Rising Tide Chicago tells Chase Bank: “The Great Lakes are not an ATM”

Cross-posted from Rising Tide Chicago

Chicagoans tell Chase Bank: “The Great Lakes are not an ATM”

Chase plan risks contaminating the Great Lakes with dirty Tar Sands oil; Residents tell Chase Midwest Chair Melissa Bean to halt project.

Chicago, Ill. (Feb. 23, 2019)This Saturday, members of Rising Tide Chicago stood outside of a Chase Bank in Bridgeport to educate concerned citizens about the bank’s funding of dirty Tar Sands oil and humans rights and Indigenous rights abuses. Chase Bank is the #1 Wall Street funder of the dirtiest fossil fuels on the planet. Chicagoans were invited to sign postcards addressed to Chase Midwest Chair Melissa Bean, demanding that the bank pull their funds from the fossil fuel industry in favor of just and sustainable infrastructure.

“Last year the IPCC’s report confirmed we have twelve years to avoid the most drastic effects of climate change, and we must keep fossil fuels in the ground. We want to make sure Melissa Bean is prioritizing a transition away from fossil fuels, starting with sources like tar sands, one of the most carbon-intensive form of oil that also pollutes Lake Michigan, our drinking water,“ said Angie Viands, organizer with Rising Tide Chicago.

Rising Tide Chicago stands with Indigenous communities and tribal governments who have not consented to fossil fuel pipelines that directly threaten their resources. Chase Bank finances Enbridge’s highly contested Line 3 pipeline, its controversial extension, and other nearby pipelines around the Great Lakes, posing an urgent threat to the region’s water sources.

Chase customers were asked to share social media photos with their own “#ChaseStatement” urging Chase to stop financing dirty energy.

Rising Tide Chicago plans to continue these actions in the city, in partnership with local environmental and climate justice organizations. This action is one of many growing efforts across North America to demand banks divest from fossil fuel projects and finance a swift transition to renewable energy.

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The Rigors of Organizing: On the Road with the German Climate Resistance

 

The Rigors of Organizing: On the Road with the German

Climate Resistance

Image Source Delphi234 – Wikimedia Commons

Recently, press in the United States told the story of the great transition that the German Coal Commission announced. Benevolent governments like Germany are deciding to make a just transition away from coal and have even set an end date, 2038, for a long-term orderly transition to occur. The mainstream media is hailing this transition as a model for the rest of the world.

There are two problems with this narrative. First, the current German plan renders it impossible for Germany to meet its goals under the Paris accords. Despite what the German governmental spin is, Germany’s proposed coal exit is well behind the 2030 exit of other European countries and includes a transition to fracked gas.

Second, the narrative overlooks the fact of how pressure is exerted and change is made. In the case of Germany, a powerful people’s movement takes over coal mines, sits in trees and engages in mass disruption and civic disobedience in order to exert pressure on the system.

Ende Gelände,which in English means “here and no further,” is a broad coalition that has spent the better part of four years playing a significant role in the German climate resistance. They have organized annual takeovers of a lignite coal mine. Last fall, Ende Gelände was part of a mass mobilization of 50,000 people who came to defend over 80 tree-sit occupations in the Hambach forest, which is regularly encroached upon to clear land for mining. Ende Gelände is less an organization than a broad-based coalition and a true movement, which comes out of the rich tradition of German anti-nuclear organizing, a regular set of European climate camps, and local resistance and “buergerliche (citizen’s) initiatives. Many different small organizations and affinity groups have comprised and undergirded the larger Ende Gelände mobilizations.

The rigor of the organizing is apparent. A year of work before the first mine takeover resulted in Ende Gelände organizing 150 direct action trainings and helping participants to form countless affinity groups. On top of that they organized a vast infrastructure that could maintain a camp of thousands, train a large number of medics as well as creating a space welcoming of a wide array of cultural workers.

Currently, activists from Ende Gelände and the climate camps, along with Rising Tide North America are touring the United States. Ende Gelände will share what they have learned which includes three major takeaways for us. First, they will share the discipline of what they do. Summers of climate camp and hundreds of direct action trainings have created the rigor through which hundreds of autonomous affinity groups can be prepared for mass direct action. As so much of the approach involves recruitment of new organizations, Ende Gelände is skilled at providing a way for everyone to participate at a variety of levels of risk. Second, too often social movements in the United States get co-opted or organized out of taking the boldest actions, because of the need for financial resources. Once organizers and money arrive, what could be truly disruptive actions become much more scripted and lose some power. Ende Gelände organized the nonprofit sector in Germany to support its aims, rather than the other way around. Finally, Ende Gelände will share their tactical acumen. These are activists who overcome their considerable fears are willing to push past police lines, water cannons and pepper spray.

As an anti-capitalist direct action network, Rising Tide is interested in using this tour to supercharge a disruptive flank in the North American climate movement. There are many current heroes in this work. Appalachians Against Pipelines have been holding tree-sits resisting the Mountain Valley Pipeline for over a year. Water Protectors in Northern Minnesota are living through their second winter surviving frigid conditions to stop Line 3. The organizers at L’eau Est La Vie camp have risked life and limb and felony charges in their struggle against the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Affinity groups like the Valve Turners, including a recent action by four Catholic Workers in Northern Minnesota, risk prison time for their acts of courage and resistance. And, most of this modern wave of predominantly Indigenous-led activism emanates from Standing Rock, which significantly changed how millions of people viewed issues of extraction and Indigenous sovereignty.

The German movement, despite its scale, is a cautionary note that collectively, we need disruption at unprecedented levels in order to solve the climate crisis. If being able to mobilize 50,000 people and intermittently shut down mines with a fairly progressive government still leaves us short of Paris, then what scale and scope of disruption might be needed in the United States to deal with a hostile government where both parties are held captive to fossil fuel interests?

Ende Gelände has some of the same questions for us. They wonder about the interplay of direct action versus organizing in smaller rural communities, and how one makes common cause with those who feel like they benefit the most from mining. It is not only the scale, but also the who is involved.

Rising Tide North America views the Ende Gelände tour as a potential catalyst for more. We wonder if people will be inspired to join the resistance camps in Minnesota or build new ones. We hope that cities resound with takeovers of fossil company headquarters, disruption of shareholder meetings, and mass shutdowns of global financial institutions financing the extraction state.

We hope you join us for the Ende Gelände tour, either in person or online in the webinars being organized by Rising Tide . More importantly, we hope you join a freewheeling, scheming, free-form direct action disruptive movement at the points of resistance or at home where you live. One action, one camp, one long-term occupation in our vast country is insufficient. We look forward to your creativity, strategy and willingness to do the hard work to build a disruptive movement.

For a list of EG tour stops and how to follow the tour, you can sign up here.

Jeff Ordower is a long-time community and labor organizer and a member of the Rising Tide Collective, who is currently peripatetic.

RSVP! Scaling Our Climate Resistance Tour: Strategies and Stories from the German Climate Justice Movement

We all know that policy doesn’t get people free. Social change happens when people lead. Not corporations, not politicians… actual people.

But, as climate justice activists and organizers, how do we mobilize the numbers needed to truly stop the fossil fuel industry, topple the systems that let it run amuck, and create truly decentralized and democratized energy systems??

RSVP HERE!!

To answer this question, we’re excited to announce that Rising Tide North America is going on a U.S. tour this February through April with radical climate justice group Ende Gelände to share stories from Germany’s wildly successful mass mobilizations.

  • WHAT: Join German activists from Ende Gelände on their US tour as they share stories from organizing successful mass climate justice mobilizations — including their 6,000 person direct action against enormous open-cast lignite coal mines
  • RSVP: Get tour updates by signing up here.
  • WHERE: Across the U.S.
  • WHEN: February to April (Specific dates are below and here)
  • ONLINE WEBINAR RSVP HERE

A strong and diverse radical climate justice movement — called Ende Gelände (“Here and No Further”) — has been growing in Germany.

Last fall, they organized 6,000 people to collectively block a coal mine. No small feat, right? Demonstrators invaded mining pits, danced in front of the diggers, slept on the railways, and provoked pictures that made the connection between climate chaos and capitalism and exposed the dirty truth behind the German energy transition “Energiewende”.

To be crystal clear, politicians and corporations will not solve the climate crisis.

To win, we need to build a mass grassroots movement that uses direct action to bring down the fossil fuel industry and demand a just transition to decentralized and democratized energy systems. We also need to abolish false solutions like carbon trading and green capitalism; confront far-right “populist” lies for what they are; build international solidarity; use local and municipal power-building strategies; and, take leadership for the first and worst hit by pollution and climate catastrophes.

If the momentum of the Green New Deal and Extinction Rebellion has shown us anything, it’s the importance of building power on the ground and supporting communities taking action to win a world that’s livable for everyone.

Donate to the tour so we can get around!

West Coast: February 21 – March 16

East Coast/Appalachia/Midwest: March 6 – April 2

RSVP link: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/scaling-up-the-resistance-tour-strategies-and-stories-from-the-german-climate-justice-movement?source=direct_link&

A direct attack on migrants

Yesterday, four volunteers with No More Deaths/No Más Muertes went to federal court in Tucson, Arizona to defend their right to bring water, food, and basic medical aid to migrants crossing into the United States.

These charges are a direct attack on No More Deaths/No Más Muertes — and their ability to mitigate the direct effects of the humanitarian crisis perpetuated by the United States’ racist border and (long standing) economic policies. They also show yet another way Trump seeks to criminalize brown bodies and perpetuate truly vicious acts against people who are in the most need of aid and refuge.

Support the No More Deaths/No Más Muertes legal defense campaign by donating, volunteering, or organizing a fundraiser in your area.

These charges have interrupted and criminalized the important work of No More Deaths. A total of eight people were arrested delivering water to paths traveled by migrants in a southern Arizona wilderness area — and in the middle of the militarized border zone. They’re being charged with crimes related to wildlife refuge restrictions. A ninth arrest, of No More Deaths volunteer Scott Warren, resulted in felony charges related to providing humanitarian aid to migrants.

Since 2004, this group has been delivering humanitarian aid to migrants in the Arizona desert — where so many people die or are brutalized, detained, and separated from their family by border patrol.

Now No More Deaths/No Más Muertes needs your help to drop the bullshit charges against them.

Support the No More Deaths/No Más Muertes legal defense campaign by donating, volunteering, or organizing a fundraiser in your area.

We know that the flow of migrants is only likely to accelerate as the climate crisis gets worse. In the next fifty years, many of the places will become uninhabitable and tens of millions will likely be forced to look for new homes. We also know that climate change is itself a product of deeper economic and social systems of oppression based on the economic interests of industrialized nations. That’s why we need groups like No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes to create avenues for mutual aid to flow to those who are left out, persecuted, and killed by the state.

No More Deaths/No Más Muertes has been a radical ally of Rising Tide for years, and any support or attention we can draw to their work is helpful. Please follow their efforts and the ongoing legal challenges, donate if you are able and volunteer if you can.

To help, you can spread the word about the No More Deaths/No Más Muertes charges by watching and sharing their interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!

We denounce the racist weaponization of the Wilderness Act against humanitarian aid workers to reinforce an agenda of indigenous erasure and settler-colonialist notions of ecological purity.