By Democracy Now, February 18, 2013
Introductory note: This page urged our readers to join the thousands who were expected to participate in the Forward on Climate Rallies in Washington D.C., San Francisco and other cities. The rallies exceeded the expectations. In Washington D.C. some 50,000 people participated. Below please see Democracy Now coverages of the rally. In San Francisco, about 5,000 participated in a two-hour rally that began by circling the State Department office building and then assembling in the 1 Market Plaza. The event was festive but determined. The demand to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline was central. However, other demands to stop and reverse global warming were raised mostly by individuals and small groups. Participants were of all age groups and many ethnicities. A small group from Sebastopol, where I had come from, who were affiliated with the Move On. Native Americans had a central presence and led the cultural part of the rally. There were groups of local Green and Democratic Party affiliates. However, the only presence of the traditional socialist parties I came across was one woman passing out fliers for Bob Avakian 2003 video on "Revolution" and a couple of men selling a black teeshirt with inscription: "Stop bitching, start the revolution!" I will post a video clip of the San Francisco rally here as soon as it is available.
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Below see Democracy Now's report on the Washington. D.C. rally which was the main event of the day:
We play highlights from the "Forward on Climate" rally that drew tens of thousands to Washington D.C.’s National Mall Sunday. Protesters from across the United States and Canada urged President Obama to reject the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which would deliver tar sands oil from Alberta to refineries along the Gulf Coast. Organizers described Sunday’s protest as "the largest climate rally in history," and Reverend Lennox Yearwood compared it to Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington for civil rights. We hear from speakers including Van Jones, Obama’s former Green Jobs advisor, Canadian indigeous leader Chief Jacqueline Thomas of the Saik’uz First Nation, and Bill McKibben of 350.org. [Includes rush transcript]
Van Jones, President Obama’s former Green Jobs Advisor.
Jacqueline Thomas, Chief of the Saik’uz First Nation from British Columbia, Canada.
Bill McKibben, longtime environmentalist and founder of 350.org.
Evangeline Lilly, Canadian actor.
Casey Camp, indigenous leader with the Ponca Nation of Oklahoma.
Postscrip: The following is from Jaime Henn of 350.org sent to its list by email on February 20, 2013
We were going to send you an inspiring video of last weekend’s Forward on Climate rally, but breaking news just intervened:
Reporters this morning uncovered the fact that while 40,000 or more people were outside the White House asking for his attention about Keystone XL, President Obama was playing golf with oil and pipeline executives in Florida.
His staff didn't allow any pictures at the outing -- likely because it’s an embarrassing spectacle for a President who promised to “end business as usual in Washington” and “respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”
Listen: this weekend’s action exceeded all expectations -- we made news in more than a dozen countries and on every major television network. We’ve got lots of new momentum that we’re eager to put to work stopping Keystone, pushing for fossil fuel divestment, and a whole host of other next steps.
But President Obama still hasn't answered our question: which side are you on - ours, or the fossil fuel industry's? With such a big, beautiful rally on the Mall, he was certainly on the wrong side this weekend, but if he can get off the links and into the trenches fighting this problem, that can change.
We need to show the White House they can't get away with doing special favors for Big Oil. It’s fine to take a day off every now and then, but it’s just plain wrong to play footsie with the oil industry. Please click here to read and share the whole story, and make a call to the President: act.350.org/call/obama-golf/
Thank you for being a part of this big movement,
Jamie for the whole 350.org team
P.S. -- We'll send out the video soon, too. We all looked amazing standing together, and we shouldn't forget that.