Tell Biden to Build Back Fossil Free

Tomorrow, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be inaugurated as the 46th President and Vice President of the United states. They’ll take take over a country ravaged by pandemic, convulsed by a white supremacist coup attempt, and reeling from four years of Trump’s climate denial and fossil fueled fascism.

Biden and team have promised to build back better, and there’s a lot to look forward to: We’ve learned he intends to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline on day one of his administration, for example. And his promise to focus on science and reality in fighting climate change and the pandemic by rejoining the WHO and Paris Climate Agreement are encouraging signs. But there’s one promise Biden hasn’t made, and could, that would be a huge game-changer on climate and fossil fuels: He can promise that building back “better” means building back fossil free.

That’s why we’re joining a coalition of hundreds of groups representing millions of people across the country fighting for climate, racial, and economic justice to ensure Biden becomes the climate president he promised to be. (Click here to read our full petition)

Sign on now to endorse our demands:

  • Protect and invest in the Black, Indigenous, Brown, and working-class communities that have borne the brunt of fossil fuel pollution and climate disasters.
  • Reject new fossil fuel projects, eliminate giveaways to oil gas, and coal corporations, and end the era of fossil fuel production.
  • Launch a national climate mobilization to Build Back Fossil Free, deliver jobs, justice, and opportunity for all.

Unwinding the damage done by the Trump regime will not be easy. Even today, on the eve of the inauguration, Trump’s loyal minions are feverishly working to ram through pipelines, drilling projects, and more. Trump’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) moved their monthly-meeting from Thursday to today to ensure they could vote to support Jordan Cove, the Mountain Valley Pipeline and a dozen other projects just 24 hours before Biden takes office.

A lot of those decisions can be reversed if Biden acts quickly, and if he has the support of climate hawks in Congress. And there are other big fights – Line 3 is the most urgent in many of our minds – that Biden will have to make quick decisions on due to deadlines and permitting rules, which will give us an early indication of his commitment and follow through on climate action.

And that’s why we’re taking today, the day BEFORE Biden is inaugurated, to lift up all these frontline battles and demand the the Biden Administration #BuildBackFossilFree. Our communities gave Joe Biden the mandate to be bold. He has the tools and authority to reject new fossil fuel projects, eliminate giveaways to fossil fuel corporations, unwind Trump’s disastrous attacks on our climate and communities, and end the era of fossil fuel production — starting from Day One. Will you ask him to make it a priority?

Ps – The image above was created by Christi Belcourt Michif (Métis) and is used with permission. The graphic was created by Katherine Quaid (Nez Perce/Cayuse/Paiute), Communications Coordinator for Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International, to support 75+ Indigenous women from Tribes and Nations across the country who sent a letter calling on President-elect Joe Biden to take immediate executive action to stop the Keystone XL, Line 3, and Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) pipeline projects on day one of his Presidency. You can learn more and read the letter here.

How to stop a coup

I’ve been struggling to pull myself away from the news and twitter to talk about the coup attempt this week. As someone who’s planned and participated in dozens of events and actions at the Capitol – many where we peacefully and non-violently risked arrest and were met with a substantially larger, armed, and violent response – I share the shock, outrage and emotion of all of you.

It’s important to be very clear about two things in the immediate aftermath:

  1. This was a Coup attempt, and it’s not over yet.
  2. This week’s coup is nothing like the non-violent, civil disobedience and protest we’re a part of every day, and we must be mindful that our reaction is orderly, legal and based in love and justice – not hate and violent retribution.

If you agree that Trump must be impeached and removed from office, click here to sign on.

Donald Trump directed the mob to go to the capital, and incited them to violence – not just on January 6 but for weeks before that. For years Trump and his enablers have built a culture of white supremacy, and demonstrated a conviction to rule through force and fear. We’ve been calling Trump a fascist and warning of exactly these kind of outcomes for more than four years. For years Very Serious People called us “deranged” or warned us not to exaggerate the threat. Now, finally, they seem to agree.

Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate soon-to-be Leader Chuck Schumer – who are usually slow to act in a crisis like climate change, or Trump’s previous abuses of power – are calling for swift action to remove the coup-leader, the deposed ex-President Donald Trump from power.

There’s a lot of talk about the 25th amendment, which Trump’s cabinet could invoke. But it’s not an instant solution – requiring complicated votes by the cabinet that are not easy to convene, and confirmation by Congress. And anyway, most of Trump’s cabinet seems to feel that resigning is a safer path to restoring their reputations (another thing we cannot allow to happen), rather than removing Trump from power and risking the wrath of the same people who smashed up the capital days ago.

Which is why invoking impeachment, again, is the only sure step to remove Trump from office. And it’s a step Congress must take right away, before Trumps last 12 days in office expire, because the coup isn’t over yet. Students of history and political insurrection around the world know that often, fascists and authoritarians often have to try more than once, and more than one method, to hold on to power.

What we saw Wednesday was only a link in a long chain of events where fossil fueled, white-supremacist fascists try and seize control of our government, and bend it to their will.

They won’t go away when Trump leaves office on January 20. And Trump himself has already talked about running for President again, and clearly intends to retain ‘control’ of the GOP. But if Congress impeaches, and convicts Trump before Jan 20, he will be barred from running from office ever again.

Click here to sign on to our joint petition with many national partners. Only by working together can we build the pressure necessary for Congress to act. And only through Congressional Action can we stop this coup and prevent Trump from trying to seize power again.

We’ll have lots more to say, and lots more to talk about, why our non violent, civil disobedience actions — including ones where we risk arrest in the US Capitol — are nothing like the fascist coup attempt we saw this week. A short, simple, explanation might be that intent matters, and how we conduct ourselves while speaking truth as a minority political power, to a majority political power.

When we take action, we come in peace and we speak and act – at times disruptively – to cry out for justice and a safe and healthy planet for all. Often we bring or bear in our hearts the stories of those impacted adversely by the policies in question – bearing witness to their pain and bearing it into the sight and hearing of those in power who would rather ignore it.

That’s more or less the opposite of what happened this week: A violent, hateful, mob broke down the doors to stop the functioning of Democracy and demand that their already-powerful leader be given more power, or else. They brought with them the failed emblems of other white supremacist insurrections. And they clearly felt entitled to seize power, no matter who they had to hurt, step over, or disenfranchise to get there. When police pushed back and arrested a paltry few of the thousands or rioters, they responded with shock and alarm – literally saying “they’re supposed to shoot BLM not [us].”

Like I said, lots more to say on this in the future. But for today I’ll leave you with this simple image: Of Rev Warnock, now a United States Senator, being arrested peacefully at a non-violent, civil disobedient prayer vigil for universal health care in 2017. It’s a lot like a lot of actions we’ve helped organize during the Trump regime’s rise to power. And we wont stop until all of them are gone and barred from our government for good.

Biden’s cabinet is going off the rails, into climate chaos.

Last week we wrote to you about the important chance to make sure Joe Biden picks climate activists, not corporate cronies, for his cabinet. Since then, unfortunately, the process has dissolved into a disorganized hodgepodge of favor-trading, corruption, and skin deep lip service for progressive values.

This was supposed to be a moment for experience, progressive values, and science-based decision making. Tell Joe Biden to get back on track by signing our petition now, if you haven’t already. And if you have, click here to back up your signature with a social media post, or a phone call.

Last week, Biden picked former USDA head and longtime corporate-farm lobbyist Tom Vilsack to lead the Department of Agriculture, again. At the same time and in a classic, tokenizing horse trade, Biden named Rep. Marcia Fudge, who we had backed along with many other progressives — not to mention the US House Whip Rep. James Clyburn , the NAACP, and the Congressional Black Caucus — to lead the Department of Housing and Urban development: A job she explicitly did not want and had made clear should not be given to another “Black person in Labor or HUD.”

Fudge could have been a transformative pick at the USDA’s — someone who could unite the rural and urban constituents of the agency, tackle the big impacts on climate of our food and farm system, and address the agency’s long history of racial discrimination. Instead we get another old white dude with a history of racism, corruption and climate denial.

News coverage of the Vilsack/Fudge disaster also makes it clear Biden is not interested in diverse, proven leaders with a history of acting on climate — leaders like Deb Haaland, Mustafa Santiago Ali and others.

News reports out in the last few days indicate he’s already offered he Interior Secretary to other candidates (and been turned down) and now he’s looking to hire Michael Regan, the current head of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, to lead the EPA.

Regan, you might remember, is the person who literally approved the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Reagan was appointed by Gov. Cooper to protect our climate and reverse North Carolina’s shameful history on environmental justice. Instead, he swiftly approved the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, as previously negotiated with Duke EnergyActivists were so mad about it, that they (and we) sat in at Gov Cooper’s office for more than 8 hours demanding he revoke the permit – instead he ordered local police to arrest the protesters.

That Biden is considering people like Vilsack – a corporate-backed, Big-Ag lobbyist – to lead the Department of Agriculture; And Regan – an Environmental Quality secretary most famous for green-lighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline after years – to lead the Environmental Protection Agency; indicates that this process has gone off the rails.

A coalition of progressive groups is trying to get it back on track – but we need your help to make sure that Biden and his team are listening.

Tell Joe Biden to get back on track by signing our petition now, if you haven’t already. And if you have, click here to back up your signature with a social media post, or a phone call.

Join the digital rally to Stop Line 3

Last week we told you that fossil fuel and pipeline giant Enbridge is already working to construct Line 3 — another toxic tar sands pipeline across Indigenous lands and the fresh water lakes of northern Minnesota.

The pipeline is being challenged fiercely by Indigenous nations and  leaders, grassroots organizations, youth, and environmental groups. But Trump and Enbridge have made clear that their plan is to finish construction before January 20, 2021, and local elected leaders like Gov Walz and Attorney General Ellison have so far failed to block them. 

Please join local and national leaders fighting this pipeline this Wednesday, December 9, at 5 pm PT/ 6 pm MT/ 7 pm CT/ 8 pm ET for a digital rally to stop Line 3.
(You may also RSVP and share on Facebook here)

Line 3 is a new tar sands pipeline that would cross more than 1,000 miles from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin. If completed, it will transport 760,000-844,000 barrels of tar sands crude oil from Alberta each day, and release as much global warming pollution as fifty coal fired power plants.

Along the way, it would violate Ojibwe treaty rights and put the state’s water, ecosystems and communities at risk. We cannot allow this new pipeline to be built.

Minnesota based leaders have delayed the project for seven years. They need support now to #StopLine3. Join us and join the fight this Wednesday evening.

It’s time for a non-corporate, fossil free cabinet

For the last four years, we’ve witnessed the unchecked racism, environmental damage, and sheer incompetence of having the White House and Administration run by corporate fossil fuel flunkies.

Thanks to our work and the work of many others to block Trump’s attempts to undermine the election and overturn the results, and thanks to the votes of more than 80 million Americans, Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States on January 20th, 2021.

When he does, he’ll need an administration to get to work on day one that will fight for justice, climate action, and a green new deal to build back better. Unfortunately, Biden is under tremendous pressure from corporations and polluters to rehire the same corporate lobbyists, executives, and consultants from the revolving door of failed action on climate and other priorities.

This week is our best chance to convince Biden and his team to hire real, diverse, climate leaders for key positions in the administration. In short, it’s time for a fossil free cabinet. Sign now to tell President-elect Biden and the Senate: appoint and confirm public-minded progressives who will act on climate to the new administration!

Biden faces an un-enviable list of crises on his first day — from the pandemic to climate change to police brutality. To solve those crises, with a focus on those hit first and worst by the impacts, means we need progressive champions in the administration who see the intersection of race, immigration, policing and climate; And are willing and able to act on day one.

I’m talking about a stark difference between nominees for key positions like the Secretaries of Agriculture, Interior, and Energy, as well as who will lead the EPA under Biden.

Biden needs people with proven track records of prioritizing the interest of the public and our common home. Moreover, he must decline to nominate or hire corporate lobbyists, top executives of big corporations, and prominent corporate consultants — especially fossil fuel corporations. And if necessary, Biden should use tools like the Vacancies Act and recess appointments to overcome obstruction by Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans. Sign here if you agree!

Here’s just a few of the decisions Biden could make this week – having moved quickly to name his nominees to deal with the pandemic and economic crises already:

Any or all of these positions might be announced this week. If we want Biden to pick leaders like Fudge, Haaland, Ali and more, we need to show him and the Senate that the American people demand bold leadership — NOW.

Sign Now to tell President-elect Biden and the Senate should appoint and confirm public-minded progressives to the new administration!

meme image made with thanks to photography by Gage Skidmore (Biden) Martin Falbisoner (White House) and design by Ruliani (fossil)

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.