What happened in the streets?
Reclaim the Power organised hundreds of people traveling from the UK to take part in what had been planned to be a day of mass civil disobedience in the final days of the summit. The French government tried to ban our ?#Redlines action under the State of Emergency – but we carried on organising, training and generating momentum. At the last moment on Friday, the police were forced to ‘permit’ our action.
Thousands swarmed the streets between the Arc de Triomphe (a tribute to European colonialism and militarism) and the fossil fuel headquarters at La Défense. Following this, the march continued, spontaneously and without permission, to march towards the Eiffel Tower, and began a sit down and impromptu people’s assembly on the bridge.
Over 107 action groups were registered on the Climate Games site, with actions in Paris, London and beyond. Too much happened over the two weeks to mention everything here. However there have been numerous collections of photos, videos and articles like these to look over at your leisure. (See also: ‘Claim no easy victories’ Guardian article.
What happened at the UN climate summit?
The UN has said they will hold temperatures well below 2 degrees above the pre-industrial baseline. So easy to say – but words are nothing without action. And while the frackers keep on fracking, drillers keep on drilling and diggers keep on ripping up fossil fuels from under the ground, we remain deeply sceptical.
The reality is that if there is any chance of holding the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, this means zero emissions and the end of the age of fossil fuels – and that can only mean a fundamental change for the powers at play in the heart of our national and global economies.
The text of the cop agreement has been discussed, dissected and debated. The pledges made by all the countries fall woefully short of hitting the targets, they aren’t legally binding anyway, and the agreement is full of loop holes and omissions that prejudice the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet.
Whatever the words the final COP agreement does or does not contain, the global climate justice movement will have to force change every step of the way. Every mining project, every fracking site and every pipeline must be challenged.
All of us on the planet today are part of this story whether we like it or not. The ending is not yet written.
Let’s get on it.
What can I do now?
We took our red line to Paris, now let’s put a red line around the UK’s fracking front line. Upton, near Chester, is the country’s longest standing community protection camp. It’s due to be evicted any day now so that test drilling for unconventional gas can start.
On January 16th, from 10am- 4pm we will go there together to show solidarity with Upton. If the camp is still in situ we can help build an exciting new defence and show our solidarity with the community. If it’s been evicted and the drill is present there will be creative ways to get in the way. This will be a family friendly event with something for everyone. The action is fittingly called J16 and you can find details here.
J16 will kick-start a groundswell of action for climate justice this year in the UK. Groundswell is a call to escalate climate justice actions throughout 2016. It will link up groups taking action, and create new avenues for people to engage in civil disobedience. We are aiming to have one action every week over the year. To find out more about Groundswell and direct action training, you can get more information here.
The next big Reclaim the Power gathering will be in London on Saturday 6th – Sunday 7th February 2016. The venue we are using is Canonbury Villas, London, N1 2PN (near to Essex Road station, and a bit further to Highbury and Islington station), which generally is used as the Greenpeace UK office. Full info for the gathering available here.
Everyone is invited, and if you plan to come please email email@example.com. Please organise your own accommodation in London if you can, but if that isn’t possible don’t stress, we can arrange somewhere for you to stay if you email us to let us know.
Over that weekend meeting there will be a program of planning, sharing and organising for 2016 and beyond. We will also be discussing an international call for a week of climate action called Break Free in May 2016, with actions planed around the world, from the Philippines to Germany.
Wishing you an exciting, hopeful and empowered 2016. See you soon!