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.

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.

Elections and consequences

You may have heard that the 2018 midterms were more of a blue puddle or a blue splash than a Blue wave, but I disagree. In fact, I’m with Alexandra Petri who wrote the day after that if Pundits covered star wars like they covered the Blue Wave their headline would have been:

Disappointing Night for Rebels Who Only Manage to Destroy Death Star, Dashing Hopes They Might Also Have Engaged and Defeated Entire Imperial Navy

And I know that it can be hard to pay attention or find the silver lining since the next day Trump replaced Jeff Sessions (good riddance) with the even more nakedly corrupt and cowardly Matt Whitaker — kicking off a constitutional crisis in an attempt to end the Mueller investigation and declare himself above the law. But it’s important – not just to those of us who worked on the election but to all of us who care about climate change –  to pause for a second and remember that we fought like hell and actually WON an amazing thing.

Let the Blue Wave wash over me

Like a lot of you, I was bummed to lose high-profile races like Beto and Ben Jealous (MD). And I think Andrew Gillum might have conceded too soon in FL – Stacy Abrams (GA) has the right idea fighting for every single ballot to be counted. But there’s no spinning some of the great house candidates who we fought hard for, and deserved to win. Candidates like Leslie Cockburn (VA-05), Dana Balter (NY-24) and Ammar Campa-Najjar’s (CA-50).

But for every race we lost, there were more that we won 30+ House pickups, and seven (7!) Governorships! And it’s not just that Scot Walker lost (though good riddance), it’s that we elected strong WOMEN governors in states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Kansas. That, combined with the passage of Measure 4 in Florida, which returns the right to vote to 1.4 million returning citizens and non-partisan redistricting in Michigan is going to re-shape the election map.All over teh country we swept out corrupt, anti-voter politicians and installed progressive, pro-voting leaders.

Given how badly gerrymandered the House map was after the 2010 election, Democrats needed to win the national popular vote by 5 % or more just to take the chamber. Instead we won by closer to 10% – an absolute thumpin’ for Republican values and ideas – even if some seats were too gerrymandered to win and Trump is too narcissistic to notice.

But more important than where we won and lost, is how we fought this election and who we fought for. Because we didn’t just win, we made history by sending a diverse set of progressive champions to Congress. Champions like Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids, the first two indigenous women elected to Congress. Like Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, the first two muslim women ever elected to Congress; And like  even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the youngest people (and a woman of color to boot) ever elected to Congress.

Now what

There was some initial worry among climate hawks that the Democratic gains in the House and at the state level wouldn’t mean much. After all, Republicans expanded their control of the Senate, and Trump will still be Trump. Faced with the epic challenge of trying to set a bold new path under divided government, Nancy Pelosi’s initial response was not inspiring.

But things have really turned around in the week since: Those brave progressives I talked about earlier got to DC for orientation and immediately made a mark. AOC jumped on a table to fire up youth climate activists, and then visited their sit in at Nancy Pelosi’s office the next day. That kind of outside-in pressure is just what we need to really change things in Congress, and this country.

And, if we may be so bold, it’s right up our alley. For just over 2 years now, we’ve been using digital tools to help stage creative direct actions – usually with an elected or appointed politician as the target. We live streamed the occupation of the North Carolina Governor’s office, brought thousands of people into a conversation about pipelines and fracked gas infrastructure while locked to a giant bamboo tripod outside FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), used twitter and facebook to expand the audience of the occupation of Governor Cuomo’s office (and sang “Hey yo Cuomo walk the talk” more times than I want to talk about) and lots and lots of other things too.

What we DO here at 198 methods is use digital tools to expand the reach and power of direct action campaigns for the climate. Thanks to the incoming, diverse, progressive class in Congress, we might just have more chances to do that starting soon.

 

 

Stand and Deliver to #FirePruitt

The Scandals keep piling up for Scott Pruitt, Trump’s racist, corrupt, and dangerous EPA administrator. But this latest one – broken late Friday by a team of New York Times investigative reporters – might be enough to end him:

While on a lavish trip to Rome paid for by taxpayers, Pruitt took a Cardinal who denies climate science and is under investigation for child sex abuse out to dinner at a $240/plate restaurant. Then, he tried to hide it from reporters and the public by changing his official schedule four different times. Wow.

More than 300,000 people have signed on to demand Congress Fire Pruitt. And it’s essential that they do. Trump’s not going to do it – As recently as Thursday his press office said that “The president is pleased with the job that he’s doing…” And Pruitt’s digging in:  He’s refusing to show up at the EPA or speak to anyone but a tiny handful close advisors. And he’ll do anything to change the story, even instructing his staff to leak embarrassing stories about his rival, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. And all this after weeks of scandals, nearly a dozen investigations and more!

But Pruitt can’t hide forever. He’s scheduled to testify before a Senate subcommittee next Wednesday May 16, and Drew’s headed to D.C. to make sure he doesn’t get off easy. Along with dozens of partners, we’re planning to escalate. Can you help?

RSVP to #FirePruittIt’s past time For Congress to fire Pruitt. Trump won’t do it and Pruitt won’t resign voluntarily (people have been telling him to for weeks). So impeachment is the only solution for an administrator this corrupt, venal, and dangerous to the agency he’s supposed to lead and the people he’s supposed to protect.

But Congress isn’t likely to act without a push. Hundreds of members have already called for Pruitt to resign, and they feel like that’s enough. Even worse, some Democrats feel like they’d rather have Pruitt as a punching bag – an example of Trump’s corrupt, reckless leadership team – to campaign against in November’s mid-term election. That’s not leadership or courage.

We’ve said for months that if elected leaders want to act like the climate hawks they claim to be, they need to do more than condemn the Trump administration with words. They need to take action – by refusing to fill vacant posts (like at FERC), firing his most dangerous cabinet secretaries, and refusing to confirm deputies and who will carry out the Trump’s deadly anti-climate agenda with less publicity or notice. Pruitt deserves to be the first to go, given all that he’s done, but he shouldn’t be the last. That’s the message we’ll deliver to every member of Congress next week, with your support

We’ve got everything you need to deliver a powerful message. Before you go to your local congressional representative’s office, print out a copy of this two-page delivery packet. When you arrive take a picture of you and your friends holding up the first page in front of the office. Then head inside and deliver a copy of the second page, which has a copy of the petition we all signed. Finally, post your pictures on social media using the hashtag #FirePruitt and we’ll share them with activists and reporters all over the country.

But we can’t do it without your support. Can you sign up to show up – and if you can’t chip in to support those who can?

 

 

Disecting the #DistruptJ20 inauguration protest

It’s been more than a  week since the inauguration and the protest that denied Trump the crowds he craves, and helped reset the media narrative. We’ve got a lot to be proud of in the climate movement, and we’re struggling under the sheer weight of horrible news that’s been dumped on us in an unbelievably short period of time. Tillerson confirmed, Pruitt likely, the Muslim ban, the defections and failure to block cloture by Democrats.

But let me direct your attention backwards, for just a moment, to consider what happened on January 20, and some (I think) important lessons it provides about how the Climate movement can and should lead the resistance, and how this project can help.

Some beautiful folks holding space at the inauguration, saying NO to Trump’s agenda of fossil fuel cronyism. #disruptj20 #climatej20 pic.twitter.com/7sFVMDp6uE

— Alex Doukas (@adoukas) January 20, 2017

First of all, thanks to all our friends who wrote up great accounts of the day have been written up by some friends. Special kudos to David at OCI and Farhad of the Chorus Foundation (nerd power!) for ones I liked. I won’t recount the whole day and what happened since others have done that well.

Observations

  1. The climate movement was actually, truly, a really big and important part of what happened. The protest at the “Red Gate” was a really big demonstration (hundreds of people) and was largely effective at the goals we set for ourselves. Planning meetings to support the action and plan strategy more generally were also attended by dozens of people on Wednesday and Thursday night. Numbers aren’t everything, but in the age of mass-resistance, they are an important thing – and we brought some big ones.
  2. Part of what made it work was that nobody tried to “own” it. There were a couple of logos and banners for organizations at the Red Gate, but mostly there were just people. The organizers of the event and the trainings that pre-ceded it worked for Oil Change International, 350.org, Stand.earth and half a dozen groups. But none of those organizations tried to control the agenda or speak to the press on behalf of the rally. In fact, I was a little surprised at hoe many groups – even groups that support Direct Action tactics like 350 and Greenpeace – stood back from #DisruptJ20 and decided to fund actions, email their lists about it, or otherwise raise awareness. The positive side of that was that this was clearly an ‘organic’ action – no paid protestors, just a lot of pissed off people some of whom worked or volunteered with specific climate action groups, and some just showing up for the first time.
  3. Protest, big protest works. This is the most important thing, and again, I’m not the first or only one to say it. But it’s worth noting that our actions directly contributed to the biggest news story of the inauguration – which was about the competing crowd size and narratives of ‘legitimacy’: When Trump & co falsely claimed that there were big supportive crowds at the inauguration, the press had no choice but to present the reality that the crowds on the mall and parade route were historically small  and that there were many more protestors on the street than celebrants. That’s the real power of mass action. The inventor of our namesake – Gene Sharp – writes:

Mass noncooperation and defiance can so change social and political institutions, especially power relationships , that the dictator’ ability to control the economic, social, and political processes of government and the society is taken away.

So, what’s this thing, 198 methods, got to do with it?

  1. Fundamentally, i think this showed me that an idea like 198-methods can world. A big, climate-lead movement of resistance and disruption can be effective and can happen. I also  firmly believe in an intersectional approach to organizing – that means owning, acknowledging, and addressing (where we can) the fact that systems like climate change are racist. We’ll never defeat pollution until we address hate and discrimination (against women, immigrants, you name it) in our culture as well. Just like at the inauguration, our fights are linked. And now we have a clear example of what action together and in solidarity can look like.
  2. The part where big green (and event smaller, more radical green groups) stepped back and didn’t (or weren’t able to recruit for this action also showed that there’s a need for this kind of organizing – intersectional, distributed, not leader-less but rather leader-full actions. #DisruptJ20 and the climate blockade didn’t organize themselves. But we might have been the only climate-oriented group that sent an email out to tell you about it- specifically recruiting some 150+ action participants. If #1 shows that we can make these actions work and be meaningful, #2 shows that we’re not duplicating effort.
  3. Lots and lots of groups are asking you to call your Senators and oppose confirming key Trump cabinet members – that’s good stuff and we should all be making those calls, attending those town hall meetings, and signing those petitions. But if, like me, you’re not convinced that’s enough to stop Trump or demonstrate real resistance, then 198 methods will give you alternatives and additional actions that DO. Actions like Divestment, boycotts, protests, and civil disobedience/resistance – you know, all the stuff that’s on that 198 methods list written by Gene Sharp.

To that’s it – my recollection of the #ClimateJ20 protests at the #DisruptJ20 inauguration protest. And here’s some more excellent photos, video and more from the day. What do you think? Were you at a protest on inauguration day and have a story or opinion to share? Let us know in the comments or hit me on twitter and tell me what you think.

The non-consent of the governed

I want to propose a radical idea: We don’t owe Trump or his supporters anything but resistance. And it’s time to show them they will get nothing from us – not an inch of compromise, not an ounce of permission. It’s time to get out your wooden shoes and dismantle the machinery of oppression.

Before the election, indigenous leaders called for a national day of action on November 15targeting Army Corps of Engineers offices around the country. In solidarity with the ongoing protest and encampment to block the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, the idea was to dial up pressure on the Obama administration and all parts of the federal government that permit – literally and figuratively – the destruction of sacred sites, the desecration of water, and the poisoning of our climate

It was and is a good plan. But after the election of Donald Trump, it’s more. It’s our first big opportunity to make it clear that we, the movement for climate justice and life on earth, have the power to shut down and dismantle the institutions pushing death and injustice. Over 100 events are already being organized with thousands of people planning to attend. Will you join us? Click here to watch the video and RSVP to join us in the streets on November 15.

NODAPL video

The next four years are not going to be easy. I first came up with the idea for 198 Methods after reading This is an Uprising and re-reading Gene Sharp’s From Dictatorship to Democracy. I thought, a few weeks ago, that we were facing a moment of moral clarity on climate change. I thought we needed smart, confrontational strategies to highlight the friction between people who say they want to act on climate and the actual action this moment requires of us. I thought we needed a lot more people, organizations, and mobilizations – especially ones led by women, indigenous people, people of color, LGBTQ, and marginalized folks.

I still think we need all those things. But as many others have argued and are arguing still, that work is more visceral now because Trump’s America is a fascist America. Reports of hate speech, threats, and attacks on Muslims, women, and people of color are on the rise. Our actions need to evolve accordingly from demonstrations to active resistance.

Put on your safety pin and be an ally – but do more. It’s time to think hard about what you’re willing to risk and about what is truly at risk now. It’s time to join the resistance not because it’s smart or strategic – but because the center has fallen and we need to protect each other now.

I know a lot of us are scared, but this isn’t a moment to negotiate. I’m asking you to get used to the feeling of insecurity caused by refusing to obey unjust laws. This isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last time, that we are asked to stand between the actions of our government and the lives of our neighbors and planet.

November 15 is a moment of solidarity. Join us in the streets and be part of the resistance.