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View Full Version : Flood Wallstreet; Drown Capitalism - They Are Destroying The Environment & Peoples



Peter Lemkin
09-22-2014, 01:55 PM
http://floodwallstreet.net/

Happening today - IMHO, the return of OWS.
Yesterday over 400,000 people marched through NYC in a demonstration for the Environment and making the point that Corporations, the ultra-rich, and capitalism generally are all antithetical to Environmental Survival and Environmental Justice.

Stay tuned. Things are just heating up, along with the Climate......

Many great signs held high yesterday, but one of the best was, "Good Planets Are Hard To Find, Don't Destroy This One!"

Yesterday: {I'll post about today later.....}

A People’s Climate Movement: Indigenous, Labor, Faith Groups Prepare for Historic March


New York City is set to host what could be the largest climate change protest in history. Organizers expect more than 100,000 people to converge for a People’s Climate March on Sunday. Some 2,000 solidarity events are scheduled around the world this weekend ahead of Tuesday’s United Nations climate summit. We spend the hour with four participants representing the labor, indigenous, faith and climate justice communities: Rev. Dr. Serene Jones is the president of Union Theological Seminary, which recently voted to divest from fossil fuels; Lidy Nacpil is a member of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice; Clayton Thomas-Muller is co-director of the Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign in Canada and a member of the Idle No More campaign; and Estela Vázquez is executive vice president of 1199 SEIU, which is expected to bring thousands of union members to the march.
Democracy Now! will broadcast live from the People’s Climate March on Sunday, September 21. Click here to watch (http://www.democracynow.org/live/peoples_climate_march) the special livestream from 10:30am to 1:30pm ET.

Image Credit: justseeds.org

Transcript This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: This Sunday, New York City is set to host what could be the largest climate change protest in history, when organizers expect more than 100,000 people to converge for a People’s Climate March. Many have already arrived from around the country. On Thursday night, the People’s Climate Train pulled into Penn Station after a cross-country trip that began in California, with stops in Reno, Denver, Salt Lake City, Omaha and Chicago.

VALERIE LOVE: My name is Valerie Love. I work for the Center for Biological Diversity as the No Tar Sands organizer. And I’ve been organizing this People’s Climate Train, which has been beyond our wildest expectations. We had 170 climate activists come together on a four-day, cross-country trip, where we had workshops and teach-ins, discussions, art and music all along the way. And we saw the amazing beauty of our country, as well as the very real climate impacts, and learned about the community struggles all along the way.

AMANDA AJISEBUTU: My name is Amanda Ajisebutu. I am 27, from San Francisco, California. And I got on the Climate Train as an invited guest. But on the train, I’ve learned so much about how I can be a part of the movement of helping save the climate. I do community gardening, which is already one step in the right direction, but I want it to be able to impact more people. And with the information that I retained on the trip, I feel like I can further my movement of helping others with fresh food and fresh water and just being the best that I can be.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The People’s Climate March comes ahead of a United Nations summit this Tuesday where leaders from 125 countries are expected to announce nonbinding initiatives to reduce carbon emissions that fuel global warming. President Obama got a head start Thursday when he announced his administration would dedicate nearly $70 million to install solar power in homes and businesses, and improve energy efficiency in rural areas. One new project by the Department of Energy would train 50,000 veterans to become solar panel installers in the next six years.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, as the topic of climate change and what to do about it takes center stage here in New York City in the coming week, we host a roundtable discussion. Here from the Philippines is Lidy Nacpil. She’s a member of the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice, a member of the international board of 350.org (http://350.org) and also a convener of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.
Estela Vázquez is also with us. She’s executive vice president of 1199 SEIU. That’s the Service Employees International Union, which expects to mobilize several thousand members on Sunday. In July, they joined with the New York State Nurses Association to announce their opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline due to public health and climate concerns.
And Reverend Dr. Serene Jones is with us, president of Union Theological Seminary, which is hosting more than 200 religious and spiritual leaders from across the world for a Religions for the Earth Conference this weekend, before they all march on Sunday.
We welcome you all to Democracy Now! Why don’t we begin with you, Reverend Dr. Serene Jones? Why is Union Theological Seminary participating in the climate march?
REV. DR. SERENE JONES: Well, the real question is: Why isn’t every single religious person in the United States getting to this climate march? At Union, we deeply believe that your Christian faith, your faith in God and your commitment to love in the world means that you need to be committed to social justice. And right now, there is no greater social justice issue on our planet than climate change.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, earlier this year, your seminary took a bold step in divesting from the fossil fuel industry. Could you talk about that decision, coming to it, and the impact it’s had on the religious community in the country?
REV. DR. SERENE JONES: Yes. We were very proud to be the first seminary in the world to divest. And we did it for the usually understood political, economic and social reasons, but, for us, the guiding force behind it was our faith commitment. We believe that, as people of faith, we are charged, we are morally accountable for care of the Earth, and to not engage in divestment and to back away from climate change is to really, to use religious language, to be sinful.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the other churches that have divested?
REV. DR. SERENE JONES: Yes. We were very supported by the United Church of Christ. The Presbyterians are right now in the process of considering it. And the list is growing daily. The churches, in one sense, are way ahead of the seminaries in this regard.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And has the World Council of Churches also—
REV. DR. SERENE JONES: The World Council of Churches, yes, who are meeting at Union this weekend to be part of this summit. They have divested.
AMY GOODMAN: What about the other part of that, divesting from fossil fuels, but where you reinvest?
REV. DR. SERENE JONES: Yes, and that is also a part of what we are exploring with respect to divestment. What we’ve discovered in our portfolio is there’s a number of fossil fuel companies who are themselves trying to shift their resources to alternative resources like wind and sun, and we’re figuring out how in our portfolio to support that by shifting our resources in that direction.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Lidy Nacpil, the importance of this particular march coming just before the U.N. climate summit, and specifically how in the Philippines this has become such a major issue?
LIDY NACPIL: Well, the Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change. Typhoons are a reality in the Philippines, but in the last few years we have been visited by ever-increasing number and magnitude of supertyphoons. I think the last one that was—the world has really come to know a lot about was Typhoon Haiyan, which was the strongest typhoon ever to hit landfall in recorded human history, we were told, and this typhoon has caused more than two million people to be homeless and has caused more than 10,000 deaths, in just a matter of a few days. So this issue is really important for us. There are several of us who are here to be in solidarity with the march. That is our actually foremost concern, not so much with the U.N. climate summit, from which we are expecting very little, I’m sorry to say.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’ll talk about that in a minute, but we are also joined by Clayton Thomas-Muller, who is an indigenous rights and environmental justice activist and writer, leading the campaign, one of the leaders of the Idle No More campaign, co-director of the Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign of the Polaris Institute, came down from Canada. Clayton Thomas-Muller is a member of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation in northern Manitoba, Canada, living in Ottawa, here for the People’s Climate March. Welcome to Democracy Now!
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: Thank you so much.
AMY GOODMAN: And forgive me if I mispronounced any part of that.
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: No, you did well.
AMY GOODMAN: Why come down from Canada?
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: Well, Idle No More, along with hundreds of other indigenous communities and organizations the world over, have sent representatives here to participate and join in the tens of thousands, hopefully hundreds of thousands, that will be marching in the streets on Sunday. I think, as mentioned by my sister from the Philippines, you know, indigenous peoples the world over are the most vulnerable, when we think about the impacts of climate change, whether it’s forest-dependent peoples, coastal-dependent peoples, and, of course, indigenous peoples in the High Arctic are experiencing climate change on a compounding rate, much worse than many other regions on the planet.
And there’s a double-edge blade there, because indigenous communities also happen to be experiencing the front-line impacts of the fossil fuel regime, you know, everywhere that Big Oil is operating in Canada. You know, we have the controversial Canadian tar sands, and Cree and Dene communities have massive cancer clusters occurring in their community because of the bioregional contamination that’s happening from Big Oil’s footprint in their lands.
And so, there’s great concern about the lack of concrete political action from world leaders, and indigenous leaders have converged here in New York City to send a very clear and direct message that our movement is strong, and it’s converging with other movements to put pressure on President Obama, and of course on our own Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and other world leaders to take concrete action on climate change.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break, and when we come back, we’ll also find out why folks right here in New York, particularly labor activists, are also marching in this climate change march. It’s called the People’s Climate March. It’s expected to be the largest climate march in history, this leading up to Tuesday, where expectations vary on what will happen inside the U.N. for a one-day U.N. climate summit. This is before the U.N. climate summit that takes place in Lima, Peru, in December. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. Back in a minute.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s our guest, Clayton Thomas-Muller, performing last night at The New School at the launch of Naomi Klein’s new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. We spoke to her for the hour yesterday, and you can see that interview (http://www.democracynow.org/shows/2014/9/18), as well as another hour (http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2014/9/18/naomi_klein_on_motherhood_geoengineering_climate) we did with her after the broadcast at democracynow.org. The New School, hundreds of people came out, not only for her talk, but for a panel discussion about the climate and what can be done about it. There are hundreds of events taking place all over the city, not to mention around the world, this weekend as the lead-up to the People’s Climate March on Sunday. Union Theological Seminary is hosting more than 200 theologians from around the world. Our guest today is Reverend Dr. Serene Jones. Lidy Nacpil in from the Philippines for the protest. As we were saying, Clayton Thomas-Muller, down from Canada with many indigenous rights leaders. And we are joined by Estela Vázquez, executive vice president of 1199 SEIU. In July, they joined with the New York State Nurses Association to announce their opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline due to public health and climate concerns. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. This is Democracy Now!
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, I wanted to turn to Estela Vázquez now. You’re a longtime Latino leader in this city, and of course a labor leader, as well. The decision by some of the major unions in the city, for the first time, I think, to really actively participate in an environmental march of this kind, what was the debate within 1199? And you’ve also, obviously, come out against the Keystone pipeline, as well.
ESTELA VÁZQUEZ: I would say, Juan—and thank you for the invitation—that there was no debate in 1199, that it was very natural for us to make a decision that this is where we need to be Sunday, this is where we need to mobilize our members, this is where we need to say to the powers that be in this country and around the world it is time to stop the madness. Our members were front-line in the efforts during Superhurricane Sandy almost two years ago. It is our members that helped evacuate NYU Hospital in the middle of the night and other institutions. It is our members in the Rockaways, in Red Hook in Brooklyn, who live in project—in public housing, whose apartment buildings were flooded, that were left without electricity. So, for us, it is a question of defending workers’ rights not only in the workplace, but in the communities where they live. It is a matter of public health, and it’s a matter of defending workers’ rights and the right to live in an environment that is free of contamination. And as I mentioned last night, the same people that are oppressing workers are the same people that are making huge, enormous profits from burning fossil fuels. They are the 1 percent of the 1 percent, and we are the 99 percent that needs to stand up.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And the battle within some of organized labor for those unions that see projects like XL as a means of creating jobs and spurring the economy, what’s your response to them?
ESTELA VÁZQUEZ: I think, or our hope is, that as this debate continues to deepen, that there will be more public awareness and more education in that from the ranks of those unions. The cry will rise up to the leadership that this is not an issue about preserving jobs, that we can preserve jobs and have jobs in a safe environment that increase the ability to create more employment without damaging, continuing to damage, Mother Earth.
AMY GOODMAN: Why would SEIU, I mean, 1199, take a position on Keystone XL?
ESTELA VÁZQUEZ: Because it’s the right thing to do. It’s like the question when the reverend said before, when you asked why not other churches, and she said, "Why not everyone else?" So, for the labor unions, I think the lesson to learn is that the fight for workers’ rights is not just in the workplace, for wages and safe working conditions in the workplace; there also have to be safe working conditions in the city, in the country where we live. And the part of having a clean environment is part of the workers’ struggle.
AMY GOODMAN: Clay, you’re sitting right next to Estela. You have come down from the struggle in Canada around the Keystone XL. We often refer to it, but don’t really talk about physically what it is, where it starts. Can you explain?
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: The Keystone XL pipeline is one of half-a-dozen mega-pipeline proposals that are sitting on the table to pump tar sands crude to the coast.
AMY GOODMAN: And that is? Tar sands crude is?
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: Any—this is bitumen oil from the Alberta tar sans development in northern Alberta. The Keystone XL will pipe from Alberta all the way to Port Arthur, Texas, about 800,000 barrels per day, threatening the Ogallala Aquifer, crossing over the sacred Black Hills of Lakota territory. We have a bus of Dakota representatives that are coming here, that have been fighting the northern segment of the Keystone XL, since President Obama has already approved the southern segment and it’s already pumping crude today.
The important thing for people to understand about these pipeline fights is that while they’re important, they provided a corridor for organizing and invigorating the U.S. environmental movement, the Canadian environmental movement. There’s already six million barrels per day approved in Canada’s tar sands, but it’s stranded. It’s a stranded economic asset. And so, we’re beating Big Oil’s expansion proposals in Canada and having a great impact. And a lot of those activists that have been fighting, not just the Keystone XL, but the other five mega-pipelines across the continent they’re trying to build, are here in New York joining in the march to send a clear message.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: You’ve referred at times to the United States and Canada as rogue nations when it comes to the exploitation of the tar sands. Could you expound on that, compared to even other nations in terms of what’s happening with energy policy?
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: Well, we have, you know, a very extremist right-wing government in Canada, led by Prime Minister Harper and his Conservative majority. Prime Minister Harper is an embarrassment to most Canadians. He is not even participating in the Ban Ki-moon climate summit. I believe he’s going to another dinner somewhere. But both the United States and Canada have been working in collusion, you know, and really, these pipelines, the tar sands are the crown jewel in the United States’s long-term energy security strategy. These pipelines are really about hardwiring our economy into a dirty energy economy for the next century, you know, all on the backs of indigenous peoples on the front line and fence-line communities impacted by these pipelines, which do rupture. Look at Kalamazoo. Three years later, after that Enbridge pipeline blew up—it’s a tar sands pipeline—over a billion dollars spent trying to clean up, and it’s still poisoned in that river.
AMY GOODMAN: Why are indigenous communities on the front line?
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: Indigenous communities are on the front line because it’s their land, their homes, where they’re ripping apart the boreal forest, mining this oil out of the ground, their waters that are getting poisoned. You know, the bioregional contamination that’s happening in the Athabasca region of Alberta has been devastating to the health of local Dene and Cree and Métis people who call that place home. And that’s why they are coming here with a very clear message, saying stop this at the source. We need the climate justice movement to, yes, stop the pipelines, but help us in Alberta stop the expansion of the Alberta tar sands.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Lidy, I wanted to ask you, in terms of the situation with countries like the Philippines—Estela has mentioned that her union has many members from Guyana, which is a very—a country that is facing rising sea-level problems, as well, along its coast. Could you talk about how the movement is building in your country around the issue of standing up to the advanced countries’ refusal to deal with climate change?
LIDY NACPIL: Well, there’s a lot of movements that are working on different issues, but all are aware that these issues are part of our fight against climate change. One of the strong movements there are movements against dirty energy. We have movements in different communities fighting against coal, the setting up of coal power plants, the mining of coal. We also have movements that are being strengthened and expanded in areas that are affected by climate change. We have many grassroots communities in Leyte, in Samar. These are the hardest-hit areas where Typhoon Haiyan—which Typhoon Haiyan visited last year. And they are really understanding very deeply that their situation is not just about natural calamities or disasters, it’s very much caused by this climate change. So we’re very happy to be part of this global movement to strengthen the movements in the fight for climate justice.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn for a minute to the remarks made on the opening day of the U.N. climate summit in Poland last year. Democracy Now! was there. Chief climate negotiator from the Philippines, Yeb Saño (http://www.democracynow.org/2013/11/12/stop_this_madness_filipino_climate_chief), who really became the rock star of this U.N. summit, gave an emotional appeal to the world to address the climate crisis following Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms, if not the strongest, ever to make landfall. This is a part of what Yeb Saño said.

[B]NADEREV "YEB" SAÑO: Typhoons such as Haiyan and its impacts represent a sobering reminder to the international community that we cannot afford to delay climate action. Warsaw must deliver on enhancing ambition and should muster the political will to address climate change and build that important bridge towards Peru and Paris. It might be said that it must be poetic justice that the Typhoon Haiyan was so big that its diameter spanned the distance between Warsaw and Paris.

Mr. President, in Doha we asked: "If not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?" But here in Warsaw, we may very well ask these same forthright questions. What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness. Mr. President, we can stop this madness right here in Warsaw.
AMY GOODMAN: That was chief climate negotiator for the Philippines, Yeb Saño, on the opening day of the U.N. summit in Warsaw. He then announced he was fasting for the two weeks of that summit. But, Lidy Nacpil, what has happened in this year? Do you feel anything has gotten accomplished? And do you think anything will happen inside the U.N. on Tuesday, as perhaps 100,000 people march outside?
LIDY NACPIL: Well, we have been monitoring the international climate negotiations very carefully, very closely. And it is really to our dismay to say that nothing much has changed. And in fact, there are all many signs to point to the fact that things are even getting worse, because world leaders are trying to point to kinds of solutions that are in fact making it worse for our people and not really getting us anywhere. So for this U.N. climate summit that will take place on September 23, many of us are not expecting much, which is not to say we’re not going to demand what the governments should be doing by—as an obligation to us, their citizens. But there is all evidence that points to the fact that I think despite the many beautiful words that many of them will deliver on September 23, including President Obama, the reality is quite the opposite. They are expanding the fossil fuel industry. They are scaling up the production of fossil fuel. Energy consumption of fossil fuel is going up.
Just to cite an example, in the United States, there’s a lot of celebration about the victory against coal production and the use of coal, which I think is very important, but what people should know is that the U.S. is increasing its exports of coal. So they are not using it here, but they’re asking us to use it in other places. And because coal is supposedly a cheap source of energy, this is now becoming the trend in developing countries, to scale up the production and the use of coal. So this is something that is really a reality that should be contrasted to what will be said in September 23.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Reverend Dr. Serene Jones, I’d like to ask you about that contradiction between the inaction and the paralysis of the government leaders who keep meeting around the issue and this growing movement from the grassroots levels in all of these countries demanding immediate change. With the faith leaders, you’re in the position where you’re both connected to those grassroots movements, but also have the ear of some of these leaders. Vice President Gore is speaking as part of the event that you’re organizing. Could you talk about that contradiction and how—the role of faith leaders in trying to bridge it and to effect change?
REV. DR. SERENE JONES: Yes. Actually, yesterday morning at Union, we had a wonderful event in which Vice President—former Vice President Al Gore spoke to the African-American and Latino clergy in New York, who have historically been the forces for change in this metropolitan area around human rights issues, social justice issues, issuing the moral imperative. And it’s very clear that right now, globally, if we’re giong to turn this machine of death around, it’s going to take a mass movement, and it’s going to take a movement from the people. We can’t wait for the governments, for the U.N., to make those decisions. And when it comes to labor, when it comes to indigenous commitments and religious traditions, when it comes to international engagement, the people involved in all of those struggles do so out of deep spiritual resources that they have. Our traditions say a lot about the love that we are called to have for our Earth, not the impulse to destroy it, and to begin to lift up those resonant voices that already stir in our movements and bring them together. So, at Union for the next several days, we’re bringing together 200 indigenous international leaders to talk about this and to work on making a strong public statement about what our religious traditions around the world share when it comes to addressing climate change and the issues of the destruction of our Earth and the severe, disparate impact on marginal communities.
AMY GOODMAN: Could you take us through the divestment debate, if it was a debate at all at Union, for churches, religious groups, mosques, synagogues that might be listening right now, thinking about what can they do, whether their resources are vast or small?
REV. DR. SERENE JONES: Well, it was interesting at Union. Like Estela said, we did not have any controversy around it. It was a unanimous decision. But it is—
AMY GOODMAN: Did any corporations, funds weigh in, try to pressure you, just seeing that you could set an example?
REV. DR. SERENE JONES: No, we didn’t feel any of that pressure, but it was also perhaps because we were so clear-sighted about it. And when you approach it not as a primarily economic or political issue, although it is that, but as a moral issue, it’s very hard to argue theologically that we’re not doing the right thing.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask Estela about this whole issue of divestment, because your union sits on the boards of pension funds for many of these hospitals that your members are in—Columbia Presbyterian, NYU, all these gigantic medical institutions have their own pension fund investments—whether the union has begun to put pressure on those funds, because normally you have about half the membership of these pension boards.
ESTELA VÁZQUEZ: Well, in terms of the pension, it’s not just us. Any organized labor place, you have pension funds that are jointly administered by the employer and by the union. We have not begun that conversation. But this reminds me of the divestment movement back in the '80s in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. I believe that fairly soon we will begin to have that conversation. And it's the issue how you balance the question of economics versus the moral imperative of doing the right thing.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, Estela, I know you have to leave at this break because you have a meeting right after the show, but I wanted to ask about your own past activism—you come from the Dominican Republic—and how it compares then with what you’re doing today around the issue of climate.
ESTELA VÁZQUEZ: That’s a tall question. Back in the Dominican Republic in the '60s after the execution of the dictatorship Trujillo, it was a period of social effervescence and upheaval. Between 1961 and 1965, we went through numerous coups d'état, had the first free elections, elected a president, and had him deposed nine months later by the United States. And then—
AMY GOODMAN: U.S. military moving into the Dominican Republic.
ESTELA VÁZQUEZ: And then we went through a period of resistance, popular insurrection, and then the Marines showed up. So I came to this country—I was released from jail in August, came to this country August 13 of 1965, and went through the cultural shock that every new immigrant goes through, not knowing English, coming [from] a city of less than about 300,000, 350,000 people to a city of over eight million people. And I would say what sparked my involvement in this country was the example of the Black Panthers and my friend here, Juan González, and the Young Lords. I found the Puerto Rican community was my first avenue of engagement and involvement. And I think, since then, the involvement has been on issues of fighting gentrification in the neighborhood where I live, which is East Harlem, to finding at home in 1199, in the labor movement, which gives me the opportunity not only to talk about social justice issues and political activism in the community, but engage workers in raising the question of class consciousness, you know, teaching people that we are the working class and that there is profound differences between those that own the means of production and those that work in the place.
And I found it fascinating last evening, the whole theory behind Naomi Klein’s book, that how do you achieve economic and, in this case, environmental justice when capitalism prevails and the modus operandi in capitalism is profits at any cost? So, there is a question of looking at a real effort around democracy and participatory democracy and people’s engagement to freely address the issue of climate justice. And that is a tall order to achieve that under a capitalist system.
AMY GOODMAN: How many workers will be marching on Sunday with you?
ESTELA VÁZQUEZ: We expect that it will be a few thousand members of 1199. And 32BJ, our sister union, will be there. PEF will be there. I know that the mayor says—
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The Transport Workers Union, I think.
ESTELA VÁZQUEZ: Transport Workers Union. Local 3 electrical workers’ union will be there, and DC 37. We expect that we will have a significant contingent of organized labor marching, because workers are realizing that the issue of climate change, what happens to our environment, is not an abstract issue, that the environment, like my friend Eddie Bautista said, is where we work, where we live and where we play, so therefore it is our fight. It’s not some esoteric climate, you know, issue of someplace. It is our home, it is our community, it’s our city, and we all have to fight for it.
AMY GOODMAN: Environment is not just where you go on vacation.
ESTELA VÁZQUEZ: No. No, definitely, it’s not.
AMY GOODMAN: Estela Vázquez, I want to thank you for being with us, executive vice president of SEIU Local 1199, well, now called 1199 SEIU, here in New York. And we’re going to continue our conversation with our other guests after break—Reverend Dr. Serene Jones of Union Theological Seminary, Lidy Nacpil of the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice, and Clayton Thomas-Muller, indigenous rights and environmental justice activist. Stay with us.
[break]
AMY GOODMAN: "The People’s Climate March PSA," created by Caroline Samponaro and Elizabeth Press, music by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra. The band, celebrating its 10th anniversary, is one of the many marching bands participating in Sunday’s event. In fact, I believe there are 1,200 [sic] marching bands that are expected to be a part of this 100,000-plus-strong People’s Climate March on Sunday. It begins at Columbus Circle on Sunday. Democracy Now! will be broadcasting live from 10:30 Eastern Standard Time to 1:30. Check it out at democracynow.org (http://www.democracynow.org/live/peoples_climate_march).
This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. And our guests are the Reverend Dr. Serene Jones, president of the Union Theological Seminary; Lidy Nacpil, Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice, based in the Philippines; Clayton Thomas-Muller, indigenous rights and environmental justice activist and writer.
Clay, you talked about the number of energy projects. We know Keystone XL. President Obama has put off a decision on this year after year. People are saying, on one hand, it’s a people’s victory that he hasn’t made a decision, but also the question, why hasn’t he made a decision? And yet you say Keystone XL is not even the biggest pipeline. Explain. What are the others?
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: Well, it’s important to understand that if you look at industry’s data, that it’s not a—you know, there’s been a debate lately about, "Well, you want bomb trains from the Bakken fracking boom in North Dakota blowing up in your community, or do you want a safe pipeline?" And people have been debating about pipelines versus bomb trains.
AMY GOODMAN: What you mean, "bomb trains"?
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: Well, the oil that’s fracked is extremely explosive. The tragedy in Lake Mégantic in Quebec, where 50 people lost their lives when one of these trains blew up. There was Alabama, as well as Virginia, these trains blew up. It’s a very dangerous thing that’s happening in America with fracked oil being transported by trains through our communities, because they are extremely explosive. And the oil by rail ratio has risen over 1,000 percent in the last couple of years.
Now, on the tar sands pipeline issue, there’s the Northern Enbridge Gateway proposal, the Houston-based Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline in southern BC. There’s the Keystone XL. There’s the Energy East pipeline, the second mega-project that TransCanada put on the table because of the victory of grassroots movement power holding back the State Department on the KXL.
AMY GOODMAN: What’s Energy East?
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: Energy East is a 1.1-million-barrel-per-day pipeline. It’s over 4,000 kilometers from Alberta to Atlantic Canada, Mi’kmaqi territory. In New Brunswick is where it ends. This pipeline includes 3,000 kilometers of about 40-year-old natural gas pipeline that they want to repurpose to pump superheated, diluted dilbit, you know, bitumen, tar sands crude. This stuff, you know, is the same stuff that ruptured in the Enbridge pipeline in Kalamazoo, Michigan. And this pipeline is about the same age as the pipeline that blew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, fouling that river. And so, it crosses over 185 First Nations territories in Canada. And First Nations peoples are organizing, along with municipalities and urban centers also touched by this pipeline.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And in this country, I don’t think we recognize the importance of the First Nations populations in Canada. Could you talk about that and the significance as part of the labor force?
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: Well, you know, the Idle No More movement—
AMY GOODMAN: And explain what Idle No More is.
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: Idle No More popped onto the scene about two years ago. You know, it was the result of a political tornado that the Conservative government was experiencing as a result of their superlaw omnibus bill agenda, where they gutted virtually every participatory democratic mechanism in Canadian democracy in a span—with just two superbills. And they have more coming down the pipeline—no pun intended. And Idle No More came from indigenous women who started organizing on community education meetings to try and organize our base to stop Harper’s agenda.
And it—well, it took off. It took off on the Internet, went wild. And, you know, within a matter of months, we achieved a day of action where we actually stopped every single train in the province of Ontario. We closed down six border crossings to the United States, all with just one arrest, which demonstrated the incredible might of indigenous social movements in Canada.
And I think that the government of Canada is very concerned about the indigenous social movements uniting with organized labor, uniting with the Quebec student striker movements and other social movements, to a challenge the agenda of Big Oil in Canada, because Big Oil is writing policy in Canada, is running our government, and they’re doing it to provide oil to the United States, and now, of course, to China, through the bilateral free trade agreement that Harper just ratified illegally with
that country.
AMY GOODMAN: Lidy Nacpil and Dr. Serene Jones, the women-led nature of the environmental movement, I mean, whether we’re talking Idle No More in Canada, it’s very striking to see so many women at the heads. I mean, you’re the head of the Union Theological Seminary. You came from Yale. You were a professor there for many years. Talk about that. What is it about the climate movement?
REV. DR. SERENE JONES: Well, first thing I should say is women have been leading these movements for centuries. It’s just that we’re only starting to notice that they are the ones behind the scenes making things happen. So, it’s not really a new thing, but to be out front, to be explicit about it, is. And it’s very exciting. And I think—I don’t want to speak universally for all women, but I think that in the heart of feminism, but also just in the heart of indigenous women’s experience, is a deep and abiding sense for what it means to create life and nurture life and care for life.
So, when I, as a woman and a religious leader, think about what’s happening right now with this crisis between the capitalist drive to extract and consume, and what’s happening to our climate and these grassroots movements, which are pushing back and saying no, it’s a political crisis, but it’s also a spiritual crisis. These grassroots movements are saying, "No, not only do we not accept these actions, but we don’t accept the spiritual view of what life is about that lies behind them. We are not simply people who are called to consume whatever we can, to try to make us happy, and to extract whatever we need. No. We’re people who are deeply interconnected, who are called to love and care for each other, and who are to honor the very Earth that we ourselves came from."
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Lidy, when we were talking with Naomi Klein yesterday, she talked about this whole move of the energy industry to basically create sacrificed communities, especially in the Third World, as you were talking about the exportation of coal from the United States, while limiting the use of coal here in the country. This whole issue of the countries of the Global South being the real victims more of the climate crisis?
AMY GOODMAN: And the issue of climate debt.
LIDY NACPIL: Yes. Well, it’s really quite ironic, just speaking about the energy, for instance, that there is a lot of energy production going on in the South, and we absorb all the dirty and harmful impacts of that energy production, and yet more than 50 percent of our people do not have enough access to energy for their basic needs. That is one of the injustices of this whole crisis, when we know that it’s from excessive consumption of energy, excessive production of goods that are not needed by people, and yet more than half of the people don’t have enough to live, to have decent lives.
So, this is something that we are railing against, and we are saying that this really also illustrates why we are talking about the debt that is owed to our people, not just people of the South, but people everywhere that has been marginalized, has been exploited by the system, is suffering from the effects of this system, like climate change, and is subsidizing a kind of lavish lifestyle that elites and the profits of corporations have been enjoying for a long time, so that this debt must be paid. And we are here to say that message loud and clear.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, I just want to talk logistics, Clay. On Sunday, the indigenous community will be the first bloc, although you say that youth will be even in front of you. I wanted you to mention Sunday and then Flood Wall Street—and we only have a minute—which is the direct action. It’s being called family-friendly on Sunday, a massive march, and then direct action on Monday in Wall Street.
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: Well, yes, it’s correct. The indigenous peoples bloc will be leading the People’s Climate March on Sunday. There is a line of young people from impacted communities, including young indigenous peoples, that will be marching arm in arm, you know, and leading the march.
Flood Wall Street is such an important action that I encourage everybody to go down and show their support on. We need to strike at the heart of the economic paradigm. Climate change, tar sands, you know, all of these things, the root problem to it is our economic paradigm. Naomi’s book talks about it. We need to engage and to take direct action against the financiers of the global climate crisis.
AMY GOODMAN: On Sunday at 7:00 in the morning, there’s a major indigenous ceremony inside Central Park, and there are water ceremonies on Saturday here in New York City?
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: That’s correct. We encourage people to come down to the opening ceremony of the People’s Climate March. It starts at 9:00 a.m., Columbus Circle. And there is a water ceremony on the Hudson River, as well.
AMY GOODMAN: And the website people go to find out all this information?
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: IndigenousRising.org (http://indigenousrising.org/) is a website. You can get information on IdleNoMore.com (http://www.idlenomore.ca/). And, of course, all the information is compiled on PeoplesClimateMarch.org (http://peoplesclimate.org/march/).

Peter Lemkin
09-23-2014, 04:47 AM
AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to the People’s Climate March. Organizers estimate as many as 400,000 people marched in New York Sunday in the largest climate protest in history. The turnout far exceeded expectations. Other marches and rallies were held in 166 countries. More protests are planned for today. Climate activists are gathering today in downtown Manhattan for a mass sit-in dubbed "Flood Wall Street." The actions are timed to coincide with the United Nations climate summit taking place here in New York Tuesday. President Obama and over 100 other world leaders are scheduled to attend.
Sunday’s events in New York began with an indigenous sunrise ceremony in Central Park. Indigenous activists then led the march. Democracy Now!'s Aaron Maté was in the streets at the People's Climate March.

AARON MATÉ: We’re near the very front of the People’s Climate March, and the sign behind me reads: "Front Lines of Crisis, Forefront of Change." This march has been divided up into different groups, and at the front are indigenous and front-line communities most impacted by climate change.

CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: Hi. My name is Clayton Thomas-Muller. I’m an organizer with the indigenous peoples’ social movement Idle No More and Defenders of the Land. Things today are going really, really well. We’ve got tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people on the street. We have front-line indigenous communities from communities that are disproportionately affected by President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy policy. We’ve got leaders from communities fighting fracking, fighting tar sands, pipelines, all kinds of pipeline fighters from across the continent who are organizing in solidarity with First Nations from the belly of the beast in Alberta who are trying to stop tar sands expansion at the source. And we’re here to send a very clear message to President Obama, Stephen Harper and the rest of the world leaders that we need legally binding mechanisms on climate change right now passed, and if they ain’t going to do it, that the people certainly will.

INDIGENOUS ACTIVIST: Hi. We’re here to march for the next seven generations and to take astand against Big Oil companies that are coming through our territories and trying to take our ancestral lands and destroy them. We’re here because it’s going to take all of us—all of us—not just the indigenous people, but everyone in the whole world, to come together to save our water.

PERUVIAN ACTIVIST: We are from the Peruvian delegation here on the March. And we are marching because we are fighting for climate justice, and we are fighting because this December, the next COP event is going to be in our country. And we are preparing a people’s summit and the next march in December 10 in Lima. And we are asking the Peruvian government, Ollanta Humala, for coherence, because even if they are taking pictures here near Ban Ki-moon, they are not doing that kind of commitments in the country. So, we need to fight here, we need to fight in our country. This is a global fight.

EL PUENTE ACTIVIST: Who are we?

EL PUENTE ACTIVISTS: El Puente!

EL PUENTE ACTIVIST: What do we stand for?

EL PUENTE ACTIVISTS: Peace and justice!

FRANCES LUCERNA: My name is Frances Lucerna. I’m the executive director of El Puente. We have about 300-strong here of our young people. We are a human rights organization located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Most of our young people are from Puerto Rico, from Dominican Republic. And the connection between what’s happening in terms of our islands and also what’s happening here in our waterfront community that Williamsburg is part of, we need, really, the powers that be to come together with our people and really make decisions that are about preserving our Earth.

CARLOS GARCIA: Hi. My name is Carlos Garcia. I’m the secretary-treasurer of the New York State Public Employees Federation. We represent 54,000 New York state employees who are professional scientific and technical workers. And we’re out here to say to the U.S. government, New York state government, let’s take care of our climate, let’s take care of our environment.

IRENE JOR: My name is Irene Jor. I’m with the National Domestic Workers Alliance with the New York domestic workers here today. And for us, we’re here because, as domestic workers, it’s time to clean up the climate mess.

DOMESTIC WORKERS: We are domestic workers! We want climate justice now!

IRENE JOR: Domestic workers have been part of the struggle for a long time. We’re disproportionately impacted by climate change. For those of us who are migrant women workers, we often come here because of what extractive resources and climate crisis has done to our home countries.

AARON MATÉ: We’ve come upon a huge contingent of young people, many carrying signs reading "Youth choose climate justice."

YOUTH ACTIVISTS: Obama, we don’t want no climate drama! Hey, Obama, we don’t want no climate drama!

JONAH FELDMAN: My name is Jonah Feldman. I’m here with the Brandeis Divestment Campaign from Brandeis University.

AARON MATÉ: And what does your sign say?

JONAH FELDMAN: It says, "Divest from Climate Change." We believe that our university should sell off all its investments in the fossil fuel industry—that’s in coal, oil, natural gas, tar sands—and to reinvest into clean, renewable alternatives.

LUIS NAVARRO: Hello. My name Luis Navarro. I’m 16. I’m from Boston, Massachusetts. I’m with the Boston-area Youth Organizing Project. Well, as a youth, I feel like every youth should be a part of this, because it concerns them and their future, whether or not if they can live by 20 years from now with this climate change. And I feel like it’s important for me to be here to show them that the youth is on our side.

AARON MATÉ: As we weave through this march that has taken over midtown Manhattan, tens of thousands out in full force, coming across all different sorts of diverse groups.

VEGAN: Number one way to fight climate change: Go vegan.

REV. SUSAN DE GEORGE: I’m Susan De George, and I’m with both Green Faith and with Hudson River Presbytery. We have everybody from Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, Catholics, Protestants, atheists, agnostics, all marching in a group.

PROTESTERS: What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!

CAITLIN CALLAHAN: My name is Caitlin Callahan. I’m from Rockaway Beach, and I’m an organizer with Rockaway Wildfire. Superstorm Sandy devastated the Rockaway Peninsula. We know that climate change is being worsened and exacerbated by all of the systemic profiteering that’s happening throughout our world. And it’s time for that to stop. If you haven’t been involved in climate justice activism before, it’s time to get involved in climate justice activism, because this is affecting all of us.

BRADEN ELLIOTT: My name is Braden Elliott. I’m a Ph.D. student at Dartmouth College, and I’m here because I care.

AARON MATÉ: And the banner under which the scientists are marching is "The Debate is Over"?

BRADEN ELLIOTT: Correct. The banner says "The Debate is Over" because the core part, the part that the planet is warming and that humans are responsible for the lion’s share of it, is settled. There’s always debate to be had on the edges of a large topic, but the call to action is very clear.

AARON MATÉ: And now we’re in the bloc of demonstrators under the banner of "We Know Who is Responsible," anti-corporate campaigners, peace and justice groups, those who are organizing against the groups they say are holding back progress.

SANDRA NURSE: My name is Sandra Nurse. I’m here with the Flood Wall Street contingent. We’re calling on people to do a mass sit-in in the financial district to highlight the connections between corporate capitalism, extractive industries, the financing and bankrolling of climate change, the financing of politicians who will not bring meaningful legislation to the table and who are blocking the process of actually bringing meaningful legislation against climate change.

FLOOD WALL STREET CONTINGENT: All day, all week, let’s flood Wall Street!



AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined by a fellow environmentalist. Elizabeth Yeampierre is with us, from UPROSE. And we’re also joined by Bobby Kennedy Jr., a longtime environmental lawyer. Bobby, if you could just step back right there and stand right there as we do this makeshift staging for a protest that is not exactly makeshift. This has been in the planning for how long?

ELIZABETH YEAMPIERRE: For eight months. We’ve been working diligently for eight months.

AMY GOODMAN: Bobby Kennedy, talk about why you’re out here today.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR.: Well, Amy, I was here on Earth Day 1970. I was down at Union Square Park. And, you know, I remember what it was like then. I remember the Cuyahoga River burning, Lake Erie being declared dead, the Santa Barbara oil spill that destroyed all the beaches in southern California. Peregrine falcons, the Manhattan peregrine that used to nest on that building there, went extinct in 1969 from DDT poisoning. And a lot of people said, "Well, there’s nothing we can do about it. That’s just the way that industry works." But we put 20 million Americans out onto the street that year, 10 percent of our population, a thousand demonstrations like this across the country, largest public demonstrations in American history. And that vast outpouring of democratic power so frightened the politicians in our country that over the next 10 years we passed 28 major environmental laws. We’re trying to do the same thing today. American politics is driven by two forces, and one is intensity, and the other is money. The Koch brothers have all the money. They’re putting $300 million this year to their efforts to stop the climate bill. And the only thing we have in our power is people power. And that’s why we need to put this demonstration on the street.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, you’ve certainly put it there. What do you think your father would say?

ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR.: I think he’d be very disturbed by what’s happened to American democracy. I think he’d be horrified by the Citizens United case and by the subversion that we’ve seen of our democracy in this country, by these apocalyptical forces of ignorance and greed that are funded by Big Oil and Big Coal. And, you know, it’s not the way that America is supposed to work. This is supposed to be an exemplary nation, and we’re supposed to be an example of democracy to the rest of the world. Democracy and the environment are intertwined. Most important environmental law that we can pass right now, besides putting a price on carbon, is getting rid of the Citizens United case.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, and as you were speaking, Bobby Kennedy, the march looks like it has launched. Elizabeth, you have to leave, as well.

ELIZABETH YEAMPIERRE: I do. I have to leave.

AMY GOODMAN: But if you could just say final words about the global nature of this protest?

ELIZABETH YEAMPIERRE: Absolutely. We’ve got people marching all over the world in solidarity with New York City today—it’s really exciting—people from the Global South, from Europe, all over. So this is a big, loud noise that we’re sending out to the world.



AMY GOODMAN: I see a woman who has made history right behind us. Her name is Kshama Sawant, and she is the first Socialist city councilmember in Seattle. Talk about why you’ve come from Seattle.

KSHAMA SAWANT: Well, we’re here mainly because this is an absolutely historic weekend for the budding movement against climate change. And the fact that hundreds of thousands of people are here marching together in solidarity shows that they are more than ready for collective action. And what we were talking about last night was that this collective action needs to be channeled into a really radical, militant, nonviolent mass movement that will raise concrete political demands.

What do we need to end, to really fight climate change? We need an end to fossil fuel use. We need a rapid transformation of the global economy into renewable energy. We need a massive expansion of mass transit, which will generate millions of unionized, living-wage jobs. And also, we don’t buy into the false dichotomy between jobs and the environment.

But to make all this happen, we need huge movement to put intense pressure on the establishment and not expect that they will do it—you know, we know that they haven’t been doing it—but also to explain why that is so. Why haven’t climate summit after climate summit solved the problem? It’s because the billionaires who own the oil corporations have no incentive to acknowledge climate change, because if they did, that would mean giving up their ideology, giving up the capitalist system that benefits them.

Peter Lemkin
09-23-2014, 05:41 AM
Crapitalism uses lots of pepperspray and repression of free speech and assembly....


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm-qNDV2ldk

Peter Lemkin
09-24-2014, 07:57 AM
Scenes From Flood Wall Street, Occupy’s ‘Family Reunion’

By Katie Van Syckle (http://nymag.com/author/Katie%20Van%20Syckle/) http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/09/flood-wall-street-occupys-family-reunion.html

A baby at her breast, Stacey Hessler looks like a radical Madonna in pink Converse as she tries to avoid the NYPD officers arresting protestors during Monday's Flood Wall Street demonstration. This was her two-month-old daughter Joy’s second protest. Her first was Sunday’s Climate March.
“I’m here to connect climate change to Wall Street,” Hessler says as Joy cries in a swaddle and helicopters circle overhead. “I was part of Occupy Wall Street and it kind of got tiring just protesting, because it seemed like we weren’t really changing anything.”
On the heels of Sunday’s giant People's Climate March (http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/09/thousands-participate-in-nyc-climate-march.html), about 1,000 protestors, dressed in ocean blue, descended on lower Manhattan the next morning to protest the financial industry’s role in climate change. Although the sit-in drew individuals from across the country, many were the same protestors who had camped out in Zuccotti Park three years earlier to Occupy Wall Street.
http://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/intelligencer/2014/09/22/23-flood-4.w529.h373.2x.jpg
A woman demonstrates in the middle of Broadway during the Flood Wall Street protest. Photo: Bryan Thomas/2014 Getty Images “The Occupy movement was what it was,” says protestor Sandy Nurse. “But there is an extended family of people who met through that, and this is an intention of that deepening of the work.”
The protestors rallied, blocked traffic, listened to speakers like Naomi Klein and Chris Hedges, and learned new water-friendly hand signals. (Flood is two arms moving forward as if directing a plane, also useful for directing crowds. Sink is two hands, palms down, moving downward parallel to each other, which can encourage people to sit down.)
“It’s like a family reunion,” says protestor Rami Shamir. “I was involved in Occupy from the start, and a lot of times when it is a permitted march, it feels [like] asking your lords for permission, and today just showed we don’t have to ask permission.”
Around midday, the crowd converged on Bowling Green near the famed Wall Street Bull, and the blocks filled with hundreds of protestors. A giant banner was unfurled, a brass band played, and the pizza support teams arrived by 4 p.m. with fresh pies.
http://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/intelligencer/2014/09/22/23-flood-1.w529.h352.2x.jpg
Demonstrators unfurl a banner on Broadway during Flood Wall Street.“While yesterday lay the groundwork, a lot of people were excited by today because it wasn’t a corporate sponsored parade,” says Eco Lake, 35, from Dutchess County, who previously ran a massage table in Zuccotti and is known for periodically blowing a conch shell.

Unlike the Occupy protests in 2011, which were often characterized by intense clashes between protestors and police, the demonstration remained mostly peaceful.
“If the cops had tried to close in on us at 2, 3, or 4, there would have been a lot of people arrested,” Lake says. “There was a call to stay until 5 p.m, then there was a general dispersal, and people felt a sense of victory.”
Some protestors talked about staying the night, but by about 6 p.m., those who refused to move were gradually corralled, arrested, and taken away on NYPD buses. The NYPD says 104 people (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/22/flood-wall-street-arrests_n_5865468.html) were taken to jail — including one polar bear.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ByLHeegIUAAEqvA.jpg

Magda Hassan
09-24-2014, 09:41 AM
The polar bear was arrested. Says it all.