Power beyond borders: Organising for climate justice
Since 2012 Reclaim the Power (RtP), a network of people, has been taking action for social, environmental and economic justice, primarily in the UK. We work in solidarity with front-line communities to confront environmentally destructive industries and the social and economic forces driving climate change.
RtP is and always has been committed to social, economic and environmental justice. We have never been a single issue campaign. Our past actions and campaigns have included shutting down a coal-fired power station, campaigning against fuel poverty and protesting against international neoliberal trade treaties such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP.
This year, we’re taking on an even bigger challenge. Reclaim the Power is hosting a camp in the South East of England with two aims, 1) to target new gas infrastructure and 2) to get skilled up on how we can fight the Hostile Environment.
The environmentally destructive and systemic racist policies of the UK government are both examples of capitalist exploitation that need fighting. For this camp we have decided that from one space we can contribute to both fights.
To build the better world we want to see we need to take action to stop climate chaos, get rid of the racist systems we live in, and create a different way of living. Climate justice is not about simply cutting our emissions, it is about tackling the inequalities of our current society by listening and learning from those currently most affected.
Why are we targeting new gas and the hostile environment now?
At the same time as Parliament declares a climate Emergency, these very same politicians are looking to approve plans to build another monster gas power station in England, by the gas power giant Drax. This plan, and the other power stations of Drax, will only continue to lock us into decades of polluting emissions.
This cannot happen. We don’t want more dirty fossil fuels in the UK or abroad. By beating Drax and its friends in the UK we will be part of a global movement with a clear message: no fossil gas here or anywhere.
Today in the UK we are seeing the rise of the far right, cloaked in the language of Brexit and taking back control. As racist attacks are on the rise, this is an important moment for us to show up in the fight against the Hostile Environment that targets migrants and anyone othered by perceptions of their skin colour, name, or accent.
Even within the climate movement, we have seen indigenous and people of colour blocked from fronting a climate march, claims that some parts of the movement are white-washing climate justice and don’t have a deep understanding around the power and privilege at play, especially of people of colour, when getting involved in arrestable climate direct action.
Power Beyond Borders: for real justice
Rather than continuing to fudge through these issues, this camp hopes to continue these conversations and develop our understanding of what real intersectional climate justice campaigning looks like. An approach that doesn’t just pay lip service to ‘diversity’ but actively builds campaigns that are honest and humble about fighting race injustices. The environmental movement has a lot to learn about being effective allies in fighting racism; we hope this camp can be one small part of this.
As activists in the UK, a former master of an empire built on the slave trade, industrialisation through fossil fuels and more recently extractivism from countries of the Global South, we must recognise our historical responsibility and dismantle this unjust system.
We invite everyone, whether you’ve done years of migrant or climate campaigning, got inspired to action by XR or are still waiting for that gateway into Direct Action in a safe and fun environment, to join us for Power Beyond Borders. Together, we take action.
Annie Pickering is an activist with Reclaim the Power. Power Beyond Borders is a mass action camp happening this summer attempting to put justice at the centre of climate campaigning. Find out more about the camp here. Camp updates – including coaches to the camp are here. Support the camp – donate here.