DC Braces For ‘Mass Uprising That Everyone With Climate Anxiety Has Been Waiting For’

Patrick Goodenough | September 4, 2019 | 4:35am EDT
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Climate activists protest outside the White House. (Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – Climate strikes of the type pioneered by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg are set to return to Washington D.C., this month, but this time organizers are vowing to block major intersections and cause “massive disruption” in the nation’s capital.

“We will block key infrastructure to stop business-as-usual, bringing the whole city to a gridlocked standstill,” declares the website strikedc.org. “Parents, workers, college students, and everyone who is concerned about the climate crisis will skip work and school and put off their other responsibilities to take action on the climate crisis.”

“This is the mass uprising that everyone with climate anxiety has been waiting for. This is an uprising for life itself, fighting back against the forces of destruction,” the organizers say. “This is your chance to take action to save the people, plants, and animals you love. Let’s rise up and shut down D.C.!”

First, on Friday, September 20, students and others are planning a march from the White House to the U.S. Capitol, kicking off the Washington contribution to a worldwide “week of action.”

The youth-oriented mass strike is the third of its kind, after others held on March 15 and May 24 this year. Organizers are predicting “the largest mass mobilization for climate action in human history.”

“This time, adults will be joining the youth-led call for climate action to demand world leaders take meaningful steps to address this crisis with the urgency it requires,” they say. “Youth and adults will stand arm-in-arm in the fight together for the future of humanity.”

During an earlier climate strike in Washington, on March 15 this year, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. is mobbed by reporters near the U.S. Capitol, (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/ AFP/Getty Images)

Organizations involved include Fridays for Future, Zero Hour, OneMillionOfUs, 350.org and DC Youth Climate Strike.

The Friday strikes around the world were inspired by a one-person protest first launched by Thunberg outside the parliament in her home country last year. Thunberg recently received an enthusiastic welcome when she arrived in New York City, having crossed the Atlantic by “zero-carbon” yacht to take part in this month’s events in the U.S.

‘Massive disruption’

Then three days after the Friday march, activists are planning a more radical approach, eyeing “massive disruption” in Washington on Monday, September 23, coinciding with a U.N. climate summit in New York City.

“We do not take this action lightly,” the organizers say. “We know that this shutdown will cause massive disruption to people who bear little responsibility for the climate catastrophe we are facing. But we will also cause massive disruption for politicians, huge corporations and the lobbyists who control our government.”

“We need to fundamentally change the power structure of the United States if we want to stop the climate crisis, and shutting down D.C. is a big step in the right direction.”

In an article on one of the call-to-action websites Kaela Bamberger, an organizer with the group Extinction Rebellion, cites “innumerable crises” attributed to global warming, from rising sea levels to desertification to fires in the Amazon rainforest.

“Humanity has never faced a crisis of this magnitude and only immediate and transformative change can ensure our survival,” she writes.

Bamberger quotes another D.C.-based activist, Kathleen Brophy of 350.org, as saying that politicians “ignore our will as voters, our rallies, our calls to action and even our pleas, so I am no longer interested in asking.”

“The severity of the issue and the complete lack of response from elected officials necessitates mass civil disobedience.”

Those eager to join the action are being invited to set up, or sign up for, an “affinity group” or “action team” comprising between 15 and 40 individuals, “to shut down different intersections throughout the city.”

“Are you plugged in with an affinity group or action team yet?” asks an online sign-up form, then offers a choice:

--Not yet, I'd like some more information about how to plug in!

--Yes, I know which group I want to roll with and we’re already plugged into organizing for the strike!

--Yes, I have a group that I want to roll with for the strike and we want get plugged in with organizing and coordinate with other groups.

--I’m not sure.

Then there’s a “Pledge of Resistance” which people are being encouraged to take:

--I will honor the picket line by skipping school or work and putting off my other responsibilities on September 23.

--I pledge to take action with my friends, neighbors, classmates and coworkers to shut down business-as-usual, so the status quo of delay, inaction, and half measures is no longer an option. I’m going to make the strike a priority.

--Between now and September I’m committed to pushing myself to organize my friends, coworkers, classmates and neighbors to participate in the strike.

--During the climate strike in Washington, D.C. we will hold ourselves accountable to building creative and strategic nonviolent actions that bring about the world that we want to live in.

Organizations involved in the planned D.C. “blockades” include Extinction Rebellion, Rising Tide North America, Movement for a People’s Party, and Code Pink.

Meanwhile other climate-focused actions are planned later in the fall and into next year, including “We Rise Up,” a network of groups across Europe planning “coordinated and strategic waves of actions” from late September onwards.

The campaign’s list of actions range from an “Antinuclear and Feminist Weekend” in France later this month (“The entire weekend will be open for everyone but cis-men.”) to “Shell Must Fall,” planned protests outside the oil company’s AGM in The Hague next May – because, organizers say, “In the midst of a climate emergency, the last thing we need is shareholders of an oil giant meeting to discuss how they are going to maximize their profits.”


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