The Democratic Socialists of America condemns the murder of an Atlanta Forest Defender, Tortuguita, by Georgia State Troopers. Over several months, the police have escalated their attack on Forest Defenders using violent tactics in an attempt to suppress public opinion and organized political dissent to build a costly, corporate-funded cop training facility. Wednesday morning’s raid represents a clear escalation by law enforcement, who orchestrated a violent eviction of protestors from public land. DSA maintains our full support for the democratic rights of all people to peacefully protest this development and defend Atlanta’s public forests from destruction. We condemn attempts by police and the far-right to mischaracterize left-wing activists as “outside agitators” or “domestic terrorists” as those are merely excuses to further criminalize organized efforts to protect our communities.
Atlanta has the highest income inequality in America, yet all the corporate Democratic and Republican officials have to offer is environmental destruction and more state violence. Cop City is both an ecological and racial justice issue, with both Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp calling for the destruction of much of Atlanta’s South River Forest as well as the expansion of the carceral system through a $90 million dollar cop facility. We stand firmly with the working-class communities who overwhelmingly oppose the destruction of public forests and reject the construction of an 85-acre police base in their backyards. We call on Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and the Atlanta City Council to shut down construction and cancel the city’s plans for a new cop academy. We reiterate calls for an independent investigation of this recent murder by police, which should be shielded from the corrupt political agenda of local officials and the Atlanta Police Foundation.
As socialists committed to environmental justice and the abolition of the carceral state, we ask our comrades and the community to donate to the Atlanta Solidarity Fund to provide bail support to protestors arrested in Atlanta. You can follow and find more ways to support these efforts at defendtheatlforest.org and @defendtheATLforest.
Statement co-written by the National Abolition WG and Atlanta DSA. The original version of this statement gave the dead name of the forest defender and has been changed to reflect the name of their choice.