Background to this statement Rising Tide is a grassroots international network of groups and individuals who take direct action to confront the root causes of climate change and to promote local, community-based solutions to the climate crisis. It is part of a wider global movement for social and ecological justice. Rising Tide was formed in November 2000 to organise protests at the 6th UN climate negotiations (COP6) in The Netherlands. The network came together around the principles set out in the first Rising Tide political statement of 2000, which put forward a unique analysis and approach to climate change that was well ahead of its time, based around the issues of social justice and a critique of business-led solutions. More than a decade later, many parts of that original radical analysis have been accepted by social movements, mainstream NGOs, think tanks and some political parties. Fair and effective solutions to climate change have not, however, become a reality, and therefore our mission to confront the root causes of climate change and fight for climate justice continues. This statement updates and builds upon the Rising Tide political statement of 2000, preparing the growing international network for its second decade fighting for climate justice. Root causes, false ‘solutions’ Rising Tide believes that the roots of the climate crisis lie in the current global economic system and its endless pursuit of economic growth at all costs. Corporate-friendly and state-sponsored ‘solutions’ to climate change are utterly failing to solve the climate crisis. The current international climate negotiations are flawed and unjust because they are based on the interests of a neo-liberal capitalist globalisation that seeks to benefit richer countries and corporations. We recognise that such globalisation is triggering ever-faster climate change, and we oppose the carbon trading market as a form of modern-day colonialism. We reject nuclear energy as a 'solution' to climate change and actively campaign against it, alongside other false solutions which either fail to reduce emissions or threaten us with new local and global risks. Rising Tide believes that as a matter of survival, we must confront capitalism and decrease our dependence on the industries and institutions that are destroying the planet. Simultaneously we must work towards social justice, community autonomy and sustainable living. Climate justice Rising Tide believes that social and economic equity between and within countries lies at the heart of truly fair solutions to climate change. Corporations working in collusion with government elites are at the heart of the exploitation of communities of ordinary people everywhere. This is at its starkest in the plunder of the resources of the global south by the wealthy economies of the global north. We acknowledge that these wealthy economies owe ecological and social debts to the people of the global south. The ecological debt caused by the extraction, use and abuse of resources such as fossil fuels, minerals, forests, and marine and genetic resources generates huge social damage whereby local communities are exploited physically, politically, economically, culturally and emotionally. Repair to the biosphere, and to the communities where such extraction has taken place, cannot be delivered simply by payments of money. It will require the wresting of wealth and resources away from elites into popular control. Particularly, land and resources need to be returned to the control of communities in the global south and indigenous peoples. Just transition Rising Tide wants to see a 'just transition' to a low carbon, low consumption economy that is focused on well-being, not profit. This means a transition that doesn't fall hardest on low income communities, socially discriminated communities or low-waged employees of industries reliant on fossil fuels. Energy to meet basic needs is an essential element of climate justice. Subsistence emissions of marginalised groups must not be targeted by any plans to reduce global emissions. Nor must such plans involve ‘population control’ or other authoritarian measures which serve to penalise the victims of the current system while high consumption by elites continues unabated. We believe that successful solutions to climate change must be debated and created by organised transnational movements which put the greatest emphasis on the demands and proposals of grassroots movements of those most affected: for example, communities in the global south, island nations, indigenous peoples and migrants', womens' and youth organisations. People working collectively must be in control of this process. Power must be decentralised, not concentrated in the hands of governments and private companies. Ways forward We know that that atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases must be reduced as dramatically and quickly as possible. To this end, Rising Tide wants to see an immediate end to all new fossil fuel exploration and extraction and a just, rapid transition away from the burning of fossil fuels. We also acknowledge that ecosystem preservation, recovery and restoration are essential to sequestering carbon and curbing the exponential rate of species extinction. Practical, low-impact, community-run solutions do exist. It is time to start using them and fighting back against those vested interests who attempt to undermine them. To build truly just solutions, we must also dismantle the systems of oppression that permeate our culture and ourselves. Rising Tide aims to build strong links with environmental justice groups fighting pollution from fossil fuel processing facilities and ally ourselves with those around the world who are already being affected by climate change. We acknowledge that we as a network must step up our efforts to build relationships of solidarity with other related campaign groups and particularly with the people who stand to lose the most from climate change, in our own countries and around the world. We must also work towards real solidarity across borders and lines of race, class, gender, ability and sexual identity. Rising Tide believes that when we begin to build a culture of mutual aid and community autonomy, and when we create change through direct action and organising without leaders, we demonstrate that we don’t need governments or corporations in order to survive and thrive. The Rising Tide international network advocates: • A just transition to locally-controlled, low carbon, low consumption economies. • Immediate, drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions • Solutions to the climate crisis that are defined by those most severely affected and foster local autonomy and self-sufficiency. • Redress of the ecological and social debts of the North to the South and from elites to popular control, enabling communities to rebuild themselves and restore their environments. • Freedom of movement and an end to migration controls. Current and future support for all displaced people, and for those who attempt to create a better and safer life for themselves and their families by crossing international borders. The Rising Tide international network opposes: • New fossil fuel exploration and extraction. • Nuclear power generation and other techno-fixes such as large scale geo-engineering, industrial agrofuels, genetic modification and carbon capture and storage. • The false solutions being used as a way to evade responsibility for emissions reductions, including emissions trading, carbon offsetting, REDD, the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation projects. • The commodification and privatisation of the world’s natural resources, and the opening of new large scale resource extractive infrastructure, especially where it is opposed by local communities. • Northern governments using financial aid for climate change mitigation as a means of increasing the debt owed by non industrialised nations. • Criminalisation of and violence towards grassroots environmental and social justice movements by states and corporations. Signatories (October 2011) Hyokyaalto (Finland) Marea Creciente Ecuador Marea Creciente Mexico Rising Tide Australia Rising Tide North America Rising Tide UK
“Thus far and no further”
We’re about the movement, not the moment! And we’re coming for the worst polluters and earth destroyers. We’re building a movement to counter Corporate America’s hold on our environment, our climate and our democracy.
Grassroots direct action in the climate movement is on the rise. This fight is not going to be won with some carefully choreographed photo ops or large numbers of “click-tivists” liking a post on Facebook or emailing Obama. It’s going to be won by you and us getting involved in our communities and figuring out who to best resist, rebel, build and create.
Rising Tide North America is a network of over 50 local contacts, chapters and ally groups all over Canada, Mexico and the United States that have worked to stop climate change at the point of destruction. And we want you to join with us! See your regional contact map HERE and…
This Summer, we’ve been fighting the worst polluters and earth-destroyers on the planet. You’ve already heard about actions this summer in West Virginia, Montana and Utah. But more and more is happening:
- Rising Tide joined with community and labor activists at the Midwest Rising Convergence to form an action faction that sat in on the doorsteps of Peabody Energy (world’s biggest coal company), and Bank of America (biggest financier of coal, largest forecloser of homes in the country.) – more at convergence2011.org
- Right now scores over “trouble-makers” are sitting in at the White House to send the purveyors of politics as usual the message that the massive Keystone XL Pipeline needs to be stopped before it gets started- over 380 arrests at the time of this message – more at tarsandsaction.org
- Meanwhile… megaload shipments of Tar Sands equipment are being disrupted and blocked by Wild Idaho Rising Tide and others who are bravely placing their bodies in the way – check out Northern Rockies RT for more info
Much of the world is in open revolt against authoritarian regimes, privatization schemes and the corporations. Now, we need to sow a garden where a thousand flowers of resistance can bloom in confrontation and resistance to policies and infrastructure that exacerbate climate change.
Echoing the words of Edward Abbey:
Get involved and help fight the root causes of climate change.
Rising Tide North America
The arrest action occurred in the intersection connecting Bank of America’s St. Louis offices and Peabody’s national headquarters.
Peabody is the world’s largest coal company and mines states like Wyoming and Montana for coal bound for coal plants in the U.S. and overseas markets. They are currently trying to build coal export terminals along the Washington coast for coal bound for Asia. Peabody has also recently taken a $61 million tax credit from the city of St. Louis, $2 million of that cash will be taken from St. Louis schools. Continue reading
This weekend, folks are coming together in St. Louis to create a community with the power to break the social barriers of a society dictated by corporate greed.
It’s time we come together and build the movement that moved forward together.
Back in April, 1000 people took over the Department of the Interior during Powershift to protest Earth-devastating energy extraction while 8 people committed acts of civil disobedience at the Wells Fargo Shareholders Meeting in San Francisco to protest banks gone wild. In May, over 800 people in New York faced policemen, police dogs, and mace as they sent a message to the JP Morgan Chase shareholders. In June, 1000 people marched over 5 days to Blair Mountain in West Virginia to demand an end to mountain top removal and the coal industry’s assault on the Appalachians and their mountains. People around the country are coming together to fight foreclosures and
evictions, dirty energy projects, and corporate agendas that put profit before people and the planet.
St. Louis, Missouri, home to the headquarters of Monsanto and Peabody and Arch Coal, is hosting a unique combination of community based organizations, low-income community members, environmental justice organizations, and climate activists. We are working together to combine non-violent direct action with an opportunity to take a step back and do some collaborative training and visioning of a world we
want to live in.
The Objectives: It is important to realize that this convergence occupies a space that many people on the left identify the need for, but are unsure of how to approach. We identify our key objectives, why they are important, and how we seek to actualize them:
1. Creating a space that brings together different forces on the left: Economic justice and environmental movements have been separated from each other historically although both movements have common enemies. Because environmental movements have traditionally been disproportionately represented by white activists with class privilege, they have often failed to draw significant attention to the obvious connection between wide-scale exploitation of and disregard for natural resources and the exploitation and oppression of people.
In order to begin to address privilege and oppression within our movements we will prioritize the voices and experiences of people of color and low-income people.
2. Developing a shared analysis of the moment and vision: Corporate interests and the right-wing agenda are on the attack and to imagine a movement powerful enough to reckon with these forces we must move beyond single-issue campaigns that are too easily framed as “special interests” and find a common ground that allows us isolate and call out corporate interests and develop a shared vision for a different world. Understanding the intersectionalities of our struggles allows us to build a more unified movement. We will both draw upon the knowledge of movement leaders and create together collective visions.
3. Grassroots organizing and base building training: Grassroots organizing and outreach are necessary for growing our movement and getting to the scale. We will engage in grassroots organizing trainings on 1-1s and door-knocking. In order to ground these trainings in work that is real, we will direct participants to plan
out the 1-1s that will carry their group’s work forward and partner with a local community group to door-knock in targeted communities with a message that moves that group’s work forward.
4. Increased urgency and engagement in direct action: Non-violent direct action raises the level of urgency publicly and sows the seeds for the level of resistance it is going to take to see a movement take root, while directly challenging powers that be. We
will conduct intensive trainings in direct action and root these in the actions we take together. MORE has organized non-violent direct actions in St. Louis that targets big banks for more than a year, creating the public outrage that has led locally to dozens of individual homes being saved, increased willingness of banks to work with service agencies, and the drafting of local policy that would force hold banks to higher standard. Actions will advance this campaign and lay groundwork for local participation in national days of resistance planned for fall. Climate Action, a local group, and national groups like Rising Tide have been targeting coal companies for their role in climate change. Locally direct actions have focused
on Peabody Coal. Headquartered in St. Louis, it is the world’s largest coal company. Locally we have been successful in pushing for $10 million in tax breaks to Peabody to be taken back, and see the possibility for actions that would further our local work and national
campaigns against coal.
Why St. Louis?
St. Louis is centrally located and has a sponsoring committee made up of a wide range of community, labor and environmental activists. St. Louis is also the headquarters of Peabody Coal, Arch Coal, and Monsanto. St. Louis has hosted a wide array of anti-bank actions as
well, including six people being arrested at Bank of America in December, and is home to Wells Fargo Advisors, the non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo that employs 20,000 people nationally.