Public Resource
Reflections: What Went Wrong with the Sunrise Movement
Lake Liao. Substack
The Sunrise Movement has had successes but also experienced internal difficulties. This article, a personal reflection on Sunrise experience, argues that the energy and mobilization of the 2018-2020 years that led to a surge of youth joining the Sunrise Movement won’t be possible in the next four years unless a new organizational strategy is built in the youth climate left. This author organized with a local Sunrise “hub” and then joined national leadership teams. However, Sunrise internal politics were based on who you knew. In Spring of 2021, a group of volunteers created the Movement Democracy Project to organize for internal transparency and democracy, and resentment bubbled and confrontations became inevitable. This author commends the volunteers who are still working for transparency and democracy in Sunrise, because it is hurtful it is to be denied agency over a movement you love. This author argues we should look towards DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) to understand what it means to build real power for decarbonization. DSA has proven itself as the climate organization with its joint repertoires of electoral, labor, legislative, and direct action organizing.