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May 3, 23

This Is America #186: May Day; Fight Against Cop City Continues; Cleveland Anarchist Killed in Ukraine

Welcome, to This Is America, May 3rd, 2023.

On today’s episode, first we speak with longtime antifascist organizer, Daryle Lamont Jenkins of One People’s Project about Trump’s recent indictment in New York and an analysis of continued far-Right attacks on drag and LGBTQ+ events.

We then speak with two organizers involved in the West Coast Dual Power Gathering, happening in June in the Pacific Northwest. We then turn toward our discussion, where we tackle the recent news out of Atlanta about the brutal police killing of 26 year-old anarchist Tortuguita, and the ongoing struggle to Stop Cop City.

We’ve got a lot to cover, but first, let’s get to the news!

Living and Fighting

May Day

Events celebrating May Day happened across so-called North America and the world. Starbucks workers launched strikes, in France heavy clashes broke out between demonstrators and riot police, in many cities, anarchists and autonomous groups organized a variety of public facing gatherings and interventions, ranging from festivals to mutual aid events. In Los Angeles, people marched on the LAPD, in Orlando, people rallied in protest of Ron DeSantis and gender fascism, and in Portland, Oregon, members of the Burgerville Workers Union, which is part of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), held a picket demanding an end to attacks on union organizers and better sick pay.

Fight to Stop Cop City

The fight against Cop City continues with a recent week of action happening in late April to commemorate Tortuguita’s birthday. In Georgia, students carried out walkouts and short occupations of public space, a noise demo was organized in Brooklyn, New York, in Miami and Chicago, protests were held, a march was organized in Eugene, and across the US and beyond, people also took part in a variety of benefit events, rallies, vigils, banner drops, and other gatherings. Currently, there is a call for continued actions and benefits across the month of May and for a week of action in Atlanta, from June 24th – July 1st.

Direct actions against the Cop City project also continued. In Atlanta, an ATM at a Bank of America, one of the banks funding the project, was sabotaged. In Eugene, posters and graffiti were put up.

A communique posted to Scenes from the Atlanta Forest read:

During the, “Week of Action,” a bulldozer-like machine with a subsequent drilling apparatus was completely decommissioned before it could continue to destroy more of the Weelaunee forest on the South Black Hall plot. The proposed huge-ass sound-stage adjacent to proposed Cop City will also never be built! We are advocates of actions that actually STOP WORK, & work gets STOPPED by directly confronting WORK, our enemies, & earth destroying machines. Let it be remembered that though other gatherings & gardens are also good, these types of activities are only made possible by actions that DISABLE OUR ENEMIES from being able to work & gain territory.

Another communique also wrote:

On the night of Wednesday, April 5, we set fire to three excavators owned by Brent Scarbrough Company on a site across from the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta. Brent Scarbrough is the company and individual responsible for clear-cutting the Weelaunee Forest.

We are not done here. Tortuguita lives. Weelaunee lives. Cop City will never be built.

In other news, as Natasha Lennard reported in the Intercept:

Three activists involved in the Defend Atlanta Forest movement are facing charges of felony intimidation of an officer of the state and misdemeanor stalking for placing flyers on mailboxes in a neighborhood in Bartow County, Georgia, about 40 miles from Atlanta. The detainees were held for days in solitary confinement, a lawyer working on the case and a relative of one of the activists told The Intercept.

The flyer, according to the lawyer, named a police officer who lives in the area where the activists were arrested and alleged he was connected to the killing in January of forest defender Manuel “Tortuguita” Terán during a multi-agency raid on the Atlanta Forest protest encampment.

According to their lawyer, Lyra Foster, the activists drove once through the neighborhood and placed flyers on numerous mailboxes without exiting their vehicle or approaching any residents.

If found guilty, they could each face up to 20 years in prison.

“They were not handing out flyers, they were actually extremely careful in trying to avoid doing anything illegal,” Foster told The Intercept. “They posted the flyers on mailboxes, they did not even get out of the van to put flyers on the doors, and did not open the mailboxes because they thought that was potentially illegal.”

In Bowling Green, Ohio and Iowa City, Iowa, anti-abortion clinics were vandalized with pro-choice graffiti.

In other news, a 26 year old anarchist from Cleveland, Ohio, Cooper “Harris” Andrews, was recently killed in the Ukraine while fighting against Russian invasion forces. According to a post from the Rhizome House, an anarchist social center in Cleveland:

Cooper was a dear friend to many of us at the RZH and he was a comrade to all of us. Cooper helped to found our project. When it was only a vague idea he saw its need and potential clearly. When we were fickle and on the verge of quitting, he kept us on the hook. When he was busy training and becoming the soldier we are honoring, he set aside funds that would go on to pay the costs of opening our brick and mortar location. The anarchist movement in Cleveland would be nothing without him, and his absence is painful. He is our hero, and his memory is an example of courage, self-sacrifice, and the principles of autonomy, solidarity and internationalism. We love you Cooper.

Cooper’s mother has set up a GoFundMe to benefit various anarchist and mutual aid infrastructure projects in the Cleveland area.

Lastly in other news, police in Oakland continued an ongoing wave of evictions of the Wood St Commons, in Kansas City, people took to the streets after the racist murder of Ralph Yarl, walkouts and protests continued in Florida, Texas, and beyond against anti-LGBTQ+ bills and attacks on education, and in Akron, Ohio, people also faced down violent riot police who attacked demonstrators protesting a grand jury who refused to indict police behind the brutal murder of Jayland Walker.

Upcoming Events

  • May 25th – 27th: Healthcare Autonomy Conference. Durham, NC. More info here.
  • May 27th and 28th: Montreal Anarchist Bookfair. More info here.
  • June 2nd – 4th: West Coast Dual Power Gathering. More info here.
  • June 9th: Puget Sound Prisoner Support Benefit Show and Radical Zine Fair, Bremerton, WA. More info here.
  • July 1st – 9th: Earth First! Gathering. Location TBA. More info here.
  • August 11th – 13th: Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair. Asheville, CA. More info here.
  • August 26th – 27th: Seattle Anarchist Bookfair. More info here.
  • September 8th – 11th: Bash Back! convergence. Chicago, IL. More info here.
  • October 21st: Pushing Down the Walls, benefit for political prisoners. Los Angeles, CA. More info here.

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