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Flood Wall Street

Post Carbon Radio Episode 93: Flood Wall Street West and Greywater Systems

By Karen Nyhus - KWMR, September 30, 2015

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.

Karen interviews activists (including two members of the Bay Area IWW) at Flood Wall Street West ... in the San Francisco Financial District, who were taking direct action against institutions profiting from dirty energy. We then speak with Laura Allen, Executive Director of Greywater Action and author of The Water-Wise Home: How to Conserve, Capture and Reuse Water in Your Home and Lands, about greywater systems and best practices.

Is the Keystone XL’s Big Fail in the Senate a “Hollow Victory” for Environmentalists?

By Cascadia Earth First! - Earth First! Newswire, November 18, 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.

So the Keystone XL bill failed to pass Congress. The Big Fail marks a huge success for groups who have been struggling to expose the KXL for the dirty policy it represents. The actions taken on the day of the vote, including the disruption in the Senate chamber and the blocking Senators Bennet (D-Col.) and Carper (D-Del.) from leaving their offices, speak to the dedication and tirelessness of the movement to stop the pipeline.

So we can all go home now, right? We won!

The problem is that the bill will be back in January, and the congress we’re dealing with right now is very different from the one we’ll see ushered into office at the beginning of 2015. Just because the lame-duck Congress voted against the bill (barely) with its Democratic Party majority does not mean that the Republicans will have any problem sweeping it through when they take the majority.

The Democratic Party’s vote does give Obama a mandate to veto the bill next year if and when it goes through, but the question remains as to whether or not he will use it. In short, the Big Fail and ensuing celebrations from the Environmental NGOs looks suspiciously like a setup. It’s definitely not time to demobilize.

Climate Convergence Moves Us Forward, but Challenges Us to Create a Strategy

By Dan La Botz - International Viewpoint, September 30, 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 Global Climate Convergence with its more than one hundred workshops, its large plenary sessions, and its miles-long mass march of more than 300,000 people, the largest climate protest in American history, represents a turning point for the environmental movement. The gigantic and passionate parade of indigenous people, ethnic groups of all sorts from everywhere in the country, students by the tens of thousands, neighborhood organizations by the dozen, several major national labor unions, and every conceivable sort of ecological cause tramping through New York City carrying huge banners and giant puppets, striding and dancing to the tunes of 29 marching bands, put the issue of the environment and climate change on the national agenda as never before. The national climate movement has arrived—now what will it do?

The Convergence march was as broad politically as it was long. In the march were U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice-President Al Gore, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York State legislators and several New York City council members, their presence signifying that climate change had gone main stream.

At the same time, bringing up the rear were those of us in the anti-capitalist contingent of a few thousand socialists, anarchists, and others who know capitalism is the cause of the problem and believe in a democratic socialist society, even if we don’t know or agree about what to put in its place. And who can blame us, for it’s not clear how we get from here to the new democratic, egalitarian, socially just and environmentally sound society that we know we need. Most folks were marching in the middle somewhere, not trusting the corporations, dubious about government, wanting to get rid of fossil fuels but without a clear political vision of where we’re going. That is perhaps the biggest thing missing from the movement right now, a unifying strategy for the majority if not a strategy for all.

A remarkable humanitarian and internationalist spirit pervaded the march. I saw the flags of many nations carried by individuals or small groups from as far away as Australia. There were immigrants to America from all over the world who retain their connection with the pre-capitalist traditions of their homeland, like those carrying the banner reading “Pachamama,” the earth mother worshipped in Peru since ancient times. There were signs reading “One Planet,” “One Future,” and “We Are All in this Together.” People marched to save their local park, river, or lake, but they also marched to “Save the Planet,” as many signs said, and to save us all.

Such universalist idealism was moving even if it tended to obscure for the moment the fact that though “we are all in this together” even those marching are not all on the same side. The profound division of capitalist society into those who have capital and those who have only their labor, between those who rule and those who are ruled over remains even in the era of climate change. Ban Ki-moon, President Obama, Al Gore, the U.S. Congress, other governments around the world, and the corporate executives may fear climate change, but they do not want the world of climate justice for all that we want. The reality is that what will be done to save all of us will have to be done by most of us against those whose few of us whose commitment to their money, their power, and their capitalist economic system stands in our way. So what strategy do we put forward?

How do we move those who are anti-corporate to becoming anti-capitalist? And how do we move the anti-capitalists to become socialists? In America with its dominant conservative ideology and political system, with its culture of acquisitive individualism, and its historic antipathy towards socialism going back to the red scares of the 1920s and the 1950s this has always been the problem, figuring out how to get people to move from a posture advocating liberal reform to a position calling for radical transformation of the system. The only way is to educate ourselves collectively as a movement through actions at all levels that confront the power and over time reveal, through discussion, debate, and struggle the superiority of democracy and make obvious the right of the majority of people to control their own fate not only politically, but economically and in terms of climate.

The strategic elements of movements around the world that in the past won limited reforms and in some other countries won significant social change for some extended period of time have been three:

  • First, a conscious mass movement, inspired by its vision of greater justice, that mobilizes to confront the powers-that-be: the corporations, the military, the political parties, and the government, a movement which is not afraid to use its economic and social power to profoundly disrupt the system through demonstrations, strikes, and civil disobedience.
  • Second, the construction out of that movement of an independent political force, outside of the existing capitalist parties, a political power that fights in the electoral and legislative arena to change the laws so that they represent not the wealthy and the corporations, but the people.
  • Third, a revolutionary theory, strategy, and organization that arising out of the social and political movement is prepared with the support of the majority to take power and reorganize society along new lines based on the needs of all, not the needs of the few. In American history, we should note, we have seldom gotten beyond the first stage, and around the world today, the struggle at all levels is uneven.
  • We have no choice but to try. We have everything to lose, above all our planet earth, and we have a world to win.

Video - Save the Climate or Save Capitalism?

By Dennis Trainor, Jr - Acronym TV, October 1, 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.

Corporations Are Not Going to Save Us From Climate Disruption

By Rachel Smolker; image by South Bend Voice - Truthout, September 29, 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.

This past week in New York saw some remarkable actions around climate change. The massive People's Climate March was perhaps the main media spectacle, but it was not the only, or necessarily the most important event. Another important one: the Climate Justice Summit, which featured the voices and testimonials of people all around the country and the globe who are on the frontlines, bearing the brunt of both ruthless extraction and destruction of their lands and livelihoods, and also experiencing most directly the impacts of climate change itself. Many were tearful as they described lives and lands laid to ruin by tar sands, fracking, coal, uranium mining and more. The brutal, relentless and rapacious greed of corporate profiteers in the fossil fuel industries, big agribusiness and forestry and financial sectors seems almost unfathomable.

Clearly, the United Nations is not going to do what is necessary to change the path we are on, but rather is mired in blame and conflict, relegated to endlessly reenacting and rehashing the history of colonialism, apparently utterly incapable of taking any steps that could be construed as challenging to the economic status quo much less calling out capitalism. Why? Because the UN itself is beholden to corporate puppet masters.

The UN insists on taking its cue from the very corporations who are responsible for degrading the planet, destroying lives and creating the crisis in the first place.

With apparent naïveté, the UN insists on taking its cue from the very corporations who are responsible for degrading the planet, destroying lives and creating the crisis in the first place. This is pervasive throughout institutions and governments across the globe, not only the UN. The reason is money. With a handful of corporations owning and controlling most of the world's wealth, little can be funded and executed on a large scale without the funding, involvement and decision making of the handful of ultra wealthy. Which means ceding control to those corporate interests and doing their bidding. Money is power - but not the only kind!

After the People’s Climate March, it is Time to Demand More

Article and Image By Peter Rugh - Waging Nonviolence, September 29, 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 400,000 people who packed Manhattan’s Central Park West for the People’s Climate March on September 21 have all gone home to their apartments, farms, cabins and lobster boats. They’ve returned to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and the Wet’suwet’en territory in British Columbia, to the Philippines and the Pacific Islands. The “U.N. Climate Summit” banner that, last week, formed the backdrop for the impassioned speeches of 120 heads of state — and Leonardo DiCaprio — has been taken down. Debate in the newly renovated General Assembly Hall has turned to terrorism — a different kind of security threat than that posed by drought and rising sea levels. The metal barricades erected against protesters who flooded the heart of global capitalism at last Monday’s Flood Wall Street demonstration have been cautiously removed by the New York Police Department. Frostpaw the polar bear has gone to jail.

The summit convened by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which served as the inspiration for the People’s Climate March and Flood Wall Street, occurred ahead of conferences scheduled for Lima in December and Paris in 2015, where new long-term agreements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be hammered out. If we are to believe 98 percent of the world’s scientists, the future of human subsistence on this planet hinges on the strength of the pacts world governments will forge. Precious time will tell what the lasting impacts of the demonstrations will be, but already the protests that shook New York and much of the world (there were over 2,000 People’s Climate Marches globally) appear to have left their mark upon upper echelon spheres of power.

The day following the march, the heirs to John D. Rockefeller, the famed 20th century oil baron, announced they were divesting their $860 million charitable fund from fossil fuels. Addressing the United Nations last Tuesday, President Obama referenced the demonstration, stating, “Our citizens keep marching. We cannot pretend we do not hear them.”

While it might seem like another toothless remark from the president, it at the very least shows that the commotion two days earlier penetrated the inner sanctums of power.

“Often times, what we hear from politicians is that we don’t have the numbers, that people don’t care,” said Phil Aroneanu with, the environmental organization that helped spearhead the march with thousands of labor, faith and environmental justice groups. “With 400,000 people on the streets Sunday we really feel like we proved otherwise.”

The march was particularly a success, Aroneanu noted, in that it broke down color barriers for an environmental movement that for the past several decades has been highly segregated between white and wealthy and low-income racial minorities.

“Though we still have a long way to go, it was the most diverse of any march we’ve organized so far,” Aroneanu said. “Our partners in the climate justice movement really showed up and took on leadership roles. We have to make sure we are not leaving any of our brothers and sisters behind.”

The climate march, more than any other mass mobilization before it, reflected the faces of those who bear the brunt of climate change.

Beyond the People’s Climate March: What are We Willing to do for Climate Justice?

We are a Boston-based group of 17 young people who were arrested in #FloodWallStreet - Earth First! Newswire, September 26, 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.

We came to New York City to #FloodWallStreet. The Climate March was beautiful and historic, but it was also a target-less parade demanding vague “climate action” from bought-off world leaders. Along with many others who felt that the climate crisis demanded more, our heart was with #FloodWallStreet, a response to the Climate Justice Alliance’s call to take direct action beyond the march.

Recognizing this as a crucial moment in history, people, especially privileged youth, came in droves from across the country to the People’s Climate March. They were there to tell a story en masse: that change will come if enough of us demand climate action from our leaders. Yet when it came time to tell the more honest story, the story of how those at the root of this crisis are the corporations and Wall Street profiteers making fortunes off of the suffering of billions, we lost almost everyone. We went from 400,000 at the People’s Climate March to 3,000 at #FloodWallStreet. When it finally came time to stand our ground, to sit on Wall Street and put our bodies on the line, our numbers dwindled from 3,000 to 102.

We do not aim to devalue the good that came out of #FloodWallStreet. We have so much love and gratitude for the organizers that put tireless work into the action, and everyone that showed up. It was incredibly powerful to shut down a major intersection in the financial district for a day. But it’s too easy to walk away from this patting ourselves on the back and waiting for the next day of action to come around. So we want to share some honest reflections. This piece is not about making anyone feel guilty. Our intent is to push everyone, including ourselves, to think about what it will take to truly live up to Frederick Douglass’s oft-quoted words: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.”

We feel frustrated that #FloodWallStreet fell short of its potential to be a game-changing moment in the climate justice movement. We felt that it was a mistake for the organizers to declare the action a success a few hours after taking the street, telling folks they should “feel free to go home.” We understand that the organizers wanted to pass the action off to the direct democracy of the people, but about half of the participants left after they were told: “we did what we came to do.” The truth is we hadn’t — the action was about disrupting business as usual at the NY Stock Exchange. We never did that. Much like the People’s Climate March, folks were ready to call it a day after a couple of hours of fun in the street.

Wall Street is Fertile Ground for a Movement

By Dave Lindorf - CounterPunch, September 24, 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.

There were many extraordinary moments during both Sunday’s huge climate march through mid-Manhattan and Monday’s more militant protest in Lower Manhattan’s financial district, from the little boy marching with a tambourine that had “This Machine Kills Fascists” written around its edge to the bored policeman along the march route blowing a huge bubble from the gum he was chewing, but perhaps the most telling occurred in the early afternoon on Monday, when, as several thousand climate action protesters sat or milled around, penned into several blocks of Broadway by hundreds of linked-together metal police barricades, (MH) astride a pair of telephone booths began an impromptu IWW rant.

The day before, during the big march down Central Park West, Sixth Avenue and across 42nd Street, those phone booths had been favored vantage points for photographers, dancing young women and people just trying to get a better view of the march. Bored cops standing along the parade route would chat and joke with those perched above. But this time (MH), dressed in black and standing in sight of the big bronze Wall Street Bull sculpture, and just several blocks down Broadway from Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange building, was shouting out a call for workers to unite, rise up and overthrow the capitalist system. It was just too much for the police who were guarding the barricades to segregate people so those on the street couldn’t leave and so supporters on the sidewalk couldn’t join the protest.

A dozen of the cops came over to the nine-foot-tall phone booths, surrounding them, and demanded that the (MH) come down. He ignored them, realizing that they couldn’t reach him, and went on to finish his speech, which was relayed phrase by phrase via the “human mic” technique perfected three years earlier by the Occupy Wall Street movement. When he was done, he paced around on his perch like a rooster, looking down at the surrounding cops, and then suddenly made his break.

Leaping over the cops and some of the surrounding protest supporters, he managed to land on his feet on the sidewalk and started running. Protesters closed ranks behind him, slowing down the cops who all began chasing after him.

At that point, all the police guarding the metal barriers took off after the young man too. Eventually this police horde caught up with (MH), and leapt on him like a rugby scrum. I don’t know what happened to him in the end. He was probably arrested and charged tautologically with resisting arrest, but for what violation I don’t know since, as the events of the day before proved that just standing on a phone booth was not illegal or cause for arrest; apparently only making a leftist speech from one is a “crime.”

But this anonymous orator’s escape attempt turned out to be an unintended act of liberation. As soon as the majority of police lit out after him, abandoning their posts for the opportunity to finally pummel someone, people on the sidewalk and in the street spontaneously, with no organized encouragement, began unhooking the gates separating them. On the west side of Broadway, people carried the gate segments around a corner and down a side street out of sight. On the east side of the street, the sections were piled in a heap on top of each other, after which protesters scaled them and sat down. The gates were never replaced by police, and the attempt to fence in the protest collapsed.

Confronting Climate Catastrophe: Direct Action is the Antidote for Despair

By Anne Petermann - Climate Connections, September 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.

Good evening everyone and thank you to Jill, Margaret and the other convergence organizers for the opportunity to speak to you tonight.

In four days time, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will hold a UN Climate Summit–a closed door session where the world’s “leaders” will discuss “ambitions” for the upcoming climate conferences (or COPs as they are called) in Lima, Peru and Paris, France.

I was asked to put into context the reason for the march and actions this weekend–especially the problem of the corporate capture of the United Nations Climate Convention, which I have attended and organized around since 2004, when I attended my first UN Climate COP, in Buenos Aires, until 2011 when I was permanently banned from the UN Climate Conferences following a direct action occupation at the Climate COP in Durban, South Africa.

But I actually got involved with the UN Climate Conferences through the work I have dedicated myself to, which is stopping the dangerous genetic engineering of trees.

What happened was in 2003, the UN Climate Conference decided that GE trees could be used in carbon offset forestry plantations. Understanding that this was a potential social and ecological disaster, and being completely naïve about the UN process, we decided to go to the UN and explain to them why this was wrong, and to get them to reverse this bad decision.

But what we found out was that GE trees had been permitted in carbon offset forestry plantations because Norway had tried to get them banned. But Brazil and China were either already growing GE trees or planning to, so they blocked Norway’s proposal. As a result, GE trees were allowed simply because they could not be banned. The UN, we learned, does not reverse decisions, regardless of how ill-informed and destructive they are.

This is the dysfunction of the UN Climate Convention.

They Go Wild, Simply Wild, Over Me!

By x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, September 25, 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.

On Monday, September 22, 2014, over 2,500 demonstrators punctuated the 400,000 strong People's Climate March, with a more in-your-face, anti-capitalist protest called "Flood Wall Street". Channeling the IWW soapboxers of the Pacific Northwest during the lumber strikes of the late 1910s, IWW EUC member and cofounder Morgen Hughes was the first to engage in civil disobedience (and the first arrestee). Thanks to one of the demonstrators we have ample, albeit very muddy, video and audio footage of the instance. here (as best we can manage) is a transcript of the audio (the video is imbedded below). Fellow Worker Hughes begins soapboxing at 4:48 into the video:

Mic Check!!! (mic check!)

I'm doing a civil disobedience right now! (etc.)

I'm a member of the Industrial Workers of the World!

We want all workers to rise up!

Take control of all industry!


And dismantle anything that is unsustainable!

And through Workers' power


We need to dismantle all forms of oppression!

Including sexism...racism...homophobia...transphobia...speciesism...

Together, we can build, an ecological, general strike!

To take over, all industries, and dismantle capitalism once and for all!

(inaudible)...indigenous people, who are on the front line, and join in the struggle against capitalism!

Utilize your privilege, and support (those on) the front lines! this point (7:43) Fellow Worker Hughes began leading the crowd in a chant. After about a minute, the police began demanding that Morgen step down. At approximately 9:49 into the video, having committed no significant crime, FW Hughes stepped down, where police were waiting to detain her.


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