Bay Area: Indigenous and Climate Activists Blockade #OilyWells Fargo HQ

Swarming the front of Oily Wells.

via Oily Wells

Today in San Francisco, a coalition of over 50 organizations, organized by 350 Silicon Valley, blockaded the global headquarters of Well Fargo.

The action culminated a 3-day 34-mile march at the front door of the banking giant’s global headquarters with an Indigenous grandmother’s led sit-in across the front doors and a simultaneously organized barrel blockade across San Francisco’s iconic California Street.

Below is 350 Silicon Valley’s press release and lots of reasons Wells Fargo needs to be put out of business:

SF Rally Targets “OilyWells” Fargo’s Funding of Big Oil

Alarmed by Climate Crisis, Hundreds Expected as Multi-Day March Ends

PALO ALTO, CA – At a mass rally in front of Wells Fargo Bank’s global headquarters at noon (PDT) today, demonstrators will call on Big Oil’s largest lender to halt its financing of fossil fuels and invest instead in clean energy solutions to the climate crisis

The rally aims to expose another aspect of the scandal-plagued bank’s unethical practices—its central role in the ever-expanding oil and gas industry—at a time when the U.N. has called for “rapid and far reaching” action within 12 years to avert environmental, social and economic catastrophe caused by ever-rising carbon emissions.

Idle No More SF Bay blocking the front doors to Wells Fargo world HQ.

The rally caps the historic 3-day March for Fossil Fuel Freedom (34 miles from Palo Alto to SF) with hundreds of marchers from more than 50 Bay Area grassroots organizations. Marchers paused at a series of “stagecoach stops” to hear talks by former Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, Redwood City Mayor Ian Bain, and other prominent environmental and labor activists; and to sing along with The Raging Grannies and Thrive Street Choir. The march and associated events are all part of a campaign, led by 350 Silicon Valley, to rename the nation’s fourth largest bank “Oily Wells.”

“Oily Wells has a dirty-energy secret, backing the biggest new projects and profiting handsomely from climate chaos” says Stew Plock, vice president of 350 Silicon Valley, lead organizer of the rally. “If they don’t quit, then consumers and investors should quit them.”

The bank is a leading lender to the fracking industry and on pipelines carrying Canadian tar sands, one of the most environmentally damaging sources of fuel (including the proposed Line 3 in Minnesota and Keystone XL in the Midwest). [EDITOR’S NOTE: For more on Wells Fargo’s dirty-energy funding, see the 10th annual Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card, led by Rainforest Action Network, embargoed until March 20.]

Barrel blockade.

“We urge Oily Wells to become the first major U.S. bank to avoid all fossil fuel infrastructure projects, as a few big European banks have already begun to do,” says Isabella Zizi, an organizer with Idle No More SF Bay. “If you cut off the flow of money, you can cut off the flow of oil. That’s why the divestment movement is so important.”

350 Silicon Valley’s partners include SEIU 1021 and 521, Sierra Club, Diablo Rising Tide, Idle No More SF Bay, Rainforest Action Network, Sunrise Movement, California Interfaith Power & Light, Sunflower Alliance, and Extinction Rebellion. They join hundreds of other groups in calling for divestment from fossil fuels, and a prohibition on oil and gas infrastructure.

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For complete details, visit https://oilywells.com/.

 

Coming to Appalachia! Scaling up the Resistance: Strategies and Stories from the German Climate Justice Movement!

Cross-posted from Appalachians Against Pipelines

Join members of the German direct action collective Ende Gelände on their US tour as they share stories and tactics with local groups about successful mass mobilizations for climate justice. Their group, whose name means “Here and No Further” is founded on principles of frontline struggles, mass mobilization, direct action, and cooperation across organizational and tactical differences.

They have managed to pull off mass actions of amazing scale: last fall, 6,000 people collectively blocked coal infrastructure together! Wearing their emblematic white overalls, demonstrators invaded mining pits, danced in front of the diggers, slept on the railways, and provoked pictures that have raised attention globally and made the connections between climate chaos and capitalism.

Come hear about the growing, diverse and radical climate justice movement in Germany, and hear ways we can link our resistance locally to this international uprising.

There are multiple events in Appalachia to choose from!

(See the whole tour line-up here.)

 

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&