Tag Archives: demonstration

350 Madison to stage climate action rally at Capitol on Dec. 12

Members of 350 Madison Climate Action Team will stage a rally on Dec. 12 at the state Capitol.

The rally will be 3-4:30 p.m. at the State Street entrance to the Capitol to support climate action and share perspectives on the results of the Paris climate conference, which will conclude on Dec. 12 — delayed by a day for continued negotiations.

A news release said, “While a binding climate agreement from the world governments would finally put us on the right track, we at 350 Madison believe that the people hold the power to shape our future. As the talks in Paris conclude on Dec. 12, we will rally on the steps of the Capitol to remind our leaders, our fellow citizens and ourselves of that power.”

Speakers include Spencer Black and Madeleine Para, who will talk about the Paris conference.

Also, local leaders will talk about environmental battles in Dane County.

Youth demonstrate in D.C. for racial, immigration, climate justice

Nearly a thousand youth from across the country took to the streets of Washington, D.C. to demand that candidates and elected officials adopt an agenda that delivers racial, immigration and climate justice.

College students and young people from across the country assembled early on Nov. 9 in Franklin Square, where they held a rally with speakers from immigration rights, social justice, and climate movements.

Activists are requesting to meet with every presidential candidate to hear how they plan to deliver a justice agenda for the youth generation.

“The voices of those that have gone unheard for too long will be heard in this moment,” said Dante Barry, executive director of Million Hoodies. “A cross-section of youth activism have come together to say that change is something that we demand and the time to act upon it is now. From environmental to criminal justice, the country we live in today does not reflect the beliefs of the population it comprises. We are here to take a stand and to make our mark for a better future for the next generation. As we strive to strengthen the democratic process, we aim to empower those that have not yet found their voice while giving power back to people in communities across the nation to show that we are standing together, stronger than ever today. We will continue to work tirelessly and in solidarity until our goals are achieved.”

As the march headed toward H-street, the crowd shut down business-as-usual and held the intersection outside the White House for over two hours.

“Immigrant communities continue to be criminalized, and we are here today to demand justice. Rogue agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement continue terrorizing our communities and continue tearing people from their loved ones,” said Greisa Martinez, advocacy coordinator with United We Dream,an immigrant youth-led organization. “Our political system is failing communities of color, and as 2016 approaches, it is up to us to demand real moral leadership for our communities. Candidates can’t simply rely on tired talking points, but instead must propose real solutions that allow people like my mother, Elia Rosas, to live with full dignity.”

The “Our Generation, Our Choice” action signaled the emergence of a new alliance between different youth movement finding common cause in the lead up to the 2016 election. The demonstration coordinators included United We Dream, Million Hoodies Project, the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network and it was supported by groups such as 350.org.

“More than ever, our government must stop pouring resources into destructive, outdated systems that put profit before people. Together, the thousands of youth who risked arrest in demanding justice will continue to fight back against the violence that destroys our communities and our planet,” said Yong Jung Cho, campaign coordinator with 350.org. “In the last week, we have seen the tide turn against the fossil fuel industry and the extractive economy that it represents. History will show that organized people beat organized money. People power is the only thing that has ever created change, and we are unstoppable when we stand together.”

Calling all kayaktivists and more: | Crude oil pipeline on rails threatens our waterways

The dangers of shipping crude oil over and along our waterways will be highlighted by clean water advocates gathering at the confluence of the Menomonee and Milwaukee Rivers, near the railroad swing bridge.

This bridge is one of many in the metro area where trains carrying volatile crude oil cross or travel near local rivers. The railroad system was not laid out with this kind of cargo in mind. Nationally, oil train traffic has increased more than 4,000 percent in the past five years, and oil trains are also much longer, which concentrates the risk of an accident, especially in urban areas.

Crude oil trains threaten the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinic Rivers and Lake Michigan.

After decades of clean water work, we are alarmed to see an oil pipeline on rails emerge in our metro area. Work to improve water quality and wildlife habitat has also been an essential part of the revitalization of many parts of Milwaukee including the Third Ward, Menomonee Valley, and the Milwaukee River Greenway, and is critical to success of new efforts to develop the Inner Harbor..

An oil spill would have serious environmental and economic consequences.

Citizens have many questions about emergency response plans if a crude oil train were to derail and oil spill into waterways. Many oil trains — some with 100 cars of more — contain the same quantity of oil as an oil tanker, but are not required to have the same level of spill response plans or safety precautions.

Who would respond? How would this oil be contained and cleaned up? What would happen in winter when there is ice cover and oil spill recovery becomes nearly impossible? How would seiche currents impact clean up efforts? What are the implications for our drinking water and quality of life? 

Please join clean water advocates for a visibility event highlighting the danger oil trains pose to our waterways.

When: Sunday, September 13, 3 p.m.

What: A gathering of kayaks, canoes and banners. Paddlers and other clean water supporters will join in singing and drumming with the One Drop ensemble of Jahmes Finlayson and Dena Aronson. Dona Yahola will begin the event with an Ojibwe water prayer and song.

Where: Participants will be near the Railroad Swing Bridge at the Confluence of the Menomonee and Milwaukee Rivers. Convergence at the Confluence. Third Ward Riverwalk.

Share: #bombtrains   #oil trains and water   #causes of oil trains derailments

Wisconsin May Day solidarity march set for May 1

The National Day of Action for Immigrant Rights — Wisconsin May Day Solidarity March for Immigrant and Worker Rights is set for 11 a.m. on May 1 in Milwaukee.

An announcement from Voces de la Frontera said there will be a rally at 11 a.m. at Voces de la Frontera, 1027 S. Fifth St., Milwaukee, followed by a march to the Milwaukee County Courthouse at 10th and Wells and then a closing program.

Organizers expect Elvira Arellano, the internationally recognized immigrant rights leader to join thousands of student, immigrant, labor and faith community activists and elected officials to attend the action to demand:

• Implementation of administrative immigration relief now.

• Immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

• Protections for public schools.

• The freedom to organize in the workplace.

• Living wages for all.

For more, go to Voces de la Frontera on Facebook.

1,000 rally against ‘Fast Track’ and Trans-Pacific Partnership proposals

More than 1,000 protesters assembled in Washington, D.C., over the weekend to demonstrate against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and so-called “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority.

Protesters carried a banner reading “Don’t Trade Our Future” and a 15-foot Trojan Horse from Lafayette Square in front of the White House to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who has indicated an interest in running for president, addressed the crowd. He said, “The TPP is another corporate-backed agreement that is the latest in a series of failed trade policies which have cost us millions of decent-paying jobs, pushed down wages for American workers and led to the decline of our middle class. The TPP must be defeated.”

Before the rally, activists from National People’s Action, Campaign for America’s Future, Alliance for a Just Society and USAction occupied the lobby of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The group included workers, students, immigrants, family farmers and small business owners. They demanded to meet with President Thomas J. Donohue and called on the U.S. Chamber to join a multi-national coalition of workers, environmentalists, and human rights advocates in opposing Fast Track Authority and the Trans Pacific Partnership.

“Working people are rising up against backroom deals that destroy our democracy and threaten our communities and the environment,” said George Goehl, executive director of National People’s Action, which organized the action along with Campaign for America’s Future, Alliance for a Just Society, and USAction.

Goehl said, “We won’t stand idly by while our government trades worker protections for corporate profits and democracy for secret agreements. We’ve seen this movie before and we know it does not end well.”

The TPP would expand the NAFTA agreement to 11 Pacific Rim Nations and, if approved, would become binding U.S. law. Protesters say this would limit the ability of Congress and state and local governments to regulate food safety, set financial rules, protect workers and labor bargaining rights and limit how governments regulate public services.

The negotiations have included more than 600 corporate lobbyists but have excluded human rights and labor groups, according to NPA.

“The TPP isn’t a trade deal. It is a corporate coup d’etat that is about to be rammed down the American people’s throats.  It would make us poorer and less free and we the people aren’t going to stand by and let it happen,” said political commentator Jim Hightower, who addressed the rally.

Larry Cohen, president of Communications Workers of America, also spoke against the trade agreement.

He said, “Fast Track is not what democracy looks like. We are shut out of the debate and the consequences are horrible for the environment, workers here and abroad, for our cities devastated by abandoned factories, and for public services underfunded with trade deficits leading to greater public deficits.”

The event drew activists more than 30 states.

The rally was part of the AFL-CIO’s nationwide week of action against fast- tracking trade deals.

On the Web …

For background on the Trans Pacific Partnership, see: http://action.npa-us.org/page/-/TPP%20CWA%20fact%20sheet.pdf

Wisconsin Senate passes right-to-work bill, protests continue

For two straight days this week, 2,000 union members converged on Wisconsin’s Capitol to rally against a new right-to-work bill, chanting, marching and hurling profanities at GOP lawmakers and Gov. Scott Walker.

The tone of the rallies has been bitter and angry but hasn’t come close to matching the energy that coursed through the building four years ago during massive protests against Walker’s proposal to strip public workers of most of their union rights. This time around, union members said Republicans are moving too fast to organize large crowds. Some have even conceded it’s a lost cause and the governor is bound to score another victory against organized labor.

“People are tired,” said Gerry Miller, a 44-year-old welder from Milwaukee and United Steelworkers member who joined Wednesday’s rally. “You do have a moral base that feels helpless.”

The dynamics of the right-to-work fight are very different than the 2011 battle.Republicans who control the Legislature are moving at lightning-speed to get the bill through to Walker. They introduced the measure late last week, and the Senate passed it Feb. 25, making it difficult for unions to mobilize large-scale protests during the work week.

In 2011, public unions had weeks to organize and hold daily rallies against what became known as Act 10 because minority Democrats in the Senate decided to flee to Illinois in an ultimately futile attempt to block a vote in that chamber.

The Senate needed a quorum to vote on Act 10 because it had a fiscal effect on the state, a requirement Republicans eventually got around by stripping the fiscal elements out of the measure so they could pass it without the Democrats. Leaving the state wouldn’t help Democrats this time. The right-to-work bill has no state fiscal effect.

“(Republicans have) gotten smarter,” said Perry Kettner, leader of the Milwaukee and Madison Allied Printing Trades Council. “They’re trying to push it through quickly when people can’t come in. On a weekend when workers get out of the factories, they’d be here.”

Twenty-four states already have enacted right-to-work laws, which generally prohibit businesses and private-sector unions from mandating workers pay union dues regardless of whether they’re union members. The laws don’t restrict unions’ bargaining powers like Act 10 did.

There’s an air of inevitability hanging heavy over this fight as well. Republicans have the votes to pass it in the Assembly following its clearing the Senate, and Walker, who is mulling a 2016 presidential bid, has said he’ll sign it into law.

“You fight the good fight against Walker and he beats you,” Seth Markgraf, a 34-year-old construction worker from Arlington who belongs to construction-trade union LIUNA’s Local 113 Milwaukee chapter. “They beat us in the recall and they beat us in another general election. It’s just apathy. How do we beat Scott Walker?”

Miller acknowledged the bill will pass, which means unions will have no choice but to work harder to convince people to join them.

“We start again with what other right-to-work states have done – explain why it’s important to be a member,” he said. “We have a whole other agenda now.”

Flashback 2014: Keystone pipeline galvanizes environmental movement

Hundreds of young people risked arrest protesting the proposed Keystone Pipeline XL in early March and forming the largest youth demonstration at the White House in a generation.

“We’re prepared to do whatever it takes to stop this pipeline,” Felix Bick, a student at the University of California-Berkeley, said at the time.

Bick returned to Washington, D.C., in the late fall, during the lame-duck session of Congress. He joined dozens of demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol, where the Senate was debating a bill to bypass the federal review process and approve the pipeline, which would further the exploitation of Canada’s Tar Sands and deliver dirty oil across the U.S. to the Gulf of Mexico.

The House, in the days after the Nov. 4 election, rushed to approve a KXL bill. The Senate, after a long day of debate, defeated the measure — barely — and KXL opponents returned their focus to the president, who eventually must decide whether to approve a permit for the project.

“I think he’s with us, the president. I really do,” said Milwaukee green activist Chelsea Wainthorpe.

She and other Wisconsin activists pointed to breakthroughs in climate action in 2014, including: 

• The Clean Power Plan proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency, which would impose the first-ever national limits on carbon pollution by power plants. 

• The Obama administration’s announcement in November that the United States and China had reached an agreement to cut carbon emissions.

• The growing movement on college campuses and in college towns to divest from fossil fuel stocks.

These developments occurred as scientists sounded a series of alarms, warning global leaders that failure to radically reduce emissions could put the planet on a trajectory with irreversible impacts — rising sea levels, warmer waters, melting glaciers, intense heat waves, weird and severe weather and lost or declining species.

The threats brought hundreds of thousands out to demonstrate on Earth Day in April and again for the People’s Climate actions in September.

The threats also fueled protests in Wisconsin, where environmentalists dealt with global concerns, but also local regional matters — Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-green administration, open-pit mining, frac sand mining, pipeline permitting, groundwater pollution and the hunting of wolves, long considered an endangered species.

Day after march, environmental activists staging Wall Street sit-in

The day after a massive march to call attention to climate change and demand action to protect the planet, a storm of protesters were expected to descend on Wall Street.

An estimated 400,000 demonstrators participated in the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sept. 21.

Today, Sept. 22, protesters were expected to assemble in New York’s Financial District to focus on the profiteers fueling the climate crisis. Participants planned to stage a sit-in to disrupt business as usual on the first day of the work week.

Speakers lined up included author-activists Naomi Klein, Chris Hedges and Rebecca Solnit.

“Two years ago, Superstorm Sandy literally flooded New York’s Financial District — but it didn’t phase Wall Street and their drive for the short term profits that flow from the cooking of the planet,” said Klein. “Which is why we’re going to flood them again.”

Bill McKibben of 350.org also was expected to particpate in the day’s events, which were to begin at the World War II memorial in Battery Park and were to include a parade with a 300-foot banner, a 15-foot inflattable “carbon bubble” and oversized puppets.

The events serve as a prelude to climate change talks set for the UN this week. President Barack Obama is set to attend, along with French President Francois Hollande, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

The march on Sunday led demonstrators, including activists with 350 Madison, across Manhattan.

“We said it would take everyone to change everything — and everyone showed up,” said Eddie Bautista of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.

Particpants included: UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Vice President Al Gore, U.S. Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, Bernard Sanders and Chuck Schumer, U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison, Nydia Velázquez and Jerrold Nadler, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and celebrity activists such as Sting and Leonardo di iCaprio and Mark Ruffalo.

Marches also took place elsewhere in the United States, Europe, Africa, Australia, the Pacific Island and Southeast Asia.

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said, “The People’s Climate March has given tens of thousands of passionate and dedicated allies an opportunity to let the world’s leaders know that we support setting the highest possible goals to address climate pollution, and that the United States must fully embrace and lead a worldwide effort to accelerate the 21st Century’s complete transformation to a prosperous clean energy economy.”

Laura Hanson Schlachter of 350 Madison said, “Although we are part of a global movement, each of us working in our local communities rarely has an opportunity to come together in person. 350 Madison has worked with allies from Nebraska to Maine to halt the expansion of Enbridge Line 61 — Wisconsin’s Keystone — but it wasn’t until our group of more than 150 Wisconsinites marched with the tar sands hub today that it hit me: We truly are part of a global movement for climate justice, and that movement is finally coming of age.”

Editor’s note: This story will be updated.

Immigrant rights activists chain themselves at ICE headquarters in Milwaukee

Early on June 19, the children of Manuel Lopez, a man caught in recent citywide raids conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, joined with almost a dozen Wisconsinites, including Voces de la Frontera executive director Christine Neumann-Ortiz, to chain themselves together at the ICE district field office.

The action was to condemn the raids that have separated the children from their father since May 27.

“I just want my dad to come home,” Brianna Lopez, 11, said in a news release. “He’s a good guy and I miss him a lot.”

“My brother is a role model for me and for his children. People should see the way he’d give you the shirt off his back. It breaks my heart to see what his kids are going through without their father right now,” said Ruben Lopez, Manuel’s younger brother.

The protest started at about 6 a.m. at the ICE office located at 310 E. Knapp Street.

The action was organized in response to the May 27 immigration raid in Milwaukee. Activists called on ICE regional director Ricardo Wong to release Manuel and as part of the national campaign demanding that President Barack Obama use his executive authority to stop deportations.

As Congress stalls on immigration reform and the president delays his own action, Wisconsin families have vowed to do all they can to stop deportation and detention as they witness what they describe as ICE spreading terror locally, according to Voces de la Frontera.

“If ICE is going to step up its attacks on families in our communities, we’re going to step up our response,” said Neumann-Ortiz. “It’s obscene that the president is not only prolonging the suffering of people he claims to advocate for but is making it worse with sweeps that criminalize and intimidate our entire community. We all want to live in safe communities but spreading fear and distrust doesn’t help that goal. It undermines it.”

On the Web …

Live stream of the protest: 


On Twitter …


Hundreds arrested in Keystone XL protest at White House

Police arrested hundreds of people who strapped themselves to the White House fence on March 2 to protest the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The protesters were mostly college students who participated in a peaceful march that began at Georgetown University and ended outside the White House. They chanted “climate justice now” and carried signs with slogans such as “don’t tarnish the earth” in an effort to persuade President Barack Obama to reject the pipeline. They say it will worsen global warming.

Protesters were passionate but quite orderly.

Police were waiting for them with buses and vans to speed the process. Protesters cheered as U.S. Park Police warned them that blocking the sidewalk or strapping themselves to the fence would lead to their arrest.

In all, 372 were arrested, police said.

Organizers said the demonstration was the largest youth-led civil disobedience action at the White House in a generation.

“Obama was the first president I voted for, and I want real climate action and a rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Nick Stracco, a senior at Tulane University and one of the lead organizers of XL Dissent. “The people that voted him into office have made it absolutely clear what we want, and that’s to reject Keystone XL.”

Students, after the rally at Georgetown, had marched to Secretary of State John Kerry’s house, where they unfurled a giant mock oil spill on the street and called on him to push Obama to reject the pipeline. Near the White House, the young activists rallied in Lafayette Park.

Before their arrest at the White House, they created another giant human oil spill on the sidewalk.

Park Police spent about four hours arresting the demonstrators.

“An entire movement has thrown itself into in this Keystone fight, from local frontline groups to big national green organizations,” said Bill McKibben of the organizing activist-environmental group 350.org. “But this weekend shows the power and bravery of some of the most crucial elements: young people, and activists who understand the centrality of  environmental justice.”

In a recent poll, 70 percent of young voters said that support for action on climate change will affect who they vote for and 73 percent said they’d vote against a politician who wasn’t addressing the problem. About 80 percent of young people support the president taking action to address climate change, suggesting that a pipeline rejection based on climate impacts would be widely applauded.