Attack on the Capitol, Racism, and Fossil Fuels

The attempted coup last week was an attack on our Congress and on democracy itself. It also highlights the structural racism in contrasting the police violence towards Black Lives Matter protesters with how the white insurrectionists were met. While the majority white insurgents met with police-sympathizers, Black Lives Matter protesters are hailed with rubber bullets, tear gas, and violently arrested. At Fossil Free California, we join the calls to investigate the decisions that led to the Capitol being so easily overrun: at a minimum, clearly, there was inadequate preparation and lax enforcement that worsened for Wednesday’s white-led rampage. We condemn the behavior of our President, lawmakers, and police who supported this insurrection and demand swift action. In addition, we will continue to fight alongside individuals and organizations across the country for a revolution of equality. 

Among the range of possible responses to this outrage, we lift up the voices of those who take the long view of how we must move forward. Trump and his supporters must be held accountable, swiftly and to the fullest extent of the law, but we must also commit ourselves to working to bring people together. The  Poor People’s Campaign believes that with the election of Joe Biden and regaining control of the Senate, “something new is breaking through the hate … The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is committed to continuing to build a fusion movement that brings the 140 million poor and low-income people of this country together across race and other Long-standing  divisions. This is what will protect our democracy and democratic institutions and build a stronger nation.” And in the words of adrienne maree brown, “we must fight white supremacy and sow revolutionary love.” 

Over the course of the past week, many news sources and organizations have published thoughtful responses to the attack. Here are a few that resonated deeply with our team:

Let’s begin this next phase by addressing racism and injustice first, and viewing every other effort through that lens. Communities of color are the most affected by fossil fuel extraction activities; they are on the front lines and disproportionately affected by Covid-19; they are the victims of white supremacy that casts them as disposable and “other.” By addressing racism first in plans for “building back fossil-free,” we are partnering with youth and unions to advocate for a just transition from fossil fuels.