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Historic Environmental Justice Victory: City of Los Angeles is creating a pathway to phase out existing oil and gas wells
Residents, community organizations, and health care practitioners organized for over a decade to protect the health of residents on the front lines of urban oil extraction in L.A. In January 2022, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to draft an ordinance to prohibit all new oil and gas drilling and to phase out existing drilling operations throughout the City of Los Angeles. This resource is based on an interview with Wendy Miranda (she/they), a community leader with Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) and resident, about the historic victory. The organizing strategy to get this victory involved various lobbying efforts, rallies, press conferences, petition collections, a wide range of community/organization endorsements, phone banking, and social media outreach. Overall, frontline residents providing public comments and sharing their personal experiences were some of the strongest and most powerful tactics. STAND L.A. will continue to be part of the process to help draft an ordinance and direct the City of Los Angeles on how to lead a genuine community participation process. Miranda shares that this victory is proof that frontline communities can lead the change toward a just, equitable transition to a clean energy future.
Analyzing voter data is crucial to making the right strategic choices to win local and state elections. With the 2022 midterm elections approaching, how can Democrats be successful down ballot in local and state legislative elections, even with the national headwinds that Democrats face this year? Via this tool, users can leverage TargetSmart’s national voter file and national ElectionBase product to identify down ballot election performance trends from the last decade and visualize likely 2022 toss up districts at multiple levels of the ballot—and how they overlap—as well as key metrics around Democratic performance, down ballot drop-off and down ballot roll-off. TargetSmart’s belief is that knowing the where and when of drop-off and roll-off (even if we can't know the 'who') can help progressives plan and execute more effective down ballot voter contact programs in a challenging election year.
Investing in local organizing is the most important way to build movement power—and it must be linked to influencing national politics. Alongside investment in organizing we need to see support for storytelling and strategic communications work, insight and evaluation and the generation of irresistible ideas that can shift whole systems and paradigms as well as change policy and practice in the medium term. Organizing has the following crucial benefits: provides people with a safe framework to meet other people across the community and to work together with them; gives people an opportunity to engage in political life in a way that other organizations don’t; develops skills and gives local people a chance to learn; and enables people to take part in a range of campaigns on regularization for irregular migrants, properly affordable housing, better community safety and access to living-wage jobs, among others. Movements that win: have the necessary infrastructure to support activity to happen at key moments, allowing them to prepare for and harness external events; are a well-developed ecosystem; and are cultivated over a long period of time and ready to be activated when opportunities arise. This report is focused on the UK but carries parallel lessons for the US.
To build stronger movements, we need to build up our ambition, be strategic in our discipline, and lead with the process. Movement groups need to center “antimonopoly” thinking and action. These authors work for the organization Liberation in a Generations, which is committed to bringing grassroots organizers of color to the forefront of the antimonopoly movement, especially in policymaking, advocacy, and narrative change. Ambition is a practice, just as — to borrow from Mariame Kaba — “hope is a discipline.” Sometimes we need to hold tight, to execute the strategies and best practices that we know are most likely to lead to winning campaigns; but other times, we need to let go and reach for something else, something that speaks to our ideals — and which might work or might land us on our asses. Process should always put the people with the least positional power first.
Help people envision more just and sustainable systems. This article looks at efforts in southwest Pennsylvania to oppose plans for gas and plastics expansion in the region. Activists share their strategies, including raising public awareness about the dangers of fracking and plastic, tracking emissions themselves, and advocating for investments in more sustainable industries.
Understanding the geography and profit-making process of any big corporation are essential to organizing against it. In the case of organizing against Amazon, it has certainly been strategic to organize labor union(s) at the traditional worker level. However, there have also been labor-community alliances built to organize against Amazon, given the way that the megacorporation affects communities beyond its own workers, by its supports of the carceral state and deportation machine, contributions to climate change, and its role in gentrification. The many different people and groups (especially based on where they are located geographically and their role in the economy) impacted by any bad actor (in this case, Amazon) are where any organizing opportunities exist. And understanding the “value chain” of any target (like Amazon) is necessary to understanding what leverage any organized group of people can have. This article details some cases of groups and coalitions building power against Amazon.
Climate change is a top issue for young people and presents opportunities for broader youth outreach. In 2020, nearly a third of young people named climate change as one of the top three issues that influenced their vote for president. Asian youth and young people in Western states are more likely to say climate change is one of their top issues. Young people who prioritize climate change as a political issue score higher on “civic readiness” than those who do not. CIRCLE’s 2020 pre-election poll of young people ages 18-29 found that 13% of all youth named climate change the top issue that would influence their vote for president—the highest of any issue. After the election, 74% of youth who voted for President Biden said they wanted him to prioritize leading a transition to renewable energy. Climate change is also potentially an important way to reach conservative youth. Among Trump voters, young voters aged 18-29 were more likely than older voters aged 45+ to care about climate change. There are also regional differences: young people in Western states (AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, UT, WA, WY) were disproportionately more likely to prioritize the environment and climate change as a political issue, which could be due to more direct experiences with droughts, wildfires, and other phenomena exacerbated by climate change.
A recent survey that asked Americans about their willingness to "support an organization engaging in non-violent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse" and about their willingness to "personally engage in such non-violent civil disobedience themselves" found:
- Among the Six Americas segments, the Alarmed are the most likely to support an organization engaging in non-violent civil disobedience; half (50%) said they “definitely” (21%) or “probably” (29%) would support such an organization.
- 28% of the Alarmed said they “definitely” (10%) or “probably” (18%) would personally engage in non-violent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse, if asked to by a person they liked and respected. The ten percent of the Alarmed who are “definitely willing” to personally engage in non-violent civil disobedience represents approximately 8.6 million American adults.
- Millennial and younger adults are more likely to support organizations engaging in non-violent civil disobedience than older generations -- with 35% stating they “definitely would” (14%) or “probably would” (21%) support them -- and also more likely to say they would personally engage in non-violent civil disobedience to protect the climate; 8% said they “definitely would” and 12% said they “probably would,” if asked to by a person they liked and respected.
- People of color are more likely than whites to support organizations engaging in non-violent civil disobedience. About one third (34%) of Black Americans “definitely would” (12%) or “probably would” (22%), and about one third (35%) of Hispanics/Latinos “definitely would” (14%) or “probably would” (21%) support such organizations.
- People of color are also more likely than whites to say they would personally engage in non-violent civil disobedience in defense of the climate; about one in six Hispanics/Latinos (6% “definitely would” and 11% “probably would”) and one in five Black Americans (5% “definitely would” and 17% “probably would”) say they would engage in such actions, if asked to by a person they liked and respected.
Early planning is key for sustainable and meaningful community transition. This website provides resources to help coal communities make the transition to a more equitable, sustainable and inclusive future, especially when a coal plant or mine has closed or is slated to close. The resources include tips on how to make a transition plan, information on policies and programs designed to help coal communities, and case studies of how other communities have responded to a plant or mine closure.
Build real power in congressional districts and persuade representatives to vote your way using multiple coordinated steps. Center the experience of real people doing the activism—employ tactics that energize people. Focus on building meaningful relationships with other activists, with other groups, and with the member of Congress’ office. Develop organic leaders through training and giving responsibility. Create cohesive grassroots groups. It’s ideal to plan a meeting 1-3 weeks ahead of time with the member of Congress’ office—it’s best to schedule the meeting, but it’s also possible to just drop in. Say “active political donors” want to meet—that will yield meetings with more senior staff in the congressional office. Recruit activists through multiple channels: peer-to-peer texting, phone-banking, email, bulk voicemail delivery, and Facebook ads, for example. To keep activists involved, use 1:1 and small group meetings and encourage participants to talk and reflect. Center personal stories in molding activists’ involvement and how they message the campaign.