nearby site – 40 acres of clear-cut forest that they want to call Michelle Obama Park – people had gone there at night and set construction vehicles on fire. And no one who was involved in what was at that point a small movement condemned it. And no one has. Since then, there’s probably been 30 arsons (I’ve lost track) and countless other acts of sabotage. What’s striking is that none of this has been condemned by the wider movement, and I don’t think that would have been the case before the George Floyd uprising.
Without the burning of the Third Precinct and the hundreds of instances of property destruction and arson across the continent in 2020, these tactics would have been condemned. Someone in the movement would have been like, “That’s not okay!” I think the last time that arson was heavily featured in environmental struggles was in the mid-2000s before the Green Scare, and also in Standing Rock, but those instances were contentious. Today, it is not.
A: The normalization of those tactics during the George Floyd uprising allows what’s happening now to be possible.
Q: Even from more moderate activists, there’s no problem with the more rowdy, illegal tactics?
A: There’s no problem at all.
A: The civic organizations haven’t denounced it at all. The autonomist left organizations haven’t denounced it. Perhaps the do-it-yourself style of the tactics has created a situation where the non-profit industrial complex and the authoritarian socialists do not want to involve themselves in this struggle. Maybe that’s why it hasn’t been a problem, because those people are just not involved. We want as many groups and people as possible to be involved in order to create the chaotic flux, but those sorts of groups don’t get involved in chaotic flux. If that’s what keeps them at bay, then good.
Q: Totally. Okay, so there’s been no narrative about “outside agitators” within the movement?
A: Only from the police, and their mouth-piece, theAtlanta Journal Constitution, which is supposed to be Georgia’s paper of record, but it’s owned by Cox media, which is one of the funders of the Atlanta Police Foundation. They and the local news stations have pushed outside agitator narratives. And one of the members of the civic organization Save the Old Atlanta Prison Farm got on the news and was asked directly, “What do you think of people coming here from out of town?” And he was like, “That’s great! We need as many people as possible and it’s amazing that they care so much about the forest that they would come here.”
Q: Given the way things have gone down this week, are you worried about repression this weekend, especially with this big music festival? I mean, there was already one music festival on Saturday with Raury, and some cops came by and didn’t do shit.
A: Yeah, a small group of about twenty people were able to get them to leave.
Q: Right, so how are you feeling about the potential for repression now?
A: There has been a pattern. Cops tend to come into the Old Prison Farm side to do scouting on Tuesdays and that’s when people go up in their tree houses. After the last week of action, they did a raid on a Tuesday, with over a hundred police officers. And that’s when two Molotov cocktails got thrown at them, allegedly. So we are anticipating some repressive operation next week, immediately following the week of action, because when we don’t have the numbers anymore, they try to come straight at us. So yeah, we anticipate that. Last time, the police were able to move in and destroy all but one treehouse. But it’s been two months since then, and now there’s even more treehouses than there used to be. So, part of it is just knowing that the structures of land defense don’t have to be permanent.
A: What I’m most worried about, for the short and medium term, is keeping Intrenchment Creek Park a public park and keeping the parking lot open and accessible to the public. This is crucial because a big part of the fight is about having a space where the general public can come in and out of here at any time. This gives the forest defenders a buffer against police repression. Or else we would have to shift to a more traditional type of land defense situation where it’s just you and the cops (and the workers).
Q: Do you think the Atlanta Police Department (APD) has a strategy for counter-insurgency, that is, for co-optation and working with protesters? Do they ever try to deescalate the situation through a “community-centered” approach?
A: I have a few thoughts on this. One, they only ever give comments in news articles and try to control the media narrative through the Atlanta Journal Constitution and through the local T.V. stations. Whereas our side has been featured in the Guardian, in Vice, in the New Yorker, and in other national and international news outlets. And the APD and the APF never comment. So they’ve ceded the non-local media to the movement. They don’t even try. In terms of de-escalation, I don’t think they’re trying to do that. To a certain extent APD does make attempts at community policing, or used to a lot more, but since 2020 that’s really changed. Like, until the police precinct was burned in Minneapolis, and the riots spread to Atlanta the next day, the police had not used teargas against protesters in Atlanta since the late sixties. But the mask came off the first day of the uprising in Atlanta. And after Rashard Brooks was murdered and the two cops who murdered him were fired and charged (they’ve since been rehired) there was a Blue Flue, a police sick out strike, and since then over two hundred cops have quit. APD is supposed to have 1,600 cops and they only have 1,200 right now. So they are a demoralized police force, they have that “no one loves us” mentality. Police usually fear people, but now they’re also just mad at people because they think that no one appreciates or respects them.
A: With Ryan Millsap from Shadowbox Studios putting up the barricades and private property signs at the Intrenchment Creek parking lot – and those were removed by forest defenders within a few days – I think with those tactics they’re trying to isolate the movement, like materially and structurally. But I don’t think they have a strategy for stopping the movement from gaining more cultural headway in the city, in the suburbs, and around the country.
After the last week of action they tried to start work, for two weeks they tried to put in silt fences to prevent the erosion that comes from flooding, which is exacerbated by cutting down trees. Out of two weeks of trying to do that, they accomplished less than two days of work, just from there being several dozens of people telling them to leave. They claim they want to start work in two to six weeks. I’m interested to see if they will be able to do that. Cuz there’s only so many police that APD and Dekalb County PD can send here when they also have to police society in general. At the most, they’ve only been able to muster around a hundred cops at a time when they try to come into the forest, but they can’t keep them there permanently.
And if the public pressure campaign can get the construction companies to back out, then that just delays their process even more. We’ve already caused delays by getting Reeves Young to drop his contract, we delayed the silt fencing from being installed, we delayed the project itself from being passed by city council for three months. We’ve caused a lot of delays to this project. This project has been talked about somewhat publicly since 2017 and our understanding is that they wanted to start it by late last year, and that clearly hasn’t happened yet. So they are more than half a year behind their original goal.
Q: Having been here for the first week of action, and seeing how it’s grown and taken off, it’s very inspiring. Any last words for people who aren’t here?
A: Come to Atlanta to defend the forest. If you can’t come, host an info night, the presentation we use will be made public, go to stopreevesyoung.com and see if there are companies that are trying to destroy this place in your city, and if they are, put some pressure on them to stop.
A: And fuck 12.
I wake up in the morning to distant gunshots from the nearby police firing range. A daily occurrence. There were also gun shots a couple nights before, but those were from a security guard who got scared and shot into the air after some people threw rocks at his van as he tried to replace a security camera in the forest.
A week of living in the woods was starting to take its toll on a city boy like me. My leg was covered in rashes from poison ivy, the sliced bread I brought to snack on had gotten moldy, and I was tired of sweating all the time. I had gotten an interview I felt good about, so I decided to call it quits.
After I hit the road, I heard that Ryan Millsap and his dickhead neighbor Anthony Wayne James came with an excavator to destroy a gazebo in the parking lot (while people were still inside of it). They came with a few cops to back them up, managed to dent the roof and smash part of the sidewalk, but people laid down in front of the excavator, and drove their attackers back with rocks, cans of sparkling water, and other projectiles, forcing them to leave the parking lot and abandon the truck that was used to carry the excavator. The truck was then thoroughly smashed, while a barricade was erected to prevent the enemy from reentering the parking lot. After his initial retreat, Anthony Wayne James reappeared, threatened to shoot all the forest defenders, and repeatedly motioned as if he had a gun. Undeterred, forest defenders held the barricades and drove this goon to the end of the block, along with the police and the cowardly Ryan Millsap, who sat in his car the whole time. The truck in the parking lot was then set on fire.
“Fuck around and find out, Ryan.”
From what I hear, even after all that, with the burned out truck smoldering in the parking lot, hundreds of people still came for the music festival that evening, the last night of the week of action.
Report from Scenes from the Atlanta Forest on defense of Weelaunce People’s Park during the recent week of action in Atlanta, GA.
On the final day of the fourth week of action, forest defenders awoke to shouts about police activity in the recently reopened Intrenchment Creek/Weelaunee People’s Park parking lot.
We arrived to find an angry man named Anthony Wayne James sitting in an excavator and threatening to destroy the gazebo, porta potties, paved trails, and to re-close the barriers at the front of the park, effectively re-closing the public infrastructure. A small number of forest defenders blocked the excavator with only their bodies, including a few who remained under the gazebo while it was struck by the excavator bucket.
More forest defenders soon arrived and began to drive back the excavator with rocks and other projectiles. The irate operator had two Dekalb County police officers to back him up, as well as two other men waiting on the street. It was soon revealed that one of those was Ryan Millsap himself. Millsap believes he is the owner of the land in question, after a controversial land-swap agreement between the Dekalb County government and Blackhall Studios sought to give the land over to the film company so that they could develop it into the largest soundnstage complex on Earth. Millsap has since sold much of his holdings in the company in a fashion that nullifies the agreements with the County government and gives, he believes, Millsap personal ownership of the land with few or no obligations to the public.
After a brief interlude, in which forest defenders oriented themselves, the crowd of a few dozen advanced on the attackers. Masked defenders threw rocks at the County police and broke windows out of the truck that was used to carry the excavator in on a flatbed trailer. With the excavator outside the park, a barricade was erected to keep it from re-entering, and volleys of rocks and canned sparkling water kept the police and workers back. Ryan Millsap fled in another vehicle after he was called out by name. When the windows of the excavator were broken, Anthony Wayne James reappeared and repeatedly threatened to shoot all the forest defenders and motioned as if he had a gun several times. Millsap appeared to oversea all of this from a distance. Undeterred by his threats, defenders held the barricades and drove the attackers all the way to the end of the block.
Ryan Milsap’s Tow Truck Destroyed in Weelaunee People’s Park
With the immediate threat gone, a search through the truck left in the parking lot revealed a number of contracts for Blackhall Studios, Blackhall Rental Company, Anthony Wayne James drivers license and numerous credit cards. The registration for the vehicle revealed that it was owned personally by Ryan Millsap himself. A great cheer of delight went up after this news was spread, and the mechanic crew stripped the car completely, damaging each and every component of the Ram 5500 that was purchased for $62,500 by Millsap in 2020. The crowd dispersed, having assured the safety of park attendees, and the sanctity of the land. A few hours later, some anonymous individuals burned the truck.
After being held through the morning to ensure no re-entry for the police or Millsap and his goons, the barricade was dismantled and the park was open again to the public. By evening, hundreds of people arrived to the forest for the final night of an autonomously organized music festival, passing through the barriers and past the burned-out vehicle, which became something of a public installation and photographic back-drop.