Decolonial anti-racism block at the climate march, 12 november, Amsterdam

After organizing the first ever decolonial anti-racist block at a national climate march last year, we are bringing our sound and fight to the national climate march on the 12th of November in Amsterdam. As organizers for this block we wish to share a few thoughts about the essential importance of our voices getting centered and listened to – not just by the politicians but by the green movement in the Netherlands as well.

The problem

For centuries earth-defenders and water protectors have been predominantly Indigenous people and other colonized populations in the understanding that colonial land grabbing and racism threatened lives and livelihoods way before climate changed. People of color have resisted both white supremacy and human supremacy that is at the core of the devastating culture and policy of destroying environments for money and powerhording.

Deze tekst in het Nederlands.

Our fight for the right to breathe is both against police, border and state brutality as well as against disproportionate air pollution in neighborhoods where more people of color live. Destructive wars are being waged for profits, while people are being left to drown or actively hunted for resisting and fleeing oppression and death. The changing climate also contributes to forced migration and asylum seeking. This fight against supremacy culture is not just for marginalized poc but for all who are deemed disposable by supremacy culture: #endfemicide #nonationalism #stopableism #refugeeswelcome #economicjusticenow

Not sure how white supremacy manifests in the way harm hits in a climatechanged world?

  • 1. See this video of Black Lives Matter UK about airport pollution.
  • 2. See this article on Oneworld about air pollution in the Netherlands.
  • 3. See this article on BBC about heatwaves hitting neighborhoods with high percentages of POC (missing parks and trees that cool down locally).

And read the articles we wrote last year about racist green NGOs, colonial climate politics, about how even green media tell a whitewashed story, and how the richest people in our colossally unequal society, both in the Netherlands and globally, are responsible for the lion’s share of emissions and pollution.

Europe has historically been driving the climate crisis and owes climate debt. Remember that the link between greenhouse gases and industrialized fossil fuel based modes of production was already made in 1896 by Arhenius. And Indigenous people before that time have spoken out on how the colonial mode of being was bringing death culture. Remember Luther Standing Bear.

The struggle

When we fight for decolonial climate justice it means that we aim to disrupt and dismantle ALL supremacy culture that deems Othered life as ripe for exploitation and sacrifice zones. From Turtle Island to Palestine, we seek freedom and justice for all colonized and oppressed people. Our lives, the water, the land and all our relations are sacred – as Indigenous cosmologies understand and advocate environmental action based on restoring or protecting good relations. We need the acknowledgement that those with the longest track record to protect the web of life (what western people call nature) have to lead in climate governance. Regrettably due to racism 5.000 Indigenous peoples are excluded from UN representation in UN Climate Summits. Racism reduces Global South and racialized communities to see their needs met at Climate Summits.

*** Even though Indigenous people only make up 5 percent of world population, 80 percent of the remaining biodiversity is on the land they live on and protect ***

Uniting forces

In the Netherlands many of us stand up against different manifestations of racism and colonial education and culture. With so much racist politics and culture many feel the climate is too big and too overwhelming to take on as well. But the two are intimately connected! And we know that if decolonial activists are not leading the climate justice struggle it results in more policy that kills our communities like it has the past few hundred years.

Three examples:

  • 1. For decades US & Europe have ignored the climate debt they owe to the rest of the world.
  • 2. Rutte advocates a climate policy of mass destruction: “This (climate governance) can be to the Netherlands, what the military is for Israël and the USA. Namely a driver of innovation and economic growth.” He conveniently forgets that the US army is the biggest polluter in the world (more than 100 nation states put together) and that both examples have brought and are bringing colonial death and destruction to earth-ecology and earthlings. We would do well to remember that “Innovation” at the expense of the web of life and “economic growth” are actually what have made this crisis possible in the first place and often have gruesome roots.
  • 3. At the Dutch Climate Adaptation summit climate crime is being celebrated by praising Unilever’s incredible leadership when they have their power thanks to colonial resource grabbing and slavery in Congo and until this day communities are fighting against land grabbing and human rights violations in South east Asia.

We need to reckon with the current situation in which the Netherlands uses 7,3 times the amount of land for its population and therefore makes unfair demands on other naturescapes: overshooting is colonial.

The Netherlands is also failing to meet its historic debt to the Caribbean Islands already facing climate disruption. (Learn more about Climate Racism and the Caribbean)

The march 12th of November in Amsterdam

“No single issue lives. No single issue struggles. Connect the dots. Together we are stronger.” We will chant slogans and present banners that show how the climate crisis is a colonial crisis with decolonial solutions. It will be an exercise in togetherness and building advocacy against white/male/cis/hetero/human/ablebodied supremacy climate governance. We need to break the politics that trashes and dismembers our community and build stronger practices of solidarity to weather the storm.

Want to join the decolonial bloc?

Does your organisation want to support our block? Send us an e-mail.

Even if you can’t make it to the march there are ways to help. E-mail us, if you want to get more involved or just join us on the day!

More information about the march itself.

The decolonial anti-racism block is organised by: Aralez, Doorbraak, Rhythms of Resistance & anti-racist Friends