How do we stop the destruction?
As the year closes, authorities have unleashed an unprecedented assault on the movement to Defend the Atlanta Forest, launching a sudden raid to destroy homemade structures, evict those living there, and violently dispel any protestors—arresting a dozen and even labeling some with ridiculous charges of domestic terrorism.
For more than a year, the movement to Defend the Atlanta Forest has been a vital experience connecting all kinds of people in Atlanta with the forest that is their city, bringing thousands into community with one another and with the woods. Ripping apart the trees in order to make way for police training grounds and an Amazon-backed movie studio was always a stupid idea, and this attack has only brought more attention to the popular movement to stop Cop City.
Everyone knows the cops are a pack of deadly fools. Imagining “extremists” everywhere, they do the bidding of corrupt politicians, the entertainment industry, and wealthy developers. Deploying their usual playbook of reckless force, they add further insult to the deep wounds of the land, the legacies of indigenous displacement and the forced labor of incarcerated black people carried out on the same terrain and by the same white faces. No forest left standing means no refuge from the changing climate either, exposing the future as well as the past to their racist violence.
Opposing this history of brutality—of genocide, slavecatchers, and ecological devastation—is the richness and generosity of today's movement: a broad-based, diverse, and multigenerational coalition that fights for life itself. Kids marching for the trees, wild spirits living in treehouses, elders sharing their deep wisdom on plant walks, artists and DJs throwing a midnight party, neighborhood folks just looking for peace—the forest is newly animated by all the vibrant activities it shelters, a radical experiment of social cooperation and ecological awareness.
This world is the breath of the forest. Wherever we live, we will defend it accordingly.
In this year-end issue of Territories, we share three brand new articles from writers who are each building new worlds. Read on below.
Take care of yourselves out there. May the new year bring us all the peace of the fight.
A Report from Chestnut Fest
In the Pacific Northwest, the Many Trees Project has been bringing people together to plant thousands of trees with an eye towards food autonomy and climate resilience—aiming to (re)grow a forest which nourishes us as the climate intensifies. An organizer shares their thoughts.
We need to plant trees now—with all the urgency of a bread riot, but with the endurance needed for a generation-long project. As the gambles of industrial agriculture and settler-colonialism reveal their failures, we have an opportunity to make a different wager. We are betting on the planet and on our local ecosystems as part of a vital life support system.
Beyond the mega-basin, the horizon
In France, hundreds recently descended on the Lafarge Cement Plant in Marseilles and attacked a mega-basin in Saint-Soline to disrupt their dirty operations in mass acts of sabotage, pointing a new way forward when the mainstream climate movement feels equally urgent and inadequate. Two new translations and a preface by friends of Inhabit.
Disaster today is everywhere, to the point of not knowing where to turn, and the task of trying to repair the innumerable errors that human beings have accumulated often seems out of reach. Yet front lines are appearing and, however modest they may be in the face of the extent of the catastrophe, they call out to be joined.
Dianna Settles at MARCH
In the paintings of Dianna Settles, scenes of protest mingle with those of everyday life, resulting in a vibrant tapestry of color, composition, craft, and community—where no revolutionary act is elevated above others, each part a whole of a life worth living. Matt Peterson reviews the recent exhibition.
We see scenes of land defense occupations, urban revolt, and target shooting practice, set alongside images of people hanging newly dyed garments, harvesting vegetables on a farm, and producing apple cider. We’re shown a world of masked and armed militants sharing communal space with naked gardeners and wood choppers; not to counterpose but to aggregate the shared possibilities of radical collectivity today.
“The beauty of a revolutionary ideal must lie in its capacity to apprehend despair as a psychological phenomenon as much as a political one.” Leijia Hanrahan on illness, madness, and communism.
“Claims of a ‘carbon neutral’ or ‘sustainable’ World Cup stand in stark contrast to the body count its buildout has racked up thus far.” Leijia Hanrahan, once more, on the World Cup.
“The only human response to attempts to bulldoze the South River Forest and build a landscape of police training and Hollywood film compounds has been to get up and go to the woods.” Stephanie Wakefield & Glenn Dyer on the movement to stop Cop City.
“Malm’s latest manual aims at rousing the climate movement into a state of collective rage adequate to meet the challenge of planetary catastrophe.” Thea Riofrancos on How to Blow Up a Pipeline.
“The Zapatista experiment in autonomy is an expression of a fierce attachment to a communal form of life, one that is closely tied to a particular relationship to land and territory.” Jérôme Baschet on the Zapatista experience.
“Our victory lies not in the restoration of Paradise but the retrieval of the freedoms required to hold open the space to remake our social existence.” Nicholas Smaligo on the revolutionary stakes of The Dawn of Everything.
“Without police and politicians, people could meet their own survival needs in an autonomous and communal manner on their own accord.” Ella Fassler on mutual aid organizing two years after the pandemic began.
“For the party promoters who count themselves among these forest defenders, throwing raves is their chosen method of resistance.” Zoë Beery on the parties of Defend the Atlanta Forest.
“The history of DIY trans care challenges the coerced helplessness of the neoliberal politics of health.” Jules Gill-Peterson on autonomous and underground care.
“Mutual aid is predicated on the understanding that everyone in a community has something to contribute and may need help at some point.” Yvonne Marquez on disaster, pandemic, and mutual aid.
“The disintegration of empire, strained food systems, and accelerating climate change create a visceral urgency to grow food and unlearn dependencies on ecological and cultural devastation.” Autonomous farming collectives on earthbound foodways.
“Instead of just lording over us forever, the billionaires at the top of these virtual pyramids actively seek the endgame.” Douglas Rushkoff on the apocalypse fantasies of the super-rich.
“It is as though people are retrieving their ruined lives, perished youth, suppressed joy and a simple dignified existence they have been denied.” Asef Bayat on the Iranian uprising.
You’re on Path B,