Filed under: Action, Anarchist Movement, Pacific, Solidarity
Report from recent march in Oakland in solidarity with the struggle to stop the massive counter-insurgency Cop City project in Atlanta, Georgia.
On May 30th, 2023, approximately 70 people gathered in Oakland at Oscar Grant Plaza, hitting the streets in solidarity with the struggle to Stop Cop City and defenders of the Weelaunee Forest. The following is a short account of the march and demonstration.
For over two years, an abolitionist campaign has been underway to halt construction of a police mega training facility in Atlanta that would destroy large swathes of the Weelaunee Forest. Hundreds upon thousands of people have taken action, ranging from outreach in communities impacted by the proposed facility, to pressuring local government, to forest occupations and autonomous acts of sabotage and destruction of construction sites. Forest defenders have faced serious repression, including the murder of our beloved compá Tortuguita, the use of RICO charges and “terrorism enhancements,” mass detentions, and FBI raids.
Alongside the bludgeons of the state, Cop City’s construction relies on support from dozens of corporate partners and investors. The May 30th march in Oakland drew attention to three of those partners’ local downtown offices.
The crowd slowly gathered in the south end of Oscar Grant Plaza, with flyers dispersed describing local corporate sites connected to the Atlanta Police Foundation and construction of the facility. Atlas Consultants is contracted with the construction company working on the project (Brasfield and Gorrie) and located downtown on 12th Street. Wells Fargo, is in the same building and has been a core contributor to the Atlanta Police Foundation. Also housed in the same building are executives of the real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield, who sit on the board of the police foundation. The flyers passed out explained how what is taking place in Atlanta is not just a local struggle happening “over there,” but interconnected with drives to expand the U.S. police state everywhere in reaction to several successive months of anti-policing revolt.
Once about roughly 70 people had arrived, the crowd was welcomed by Weelaunee Defense Oakland. A member of Critical Resistance then related the lessons learned from the successful Stop Urban Shield campaign to the current struggle in Atlanta. The backers of the proposed training facility in Atlanta want it to become a hub for the proliferation of state violence, facilitating inter-regional and even international exchanges between policing agencies.
When the talking ended and the music started, people took to the streets behind banners that read, “Defiende El Bosque, Chinga La Policia” and “Divest from Cop City.” There was another banner with an image of George Jackson, reading: “They have learned that resistance is possible. The holds are beginning to slip away.”
After marching down Broadway and 12th street, the crowd entered the lobby of 555 12th St. where Atlas, Wells Fargo, and Cushman & Wakefield all have offices. Upon entering, protesters scattered leaves and twigs across the floor in order to bring the forest inside. People condemned Cop City partners by chanting, “Atlas Consultants/Cushman & Wakefield/Wells Fargo blood on your hands” and remembered our friend with “Viva, viva Tortuguita.” The security guard working the desk called for back up that never came. After holding the space for a few minutes the crowd exited the lobby and continued marching.
En route to the next stop, some folks left a few anti-police tags in their wake. One person tagged messaging for Banko Brown, a Black trans man recently murdered by a security guard at a San Francisco Walgreens, on the Walgreens nearby. Other anti-zionist tags were painted, illuminating the connection between Israeli and U.S. law enforcement that will be enabled by the Cop City facility. As the demonstration passed 15th St., some friends unfurled a banner from a nearby roof that read, “From the Bay to the A, No Cop City Anywhere” and lit red, black, and green smoke. A few blocks later the march ended at Lake Merritt where participants made some spontaneous speeches before dispersing.
The fight to stop Cop City and protect the forest and our comrades won’t end after one or two actions. Such a victory will require continued, consistent action against the insurers who underwrite the project, the consultants who plan it, the investors who fund it, and the state that demands and protects it. Keep your eyes open for more opportunities to join the movement or plan your own actions – we’re just getting started.