People’s Climate March demonstrates a ‘more radical climate justice movement’

Dan Fischer, Capitalism vs Climate

In the weekend before the UN’s climate change summit in New York, some 400,000 people flooded the city for the Sept 21st People’s Climate March. It was the largest environmental march in history. Yes, the Big Green nonprofits made sure the official demands were toothless and the corporate media heaped unnecessary praise on the participating senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Bernie Sanders, champions of fracking and biomass respectively. On the ground, however, things were more exciting. The huge Palestine solidarity contingent led chants like “Apartheid, can’t greenwash that!” Wobblies, Earth Firsters and Rising Tiders injected their messages. Members of many communities brought banners from the frontlines against fracking, mega-dams, and incineration. Ours said, “Smash cap-and-trade,” referring to the 1%’s attempt to auction off the sky and maintain business as usual.

The next day, we joined a direct action called Flood Wall Street. The action’s slogan was “Stop Capitalism. End the Climate Crisis.” Thousands gathered at Battery Park that morning, wearing blue to represent rising sea levels. At 11:30, we marched over to the Wall Street bull and promptly shut down five of the busiest blocks in the financial district. Police gathered on all sides, but we stayed put with songs, speeches and discussions. One song went: “The people gonna rise with the water/ Gonna calm this crisis down/ I hear the voice of my great-granddaughter/ Saying shut down Wall St Now”. Finally, the police dispersed around 7, and arrested the 100 or so who remained by 8:30 pm.

The Climate March weekend may have been a “last gasp of climate liberals,” to quote Chris Hedges, but the weekend also demonstrated a far more radical climate justice movement—with an emphasis on justice—increasingly expanding into the mainstream.

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