Social justice leaders call for urgent collaboration in a Global Climate Convergence for People, Planet, Peace over Profit
Chicago, IL — The Global Climate Convergence released a video today showing leaders from across the spectrum of grassroots justice movements before a packed Workers United auditorium last Saturday, launching a groundbreaking campaign: Earth Day to May Day, 10 Days to Change Course! This is the first project for the Global Climate Convergence for People, Planet and Peace over Profit, a new education and action initiative helping to multiply, amplify, and build synergy across grassroots justice movements. The Convergence is based on the new understanding that the climate crisis is on track to dismantle civilization as soon as 2050. This intensifies all our struggles for justice, and creates new urgency for collaboration and unified action.
During the 10 days of Earth Day to May Day action, communities across the US and beyond will rally to support local fronts of struggle while building a united front for People, Planet and Peace over Profit. Activists are calling specifically for urgent economic and ecological transformation through an Emergency Global Green New Deal that’s essential for solving the converging crises we face. This includes universal jobs, healthcare, education, food and housing security, economic and political democracy, demilitarization and an end to fossil fuel use by 2030.
The Earth Day to May Day campaign will include actions, rallies, marches, festivals, arts and culture, free organic food, civil liberties and organizer trainings, People’s Movement Assemblies, a global solidarity fast, and more – in communities across the country and beyond. The campaign links traditionally independent grassroots justice movements and includes anti-poverty, labor, peace, economic, racial, Indigenous, immigrant and environmental justice groups as well as Medicare for All, sustainable food and natural health advocates, and Occupy Wall Street networks among others.
Approximately 150 Chicago activists and organizers braved heavy snowfall to attend a rally for the new campaign. Richard Monje, Vice President of Workers United, opened the forum saying, “We are committed to working together across sectors to understand each others’ struggles and cultures to break down barriers and respectfully build alliances to make this convergence and the first Earth Day to May Day actions successful to build toward 2015.”
Tim DeChristopher, a climate justice leader recently released from a two year jail term for protecting fragile public wilderness from illegal, destructive fossil fuel extraction said, “It brings me a lot of hope to be in this room of people filled with ideas for the change we want to create in line with our shared values. It is no longer possible to maintain the status quo. It is so vital that we come together in this convergence of all our movements to commit to build the world we know is possible.”
Sheri Mitchell, Indigenous leader and attorney from the Penobscot Nation said “This convergence is a manifestation of the Rainbow Warrior Prophecy, told to me many years ago by a Hopi Elder, that when that time of great crisis arrived people from every corner of the world would rise up… I am honored to stand here with you knowing that I do not do this work alone.”
Chris Williams, author and organizer for System Change Not Climate Change, added “What we have been doing up to this point has not been working. Clearly we have to come together in a new political movement. We need to think about how we change our values – to value human relationships and our relationship to the planet and nature.”
Deeq Abdi, a youth organizer, student and poet from the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign called out to the young audience saying, “It’s our turn. We need some young leaders to come up and help take the movement forward… We are all fighting the same machine – corporations, capitalists and the people who are destroying the planet slowly, but surely.”
Margaret Flowers, healthcare and anti-TPP activist of PopularResistance.org, commented, “I learned from my fight for singlepayer healthcare that we cannot sell out our agenda to a political system that is corrupt. History tells us that if we come together and work strategically, that people power is much stronger than the power we face. It is up to us to determine what we put on the table. We have to engage in deep political education and at the same time continue to build the alternatives. This is happening in communities across the U.S. and across the world.
Mic Crenshaw, cultural worker and chair of the Political Committee of the Hip Hop Congress, led the audience in call and response before his spoken word performance, saying revolution is ‘right here,” people’s power is ‘right here,’ liberation is ‘right here,’ in every city, every hood and every block…’every where.’
Jill Stein, physician and environmental health organizer, summed up, “Working together across fronts of struggle and national borders allows us to harness the transformative power we already possess as a thousand separate movements sweeping the globe, rising up to stop the global assault on our economy, ecology, peace and democracy. The growing climate disaster intensifies all these struggles – worsening the plight of workers, poverty, resource depletion and war, which further drive climate change. This brings unprecedented urgency to act together and act now!”
The 10 days of action will bring the issues of people, peace and democracy – which are inseparable from ecological survival – into the Earth Day event. It will promote international Mother Earth Day and the rights of all creatures and ecosystems to survive and self-perpetuate. These rights fundamentally conflict with principles of profit maximization and infinite growth that are devastating human and natural resources. For these reasons, the campaign will counter the current use of Earth Day for corporate green-washing, obscuring corporate responsibility for the accelerating destruction of climate and the environment.
The campaign will highlight the origins and recent history of May Day in the deepening global struggle for worker and immigrant rights. It will bring environmental and climate justice in to the May Day mix, pointing out that working people and immigrants pay a steep price for the economic and health impacts of environmental degradation and fossil fuels. Likewise, climate change hurts working people and the poor, who are most vulnerable to the storms, drought, floods, rising seas and greater food prices that climate change brings.
In the spirit of Convergence, activists hope to strengthen both events by bringing Earth Day issues and advocates into the May Day celebration, and May Day concerns and supporters into Earth Day events.
Details of rallies and actions in cities, towns, school campuses, and on tribal lands across the U.S. and beyond during these 10 days will be posted as they become available at GlobalClimateConvergence.org.
Interested activists and organizations can sign up at GlobalClimateConvergence.org for upcoming information and materials to support Earth Day to May Day organizing and planning.
The Global Climate Convergence for People, Planet and Peace over Profit is an education and direct action campaign and project of The Liberty Tree Foundation headquartered in Madison, WI.
Initial supporting organizations and individuals include Tim DeChristopher, Yeb Sanyo, the Green Shadow Cabinet, the Green Party of California, the International Socialist Organization, the NY Green Party, the Organic Consumers Association, the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, PopularResistance.org, System Change Not Climate Change, WILPF US-Earth Democracy Group, and Workers United.