Earth News: More than News of the World
Beginning of the Year Special edition
January 3, 2017
Source Common Dreams.
Sometimes hope arises in the darkest hour, and sometimes what is dark matters most. This visionary set of demands illustrates just how powerful this moment can be.
Maybe you’d like to read and meditate on, share and discuss one of these amazing stories every day for twelve days as 2017 is now upon us.
It’s time to start a new year of 365 days of building a more powerful climate justice movement.
Before there was indigenous resistance at Standing Rock, there was Black Lives Matter (and before that, Occupy, and before that the Zapatistas, and before that, May ‘68… and at the bottom of everything, there’s a turtle standing on an island).
Both Standing Rock and BLM at first seem primarily reactive to ongoing and historical atrocities and rooted in acts of defiant resistance. Yet just as each has shown remarkable resilience and activated a new, youthful leadership, both have at the same time spun visionary stories and issued a call to create new political cultures, prefiguring other possible worlds.
And both will be needed, and will need to connect with each other, and with many others, in the struggles that lie before humanity. Our racial and ethnic identities, gender, class, and nationalities, along with environmental resilience and human rights of many kinds are all now under attack as the Trump administration prepares to roll into power in the United States.
This larger struggle, this movement of movements is about intersectionality – you show up for me and I show up for you, and we both show up for everyone else. As the document below insists: “We are a collective that centers and is rooted in Black communities, but we recognize we have a shared struggle with all oppressed people; collective liberation will be a product of all of our work.”
The reasons for this are as simple as they are challenging: “There can be no liberation for all Black people if we do not center and fight for those who have been marginalized. It is our hope that by working together to create and amplify a shared agenda, we can continue to move towards a world in which the full humanity and dignity of all people is recognized.”
The activists of the Movement for Black Lives hail from “a collective of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country,” notable for being leaderless, or more accurately “as Thenjiwe McHarris – a member of M4BL Policy Table – has described it, a ‘leaderful’ movement.”
In the summer of 2016 they issued this call to action. We need their vision now more than ever.
A Vision for Black Lives:
Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom, and Justice
August 1, 2016
Black humanity and dignity requires Black political will and power. Despite constant exploitation and perpetual oppression, Black people have bravely and brilliantly been the driving force pushing the U.S. towards the ideals it articulates but has never achieved. In recent years we have taken to the streets, launched massive campaigns, and impacted elections, but our elected leaders have failed to address the legitimate demands of our Movement. We can no longer wait.
In response to the sustained and increasingly visible violence against Black communities in the U.S. and globally, a collective of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country have come together with renewed energy and purpose to articulate a common vision and agenda. We are a collective that centers and is rooted in Black communities, but we recognize we have a shared struggle with all oppressed people; collective liberation will be a product of all of our work.
We believe in elevating the experiences and leadership of the most marginalized Black people, including but not limited to those who are women, queer, trans, femmes, gender nonconforming, Muslim, formerly and currently incarcerated, cash poor and working class, differently-abled, undocumented, and immigrant.
We are intentional about amplifying the particular experience of state and gendered violence that Black queer, trans, gender nonconforming, women and intersex people face. There can be no liberation for all Black people if we do not center and fight for those who have been marginalized. It is our hope that by working together to create and amplify a shared agenda, we can continue to move towards a world in which the full humanity and dignity of all people is recognized.
While this platform is focused on domestic policies, we know that patriarchy, exploitative capitalism, militarism, and white supremacy know no borders. We stand in solidarity with our international family against the ravages of global capitalism and anti-Black racism, human-made climate change, war, and exploitation. We also stand with descendants of African people all over the world in an ongoing call and struggle for reparations for the historic and continuing harms of colonialism and slavery. We also recognize and honor the rights and struggle of our Indigenous family for land and self-determination.
We have created this platform to articulate and support the ambitions and work of Black people. We also seek to intervene in the current political climate and assert a clear vision, particularly for those who claim to be our allies, of the world we want them to help us create. We reject false solutions and believe we can achieve a complete transformation of the current systems, which place profit over people and make it impossible for many of us to breathe.
Together, we demand an end to the wars against Black people. We demand that the government repair the harms that have been done to Black communities in the form of reparations and targeted long-term investments. We also demand a defunding of the systems and institutions that criminalize and cage us. This document articulates our vision of a fundamentally different world. However, we recognize the need to include policies that address the immediate suffering of Black people. These policies, while less transformational, are necessary to address the current material conditions of our people and will better equip us to win the world we demand and deserve.
We recognize that not all of our collective needs and visions can be translated into policy, but we understand that policy change is one of many tactics necessary to move us towards the world we envision.
We have come together now because we believe it is time to forge a new covenant. We are dreamers and doers and this platform is meant to articulate some of our vision. The links throughout the document provide the stepping-stones and roadmaps of how to get there. The policy briefs also elevate the brave and transformative work our people are already engaged in, and build on some of the best thinking in our history of struggle. This agenda continues the legacy of our ancestors who pushed for reparations, Black self-determination and community control; and also propels new iterations of movements such as efforts for reproductive justice, holistic healing and reconciliation, and ending violence against Black cis, queer, and trans people….
Here’s the plank on the twined threats of climate chaos and environmental racism:
What is the problem?
- Black people are amongst the most affected by climate change. If we’re not serious about reducing emissions, the planet will keep getting hotter and Black people will continue to bear the biggest brunt of climate change.
- The U.S. military is the largest contributor to emissions (war economy drives fossil fuel economy).
- One-third of greenhouse gases are also caused by the industrial agricultural system.
What are the solutions?
- Divest from any industry that makes money on the production of fossil fuels.
- Divest from industrial use of fossil fuels and reinvest in community-based sustainable energy solutions to make sure communities most impacted (Black communities) are helping to lead that shift.
- Shift toward Black community control of more local sustainable energy and food systems.
- People directly impacted by climate change, particularly Black communities, know what the issues are most and should be at the forefront. Additionally, some of our people work in industries of extractive energy (power plants), etc. We can instead apply those skills to sustainable, clean energy production (like solar, etc.).
- Reduce military expenditures overall, particularly in the use of fossil fuel.
Teaser photo image: Black Lives Matter website.