For immediate release: June 5, 2023


The following statement can be attributed to Lia Holland (they/she), Campaigns and Communications Director at Fight for the Future:

“Last week, the City of Atlanta’s latest escalation against stop cop city activists included attacking a bail fund using its own PayPal data. For many months, protesters have been resisting a proposed $90 million police training facility in Atlanta, facing charges under draconian state terrorism laws as well as the brutal police killing of activist Manuel “Tortuguita” Esteban Paez Terán.

The militarized SWAT raid on the Atlanta Solidarity Fund is a dire warning for nonprofits and mutual aid funds across the United States. A bail fund organizer arrested in the raid was charged with money laundering for PayPal reimbursements of expenses like gasoline and covid tests, joining dozens of activists facing up to 35 years in prison. This seizing of PayPal data to charge organizations offering financial and legal support to front line activists is an extremely serious escalation of law enforcement’s misuse of financial data.

Aid funds including bail funds, abortion funds, and gender-affirming care funds currently rely on fintech apps like PayPal and Venmo to distribute aid and receive donations. For years, sex workers have been sounding the alarm about the surveillance and deplatforming rampant on such apps. The events in Atlanta are the latest illustration of how all of these transactions are one warrant away from being weaponized by any prosecutor in this country in order to suppress activists with abusive legal tactics.

Just like activists need the end-to-end encryption of Signal or Matrix to organize, so too do they need similar protections for sending and receiving funds. The right to build community owned, open source, privacy-preserving alternatives to apps like PayPal must be urgently defended. 

We urge Atlanta Mayre Andre Dickens and the Atlanta City Council to listen to the Atlanta community and vote no on funding Cop City, as well as cancel the construction lease. The Weelaunee Forest is of far greater value than creating new generations of police trained by the very individuals who are currently seeking to silence dissent. All charges should be dropped, and all activists should have their arrest records expunged immediately.

And, we call on Congressional leaders to robustly defend the first amendment rights of these protesters to dissent, as well as the first amendment right to code the financial tools for security, safety, and organizing that are so urgently needed in front line activism in the digital age.”