The Americas, Protest North and South

Climate change protest throughout the Americas from Canada to the southern tip of Argentina have been and will continue to co-exist and collaborate with other movements for social justice, human rights, and popular democratic control over public policy in increasingly inclusive ways - threatening the status quo and offering hope for a future.

Europe has inspired America in the protest against climate change, inertia and denial that must be thwarted. Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who launched the Fridays for Future school walkouts, has been especially influential - in the Americas as throughout the world. Since her humble strikes began in front of the Swedish Parliament in 2018, she and her message have galvanized a global youth movement demanding action on climate change.

The USA is one example of the way in which the movement has been built upon past civil rights and social justice movements, where tactics such as marching in the streets and occupying places of commerce or political power have been used effectively resulting in concrete and sustained gains over time.

The Green New Deal, policy initiatives endorsed by many Democratic politicians including and most prominently several who are running for President of the USA, are serving as a vehicle of hope for building economic and political space for the most vulnerable communities that have been affected by climate change as society transitions to a new energy economy. Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, for example, the North America director for the climate activist group 350.org, suggests that the movement must explicitly connect social justice and climate work moving forward.

Many see addressing socioeconomic and racial disparities in the U.S. as intrinsically part of the movement seeking to stem climate change, working to channel youthful energy towards local policy goals which have a chance at implementation at the same time that the struggle continues to stem the tide of climate change by making it a top national priority.

 

Young activists in Washington state, for example, have formed broad coalitions that have ultimately resulted in laws that steer state development of the economy to the achievement of 100 percent clean energy by 2045, the most progressive achievement so far in the nation.

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Protest2020! 2020 is the year of protest, ushered in on the heels of 2019, which saw numerous social explosions in the last few months of the year. Climate change, in particular, is feeding a well-founded sense of fear, particularly among the vulnerable and their activist allies whose lives and futures are highly precarious. In fact, all of us are vulnerable, and awareness is growing of the way in which we are all in this together. While in most places, most notably Hong Kong, protests have turned violent and thousands of arrests have been made, there have not yet been large numbers of fatalities, although dozens of protestors have died and continue to die in South America. In other parts of the world, most notably the Middle East – home to warfare for decades – particularly in Iraq and its neighbor and former enemy Iran, hundreds of protestors have been killed with live, military-grade ammunition. After 5 years of civil war in Syria, protest has given way to military action hand in hand with death and destruction. The numbers of people murdered by the governments of the region are not fully known, and especially hard to verify in Iran, where a brutal religious dictatorship maintains a thick cloak of secrecy over such information.

Iran and its allies in Iraq are now moving precipitously towards war with the United States, in part because the mentally ill president of that country needs to wage war in order to win reelection. Large parts of the world that are the most vulnerable to the ravages of climate change are already suffering; places like the Philippines are experiencing devastating and lethal storms, one after the other, breaking all historical records.

Much of Australia has been on fire for months as we ring in 2020, accompanied by the hottest temperatures on record. This is changing Australian lives, politics, and the consciousness of the ordinary Australian who is now getting involved in the struggle to save their island, and coming to a better understanding of how their survival is linked to the rest of the world. In Japan, forces are growing in protest to push the Japanese government towards support for the Hong Kong protestors, confronting mainland China; also supporting the struggles of minority groups in mainland China, reporting on government abuses, etc. The US government has expressed its full support for the Hong Kong protestors, further escalating tensions between these two superpowers along with ally Russia. These tensions were already at their most aggravated moments as a result of the US/China trade war.

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To make matters still worse, especially for SE Asia, the North Korean dictator is threatening the use of a new strategic weapon. Our world on the arrival of 2020 is a tinderbox as never before. The 2020 presidential elections in the USA will be the single greatest determining factor for the survival of the planet. Given that the current president preaches a doctrine of conflict and confrontation rather than collaboration, and denies that climate change is even exacerbated by man-made actions, if he is re-elected, there will be little hope for our world in the short term.

Here at Protest2020.com, we invite you to protest, share your views, and help us all to march towards a more sustainable and peaceful world that will not totally implode, at least within our lifetimes, leaving hope for life to continue in more intelligent forms, better appreciating our planetary home. We ultimately seek harmony with nature so as to preserve life as we know it, as we dream it could be. Everything depends on how hard we are willing to fight to make it so.

 

Let’s get arrested, the more the merrier!

Protest2020!

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