Peace Activists’ Best Hope? The Sunrise Climate Movement

“Peace Activists’ Best Hope? The Sunrise Climate Movement” by Patrick Walker,, December 4, 2018, is an excellent summary of why I’ve supported the Sunrise Movement since it achieved national attention last November, when 250 youth of the Sunrise Movement staged a sit-in in Nancy Pelosi’s office demanding support of the Green New Deal (GND). Newly elected Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined them. Fifty one were arrested by Capitol Police.

Together, we will change this country and this world, sure as the sun rises each morning.

Many people don’t know the Sunrise Movement was very active in the 2018 Midterm elections. Half of the group’s 20 endorsed candidates won, including Deb Haaland, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar. Six other endorsed candidates won in various state elections. This is a demonstration of one of the core principles of the Sunrise Movement’s strategy, to build political power by helping candidates that support the GND win election. I think this is going to come as a surprise in the 2010 elections. Any politician who doesn’t support the GND will be opposed. I don’t believe candidates like Joe Biden, who don’t support the GND, will be able to win because of the massive grassroots organizing that the Sunrise Movement is doing. One of the upcoming strategies of the Sunrise Movement is #ChangeTheDebate, where massive numbers of youth will appear at some upcoming presidential candidate debates to demand support for the GND.

Connecting the peace and climate Dots

Let’s start by facing a crucial fact: both major U.S. political parties love war. In fact, they love it so much that they’re completely willing to sacrifice a livable climate – and human existence with it – to their militaristic aims. Manuel Garcia’s incisive, cut-to-the chase article, underlining how U.S. elites’ love of military domination (which both major parties simply reflect) is the death knell for any effective climate action, should be required reading for all peace and climate activists.

Let’s face a second crucial fact: whether as separate issues – or as properly connected – our elites (and the major parties and corporate media who reflect their agendas) don’t give a flying frack about peace or climate. This fact is clearly illustrated by their deafening silence about the twin apocalyptic threats of nuclear war and climate Armageddon throughout the midterm election campaigns. A silence which Noam Chomsky rightly brands “moral depravity.”

The only important strategic question, for peace and climate activists desperately savvy enough to join forces, is whose issue should take the lead as the banner issue. I’ll argue here that it should be the climate issue, but framed not merely as a call for climate action but for climate justice, where world peace is rightly viewed as an absolutely critical precondition for addressing humanity’s climate emergency.

The Sunrise Movement has proven itself almost infinitely superior to the Poor Peoples Campaign as the long-awaited real climate-justice-based resistance. And peace activists – for the reasons previously stated – need Sunrise as much as Sunrise needs them.

“Peace Activists’ Best Hope? The Sunrise Climate Movement” by Patrick Walker,, December 4, 2018

I would encourage peace activists to learn about the Sunrise Movement so you can see its well defined principles and theory of change. I’ve written extensively about these things on my blog,

On December 16, 2018, my Quaker meeting, Bear Creek Friends, Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) discussed the Green New Deal, as part of the Peace and Social Concerns Report.

Minute Approved: Bear Creek Friends Meeting supports the idea of a Green New Deal, including the establishment of a House Select Committee for a Green New Deal.

Like the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Green New Deal is a visionary plan to transition to 100% renewable energy. We will need to build the infrastructure, including renewable energy systems, a smart power grid, renewable energy driven mass transit systems, and upgrade existing buildings to be well insulated and energy efficient. To do this will require thousands of new jobs and re-prioritizing of our governmental budgets.

Stopping​ ​climate​ ​change​ ​means​ ​completely​ ​updating ​​our​ ​energy, ​​transit​ ​and​ ​food​ ​systems. This​ ​will​ ​require ​​aggressive​ ​action​ ​at​ ​every​ ​level​ ​of​ government, ​ ​sustained​​for​ ​many​ ​years​ ​in​ ​a row. ​​History​ ​shows​ ​that​ ​two​ ​ingredients​​ are​ ​needed​​ to​ ​make​ ​this​ ​type​ ​of​ ​sweeping​ ​change:

People​ ​Power:​ ​a​ ​large,​ ​vocal,​ ​and​​ active​ ​base​ ​of​ ​public​ ​support
Political​ ​Power:​ ​a​ ​critical​ ​mass​ ​of​​ supportive​ ​elective​ ​officials

 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is proposing the establishment of a House Select Committee for a Green New Deal that would be charged with “developing a detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan for the transition of the United States economy to become carbon neutral and to significantly draw down and capture greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans and to promote economic and environmental justice and equality.”  Currently 36 members of Congress and Senators Cory Booker, Jeff Merkley and Bernie Sanders support this idea.
“The proposal states that a Green New Deal is a “historic opportunity to virtually eliminate poverty in the United States and to make prosperity, wealth and economic security available to everyone participating in the transformation.” The proposal lays out a number of policies to “mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth,” including a federal jobs guarantee, universal healthcare, and a universal basic income.” More than 300 local officials from 40 states are calling for a Green New Deal.

On December 10th over 1,000 young people of the Sunrise Movement which supports the Green New Deal appeared on the U.S. Capitol grounds and in Congressional offices. 150 were arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience actions to bring attention to the Green New Deal. On that day Ed Fallon and I talked about the Green New Deal on his radio program, The Fallon Forum.

Indigenous people, because of their intimate knowledge of sustainable living and care for Mother Earth would be ideally suited to lead the implementation of the Green New Deal. The coalition of Native and non-native people that developed during the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March is looking into how to support the Green New Deal (GND). I will be meeting with others from Bold Iowa and Indigenous Iowa about this on December18th. I’ve also been discussing this with Christine Ashley who says FCNL is working out how to support the Green New Deal and should have a statement soon.

Peace and Social Concerns Committee Report, Bear Creek Friends Meeting, Approved December 16, 2018.

As noted in the report above, it is very important that the Green New Deal be lead by indigenous people. I hope as you get involved in the Sunrise Movement and/or Green New Deal, you will help make this a focus.

This entry was posted in #NDAPL, civil disobedience, climate change, Green New Deal, Indigenous, peace, Poor Peoples Campaign, Quaker, Quaker Meetings, Sunrise Movement, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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