Since Election Day, we at The Climate Mobilization have thought very hard about the implications that a Trump presidency will have on our strategy. We’ve come up with a tentative vision for a new way forward, and we want to hear your thoughts.
We know that helping people reckon with climate truth remains absolutely central. Decades of institutional failure to inform the American people of the truth of the climate crisis have made it possible in 2016 to elect a climate-denying federal government.
It is our job to expose and mitigate that failure, to lead the public into climate emergency mode, and to work for the whole-of-society transformation we need. It’s our job to show that the only realistic alternative to the threat of fossil-fueled fascism is a WWII-scale mobilization that unites the country around the shared mission of averting catastrophe and restoring a safe climate.
We encourage everyone to take part in climate emergency education, starting with friends and family on Thanksgiving.
If you are ready for an intense emotional experience that can help break through the shock and numbness you may feel, we suggest trying this truth expression exercise from Joanna Macy with a group of people you trust.
Another useful resource is historian Timothy Snyder’s essay, “20 Lessons from the 20th Century on How to Survive in Trump’s America.”
For many, the election of Donald Trump is the “Pearl Harbor moment” of our time. It is becoming clear to all that we are in some kind of global emergency, although the connections to the ecological crisis may remain unclear to the general public.
Among those who do see the connection, we are seeing many moving into climate emergency mode in response to this catastrophic election. That’s why we at TCM are beginning to shift our organizing and policy focus towards implementing local- and state-level climate mobilizations until there’s a federal government that implements the Victory Plan. The end goal remains a federal and global WWII-scale mobilization to restore a safe climate.
Additionally, we are considering launching an “All in for All Life” campaign, to build consensus around the idea that protecting human life, now and in the future, is a government’s fundamental responsibility, and that when it fails to meet this responsibility, citizens have a right, even a duty, as stated in our founding documents, to withdraw consent while creating an alternative. We hope that this campaign will tie together the struggle against rising fascism with the fight for climate mobilization. What unites these essential efforts is the belief that all life is sacred and must be protected. Our hope is that this idea can provide the basis for a much broader movement coalition that becomes powerful enough to rescue our democracy and our civilization.
Below is the draft of our “All in for All Life Declaration” and a draft of principles for taking part in the campaign. We would love to hear your feedback and ideas about these documents. The most important questions are: Does this campaign inspire you? Is this something you would want to take part in? Is it something you want to recruit others to join? Please weigh in on our discussion forum.
During this painful and challenging time, I am thankful for all of your hard work and continued support.
Margaret Klein Salamon
Working Draft of All in for All Life Declaration:
By Anya Grenier
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
--The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
On November 8, 2016, this nation elected a federal government whose stated policies would wage war on all life on earth.
Every day that passes without unprecedented, drastic emissions cuts and carbon drawdown efforts, is a day we move closer to pushing our climate into irreversible feedback systems that will accelerate warming past humans’ ability to adapt or intervene. Even should we avoid this worst case scenario, every moment we delay the commencement of an all hands on deck emergency climate mobilization is a day we recklessly endanger the lives of billions of people already alive in the world today, many already suffering from the effects of climate disruption.
By denying that the climate crisis poses an urgent existential threat to our civilization, this administration has openly declared its omnicidal intentions.
Beyond endangering the continued existence of the human species, this administration has announced its contempt for the principles of free speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion, as well as its intentions to violate the rights to Liberty and Equality before the law of millions of Americans.
And yet we already see our society and its institutions bending themselves to accommodate the will of this government. Such appeasement can serve only to empower and embolden an administration to which we owe no allegiance.
This betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of why governments are created, and on what principles they are obeyed. To continue in obedience to a government that has become destructive to the end of continued human life is to violate the principles upon which this country was formed.
We do not claim that this is new. For decades, administration after administration has in a variety of ways defended and promoted the profits of corporations and special interests at the expense of the health and well being of the people. The elected government represents the culmination of an unraveling we have all had a hand in co-creating, not a unique aberration from it. Whether we have profited or suffered from this status quo up to this day, whoever we have voted for in the past, this moment demonstrates that it is impossible for the status quo to continue.
If we do not intervene, if we persist in silence, cynicism or passivity, we become complicit in the annihilation of human life--and all life--on a scale never seen before. This would have been true had Hillary Clinton been elected: the false assurances of gradualist climate policy, by keeping the public complacent, are as dangerous as outright denial.
We must create a movement that can demand, and deliver, not only a WWII-scale mobilization to restore a safe climate, but a government that obeys the founding mandate of this country, to govern on behalf of human life.
We must spread not only climate truth but the truth that no government can rule without the consent of the governed. In order to deliver a transition of this magnitude, it is imperative that we rapidly build the power to peacefully, collectively withdraw the consent of the governed from a system whose ends will mean the destruction of all that we hold dear.
Working Draft of Statement of Principles:
An intensifying ecological and political crisis threatens our futures, and our lives. The climate crisis is rapidly accelerating, threatening to cause the collapse of organized civilization, kill billions of people, and extinguish millions of species. We seek to unite all Americans in a transformative movement to establish a democracy that governs on behalf of all life. We hope that our fellow mobilizers from other countries join us in demanding that their elected leaders follow the same mandate
If we are to be successful, the members of this movement, those who are “all in for all life” must lead by example: standing firmly for what is right; living our lives with voluntary simplicity; and demonstrating how divisions can be overcome through radical empathy and forgiveness.
- We declare that violence in any form and under any circumstances is antithetical to the aims of this movement, and must be disowned whenever it occurs. When we see violence unfolding, we pledge to nonviolently intervene.
- We disavow violent or hateful language. We will ‘cling to truth’ in criticizing the evil at hand, but not its perpetrators, whom we hope will soon join us in truth and love for creation.
- We will not speak or act with the intention of embarrassing or shaming anyone. We recognize that shame and exclusion can never convert the wrongdoer, but only drive them further to clinging to their beliefs.
- Our greatest force is in our ability to hold to, spread, and, when necessary, suffer for the truth and for our love of the world. A nonviolent resister is a soldier who has rejected the methods of violence, but has a soldier’s understanding that they may experience pain, violence and privation, all without retaliation.
- We are very mindful of the difference between “carbon gradualism,”--which treats the climate crisis as a “problem” that must be slowly mitigated--and the truth, that the climate crisis is an existential emergency that demands immediate WWII-scale mobilization to restore a safe climate.
- We will strive as much as possible to engage in constructive local action, as well as political protest. We encourage all to engage in work that frees their communities from the shackles of a system powered by division, inequality, and reckless disregard for the planet.