How many of us have read the headlines this year about the horrific heat waves and wildfires taking place around the world and wondered if there was not something we could do to end the mass insanity of continuing to burn fossil fuels, knowing as we do that doing so is the root cause of both events? End Fossil Occupy says enough is enough.
We hear of our so-called leaders meeting in cloistered conference rooms where they “speak of things that matter, with words that must be said,” only to return to their various countries after issuing some weasel worded communiqué promising serious action will be taken in 20 or 30 years. End Fossil Occupy says no more.
Even at that, some obstructionist like Joe Manchin stands up with a straight face and declares he cannot support any climate action that does not include giant tax breaks for himself and his wealthy friends. Add to that a Supreme Court in the United States that is hell bent on forcing a state sponsored religion down the throats of all Americans while eviscerating what few climate policies exist and the outlook for the human race gets more dire with every passing day.
A few years ago, Greta Thunberg burst upon the scene with her “Climate Strike” campaign for school students, but even her voice has been stilled by the defenders of the status quo. But now, a new group of young people who style themselves as End Fossil Occupy has published a manifesto calling for students all across the globe to organize protests at their schools that push for an end to fossil fuels. They are hoping that their call to action will follow the trajectory of the oft quoted anonymous saying, “Small creeks grow into mighty rivers.”
The organizers quite pointedly don’t want a bunch of old grey haired geezers (like me) horning in on their fun. They have had it with broken promises and empty rhetoric. They may not want many people over 30 in their midst, but they can’t stop me from reporting on their campaign. What follows is their manifesto, complete and unexpurgated, as published July 26 by The Guardian.
“Why we’re stepping up from strikes. Youth movement: radical and ready to occupy!”
Schools and universities all over the world are planning to take school strikes one step further and occupy our campuses to demand the end of the fossil economy.Taking a lesson from student activists in the 1960s, the climate justice movement’s youth will shut down business as usual. Not because we don’t like learning, but because what we’ve learned already makes it clear that, without a dramatic break from this system, we cannot ensure a liveable planet for our presents and futures.
Why occupy? Because we’ve marched. We’ve launched petitions. We’ve written open letters. We’ve had meetings with governments, boards and commissions. We’ve striked. We’ve filled squares, streets and avenues with thousands and , all together, millions of people in every single continent of this Earth. We’ve screamed with all our lungs. Some of us have even participated in blockades, sit-ins, and die-ins.
And just as it seemed the seed for deep and radical social transformation was taking root in the midst of the massive 2019 climate mobilizations, COVID-19 came, and our momentum drastically decreased. What didn’t decrease, however, was the greenhouse gas emissions, the exploitation of the global south and the unimaginable profit produced by the fossil fuel industry.
It’s no secret that our enemy, the fossil fuel industry, rules the world. And it is far from falling; in fact, it is stronger than ever. Proof is a recent investigation by The Guardian that revealed to the world that the fossil fuel empire has 195 “carbon bomb” projects that threaten our hope for a global warming of up to 1.º5C, the safe barrier. That’s right, despite our politicians and institutions’ indeed hilarious show at COP26 in 2021, the biggest oil companies are on track to spend 103 million dollars on planetary destruction projects every day for the rest of the decade (emphasis added).
What’s more, the climate crisis is not a fair crisis. The latest IPCC reports show that the ones who are most affected by climate change are often the ones who have done the least in causing it in the first place. As young people born right at the edge of the biggest catastrophe in human history, it is our historic responsibility to rise up to stop it.
So, what do we do? Since giving in to defeatism will never be an option for us, we must now organize at a massive scale. We need to create a new peak of mobilization, similar and even bigger than 2019. If we were waiting for a sign, this is it. With temperatures climbing faster and faster, we have never been so certain that mobilizing bigger than ever is not only possible: it is existentially necessary
We cannot repeat previous mistakes. We need to be more disruptive than ever to business as usual, as that’s our only chance for survival. The youth’s innovation and creativity, combined with a fierce appetite for disruption and liberation, has the potential to change the world. As a global generation of students, we need to disrupt business as usual, and start with the spaces where we have the power to mobilize and organize – our schools and universities. Sometimes they are directly implied in the destruction business, as is the case of the many Universities that invest in the fossil fuel industry such as Oxford, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, McGill, Northwestern, MIT, etc.
In other cases, they are indirectly linked to it. They train us for a world which has no future, a world of fossil capitalism. They want us to sit in school and learn as if everything was fine. But the world we are learning for – the world which created the climate crisis – has no future. The big question of our generation “How do we create a world without climate catastrophe?” will not be answered by sitting in school.
The bottom line is: we can’t keep pretending everything is alright, studying as if the planet wasn’t on fire. As other students did before us – from the students of May of ‘68 in France to the Arab spring, from the Chilean Penguin Revolution and Primavera Secundarista in Brazil to Occupy Wall Street, we will stop our business-as-usual lives to show our governments and society that we need to change everything, now. From Lisbon to California, from Perú to Germany and from Madrid to the Ivory Coast, we call on young people to get together and organize an international revolutionary generation that can change the system.
Between September and December 2022, we will occupy hundreds of schools and universities worldwide to end the fossil economy at international level under the callout to action “End Fossil: Occupy!”. We invite anyone and everyone to join us and organize occupations in their school or universities, as long as they follow our 3 principles: youth-led occupation, climate justice framework, and occupy until we win.
We will revive the youth movement, create new alliances, radicalize, engage the whole of society to support and occupy, & envision the world we want – where life and not profit is at the center – through this sparking international action moment. We will rise up in justice and liberation to crush the fossil fuel industry. We shall have no doubt: the youth are a revolutionary subject. We will turn the tide, change history, and smash the fossil economy.
We are here. We are radical. We are ready to occupy.
Well, that is some pretty serious stuff, eh? They may not be too fond of older people (who have, let’s just say it, done the most to get the world into this mess and done precious little to get us out of it), but there are things you can do. First and foremost, you can talk to your own children and grandchildren about the movement and support them if they wish to become involved.
You can also make it a point to vote in November to make certain the Blue Team (who are deeply complicit in their support of the fossil fuel industry themselves) retains control of both houses of Congress with enough of a margin in the Senate to finally make coal baron Joe Manchin irrelevant. Lastly, you can offer to help, regardless of who you are or your age. The group might also consider adopting the lyrics of a song by Robert Zimmerman of Hibbing, Minnesota as their anthem:
Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall.
For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled.
The battle outside ragin’
Will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls,
For the times they are a-changin’
Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
And don’t criticize what you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand,
For the times they are a-changin’.
As manifestos go, it’s a pretty good one.
Finally, End Fossil Occupy might also do well to enlist the services of Juice Media. Now that they have helped push the despicable Scott Morrison out of office in Australia, they have turned their attention to the US, with the first of their efforts roasting the Supreme Court with their satirical skills. We warn you that Juice Media uses language that some may find offensive and inflammatory. It worked Down Under and it may work here. If you think you might be offended, please don’t watch it. You have been warned!
If you object to the Juice Media video, blame Dan Allard. He told us about it!
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