How the Atlanta Riots Were Funded

Even after an ‘Atlanta Forest Defender’ shot a Georgia state trooper in the stomach and his comrades set off race riots in the city, the leftist group at the center of it all is still fundraising.

By Daniel Greenfield – January 29, 2023

This comes months after the leftists threw Molotov cocktails at police and nearly burned an elderly driver to death. Multiple members of the ‘occupation’ have been arrested on domestic terrorism charges. And yet the IRS and Georgia’s Secretary of State have done nothing.

Even Twitter suspended ‘Scenes from the Atlanta Forest’, an account calling for a “Night of Rage” and “reciprocal violence to be done to the police and their allies”, but the IRS has yet to take action to stop the ‘Atlanta Forest Defenders’ from taking in tax-deductible donations.

In Atlanta, small business owners are sweeping away broken glass and police have recovered explosive devices from some of the rioters. Yet the ‘Atlanta Forest Defenders’ are still raising money through Open Collective: a 501(c)(3) nonprofit fundraising platform that Front Page Magazine had previously exposed for providing fundraising for assorted ecoterrorists including the ‘Just Stop Oil’ vandals who glued themselves to ‘The Girl with the Pearl Earring’ painting.

That is despite the fact that Open Collective’s terms of service prohibit illegal activities.

The Open Collective Foundation has received funding for digital infrastructure grants from the Ford Foundation, George Soros’ Open Society and Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network.

Meanwhile ordinary people have been suffering through another wave of leftist terror.

In November, an elderly man passing by the area was attacked. When he stopped his truck, “these people started coming out of the woods in camouflage stuff and blocked me in.”

Then they set the truck on fire.

“It seemed to me like they were going to burn the truck with me in it.”

Nobody’s fundraising for the man who lost his truck and now suffers from a medical condition, but the IRS is continuing to enable this domestic terrorist campaign. In Atlanta, rioters had marched chanting, “If you build it, we will burn it.” The riots show that they mean it.

A previous affidavit for the arrest of Atlanta Forest Defenders describes them as “participating in actions as part of Defend the Atlanta Forest (DTAF), a group classified by the United States Department of Homeland Security as Domestic Violent Extremists”. It went on to describe a variety of crimes including, “throwing molotov cocktails, rocks and fireworks at uniformed police officers; arson of public buildings” and “shooting metal ball bearings at contractors”.

Members of the ‘occupation’ charged with domestic terrorism were ordered not to maintain “contact with Defend Atlanta Forest on social media”. Despite that, neither Georgia nor the IRS, have revisited the legal status of Defend the Atlanta Forest, its fund and its fiscal host.

While the Forest Defense Justice Fund is not a nonprofit, its fiscal host, the Network For Strong Communities, is a 501(c)(3). Beyond the Atlanta Forest Defenders, Network For Strong Communities also acts as a host for Atlanta Resistance Medics. Manuel Paez, the leftist who shot at a state trooper and was killed in turn, was a member of the Atlanta Resistance Medics.

The ‘medics’, similar to other riot support groups, provide aid to rioters during street violence. The group’s blog suggests that protesters “always be prepared to face tear gas every time you go to a protest” and advises that the “key to avoiding arrest is to always know where all the police are — and more importantly, to know where they aren’t.”

An article about the alleged shooter described the group’s “leaderless nature, its focus on direct action, as well as its anarchist and Marxist leanings”.

“Don’t burn The Communist Manifesto!” the shooter exclaimed at one point after finding a copy of the book in a fire pit. “I mean, Marx isn’t perfect, but he’s OK.”

That’s whom the media and the rioters have been mourning.

One of the initiatives of the Network for Strong Communities is the Atlanta Solidarity Fund which bailed out protesters and rioters: including those charged with domestic terrorism.

Another is Copwatch: which provided training for the Atlanta Forest Defenders.

The publicly listed leadership for the group consists of Adele “Earthworm” MacLean, a local activist affiliated with Cop Watch House and Food Not Bombs, both operating under the NSC umbrella. Marlon Kautz, who serves as its CFO, is a member of Cop Watch, works with the Solidarity Fund, and is the owner of the Teardown House which is the NSC’s registered address.

The house, decorated with graffiti reading “Black Lives Matter”, “No Cops”, “Build Up Resistance” and “Smash the State”, has been featured in a number of articles.

“We build infrastructure for community solidarity and popular struggle,” Kautz has said.

Kautz, a self-identified anarchist, and MacLean, who has been named as his partner, moved to Atlanta and bought the house to “create infrastructure” for activism.

After a decade of this, they finally hit the big time and are all over the national news.

Meanwhile Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has yet to do anything about NSC. The organization was briefly dissolved by his office for failing to pay its fees, but is now listed as being in compliance.

The IRS, which determined that NSC, was a “public charity” has failed to revisit that finding even in the wake of the ongoing violence tearing apart Georgia.

As discussed in David Horowitz’s and John Perazzo’s important booklet: “Internal Radical Service”, the IRS has allowed leftist nonprofits to abuse the tax code by financing violence and terror. While conservative nonprofits are subject to ruthless IRS scrutiny, the organization has failed to hold leftist nonprofits accountable after even the most grotesque abuses.

There’s no way to understand what happened in Atlanta without following the money trial. And there’s no way to stop them without ending the abuse of 501(c)(3) nonprofits by the Left. That’s why the David Horowitz Freedom Center is continuing to track the leftist money behind the violence and expose its enablers at the federal and state level. And until the IRS does its job, we are going to hold it accountable for the violence it’s enabling in Atlanta and across America.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center’s Front Page Magazine.

Daniel Greenfield