A tough year is ending on a bad note. Not only are Covid cases rising fast but, because of Manchin and Sinema, the Build Back Better act is in serious trouble. On top of that, Joe Biden hasn’t exactly been the leader on the climate emergency, and on numerous other issues, that is needed. Joe is not Bernie. But, sigh, at least he’s not Trump.
Politics ain’t beanbag, I’ve heard it said. In the game of beanbag you either throw it in the hole or you don’t. In politics, the way it’s played in Washington, DC, big money, fossil fuel money, billionaire money corrupts and makes clear-cut victories for the people and Mother Earth rare. What victories are won are almost always partial or limited.
This reality makes it essential, absolutely essential, that we keep up the street heat, the mass demonstrations, the nonviolent direct action, the grassroots organizing. It is true, as the slogan goes, that “there ain’t no power like the power of the people,” but that power can only be realized when it is manifested publicly, out in the open, visible.
And that is why I am so glad that community organizers in Wilmington, Delaware, over a month ago, came up with the idea and began to organize for what has become Occupy Biden, a 24/7 nonviolent occupation less than a mile from President Biden’s house. It will begin at 12 noon on Christmas Day, December 25, and continue until noon on January 1, 2022. Those of us taking part in this action will be ending 2021 and beginning 2022 on the absolutely right note of resolute action for what is right and needed. Here is how the organizers of this action describe the event:
“Occupy Biden calls upon President Biden to give a gift to the world this holiday season by pledging to:
- Issue an Executive Order declaring a climate emergency; and, accordingly,
- Mandate that all federal government agencies oppose any new fossil fuel projects
“People can join with us for part of a day, for a full day, for several days or for the full week by signing up here. https://forms.gle/Y9wVYVjNCM6GCKnF9
“It is because we are in a climate emergency that we are taking this action during the most important holiday season of the year, and braving the elements in doing so. Repeated, persistent and strong nonviolent action by organized people is an absolutely essential component of bringing about the changes urgently needed.
“While taking action on climate, we will stand in solidarity with the many other justice fights being waged on related issues. We stand in opposition to voter suppression and to all forms of racism/white supremacy. We work to build a truly just and democratic society grounded in respect and care for every culture, being and ecosystem. We support the rights of women to control their own bodies and health care decisions and affordable health care for all. We support immigrant rights and the right to organize and unionize on the job. We support peace and shifting money out of the military budget to human and environmental needs. We support the right to nonviolent protest and protections for whistleblowers.
“Our plan is to maintain the Climate Justice Occupation all throughout the year-ending holiday week, at all hours of the day and night. We are organizing to have the supports needed for those participating as far as food, water, warming spaces and toilet facilities.
“We will take action together during this week on the basis of these four principles:
- We will create a vision and culture with the next seven generations as priority
- We will use all nonviolent means to make this happen
- We welcome everyone, including our own selves, for learning, listening and challenging ingrained attitudes that limit our collective strength
- We realize we are part of a system that must change; therefore no individual or community is to be blamed or shamed
“While this event is about demanding climate action in the face of woeful inaction by our government, we also call on our community to take this opportunity to work with others from all aspects of our social, environmental and political scene and in this way strengthen and enrich our movement for the people.
“We urge you to sign up to take part with us in this important and energizing action as we call upon President Biden to give the world in this holiday season the gift of action on the climate emergency at the scale the world needs.”
Labor organizer Joe Hill is famous for his “don’t mourn, organize” exhortation in a 1915 letter to Industrial Workers of the World leader Bill Haywood as he was about to be executed by the state of Utah. Those words are always appropriate, given the continued, unnecessary suffering in the world because of the outrageous power of the greedy 1%, but they’re especially relevant right now as the very big 2022 year approaches. Let’s turn our sadness, anger and frustration into the organized power of the people which, alone, can win victories and bring into being a new world.
Ted Glick works with Beyond Extreme Energy and is president of 350NJ-Rockland. Past writings and other information, including about Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution, two books published by him in 2020 and 2021, can be found at https://tedglick.com. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.