20 May 2024

The decision of the Black Alliance for Peace centred on Atlanta to join the campaign to halt the genocide in Gaza encourages hope that the campaign will spread beyond university campuses, reaching parts of America that cannot be intimidated by rich donors and right-wing politicians. Here is Mondoweiss’ report on the Black Alliance initiative.

ATL to GAZA: Free Palestine and Stop Cop Cities

From Atlanta to Palestine, our struggles are inextricably intertwined, and the latest round of police violence against protesters proves this.

To simply denounce the brutal mass arrests, narrative lies, misinformation, and violent repression at Emory University, University of Georgia (UGA), the Atlanta University Center (AUC), and elsewhere in response to the students’ movement for Palestine would not be enough. The Black Alliance for Peace Atlanta Citywide Alliance (BAP-ATL) calls on organizations to unite to smash manifestations of Zionism and U.S. imperialism at home and abroad, and to nationalize the struggle to Stop Cop City through political organization. From Atlanta to Palestine, our struggles are inextricably intertwined, and the latest round of police violence against protesters further proves this. As stated by student organizers from Emory University, “the fight against Cop City and for Palestinian liberation are both frontiers in the same struggle against the mechanisms of state-sanctioned violence and repression.”

The Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE), a deadly exchange program founded in 1992 and housed in Georgia State University’s (GSU) Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, is one way that Zionist violence against Palestinians directly impacts African/Black populations in Georgia and across the U.S.. The program uses a combination of Atlantan’s tax dollars, shady donations from private corporations, and GSU student tuition to facilitate the training and exchange of militarized, apartheid oppression and control tactics between U.S.-based police and the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF).

The rapid and militarized violence we’ve witnessed not just at Emory and UGA, but across over 150  of campuses now, is a direct result of Zionist deadly exchange programs. Emory President Gregory Fenves and local media claim we are “outside agitators”, as they once also claimed about Martin Luther King Jr. in this same city, while welcoming the militarized police force who are trained by a foreign apartheid state and who recruit as far as New York to fill their ranks. The militarized, imperialist IOF forces who are committing genocide and ethnic cleansing in Gaza live on camera continue to deepen their ties within U.S. police forces, who occupy African/Black neighborhoods at home and turn the violence of imperialism on colonized populations daily.  We uplift and echo the urgent demand of students organizers and residents within the City of Atlanta: END GILEE NOW!

The IOF utilizes their Urban Warfare Training Center, built in 2005, to “train” IOF soldiers in violent occupation and counter-insurgency, brutally suppressing Palestinians and Palestinian resistance daily. This includes environments designed to replicate the ‘on the ground conditions’ in Gaza, known as “Mini Gaza“, and is the dangerous inspiration for the Cop Cities being built across the U.S.. Whether in Haiti, Palestine, or Atlanta, the development of militarized and highly-armed occupation forces represent the violence of imperialism, and we’re experiencing a nationalizing of both the pig forces and resistance.

The Urban Warfare Training Center in the city of Atlanta being developed and funded by the Atlanta Police Foundation and championed by Mayor Andre Dickens, known as Cop City, sits on stolen Muscogee Land, in the Weelaunee Forest, surrounding a predominantly African/Black neighborhood. While the movement to Stop Cop City may have started in Atlanta, and Tortuguita may have become our martyr in the Weelaunee Forest, our oppressors have made it clear that the Stop Cop City struggle must be nationalized in order to combat the consolidated, militarized, and nationalized repression strategies that we are up against. This spring, the repressive tactics that are and will be further cultivated within Cop Cities were on full display on campuses all across the country as students, faculty, and community members were beaten and tear gassed on camera, and a diaspora of military-style crackdowns which many have warned against since day one of this struggle are now on display for all to see.

There are now more than 69 Cop City projects of varying sizes proposed across the U.S., from occupied Atlanta to colonized Alaska. Under the guise of “training” and “developing security”, private corporations and capitalists are pouring millions of dollars into militarized “police training” centers and programs nationally, while Federal programs like the U.S. 1033 Program continue to deliver surplus military weaponry to local police departments. This allows for a consolidation of power and repression, and is directly from the playbook which the imperialists have used abroad for the last several decades; The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) for example, arms and “trains” the local military forces of nearly every African country on the continent, which allows the imperialist forces to perpetuate their neo-colonial domination, exploitation, and crackdown on any anti-colonial uprisings which may occur.  Western imperialists facilitate the arming and occupation of oppressive colonial forces in Haiti, in Palestine, in the Congo, and in Sudan in the same manner that they do in our African/Black neighborhoods within the U.S..

We denounce Zionism and the genocide in Gaza not purely on theoretical or political grounds, but rather because of the many material ways we experience this violence every single day. Students everywhere continue to denounce Cop City, and commit to struggling against both Zionism and Cop City as one and the same, as these struggles manifest from the same primary contradiction of U.S. imperialism. We remember our martyrs in Atlanta: Anthony Hill, Kathyn Johnston, Rayshard Brooks, Alexia Christian, Oscar Cain, Nicholas Thomas, Johnny Hollman, and so many more — and know that resistance is justified in their honor.

BAP-ATL extends our unwavering solidarity with all who resist! We echo and uplift students’ demands for universities and all municipalities to:

  • Divest from zionism!
    • Divest from weapons manufacturers, surveillance, security, and any company arming the Zionist entity and complicit in Palestinian genocide and occupation. This includes boycotting Zionist academic institutions, and divesting from any companies supporting Cop City.
  • Drop the charges!
    • Release all arrested students, faculty, workers, and community members and DROP ALL CHARGES against everyone, including our comrades.
  • Hold Emory + UGA admin accountable!
    • Emory President Gregory Fenves + UGA President Jere Morehead deserve to be held accountable for calling the violent, militarized pig forces on protesters. Them and any other administrators involved must be immediately fired from their positions, and the universities must compensate every victim of brutal pig conduct.

As so succinctly put by Dr. Charisse Burden-Stelly, member of Black Alliance for Peace: “now is a great time to join an organization working against capitalism, patriarchy, imperialism, (neo-)colonialism, war and the manifold issues the right wing and neo-fascists have been organizing to uphold for decades.” We invite all people, including those who have been newly politically activated within the last seven months, to engage in long-term, community-based political organization to continue the struggle.

No compromise, no retreat! Smash imperialism from Atlanta to Gaza!