Just a couple of weeks ago, at the end of May, citizens rallied in Berlin and came together under the slogan “Stop the hate! Stop the AfD” to demonstrate for an open society and disrupt a march by the racist party and its supporters. The Ende Gelände alliance, which is campaigning for a coal phase-out in Germany, also mobilized for the demonstration. The climate activists from Ende Gelände stated: “Because climate justice and anti-racism are inseparable, we will commit acts of civil disobedience against both coal and racists.”
The demo was a huge success, with some 72,000 citizens taking to the streets against the 2,000 supporters from the AfD. This outcome gives us courage and hope. The world that the AfD and other racist and xenophobic parties would like to create is not compatible with our values and vision of a good life for all.
Heute riefen wir gemeinsam mit zehntausenden Menschen: #endegelaende dem #Rassismus! Für ein #Klima der Gerechtigkeit! #NoAfD #StopptDenHass pic.twitter.com/nrQrs40oTj
— Ende Gelände (@Ende__Gelaende) 27. Mai 2018
If we truly wish to overcome the climate crisis, we must put an end to the outrageous injustices that underpin it.
The AfD does not have the slightest inkling of how to tackle this crisis and are intent on clinging to fossil fuels with all their adverse effects on global climate. In their manifesto, the AfD goes so far as to deny the existence of human-induced climate change, creating their own alternative facts instead. Nor is the nationalist party willing to offer refuge to people fleeing from drought, collapsing ecosystems, war or social crises.
Given the global nature of the climate crisis, it is imperative that activists in the transnational climate movement intervene when the rights and dignity of some citizens are called into question. The fact that whole swathes of our society are succumbing to the Islamaphobic and racist propaganda of right-wing parties is immensely disturbing. Equally abhorrent are the development of ever-more restrictive border regimes in Europe and Germany, the erosion of the right to asylum, the fatalities in the Mediterranean, and the suffering of refugees held in refugee camps or deported to countries where the threat of persecution, war, and famine hangs over them. And while the climate crisis is already robbing people of their livelihoods in ever greater numbers, states still refuse to recognize its impacts as a ground for granting asylum.
Together with multinational coal, oil and gas corporations, the highly industrialized countries of the Global North are key drivers of climate change – and its beneficiaries. Those most affected by climate change and the resulting catastrophic upheavals have contributed least to global emissions and frequently provide the cheap labor used by the very corporations that destroy ecosystems, social cohesion and our climate.
In the face of the growing threat posed by fascist parties and the climate crisis, we must cleave to our shared values of solidarity and justice. And so, we stand in solidarity with the Pacific Climate Warriors, who are fighting to ensure that Pacific Island countries are not engulfed by rising sea levels. We support indigenous peoples in Brazil who oppose the deforestation of their homelands as a result of the racking boom. We stand in solidarity with workers in fossil-based industries who are seeking secure and regular employment jobs in the renewable energy sector or pushing for alternative climate solutions. We stand in solidarity with disadvantaged communities existing on the margins of society, who received so little help in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and who were quickly forgotten by the US government. We struggle side by side with people living in coal mining regions in Turkey and Germany’s Rhineland region and who suffer the negative health impacts of mining activities or are forced out of their villages and who dare to stand up against this seemingly all-powerful industry.
We must stand together in solidarity against the hatred and abuse propagated by these xenophobic parties. Our strengths are many – our determination, diversity, solidarity, curiosity and respect for the “other” will stand us in good stead – as will our vision for a good life for all people, regardless of their race, color, social class or other traits.
We are delighted that the climate movement is taking a stand against right-wing ideology and working to build bridges to anti-racist movements and organizations led by refugees, immigrants and people of color.
If you have any success stories about actions and events that you would like to tell us about, please send them to [email protected] and we will share them on Twitter and Facebook.