Trees give life, police take it
Last Wednesday, the police murdered a protester defending the Weelaunee Forest from being destroyed in order to construct a police training facility. Manuel Teran, known by their friends as Tortuguita or Tort, was killed during an early morning multi-agency raid on the encampment aiming to evict forest defenders and destroy communal infrastructure.
Predictably, the police have said they were defending themselves and that Tortuguita fired first. Forest defenders present that morning have said this is a lie. As we’ve learned through the movements against police murders over the last decade, the police consistently and systematically lie or withhold information when they kill. We do not have any reason to trust their version of events.
Our hearts are with our fallen comrade, their friends and loved ones, and with the forest they gave their life to defend. The movement has rallied together, holding vigils and demonstrations, vowing to return to the woods and stop Cop City from ever being built.
We know that Tortuguita was defending the forest, not just for themselves but for all of us. We know they were killed by someone whose paycheck requires them to use deadly force to aid in destroying a forest, in order to build a Cop City to train more people to do the same.
If it hadn’t been clear already, today it is: the climate movement and the movement against the police that exploded in the George Floyd Rebellion are one and the same.
The violent escalation which led to this murder comes during increased and coordinated repression against the movement to Defend the Atlanta Forest, including a raid last month which left several protesters facing “domestic terrorism” charges. Where the movement has built a diverse and welcoming community through years of organizing, the police have used every tactic to badmouth, harass, threaten, surveil, criminalize, and attack participants.
Across the ocean, we also see repression targeting environmental and ecological struggles and the criminalization of righteous dissent into the nebulous and terrifying framework of terrorism.
In France, mass disruption of a cement factory and a mega-basin (which we covered last issue) earned the charge "eco-terrorism" from the Minister of the Interior. In response, an open letter—translated below—signed by hundreds of activists and community groups disputes the label and calls for new actions this spring.
In Germany, a raid on the occupied village of Lützerath made headlines this week too, with a thousand cops squaring off with tyvek-clad climate protesters defending the town from being swallowed by a neighboring coal mine. In courageous battles, tens of thousands attempted to hold onto the village, delaying the demolition and temporarily halting the operation of the mine.
Whether in the US, France, or Germany, these police operations share a fundamental character. The charge of terrorism against environmental activists has always been meant to isolate, stigmatize, and delegitimize those committed to defending life on earth. And by transforming moments of popular protest into situations of lethal force, they hope to dissuade others from joining in.
As disruptive climate movements spread, as people begin to act decisively because institutions have failed to, the authorities feel their hold on society becoming even more tenuous. They are terrified that ordinary people are realizing we have the power to stop them.
Despite the slander and violence they face, thousands of protesters still proudly stand, gather, build, and fight. Committed to one another, committed to a vision of this earth where all life can flourish, we have the capacity to interrupt the catastrophe.
Mourn the dead, fight like hell for the living.
On new environmental tactics in France
In recent months, the environmental movement in France has adopted new strategies and tactics which have proven both popular and effective—the mass disruption of fossil fuel infrastructure. In these innovative actions, thousands descend on sites of extraction and production, bringing operations to a halt through collective force. The enthusiasm these demonstrations have catalyzed has apparently terrified the government, which recently characterized the actions as “eco-terrorism” masterminded by hardcore activists. In response, hundreds of participants and sympathetic community groups signed an open letter affirming the decentralized nature of the movement and stating the clear justification for their acts. When institutions have failed to address the causes of the climate crisis, it is high time we do it ourselves. Originally published in lundi matin and translated anonymously.
“We know that there is no need for a central committee or a group of seasoned strategists to recognize the utmost urgency of the situation and the criminal inaction of those who have the power to stop the machine.”
“The Atlanta forest has become not just a refuge from a reactionary moment but a testing ground for bottom-up ecological resilience and abolitionist politics.” Hugh Farrell on Defend the Atlanta Forest and place-based struggle.
“The movement’s slogan ‘Cop City will never be built’ seems more true today than ever before, as an outpouring of grief and anger sweeps the country in the wake of this murder.” Kite Line Radio on the state of the movement.
“Our century is still young, its struggles propelled forward by conditions that make it impossible for people to carry on living in ways they are accustomed to.” S. Prasad on our era of revolutions.
“Experiencing the need to optimize every facet of ourselves within capitalist reality increases the attractiveness of spaces where we can try a totally different way of being.” Crimethinc on climate movement culture and tactics in Germany.
“To see, to feel, what was always already there, to pulse with a force of life-living that cannot be claimed—this was always the crime.” Erin Manning on colonialism, blackness, and schizoanalysis.
“We live inside this myth of technological superiority that is predicated on the separation of ourselves from the environment.” James Bridle in conversation with Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee.
“Are we working from colonized imaginations with chained predictions, our spirits inhabiting a prison, generations old?” Jamie Figueroa on resistance and rebirth.
“All we wanted of life was for it to amaze us with its botanical miracles; all we wanted of the earth was for it to teach us to become connected to each other.” Elisabeth Cardin on food, nature, and healing.
“Just as landscapes were stolen and terraformed, so were whole pantheons uprooted from their social and ecological contexts.” Sophie Strand on myth, science, and climate.
“Having Black people colonize a state and dominate those states’ politics seems to many Black people like a dream and to many white people like a nightmare.” Charles Blow on Black Power and the Great Migration.
“Our task must be to develop a historical diagnosis of the ways in which the pandemic is linked to various forms of governance and the exercise of power.” Christos Filippidis on pandemic, power, and governance.
“How to change the world, put an end to capitalism, save the planet, overcome the appalling inequalities that plague our societies?” Enzo Traverso on the contemporary meaning of revolution.
“We can think of the destituent as whatever renders life less compatible with, less dependent upon, and less capturable by the networked world of capitalist separation.” Ian Alan Paul on the pandemic, networks, and separation.
“A time when the sensibilities of us modern earth-dwellers are longing for figures that are truly grounded in the planet we inhabit.” Robert Hurley on the question concerning cosmology.
You’re on Path B,