Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

It Could Happen Here Weekly 82

It Could Happen Here Weekly 82

Sat, 06 May 2023 04:00

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Hey everybody, Robert Evans here and I wanted to let you know this is a compilation episode. So every episode of the week that just happened is here in one convenient and with somewhat less ads package for you to listen to in a long stretch if you want. If you've been listening to the episodes every day this week, there's going to be nothing new here for you, but you can make your own decisions. Hello podcast fans. Today it's me James and I'm joined by Carve Hoda, who's a doctor in the Bay Area and also host of the House of Pod Podcasts, which is an excellent podcast. I'll be due to add to what you've done listening this podcast. You can add that to your podcast rotation. But we're talking today about medication abortions and specifically about attempts to ban medication abortions by anti-abortion activists, which include a recent case at the Supreme Court. So Carve, would you maybe like to add anything I'd missed from your introduction? No, that was pretty much all the good stuff. Thank you for having me. This is super fun. I love all your podcasts. I like your work. So thank you for having me. And yeah, the topic is it's super duper important and it is in the headlines a lot, but the same time not enough. You know what I mean? Like if people are talking about it a ton, but I don't know if they're talking about it enough or if the gravity of the situation is really hitting people. Or if it is, we're just overwhelmed by how much bullshit we've had to deal with in regards to this and people are kind of feeling a little bit beaten about it and feeling a little bit disheartened. But I am super glad that we're going to discuss it today. Yeah, I think maybe it is bizarre how I don't, you know, I think we're doing with so much bullshit and every day something terrible happens. And like so I can understand how this kind of came and went in the news cycle. At the same time, it does seem like why the fuck were there not 10 million people out in the streets trying to burn things down went like, like if you're listening to this and you don't think you know anyone who's used this, it's most likely because someone in your life hasn't shared that with you. Like I can think of more people than I can count on my fingers who I care about very dearly who have used this. Absolutely. Someone posted this once and I thought it was really actually pretty brilliant. It was like if you don't know anyone that has, that means they don't trust you enough to tell you or they think you're a douche. So like there's a reason, you know. So yeah, it's very common. Right. And so I think maybe to start out with, we should explain like what is a medication abortion and how does it work and why is it so common? Yeah, I'll talk a little bit about that. I think maybe we could touch a little bit on the history of it too, because I think it is kind of interesting to look at it from a bigger perspective. A medication abortions, they account for more than half of all abortions nationwide. It's usually done. There are a couple of different ways of doing it. But the most common one by far is a two drug combination, Mifra Prestone and misoprostol. And these are the ones that are used generally in the United States and in other countries as well. You can use misoprostol alone, but it's just not as effective as these two drugs together. Mifra Prestone blocks progesterone and what that is. It's a hormone that you need to make the pregnancy happen. It makes the uterus a hospital place for it to occur. And we'll talk a little bit about the misoprostol as well, because that's a prostaclandin and they do a bunch of things in the body, but one of them is to cause contractions of the uterus and that that's two, these two drugs together. One makes the pregnancy less able to progress and then the other one expels it. So that's how these two medications work. What I think is really interesting about them is a little bit of the backstory to it. So my understanding that there might be some medical anthropologists or historians who know more about them, me, I'm sure that's the case. But you have to put this all in perspective because when I grew up, abortions were all invasive, surgical essentially. And you had to have it done in a very specific manner. Now, we have the opportunity and the option to do it in a much, I think, safer control, less traumatic way. And it kind of started in Brazil, because in Brazil, I know, because it doesn't make sense, right? But abortion is illegal there, as you might imagine. And women there, like women in any place are going to look for ways to have abortions if they want or need one. And one of the things they would do is it basically go to like a drugstore or pharmacy and they would look for medications that say, beware of this who had caused abortions. That's one of the ways this all started. One of those was Missile Prostal, that medication I mentioned, that's a prostaglandin. Again, prostaglandes do a lot of things. I'm a GI doctor by trade. And from my perspective, they're also used for treatment of ulcers, not really something we go to that much or anymore. But there are other uses for it. And so they found that it could cause these contractions of uterus. And they would use it there for that purpose. The French were actually the ones that were at Don Mifapostone, RU486. And that's the one that blocks the progesterone and stops the pregnancy from progressing. So the background, I think, is really interesting. And how far it's come during this time, how it started with our use here to change during COVID, I think is a really fascinating thing. And where we're at now with these medications. I can't, we're going to talk about, I'm sorry, I don't want to jump ahead, but I'm just so upset. And I know I should be at this point in my life much more used to like these weirdly cynical BS moves of a Republican judge or whatever promoting this as being a safety issue. I know I shouldn't be surprised and upset by it, but I am. And that's the part that really bothers me right now is the argument they're using against it is so bullshit and cynical that I, and again, I don't think enough people are talking about it. No, it is like, I'm the same way, like I should be, a lot of my work has been boarded reporting. And like I should by now be like, no, I shouldn't because those people are fucking terrible. Like there's a group of journalists who just seem to have lost their capacity to care for other human beings and can report on human suffering without taking any toll on their, on their personal mental health. And they congregate on various Facebook groups and in bars and expensive hotels all around the world. And I don't like that. But like similarly, a number of conservatives are on word like anti-immigration states used to title 42. They sued to keep title 42 right citing the risk of COVID-19 from migrants crossing our borders. And these are the same fucking people who have been like, we don't want to wear masks, we shouldn't have vaccine mandates. Like, yeah, it is infuriating that they can't just be like, yeah, I don't think you should have the right to bodily autonomy and I don't care how I get there. So I'm just going to use this troll-ass methodology. It bothers me that there were doctors involved in, in this case, the court case. And it does bother me that there are doctors that are fighting this. I mean, I get it if not every doctor wants to do an abortion. I totally understand that. But to not stand for a woman's autonomy over her own body is the part that I can't get. I mean, it's like, I'm not an ethicist by any means, but that's like the bare minimum is like you're supposed to believe in someone's autonomy over themselves. And the fact that it's being removed piece by piece, it should be bothering doctors who are supposed to be following ethics, you know what I mean? So I'm also a little bit from that and I'm mad at our own people. I'm mad at doctors. And I am on my little echo chamber in Twitter where there's lots of doctors who feel the same way I do and I hear from them. But I know that it's kind of there alone. I'm not hearing it from other doctors out in the real world, you know, and not enough at least. Yeah, we should explain a little bit that like the original case, the complainants were doctors, right, who were claiming that they were having to treat complications that arose from medication abortion. Is that right? Yeah, they're a part of it. I don't know how big a part of it or if they're just used because they're like, a lot of times people for good or bad reasons will bring a doctor out in a white coat at like a press conference, which is like, you know, like we're just wearing white coats all the time, you know, and just the sand in the background and sort of add some sort of weight to the argument. And so I don't know how much of it was that in this situation. But I mean, the argument that they're making that these medications are not safe, just it's a silly argument. I mean, we know that the mortality rate for medical abortion is less dramatically than the mortality rate for childbirth. And that changes too depending on if you're like a white woman in a wealth in the neighborhood or a black woman, there's different mortality rates. But pretty much across the board, it's going to be safer. I mean, the chance of a serious complication is there. It can happen. Any medication it can happen. Penicillin, it can happen. Higher rates, by the way, Viagra. When Viagra came out, there was the first year it came out. There was about 550 deaths from Viagra. Granted, the cardiovascular problems, patients had whatever. But still, it's not without risk. You don't see any judge from Texas. You don't have to talk about Viagra being an issue. No, I think you're right, I like that being pregnant is also a risk. And I think that's much greater risk in many cases, especially like you said, because of these different intersectional things which can make it a greater risk for some people. So I would love to talk about why these became more popular as a wrong word. But maybe more widely used to facilitate abortions during COVID. Because that's super interesting. Yeah, so the long and the short of it is, when they first started doing these tests, I'm sorry, when they first started doing these medication abortions, there was a bit of a process that had to go into it. Like, doctors were worried. I mean, we're always conservative. Doctors are always conservative. We always start with like probably more than it's absolutely necessary. And then over time, we do enough research. We get enough evidence behind us that we can peel back parts of it. So when it first started, people wanted ultrasounds, lab tests, make sure that people weren't to nemic or didn't have a risk of bleeding. They wanted to make sure the liver was okay. Labs are probably weren't totally necessary. The ultrasound, I think, scared people a lot or people really wanted, they're always being ultrasound. Just to make sure there wasn't like a nectopic pregnancy or a pregnancy where it doesn't occur where it's supposed to outside of where we expect it to. And those can be dangerous. And if you do take these medications, obviously you're going to be a bit more of a risk if you don't know that's an ectopic pregnancy. So there was a lot of things that people had to do back then. Then they started to peel away slowly. Like doctors were starting to be like, all right, do I really need to get a liver test if I'm going to give this patient a medication abortion? And those tests started to peel off slowly and then when COVID happened, basically people weren't able to go to the doctor as much or as easily. There weren't doctor offices that were open. It was harder for people to get to in the beginning and it only got harder with COVID. So the ACLU actually sued the FDA and they actually won. And through that, the women didn't have to come in anymore for these. They could all be done via teleconference or a video chat, basically. So which is the big game changer? Yeah, yeah, yeah. That makes it much easier. And so it used to be the case at least that you could get these things in the mail, right? I'm particularly after some kind of teleconference or video chat. Is that still the case in states where there isn't like the strictest kind of abortion ban or is it universal? No, it's my understanding. It's still as of now possible. It's still available. You're supposed to be able to do it. I think we're going to find that it's becoming more difficult. We're already seeing cases. I mean, they've been highlighted on social media how often they're happening now. I don't know, but there we see cases now of pharmacist not fulfilling medical abortion pills. And in the comments section, when you look at why not, they're saying because it's now banned by a federal judge. So I mean, it's not true. It was the Supreme Court has, you know, has okayed it for now. I mean, for now, it's still okay and allowed. But there's going to be enough confusion about it. There's going to be enough worry about it that people are going to have a harder time doing it, getting it, or even finding, you know, people that are willing to do it at this point. And there's going to be a lot of concern from patients and medical providers. So, you know, even though it is technically still allowed, I mean, I don't know how for how long, you know, I am worried. And also, I don't know if this is really hindered, you know, people being able to access this. I think it probably is. Yeah. It certainly hasn't made it smoother, as you said, right? It only takes, you know, one person to have delay of a number of weeks or whatever, and it might not be an option or it might not be as safe. How do you know how far along these medical medication abortions are, like, generally advised? You know, the medication abortions are considered safe in the second and I think even parts of the third trimester. But generally, after the first trimester is when it's considered a little bit more dangerous and most medical professionals would want you to come in to have it done. So that's my understanding. I'm not an OB-GYN. I should make that clear. But I think for the most part, within the first trimester, people generally consider that something that's manageable at home. Outside of that, I think you're probably more likely to have the medical professional want you to come in and see them. Yeah. That makes sense. And in some states, that's going to be a lot harder. Right. I know, for instance, I've come across groups in Myanmar with distributing these drugs a bit. Abortion has been illegal there, more or less since British colonial rule. I think it was united as a state, not really a nation. It's been illegal. They've sort of made some moves towards it being less illegal and then obviously with the coup. And then they've become more illegal again. And people there have been, there was a website up in the in 2021 about how they facilitated mutual aid distribution of it, which I found super interesting. And then at some point, they obviously that must have got them some heat and they took it down. But it's used all over the world in places where people don't have access to care, right? Alongside being used here where people may or may not have access to care, which is pretty fucked up. Yeah. I mean, it's funny that we're comparing ourselves. I mean, you would think in 2023, we wouldn't be looking to other countries to guide us at this point. Hopefully we would have figured this out by ourselves after everything. But yeah, I mean, it's funny. You look at the historical, you look at it from a global perspective. It is interesting. It's a global effort to try and get these medications out to people. One of the major, major companies that sends these pills, emails these pills is in Europe. And they tried again to other countries. It is sort of a global effort at this point to try it. We're just kind of cool. That's one good thing about this. It shows you that most of the world seems to be on board with this, whether or not governments are not, you know, I hear 80% here in the United States is, it's for it. I mean, I think that sounds about right, you know? And the fact that there's so many people in the country and in the world trying to figure out ways to get these medications to people, that's one, I guess, sort of reaffirming thing about this. It's impressive to see people just doing grassroots, mutual aid. One thing that was very popular around the time the job decision, a lot of people were showing these videos on, do it yourself, abortion pills or like homemade, I think it was misoprostal. It may have been both. It may have been mythoprystone as well. Obviously, like, this is empowering and like we want people to be empowered to make decisions about their own body. But perhaps you could explain why like it, it's also suboptimal. Yeah, you know, it's, it is definitely suboptimal. I mean, I'm not, I'm not every time I say something like that, there's always some corner of the internet that's like, well, you're a shill for big farm or you're like part of the medical industry or whatever. And yeah, sure, whatever. But I mean, it's, it is a, it's a risk. I mean, these medications, like I said, they're safe, but they're not without risk, you know, there are things that that can occur when you have this archonrications to some of these medications, like there's contraindications to nifoprostone, like, ectopic pregnancy, like I mentioned, and you can get that worked up to be evaluated or you can at least have the very basic questionnaire filled out that would help at least give you the hint if it's there, chronic adrenal failure, porphyria inherited porphyria. These are things that are, that doctors who do this think about and know and as part of the process to get these medications, even if it's just a questionnaire that you fill out online. So there are risks, there are bad things that can happen with these medications, as there are with penicillin, like I mentioned, I've seen people with, you know, life threatening allergies to penicillin, I've seen people with, who have liver failure from basic stuff that, you know, people take all the time like Tylenol. So it's, it doesn't make me very nervous and I like to do it yourself or is I like that that people are trying to find ways around it, but and I hope we never get to a place where this is, that's absolutely necessary. I hope, you know, but I understand why people are curious about it and why we're looking into it and reading about it. I obviously, I'm not going to ever really promote to do it yourself medicine to that far of a degree. Yeah, like someone I, I use insulin every day right now and people have been making their own insulin. I've seen on the internet for a long time and I find it super fascinating. Insulin also costs fuck all to produce like like a couple of cents and it costs hundreds of dollars to buy. I, folks can accuse me of being a chauffe big farmer, but I have plenty of publications pointing in the other direction. You mean both, brother. Yeah, look at us. Two guys just freaking in the farm alone. That's it. Yeah, that's why I'm recording in this shed and provided by Pfizer. No, and yeah, like there was these things are not expensive to make. There shouldn't be expensive to buy and they can be had extremely safely and the things that are stopping you from accessing them cheaply and safely and easily are politicians and also pharmaceutical companies sometimes. You know, that's the funny thing too is that you think for like these bright wingers are always talking about like relaxing regulations and whatever. It's like I wonder if they recognize that on some level what this is doing is it's just going to impinge on, you know, quote, unquote, innovation in pharma. Like if you're a farm company and you're thinking about some medication that could be used for this, you're thinking about creating a new medication for something that could in the slightest way be deemed inappropriate by some judge somewhere. And then if they're making the decision, not the FDA, like if you're a farm industry, you may be like, I screw it. I'm not going to worry about that medication at all. You know, it's nothing else. This is going to cut back on innovation in pharmacy. Yeah. And like anything with a contraindication for being pregnant would be vulnerable to this, right? We should probably explain that the use of Mithapristone as an abortion drug. Was approved by the FDA in an expedited process, right? And that was what was being challenged. Can you explain why although it's faster that doesn't mean it's any less thorough of my understanding, I might be wrong. The FDA won't like, yeah, fuck it. Let's give it a try. See what happens. No, I mean, it's a very good question. I mean, we do have safety data behind it. So again, you're exactly right. This is not done in the vacuum. It's not done haphazardly. I mean, there is, there still always is a pretty strict process to go through for these medications. It kind of, it's the same thing that we had to deal with with Operation Warp Speed, one of the worst names for a very important medical advancement. So you know, people like how can, how can these things be safe? It's happened so quickly and it's not really true. I mean, there is years of research behind all these things. There's years of research behind it. There was a study from the New England Journal of Medicine about the safety of these abortion pills. It had been studied worldwide. It had to look that for a while. You know, because abortion is so common and there are so many of, so many done that it makes it easier to see the results. It makes it easier to see the numbers. One of the reasons we were able to follow COVID so well and get information so quickly was because it was everywhere. And when it's everywhere, it does raise the numbers. It makes it easier to get people enrolled in the study. It makes it easier to make a study happen. So that's kind of what was happening here. This is, this was something that was, there wasn't a lot of question about. Again, are there risks to the medication? Absolutely. There's risks to every single medication that you get. I mean, I've heard toxicologists say that if Tylenol had to go through the same vetting process that we have medications go through today, that Tylenol wouldn't make the cut. Oh, wow. And as a liver specialist myself, I can attest to that. I mean, Tylenol is a great medication if it's used correctly, but I've also seen it cause a lot of liver failure. It's a very common cause of it. So there's a pretty strict and there always is a pretty strict method to the FDA when it comes to this sort of things, not done haphazardly. Right. And I think most of the people attacking it and not attacking it from a place of deep concern for the health of people who can get pregnant, it's quite the opposite. It's an attempt to control people's bodies, right? Right. Yeah. These are the same people that are not concerned about the fact that the mortality rate in African-American women who are pregnant is so much higher. They will never hear them talk about that. They don't give a damn. Unless, of course, they want to somehow cynically tie this into racism or something. They'll find a way to twist it in the weird way to be like, yes, you see, Nifprostone is racist or something, you know? So I, yeah, yeah, sorry. No, yeah, it's cynical and asinine and pathetic, but sadly, it's also the reality. I wonder, like, obviously none of us can see the future. And we've talked about how like Mr. Prostol can be used on its own if I'm not mistaken, right? Yeah. It's not as good. It's not as good as it's used together, but yeah. Do you foresee a world where like that is targeted next? Yeah, I mean, if they're really serious about that, they're going to try. I mean, I think at the end of the day, we can keep zealots out of the Supreme Court or somehow, you know, a while before we get another crack at that. Yeah. Then I think we should be okay because I mean, it's a bad argument. The argument doesn't really hold up. I mean, some judge interpreting the medical data with or without the help of some quasi-scientific group of like pro-life doctors. It's just not going to hold up to what the FDA has done and has to go through. So I don't know. I don't know. I really want to say I don't think it's going to be an issue, but I can't guarantee it because the fact that, you know, this is such a relatively safe drug and it's been called the question. I mean, it's pretty brazen. I think that they're doing this and will they do it against other medications? Yeah, probably. Will it win though? I hope not. But yeah, I think this is setting. They're setting basically a roadmap for this to be done again and again for medications they don't like. Yeah. And those are all going to the medications they don't like are all going to affect a certain group of people. Right? That's just that seems to be the sort of target group. And for like you said, a very small percentage of the population who are just on their culture or bullshit and don't really care how this affects thousands of people's lives. Obviously, like folks are also facing like the kind access gender affirming care and lots of places, right? This is the other massive area of health care that the Republicans seem to be very willing to ignore the evidence and some Democrats ignore the evidence on it and just to take people for cultural war reasons. And I know that one thing folks do there is organized mutual aid networks to help people access medications that they need for their gender affirming care with medications like this. And is it like like you said, there are lots of contraindications and it's not always safe. Like are these things that people like people will be inclined and get to be like, oh, shit, maybe I should stock up. Maybe I should like, yeah, load my medicine cabinet. And maybe we could discuss that like you said that there were risks that come alongside that. Yeah. And I certainly would understand if I was in a position where I thought my bodily autonomy could be going away anytime soon. I think I could see why someone would stock up on it. I mean, I don't know enough about the medication to tell you about its shelf life. I know that it is, does require some special handling. So I don't know if it's the kind of thing you can keep for long periods of time. But if that part of it was worked out, I certainly don't see, I mean, I could see why you'd want it. Again, it comes down to the do it yourself nature of it. Now the beauty of this is what we've seen with these medications is when we did the COVID, we took it when COVID happened and we kind of took it out of the doctor's hands and made it more directly to the patient. Actually the outcomes weren't much different. So that seems to be a very reaffirming thing. But I still would like for there to be medical involvement in this. I would like doctors to be involved in this. Yeah. Perhaps we are progressing towards a place where technology can help with some of that and take away the liability from doctors in places where they could face a long time in jail. Yeah. That's the other thing. It's going to be interesting to see how this pans out like for doctors in the future. If there's going to be people still willing to learn these skills, because not every abortion can be done medically, still going to be in need for the more older fashion forms of abortion that's still going to need to be done. So I'm hoping that people are still going to be willing to learn from this. If anything, I'm actually hoping that people, young medical students, are more interested to learn from it. So we'll see how it goes. When COVID first started, there was a huge burst of people interested in medical school and going into infectious disease. But then over time, and in the ER, for that matter too, they saw the need for it. They saw the call to arms. And it took three years of seeing what kind of bullshit ID doctors and ER doctors had to deal with before those medical school numbers dropped way off. And people interested in those fields. In fact, ER, for people who are trying to go into ER, they have to go through this whole match process, which is like a big deal. It's a stressful thing where you try to get into the best place you can. And ER has always been a pretty like sought after field. It's not the most competitive, but there is a good amount of competition to get into the good places. And this was like the first year I remember where there was a ton of unfilled spots at good institutions too. So like, I do worry, will this be the same sort of thing? Will there be an uptake of people interested in women's healthcare and providing that vital need? I think there probably will be, but will it be sustained? I don't know. Will they just give up after seeing how much bullshit is thrown their way? It's totally feasible. Yeah. I mean, if you're looking, it has to be like an ideal, my sister is an OBGYN and like, my sister doesn't live in the United States, who doesn't have to deal with any of this bullshit. And so like, but very much enjoys her job and it's very passionate about it. But I can see how doing it here, it would have to be almost a political ideal, I'd like to come and men as well, like you can't practice your career in half the state. I don't even know if you can go to medical school in like states where it's banned and like. That's a really interesting question. I wonder if it will affect the medical training in medical school. Yeah. In places where it's really interesting and scary. Now I think about it. It's going to be available for people. There's always going to be organizations fighting to do this and to get out there. But how hard it's going to be to find a provider to help you with this in the future. I'm hoping it does not become a problem. Right. Yeah. All these little sort of, it's really important, I guess, like folks do whatever they can to preserve these rights because generally like the state doesn't give back power that it's able to take from people. And this could mean a lot of this, and I'm not trying to conflate fucking having to have a vaccine to breathe on someone. And like, that is not really an attack on your body autonomy. Like you're attacking someone else's body, I'll tell you if you want to give them an effect as disease. Right. But when it takes away things like this, that has other consequences. Even if you're not a person who can get pregnant and you don't think you're ever going to be getting someone pregnant, like this should matter to you because your autonomy should matter to you. And it seems to matter to most of the people in the country. So I mean, that's the part of this I don't understand. I mean, I guess it's all ideologically driven. But because it doesn't seem like a winning proposition if you're a politician to do something that's unpopular. But I don't know much about politics, I suppose. Yeah. I mean, what is popular and what wins elections in the United States can be vastly disparate things as we've seen given the system, which is deliberately organized to like, befuddled the results of a popular vote? I wonder if there's anything else you want to discuss around this issue of abortion and bodily autonomy. Obviously, it's going to be one that plays out massively in 2024. But I want to make it clear. I mean, this should be pretty evident. I stand on it, but I do believe abortion is essential in evidence-based healthcare. It's in that evidence-based part of it, I think, is important to reiterate because we do have data on it. We do have data that it is safe. We do have data that it's safer than some of the other options. And if it's removed as an option, we are not only taking away a woman's right to autonomy over her own body, but we're putting them at more health risks potentially for it. And I'm not ER doctor, I'm not OB-GYN, but I guarantee that they're going to have to deal with a lot more problems because of this if that happens. They're going to be dealing with a lot more complications and difficulties because of it. Yeah. There's one thing I wanted to hit that I totally forgot about. I don't want to phrase this in terms of people wanting to end a pregnancy. You have any more or less right to do so than people needing to end a pregnancy because everyone should have the right to choose what happens to their body equally. But I believe I'm right in thinking that many of these drugs are relied upon by people who have miscarried or have a pregnancy that isn't compatible with life. Right? Yeah. The horror story is about women that are forced to carry babies to term they're not compatible with life for a severe critical illness. Those are horrifying. And these are medications that can be done again at home for some patients. It can be done at home, which is not great. It's still not going to be a fun process, but it'll be a much better process for them, much less traumatic I would hope, then having to have it done later on in a hospital in a much more clinical cold setting. And we try to make these things as good as possible. Our nurses are amazing and our doctors who do this are compassionate. But if someone could do something safely at home and it could be done safely, I don't see why not. Yeah. And the dignity and privacy of your own side, wherever you can choose your home or whatever with your family, then yeah, supposed to be forced to carry a baby which isn't compatible with life. That's got to really fuck you up. I don't think people are thinking about what they're doing to other people when they make these horrible decisions. But yeah, I hope they don't get to keep making them, I guess. We can all interpret that however we want. Are there any organizations that you'd suggest folks follow, get involved with like other groups that are helping to facilitate access to care, either where it's difficult or just trying to campaign to keep it legal? You know, I know there's been a lot of criticisms in the past towards this organization from all sides, but you know, I've known a lot of people who work for Planned Parenthood and I still think they do good work, you know. They're not perfect by any means and they have valid criticisms from both from really from a couple of different angles, but still the people I know they're working there are doing their best and are really want to help. And then there are international organizations still that are involved in the abortion, making the abortion pill accessible. And there's a lot of different ways to get to that. But I don't have one in particular that I would recommend, but the one that I have worked with, the people that I've met and seen and talked to and have learned so much from, a lot of those people are from Planned Parenthood. Okay. Yeah, yeah. And like you said, they have been criticized, but they've also stepped up to meet like what is a pretty terrible situation. I know they're building more clinics on the borders of states where you don't have the right to terminate your pregnancy so that people can travel and yeah, it's pretty fucked up that that's what we're doing now. Like we have the underground row of abortion kind of thing, but yeah, I mean, it takes a big organization to deal with the organization that is the state or you know, the state of Texas or whatever. So it's done really well. Is there anything like you'd like to plug or do you like to tell people where they can find you? So I'm available on Twitter at the House of Pod if you do Twitter and you can listen to our podcast, the House of Pod. It's pretty much everywhere you find your podcast and guests range from like world expert physicians to like Garrison Davis. So like, you know, and you're contrasting those two things. They're an expert in their own way and and I'm sure it'll get you on soon enough whether you like it or not. And so we get a lot of different guests. The range is pretty wide and we talk about medical related health topics and try to do it in a relatively informal way. And so it's I think it's relatively fun. It's been really educational for me. I'm really enjoying doing it and I get to meet cool people like you. So it's a good show I think but I'm biased because it's my show. Yeah, I do it. People should listen. Thank you. Thanks a lot, mate. Hey, everybody. This is Robert Evans. Welcome to it could happen here a podcast about things falling apart and occasionally about how to stop things from falling apart. Today, we're doing one of those latter episodes. I'm happy to say we've actually got kind of something that's that's overall uplifting to talk about. If you are someone who pays much attention to the right wing and particularly to the current right wing campaign against LGBT and most particularly transgender people, you are aware of a guy named Matt Walsh. He is a, you might call him a pundit at the daily wire who has taken it upon himself to become kind of the one of the central figures and the present campaign against trans people to limit their rights to transition to, you know, push laws that criminalize their existing in public spaces. He's a real piece of shit, one of the one of the worst people in the country presently. And like all terrible people, he has been going around in a series of speeches invited generally by local student body Republican organizations at universities. It's not the only people who invited him to speak, but that's what we're talking about today. Oliver Wyline is a local community activist who showed up at one of these events and who recorded what was happening, the reaction to Matt Walsh being invited to speak at a college in Iowa City. And yeah, Oliver, welcome to the program first off. Yeah, thank you so much for having me on. And yeah, I just kind of wanted you to start with how did you become aware of what was happening and decide, you know, to show up and do what you did? Because I became aware of you just reading your thread, which was a mix of, you know, Twitter posts on what was happening and some videos of what had been happening on the ground. Yeah, so I am a townie here in Iowa City. I'm not a student, but I have, you know, I'm very close both physically and, you know, just personally with lots of activists on campus at Iowa City, lots of young activists, particularly organizations like the YDSA. They have a couple of immigrants rights associations, some LGBTQIA associations and everything. So when this was made public that the YAF, the Young Americans Foundation, that's what it stands for, right? I think. But they announced that Matt Walsh was indeed going to be speaking in April. And of course, you know, lots of people just started sending me things like, wow, I can't believe these motherfuckers are bringing Matt will all shout of everybody, even though it wasn't very surprising because they love to have the YAF here loves to bring people to speak that are objectively terrible people. They just recently had Alan West. Oh, great. Yeah, I'm sure you know all about him. Oh, no, yeah, he's playing the hits with Alan Dubs. Yep. So, yeah, the reaction was, you know, just kind of like a general, we should do something about this that Matt Walsh has come to campus or is going to come to campus. So you know, there was lots of fliering campaigns, lots of calls online. There was a petition circulating trying to get the university to not allow Matt Walsh on campus. But here in Iowa, the Board of Regents is all just appointed by a Republican governor, Kim Reynolds. So, you know, there's no way that they would do that. And yeah, so that's how everybody found out about it. And you know, it was just a lot of the YAF would put up fliers and then they would instantly get torn down and they would cry about it. Yeah, that was a lot of the build up to this event. Yeah. That's how I knew. And one of the things, I mean, the thing that, because obviously there are different right wing shitheads speaking in various places and protests against them, you know, every day that go a variety of ways. One of the reasons I was interested in what you had to say and I think that this is a worthwhile one to talk to people about is that I think the young Americans, Americans foundation, kids who invited him wound up demoralized at the end of this. That was my take on this. This is not, not an event that seems to have gone well to them. So I want you to walk through kind of what happened that night, both in terms of what you saw from the folks showing up to see Walsh and what you saw kind of from the response to him. Yeah, I would say it's a fair assumption that the YF people were demoralized after this. So the protests, it was last Wednesday, the 19th. And the protest was very, you know, there was no leader. It was very decentralized, you know, just lots of people showing up. And instantly when everybody showed up, like at four o'clock when the documentary was showing before Matt Walsh was going to speak, his, you know, shitty documentary, what is it woman showed beforehand? Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was like a joyous occasion almost. People were trickling in on the park right across the street from the IMU. And more and more people, just hundreds of people came, you know, not just students, but like people from Iowa City and Cedar Rapids and, you know, just Eastern Iowa in general that were just like, we do not, you know, we're feeling really bad that this absolute fucking shithead is in our state right now. You know, the air smells bad. So we got, you know, yeah. So it was, it was very joyous. And then people were like, okay, the documentary is about to get out. And the way this event was set up was the documentary was being shown in a theater that's in the IMU, the memorial union, just a student hangout spot basically. And then all the people that were in the documentary were going to then file into the main lounge where he was speaking. And so when the documentary got let out all of the activists or just the people that came to protest him were just like, all right, we're going inside, you know, we're not, we're not going to, you know, just stand out here. You know, we're going to make sure that they know every second that this is bullshit that you came to see this guy speak. And especially in Iowa City, this isn't going to fly, you know, without some type of resistance. So everybody that lined up for the Matt Walsh speaking event and who came out of the theater after watching his documentary had to wait in line and be screamed at by protesters for like an hour at least. And it was so funny just these people like they started out at first, you know, for a few minutes being like, haha, look at all these triggered lives. But then after like 20 minutes, they were just kind of like thousand yard staring, you know. Yeah, that's, that's really interesting to me because obviously like one of the particularly with the younger right, right? You know, I think there is sort of a dividing line both in my head and in physical behavior between kind of like older and maybe even less radical Republicans who are really tied to this idea of the silent majority and get a degree of emotional comfort from the idea that most people do think like them. They just don't want to talk about it. And then there's sort of not an entirely separate, but certainly much more common attitude among the younger right wing activists, people who were raised online in places like Fortchan about the where the where a lot of their focus is on the joy of triggering the left, which they see as like controlling the culture to a large degree. And so it's interesting to me, you know, that's something that people, at least people like to talk about a lot, they like to at least portray themselves as sort of above caring. But very few people are capable of like just being screamed at by a crowd of people and not feeling shitty after a while. That makes a lot of sense to me. Yeah, I mean, it was definitely breaking through to a lot of them I could tell. And I even heard some conversations amongst them like very taken aback in like in shock, you know, like voice shaking when talking about it, just like, why are they doing this, you know, like putting two and two together, like it was very fascinating here to Eve's drop on these conversations. And it was a lot of that. And it was also, well, one thing that happened is I don't know if they oversold tickets or just didn't track like how many people were going to be there, but half of the people that showed up to see Matt Walsh, I would estimate about half of them were not able to go see him. They were told they were keeping track of how many people were going into the main lounge and then just randomly they were just like, all right, that's it, you know, the cops there and the staff and Matt Walsh's private security, which I will say there was more private security. Or there was more security there in general than when Mike Pence spoke at the exact same place. At least more obvious security with pens you do more obvious, yeah, more obvious security. Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, they had bomb-sniffing dogs and everything. Oh, wow. It's interesting. Yep. Do you know how full the actual theater was? The YAF claims 700 people. Uh-huh. And what's capacity for them? I don't exactly know. Okay. But they said that 700 people were able to see Matt Walsh and then, so I would say more people came to see Matt Walsh, like maybe if that was something, that's another number that the YAF threw out there. But I would say there was at least an equal amount of protesters there at its peak too. And I will also say that there were people keeping track of the cars leaving when they were able to leave and there was a considerable amount of out-of-state plates and out-of-county plates. People traveled pretty far to see Matt Walsh speak is kind of, and there were people that showed up that, you know, that right wing weirdos that I know that live in Des Moines, which is like two hours away and even some in Omaha that came that I recognized personally. So yeah, people came pretty far for this. And a bunch of those people that came pretty far were not able to see Matt Walsh speak and they were extremely pissed. And so I was watching a lot of these people yell at staff and trying to bargain with police officers like, come on, we drove like let us in and everything. The cops were just not having it. And so the mood turned pretty angry at that point, I would say. I'm interested in sort of, are you aware kind of like who was organizing the counter-response and how that was people were like informed that there was going to be something because you know, it's not usually a simple matter to get that folks, many folks to show up around a thousand for a counter protest. Yeah, I think mainly there were multiple student orgs. I think I named them a little bit earlier that, you know, there was the graduates union, a cogs union, a graduate students union. They put out a statement inviting, you know, not only their members to come, but everybody to come. They do a lot of good work around the university. The YDSA, the young democratic socialist of America, they have a chapter here and they were organizing. They did heavy-flying campaigns around town, not just campus, but around Iowa City itself. And on top of that, I would say just sharing flyers and word of mouth like on the internet to people know that Matt Walsh is kind of public enemy number one when it comes to the LGBTQ community, specifically the trans communities. So I think a lot of people were just the extremely pissed that he was here in this town in Iowa City. People call Iowa City a gayer town than San Francisco. People have referred to Iowa City as that. I don't know if I believe it. It's a high bar. It is. San Francisco is a very gay town. Yeah, well, if Iowa City people call it little San Francisco for that reason. That's sweet. I don't think I've actually been to Iowa City. Yeah. I mean, it is definitely the place in Iowa where it is, you know, Eastern Iowa. It's considered the live part of Iowa, but specifically Iowa City people call it the People's Republic of Iowa City because like the right wingers think it's still left wing here, but in reality, our city council is run by like Pete Buttigieg supporters, but you know, to them that's communism. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I think just the spirit of Iowa City in general, like everybody was just pissed that this guy was coming to town and everybody found out one way or another. And yeah, people showed up and showed out for sure. When it comes to like kind of confrontations and stuff, how would you describe sort of the general mood towards that sort of behavior outside? Like was this the kind of thing where there was their action sort of taken beyond like the yelling or was it kind of like mostly focused on demoralization and providing kind of a visual show of how much resistance there is to Walsh and his ideas? Well, after a lot of them were denied entry, I think a lot of them were extremely pissed off. At that point, I saw a bunch of old, like not a bunch, I would say a handful of almost scupples breaking out. The couple I saw were definitely the faults and instigated by Matt Walsh attendees because you know, they probably drove really far and weren't able to get in. And now you got all these people with trans flags screaming at you and calling you in Nazi enough fascist and that you're a piece of shit, you know, but there was a lot of people and a lot of cops that were really, really, really wanting to make sure that that didn't happen. So after these people weren't allowed in, they were being escorted towards the back entrance where they came in. So they all went back towards the back entrance. And that is when somebody or some people, I didn't see it, I only heard it dumped thousands and thousands of marbles by that exit. Yeah, that was my favorite thing that I saw in your thread. Yeah. So then the cops were like, well, shit, sorry guys, you can't come this way. So you have to go back through the gauntlet of screaming protesters to get out of that. Yeah. Area denial, taking a, yeah, area denial and also kind of rerouting them from an area that's going to force them to confront the least pleasant aspect of it. Yeah, that's very smart. Exactly. And then even after that, lots of people were going to, like the way the IMU is set up, there's a park by it and there's also a parking garage right across the street from it. And there's a one way out of the parking garage. So there's one way out if you parked in the parking garage and towards the end of his talk and when everybody was filing out of the mat wall should've been, protesters had completely taken over that street. So there was no way any of these people were getting out. They just kind of like came out in a giant, like, hoard of people. And then they slowly started realizing, you know, since all these people were blocking the street and there is a pet band in the middle of the street playing, you know. They were starting to understand that, oh, shit, we're not going to be able to leave. So a lot of them were really mad about that and they started going up to police officers and staff saying, like, you got to get these people out of here. I'm trying to leave, you know, in the cops, there's only like outside, I would say there is only like seven police officers. And there is no way, like the cops tried to get people to move out of the street. They even put their hands on some people to try to move them. But then 40 more people would just get in the street and so they realize that that wasn't going to happen. So after going through a gauntlet of protesters and stepping over marbles, you know, these people are then also not able to leave the event when they want to. And I would say the road was blocked probably for like an hour, hour, 15 minutes until the police were finally able to kind of like wedge a way out for these people. And that's when one confrontation that I know happened where one of the Matt Walsh attendees started shining a strobe light in people's faces and someone put a sign in front of it to stop them from doing that. And then that person grabbed the other person and there was kind of a fight that happened. But that was the only physical confrontation that I saw the entire night. Besides cops putting their hands on protesters trying to get them out of the street at one point. So what would you say were kind of the main takeaways from this for people, you know, this is going to continue to be a thing. If folks are looking at participating in or organizing responses to events like this in the future, what were your kind of big takeaways? My takeaways is that marbles obviously, great idea. Marbles. Yes, marbles are a great idea, you know, but also what I think is kind of worth taking from that is that like it's not enough. We often see this when like different tactics go viral. Don't like do the cargo coat version of it, right? The reason why the marbles were effective wasn't just that like it made an exit inaccessible. It's that because it made it was in a situation where it rerouted people back through that screaming gauntlet of counter protesters, which was demoralizing. So strategy is also like worth taking into account when you're adopting new tactics. Yeah, certainly. And from how it seemed to me is that that was intentional that it was meant to block that exit. So they had to go back through the screaming people to get out. Yeah, definitely, you know, marbles are funny, but it was deployed in such a way where it was even more funny and effective. A takeaway that I had was that, you know, there's always going to be risk with this type of thing, risk of, you know, risk of anything really, you know, physical harm, emotional harm, people getting in trouble at school or something. But I think these kids and a lot of these attendees went there expecting to own the lives and then walked away really demoralized, you know. And so I think it was definitely worth it to put our bodies on the line and everything and put ourselves on the line to just send that message and also make it clear that other people can do this too. And Matt, while speaks, you know, just make it miserable, you know, you don't even necessarily have to prevent him from speaking even though that would be pretty cool. But even though he did speak like no one's talking about that, no one's and no one's talking about what he said. People are talking about how all the Matt Walsh people got stranded and how there were marbles that blocked their exit and how the pet band came and played to a cadence of fuck Matt Walsh, you know. Yeah. Yeah. All right. Well, is there anything else you want to talk about before we roll out? I'd say that about does it for me unless you have any more questions about specifics of the night. No, thank you for coming on all of us. There any sort of plugs you've got for anything? You want to direct listeners towards before we end? Yeah. There's an organization around here called Iowa Trans Mutual Aid that does a lot of really, really, really good work for people in the state of Iowa that currently has is experiencing like so much of the country really, really, really bad anti-trans legislation. So if you find it in your heart or have the means to donate to such an Iowa Trans Mutual Aid, I really, I really can't recommend it enough. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Oliver, and a big thank you to everybody who showed up that night in Iowa City. That is it for us today. Everybody have a great rest of your day. All right. Welcome to Dick and Appetite here, a podcast about the trans genocide because it keeps happening. And so we keep having to do episodes about it because it just gets worse. Yeah, I'm me along with me as James. I'm here. I'm excited to hear more about what people are doing to trans people in different positive country. Yeah, the answer is not good. So nice things. Okay. At about 5 a.m. this morning, I was watching a video from last year and you know, they had this line about how like there's been a hundred anti-trans bills in 2022 alone and like, oh, oh boy, that is a, that is a quaint figure from a more civilized age. We are three months into 2020 and there's been 500 anti trans bills across the country. That was a Freudian slip. We have three years into 2020, my friend. Oh God. Yeah. Three months. You know, 23 that one, which I guess it won't work out like this, but technically speaking of this pace continues, we're on track for what? Yeah, we're on track for I think 2000 this year, which would be great. Yeah, it's good. We'll be rebuking man's and art by November. Now most of these bills, if you've talked about before, are going to fail, but a lot of them haven't. And the other sort of aspect of this that I think has been less reported on, but is also extremely important is that. Okay. So if you want to do anti-trans bullshit, you have like three options basically. You have, you try to get a bill through the legislature. You have the governor doing a mandate or something. And then you have the attorney general doing some bullshit. And our first story from the front lines of the worst shit that's happening is from Missouri, where Missouri's attorney general, Andrew Bailey has issued a quote, emergency rule that claims that because gender affirming care is quote, experimental, it's already banned by state law, which is nonsense. But it gets worse. I know it's worth like addressing this shit head on because it's such a clearly bullshit, but like we have more than a century of people receiving gender affirming care and transitioning. Like it's like people, people, television is more experimental than gender affirming care. Yeah. Like the stuff like airplanes are more experimental. Like the stuff predates the Nazis. Like it's like, it's old. Yeah. Like it definitely predates passenger flight. Yeah. So, okay, I mean, this is like a standard turf argument though, is that it's like, no, experimental. It's like, no, it's not. Okay. So these rules are, oh boy. Okay. Here's from, so I think it was St. Louis. Yeah. The city government of state Lewis put out a thing about it. That was basically like, this is bullshit. They said quote, the attorney general's emergency regulations institute extreme restrictions that require one medically documented gender dysphoria for three years, two at least 15 consecutive therapy sessions over 18 months and three that all mental health conditions are treated and resolved prior to gaining access to gender affirming care. There's also this section that is I'm just going to read it. I don't have any words. I don't have any analysis for this. So it's saying like you can't have care that quote, fails with respect to a patient who is a minor to ensure that the patient has received a comprehensive screening at least annually for social media addiction or compulsion and has not for at least six months prior to beginning of any intervention suffered from social media addiction or compulsion. So wow. Yeah. Now, so the good news is that this rule is supposed to go into effect like before this episode is recorded. I, it was there instantly there are a bunch of lawsuits. It's been blocked by a judge until May 15th. Yeah. So hopefully the judge will be like this is obviously illegal. Not holding out hope for that. This is probably the worst law on the books anywhere in the country right now. Maybe I'll I'll show you the other really bad one. And what we'll see. But okay, so the notable thing about this law is that this is not just a ban from minors. This is for everyone. And you know, there's lots of a treasure stuff in here, right? Like if you have autism, for example, and there's a thing about screening for autism. If you have autism, you cannot transition. Jesus. And you know, even if you're like a 99 year old on your fucking deathbed, you can't transition. Unless you feel free all of these bullshit requirements, there's this like, there's a social media compulsion thing, which is this sort of bizarre like social contagion bullshit that these people have been spreading for a long time. Yeah, especially given like, why the fuck do we think their trans panic comes from? It's because they logged on to Facebook and your racist uncle Joey had posted something about like how Twitter is transing his niece's gender. Yeah. And you know, and this is like all of this stuff is very like we're getting into. We're getting into the part of this where it's just sort of like they're like copying and pasting turf rants into like laws. Yeah. Um, the mental health care thing is like just awful. You know, for example, if you have depression, one of the reasons you might have depression, if your trans is because you have dysphoria. Yeah. So you're caught in this loop where if you try to get care for the depression, you can't get like treatment for the dysphoria. If you get treatment for the dysphoria, you can't get it for the depression. Right. Yeah, you're totally alienated from getting care. And like I'm sure living in a fucking state, which is trying with surgical precision to force you to pick which way you want to be suffering. It's not like great for your mental health to be like being a trans person in Missouri would be pretty hard given that the state is using what it's power to stop you getting anything out of care. And you know, I mean, everything that's left out this is like the therapy requirements, the, the, the, the 15th, there are the things over 18 months, it's just effectively a ban because you know, do you know how fucking hard it is to get an appointment with a gender therapist? Like it is so like there are, we are talking about something where there are optimistically dozens of these people for an entire state. It is fucked. It is so bad. Um, even in states where it's legal, right? This is, this is sort of the grim joke of like the anti trans canard, like it's too easy for kids to get gender affirming care and they're giving it hormones like candy. Is it like no, no, it's really even in states where it's legal to get gender affirming care. It's hard as fuck takes forever and is expensive. And you know, given how through few therapists there are and how hard it is to clear the requirements, the misery world is just effectively a ban on gender affirming care for everyone. Now it's been stayed for now, but this is really bad. People are fleeing the state. Um, we're going to talk more about trans refugees later. Yeah, but you know, basically every state that has passed one of these laws has refugees already. I know I personally know multiple people who fled multiple states. Yeah. It's really fucking bad. Uh, it's also, you know, I mean, like it is genuinely important to make sure this people get support and make sure people live a way out. It's also not a solution because there's just going to be new trans kids born into these states. So yeah, yeah, we can't fix it by the existing trans people leaving. And like obviously those people have their friends and their family and their community that we didn't fix it by them going so I'm a completely different. Yeah. So now we're going to move to the next state where shit's happening that this one. I don't know. The stuff that's happening in Kansas is also like, okay, relative to the amount of media attention, it's gotten this is the worst thing that's happening in absolute terms. It's unbelievably bad. Okay. So there's a bill in Kansas that people are calling a bathroom bill and they're calling it that because bathroom bill is a terminology that they have. This is not a bathroom bill. Uh, we need to be very clear about this. This is way, way, way, way fucking worse than a bathroom bill. So this is a bill that what it does is in the eyes of the state, it legally assigns you a gender by defining male and female and all state and all state laws as, and I'm going with legislative legislation, take it from here. Even are those who quote biologically whose biological reproductive system is developed to produce over and men are those quote whose biological reproductive system is developed to fertilize the over of a female, which I, yeah, hey, rad fams, I hope you're fucking happy now. You've gotten the state to legally define your gender as based on your reproductive capacity. Yeah. Yeah. We've got a good job. Great job. Fucking what the thing where they were the bonnets. Yeah. Yeah. And here's a, and it just intersects people cannot exist. Yeah. You're fucked. It's worse. Okay. So here's KSNT, which is a, a, a New Southland Kansas. In addition to restrooms, the legislation would define words like woman, man, mother and father in areas like athletics, prisons or other detention facilities, domestic violence centers, rape crisis centers, locker rooms and quotes. Other areas where biology, safety or privacy are implicated that could result in separate accommodations. Jesus Christ. Yeah. So supposedly this is going to be on a case by case basis, but you know, like this is going to lead to trans women being put in vans prisons where they will be raped and almost certain like almost certainly will be raped quite possibly will be killed because that happens all the time. You know, this is, I mean, like kicking trans women out of domestic violence centers and rape crisis centers when, you know, and this is going to happen. And you know, similar, like bullshit is going to happen to trans men and also to non-binary people who all of whom are abused and assaulted at rates that are fucking indescribable. I mean, there is also the bathroom bill shit like the worst version of bathroom bill shit we've ever seen. And, you know, but also so this is not the only one of these bills that we'll talk about the other one in Montana in a little bit. But because the Kansas Republicans are somehow even more correctness than their colleagues in Montana, they have written the bill in such a way that in the words of pink news, quote, definitions outlined in the bill also state that a female per the female is a person who produces over in other words, eggs meeting cis women who are infertile and are unable to produce eggs could be barred from spaces under the legislation's legal terms. Likewise, cis men, I guess. Yeah, it's, it's, yeah, like you have like fucking had an accident or, yeah, yeah, yeah, and it's bullshit. Like it point to get the logical errors. It doesn't really work because that's not really the point is it like, like, their point is not to be like logically sound. It's to be cruel. Yeah, but, but, but I think there is something very important about this, which is that this is a very, very firm example of how the struggle for trans rights and sort of, you know, like transpodally autonomy is intimately connected for the struggle with abortion rights because if you, if you look at what's happened here, right, Republican lawmakers are literally defining women by their, by their capacity to produce children for them. Yeah. So, you know, this is, this is not like the, these, these are two very, very interconnected struggles. And the same people have the same absolutely dog shit like horrific patriarchal politics in both of them. So okay, so we're, we're gonna, we're gonna leave, can't, in the brat, okay, so we've had two really grim stories in a row. We're gonna have one that's slightly less grim, which is Nebraska. So okay, there has been a bill to ban gender, for me, care for minors, but it is being staved off basically single handedly by the Jenny Wynne, the heroic efforts of state senators Megan Hunt and Michelle Kavanaugh, who have been filibustering literally every bill that goes through the state Senate to stop it from happening, which fucking rips. And like, you know, it's, okay, so basically the thing is like we will, we will, we will filibuster literally every single bill until they stop trying to patch this ban through. And you know, this is like, okay, so like there was, there was a thing that happened in the early 2010s where in the, in the US, like the big US Senate, right, they changed the rules about filibustering so that you don't actually have to stand there and talk for eight hours because they're fucking cowards and it always pieces shit. In, that is not true in Nebraska. If you want to fill a bus to a bill, you have to fucking stand up there and talk for eight hours. And they have been doing this for months. Yeah. And it's, it's, it's, it's holding that, you know, basically, so the way filibuster works right is it, you can't, like in the Senate and in the state Senate, you can't stop someone from talking unless they like dream debate. You can't stop someone talking unless you get a two thirds vote of the body for emotion, a cloture. And so they're just been forcing you to do it for every single bill. And they don't have the votes in some of the bills. So yeah, it, you know, and the reason I think this is, this is happening, you know, the reason that they've been doing this and not sort of just like, like doing bullshit, like most of the democrat. Partially, it's because there's a Senate and partially because Senator hunt, hunt has a 12 year old trans son. Yeah. Which, yeah, has, has given her, you know, a sort of urgency that's absent from Democrats and other states. Yeah. It's not theoretical for her. Yeah. And I mean, like this is one of the things that sucks about this right is like it, it should not fall on, you know, like literally the trend, like the, the, the rights of the children of an entire state are falling on like one mom and the, the few other Democrats who decided to take a stand with her. And that's fucked. That is nonsense. Like it's, yeah. It's great that she's doing it. But like, yeah, what about like this is, yeah, this is horrible. Yeah. Do you know what else is horrible? Uh, is it the production services that support podcast? Why FTC regulations? I don't think I can legally say that. But no, no, we do. No, it's not, not that. Yeah. And we're back. Okay. So now we're going to get to, I think the most famous story or most, most well known story of an anti-transfight that's been happening recently. And that is Montana. So Montana has passed a bill that banned gender of firmly care from Bynars and also opposes legal sanctions. Anyone who does it. Have an or a great geophonty like has a non-binary son who's a he day. And he like gave us speech. It was like dad fucking don't sign these bills and his dad signed them anyways. Yeah. Uh, one of the co-sponsors of this bill on the floor of, of, of the Montana house said she'd rather her children dive in transition. That was out of it. Yeah. Yeah. And she had to give him a press conference later saying she didn't actually mean that. But like, no, she, that's literally what she said on the floor of the fucking house. So these people are ghouls and monsters. They are the dogs of the, the sort of, the, the Republican freedom caucus, which is there like absolutely deranged like Matt Gaetz fucking weirdos in Congress who were, if you remember that giant fight over the speaker of the house, like that was those freaks, like the, yeah, um, these people are like their local sort of like dogs. There's two other absolutely terrifying bills that are about to become law. There's HB 359, which is a ban on kids attending drag shows, which like that bill has gotten less bad than it was, which is it's now a ban on kids attending adult entertainments. But you know, guess you guys decide what adult entertainment is, etc. Right. Yeah. And that bill has passed both the House of Senate is waiting for reconciliation. There is the even worse SB 458, which is basically the bill from Kansas except I'm, I'm just going to read some of it. Uh, female means a member of the human species who under normal development has produced XX chromosomes and producers and would produce regular relatively large and mobile gametes or eggs dream her life cycle and has repred, a reproductive and endocrine system oriented around this production of gametes and individual who otherwise fall within this definition. But for a biological or genetic condition is female. So this is straight turf shit, right? This is the straight up like a woman is an adult human female thing that like, yeah, these people walk around saying thinking is like a normal thing to say. Oh, yeah. And thinking that it, specifically the chromosomeality thing, we know has been bullshit for a very long time. Yeah. It's nonsense. It's people don't know it's not like, oh, yeah, sorry. Yeah. And we can like, the example is this woman called Maria Jose Martinez Patinio who is a herdler, who won a number of events and then lost her medals because she fell to chromosome and reality test and fucking ruined her life, right? Lost her fiance, lost her job, lost all her competitions and was able to successfully sue with the help of like leading experts in a field to prove that like, I think she had like, she exhibited mosaicism, like XXY and that like, this was in fact a normal fucking variation in human species. And like, this was in the 80s and we're still doing this shit. Yeah. Her papers are really good, by the way. She's a professor of philosophy now. Oh, cool. Yeah, yeah. She's great. I speak to her a few times, but yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But like these people are doing, you know, like they are, you know, this, this, this, this bill legally rights trans people out of existence. And it is again, another one of these gender period grab things where this, the state is legally defining what gender you are. But also, you know, but again, like they have to do all this like bullshit because, you know, this is the thing that I said, like these guys, these people are like, you know, like, slightly, I don't know if Smoters, the right word, but they're slightly, they're slightly more engaged in turf shit. So they have a more convoluted like, yeah, biological misconception of what a woman is, which they can't define because it's not a thing like, yeah, it's a social construct. Yeah, because they can't society. Yeah. And put in mind of South Africa constantly chasing the fucking definition of what race was and like trying to define like multi racial kids into one box or another box. Yeah. It's, you know, it doesn't work. But the problem is this bill is going to be signed by the governor like next week, probably possibly this week. Like in the next couple of weeks is going to be signed. So that's really fucking bad. So the part of the story that thinks the most well known is Montana Republicans crusade against Montana House rep Zoe Zephyr Zoe Zephyr is trans. She is a rep for a part of Missoula, which is a college town home home to the University of Montana. We talked about this a bit when Zoe won her seat, but I really, before we really get into what's happening to Zoe, I want to talk a bit about Missoula and a bit about the sort of the geography of transmigration because the way the media talks about this, right, is that, you know, transmits like trans refugees and transmigration is something that started with these anti trans bills. And that's not true. This is this all of this stuff, all of the sort of fleeing all of the refugee stuff predates Tennessee, it predates Missouri. It's always been happening. Yeah. You know, because and the actual process of this is that, you know, for for generations and generations, the rest of the earth get fed to the wolves. And then the wolves spit them out of their homes and their communities and they fled. They fled to places like Portland and Philadelphia and Atlanta and Chicago, places where people like us had clawed out in existence in a world that wants us dead. Well, we could tenuously survive off the shithead of urban labor markets. And this is something that has happened beneath the notice or even the contempt of Bush West society, but it's been going on for longer than we've had words to we've had the words that we used today to describe it. And you know, Missoula is one of those places where you can go when your family kicks you out. And you know, and that that's not the only way people end up here, right? Like there's a lot of people who, you know, you know, have better stories, right? They go to college, they discover themselves. They're people who go here because it's where they've chosen to make new lives. And you know, sometimes there's also just people who are from Missoula who just realized their trans. Yeah. And you know, it's this mix of sort of trans refugees, trans migrants and the local trans community that, you know, all fused together and becomes this sort of beautiful community that we've been, you know, has finally like stepped out of the shadows in the last like 10 years. And you know, and this is why it's not enormously surprising that Missoula set Zoey's efforts to let it to represent them because this is, you know, again, like this is one of these places that like collects people from all over Montana and, you know, from all over, like East and Washington too, some of these people go to Seattle, some of these people go to Portland's. But yeah, there are the, there have always been these massive networks of migration that just, you know, no one ever, no one researches, no one talks about no one even, it's hard to even know they exist unless you know that people who like have been moved along them. The product of this now is that Zoey's effort is trans is in the, you know, on the floor of the house debating with the Republican legislators, this bill to like ban healthcare for, for like trans youth. And she says, quote, if you vote yes on this bill and yes on these amendments, I hope the next time there's an invocation, would you bow your hands in prayer? You see the blood on your hands, which I really wish, because let me get to talk about the blood on your hands, they constantly, I wish they read the whole quote because it fucking rips. It's great. Yeah, I think you need to, like, you can't, there's no fucking point in bourgeois civility with this stuff is that it doesn't work. Yeah, I know. And this is one of the things that's been happening, right? It's like, like the Republicans, their backlash to this has been, has been the sort of like, oh, you're not being civil thing, right? And like, like Senator Hunt in Nebraska was like literally, like didn't actually literally say fuck you, but, you know, like said, like, yeah, like, no, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna like show up to like your, like your dinner parties or whatever, like, like, don't say hide in me in the halls. Like, you know my fucking kid, like, you know what you're doing to them. That's the way to approach it, right? Like, like, the person being on the bus and trying to legislate your little trends, so on that of existence. Yeah, it was like, fuck these people. You're gonna do this shit. Okay, so there's a couple of theories as to why what happened next happened next. There's been a lot of speculation that it's been like, oh, this is like a gambit by the freedom caucus to like turn Zoe's effort into like the face of the Montana Democratic Party is like in Winnipeg Senate races. Like, I actually don't buy that. I think very specifically, the when you close your hands to pray, you see the blood on your hands, I think they got really fucking pissed off and then they just kept escalating. So after that happens, the Montana Republicans formally censor her and they prevent her from speaking on the floor until she apologizes and it's like, no, fuck you. I got much of that. She's the fuck you, but she's like, no, I'm not gonna apologize, right? There are a bunch of like pretty large protests like in Helena that are like, you know, that are like pro trans protests and protests to like, let Zoe speak. And they arrest seven of the protesters. One of the people they arrest was, I think a woman on crutches who like couldn't clear the area fast enough because she was on crutches. Yeah, it was like, you see that go down before people in the chairs and all kinds of shit. And then the, so there's like these protests in the gallery, right? And the Montana Republicans start doing this whole thing about how this is, this is the Democratic January 6th and like they were storming the Capitol, the Capitol, so they're trying to do that in Tennessee as well. Yeah, and the other thing I want to mention about this right is like, okay, like the Montana Freedom Caucus people and all like the censors and the fucking pressure releases are just constantly misgendering Zoe. It is, it's really fucking ugly. Yeah. And, you know, so after these protests, the house like banishes her from the floor and kicks her out of her offices. And so she shows up like to work from a bench outside the chambers where like legally they can't kick her out of, but then like, well, this is an ongoing saga, right? Like this morning she showed up and there were like three really old white women sitting on the bench. The speaker of the house is mom. Oh, the speaker house is much. Yeah. Yeah. Like this fucking big Montana tough guy had to call his mom to fight his battles for him. Like they just insanely pure royal assinine nonsense. But it's unfortunately has very real consequences. Yeah. And like, yeah. So she was like at like a lot. She was like, like had her like tablet, like on a lunch counter taking meetings from like standing at the counter. Yeah. It's been a whole thing. Also I think earlier today someone tried to swat her girlfriend. Yeah. She was the journalist Aaron Reed. So that's bad. This whole thing has been getting like an unbelievable amount of media attention. And you know, in a very, very short period of time Zoe Zephyr goes from someone who I know about because I'm trans and like all trans people are like four hops away from each other. There's something I probably shouldn't say, but like it's true. Yeah. You kind of get forced into it. There aren't that many of us and a lot of us are extremely online. So like, you know, like I'm like two hops away from this person, right? Like from multiple angles with her, right? Yeah. I met her like very briefly in a stream. She's, you know, like she's a good person. She. I don't know. She's just like, this is one of the things that I think like I've met a couple of the or a few of the like very famous like trans people who should have come under the gun. And they're just normal fucking people. Like, just normal trans people and this bullshit happens to them. Yeah. It's so like bullshit. They're like, I know a number of trans ladies who are bike racers, right? And like they, like it must be pretty clear that if you win a fucking race, if you win a big race, like you know what's coming for you, you know, fucking bright, bright news is going to have you on that. The next day. Yeah. It's for and the same for her, right? She likely would have been aware that the moment she like tried to defend her right, to fucking exist, all the very worst people around the country would be bang for blood. Yeah. That she's very brave. She did anyway, like, as she should fuck them, they shouldn't be able to silence her. Yeah. Um, okay. We should take an ad break. Yeah. One more time. And then yeah, we'll come back and say something funny. Let's put more. Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-chamber. Ooh. Okay. We're back. Okay. So what's the middle of all of this? Zoe went home to... I think there was like a recess or something because legislatures work like two days a year. Rich people hours. Yeah. Bullshit. Like, yeah. They have like a break for fucking horse racing and then yeah, to do polo or whatever. Yeah. So she went home to Missoula and there was a, just like a massive march. There was this rally that turned into like this, basically like a 24 hour long party. People, my, my, my, my favorite story for this is there's the people who, okay. So they brought beer they had got from rowing a boat out to a derailed train. Ah, yes. I was fucking saying the two media narratives of 2023. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's great. And like, you know, I mean, I think in these sort of moments, right, you, you can see the new world there, right? You can, you can see a world where, you know, we no longer live in fear. This, you can see this world where we're, where we're free to create joy and meeting in art and our lives, you know, can, can be a celebration of the beauty that's in and around us. But that world, the world that generations and generations of trans people have fought and died to sort of claw out of the dirt, the world tried to bury us in that world will die unless we fight for it. And that fight cannot be left to individual state representatives. There's not enough of them. Eventually, they will lose. And this is, this is the other story of Montana, right? As, as, as much as, you know, as much as what's been going on in Montana is a story about a trans woman defying like all of the sort of organized power of her state, like all of those bills passed. And there is not enough power to, if we keep trying to fight them in legislatures and we keep trying to only fight them in, in legislatures and in court, we're going to lose. But okay, I probably shouldn't say this before I, I know we've, we've locked it the title, but the projected title of this is, is the tran, is the transgender side of siege and a counter attack. And I promised a counter attack. So I'm going to fucking give it to you. You didn't want like brief notes on the season. Like, you could have gone full Maoist on this line. Yeah, we, we, we, we did, we did that with the other one. And I, I realized after the, the last episode we did on this that I could have just called a counter attack and that would have been better. So I saved it for this moment. I'm glad that you get to use it. So okay. What, one of the things that's become incredibly apparent in the last, in the last few years is that as, as much as there is sort of passive transphobia in society, transphobia is not a sort of nebulous idea that just like floats freely around the world, it is brought into this world by men. And we know, we know the foundational story of how these men and women gained power, right? They cut a deal with capital to reconstitute the Republican Party in the 80s. But you know, and this is, this is both their weakness and their strength, right? It's their strength because this gives them an enormous amount of resources to pull on. It gives them the institutional backing of an entire political party. But its weakness is that it means that capital and the transphobes are bound together. But this means that we do scratch a capitalist to transphobes bleeds. Now the other things that we know are, A, there are power in logistics and B, there are companies profiting from genocide. FedEx for example, FedEx's headquarters are in Tennessee. Tennessee has passed a bunch of, the panaceas, like the state where this shit all fucking started, right? With the original bathing bills, with their drag bills, with their ant, you know, they've also passed bands on miners getting gender, affirming care. If there are other states where you know, you can look at the largest sort of companies in the states like Missouri's probably like Pinedaera, Montana's, Schneider Electric, Kentucky's, probably KFC. And you know, those companies are weaknesses. So what am I talking about here? I'm not talking about a boycott because this is the US. Nobody fucking knows how to do a boycott. Like when Americans try to do a boycott, they buy like 16 pallets of bud light and shoot it with a bazooka. Right. That this a boycott, it is not. What I'm talking about here is something a lot more serious. You know, we've seen the sort of, so let me raise this. We've sorted the sort of echoes of what this kind of campaign could look like with the sub-cop city protests. With, you know, you have protests outside the offices of banks and outside of corporations that are backing, that are backing cop city. But I'm talking, you know, that, and that at the most mild is something that we should be doing, right? These companies that are profiting from genocide, the companies that are, you know, funded by the fucking tax exemptions that are given out by the states, the companies that are, you know, giving money to the people political campaigns. But I'm talking about more than that. I'm talking about blockades. This is, you know, very specifically FedEx is quite positive. Possibly the best example of a company that you can, that you can just target, right? Talking about blockades. We're talking about supply. Disrupting their supply chains. I'm talking about very specifically a campaign that put the Trans Sword through the arteries of capital and make the bastards bleed. I'm talking about a counterattack. Now the advantage of this strategy of picking corporations targeting them and disrep- like not, not, not just necessarily protesting outside of their offices, although doing that, but specifically actually making them fucking bleed, actually disrupting the ability to function as a company, right? The advantage of this strategy, which is developed and sort of broad strokes with my dear friend, Vicki Astrowile, is that one of the big problems we have in this whole fight is this sort of weird, is this geographic mismatch, right? The majority of people in the US, and also the majority of people in most of the states where this is happening, right? Don't support this shit, but it doesn't matter because the Districts are gerrymandered to fuck. And, you know, but it means that like there's a lot of people who like me, for example, like I live in Illinois, right? Like the, you know, under normal circumstances, the best I can do is help my friends in Missouri get out and try to help like, you know, do things like secure access to transport and housing for refugees, secure access to hormones for people. But if we're going after, if we're going after capital, if we're going after the companies, the banks, the financial institutions that are funding this shit, we can hit them everywhere. The states have borders, but capital doesn't. And that means that, you know, we can, if you are specifically, you want to target the legislature of Kentucky, you can go after fucking KFC, right? You can go after their banks, you can go after anyone who funds them. We can hit them on multiple fronts here, right? We can hit them with protests. But these companies also, they rely on our labor, right? A lot of these places are, you know, are either sort of fast food change or logistics networks. And that's a place where, you know, trans people are overrepresented because trans people are overrepresented in the service sector. You know, again, because it's easier to get jobs there and institutional transphobia locks you out of better jobs. They also rely on public infrastructure. They rely on, you know, streets being open, right? They rely on an entire logistics network to make sure, and not only are they extracting the labor of people that they are like, you know, the sort of like theoretical term for this is realization, right? They have to actually be able to sell. They have to be able to assemble the product and have to be able to sell it. You can stop those things, right? I mean, like KFC and sometimes it's also kind of hard because there's franchise shit going on. But that's not true with FedEx. Like every FedEx office is FedEx. And you know, these are companies that like maybe we can't fucking drive them underground, right? But we can make them bleed and we can make it, we can make it painful enough to be complicit in this genocide that these people, that, you know, these people get fucking axed, right? We can, we can make them bleed, we can go and you know, another thing that, you know, people can do, right? It's not that, you know, if you have like a spare afternoon on a weekend, right? It's not that hard to figure out the like the specific business interests of the legislatures who are voting for this stuff. You can just do this. All these people are unbelievably corrupt. They have land deals that they're doing. And so, you know, open records to those that you see who donates to all those people as well. Yeah. Yeah. Like, you can just Google who gives adnotions to people and yeah, it's like generations trackers and you can plug in their name and it will show you everyone who donated to them. Yeah. And so we have learned through the sort of the experience of the past few years, right? That these people cannot be swayed by logic. They cannot be swayed by, they cannot be swayed by logic. They cannot be swayed by science. They cannot be swayed by, you know, they cannot be swayed by emotional appeals. They do not give a shit about trans people. They would literally rather have their kids die than be trans. But again, the one thing they do care about is capital. And if you make capital bleed, these people will bleed to and that will actually fucking hurt them and that will give you the leverage you need to let these people make a choice, right? It's a warm spring afternoon in Atlanta, Georgia. You and some of your friends are dancing in the sunlight at a music festival in South Atlanta. It's day two of the South River Music Festival. Last night you stayed up till 3am, alternating between mashing in the pit and laying down on a blanket looking up at the night sky, trying to see stars through the light pollution. After you had your fill of EDM, you called it a night and hastily set up a tent in the forest near the edge of the festival. You tried to sleep as long as you could, but soon enough the hustle and bustle around the forest, back into you out of your tent. As you moseyed on over back to the music festival, immediately something new caught your eye. A large, multi-colored inflatable bouncy castle sitting right in the middle of the field, with a big stop-cop city banner hung along the side. After you fully woke up, you grabbed a free breakfast burrito and took a nice walk through the winding forest. Now that you've finished your breakfast, you're back at the far end of the open field in front of the stage where there's been live music playing for the past few hours. You and some friends briefly try a stint in the bouncy castle, but quickly return to the festival stage as you tire out much faster than you expected. As the sun is barely starting to set around 6pm, suddenly you notice the faint scream of police sirens piercing through the music being blasted from on stage. You stand up as the sirens get louder and closer, until a burst of police cars zoom past a music festival at high speed. A short sigh of relief is followed by confusion, where else would a whole bunch of police cars be going? But as nothing seems to come of it, everyone starts to relax and begin enjoying music once again, with the apparent absence of police. There's a few brief moments of peace at the festival as things continue as scheduled, except you can't help but notice the police helicopter is flying across the forest toward the festival. As you take note of the chopper, you receive a signal message from a friend. Quote, cops have entered the parking lot with AR-15s. You lift up your mask and start running across the field to the parking lot at Mulani People's Park, but before you even make it halfway across, you notice up ahead a few dozen police officers sprinting into the open field from the festival side entrance. As the sun is setting, a group of cops run past the bouncy house and start chasing down seemingly random concert goers and lone stragglers. One officer points his rifle at the bouncy house as another turns off the generator. You group up with other people from the festival in hopes of working together to incentivize police to leave the area. As you get closer, the cops start getting more aggressive. Just up ahead a bit further into the woods close to where you set up your tent, you hear some loud bangs and see a flash of bright light. First you assume it's just fireworks being used to hold off the cops. Still you start coughing and see the faint plume of tear gas seeping in from the forest. You are forced to fall back to the festival and regroup with people by the stage where music is still being played. As you're running back, you can see dozens of people in zip tie cuffs, many still pinned to the ground. Still coughing from the gas, you make your way back to where you were mashing the previous night. The crowd of festival goers tightens up as riot vans and a bear cat pull into the field next to the deflated bouncy castle. Police SWAT teams surround the South River music festival and creep towards the stage, threatening to charge hundreds of people with domestic terrorism. Hanging on the backdrop of the stage is a massive banner that reads, quote, in the eyes of the state, all who resist white supremacy, colonialism, environmental racism, gentrification and police militarization are domestic terrorists. That was the evening of Sunday March 5, 2023. This could happen here. I'm Garrison Davis. I arrived in Atlanta a few days prior in preparation for the March week of action to defend the Atlanta forest and stop cop city. This is part one of a four part series covering this week of action featuring interviews, report backs and analysis from both participants and observers like myself. This four part series will be a follow up of sorts to the four stop cop city episodes we put together last January following the death of forest defender Tortugita at the hands of the Georgia state patrol. As well as building off my previous year of work covering the movement to defend the Atlanta forest. But in case you're new or need a refresher for over two years now, activists and community members have been in a fight to save the willony forest from being turned into a massive $90 million police training facility stretching across 170 acres with plans to include a mock city for urban combat training to quell civil dissent. The cop city project is being led by the Atlanta police foundation, one of the most powerful police lobbying groups in the country. Following 17 hours of public comment, 70% of which was against the facility, the Atlanta City Council voted to approve the project's lease in September of 2021, despite months of protests and community organizing. Later that fall, people started occupying and camping out in the willony forest to maintain a physical presence in the woods in hopes of preventing or delaying construction. Infrastructure to support long term encampments grew over the next year with forest defenders erecting tree houses, road blockades, and making the forest a place that people could actually live in, with outdoor kitchens, community gardens, and places to sleep, whether that be up in a tree or in a tent. For a while, it seemed to be working. Throughout 2022, construction continued to stall. Almost every time cops and workers came in to start cutting trees, they were met with resistance. Construction equipment left around the forest was routinely sabotaged, and last year, a tertiary targeting campaign resulted in the general contractor for a cop city, Reeves Young Construction, to drop out of the project. Police enacted multiple raids on the forest in 2022, trying to flush out any forest defenders camping out in the woods and tear down encampment infrastructure. But the occupation was generally able to bounce back pretty quick. As the movement to stop cop city was seemingly winning, police intensified their repression. As a series of raids in December of last year, decimated much of the infrastructure that was built up over the course of that year, and left six people with domestic terrorism charges. But things got worse. Just a month later, in January of 2023, multiple police agencies engaged in a mass raid of the Wallani forest, destroying all remaining campsites. About an hour into the January 18th raid, the Georgia State Patrol SWAT team killed the 26 year old forest defender Manuel Taran, also known by their forest name Tortiguita. Decap County's autopsy found at least 57 gunshot wounds from multiple officers. We'll talk more about the results from various autopsy's in a later episode, but just a few weeks ago, Tort would have turned 27. The other side of the Defender Forest movement is focused on a smaller section of the Wallani forest just east of Entrenchment Creek. Initially in hopes of expanding his movie studios, the now former owner of Blackhall Studios Ryan Millsap has been trying to gain control of 40 acres of public parkland through a shady land swap deal with Decap County that's currently subject to legal disputes. The slate of land in question contains the popular meeting spot in the forest known as the living room, which acts as a sort of central hub, as well as what's referred to as Wallani People's Park, where the park gazebo used to be before Ryan Millsap demolished it. Later, ripping out all of the grass and sidewalks in a once again legally questionable move. In January, Wallani People's Park also became home to the vigil site for Tortiguita. All that let Matt from the Atlantic Community Press collective explain the other happenings in the woods since January. They got their land disturbance permit in late January and the first phase of the land disturbance permit only allows for soil erosion control work. To this point, essentially what they've done is they've clear cut some paths into the forest, into the proposed site, and then around the exterior of the site, they've clear cut a line in order to install silt fencing. There isn't a large amount of infrastructure. They're not allowed to do a large amount of disturbance right now. They're in the pre-construction phase right now. They started in February and they did a lot of work very quickly. They installed a privacy fence so you can't really see what's going on. Our general understanding of it comes from drone footage. It actually slowed down a couple weeks later. From what I understand, they began to pull some construction equipment out, probably not wanting to leave a target for, shall we say, any sort of spicy activities. But not all of their construction equipment was removed as everyone would soon find out. The deadly January raid left the community in the morning and unsure of how the fight to stop Copsidie would evolve with the use of lethal force and the loss of a friend. The force defenders semi-permanent occupation of the Wallani forest ended after that raid, but the fight was far from over. About a month after the January raid, local Atlantins put out a call for supporters across the country to converge in Atlanta in early March for a mass gathering known as a week of action. There have been four previous weeks of action, but this one, more than any other, would be crucial in reifying what the next stage of the movement would be. I started off this episode with the Sunday Night Police raid on the South River Music Festival because, for better or worse, what happened on that evening set the proverbial stage for what the majority of this week of action would look like and how its effects would ripple out in the coming months. But before we get to the rest of the week, we first have to go back to the official start of this week of action to explain how we got here in the first place. To kick off the week of action, a rally was planned for the morning of Saturday March 4 at Gresham Park in South East Atlanta. By the time I arrived around 11am, hundreds of people were already in the park. Music was blaring from loudspeakers. Some kids and a few brave adults were running around throwing multicolored, powdered paint at each other. It was a pretty festive time. Soon enough, it was time for things to begin. Matthew Johnson, the Interim Executive Director of Beloved Commun, formally kicked off the week. Buddy, let's get started! Alright, I just want to make sure that everybody is in the right place. I came here to stop Cobb City. What did you all come here to do? To come to do! What have we come to do? To come to do! What have we come to do? To come to do! What have we come here to do? To come to do! Alright, I'm glad that everybody found the right address. Thank you everybody for joining us. It's about two years ago in what was formerly known as Intrenchment Creek Park, now known as Wallani People's Park. Where a rag-tag bunch of individuals gathered under a gazebo. That gazebo was illegally destroyed by Ryan Millset and his henchmen in an attempt to break this movement, in an attempt to bury this movement. Yet every single time that they have tried to bury us, they have forgotten that we were seized. Every time they thought that they backed us into a corner with their repression, we had more of you show up and support this movement and we thank you so much. They have set every hurdle in the way of everyday Atlantis to intimidate them and stop them from supporting this movement and we still show up. We appreciate every single person that has come here to support us in spite of the terror that the state has tried to instill in us. We must be very careful and understand the gravity of the situation that we are in, especially after we've lost a friend. Thank you for standing with us and now there are many things that we do not agree on. But what did we all come here to do? Stop vaccine! So remember what got us this far was a diversity of tactics. The crowd gathered was a pretty diverse mix of people from a variety of backgrounds, beliefs and preferred tactics. On this Saturday morning everyone felt pretty united, whether you were a kid running around with paint all of your body or an anarchist dressed head to toe in camo. Next up somebody read a statement from the Muscogee Elder, Miko Shabon Colonel. I'm here to read a statement from Miko Shabon. Yeah my name is Marty, I'm Muscogee, I'm a father side, I'm mother side, I'm Ahtham, both Ockmill and Thana and my dad's also Filipino. Miko asked me to read this statement. Mundo Shujio Madh, at this time I would like to express my gratitude to all who have conversed onto these ancestral territories of Muscogee and ancestors in modern spiritual and habitats of the earth that we now stand on. Today we represent a vast society of peoples whose presence in the colonized names states of Georgia, Alabama and Florida have existed for over 13,000 years. We represent a way of life that's strove to minimize the harm that humans can do to the earth, to other species and to each other. Today we continue this movement that begun many years ago and we honor those who have taken footsteps to protect this forest and our relative who gave the greatest of sacrifices. This is ancestors existed on these very grounds and carried a faith and confidence in what our ancient ones passed on to us. May the hope of peaceful existence for all be achieved for many more centuries to come. This existence can only occur when we realize the sacredness of the walaani forest that all that is natural on this earth mother. This type of existence can only occur when we realize that we all belong to this earth and she does not belong to us. This type of holy existence can only occur when we realize that no cop city can ever exist because more weapons only create more violence. With these efforts that begin today, perhaps reason will prevail and we can create a future where all people have the right to exist. Today may our dreams for this forest and the surrounding community come true. For those who can hear, let them hear. The next speaker was from Community Movement Builders, a local black collective that focuses on combating gentrification and police violence. I may be a little bit selfish in my reason for being here. I want to be free. I want my children to be free. I want my mother to be free. I want my father and my brothers and sisters to be free. And I don't want to have to live a life in ten years where my babies, my nieces and my nephews come to me and ask, come I see. Where were you? Where were you doing when they destroyed our clean water? Destroyed our clean air? What happened? Why were you not around? What were you doing when my babies told me ten years and they say, come I see? What were you doing when this country turned into a fascist dystopia? What were you doing? I was just sitting here around. I can't sit here and best sit back and say, I just sat home and watched this whole world burn to hell. I don't believe in the power of the imperialists. I believe in the power of the people. So I say to everyone today that during this week of action, I don't know where you will be. I don't know what you will be doing, but we stand behind you and we stand with you and we want to show the city of Atlanta. We want to show Mayor Dickens that he is not fit to rule and he is not really shitty. We want to show him that the $90 billion that they took to build his army warfare training facility will not crush our communities. We also want to show the city of Atlanta that again, we are ready to stop merely surviving and start living. Woo! Finally, our last person, Reverend Leo Shay, is a Baptist minister part of the Stop Cop City clergy coalition, which we'll talk a bit more about in the next episode. And I believe my faith compels me and convicts me that in this moment, the work that has been done and the work that has come to defend our beloved family. This, our siblings, the earth, is a holy and righteous work. It is a holy and righteous work that is grounded in a faithful rage, a rage which has been boiling in the human family's blood for centuries and needs us care at this moment and asks us, what will you do to defend those who have no defense? What will you do to protect those who have no shelter? What will you do when the time comes to decide on whose side you are on? Will you stand for oppression or will you stand for the liberation of all people? My friends, I come with some good news if that's okay. And the good news is that God stands on the side of the oppressed. God stands on the side of the forest defenders. God stands on the side of the most marginalized. And let us make no mistake that in our protest and in our rage, we also have to cry out and lament. We cannot be silent as Stor-Turghieta's blood cries out from the ground. We must honor a life that did not have to be lost. It did not have to be this way. To not listen to anyone who tells you that there is not a better way, there is always a better way. So I come with my faith and the conviction that in this work, in this moment, a prophetic imagination, a creative vision is needed for the world that we want to see. I'm not here to wait for the Kingdom of God. I want the Kingdom of God right now. After the speeches were finished, it was announced that the crowd, now nearing a thousand strong, would gather up together and march to a Lonnie People's Park to retake the forest. As everyone was getting ready to leave, you could see the care and solidarity people had for each other on full display. Bikescaots were checking to see if the path was clear. Volunteer street medics were ready to help anyone in need. Water bottles were being handed out to keep everyone hydrated, while others autonomously coordinated rides for people unable to make the walk. Looks like approximately 1,000 people marching from Gresham Park to Lonnie People's Park on the bike path. I can't even see the end of where the people stop. It's a long stretch of people marching. Hundreds and hundreds of feet. There's some banners in front of the march, one of them reads, disarm, defund, dismantle, no cop city. There's one of the sun shining over a pink sky with a little blue turtle, and their shell is the earth. Massive like 10 person banner that reads, defend the forest. The energy of the march remained high as people chanted to the beat of drums. I sat down with Matt from the Atlantic Community Press Collective towards the end of the week to talk about what we saw throughout this week of action. At one point, the entire crowd, seemingly the entire crowd was chanting, if you build it, we will burn it, which seems... Yeah, almost like 1,000 people. We will burn it! We will burn it! We will burn it! We will burn it! And it was being chanted, like, you know, looking around the crowd, you saw everyone for the most part partaking in that. So that was a very interesting moment where it felt like there was that sort of solidarity amongst the varied groups that make up the defense of the Atlanta Forest movement. As the march went on, the path was getting increasingly forested. About 2 thirds of the way to Elani People's Park, after turning a bend, the crowd noticed three deer frallicking alongside the march from further within the tree line. Dear Archiv! Dear Archiv! Dear Archiv! Dear Archiv! Dear Archiv! Dear Archiv! Dear Archiv! To quote the Atlanta Community Press Collective's right up of the march, quote, The joyous mood shifted slightly as the protest closed in on the People's Park, passing over the remains of the bike path destroyed in December by film executive Ryan Millsap. Activists were uncertain what they were walking into, or whether the police would offer any resistance. Activists thought there was going to be an issue they were concerned about the police being in Elani People's Park, so about halfway we saw that stack of makeshift shields made out of plastic rain barrels. About 2,000 of those five-getland drum shields just mysteriously showed up along the bike path. We are arriving at Elani People's Park. No cops. But then when we got there, there was no police whatsoever. From what the scanner people told us there were police around, they were just kind of monitoring from afar. But no police ever entered the park, and I would say it was a really nice high point return to the forest. The banners and shields moving around Elani People's Park as hundreds and hundreds of more people still pouring from the bike path. As the back of the march finally arrived, the crowd gathered up one more time to all chant out a promise in unison. I will defend this land! I will defend this land! We will defend this land! We will defend this land! One of the activists I interviewed during the week of action was Matthew Johnson, the person who kicked off the rally at Gresham Park. We talked about the methodology of starting off this week of action with this big inclusive march, and how that may have helped achieve the goal of retaking the forest that first day. We wanted to be sure that we would be able to reoccupy the park. And what that would entail is having a wide swath of the larger public involved with any efforts to enter into the park. And so we had the rally at Gresham Park, and there was a march planned from that park to Elani People's Park. There is violence that people have become accustomed to when it is people on the political fringes. That is just where we are at in the political situation in Atlanta. That is where the public representatives from NGOs and nonprofit organizations are. That is when you have the ability to move towards people that want to reoccupy having the space to do that without seeing tons of police repression as we have seen in the movement recently. After reaching Wollani People's Park, many of those who arrived from out of town for this week of action, myself included, stopped by the shrine for Tortigita just off of the tree line. People added new wildflowers and packs of fruit snacks. We'll walk over to the Tortigita vigil site. Looks about the same as last time I was here. Many candles, little turtles. All of you fruit snacks. Although the vigil shrine was the same as last time I saw it, almost everything else about being in this place was different. When I was here last time in January, it was a dark place of grief. The forest was barren with all of the trees in their bare winter state. But looking around the forest this first sunny day, you can see new life growing all around you. To quote the community press collective again, quote, small campsites begin to crop up across the landscape. Some nestled in sunny air spaces, others tucked into thickets, providing shelter and cooler climate for the new residents. The trees themselves reflected this next phase. Sprigs of new growth leaves appeared on the ends of barren branches. Small white flowers bloomed along the periphery of the parking lot. After months of desolation and death, life prevailed, and spring arrives in the forest. I'm excited to get back into the forest because it is so hot. And get back in the forest I did. One of the events that happened almost daily throughout the week was tours of the eastern side of the Wallani forest. The walks through the woods were led by Joe Perry, a member of the South River Forest Coalition. I was able to attend the first tour during the week of action and got consent to record some of the forest walk. All right, hey all, welcome to the living room. So named because it's a very inviting and comfortable place to relax. This is where a lot of the meetings happen during the previous week of action. People gather and have different events here. Oftentimes it will be food available here. Campfires. Silverware. So it's also just a very, very comfortable place to relax because it's in this pine forest. And so not really any undergrowth and just super comfortable. It's a really good place to have meetings and just kind of get to know each other and establish some calm. We made our way from the living room to the grandmother tree, a large oak that is estimated to be a few hundred years old. On our way to Rein Mill Saps proposed a site for so-called Michelle Obama Park, which is currently a 40 acre mound of dirt about 30 feet high, we walked past some old tents that were slashed apart during the January raid. Among the destroyed remains were little pink flowers growing out of the ground. Next we headed to Entrenchment Creek. Joe Perry explained some of the background regarding the environmental state of the watershed and how protecting the forest is a crucial step in the process of helping the land heal itself. I got involved with a group called the South River Forest Coalition. We are trying to help further the vision of the South River Forest that Ryan Gravel and the Nature Conservancy came up with to try to interweave about 3,500 acres of forest with the other businesses and homes and lands around this area that are in the watershed of the South River Forest. Entrenchment Creek, which we will see on this tour, is the main tributary to the South River. The South River is the fourth most endangered river in this country. Entrenchment Creek is one of the most polluted creeks in this county. Entrenchment is what we are trying to protect and in order to protect a river and a creek and a watershed you have to protect the forest that is around it. I have been exploring these woods for the last decade and leading tours and talking to people about it, trying to explain what is going on with the lawsuit, trying to explain what is going on, the difference between Entrenchment Creek Park and the prison farm and the acreage and all these other things and all that stuff. It's just like it's just gear is turning in your head because when you come out here and enjoy this, I mean this is really what it's all about. This is all we have to do to convince people that this is worth saving. It's just bring you out here and let you appreciate it. As masses of people converged at Willani People's Park Saturday afternoon, almost immediately a whole bunch of pop-up infrastructure was set up to facilitate an encampment in the woods once again. Unfortunately for the first time in any kind of large capacity since January and even December, the December raids decimated much of the camp infrastructure which still had not been rebuilt since then. But upon arriving from Gresham Park on Saturday, both first time visitors to the Willani Forest and seasoned forest defenders worked together to rebuild a lot of that infrastructure to support camp life for the next week. One of the things that we saw on the march in was eight cinder blocks right at the entrance to the living room. You and I went into the living room, we saw these huge water tanks. Later they moved those water tanks to those cinder blocks and that has become a watering point for everyone. Twice a day a truck comes with a water tank on the back and then they go through the arduous process of filling that water so that everybody in camp can have water and they had this system that was seemingly self organized and then that first day we were sitting in the parking lot and it seemed like every time you turn around there was like a different train of people carrying supplies into the living room. The second day there was a woman who was shoveling gravel from the torn up concrete on the side and she was filling all of the random holes in the ground so that carts could go up them and I was like did somebody assign this to you? She's like no I saw this. Just needed to be done and I did it. That was very much the entire vibe of those first I would say 24 hours was okay what do we need to do to get this thing running? As encampments were being established simultaneously infrastructure for the SOT River Music Festival was being erected in the adjacent radio control field. Within a short amount of time a full stage was constructed complete with lights and speakers. Meaning the sides of the field were various tables and booths one side featured a large variety of refreshments as well as a medic tent and the other side was home to free hot food and freshly grilled burgers and hot dogs. Next to the food were a few tables distributing an array of radical literature posters and stickers. What was your favorite stuff at the Music Festival? Well there was an Arapa table and I'm very food motivated to the Arapa were delicious and we had walked a bunch that day. I needed sustenance and then there was the burger table as well but I don't think I don't know if you got a burger but I did not get a burger. I got one burger but they were out of buns when I got a burger so I had a lettuce burger and then soon after they got the buns back and I was kind of kind of bummed. Yeah I did not but at least you got something but I had the Arapa so. 100 people were there. They had 500 people. At one point they made an announcement that they needed to do another food run just to go get more food and like a bunch of people volunteered and only I think two or three went down to Walmart to get a bunch of hamburgers and hot dogs and it was just a really cool moment. So I think by the end of the night when I was there about 500 people just enjoying the music and looking at the sky it was just an immaculate vibe there was a little fire pick off to the side and yeah you talked about the setting up the stage you know I didn't know what to expect walking in there is not expecting quite that much of a production I wasn't expecting a light pledge stage with lights all around sort of in this really like the lighting worked really well for it's it back dropped the surrounding for us. It's like nice like green and purple lighting yeah it was it was it was great and then they had that green room tent back there and then they had a separate tent for equipment like it was a very well thought out festival in the middle of nowhere. The South River music festival began early Saturday evening at 5 30 kicking off two days of local musical artists playing shows free of charge. Before the lineup of live music began someone on stage read out a small flyer that was being passed around detailing the reasoning for the festival and its place within the fight to defend the forest and I got permission to share that reading. In the limitless possibilities of the cosmos in the mad flux of events reactions and anomalies of the past 12 billion years since the birth of our universe is a statistical impossibility that we would be here now but here we are alive together such incredible circumstances have brought us here among them the incredible and innovative resistance to defend this place from becoming a police training compound. This resistance which brings us together the most cunning and resilient techniques of the radical environmentalist movement with the incredible courage and ferocity of the George Floyd uprising is not just about a small piece of land it's not about being fought between police and their goons on one hand and some activists and their friends on the other. We are witnessing a collision of two competing ideas of happiness of life of the future. In this competition experiments with new types of free culture play a decisive role this movement cannot be reduced to what is happening in city hall on social media or in meetings. For two years we have descended on these woods finding refuge from the high rents and predatory bookings piece of the corporate venues and bars. We have not come here to redecorate the actions of some activists as allies lending our service to the drab and loveless militancy of something we do not otherwise care about. As the gentrification of Atlanta intensifies more and more DIY venues and clubs our shutdown and free spaces to play shows and dance are pushed further and further from the city center. Our free time is pinched as rents increase and traffic keeps us waiting longer and longer. That is going to change! Music is not like other forms of human culture it is different from painting drawing poetry, literature or film, art politics and symbolic culture in general represent the passions conjuring strong feelings from the shadows of reality, pulling them from the depths of the soul or the back of consciousness. Music on the other hand is perhaps the only form of human creativity that contacts those feelings without any mediations, music is physics, music is reality. The system we live in is at war with reality. The system is destroying forest, rivers, mountain tops and oceans, it is destroying our imaginations, our bodies and our world to defend ourselves from certain annihilation. It will not be sufficient to strike the right notes at the right time. We will have to make recourse to other means to more direct means and that is why we're all here. The Defend the Atlanta Forest Revolution will be economic, political as well as cultural. We're building a new era of human history where music will be at the steering wheel. What is needed cannot be taught without first being discovered. We are those adventurers plunging the depths of the cosmos for the contours and textures of a free existence, of a life without dead time. When it is necessary, we will defend ourselves by the means appropriate to the task, not with words, not with denunciations, but with actions. Real and concrete actions, as real as the sounds, as real as reality. I'm so lucky to be here with you all, thank you. Across the middle of the field, hundreds of people laid out blankets on the grass and dirt. Concert goers alternated between a dancing in front of the stage and relaxing and eating food on picnic blankets. As the night approached over a thousand people were spread out across the RC field. A mosh pit had formed directly in front of the stage, musicians led stop-cop city chance, and between sets people spoke on mic about the movement. Friday night was headlined by local Atlanta rapper Zach Fox. Zach told stories about how he and his friends used to hang out in this very forest as teenagers. Alright, I'm going to say this is the mayor. I'm going to say this is the mayor and I love everybody for coming out to support this shit. When I tell you me, RG, everybody used to walk back in these woods and drink red stripes and walk our dogs and shoot guns and shit. So I really don't want to see this shit happen and I really appreciate all of you coming out to do this shit. Fuck a cop city chance erupted pretty regularly throughout the night. And this is all I'm going to tell the police. Okay, hold on. Let me make sure I push the right button. See that shit. Let's go. Buk-a-Ratt-it. Buk-a-Ratt-it. Buk-a-Ratt-it. Buk-a-Ratt-it. Buk-a-Ratt-it. Buk-a-Ratt-it. Buk-a-Ratt-it. Buk-a-Ratt-it. Buk-a-Ratt-it. Atlanta. I love y'all so much, man. Hell yeah. Hey, man. Let me say something real quick. Let me say something real quick before I get the fuck off stage. Let my homies rock this shit. I love y'all so much for supporting this shit. I have, let me tell you. Let me tell you something. I'm 32, a lot of niggas start getting old and they loose faith in the youth. I got so much faith that everybody in this motherfucking bitch. Wherever y'all going, I'm going. I truly believe that y'all gonna save this motherfucking world. So I'm with y'all. Fuck cop city. Fuck cops in general. Fuck 12. Fuck our thorn tyrannism. Fuck capitalism. Fuck all that bullshit. I'm with y'all to the end. Tell you what, I'm motherfucking die. So let me hear y'all say this one more time. Say fuck 12. Say fuck 12. Say fuck 12. Say fuck 12. Besides the domestic terrorism banner I mentioned in the opening of this episode, another banner was hung up beside the stage featuring turtles and butterflies. Along with the Asada Shakur quote, love is our sword. Truth is our compass. It's kind of music is about connected to nature. Feeling the trees, feeling the ground, feeling each other. Look right up there. Look at the fucking moon. To quote a communicate from the Sonic Defense Committee, quote, at this point it was impossible to imagine a meaningful police intervention. The crowd was made up of elderly people, university students, rappers, indigenous activists, toddlers and newborns, skaters, people of all imaginable Atlanta demographics. The night ended around 3.30 am to sounds of house, techno, and drum and bass without any notable incident. Unquote. Tents were set up all over the eastern side of the forest, with many people choosing to sleep under the tree canopy between the living room and the music festival for that first night. Years and a night went on, people carefully tended small campfires both in the festival field and in the middle of the living room. To quote the press collective, the movement was once again living in joyous harmony with the forest it had promised to protect. Tomorrow's episode will cover day two of the music festival, the frankly unprecedented direct action that took place some day afternoon, and a more detailed look at the police raid that happened later that evening. See you on the other side. Music Festival audio courtesy of Unicorn Riot. Welcome back to It Could Happen Here. This is part two of my miniseries detailing the March Week of Action to defend the Atlanta Forest and Stop Cop City. This episode we covered the Week of Action kickoff rally at Gresham Park and day one of the South River music festival. We'll be picking up right where we left off, starting with my conversation with Matt from the Atlantic Community Press Collective. Saturday night there was music going on until 4am, it was a long night but a really good night. What was your Sunday like? Sunday started off really great. The first thing you see when you walked back onto the festival grounds was this amazing bouncy house that they had written some guidelines up there that it did seem like everyone followed. You could fit six adults which is like for a bouncy house that's pretty large. It was a big bouncy house. It was like six adults or 12 kids or something like that. So yeah, you see this bouncy house and like when you see that the first thing, I think that visually sets the entire expectation. Like that is a statement in and of itself of like what they were going for that first day. Day two of the music festival started around noon right in the middle of the RC field was this large rainbow colored bouncy castle adorned with a stop cop city banner. People slowly trickled in all over the course of the afternoon, culminating in about a thousand people scattered across the field by 4pm. Just like the night before people enjoyed free food, defend the forest related literature and bustling refreshment booth. While listening to live music, people played a soccer and frisbee in the open field, while others were continuing to build camp infrastructure in the forest. So I think the bouncing castle set the tone and everything was really lighthearted for the first few hours. I spent most of that day walking around watching this autonomous infrastructure in the forest kind of pop up on its own. It's like everywhere I went, you know, to the parking lot you saw trains of people carrying water and supplies deep into the forest. Everyone seemed to just be trying to find a place to fit in and to work and to really participate in the week of action. As the day went on, rumors started to circulate about inaction, happening later that afternoon. Word quickly spread that people would meet up in the RC field at 5pm. Eventually a flyer was posted to social media and sure enough, come 5 o'clock, a group of a few hundred people, made up of individuals and affinity groups, gathered behind the bouncy castle, most of whom were masked up and dawning some form of black block or camo block. A community posted later on the website,, described the feeling on the ground. Quote, the air was tense. No visible rage, just a steel determination. No one knew what was coming next, but we knew it was something big. That was quite the visual, like this crowd of camo and black block and like some people wearing normal clothes who I don't think quite knew what they were about to do next to this massive bouncy castle. I think that the visual of it represents two aspects of the movement, the militant aspect and the joyful aspect. I think they're both very central to what the movement is. It's a pretty good encapsulation of the diversity present around the Defender Forest and Stop Cupsity movement. There's a few hundred people in camo block walking down, I believe is a constitution. A lot of people are dressed in black block, mixed with legal observers here. Police choppers overhead. Currently people are marching west in the direction of the old Atlanta prison farm, isolated to the forest that Cupsity is planned to be built on. There has not really been a mass convergence of people like this in the forest. In a long, long time, I cannot remember the left time there was anything quite like this. This is definitely the biggest group of people who's ever like converged on marching on the old Atlanta prison farm area. Last year people were occupying and living in the forest in that side. This repression has intensified. More people have moved over across on the other side of Entrenchment Creek Park, on the slate of land, closer to the Wallani peoples park and the section that Ryan Millsap is wanting to develop. I've definitely never seen this many people marching like this near the forest. In a much more militant seeming group of the crowd, as opposed to Saturday's first march, which was like a thousand people, various types. Everyone here looks much more willing to throw down. As the group, around 300 strong, left the RC field, they calmly marched west down Constitution Road toward the power line cut. A company overhead by a police chopper equipped with a thermal camera. Popped her still overhead, I'm sure you can hear it. To get a clear picture of what actually happened that day, it's useful to understand the geography of the Wallani forest. Especially since the police have tried to make it sound like the individuals who were arrested later that night were apprehended at the scene of the crime, which is not actually the case. The entire area that the defenders are trying to defend the entire Wallani forest, the contiguous part of it, is surrounded in a triangle by three different roads, Constitution, Key, and Boulder Crest. All the way to the east is Wallani People's Park. Just to the west of that is the RC field where the music festival was happening, where the bouncy castle is and where our group that we're following here starts to gather. All the way to the west is the proposed site of Cops City along Key Road. To get there through the forest takes a good 30, 45 minutes to get there, if you're on the road, is still a 25, 30 minute walk. It is not anywhere close on foot. No, it's different point A to point B. If you're crossing through the woods, you also have to jump over an entrenchment creek, which is not the easiest creek to cross over. It's not the easiest and it's not the cleanest, not something you want to step in. I'm at the back of the march now. Everyone's tightened up into one larger group. They've paused briefly and are retrieving some tires that have been found near the ditch on the road here. These and dozens of tires are blocking the road. They're getting moved out pretty quick and the march is moving on. Looks like people arrived at the power line cut. This massive clearing for power lines to run north-south. People are now marching on the green grass underneath the power lines. The thin clear cut for power lines has been there for years and directly leads to where the cop city pre-construction work is taking place near the north gate. The open area makes it easy to traverse, but on the slip side that also makes it easy to surveil. There were only a little over a dozen cops stationed at the north gate, as well as the police chopper circling overhead. The group of block is slowly, slowly moving north along the power line cut. I'm keeping my distance for now so that I can continue doing stuff without being extremely jeopardized. The block approached the north gate in broad daylight with shields in hand and people behind throwing projectiles in the direction of police. A barrage of fireworks, rocks, and just the sheer size of the crowd overwhelmed police causing officers to retreat as a swarm of hundreds of people overtook the proposed cop city construction site and current police security uppost within the Wallani forest. Alright, the group has marched a decent ways up. There's now fireworks in the distance. The telecopter is still overhead. Looks like most of the crowd is still in the area of the power line cut. Pretty condensed large group of people up there. Lots of fireworks, like I said. Some individuals chose to focus their efforts on repelling the nearby police, giving the opportunity for others to set their sights on various targets. The large number of people in the block together allowed for individuals to feel more safe and capable of taking action. The APDs put a call out to get any available units down here by the old Atlanta prison firm property and a quote from this kind of audio is, get here now assholes. Forest defenders smashed up in set ablaze in office trailer 2 UTVs, a surveillance tower, and a front end loader as the police ran for cover behind offence staff secondary smaller outpost across from key road. Despite the police helicopter circling overhead, the gathering spot for a good 30 minutes, the theme's APD was not fully prepared in their response or just did not know what was going on because they made a decent way without any visible resistance so far. A communique posted online reads quote, when we approached the gate finally, it was not chaos, but it was something like it. Our crowd unleashed a wild burst of energy. It was incredible and I will never forget it. It was rhythmic almost. We devastated all of their work, their vehicles, the trailer, everything. But it looks like Atlanta police is now trying to converge. Lots of fireworks still. I see smoke. Oh, a lot of smoke. Whoa. A lot of smoke very fast is filling up the area around the little, it looks like it's by the little control tower in the middle of the power line cut. Wow. That smoke is thick. That's a fire. That is a decent fire. I can see the orange flame now as the few police officers stationed at the North Gate were forced to fall back under pressure. Force defenders leveled months of their work within a few minutes to quote the blog. Communicate quote, this act of mass collective sabotage was done methodically and without anxiety. The crowd destroyed all of their equipment with ease and confidence. So the excavator, there was a utility terrain vehicle, which is what the police have been using to sort of move in and around the woods and sort of motorized move in and around the woods. And then the office space and the storage space were all torched. I think that comprised like everything that was over there. And then the police surveillance tower, which has been taken down a few times. Yeah, police surveillance towers in that area. They have this tendency to fall over. The fire has gotten a lot, lot bigger. Police scanner audio is saying officer needs help calling for all available units to converge on the spot. Wow. The fire is getting so much brighter. Smoke is incredibly thick. Looks like some people are starting to move out of the area back into the woods. Wow, that is a huge fire. At least two separate things lit on fire. There were in fact more than two things on fire. Looks like crowd is going to be starting to move because a lot of police is about to show up. I'm sure what the response will be for people at the music festival or at a whole lot of people's park who are camping out for the week of action. But this is a pretty big action for week of action day two. Wow, this smoke plume is massive. While the action itself was a success, the notion of an overall one-sided victory was about to come crashing down. A whole bunch of sirens just flew by about dozen cop cars. Lots of cop cars by the music festival entrance as well, by the RC field. Looks like the cop cars are converging at the festival, not at the fire. Okay, back at the music festival. As you can hear, it is still ongoing. There are still hundreds of people. Probably like 500 people gathered here at the music festival. You can see smoke in the air from this vantage point, from the spot by the power line cut, where those two fires took place. One indication that this night was far from over was that the police helicopter seemed to be moving toward the festival. The chopper has moved from being the power line cut to the music festival and will only people spark. Vibes seems to be pretty chill on the ground here. I'm not sure how many people that are present know what's going on. But the chopper is still stationed above the entrance to the festival. So I think they're looking to see if the group that march is going to march back the same direction, which I don't think they will. But that is what's currently going on. People still seem to be coming like to and from the festival. Sure enough, within minutes, an increasingly large number of police started to stage by the entrance to the RC field. Doesn't the police cars in our station outside the entrance to the RC field where the music festival is taking place? There's a lot of police here, some with rifles. They're getting their zip tie cuffs ready. They've not entered the festival area yet, but I got word from somebody that they have entered the Wollani people's park parking lot. And it looks like movement is to be expected very soon. At around 6.30 p.m., police began to raid the South River music festival and started what I think is accurately described as the police's own counter protest to the events that transpired the past hour. So when the police came running up onto the tarmac at RC field where the bouncy castle was, of course, they had to point a rifle. The bouncy castle. And if that doesn't show that police are not here to have fun and have joy, I don't know what is. I don't know if anyone was in it at the time. I don't think so. I think they were literally just pointing a gun at an empty bouncy castle, which they destroyed. And I think we have to take a moment to mourn that. Lots of police running into the music festival. They're running someone down. They're missing down a few people. Cops approaching from multiple sides. Instead of immediately trying to confront the hundreds of music festival attendees head on, the still extremely outnumbered cops ran to the opposite side of the music festival and started to indiscriminately go after isolated stragglers. People running into the woods, chased by police. Someone's tackled. No one are really around to do your rest. Someone else being arrested. One, two, three, four, five, six people, currently arrested. That I can see. Or at least being detained. Looks like an NLG person's on the ground. Eventually the concert goers realized what was happening and a little over 100 people mobilized to pressure the cops out of the field. People from the music festival are now running behind the police that have rushed into the RC field. Cops being flanked by hundreds of people. So the first thing that happened was a few officers entered the RC field, which is where the music festival was happening and made a few quick arrests. Yeah, like five or six I would say. And I would assume seeing like the crowd and realizing that a small force of officers is easily overwhelmed, kind of pulled back with their arrestees. And then just after that over in Wheel on E people's park, that's when the cab came in with their SWAT teams. There was a group that was meeting in the gazebo and they report like dozens of police officers running by. One of them stood up to record and an officer with an AR-15 yelled at them and told them to sit the fuck back down and they did. They were allowed to finish their meeting, but they report this very surreal experience of just officers flying by and also making a rest of individuals who were running. And then the third wave I would say came in on the back of an armored police vehicle with an L-rad. Good old DJ L-rad. It brings back all the memories. And so from there they sort of launched into the forest, launching tear gas. Again, also brings back all of the memories. Police are starting to come back into the music festival. Fireworks are happening in the woods near the living room it looks like. The police that entered via the RC field advanced up to join another group of cops who came in from at Wollani People's Park and were already in the woods. And I first assumed were just fireworks were actually an exchange of munitions with cops firing explosive tear gas canisters into the forest and people trying to hold the cops off with fireworks. Tear gas is in the woods. Fuck. It's hard. I can't get any. I didn't bring my gas mask because this was a music festival. It's just the woods are completely caked in gas. Everyone who's inside. I don't know how they're going to get out. cops have the police surrounded. It's so gasped up in there. Police raided the tear gas, section of the woods close to the RC field. kind of blocking off the RC field from the Wollani People's Park parking lot and the campsite nearby so you couldn't like really get away or run through that area because your breathing would stop as mine temporarily did as I tried to run through there. And then police just took over this entire section of Southeast Atlanta, just the entire section of the woods, all the intersections in this area. Except for the very small space that the music festival was still going on during this entire time. The section right in front of the stage where people continued to have the music festival for the next few hours as police were as like I can't you not like over 500 police officers were in this surrounding area. There was the most amenable place I've ever seen respond to anything ever. It was wild. I am currently heading out. I will try to loop back around to Wollani People's Park. There's just no way through it right now with all the tear gas. But cop van has pulled into the RC field. Music festival people. Some of them are standing by the stage. There's our kind of dispersing. And it's getting pretty hectic. There's fully surrounding Wollani People's Park and the music festival and all sides. There was at least one individual of note who was witnessed to be at the music festival the entire time during the direct action. And they were one of the very first arrests. Police chased this person down, tased and violently tackled them. Were you on the festival at that time? I was around the festival at that time. I even saw the police tackle someone at the festival and tackle and tase an indigenous person at the festival. And initially the police officer, Georgia State Patrol. And these are the folks that were responsible for killing Tortugita and making up a lie about it. They started running and there were three people in front of them. All three of those people started running. And then there were two white folks that veered off to the left and one indigenous person that veered off to the right. Go figure, the Georgia State Patrol veered to the right and then tased and tackled the indigenous person. And then there's footage of this that may not be released where I was trying to deescalate the situation because this police officer with no grounds to attack this person is choking them on the ground and they're really just asking like literally what are you doing? Like why are you doing it? And then the person said I didn't do anything and then the Georgia State Patrol officer responded well you ran. As if running when somebody with a gun chasing you is an admission of guilt of something. So the response was nonsensical and stupid. So they're tear gassing the forest and again grabbing from reports. Anyone who's running, anyone who rightfully runs from a police officer running at them with an AOR 15, which we've been around police all week and the instinct to run even now is still pretty high. Absolutely. And if you've never been chased by police before, your first instinct isn't to let them get you. Like I've had police just charge at me for filming police brutality before and yeah you generally want to move away. It is your immediate reaction. Yeah. Anyone running at you with a gun is caused for fear and a police officer even more so. Okay, I am out of the area, police have surrounded. On basically every side of the Long People's Park, the section of the forest people are camping out of the music festival. All entrances and exits are staged. A whole bunch of intersections, this police stage. They're letting some people go. Obviously they're arresting a whole bunch of other people, no clear indication on who they're arresting or why. It's pretty chaotic right now. They put out this officer needs help call that expanded beyond just APD. But the first thing they did was call in every available APD officer. Fullton County Sheriff's Office joined to Cab County, started to mount up. And then of course the Georgia State Patrol definitely had to get it on this section. So jurisdictionally wide or this multi-jurisdiction wide force of police amassed on Key Road with the cab kind of coming in on the other side. I passed through at least 500 individual police officers. Yeah. I would check out because I walked a decent a decent a decent ways. I passed by many in intersection with at least 50 to 100 cops was stationed at like each intersection. Oh, and we can't forget the Sandy Springs Police Department also. And it's way down from outside the premise. Multiple SWAT teams. There was like, I think three different bear cats. After I evacuated the area, I was still in shock about how many police officers mobilized to raid the festival. This is the biggest police response I've seen to anything in Atlanta in the time that I've been here. This is bigger than the police response is to most of like Portland actions compared to like 2020 massive massive amount of cops from multiple agencies taking over a huge area of South Atlanta and to Cab County. As the second wave of police charged in and detained several music festival attendees, panic spread throughout the crowd. Hundreds of people rushed to the exits in an attempt to evacuate. Police blocked exits and arrested detained or harassed and threatened those trying to leave. One concert goer reported that they received death threats from an intruding officer. Quote, you're going to get shot. I don't know how else to put it, but you're going to get shot with a bullet. That same person who recorded that interaction also reported that she heard an officer with his side arm drawn in the living room and say, quote, I swear to God, I will fucking kill you. Unquote. Some people opted for safety and numbers and decided they'd rather stay together as a group as opposed to the risk of trying to escape through the woods alone that night. A hundred and fifty people congregated in front of the festival stage and musicians that stuck around continued to play music. So the music festival continues unhindered until dusk and about then is when DJO rad comes up and officers get out and call over like five people from the crowd. And so at this point, I think there's like somewhere between 175 to 100 people still at the music festival watching the music and people are calling out from the stage like we have a legal right to be here. This is public property. We had we had dueling, dueling loudspeakers trying to two people have a regular conversation across the field via opposing loudspeakers. We Scott Pilgrim versus the world, right? You know, as the police are trying to shut down a concert and there's like folks screaming into the bike and police officers who's we all read to scream back. It's just amazing. I mean, the visuals of this whole day, I think are kind of really easy to imagine even if you're not there. Yeah. Roughly after two hours of hunting down and detaining stragglers from the festival dozens of swat in riot gear with high-end rifles and armored vehicles slowly moved in towards the stage. Police told festival goers that they had three minutes to leave the festival under threat of arrest for domestic terrorism to which festival goers responded by shouting no. In front of the stage, the crowd linked arms and chanted, let us go home and we have children. Let us go home. Let us go home. Let us go home. Let us go home. Let us go home. Let us go home. Apparently unable to mass arrest 150 people for whatever reason, police called for five individuals from the festival to engage in a brief discussion. After this odd negotiation with a handful of random concert goers, festival attendees were told they had 10 minutes to walk to their cars and go home or else be charged with domestic terrorism. Half the crowd has cars parked in the RC field and the police allow them to go to their cars and leave. Leaving somewhere around three dozen people without cars still remaining at the festival. This whole time they're also chanting, we have kids. Let us go. It's this very big moment of solidarity that I've been told from people who were there at that. You can tell that everybody was really interested in keeping each other safe. Yeah, it was weird because police were definitely, they were letting some people walk away and leave. Some people drive away. Arresting others, not really with no clear indication for why they're letting some go and not letting others go. But then this crowd of people around the stage were eventually allowed to leave the music festival in big, rent of bands, the police then I did, the people who rented the bands that were driving the bands, but everyone was able to exit who stayed by the music festival. Around midnight, the Atlanta Police Department posted a press release saying that 35 people have been detained, which was kind of weird language because everyone assumed that those who had been taken by police were all going to be arrested and charged. But then less than an hour later, 12 individuals were suddenly released from police custody back to Gresham Park. Since then, witnesses and lawyers have claimed that police separated out people with Atlanta addresses on their IDs and released those individuals. And then the remaining 23 people, mostly without of state IDs or a non-Atlanta address, were arrested and charged with domestic terrorism to continue the outside agitator narrative, bringing the total number of people charged with domestic terrorism to 42. Ever since Sunday night, there's been this effort from police and their media allies to frame these arrests as if they happened at the scene of the crime, alleging that the 23 people arrested were themselves torching equipment or actively engaged in domestic terrorism. Yet all of the arrests took place almost a mile away at the music festival and even further away in some cases, like in the parking lot, which is on the other side of the forest from the North Gate. To quote an article in Truth Out by Candace Byrne, quote, "'Launforcement failing to apprehend specific individuals at the site itself' indiscriminately targeted the music festival, pouring into the field, campgrounds, and parking lot with weapons drawn. They issued commands, chased people down, and threatened to shoot and arrest festival attendees." Still, major news outlets all but ignored the fact that all arrests occurred seemingly at random during a police raid of the nearby South River music festival where people gathered to see Zack Fox Live to jump in a bouncy castle and enjoy the outdoors. Many attendees had little to no idea of what had occurred at the Cops City construction site. Those who got lucky were forced to walk through tear gas to get to their cars while others were assaulted by police and charged with domestic terrorism risking 35 years in prison. Here's a clip from NBC's Today Show. To quote a statement from the Sonic Defense Committee, quote, "'The indiscriminate brutalization and arrest of festival goers suggests that law enforcement agencies will go to great lengths to paint the movement to stop Cops City and defend the Lann effortless as a criminal organization." It is in fact a broad, decentralized movement with no ideological or organizational unity, only a shared goal. They believe that the movement is made up of bad actors who betray otherwise peaceful protesters, but the movement is not committed to any particular tactic, instead accepting the diversity of approaches to stop the project. The police claim that the movement is not made up of any Atlantis while Atlanta University Center students, local clergy, faith leaders, small businesses, and dozens of locally famous artists and musicians organized themselves within the movement. The police's false narrative and heavy-handed approach to dealing with the opposition to the Cops City project is slowly starting to enclose them in. As the movement grows and city and state officials refuse to see the reality of what they are dealing with, their own authority is being brought into question. If they are not careful, the stakes of the movement will soon exceed the bounds of the forest and Cops City. In fact, that process may already have begun. I think to talk about what happens, we kind of do have to go back to put it in context. Going back to January, that was the end of the occupation or the continuous encampments in Wielani. Then fast forward to late January, they get the LDP. All of these people who have been protecting the forest for so long are now watching construction equipment roll in and they're watching clear cutting. They can't do anything about it. You had that action just after Torquech's death in January, which was a very targeted only to funders and other supporters of Cops City and maybe a random police vehicle. It wasn't really like this letting of energy. It was a very specific purpose. You have this build up of energy that I think is really important to keep in mind with what is about to happen in this story. They can't do anything and then you have Saturday where you see this massive people return to the forest. I think it's almost unavoidable in retrospect to look at that and for them not to have said, what can we do now that we couldn't do before? They gather and they do what they couldn't do before. They head over to the construction site. There had not been an action like this in the woods for a long time. Bulldozers and equipment had not been damaged in quite a while. But on Sunday, people were able to use the safety and numbers that comes with a week of action to feel more empowered to take direct action against the actual machinery that is destroying the forest and building Cops City. Sunday's action can be seen as a demonstration of the pent up righteous anger from watching the slow destruction of the forest. Participants view what happened as a justified strike against the active destruction of the forest. A strike back made an anger after watching the Atlanta Police Foundation make steady progress over the course of the past few months. The day before there was this chant that was taken up by the entire crowd and I think we talked about this earlier. If you build it, we will burn it. That was something that if you looked all throughout the crowd, they were chanting. Everybody. Everybody. Not just people wearing camo or blacklock. A thousand people marching from Gresham Park. I think that this is that promise come true. Sunday's action was itself a pretty unique moment in the recent history of environmental and anti-police struggles. Watching hundreds of people go on the offensive to participate in a mass coordinated sabotage in defense of both the forest and targets of police violence felt like an unprecedented moment in our modern paradigm of resistance in the United States. But the raid on the music festival on March 5th was also just the start of an unparalleled wave of police repression during this week of action, which we will cover in the next episode. But throughout the whole week, the assurance that cop city will never be built, never faltered as demonstrated by common chance such as I believe that we will win. So I'm going to end this episode with the final chant from the Saturday Gresham Park rally right before a thousand people marched to the Wallani forest. We must love each other and project each other. We must love each other and project each We have nothing to lose but our chains! We have nothing to lose but our chains! We have nothing to lose but our chains! Cheers! Cheers! Cheers! Music Festival audio courtesy of Unicorn Riot. Hey, we'll be back Monday with more episodes every week from now until the heat death of the universe. It could happen here as a production of CoolZone Media. For more podcasts from CoolZone Media, visit our website or check us out on the IHART radio app Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can find sources for it could happen here updated monthly at slash sources. Thanks for listening!