Calif. climate activists gear up for Nov. 21

BY JEFF MACKLER

— OAKLAND, Calif. — As the 21st United Nations Conference of Parties (COP21) approaches, climate-crisis activists in the U.S. and around the world are gearing up for massive protests both before and after the Nov. 30–Dec. 12 UN meeting set for Paris. Some 40,000 government, corporate, and “civil society” representatives are expected to accomplish little or nothing with regard to binding agreements to qualitatively reduce carbon emissions or to rapidly move to a 100 percent sustainable system of energy production based on solar, wind, geothermal, and other non-polluting technologies.

In Northern California, over 150 environmental-based, social justice, faith-based, labor, and socialist organizations have come together to form the Northern California Climate Mobilization (NCCM), which is organizing a mass march and rally on Nov. 21 at Oakland’s downtown Civic Center/Frank Ogawa Plaza.

NCCM organizers hope to significantly surpass last year’s Sept. 21 action of 5000 in Oakland that paralleled the nationally organized 350.org People’s Climate March of 400,000 in New York City.
With an initial budget of $16,000, activists have planned a major rally that includes leading representatives from a diverse range of organizations, including May Boeve, executive director of the national 350.org. the heads of the San Francisco and Alameda County central labor councils, the Sierra Club, Black Lives Matter, and a host of frontline and indigenous community activists as well as a number of leading performing bands and poets.

To date, some 60,000 flyers have been distributed in all Bay Area counties. The Silkwood Affinity Group of the Sunflower Alliance raised an additional $7000 to place eight-foot billboards at seven key Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) stations and on BART trains. Several buses have been chartered to bring outlying activists from Santa Clara, Sonoma, and Sacramento counties.

Nov. 21 was chosen by NCCM leaders, as opposed to the internationally scheduled date of Nov. 29, to maximize participation and avoid the usual difficulties associated with organizing mass events over the Thanksgiving weekend.

As compared to last year’s Sept. 21 mobilization here, which was essentially limited politically to the rather vague entreatments of the New York City event, NCCM meetings, following some months of discussion and debate, adopted a rather comprehensive set of points of unity and demands.

The demands reflect the growing awareness that to win in this existential struggle to literally save humanity from the horrors of fossil fuel-induced climate catastrophe, a mass worldwide movement is necessary, which includes all struggles for social and environmental justice.
NCCM demands are listed in the box on this page.

Over the past year, NCCM has emerged as a leading united front and ongoing coalition aimed at the education and broad mobilization of working people in all their diverse manifestations to challenge the undeniable evidence of climate catastrophe. With each passing day, increasing layers of the world population have come to understand that immediate, drastic, and unprecedented measures are now required to defend all life on earth from those who would subordinate it to fossil-fuel interests and corporate profiteers and their governments.

The fact that international and U.S. climate crisis activists and organizations have called for continued mass mobilizations through COP21 is a crystal clear statement that few, if any, of the organizations currently engaged in this vital struggle have any confidence in the ability of world “leaders” to fundamentally change their present doomsday course. 350.org and other leading groups have already begun discussions of follow-up mass mobilization in the spring of 2016.

For information about NCCM see: NorCalClimateMob.net or contact: info@norcalclimatemob.net.

Northern California Climate Mobilization Demands

A global agreement to implement dramatic and rapid reduction in global warming pollution! Keep fossil fuels in the ground! 100% clean, safe, renewable energy! End all fracking, tar sands mining and pipelines, offshore drilling, arctic drilling. Stop expansion of the extractive economy. Wind, solar, geothermal power now. No coal exports or crude-by-rail bomb trains in Northern California.

A dramatic and rapid reduction in global warming pollution is necessary to create a world united to repair the ravages of climate change! Industrial countries and polluting corporations of the global north need to pay their ecological debt to society and to the global south by providing funding for developing countries and vulnerable communities worldwide to adapt to the impacts of climate change and convert to sustainable economies. A world with an economy that works for people and the planet!

Billions of dollars for energy efficiency and conservation. We need a just transition to a sustainable, demilitarized economy based on renewable energy, clean transportation, and jobs for all at union wages. Convert water-wasting, polluting factory farms to sustainable organic agriculture. End corporate personhood; end “money equals free speech”; end billionaire purchase of elections.

A demilitarized world with peace and social justice for everyone; where Black Lives Matter; with justice and respect for immigrants and migrants; where good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities belong to all. End all forms of oppression and discrimination! No to environmental racism and pollution of indigenous, low-income, and frontline nations and communities. Respect all indigenous lands. No militarized police. No wars. No nuclear weapons or power. A true ecological approach must integrate questions of justice to protect biodiversity, honor all life on earth, and lift all people out of poverty.

Photo: Activists at a planning meeting of the Northern California Climate Mobilization hold a banner advertising their Nov. 21 action.