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In September 2021, the Atlanta City Council approved a proposal to lease 381 acres of the Weelaunee Forest—stolen Muscogee land surrounded by majority-Black neighborhoods—to the Atlanta Police Foundation to build the largest militarized police training center in the US. In response, a decentralized movement has risen up to halt the destruction of the forest and the construction of what has come to be known as “Cop City.” As the Stop Cop City movement has grown, the state has employed increasingly draconian methods of repression. In January of this year, police killed Manuel “Tortuguita” Téran, a 26-year old Indigenous Venezuelan forest defender. Dozens of people have been arrested for protesting, including a legal observer with the Southern Poverty Law Center, and more than 40 have been charged with domestic terrorism. Last month, a heavily armed joint task force raided a community center and arrested three bail fund organizers living there under tenuous allegations of “money laundering” and “charity fraud.” And despite widespread opposition, the Atlanta City Council recently authorized an additional $30 million contribution to the construction of Cop City, bringing the city’s pledged total to $67 million.
On this week’s episode of On the Nose, culture editor Claire Schwartz is joined by three guests in Atlanta deeply engaged with Stop Cop City—Micah Herskind, a community organizer and writer; Keyanna Jones, a reverend and organizer; and Josie Duffy Rice, a writer who covers criminal justice—to discuss the movement’s roots and tactics, and what the militarization of Atlanta can teach us about the economic underpinnings of fascism.
Listen to the episode and access additional resources here.