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Rising Tide North America Statement of Solidarity with Palestine

By Rising Tide North America - August 8, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Rising Tide North America is part of the global movement against climate chaos and for social and environmental justice. We believe climate change can only be addressed by exposing the intersections between the oppressions of humans and the earth. No effort to create a livable future will succeed without the empowerment of marginalized communities and the dismantling of the systems of oppression that keep us divided.

As such, we condemn the Israeli military’s attacks on the Palestinian people in Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank. We reject any attempt to isolate the attacks on the Palestinian people and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza from the intersectional global fight for climate justice. As the broad-based climate movement prepares to march in New York City, we call upon other groups and organizations committed to fighting the climate crisis to condemn publicly the Israeli military’s assault on Palestine.

In New York City, we will march with communities and groups who are working daily for community resilience against climate events like Superstorm Sandy and for food and environmental justice. We believe that from Palestine to New York City and beyond, our struggles for climate and social justice are all related.

In the movement for environmental and climate justice, we stand with those around the globe fighting war and occupation. Rising Tide North America is committed to opposing land grabs and resource exploitation by industries and state-sanctioned institutions. One of those institutions has been, and continues to be, imperial militaries which destroy communities, the environment, and the climate.

Militaries exploit land and natural resources to fuel their violent control and power over others. The unfettered burning of fossil fuels by militaries to wage war and violence on communities is exacerbating climate change and the impacts of droughts, extreme weather events, flooding, and sea level rise. This will lead to an increase in forced displacement and the number of climate refugees hoping to seek access to food, water, and homes elsewhere.

We recognize and reject that the United States financially and materially supports the Israeli military and countless other land grabs. As North American-based activists fighting against climate change, it is necessary to connect the colonization, capitalism and imperialism of our state and others with our daily work. The Israeli military’s actions actively support the corporations whose profits depend on the control and exploitation of land. As many regions of the world have so called ‘valuable’ natural resources, including the occupied Palestinian territories, we extend our solidarity with all who are impacted by resource extraction processes, and encroachments on their sovereignty and self-determination.

We recognize that the struggle to protect the land, water, and air from colonization, capitalism, and imperialism is a struggle that the people of Palestine face everyday. We extend our voices of solidarity to the people of Palestine who are facing unacceptable escalation of violence as they struggle to end the illegal occupation of their land.

What does environmental justice have to do with tenant organizing?

By John Tieu - Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, August 21, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The Our Power National Convening kicked off on August 6th, 2014 in Richmond CA, a diverse city that houses the Chevron Richmond refinery. This refinery is also one of the larger greenhouse gas emitting factories in the nation. The city itself is an example of what happens when capitalism’s method of exploiting the working class, extracting their profit, and commodifying our environment reaches a peak. An alarming number of people in Richmond have suffered, and are currently suffering from breathing issues such as asthma due to the city’s harmful air. Crime has been consistently high, and disinvestment in the city is affecting urban space. The refinery itself, which provides jobs to a sizeable amount of the population in Richmond, is also a highly unstable and dangerous work environment.

At a community vigil on August 6th, participants of the convening learned about and paid tribute to the victims of an explosion that happened at the refinery two years ago in 2012, sending 15,000 to seek treatment.

The city’s population itself is constantly being reminded of their struggles with bombardments of smoke plumes and advertisements from Chevron citing modernization and expansion as positive changes. I’ve never seen or experienced any neighborhood like it on the east coast. A resident in the city of Richmond seems to have almost every aspect of their life permeated by the Chevron corporation, as it seems to always and constantly be in the collective conscience of the neighborhood. As an intern who did not have any background in environmental studies, did not focus on issues in my own neighborhood that dealt with clean air and energy issues, and did not ever have to live in the shadow of a massive refinery, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I became involved with CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities this past summer, and had dealt with multiple issues ranging from organizing tenants in Chinatown, to doorknocking in NYCHA owned complexes, to putting on a screening of Delano Manongs, a film about the Filipino Farm Workers movement. While all somewhat varied in its subject, the projects had no readily apparent connections to the themes of the convening, which were mostly based on environmental and climate justice. Throughout the event I struggled to understand my place, as well as CAAAV’s place in the fight for a just transition into a new economic system, when there hasn’t been a direct connection of organization’s work focused on these issues. It had taken the majority of the conference to understand why Grassroots Global Justice would want to send Jeff (a fellow member) and I here to Richmond…

Where is labor in Ferguson?

By Carl Finamore - Socialist Worker, August 21, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

THE WEAKNESS of organized labor is often attributed to its low numbers, and they are low for sure. For example, AFL-CIO membership remained stagnant this year at 12.5 million, even with the whopping addition last year of 1.3 million United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union food and commercial workers.

Nonetheless, I believe the falling numbers are more a reflection than an explanation of labor's decline. Therefore, I do not agree with the prevailing opinion that spending more money on organizing will turn everything around. Our biggest problems are political, not organizational.

Put another way, corporate power looms large because unions are seriously disconnected from the social aspirations of the majority of working-class women and people of color who strive for equality, justice and fair play that cannot be measured or satisfied solely by the size of a paycheck.

It's been this way for some time, but nowhere is this wide gulf more vivid and more tragic than in the AFL-CIO's spineless reaction to the police murder of yet another young, unarmed African American.

The national federation issued a very cautiously worded statement of half a dozen sentences even as 18-year old Michael Brown's grieving family sharply characterized his shooting as an assassination.

This comes on the heels of the AFL-CIO's anemic and lame "take action" recommendations released last year on the 50th anniversary of the 1963 civil rights March on Washington. The federation's bold action plan was to organize a "national symposium," a "scholarship fund" and support for "teaching staff" to educate young people.

This is embarrassing. My multi-vitamins pack more of a wallop.

Why the Climate Movement Must Stand with Ferguson

By Deirdre Smith, Strategic Partnership Coordinator - 350.org, August 20, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

It was not hard for me to make the connection between the tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri, and the catalyst for my work to stop the climate crisis.

It’s all over the news: images of police in military gear pointing war zone weapons at unarmed black people with their hands in the air. These scenes made my heart race in an all-to-familiar way. I was devastated for Mike Brown, his family and the people of Ferguson. Almost immediately, I closed my eyes and remembered the same fear for my own family that pangs many times over a given year.

Scene from post Katrina New Orleans

Scene from post Katrina New Orleans

In the wake of the climate disaster that was Hurricane Katrina almost ten years ago, I saw the same images of police, pointing war-zone weapons at unarmed black people with their hands in the air. In the name of “restoring order,” my family and their community were demonized as “looters” and “dangerous.” When crisis hits, the underlying racism in our society comes to the surface in very clear ways. Climate change is bringing nothing if not clarity to the persistent and overlapping crises of our time.

Scene from Ferguson, MO

Scene from Ferguson, MO

I was outraged by Mike Brown’s murder, and at the same time wondered why people were so surprised; this is sadly a common experience of black life in America. In 2012, an unarmed black man was killed by authorities every 28 hours (when divided evenly across the year), and it has increased since then. I think about my brother, my nephew, and my brothers and sisters who will continue to have to fight for respect and empathy, and may lose their homes or even their lives at the hands of injustice.