We Decide. Join us Saturday.

Four four years we protested and resisted. This year, we voted. And now we the people have spoken. We decided and elected new leaders.

We made our voice heard loud and clear. Voters rejected Trump and his cronies so that we can make the changes our people need to thrive. Right now, even as you read this email, good people from all over the country are coming together as a united front to say we are ready to count every vote.

If you’re ready to join us, come to a Protect the results rally this Saturday in your town and celebrate our movement’s strength to defend the results.

As expected, an historic number of Americans voted in 2020. And now that more of the ballots have been counted, Biden has pulled ahead in the electoral college, and has already earned more votes than any candidate for President in history.

But last night Donald Trump, again, lied about the election and proclaimed himself the winner. He’s still using lawsuits to try and overturn the results of the election, and has said he will not to concede.

Join us this Saturday and let everyone know, we will count every vote and we will win.

We’ve lost hundreds of thousands of neighbors, friends, and family to COVID-19. And with cases skyrocketing in many communities, a lot of us are struggling to survive.

But remember this summer when protests sprung up all over the country against police violence, and continue today. That movement made our victory possible in Pennsylvania, Georgia and elsewhere. Now is the time to make sure that every vote is counted and then get to work holding our elected officials accountable to all of us!

See you in the streets.

Count every vote, ’cause every vote counts.

This is really simple, so I’ll keep it really short. Biden has pulled ahead in the electoral college, and has already earned more votes than any candidate for President in history.

But last night Donald Trump, again, lied about the election and proclaimed himself the winner. He’s still using lawsuits to try and overturn the results of the election, and has said he will not to concede.

The most important thing right now is to count every vote. When they count every vote, in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona and other states – we win. If Trump is able to stop vote counting – we all lose.

Voters determine elections. Every eligible voter who cast a ballot this election has the inalienable right to be heard — whether that ballot was cast in person or by mail.

Here’s a little more background if you’re just tuning in:

More people voted by mail than ever leading up to Election Day. That means it’s going to take longer to count every vote and certify a winner for the election — and that’s okay. What’s wrong is the possibility of some people’s votes being thrown out. Election officials must take the time needed to ensure every vote is counted accurately. Governors must ensure those election officials have the resources they need to do their democratic duty.

We’ve been telling you for a week now that while Biden is likely to win when they count every vote, Trump is likely to use legal challenges, directed mobs, and the power of the Executive Branch to try and stop states from counting every vote. This strategy is already in motion. Trump is trying to steal the election in broad daylight:

On Nov. 1, Republican politicians and conservative activists tried to throw out over 127,000 early ballots cast via drive-through locations in Harris County, TX. The all-Republican Texas Supreme Court and U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen rejected their case of blatant voter suppression.

On Nov. 2, the Trump reelection campaign and state Republican officials tried to stop mail-in ballot counting in Clark County, NV, where 70% of all voters reside. A Nevada judge rejected their lawsuit which included installing cameras to “monitor” the ballot counting process.

These legal schemes to invalidate ballots from eligible voters are tactics that undermine our democratic elections. There will be other efforts to disrupt or bypass a complete count of all votes.

We’re calling on all governors and election officials to ensure we count every vote — every early vote, mail-in ballot, provisional ballot and Election Day vote — are counted.

We must demand our leaders do their job: America is watching. With our democracy on the line, we’re counting on you to ensure the U.S. election is fair and accurate.

How to Protect the Results

Well, it happened almost exactly like we predicted: Biden is on track to win the election, but Trump has already declared victory and is using the courts, directed mobs, and the full power of the executive branch to try and steal the election.

If you’ve seen and heard enough, then sign up to join a local Protect the Results rally near you this week and help us demand that every vote is counted, and that the winner, not Donald Trump, gets the presidency:

Here’s what’s happened: As expected, on election day Nov 3, an historic 169 million+ votes were cast. Because of the pandemic, many of those ballots were cast by mail, and as a result of the so-called red-mirage this made it appear that Donald Trump was in the lead for some of the time, in some of the states. But as counting of ballots has continued, Biden is pulling ahead and once all the ballots are counted (sometime between now and Dec 8) we’re sure Joe Biden will win the election

Also as expected, Trump declared ‘victory’ in defiance of the results, and US election law, early this morning. Since then, Trump and his enablers have been using legal challenges, directed mobs, and the full power of the Executive branch to try and steal the election. 

That means that even though states have until Dec 8 to finalize election results, Nov 5-12 will be a critical time to Protect the Results and demand that all votes are counted. It’s also essential that we don’t leave that up to lawyers and courts, which Trump has just packed with his justices. The best way to protect the results is for citizens to show up in the streets and public spaces en masse to demand all votes are counted.

We haven’t been idle. Today activists took to the streets in DC, San Francisco, and other cities. Tomorrow and over the next few days there are hundreds of events planned all over the country where you can show up to demand all the votes are counted, and that the people are allowed to choose their government (not the other way around). Use the map above to find an event near you this week.

If you’re in DC, make sure to join our friends from Shut Down DC again for a rally and moving action by bike, car, or on foot to surround the White House

And we’ll leave you with the advice I added to a message from the inspiring Kentucky Senate Candidate Charles Booker. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are built for the work we must do. And together, I still believe that we will win:

Join ShutDownDC tonight for an election protection party!

Hey metro-DC area friends. Are you worried about the election results? I don’t blame you, if so.

While we’ve been preserving the pillars of our democracy and fighting for the future that we need and deserve; Trump and his enablers have been attacking the democratic process with voter suppression, intimidation and other schemes to undermine the will of the people.

That’s why we are going to keep showing up and keep supporting each other until the people swear in the new government. Since you’re in the DC Area, I wanted to invite you to join ShutDownDC in the streets to hold them all accountable and shut down any attempt to disrupt the election or stop the vote count!

On November 3rd, after you vote, volunteer at the polls, and get out the vote, come to Black Lives Matter Plaza. 

We’re going to start this next phase of the election cycle in the streets. We’ll have GoGo bands, salsa dancers, artists, cultural workers, and much more. We’ll also be watching the election results coming in on big screens. Votes will still be coming in, so this will (probably) not be the time we need to create disruption – yet. But we’ll be together and in a good place mentally and physically to respond to whatever might happen. 

This has been a really long and dark era so we’re going to be together to process our feelings of hope, anger, fear and exhaustion as a community. Regardless of the results, election-night programming will probably wrap up around midnight so we can be energized and ready to hit the streets again on the 4th. 

This is a very fluid time and logistics could change so please make sure to text DEMOCRACY to 88202 for the latest updates. 

What comes next

I’ve been pretty quiet here the last few weeks, but with less than a week until election day I wanted to post a preview and some updates about what comes next. Specifically what to watch for, and how to prepare in the event that Trump tries to dispute the election results or stage a coup to stay in power.

This project is not allowed to campaign for candidates. So while we’ve been quiet over here, I’ve been getting out the vote and I hope you have too. If you haven’t voted yet, please do. If you’re not sure who to vote for, check out the vote climate ballot guide from our friends at Climate Hawks Vote, which has listings for local, state, and federal candidates from nearly every state. If you need help looking up rules on how to vote early, vote by mail, or locate your polling place – check out the non-partisan tools at VoteAmerica.com

Millions of Americans have voted already. And millions more are watching uncertainly – having seen numerous news reports that Donald Trump may not accept the election results.

With this in mind, and given that this blog was itself created in part as a response to the crisis created by Trump’s 2016 election, it makes sense to be prepared for a crisis on and just-after election day. We sincerely hope this information will be unnecessary, but if you’re wondering how to respond – peacefully, forcefully, using digitally-backed direct action methods – we believe you will find these resources useful.

Key dates and principles

No matter where you live, participating in and securing a fair democratic outcome is every citizen’s right, and duty. In usual times, this just means educating yourself on the issues, voting, and paying attention to the results. These are not ordinary times. So what to watch out for may be more complicated, and suggests that a little extra reading and reearch may be helpful.

In a contested election or attempted coup, things will happen fast and information may be unclear. Here are a few key dates and principles to keep in mind. For a long-form read on this topic, we recommend the excellent briefing “The Count” written by movement leaders for this moment. You may also want to check out Stopping the Coup: the Disruption Guide for 2020, which has more principles and preparation on how to form affinity groups and mutual aid networks in advance of the election.

Key dates from The Count with some additions

NOV 3Election Day: In a close election, we are unlikely to know which candidate won on election night.
NOV 4-12The Count This is the window where we should expect conflicting reports of who has one, and a flurry of legal challenges in swing states, especially MI, WI, GA, AZ, NC, and FL. This is also the initial time where we expect to need citizens to take to the streets and demand that every ballot be counted, and that no winner is declared until all votes are tabulated.
DEC 8The “Safe Harbor” Deadline: States must resolve disputes over which ballots to count and report final vote totals or risk their Electoral College votes not being counted by Congress.
DEC 14Deadline for Governors to Report Election Results to Congress: In each state, the governor must send a “certificate of ascertainment” to Congress reporting which candidate won the state and which slate of electors has been appointed to the Electoral College.
The Electoral College Meets: In each state, the winning candidate’s slate of pledged electors meet, cast their votes, and send a record of their votes to Congress.
JAN 3Start of the 117th Congress: All newly elected or reelected senators and representatives are sworn in.
JAN 6Congress Counts Electoral College Votes: Congress convenes in a joint session held in the House chambers to count Electoral College votes and choose the next president. Note that in a contested election, the House awards 1 vote per state delegation, not one vote per member. Since Republicans control more state delegations, this opens the possibility of the House voting to install Donald Trump, even if he did not get the most votes.
JAN 20Inauguration Day: The newly-elected President is sworn in. If Congress hasn’t chosen a new president, the newly-elected Vice President is sworn in as the acting president. If Congress hasn’t chosen a new Vice President, the Speaker of the House is sworn in as the acting president.

To prepare for Nov. 3 and beyond, we wanted to share some resources and opportunities to take action. Please make use of these, share widely with your members and neighbors, and be prepared to jump in to protect our democracy, support the movement, and build our power for the fights to come.

Actions to Join

The Protect the Results coalition is organizing in-person actions across the country to demand all the votes are counted, with a special emphasis on the first weekend after the election, Nov 7-8. Check out the map for hundreds of planned events, as well as resources to organize your own. 

If you’re in the DC area, our old friends ShutDown DC are organizing trainings and actions ahead through Nov. 3 and beyond. Find a list of events and actions here: ShutDownDC.org/calendar 

If you’re in the Bay area, check out the emerging coalition at Bay Resistance, which has trainings and actions planned centering on a Nov 4 day of action in San Francisco and Oakland.

Direct action all-father George Lakey and other long-term allies have also started Choose Democracy, which has tools to pressure your local elected officials to count all the votes, monitor polls, and pledge to take action in the event of a coup or contested election.

United we Dream and the Movement for Black Lives – two non-environmental mobilizations we’ve worked closely with over the Trump years – have teamed up to create the The frontlines. They have opportunities in many cities to protect each other and Democracy on election day and in the aftermath.

Finally, our old friends at the Poor People’s Campaign are calling for an army of poor people and their allies to show up as election monitors and democracy defenders before, during, and after election day. They want you to do MORE: Mobilizing, Organizing, Registering, and Educating people to vote.

Make DC the 51st state – and win climate justice

This is one of my ideas that sounds crazy, but it’s actually really not: Make DC the 51st and deliver climate justice for all.

Like how a Green New Deal that ends fossil fuels would create jobs, rebalance the economy on behalf of millions of working Americans and stop climate catastrophe. Or how chocolate + peanut butter are two great tastes that taste better together. DC statehood is actually a simple, just, good idea – that actually might be a key to solving the climate crisis.

I’ll explain more, but if you’re already on board – Sign here to tell Congress: Make DC the 51st state, and deliver climate justice for all.

Here’s the simple facts: More than 700,000 people, most of them black and brown, live in the District of Columbia. They vote, pay taxes, serve in the armed forces, and are responsible for maintaining the roads, safe drinking water, breathable air, and police that serve and protect every member of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the White House — but they get no vote in Congress, have no say in federal policy, and cannot even stop armed federal troops from attacking their citizens. They are the very definition of “taxation without representation” which the founders of America fought a revolution over.

But this Friday, June 26, Congress will vote on whether to make DC the 51st state for the first time since 1993. And if they vote to approve DC statehood, we could gain more than a 51st neighbor and ally – we could get 2 more votes in the US Senate to affirm a Green New Deal, and end to fossil fuels, and a real, just, response to the climate crisis.

The fight for DC statehood became all the more urgent this month. On June 1, Donald Trump sent federal troops into DC neighborhoods to round up nearly 200 people protesting police violence in the wake of the police killings of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and hundreds of other Black people across the country

While Trump has been clear he hates DC statehood, his actions may have galvanized the new the civil rights movement, and lent new urgency to our cause.

Sign and send the petition to your member of Congress: Demand they pass the Washington, DC Admission Act to enact DC statehood.

D.C. residents serve on juries, in the U.S. military, pay taxes, and work hard to build safe, strong communities where they live. But they have no vote on any decisions our Congress makes every day.

And that’s too bad for the climate, as well as civil rights. In the last few years DC has banned plastic bags, considered an aggressive carbon tax, and shut down coal plants and gas pipelines. These people are our allies in the fight for climate justice – and we’ll never have a better chance to add 3/4 of a million votes in favor of our values than right now.

There’s more energy now than ever in Congress to ensure DC residents have direct representation federally. A few weeks ago, the House Oversight Committee voted in favor of legislation supporting DC statehood, and H.R. 51, the Washington, DC Admission Act, has over 223 cosponsors. 

This Friday, the full house will vote on H.R. 51 to recognize DC as the 51st state, and we must ensure that lawmakers pass this overdue civil and climate rights bill for DC residents.

Sign and send the petition: Urge Congress to pass the Washington, DC Admission Act to enact DC statehood.

Investigate Rick Perry

You remember Rick Perry as Trump’s former Secretary of Energy – the man appointed to lead an agency he famously said he would eliminate, but could not recall the name of during a 2016 Republican Presidential Debate. You might also remember that as one of the “three amigos” Perry was a minor player in Trump’s impeachment drama, which might be what convinced him to resign abruptly at the end of last year.

But did you know that Perry, less than a few weeks out from the revolving door at the Department of Energy is rejoining the board at Energy Transfer LP? Energy Transfer is the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, and dozens of other environmental calamities. And Perry’s quick return to the paid employ of these climate profiteers is not just unseemly, it might be illegal.

Will you help us shine a light on the revolving door between climate criminals and Trump’s cabinet by demanding Congress investigate Rick Perry?

Perry’s term as Energy Secretary was not exactly time spent away from the fossil fuel industry. He met with major coal leaders and proposed to bail out the entire coal industry. He pressured the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to support fossil fuels over renewables. And he was a huge supporter of the US exporting more fracked gas, famously praising it as “molecules of freedom”

But it was his help negotiating gas deals with high-ranking Ukraine officials in the middle of Trump’s campaign to get them to dig up ‘dirt’ on Joe Biden that got Congress’ attention. Perry quickly resigned, rather than face questions. But it turns out Congress can still hold him accountable – if they have the political will to act.

In the age of climate crisis we now live in, the Department of Energy has a tremendous opportunity, and obligation, to take action. We’ve already suggested how FERC, which is technically an independent division of the DOE, could be transformed into the Federal Renewable Energy Commission as part of a Green New Deal. And that’s only one part of the transformation the Energy Department could lead – investing in renewables, innovation, job training, battery storage, infrastructure to make our communities resilient to climate impacts – candidates and climate leaders have been laying out plans for more than a year.

As Energy Secretary, Rick Perry had a duty to act on those plans and proposals in ways that would save lives and fight the climate crisis. Instead, he cashed in a favor to go back to the board room of one of the biggest companies in the world profiting off climate chaos. At Energy Transfer, again, he’ll make big bucks ramping up fossil fuel infrastructure that locks us into decades of further dependence on the fuels that threaten our climate and common home. This cannot go unchallenged.

Sign the petition to demand Congress investigate Rick Perry who never stopped getting paid to work for climate criminals.

Thanks for signing – Can you help these local PR groups?

Thanks for signing our petition Below are some tools to share the action with your networks online. Because Congress isn’t able to send the full aid package quickly, we’re also including links to some local groups in Puerto Rico. If you wan to bypass the racist Trump regime and fund direct aid to the people who need it, these are some places to start.

share on Facebook
share on Twitter
Or, email this link: 
http://bit.ly/2020PRAid_198m 

This list is copied from a REmezcla article by Raquel Reichard. Thanks to her for writing and to Friends of the Earth friends who shared it with us.

Ayuda Legal PR

Ayuda Legal PR is a nonprofit organization that provides free and accessible education and legal support to low-income people and communities in Puerto Rico. Following Hurricane María, the group, made up of lawyers, legal experts and law students, began focusing on legal assistance during and after disasters, particularly access to justice, the right to housing and fair recovery — all of which will undoubtedly be needed for people rebuilding houses and businesses, seeking health care and more after the earthquakes. Donate here.  

Brigada Solidaria del Oeste

Also born out of the devastating 2017 storms, Brigada Solidaria del Oeste is a community initiative comprised of individuals from various organizations, creative spaces and social struggles that meets with members of communities on the island’s west coast to identify the needs of the people and work to support them. Currently, group leaders are headed south, where the earthquakes and aftershocks were felt the most, to speak with locals, assess needs and help communities on the ground. Donate to the brigade via PayPal through their email address brigadasolidariaoeste@gmail.com. 3

Casa Pueblo

On the archipelago, Casa Pueblo is a community-management project that has been addressing climate change since 1980, when the government attempted to mine deposits of silver, gold and copper, by protecting natural, cultural and human resources and advocating for a more environmentally friendly and sustainable Puerto Rico. Their efforts and education are particularly crucial as the island is increasingly hit with natural disasters. In fact, in December, think tank Germanwatch released its annual Global Climate Risk Index 2020, which found that Puerto Rico is affected by climate change more than anywhere else in the world. Donate to Casa Pueblo here

Correa Family Foundation

Created by Puerto Rican professional baseball player Carlos Correa, the Correa Family Foundation is a nonprofit foundation that supports low-income and/or ill children. Correa, a shortstop for the Houston Astros, was in his hometown of Ponce, which was hit hard during the earthquake, with his wife Daniella Rodriguez Correa at the time the 6.4 magnitude quake hit. On Twitter, Rodriguez said she has “never been so scared in my life,” while Correa told CBS affiliate KHOU 11 “there’s a lot of victims.”

With multiple schools affected by the series of quakes, including an institution in Guánica that was destroyed, Correa started a fund through his children-oriented foundation to help rebuild impacted schools. Donate here

World Central Kitchen & Comedores Sociales de Puerto Rico

While Spanish chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization providing free meals to people in the wake of natural disasters, isn’t native to Puerto Rico, the group works with local chefs and community leaders to help those in impacted areas. After Hurricane María, World Central Kitchen served more than 3,000,000 meals and is often applauded on the archipelago for its quick and impactful disaster relief. In a tweet on Tuesday, Andrés said that his team is heading to the southern coast of Puerto Rico, where they will be using solar power and generators to serve affected municipalities. Donate here.

If you prefer to support local food initiatives, Comedores Sociales de Puerto Rico, a project of Centro para el Desarrollo Político, Educativo y Cultural (CDPEC), is a self-managed food distribution initiative providing free meals to communities at the University of Puerto Rico’s Río Piedras and Cayey campuses. Donate here.

Trump’s racist, climate denying Puerto Rico Policy

Last summer, more than 70,000 of us wrote, called and spoke out to Demand Congress send emergency relief money to Puerto Rico despite the Trump Administration’s racist objections. More than 200 days later, and after Puerto Rico has been rocked by earthquakes left more than 8,000 people without a safe home to sleep in, Ben Carson is releasing less than half the money, and only on the conditions that Puerto Rico pay workers less than $15 an hour, and do nothing about the island’s electric grid.

The crisis is still unfolding, but one thing is clear: Trump and Ben Carson – his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – are using aid money Congress has already appropriated as leverage to enforce their racist, climate-denying policy agenda. Will you speak out now to stop them? Sign here to demand Trump and Carson stop illegally withholding ALL federal aid to Puerto Rico.

Sadly, this is only the latest example of how Trump combines climate denial and racism into a policy that hurts our neighbors and fellow citizens. Carson was legally required to disburse the money last September, but has been delaying the release of $18 billion that Congress appropriated for Puerto Rico. The money is supposed to upgrade infrastructure, including the islands old and fossil-fuel powered electric grid, and help mitigate and adapt to climate-fueled super storms like Maria.

Trump’s ongoing anti-Puerto Rico agenda– to deny 3.2 million Puerto Ricans funding—is based on racial and ethnic prejudice, petty politics, and a calculated agenda to beat down the island’s economy and people so banking and big real estate & development cronies can cash in. A slew of reports have shown that the island remains at great risk of natural and man-made disasters. The 2020 Global Climate Risk Index ranked Puerto Rico, along with Myanmar and Haiti, at the top of places most vulnerable to extreme weather events.

If the money had been spent on-time, it’s possible that houses, schools and the electric grid could also have been more resilient to the huge earthquakes that rocked the island in recent weeks.

Instead, HUD is releasing less than half the money – about $8 billion in emergency disaster aid funding. And that movement is only coming after intense coverage of the human suffering caused by the earthquakes, and after Congress threatened to defund all of HUD unless they answered questions.

We’re proud to fight alongside allies from the Power 4 Puerto Rico Coalition once more. Together, we demand that Carson and Trump release ALL the aid money, and stop adding ridiculous pre-conditions like how much to pay workers. Sign here if you agree and tell Trump and Carson to stop illegally blocking aid for Puerto Rico. Note – after you sign well redirect you to a page where you can chip in to support local PR groups working to rebuild after the earthquakes.

2020 foresight

2020 and the new decade are not off to a very encouraging start: Australia is on fire. So is the Amazon and there was just a huge oil spill in Brazil. Puerto Rico is being rocked by earthquakes even as it struggles to get the relief money Congress appropriated, and which Trump’s racist administration still wont deliver. Trump might start a war with Iran to distract himself from Impeachment. And the blitzkrieg assault on the planet continues apace: with Trump opening new attacks on (another) one of our oldest and most effective environmental laws: the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).

And that’s just the part of the list from the last two weeks; The first of the 2020s — a decade in which we need radical action to stop the climate crisis on a scale rarely seen in the human endeavor.

But there’s good news too: 88 people chipped in just under $1000 to support this project in December – so we’ve got the funds we need to keep writing and emailing you. New coalitions are launching and re-launching with exciting plans for a 72 hour climate strike in April to honor the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the new generation of climate leaders. And lawsuits are advancing to honor treaty rights and stop Keystone XL, as well as to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline from Crossing the Appalachian trail, and much more. Not to mention the 2020 election – with primaries starting in a few weeks.

A famous phrase notes that the opposite of war isn’t peace, it’s creation; And the opposite of fear isn’t courage, it’s action. So with the pre-amble that this is very much a ‘going gets tough’ moment, here’s three key themes of our plans to get going, creating and taking action in 2020:

Redefine radical

One of the big lessons of the last three years is that things that seemed radical now have to become common. Twenty years ago we had time for incremental solutions to the climate crisis – driving less or recycling were appropriate actions for people to take when we ‘only’ needed to cut emissions by 3% a year. Now we need to cut them 15% a year, every year and those actions, any individual action really, just aren’t enough.

What we need now are big changes in big systems – electrify everything, de-carbonize the shipping industry, put millions of people to work building the new energy economy. And we absolutely have to stop building and investing in the fossil fuel projects that are literally killing us all – which means we need to be ready to put our bodies, our lives, and our collective will in the way.

As Rebecca Solnit said in a beautiful essay on the first day of this decade:

I have seen change that was unimaginable until it happened and then became so ordinary-seeming a part of everyday life that people forgot there was a struggle, forgot there was a transformation, forgot how we got here, forgot that we are living in the once-unimaginable. I believe that there are many unimaginables in this moment that will become, must become ordinary, including the end of the era of fossil fuel. Almost no one seems to know that 20 years ago, we literally did not have the solution, because wind and solar were ineffectual and expensive; we have had an energy revolution that now makes it possible to make the transition we need, and it’s not unimaginable now—just unimagined because it’s so overlooked.

https://lithub.com/letter-to-a-young-climate-activist-on-the-first-day-of-the-new-decade/

We’ll try and embody this goal in 2020 by focussing on more & more escalated actions to stop fossil fuels. We’ll still have online petitions for you to sign, from time to time, but we’ll try and pair each and every one with a specific, in-person delivery event. Where possible we’ll also try and have a way for you to participate no matter what zip code you live in. And at big moments like the April climate strikes we’ll focus our attention on the second day of action –

Creation & social media

Another key lesson from the last few years is not to underestimate the value and role of art and creativity in our work, and also the importance of co-creation: of building things together. There’s just something so authentic and powerful about painting a banner together, singing a song together, assembling the lock box together. You’re not just talking about community, you’re literally making it.

By contrast, at the same time we’ve been re-learning the value of creating together, we’ve seen the utter failure of social media as a space for community building. The last few years took us from Tahrir square and digitally-powered movements that toppled dictators, to the Trump administration and the era of paid disinformation as a Facebook ad policy.

As Zeynep Tufekci said in this must-read article from last year:

What is to be done? There are no easy answers. More important, there are no purely digital answers. …The way forward is not to cultivate nostalgia for the old-world information gatekeepers or for the idealism of the Arab Spring. It’s to figure out how our institutions, our checks and balances, and our societal safeguards should function in the 21st century—not just for digital technologies but for politics and the economy in general. This responsibility isn’t on Russia, or solely on Facebook or Google or Twitter. It’s on us.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611806/how-social-media-took-us-from-tahrir-square-to-donald-trump/

That article was gutting for me because I spent the last 10 years trying to use tech tools to expand democracy and movement building in the US. The original idea of 198 methods was to update Gene Sharp’s anti-fascist methodology to use modern, digital tools like social media.

But we’re going to try and use Tufekci’s advice in 2020 by building the communities we need, not idealizing the ones we could have had. In particular we’re committing to building a curriculum of direct action training tools online. After 2 years of ignoring Facebook and other big social platforms, we’re also going to take another shot at using it to create authentic, multi-directional conversation through live video chats and Instagram stories. And of course we’ll keep, texting, emailing and continuing to reply to all the messages you write (eventually, and not counting the trolls).

Your vote matters, but it’s not enough

Last thought, since this is a very consequential election year, is about the 2020 election. Like social media, we’re forced to admit that we don’t live in the world we want, or have the things we need. But we also see that we can create them.

Specifically, we’re forced to confront these two facts:

  1. Defeating Trump and his corrupt, climate-wrecking administration in 2020 is incredibly important. No single thing will make as much of an impact on the climate as removing this regime from power.
  2. Our election system is deeply broken: Trump won without the popular vote, and millions of our fellow citizens are already disenfranchised by bogus redistricting, an arrest or incarceration record, and lots of other racist features of our system.

We have to vote. Everyone we know has to vote. And we have to spend time and resources (as best we’re allowed as a non-profit group) making sure people are registered, informed, and able to exercise their right to vote. But that simply can’t be the sum of our work.

No politician can be elected to save us. We have to save ourselves.

Too many things need to happen while the campaign is ongoing – from fighting Trump’s NEPA rollback, to pressing Congress and the Courts to act and hold Trump’s corrupt regime accountable, to building intentional and creative communities of action to stop pipelines.

And no matter who is elected at the end of this year, we need to keep pushing – because we only have this one last decade to make big changes in every part of our society. To change everything, it will take all of us, pushing everywhere.

So that’s our plan for 2020 in a nutshell: take radical action that reflects the urgency of the climate crisis; begin again with the project of using digital tools to build creative, connected action with people; And pay attention to the 2020 election and politics, without getting consumed or distracted by it.