The plot of climate activists to shake liberal politicians
Jennifer Falcon, a climate and Indigenous rights organizer in San Antonio, Texas, constantly worries about the impacts of climate change on her community, such as water restrictions and a possible power grid collapse.
She thinks Democrats have “wasted two years” trying to convince Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia to follow through on their plans to tackle climate change. Negotiations have failed and she is tired of waiting.
“It got us nowhere,” Falcon said in an interview this week. “We must face this moment with the urgency it deserves.”
Falcon is working with a coalition of climate activists in hopes of disrupting the annual Congressional baseball game in Washington tomorrow night. If politicians have ‘failed to tackle climate change’ ahead of the game, ‘we will stop it’, protest organizers wrote on their website titled “Now or never”.
The protest scheduled for tomorrow’s baseball game will be one of many climate protests targeting people who have traditionally been their political allies in recent weeks, as organizers grow increasingly frustrated with the Democrats’ failure to deliver on their promises in climate legislation.
This summer has been bad for climate hawks — the U.S. Supreme Court limited the administration’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases as Manchin refused to give Democrats the slim majority they needed to clean energy legislation.
Climate organizers – embittered by recent events and worried that Democrats will lose control of one or both houses of Congress next year – plan to continue protests until lawmakers pass the policies needed to curtail emissions significantly.
Some are ready to get arrested, anger Democrats and make people squirm for their attention.
“We need to show up everywhere and make everyone uncomfortable until they take action to fix this,” Falcon said. “I think you’re going to see a huge escalation, and I think you’re going to see more people join the movement.”
Occupying the ring road, Schumer’s office
On July 4, climate protesters sat on the ring road, traffic blocking outside Washington. Climate organizers demonstrated outside the home of White House chief of staff Ron Klain and separately at President Joe Biden’s beach house in Delaware last weekend. House staffers were arrested Monday by Capitol police for demonstrating to demand climate action in the office of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.).
Climate activists have also gained attention overseas. In Italy last week, environmental activists put their hands together to the famous painting “Primavera” by Sandro Botticelli in a gallery in Florence.
Critics, including Democrats and Republicans, questioned activists’ tactics as protests escalated.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Who was seriously injured in a politically motivated shooting during a 2017 practice ahead of that year’s Congressional baseball game, he called “absolutely shameful that radical leftists are targeting a unifying charity event to be disrupted as a means of promote their extreme cost-increasing program for hard-working families across the country.”
Protest organizers at the baseball game expect hundreds of protesters at the event. They declined to share their specific plans to disrupt play, but said it would be disciplined and non-violent.
“The real violence in this baseball game is done by Congress, Manchin, his Republican allies, and all members of Congress who are not taking action on climate change, thereby dooming millions of people to die. and millions of other livelihoods to destroy,” said Dan Sherrell, a protest organizer at the baseball game.
Tomorrow’s protest will be an “act of civil disobedience in the same tradition as the lunch counter sit-ins of the Civil Rights era,” Sherrell said.
Protesters got a comeback on Twitter over the weekend when they traveled from New York with their children to demonstrate outside Klain’s home in Chevy Chase, Maryland. They dressed their children up as firefighters and urged the Biden administration to declare a national climate emergency.
“One really good thing progressive funders could do is stop pumping money into organizations whose primary function is to generate bad press for Democrats and help Republicans win elections,” said journalist Matthew Yglesias. wrote on Twitter after the demonstration in front of Klain’s house.
The climate group wrote on Twitter that they backed Biden in 2020 because of his climate promises and saw it as their duty to hold Biden and Klain accountable.
“To think that people shouldn’t hold their elected officials accountable for keeping their own campaign promises – to me that’s a radical position,” said Liat Olenick, an organizer with Climate Families NYC who protested outside Klain’s home. last weekend, in an interview.
She and other organizers “don’t want to go to DC and go to the White House chief of staff on a 95-degree Saturday,” she said. “We do it because we feel we have to do it for the survival of our families and for the survival of our communities.”
Those who criticize protesters’ tactics are “trying to distract from the problem at hand,” said David Sirota, co-writer of the Netflix film “Don’t Look Up” and former aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt. ) (climate wire, January 11). “I think they don’t want a climate movement that makes people in power uncomfortable.”
An effective strategy?
Using tactics such as blocking traffic will attract attention but could ultimately hurt the cause of activists, said a Democratic congressional staffer who spoke candidly about the political tactics.
It won’t help the activists’ political agenda to “grossly get in the way of average people”, the staffer said. “Don’t put them in a traffic jam, which by the way increases emissions.”
Paul Bledsoe, a former Clinton White House climate aide who now works at the Progressive Policy Institute, urged activists to focus their time and energy on ousting Republicans and electing large Democratic majorities to Congress so they can adopt climate legislation.
“It’s just not an effective strategy,” he said of the recent protests. “Why Klain or Biden or Schumer is the target seems completely wrong,” he said. “These are the people who pushed a climate agenda.”
Vincent Vertuccio, who is also organizing the protest at the baseball game, said it was time for a new approach on climate.
“The way DC does things — we’ve been doing it for quite a while,” said Vertuccio, a 19-year-old political science student at George Washington University.
“We’re in this very narrow window to take climate action on the scale we need,” he said, adding that Democrats may not have a “trifecta” controlling the White House and both chambers. of Congress “probably for another decade, and we just can’t afford to waste this opportunity.
Political insiders in Washington don’t “understand the angst that’s going on in this country, especially with the younger generations,” said RL Miller, president and co-founder of the group Climate Hawks Vote, which is co-sponsoring the protest at the baseball game.
“No one under 30 or 35 doubts climate change is coming for them, and they’re all ready to scream in frustration,” she said. “I think these protests are sensible responses to an insane situation.”