Reader Responses: What should XRPDX be doing?
Last week, we put out a call asking for people's thoughts about what XRPDX should be doing during the George Floyd Uprising, a movement that's in line with XR's values and methods but appears to be outside our jurisdiction.
Wendy sees this as a major intersectional opportunity:
XR’s role at this time, I believe, is to: 1) Celebrate that the global uprising against police brutality that has precipitated over the last few weeks is exactly what we wanted to see happen, although for a different reason than we may have anticipated; 2) Remember that oppression, inequality, the war economy, and ecological collapse are all symptoms of a pathological system that values property over life; 3) Listen and learn from our BIPOC allies, and join them in our common struggle to dismantle and replace it with a system in which the well-being of our fellow human beings and the fragile ecosystems on which we depend are the highest concerns; 4) Prepare for the fight of our lives.
Robert sees a connection between the struggle for farm workers' human rights and Black Lives Matter:
The environmental movement started out of a human rights struggle with National Farmworkers protesting being sprayed by herbicides in the fields and striking, closing down the grocery stores and field production. Hit them where it hurts: money. We need the energy BLM has: changing laws, arresting the guilty, forcing resignations of those in power, all this in a short time. Imagine if we could add the climate crisis to BLM by focusing on the human rights of those affected negatively by pollution, toxic chemicals, famine, etc.
Gershon thinks the government should be doing more:
We should push for more emergency funds from the government. If people are not able to pay their bills, it is difficult to organize and protest. I heard a rumor some Dems were looking to try and get us 2000 a month until the COVID crisis is over. On a side note, can Oregon send us like a few hundred? It doesn't seem ridiculous at this point. Maybe the state can purchases batches of utility vouchers at a discount and give them to us, and cash for the homeless or anyone who doesn't have utility bills.
Audrey thinks this might finally be the moment where everything changes:
As you say, these things, police brutality and the enforcement of poor environmental practices are tied together through an intricate web of governmental support of capitalism to the detriment of the world. To me, we’re on the precipice of real change right now because our economy is collapsing and we are having to adapt to so much change so quickly because of COVID-19 that even more change seems possible for the first time. People are desperate. It seems inevitable that the police and military is being used against its own people to uphold capitalism at the expense of the environment and life on earth. Through out history dictatorships have always done this, especially to its most marginalized people, the difference is this time we’re all watching it online and can organize and mobilize. That’s the hope anyway... When I was a little punk rocker kid in the nineties we used to say we needed a revolution, we needed to change the whole system and save the environment. Well, shit's finally hitting the fan and I am still hoping it will be the total overhaul revolution we always wanted.
Diana says that if there was ever a time for movement building, this is it:
At this historical moment we need to work with others to build the biggest resistance movement possible! Right now that means supporting Black Lives Matter and Black leadership ensuring that defunding the police and abolishing militarization in general begin a global Just Transition process towards a caring, just economy prioritizing people and planet and addressing the many lethal threats--racial injustice/ violence, economic devastation, covid, climate crisis, incarceration, detention, toxic sacrifice zones, and more. We need to continue drawing the connections between the root causes that view people, species, and ecosystems as expendable and building the broad coalitions needed for systemic change.
Lynn sees the connection between systemic racial violence and the climate crisis:
XRPDX's role in the current uprising should be centered on (but not limited to) police violence and systemic racism. This is the time for XRPDX to act in support of local Black-led actions, as well as meeting up with people in our neighborhoods to create tiny actions throughout the area in support of the movement, focusing on defunding the police. We are a climate justice group and the movement we are experiencing now, in the streets and online, is about police violence and systemic racism, which is intrinsically linked with the climate crisis, its causes and effects. We must use this time to develop and strengthen our connections with other groups in this movement, because to do what needs to be done to combat the climate crisis while we still can, we must work together.
We're still very interested in your thoughts! Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.