What a week last week was! Hopefully you came to at least one of the many protests, rallies, demonstrations, actions, strikes, and jail support events last week – and therefore got at least some of this first hand. But just in case you missed something (and there was a lot, so don’t feel bad) here’s a recap and a little preview of what’s coming up soon.
Before we dive in, however, standard practice is to remind you that all the activism here at 198 methods is powered by people like you. If you can chip in $1.98 a week, $19.80, or any amount to support our work, we appreciate it and it keeps the emails, activism, and action rolling for everyone.
We spent the first part of Monday reading the latest IPCC #Climatereport. The IPCC has clearly and repeatedly sounded the alarm that countries must meet their promise to keep global warming below 1.5ºC in order to protect people and the planet.
Despite the science, the Paris Agreement never even uses the words “fossil fuels” and does nothing to reduce their production, use, or expansion. And President Biden and Congress keep ignoring fossil fuels. As a result, the UN’s new #ClimateReport predicts that by 2030, we are on track to produce 110% more fossil fuels than the world can ever burn.
If you haven’t had a chance to do so yet, please take a minute to read over the report, or our recap of it in this blog, and then send a message to President Biden and the US Senate asking them to take swift action to end the era of fossil fuels.
Laster Monday night, we joined a 24 hour vigil at local bank branches as part of the DC 3.21.23 action. Vigils is a different, quieter, form of direct action — but one with a long history in social change movements. One of the 3rd Act VA organizers who came up with this part of the plan said the idea was inspired by the Beautiful trouble guide, which says:
The word vigil comes from the Latin word for wakefulness, and refers to a practice of keeping watch through the night over the dead or dying. Compared to the blustery pronouncements of a rally, a candlelight vigil offers a more soulful and symbolically potent expression of dissenthttps://beautifultrouble.org/toolbox/tool/artistic-vigil
Our main event at 198 methods was the 3.21.23 bank protests on Tuesday. But before we got to the DC bank action, just a few hours after we got to sleep from our shift in the wee hours of the vigil, however, we stopped by the Department of Interior to join a protest against the recent Biden administration decision to approve the Willow Arctic Oil project.
President Biden, Secretary Haaland, and other officials were scheduled to speak later in the day on priorities for conservation of land and water. But we weren’t about to let them get away with claiming the high ground after they just broke a campaign promise to millions of voters and approved a massive fossil fuel project in the fragile Alaskan Arctic north slope.
Lawsuits to stop Willow have already been launched, and it’s not too late for the Biden administration to reverse the decision. So keep calling the White House —even if you’ve already done so — and keep the pressure on!
Hopefully you were able to join one of the more than 100 demonstrations in some 30 states and DC (where I was). And if you didn’t get to go, hopefully you sent a fax to the CEOs of the big banks to tell them to cut out funding for fossil fuels, or else we’ll cut up our cards and accounts. Here are some photos and videos from our social media – many of these are from DC, but if you search the hashtag #StopDirtyBanks on any platform, you’ll find lots more. Here’s a versions of our posts from twitter, facebook, and instagram – followed by a recording of the speeches and rally at the start of the event.
A lot happened all at the same time on Wednesday! The main event that many of you participated in was the March 22 strikes and rallies to support Starbucks workers. As we told you earlier, Starbucks hosted a celebration of CEO, union buster, and greenwasher in chief Howard Schultz. That same day, Starbucks workers asked all of us to take action across the country and hold Starbucks accountable for their greenwashing and union busting.
We turned out bright and early, again, with AFL CIO president Liz Shuler in DC:
And there were more than 100 stores on strike that day as part of a coordinated action we supported:
And we led a march past several more Starbucks stores in downtown DC around the White House, where climate activists and union supporters alike joined us to call on Starbucks to quit greenwashing and union busting and work with us and their baristas on solutions that benefit workers, and the environment!
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is scheduled to testify in front of the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions committee later this week. Now that the HELP committee is chaired by our old friend Senator Bernie Sanders – it should be a good one. Stay tuned for more updates!
While we were marching with Starbucks workers, our friends from third act and beyond Extreme Energy snuck back into the same Chase Bank branch we’d been protesting outside yesterday. This time they sat in the bank, read an indictment for crimes against humanity, sang, whooped and hollered until 10 elders were arrested and removed.
All of our comrades were later released on misdemeanor charges. Read more including statements from the group here, or read a write up on the action from one of the participants here. Safe to say, Chase bank was shut down a lot this week – hopefully showing the company part of the risk of continuing to finance fossil fuels.
AND, just after the #RockingChairRebellion 10 were taken away in police vans, we jogged a few blocks to the US Capitol to join a press conference for the re-introduction of the EJ for All act.
The EJ4All Act, you’ll remember, was and is the best example of how to do so-called permitting reform. The bill has just been re-introduced as the A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice Act of 2023, in honor of the late Congressman who made this bill and its mission his life’s work. There were lots of old friend and allies from Appalachia, the Gulf south, the industrial midwest and more frontline communities there to speak to the benefits of the bill. If you want to send a quick email to your member of Congress and Senators asking them to become a co-sponsor of the new bill, please do so with our friends from Climate Hawks Vote here.
Late Wednesday evening, we joined one last event — a launch party for a new group called Climate Defiance. Earlier in the week they shut down a speech by White House Climate advisor Ali Zaidi, but they didn’t share too much about the action until Thursday. Climate Defiance is planning another action in April to shut down the White House Corespondents Dinner – a toxic schmooze-fest between the media elite who are failing to cover the climate crisis, and the politicians who are failing to act on it. We’ll have more on that action in the coming weeks, but in the meantime here’s some video of the Zaidi action to give you a sense of their message and demands:
Later Thursday, while I was on my way home I tuned in to hear the court hearings that set bail for some of the Atlanta forest defenders arrested during the week of action we told you about earlier this month. The judge and prosecutors took some alarming steps – claiming that anyone with mud on their shoes or a number written on their arm, or any connection to the Atlanta Solidarity fund which represents many protesters and activists in court, were all part of a vast conspiracy controlled and directed by a single un-named person and guilty of terrorism.
This is obviously an attempt to suppress protest, free speech, and activism in Atlanta. And it’s part of a growing trend of anti-protest legislation and litigation in many states and communities. But it was a chilling end to a week of big protests, actions, strikes, and activism – much of which these Atlanta courts and prosectors would have considered criminal (even the ones that were attended by powerful members of the US Congress and fully permitted with their own armed capitol police guards). It was also an important reminder that actions don’t end when we pack up the art or even when our friends are finally released from custody.
Real direct action that disrupts fossil fuels – and the racist, colonial system they rely on – continues for days, weeks, and months after the action date as folks navigate the court system, take the ideas and radical spirit home to their families and community, and sow seeds of the next radical action. Direct action is a long-term project that requires consistent attention, care, and especially digital support (blog posts like this, fundraising, tools and gadgets to keep people connected and engaged). Part of the reason it’s taken me this long to put up a post summarizing last week’s actions is that I wanted to let other groups like BXE, third Act, Starbucks Workers United, the House Environment and Natural Resources Democrats, and more tell their stories first.
But just because other groups took the lead on action, while we took on support roles, doesn’t mean that you should tune out on action or ignore us now that the cops, reporters, and art have dispersed. After the action is the perfect time to lean in with your quiet, vigil-like brain. Pay attention to who’s still showing up a week after the action, when the cameras and cops are gone.
Please join our friends from Rising Tide North America and the campaign to free Jessica campaign next Tuesday, April 4, for a webinar about escalating criminalization of protest. And consider getting more deeply involved in jail support, campaign support, and digital support roles at your next action – we’re here to help, especially with the last part!
Phew that was a lot. But before you go mark your calendars for a few more upcoming events:
If you’re in the DC-area again/still, make a plan to join us for the End the Era of Fossil Fuels 2023 Earth Day rally on Saturday, April 22 starting at noon in Freedom Plaza: This will be a fantastic, multi-layered event with rallies, education, art, action, and activism just like so many of the events we ere a part of this week. We’ve already signed on with our old friends Shut Down DC and others to help, and I hope you will too.
Weherever you are, and whatever your interests and abilities, you can also join the Climate Justice Arts Action all during Earth Week, April 15-25. Like our arts action last year targeting banks, we’ll be making free arts kits available to everyone and encouraging them to wheat paste or hold an arts-centered direct action! Stay tuned for more details or sign up here if you already know what to do and need an art kit.
Finally, last thing and once more – if you value all the activism and action in this post – and want to keep future events and actions free, accessible, and online for all, please consider making a donation, or even better a recurring donation monthly or weekly.