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Can the Climate Movement Break Free From the 'Jobs vs. Environment' Debate?

By Kate Aronoff - Common Dreams, April 30, 2016

For two weeks this May, organizers across 12 countries will participate in Break Free 2016, an open-source invitation to encourage “more action to keep fossil fuels in the ground and an acceleration in the just transition to 100 percent renewable energy.” Many of the month’s events — pulled together by 350.org and a slew of groups around the world — are set to take place within ongoing campaigns to shut down energy infrastructure, targeting “some of the most iconic and dangerous fossil fuel projects all over the world” with civil disobedience.

The Break Free site’s opening page invites viewers to “join a global wave of resistance to keep coal, oil and natural gas in the ground.” And that’s where some unions have taken issue.

The United Steelworkers, or USW, this week released a response. “Short-sighted and narrow-focused activities like 350.org’s ‘Break Free’ actions,” they write, “make it much more challenging to work together to create and envision a clean energy economy.” Three of the locations targeted — in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Washington — are USW-represented refineries. The union argues that, despite record growth in renewables, the economy will continue to be reliant on fossil fuels for some time. “Shutting down a handful of refineries in the United States,” they say, “would lead to massive job loss in refinery communities, increased imports of refined oil products, and ultimately no impact on global carbon emissions.” Rather, refineries and their workers should be brought into the clean energy economy.

The statement ends arguing that, “We can’t choose between good jobs or a healthy environment. If we don’t have both, we’ll have neither.” In more familiar terms, Breaking Free — for the USW — sounds like a case of jobs versus the environment.

While similar releases are standard fare for other unions, the 30,000-member USW is one of the country’s most progressive — even when it comes to environmental issues.

“People assume that because we’re an industrial union that our leadership doesn’t care about the environment,” Roxanne Brown told me. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Brown is the assistant legislative director at USW, and emphasized the union’s long history of work on environmental issues. The USW hosted a conference in support of air pollutant regulations in the late 1960s, early on rejecting the kind of weaponized jobs versus environment rhetoric that has cropped up around the Keystone XL pipeline and other extraction fights.

Why We Withdrew Sponsorship from the Sierra Club’s Rally in Hartford, CT: Comfort Letter, Censorship, and Compromise!

A Statement by Capitalism vs. the Climate, April 21, 2016

We reluctantly withdrew our sponsorship from an April 20th rally against fracked-gas infrastructure in Connecticut, organized mainly by the Sierra Club. While we found actions by the national Sierra Club leading up to the rally to be inexcusable, this statement should not be seen as a criticism of the Connecticut state chapter or its volunteer members. We have reached out to the national Sierra Club and chapter staff and attempted to discuss our concerns regarding the rallies mentioned below in Bridgeport and Hartford, but we have only received evasive responses and claims that our concerns are misled.

The Sierra Club’s call for an April 20th rally against fracked-gas infrastructure in Connecticut said:

“…methane gas is worse at causing climate change than burning oil or coal, because methane produces more global warming than carbon dioxide does. We MUST convert to 100% renewable energy immediately”.[1]

But… the Sierra Club does NOT speak out against PSEG’s proposed fracked-gas plant in Bridgeport, CT.

The Sierra Club campaigned for several years against a coal plant in Bridgeport operated by PSEG. When PSEG offered to switch from burning coal to burning fracked gas, the Sierra Club decided to tacitly accept this awful compromise and not speak out loudly against construction of the gas plant, abandoning local residents and grassroots campaigners who wanted to keep fighting fracked gas. Of the Bridgeport residents who testified on the issue at city hall on February 1st, all but one of them strongly opposed the gas plant.[2]

The Sierra Club admits that they sent a “comfort letter” to PSEG in January that promised they will not take legal action against PSEG’s proposed gas plant.[3] To this day, the Sierra Club refuses to share a copy of the letter with local residents affected by the compromise.

The Sierra Club has also been censoring its own members who try to protest PSEG. According to an email we received from an executive committee member, the Connecticut chapter has been “muzzled” and “can only very quietly and not publicly fight the B-port gas plant.”[4]

  • Earlier this month, likely because of pressure from the national Sierra Club, the Connecticut chapter would not endorse an environmental justice rally organized by residents of Bridgeport. When the chapter did circulate an invitation to the event, they edited out the mention of “PSEG’s proposed fracked-gas plant” from the original event description.[5] Connecticut chapter members say the national Sierra Club pressured them to make such redactions.
  • Our press release on the February 1st public hearing (correctly) stated that “members of…the Connecticut Sierra Club also showed up to support Bridgeport residents fighting PSEG’s coal and gas power plants.”[6] Shortly afterwards, another member of the chapter’s executive committee emailed us and said that due to pressure they receive from the national Sierra Club, the chapter should not be publicly named as protesting the gas plant.[7]

We do not claim to speak for Connecticut Sierra Club members, and they have not asked us to make this statement. Nonetheless, looking in from the outside, we see the national organization interfering with local members who want to support Bridgeport residents fighting against environmental injustice. We see similarities to troubling instances in the past when the national Sierra Club has tried to silence principled chapters who dared to speak out against the Iraq War and against the greenwashing of Clorox.[8]

When it comes to Bridgeport, the Sierra Club’s silence and censorship reveals an ugly double standard. While the Sierra Club devotes resources to supporting campaigns against fracked-gas infrastructure in Connecticut’s wealthy and white communities, they will not vocally oppose fracked gas in the predominantly low-income, black and brown city of Bridgeport. Even if the Sierra Club’s legal agreement with PSEG was not motivated by racist intentions, we are concerned that the Sierra Club’s double standard, on where they will and will not protest fracked gas, could deepen Connecticut’s racial and class disparities in pollution. Since the Sierra Club would not endorse anti-gas testimonies and protest in Bridgeport, we could no longer in good conscience support the Sierra Club’s own anti-gas rally.

That’s not all… the Sierra Club kicked Beyond Extreme Energy out of the rally.

Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) has been taking admirable direct action to stop fracking and plans to protest outside the homes of FERC’s pipeline rubber-stampers. BXE was originally one of the co-sponsors of the rally in Hartford. Against the wishes of the CT Sierra Club members, the national Sierra Club gave an ultimatum: either kick out BXE or the Sierra Club would withdraw their sponsorship (effectively canceling the rally). The Sierra Club believes (as stated in a conference call[9]) that BXE’s non-violent tactics are too confrontational… in fighting the biggest existential threat to our planet.

While non-violent home demonstrations are controversial, various campaigns have found the tactic very effective in the past (for example, in confronting animal cruelty and the logging of old growth forests[10]). The protests do not physically harm anyone, whereas the same cannot be said about high-level FERC officials who approve flammable fracked-gas pipelines in human and nonhuman communities and even adjacent to the Indian Point nuclear power plant, despite severe social, ecological, and climate risks.

It is appalling that a powerful Big Green group tried to use the Hartford rally to pressure BXE’s courageous campaigners into watering down their tactics. This is especially true at a time when a rapidly warming planet reminds us how insufficient (at best) the Big Greens’ prevailing tactics of compromise and capitulation have been. We believe that environmental organizations with different strategies and tactics should find ways to work together rather than take deliberate actions to exclude and marginalize activists. We felt that withdrawing from the rally was necessary in order to not be complicit in the exclusion of BXE.

The Sierra Club’s kind of green…

As mentioned earlier, the Sierra Club itself admits that fracked gas is not an acceptable bridge fuel. Some scientists say that fracked gas cooks the climate significantly more than coal and oil do. Surveying water contamination, air pollution and ecosystem destruction, a recent report by Environment America found that “fracking poses grave threats to the environment and public health”.[11]

We are concerned, therefore, that the Sierra Club has put money before social justice and climate protection. From 2007 to 2010, the Sierra Club took $25 million from the fracked gas industry. Since 2011, the Sierra Club has taken $80 million from the pro-fracking billionaire Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg’s fortune is managed by Willet Advisors, which according to BusinessWeek, “invests in real assets focusing on oil and natural gas areas.”[12] Because of this funding, it is not surprising to us that the national Sierra Club has been very slow to protest consistently against fracked gas.

Real solutions will not come from alliances with the richest 1%, no matter how much money they contribute. There is no time to waste compromising core values as the planet burns and communities of color suffocate.

Transphobes Still Welcome at Public Interest Environmental Law Conference

By Trans and/or Women’s Action Collective - Earth First! Journal, March 29, 2016

EUGENE, OR – Members of the Trans and/or Women’s Action Collective are no strangers to direct action. Since the early formation of TWAC from amongst the membership of groups like Earth First!, the collective – which was created initially to address patriarchal behavior, misogyny, and transphobia within the radical environmental movement – has been involved in campaigns against resource extraction, corporate prisons, trans-exclusionary legislation, ICE raids, destruction of public and Native lands, criminalization of sex workers, wildlife culling, and police brutality and racism. On March 5th, TWAC activists and allies found themselves once more embattled as they confronted members of the transphobic group Deep Green Resistance at the annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference at the University of Oregon.

Deep Green Resistance, a group founded by trans-exclusionary radical “feminists” Lierre Keith and Derrick Jensen, has been a bone of contention in the radical environmental scene for many years, contention which came to the fore again in 2013 with the release of DGR member Rachel Ivey’s video monologue “The End of Gender”  in which she reiterates the radical feminist rhetoric that transgender people (or, “people who call themselves transgender”) are in fact champions of the patriarchal gender binary, as well as deeply dangerous to feminism and women. This video, Ivey’s public speaking tour, and the continued presence of Deep Green Resistance in environmentalist spaces such as the Law & Disorder Conference and PIELC, spurred protest from trans activists and allies around North America.

In 2014, the PIELC organizers were protested for inviting Lierre Keith to be one of their keynote speakers, despite her well-known anti-trans rhetoric and the very public transphobic views of DGR as a group. Over 1,000 emails expressing concern over Keith’s presence were sent to the University prior to the event, and local and national environmental groups petitioned PIELC and UO to cancel Keith’s talk with a letter signed by more than 30 organizations across a broad spectrum of social and environmental causes. Protests culminated in a collective walk-out during Keith’s keynote speech. PIELC organizers have not yet apologized or addressed the issue, though DGR has been invited back every year since.

On Saturday March 5th, dismayed at DGR’s increased presence at PIELC this year, activists and their allies covered the DGR table with a banner declaring “DGR Not Welcome! No Transphobia in Defense of Mother Earth” and stood by their words as conference organizers tore the banner in half and demanded that the protesters leave the area. The protesters remained by the DGR table even after their banner was destroyed, engaging with the public and holding space for conversations about transphobia and trans rights. 

“Deep Green Resistance entwines their transphobic views with their vision of an ecologically healthy future,” says trans activist Shane Lenartz, who has worked with groups such as Earth First!, Rising Tide, and the Trans and/or Women’s Action Collective (TWAC). “Their degrading and dehumanizing attitude towards trans people, especially trans women, is not a new thing, and it’s not excusable. We have been fighting this issue for years. As environmental activists, we are sick and tired of having to come to conferences like this and see transphobic groups like DGR being openly represented and given space.”

Cultural shifts in the climate justice movement

Kevin Buckland - ROARMag, March 22, 2016

hundred days on, as the climate justice movement looks back to the COP21 Climate Summit to see what may be learned, we reflect on the context of the violent attacks of November 13, 2015 that foreshadowed the unstable and volatile world we will all inhabit for the rest of our lives.

The ensuing crackdown on climate protesters sent shock waves through the Climate Coalition’s (CC21) plans for a series of mass climate mobilizations around the COP21 UN climate summit. This opened fissures at every weak point, revealing the political values dormant beneath and bringing to the front cultures of resistance that had the structural integrity and coherence to be able to thrive under the Parisian “State of Emergency”.

Several underlying trends that characterized successful activism during COP21 indicate an emerging cultural shift in climate activism, especially in places where the call for “system change” was not just being demanded, but enacted by the movements themselves. Three trends in particular can be identified:

  1. The spread and increased role of creativity in activism;
  2. The deepened commitment to indigenous leadership; and
  3. The evolving tensions between rhetoric and form among different organizational models.

What these trends may portend for the future of this growing movement as it begins to inhabit its politics, is that it is tilting from a protest movement towards being a truly revolutionary force.

Mistaken Identity: the Tortured History of Sabotage, Part 1

By x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, March 3, 2016

The IWW has long been associated, for better or worse, with the tactic of "sabotage", so much so that it has become an essential part of the Wobbly lexicon (even though the tactic predates the IWW by at least a century). As I have detailed elsewhere1, the radical environmental movement, initiated principally, though not exclusively, by Earth First!, beginning in the very late 1970s in the United States, drew much cultural inspiration from the One Big Union (and to a much lesser degree, some of its economic critique of capitalism). One of the most celebrated such "borrowings" was the strategy of direct action.

A classic IWW slogan, which appeared on many of the IWW's literature and imagery, reads "direct action gets the goods". The black cat or the wooden shoe (otherwise known as a "sabot"), often associated with the IWW, symbolizes "sabotage," and these same symbols and slogans would later appear in Earth First! literature and iconography.

Earth First! cofounder, Dave Foreman popularized "monkeywrenching" (sometimes also called "ecofefense"), a series or class of tactics involving small bands of anonymous guerillas entering into wilderness areas slated to be developed or have their resources extracted and vandalized the equipment that was to be used in the process or set traps that would hamper the same equipment from smooth and timely operations. This has often been called sabotage (or sometimes ecotage).

However, sabotage and monkeywrenching are not the same thing. In fact, many who practice, or at least preach, using the latter do not understand the difference, and economic conditions which led to the adoption of the former by workers. Indeed, may of them don't understand sabotage at all, and that's no coincidence. What most people have heard or read about the IWW and "sabotage" is fairly inaccurate, and most accounts are more romantic fiction than historical fact.

A New Wave of Climate Insurgents Defines Itself as Law-Enforcers

By Jeremy Brecher - CounterPunch, March 2, 2016

One in six Americans say they would personally engage in nonviolent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse. That’s about 40 million adults. The fate of the earth may depend on them — and others around the world — doing so.

Such actions are about to take a quantum leap both in numbers and in global coordination. From May 7-15, 350.org, Greenpeace and many other organizations — notably grassroots movement organizations from every continent — will hold a global week of action called Break Free From Fossil Fuels. They envision tens of thousands of people mobilizing worldwide to demand a rapid transition to renewable energy. Events will include nonviolent direct actions targeting extraction sites or infrastructure; pressure on political targets to shift policies around fossil fuel development; and support for clean energy alternatives. Mass actions in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Israel/Palestine, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, and the United States will target fossil fuel projects and support ambitious solutions. Before and during the week of action, additional, locally-initiated actions are expected in many other locations around the globe.

In the United States there will be actions in California, the Northwest, the Mountain West, the Midwest, Washington, D.C., and the Northeast. They will include support for a moratorium on the auction of public land for fossil fuel development; mass trespass at fracking sites; land and flotilla blockades of refineries; actions at the facilities of pipeline companies; and blockades of trains carrying fracked oil. In each case the partners include not only national and international environmental organizations but dozens of community, indigenous, climate justice, labor, religious, citizen action and other groups that have long been campaigning locally against these targets.

Strategies For Climate Justice And A Just Transition

By Environmental Justice League of RI - RI Future, January 15, 2016

The Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island (EJLRI) has created a brilliant position paper, “National Grid’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Liquefaction Facility: Toxic Hazards in the Port Providence: Proposals for a Just Transition” that eviscerates National Grid‘s plans to build a new liquefaction facility for fracked LNG at Fields Point in South Providence. Over the next few days RI Future will be presenting the EJLRI’s position paper in its entirety.

Solutions and Alternatives

The information presented in the previous posts show that in addition to not being necessary, National Grid’s proposed LNG Liquefaction Facility would be dangerous and would contribute to existing environmental racism. LNG Liquefaction is not needed in Rhode Island in general, and it certainly should not be placed in the most toxic and most impoverished part of the state.

The immediate solution is to stop this facility from being built. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) needs to deny National Grid LNG LLC’s application, and the RI Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM) and RI Coastal Resources Management Council (RI CRMC) need to deny the state level permits.

That being said, ­ the proposed liquefaction facility is not the only problem outlined in this position paper. Even without the added significant risks of the liquefaction facility, the existing LNG storage tank, the Motiva oil terminal, the Univar chemical plant, the Enterprise LPG terminal, and other facilities in the area all pose significant environmental health hazards, and create the overall context of environmental racism. Toxic and hazardous facilities are dangerous for communities and dangerous for workers. Yet families are dependent on them for jobs, municipalities are dependent on them for tax income, and the way our socio­economic system is set up we are all collectively dependent on the products they produce. Regardless of our dependency, the reality of climate science is that the fossil fuel / petrochemical industry is rapidly pushing our planet past its limits, producing present and future catastrophic impacts, and making people sick, ­especially front-line communities of color and indigenous communities. Our dependency on these industries is literally killing us.

As an organization, the EJ League is interested in big­ picture, long­ term, real solutions to interlocking crises that impact communities of color, marginalized communities, and planetary ecosystems. We are members of three national coalitions of grassroots, membership ­based organizations: Right to the City, Grassroots Global Justice, and Climate Justice Alliance. Together, and lead by our members and our communities, we are developing and sharing solutions that address these intersecting crises from the grassroots. These community­ based solutions are in opposition to the corporate top­ down false solutions that pretend to address a single symptom while reinforcing the underlying root causes of the problems.

True solutions are rooted in the work of grassroots internationalism, and using the framework of a “Just Transition”. We are collectively building a different context and a different system, an economy for people and the planet. The Just Transition framework emerged from partnerships between environmental justice and labor organizations. In the words of the Just Transition Alliance, “together with front-line workers, and community members who live along the fence ­line of polluting industries, we create healthy workplaces and communities. We focus on contaminated sites that should be cleaned up, and on the transition to clean production and sustainable economies.”

A Response to Nick Mullins’s December 2015 blog post “The Problem with Environmentalism in Appalachia.”

By Lou Martin - RAMPS, January 14, 2016

RAMPS web editor's note: Our friend and ally Lou Martin wrote this (in response to Nick Mullins’s blog post “The Problem with Environmentalism in Appalachia“) and asked us to post it. Although this isn’t an official communique from RAMPS, we’re posting it in the spirit of fostering dialogue so that our movement can be stronger and more effective…

I wish more people knew the environmental movement in central Appalachia the way I have gotten to know it in the last four years.

I have been a longtime fan of Nick Mullins’s blog The Thoughtful Coal Miner, and I hope Nick knows that I appreciate and respect him and his family for their work—work of all kinds—to end mountaintop removal.  And I appreciate this recent blog post because it is grappling with a difficult subject and because, to be effective, we need to take a hard look at ourselves and our strategies.

As I understand the post, the main problem with environmentalism in Appalachia is that environmental organizations have not won over coal mining families.  Nick writes, “Coal mining families are not very receptive to environmentalists—and that’s putting it lightly. Why should they be? In what way have environmentalists approached coal mining families over the past two decades? In what way have environmentalists presented themselves to the public?”

Throughout the blog post he talks about “environmentalists” and “coal mining families” as being two different groups, opposed to each other.  In another place he writes, “At the end of the day, I had to realize that perhaps many environmental organizations are just as ‘out of touch’ as Appalachian people think them to be.”  Here, environmental organizations and Appalachian people as if they are almost mutually exclusive.

When I think back to why I got involved fighting mountaintop removal, I think of the people who inspired me, and almost every one of them came from a coal mining family or were former coal miners—and all those people belonged to environmental organizations.

But Nick is talking about a general perception of “the environmental movement” that someone in the region might get if they only watch the occasional news report or witness a demonstration.  Those people, I suppose, might not really be able to differentiate between a small organization based in the region and a national organization like the Sierra Club.  Between an organization that advocates civil disobedience and those that do not.

Climate Insurgency After Paris

By Jeremy Brecher - CounterPunch, January 11, 2016

In December of 2015 – the earth’s hottest year since recordkeeping began — 195 nations met in Paris to forge an agreement to combat global warming. The governments of the world acknowledged their individual and collective duty to protect the earth’s climate — and then willfully refused to perform that duty. What did they agree to, and how should the people they govern respond?

The 195 nations meeting in Paris unanimously agreed to the goal of keeping global warming “well below 2 degrees Celsius” and to pursue efforts “to limit the increase in temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius.” Despite that goal, the Paris agreement also permits the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that cause global warming to continue rising.

Under the Paris agreement, governments put forward any targets they want – known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) – with “no legal requirement dictating how, or how much, countries should cut emissions.”[1] These voluntary commitments don’t come into effect until 2020 and generally end in 2025-2030.

Today there are 400 parts per million (ppm) of carbon in the atmosphere, far above the 350 ppm climate scientists regard as the safe upper limit. Even in the unlikely event that all nations fulfill their INDC pledges, carbon in the atmosphere is predicted to increase to 670 ppm by the end of this century.[2] The global temperature will rise an estimated 3.5 degrees Celsius (6.3 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.[3] For comparison, a 1-degree Celsius increase has been enough to cause all the effects of climate change we have seen so far, from Arctic melting to desertification. In short, the agreement authorizes the continued and even increased destruction of the earth’s climate.

US negotiators were adamant that the agreement must not include any binding restrictions on emissions. Secretary of State John Kerry told fellow negotiators that he “wished that we could include specific dates and figures for emissions cuts and financial aid” to developing countries, but “this could trigger a review by the US Senate that could scuttle the entire agreement.”[4] When US lawyers discovered a phrase declaring that wealthier countries “shall” set economy-wide targets for cutting their GHG pollution, Kerry said, “We cannot do this and we will not do this. And either it changes or President Obama and the United States will not be able to support this agreement.” “Shall” was changed to “should” without so much as a vote.[5]

The breathtaking gap between the Paris agreement’s aspiration to hold global warming below 2 degrees Celsius and the agreement’s actual commitments is indicated by an analysis by Climate Interactive and MIT Sloan. The current US pledge to drop GHG emissions 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, along with the pledges of other countries, will lead to a global temperature increase of 3.5 degrees Celsius (6.3 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. To reduce warming to 1.8 degrees Celsius (3.2 degrees Fahrenheit) will require the US to increase its INDC from 26 percent below 2005 levels to 45 percent by 2030, and for other countries to make comparable reductions.[6]

Under the Paris agreement countries will monitor their emissions and reconvene every five years starting in 2023 to report on the results and perhaps ratchet up their INDCs. This has been characterized as creating a “name-and-shame” system of global peer pressure, “in hopes that countries will not want to be seen as international laggards.”[7]

On the last day of the Paris summit, a panel of leading scientists evaluated what would be necessary to achieve its targets. Prof. Hans Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said that to reach the 2-degree target the world would have to get CO2 out of its system by 2070. To reach the 1.5-degree target it would have to eliminate CO2 emissions by 2050. Johan Rockstrom of the Stockholm Resilience Center said that for any chance of reaching 1.5 degrees, the richest nations need to reach zero fossil fuel use by 2030.[8]

On cyber syndicalism: From Hacktivism to Workers’ Control

By Jeff Shantz - Workers Control, January 1, 2016

Alternative globalization movements in the global North, from their high point in the Quebec City mobilizations against the Free Trade Area of the Americas in 2001 to the present, have been faced with the challenge of rebuilding and finding new ground on which to re-mobilize since the political reaction set in following the 9/11 attacks which derailed momentum and caused many mainstream elements (especially labor unions) to disengage and demobilize (where not playing to the forces of “law and order” reaction). One effect of the post-9/11 freeze (it has been more than a chill) has been the drift away from grounded community (it was never much involved in workplace organizing), outside of some important cases such as indigenous land struggles, as in Ontario and British Columbia, and some direct action anti-poverty movements (like the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty). Instead much organizing has followed certain lines of flight — crucial in the formation of alternative globalization movements from the Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization in 1999 — to online activism (in indymedia, hacking, social media, and so on).

In some ways radicalism has continued and developed more consistently, or even fully, online than it has offline in community organizing. Partly, this is an effect of the surveillance apparatus and protest policing that has aggressively targeted “on the ground” movements.

The cyber sphere has provided some spaces for maneuver not available in the streets or in the hood. On the one hand, movement commentators have noted the decline of movements in the period after 9/11 up to the moment of brief resurgence manifested in the Occupy encampments. On the other hand, the cyber disobedients have offered some inspiration and reason for hope. Indeed, the networks of the web have been perhaps uniquely important in allowing for some ongoing activity connecting social movement organizers during the period of decline and dissipation of struggles. Indeed, this is always an important task — maintaining movements through inevitable low periods of struggle and sustaining some capacity for collective re-emergence and revival as possibilities for an uptick of struggles open up.  This was perhaps more difficult in periods prior to the development of the web when opportunities for communication, skill sharing, and resource circulation were more limited or localized and when demoralization within face-to-face circles could finish a movement.

The future potential of movements in struggle will rely in part on the growing convergence, even symbiosis, of the cyber disobedients and the direct actionists of the streets. Even more important will be the grounding of this action and organizing in specific workplaces and neighborhoods in ways that challenge fundamentally relations and structures of ownership, control, and exploitation.

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