Popular Resistance Newsletter – Actions Heat Up In US & Globally
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This past week, there has been a lot written about next steps in the climate justice movement. Now that hundreds of thousands have marched, it shows that the movement exists. But marching alone doesn’t change things, so what do we do? There are many tactics required to move to a carbon-free nuclear-free energy economy. The task for all of us is to build on the momentum created by the march and the Flood Wall Street sit-in and escalate both resistance and building alternatives.
Here are a number of opportunities:
- Stopping Tar Sands excavation – the struggle to stop the expansion of tar sands excavation in Alberta, CA is making progress. Mike Hudema lists concrete successes in his article linked here. Resistance in the United States to transporting the bitumen from Canadian tar sands continues to be strong. Thousands gathered last weekend in Nebraska for an awareness concert featuring Neil Young and Willie Nelson and to show their opposition to the pipeline. And groups from the East to the West joined to call for a ban on transport of tar sands bitumen by train which has been responsible for serious spills and fires causing contamination and loss of life. More needs to be done in the United States though. US Oil Sands has started excavation for a giant tar sands mine in Utah. Hundreds of activists worked throughout this summer to physically stop them after losing court battles. Here is a recent action in which ‘chipmunks’ chased the machinery around and stopped work for part of the day. Work on the tar sands mine will start up in the spring and we must be ready to stop them again. You can help by donating (27 have been arrested so far) and by signing up to join the actions. Visit Utah Tar Sands Resistance for more information.
- Stopping Fracking – James Hansen declared it ‘game over’ for climate change if the Alberta tar sands is fully excavated. Like the Alberta tar sands bitumen, if we want to mitigate the climate crisis, we must also keep methane gas, a potent Greenhouse Gas, in the ground. A huge reservoir of methane gas exists in the Marcellus Shale in NY, OH, PA, WVA, VA, MD, DE and NJ. The governor of West Virginia is considering allowing fracking under the Ohio River which provides drinking water to millions of people. And this week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the construction of a large export terminal in Maryland that would drive more drilling and place the local community in danger of an accident. This fight is not over and groups are now turning to the courts to fight it as well as planning direct actions. October 11 is the Global Frack Down. And Beyond Extreme Energy is a week of direct actions in Washington, DC starting on November 1. We will be there and we urge you to join us. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION. And a Cherokee Tribe in North Carolina banned fracking on its lands. If the industry tries to frack there anyway, we must be prepared to stand with the Tribe in solidarity.
- Stopping Coal – There was a win this week as a DC Court upheld the EPA’s veto of approval for a large coal mine in West Virginia that would use destructive mountain-top removal. And advocates in New York are taking the Public Services Commission to court over a rule that would charge ratepayers for upgrades to a coal/gas plant that is three times larger than needed.
- Stopping Uranium – The Havasupai Tribe won a significant victory to stop uranium mining in the Grand Canyon area. Uranium mining is part of the extreme energy economy that needs to be replaced with a carbon-free nuclear-free energy economy. There are more than ten thousand abandoned uranium mines in the United States today that are continuing to emit radiation and radioactive and heavy metals into the air, land and water causing cancer, birth defects, kidney disease and more. Join the Clean Up The Mines! campaign to finally clean up this mess which started in the 1950’s and ban further excavation. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
- Creating renewable energy – In addition to stopping dirty energy, we need to put clean energy in place. Studies show that we can meet our energy needs with local green energy. Recently, California unveiled a new wastewater treatment plant that is carbon neutral by using biogas from food waste and sewage. Check out the Institute for Local Self Reliance and the Community Power Network for assistance in transitioning to clean democratized energy.
At its roots, the climate crisis is the result of dysfunctional economic and political systems that place profit above the necessities of the people and the planet. That system drives global inequality, which is at its greatest level, and as long as there is inequality, there cannot be real democracy. Sam Pizzigati of Inequality.org explains why an unequal planet can never be green. And this new report outlines the New Economy that is being created to end inequality and create democracy.
Current global economic policies drive the race to the bottom in worker rights, public health and environmental protection. An example is the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business” Rankings that rank countries on how relaxed their regulations are so that businesses can set up where they can make the most profits. Communities in the Global South are mobilizing to end the ‘Doing Business’ Rankings. You can support them by signing on to the campaign at Our Land Our Business. October 10 is an international day of action. If you are close to DC, join us for a rally featuring Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir as well as representatives from nations that have been harmed by these rankings. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Another way that these policies play out is through international trade agreements that empower multinational corporations such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TAFTA). Ilana Solomon of the Sierra Club explains the connections between these rigged corporate trade agreements and climate change.
We expect the work to stop these trade agreements to increase rapidly after the November elections. Word is that Fast Track will be re-introduced in Congress during the lame duck session and the holidays when Congress expects the public to be distracted. We are mobilizing for a week of actions just after the elections to let Congress know that we are watching and we don’t approve of sacrificing transparency, democracy and sovereignty for corporate profits. We beat Fast Track before and we can do it again. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE WEEK OF ACTIONS.
War and the climate crisis are connected
October 7 marks the beginning of the 14th year of war in Afghanistan. Once again, Veterans For Peace and their allies will return to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in New York City to hold a vigil. This year, as the US enters more wars, we will also honor the memory of Jacob George and other vets who suffer the moral injuries of war.
Sheila D. Collins writes about the connection between the escalation of war and military spending and the rise in carbon in the atmosphere. Collins explains, “Not only is the Pentagon the single largest industrial consumer of fossil fuels, but fighter jets, destroyers, tanks and other weapons systems emit highly toxic, carbon-intensive emissions, not to mention the greenhouse gases (GHG) that are released from the detonation of bombs.”
For a more personal account of the horrors of war, read what Syrian civil society groups are saying about the bombing and about the protests being held in Syria. There is no good solution to the situation in the Middle East, but one thing is certain, more of US’ meddling and bombs will make things worse while killing innocents and polluting the planet. CLICK HERE TO EMAIL OBAMA WITH YOUR OPPOSITION TO MORE WAR.
Today is the first international day to ban weaponized drones. Read more about that here.
Also in the news
As usual, there is more happening than we can cover in this summary. To stay on top of the news, click here to sign up for our daily digest and you will receive a brief summary of the articles posted on Popular Resistance each morning.
It is exciting to see the uprising in Hong Kong for democratic elections. The movement is coming to a key moment on Monday. As usual, it is a complicated situation that includes its share of US intervention behind the scenes. There are some signs that the students are resisting control by US allies.
It is also exciting to see what students in Colorado achieved this past week. When students learned that the school board was going to censor the history curriculum so that it promoted ‘free enterprise’ and omitted social struggle, they hit the streets in protest. Their actions escalated and teachers joined them in a mass ‘sick out.’ And that led to a partial victory when the school board dropped the changes and moved towards giving the community greater input into curriculum decisions.
And next weekend, activists from across the country have been invited to Ferguson, MO to stand in solidarity with activists there who are still calling for the arrest of Officer Darren Wilson and justice for the family of Mike Brown.
There is a lot going on. If you value Popular Resistance and would like to support our work, please CLICK HERE TO DONATE. All donations $20 and over will receive a bandanna and for $50 or more we’ll add a set of OccuCards.