By Margaret Kimberley – Jun 7, 2023
Cop City is an effort to ensure that state violence will bring the most draconian methods to bear against Black people. State violence is also being used proactively, in an effort to end opposition to this creation of Atlanta’s white ruling class and their errand boys and girls who ostensibly control a fake mecca for Black people.
“The politicians don’t care about the people. They don’t work for the people. They work for corporations, the developers, and the police. The Atlanta City Council ignored the largest mass mobilization ever because the corporate-funded Atlanta Police Foundation controls them.”
Kamau Franklin, Community Movement Builders
Atlanta, Georgia is no mecca. The idea that it is a “good for Black people” city is a lie. Atlanta is little more than a glorified plantation where powerful white people give directions to the Black people they choose to be overseers. The power of the latter group is severely limited of course. They can always be counted on to act on behalf of the white power structure they serve.
No one should be shocked that members of the Atlanta City Council listened to hours of impassioned testimony from their constituents opposing what they call a Public Safety Training Center yet still voted to approve an initial $31 million expenditure by a vote of 11 to 4. The center is commonly and more accurately known as Cop City and thousands of people have mobilized to keep it from being built.
In the days before the vote the degree of official perfidy was revealed when the public were informed that the estimated cost for the center was more than double what they had been told. The cost to the city is $67 million , and not the $30 million figure that has been stated ever since the project was announced.
The state of Georgia and their Atlanta lackeys swung into action after the budgetary fraud was exposed and arrested three organizers of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund , a bail fund used to support protesters who have been arrested. The city and state had already mobilized brute force, killing one protester, Manuel Paez Teran, with 57 bullet wounds and charging others with terrorism. Before the bail fund arrests, three other organizers were charged with felony intimidation of an officer when they shared already public information which identified the killer police.
Atlanta Solidarity Fund organizers were arrested by a SWAT team and charged with charity fraud and money laundering because they reimbursed themselves for expenses. Judge James Altman released the three on $15,000 bond each. “Paying for camping supplies and the like? I don’t find it very impressive. There’s not a lot of meat on the bones of the allegations that thousands of dollars are going to fund illegal activities.”
But the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia are not alone in their acts of repression. The federal Department of Homeland Security has also weighed in calling protesters “militants” who they say comprise a “violent far-left occupation.” When the DHS report was made public, online access was suddenly removed.
Cop City would be more than a police training center. The 85-acre site would be a mock city, used to train police in “crowd control,” methods. It would be a militarized policing center training law enforcement from around the country. Cop City is a response to the 2020 protests which sprang up across the country after the police killing of George Floyd and the protests in Atlanta which took place after the killing of Rayshard Brooks. The reaction against the new movement was swift and Atlanta’s local oligarchs demanded that their Black figureheads do something to ensure that any further protests be met with the harshest measures possible.
Yet the people of Atlanta weren’t fooled, and they lined up for hours to give testimony before their so-called representatives who don’t really want to hear from them. Atlanta resident Robell Awake spoke for many when he said, “I cannot believe I am standing here, pleading with you not to spend the tax dollars of a Black city, to tear down a forest in a Black neighborhood, to increase the policing and caging of more Black people. All this in a city with Black leadership. It breaks my heart.”
As we have said many times at Black Agenda Report, we don’t have Black political leadership in this country. We have misleadership, a corrupt buffer class who do the bidding of Black people’s enemies while pretending to be our representatives.
The next step in stopping the Cop City scam is to put a referendum on the ballot. Organizers must secure 75,000 signatures from registered voters within the next two months in order to give voters a voice in the process. Direct democracy is the tool, but the same people who use SWAT teams to arrest organizers won’t stop either.
Cities, states, and the federal government will all work together at the behest of the ruling class whenever the people choose to act in favor of their own interests. They will bring terrorism charges, kill protesters, and buy off politicians in order to get what they want. As always, the question is how the masses will respond. Atlantans are ready and they are showing the way.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in Black Agenda Report, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at patreon.com/margaretkimberley and she regularly posts on Twitter @freedomrideblog. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.
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