#104: Living in an Earthquake—The Fight against Cop City Confronts Unprecedented Repression


Summary of resistance & repression in the fight to Stop Cop City, March-June 2023

Listen to the Episode — 107 min


At first, it appeared to be an ordinary forest defense campaign aimed at discouraging Atlanta city government from pouring money into an unpopular police training facility. But over the past two years, the fight against Cop City has escalated into one of the fiercest struggles of the Biden era, pitting a wide range of courageous people against a united front of politicians, prosecutors, and police. In their desperate efforts to deflect popular resistance and force through the project, police and prosecutors have pressed trumped-up domestic terrorism charges against almost every defendant arrested since last December; they have killed one forest defender; they have charged those engaged in legal support for the arrestees. In the following account and analysis, published on June 21st as “Living in an Earthquake: The Fight against Cop City Confronts Unprecedented Repression,” participants in the movement in Atlanta trace its trajectory from the fifth Week of Action that began on March 4, 2023 through the City Council vote of June 5. {December 28, 2023}

Notes and Links

  • Table of Contents:
    • Introduction {0:37}
    • Preface {2:21}
    • Living in an Earthquake {3:28}
    • February 2023 {5:59}
    • The Fifth Week of Action {8:33}
    • Retaking Weelaunee People’s Park {9:19}
    • The South River Music Festival: A Flower Between Two Abysses {11:49}
    • The March on the Cop City Construction {16:01}
    • Role Reversal {20:15}
    • The Raid on the South River Music Festival {22:12}
    • The Defense of the Music Festival {26:19}
    • A Pyrrhic Victory? {32:31}
    • Jumping to Conclusions {33:20}
    • Defense {36:25}
    • Urban Encampments {38:54}
    • The Limits of Deterrence {43:51}
    • Time and Space {46:14}
    • Controlling Risk {48:21}
    • The Aftermath {52:45}
    • The Week of Action Continues {55:09}
    • Without a Shadow of Doubt {57:07}
    • The Conclusion of the Fifth Week of Action {1:03:14}
    • Clearing Out {1:08:10}
    • Deforestation and Its Consequences {1:14:20}
    • Earth Day Weekend of Resilience {1:15:59}
    • Campus Actions {1:16:50}
    • War by Other Means {1:19:03}
    • The Attack on the Solidarity Fund {1:25:21}
    • The Centrists versus Everyone {1:27:43}
    • However They Vote, We Must Be Ungovernable {1:30:39}
    • The Theory of Failure and Disappointment {1:40:07}
    • Making a Virtue of Necessity {1:42:50}
  • This episode offers an audio version of “Living in an Earthquake: The Fight against Cop City Confronts Unprecedented Repression,” published by CrimethInc. on June 21st.

  • For background on the first two and a half years of the movement, see the following articles and podcast episodes: “The City in the Forest,” (audio version) – chronicles the first year of the movement “The Forest in the City” (audio version) – chronicles the second year of the movement “Beneath the Concrete, the Forest” (audio version) – collects first-person accounts from the occupation of Weelaunee forest through the first half of 2022 “Balance Sheet” – explores and evaluates the strategies that different currents in the movement have employed “Defending Abundance Everywhere” – essays on the webs of relationships linking all creatures and underlying the struggle to defend the forest “The Atlanta Police and Georgia State Patrol Are Guilty of Murder” – analysis of the assassination of Manuel “Tortuguita” Terán “Understanding the RICO Charges in Atlanta” (audio version) – analysis of the new wave of legal repression launched in September 2023

  • For our most recent coverage, see “Don’t Stop: Continuing the Fight Against Cop City”, published by CrimethInc. on December 12th; stay tuned for the audio version, soon to be released as Ex-Worker Episode #105.

  • You can find texts, posters, graphics, and more materials about the movement online through Defend the Atlanta Forest: Library. Check out the Atlanta Community Press Collective for ongoing coverage.