[WSMDiscuss] Fwd: I’m Joining the Sanders-Biden Taskforce on Climate. Here’s why (Varshini Prakash, co-founder of the Sunrise Movement)

Jai Sen jai.sen at cacim.net
Thu May 14 02:13:19 CEST 2020

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Movements in movement…, The US in movement…, Youth in movement…, Climate in movement…

[This post by the Sunrise Movement in the US – a relatively new movement of young people that has played a powerful role over this past year or so in bringing the environmental crisis and a more holistic understanding of ‘the environment’ and social justice into public life in the US - might well be of interest to many on this list, for several reasons :

The setting up six task forces by Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden in relation to Biden’s bid for the US presidency – clearly, as part of the agreement by Sanders to endorse Biden (which is      news for me, anyway);
The formation of something called the ‘Sanders-Biden Task Force on the Climate Crisis’, as one of the six task forces; and -
The nomination onto this Task Force of Rep AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), of Varshini Prakash, the Sunrise’s co-founder and (I think) coordinator, till now, and of environmental justice advocate Catherine Flowers.
[And where those who have looked up the new initiative called the PI (Progressive International) might have noticed, Varshini Prakash is now also a member of the Council there ! :

I’m Joining the Sanders-Biden Taskforce on Climate.  Here’s why

Varshini Prakash, co-founder of the Sunrise Movement

            In celebration of the rise of youth power !  And in hope for the future !



> Begin forwarded message:
> From: "Varshini Prakash, Sunrise" <team at sunrisemovement.org>
> Subject: I’m Joining the Sanders-Biden Taskforce on Climate. Here’s why.
> Date: May 13, 2020 at 6:42:07 PM EDT
> To: "Jai Sen" <jai.sen at cacim.net>
> Reply-To: team at sunrisemovement.org


This week, alongside Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and environmental justice advocate Catherine Flowers <https://click.everyaction.com/k/17482950/195856171/-606280284?nvep=ew0KICAiVGVuYW50VXJpIjogIm5ncHZhbjovL3Zhbi9UU00vVFNNU00vMS84MDU0MSIsDQogICJEaXN0cmlidXRpb25VbmlxdWVJZCI6ICI4ZDgyZTBkNC02YTk1LWVhMTEtODZlOS0wMDE1NWQwM2I1ZGQiLA0KICAiRW1haWxBZGRyZXNzIjogImphaS5zZW5AY2FjaW0ubmV0Ig0KfQ%3D%3D&hmac=aFO6613sc4w80T9sSGNf_Tp7E--swFb9yBxWbIfBrPQ=&emci=f2077746-6795-ea11-86e9-00155d03b5dd&emdi=8d82e0d4-6a95-ea11-86e9-00155d03b5dd&ceid=269047>, I’ve been nominated by Senator Bernie Sanders to serve on the Sanders-Biden Task Force on the Climate Crisis. This is one of six task forces on key issues — including the economy, immigration, healthcare, education, and criminal justice, and will help craft the 2020 agenda for the Biden campaign, inform the DNC policy platform, and have a role in Biden’s transition process should he defeat Donald Trump in November.

After much deliberation and consultation with movement leaders and allies, I’ve decided to accept the position. I am grateful for Bernie Sanders believing in me, I trust his political leadership, and believe this is an opportunity for our movement to continue to advance our fight for a Green New Deal.

None of this would have been possible without the organizing and power that youth climate justice movements and allies have built over the last several years. A year and a half ago, our movement was joined by then Representative-elect Ocasio-Cortez in Nancy Pelosi’s office demanding that the Democrats develop a solution at the scale of the climate crisis. Now, together, we’ll be helping to write the Democratic Platform on climate. Our nomination on this task force shows Joe Biden and his campaign are beginning to take seriously that power and the significance of young people within the party if we want to defeat Trump this November.

In January, Sunrise Movement formally joined the movement to elect Bernie Sanders for President with our overwhelming endorsement vote. I traveled the country from Iowa to New Hampshire and more — rallying, campaigning, and getting out the vote to activate a historic grassroots movement for the social, economic, racial, and environmental justice we envision under a Green New Deal. Many in our movement gave their all to the campaign. Together, we won Iowa, New Hampshire, swept Nevada and California, and more. What we achieved was historic, and for a moment it felt like our movement was unstoppable. But as we are all too aware, we came up short of the ultimate victory in the Democratic Primary.

When our movement voted to endorse Bernie Sanders, we said we’d keep fighting for a Green New Deal no matter what. We knew that work would include working to defeat Trump in November, then turning millions of people to the streets after that to disrupt business as usual to pressure the next President and Congress to begin legislating on the decade of the Green New Deal. Our mission was greater than any single candidate or moment. We would need a movement powerful enough to push whoever was the Democratic nominee to make the climate crisis a Day 1 priority for the next administration whether we had President Biden, Bernie, Warren, Booker, Harris, or even John Delaney.

I was honored and proud to stand alongside Bernie Sanders when our movement endorsed his candidacy. Now, I’m humbled that Bernie has endorsed me to carry on the fight for our agenda as a part of this task force. He’s fought to give our movement, and young people, a seat at the table, and I will accept it.

Getting to this point was not an easy decision. It’s no secret that Vice President Biden was not the favorite candidate of our movement, or young people more generally. Many of us are devastated with the outcome of this primary and angry with the way that the political and media establishment consolidated to tell voters that our agenda was not viable. And while Vice President Biden has certainly done much good over his career, like many powerful politicians he has also done much harm. He has been on the wrong side of history for some of the most defining fights of our generation: mass incarceration, NAFTA, the Iraq War, record deportations, and taking on Wall Street and the credit card companies.

Of course, there is also the ongoing sexual assault allegation from Tara Reade, which is foreshadowed by his role in the Anita Hill hearings and a well-documented history of him pushing the boundaries of consent with women’s space and bodies. This whole situation puts women and survivors in an impossible position. We deserve a fair, independent process that centers survivors and their healing. We’re in touch with and following the lead of survivor justice organizations in their approach to addressing and responding to Tara Reade’s allegations and navigating how to best ensure justice and accountability.

All that said, the stakes of this election are crystal clear to me. When we say we have 10 years to completely transform our society and economy to stop climate change, we mean it. We cannot afford another four years of Donald Trump pushing us backward, and I believe in our movement’s ability to begin winning a Green New Deal under a President Biden.

As if the fate of our planet wasn’t enough, our democracy is also at stake. This election is about saying no to fascism and authoritarian rule. It’s about stopping deportations and providing a pathway to citizenship for our immigrant neighbors. It’s about how we will recover from this current crisis. It’s about whether we will have a Supreme Court that defends a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body, and so much more. We must defeat Donald Trump, but our work neither begins or ends there — not by a long-shot.

My participation in this task force will not constitute a formal endorsement of Joe Biden on behalf of our movement. We’ve always been clear that we’d work to defeat Trump, but that taking the step of formally endorsing a candidate for President in the primary or the general would be a decision we make collectively as the movement. That stood in the primary and still stands for the general.

I will always call for the scale of change that is necessary — a bold Green New Deal at the scale of the crisis that centers justice for frontline communities, provides a just transition for workers, guarantees good jobs and healthcare for all, protects migrants, and more — and work to build a movement that can move it from impossible to inevitable. At this moment, I feel a responsibility to bring our movement to the table to win whatever we can from this platform.

But my participation in this task force does not and should not change the work that our movement must do to continue to build support and pressure to make a Green New Deal our nation’s top priority. The stronger and louder you are in continuing to call out for a Green New Deal, the more power I will have when I enter these negotiations, and the more courage and resolve you will give me to fight for us. Keep speaking up, taking action, and calling for what we need. Donald Trump cannot be defeated without historic youth enthusiasm, and that enthusiasm can’t be generated without a bold platform and authentic commitment to addressing the crises our generation faces. I’m hopeful that the Biden campaign understands that and is working in good faith to earn our generation’s votes.

I am on this task force because of the political power that our movement has built together. It’s a significant accomplishment, and it’s incredible how much progress we’ve made — but it’s not enough. I want to be real that I don’t know how much this task force will be able to accomplish, or what this process will yield. The truth is that we haven’t yet built the power we need to win the world we deserve. That’s why what I do on a task force like this is much less important than what we do as a movement in the coming months. Our political power only exists because of our people power. We must keep building our movement until we are the majority, until we are unstoppable.

We must keep raising our voices for a Green New Deal at all levels. The current economic crisis creates an opening for us to demand a historic green recovery that will get us out of this mess and build a better world in the ashes of the old. The failure of our systems at this moment is waking people up to what is necessary and what is possible, and we have a historic opportunity to advocate for solutions at the scale of our crises. Together, I believe we can.

I know I’m not going to be doing this alone. As I step onto this task force, I’m taking each and every member of our movement with me. I’m taking my loved ones in India who I think about when I watch, half a world away, as monsoons worsen, the droughts deepen and the air grows thick with pollution. I’m taking the farmers I met in Iowa struggling to protect their crops from floods and Big Ag. I’m taking the communities I’ve met in Paradise, CA whose homes burned in the wildfires, and carrying the stories of those of Detroit, MI who live in 48217, the most polluted zip code in the state and are fighting for environmental justice. I’m taking every young person who has been given hope by the movement for a Green New Deal. Because of them, because of you, I will fight as hard as I can for a platform that will do the most good for the most people.

We’ve got a lot of work left to do. Keep organizing as though our lives depend on it. Keep organizing like you can feel the day when we will win in your heart. Keep fighting for someone you don’t know. I can’t wait to see you all in the streets again.

With love to you in these uncertain times,

Varshini Prakash

Co-founder, Sunrise Movement

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Sunrise <https://click.everyaction.com/k/17482954/195856175/-983643821?nvep=ew0KICAiVGVuYW50VXJpIjogIm5ncHZhbjovL3Zhbi9UU00vVFNNU00vMS84MDU0MSIsDQogICJEaXN0cmlidXRpb25VbmlxdWVJZCI6ICI4ZDgyZTBkNC02YTk1LWVhMTEtODZlOS0wMDE1NWQwM2I1ZGQiLA0KICAiRW1haWxBZGRyZXNzIjogImphaS5zZW5AY2FjaW0ubmV0Ig0KfQ%3D%3D&hmac=aFO6613sc4w80T9sSGNf_Tp7E--swFb9yBxWbIfBrPQ=&emci=f2077746-6795-ea11-86e9-00155d03b5dd&emdi=8d82e0d4-6a95-ea11-86e9-00155d03b5dd&ceid=269047> is a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. If someone forwarded you this email, sign up here to get updates from Sunrise. <https://click.everyaction.com/k/17482955/195856179/-983643821?nvep=ew0KICAiVGVuYW50VXJpIjogIm5ncHZhbjovL3Zhbi9UU00vVFNNU00vMS84MDU0MSIsDQogICJEaXN0cmlidXRpb25VbmlxdWVJZCI6ICI4ZDgyZTBkNC02YTk1LWVhMTEtODZlOS0wMDE1NWQwM2I1ZGQiLA0KICAiRW1haWxBZGRyZXNzIjogImphaS5zZW5AY2FjaW0ubmV0Ig0KfQ%3D%3D&hmac=aFO6613sc4w80T9sSGNf_Tp7E--swFb9yBxWbIfBrPQ=&emci=f2077746-6795-ea11-86e9-00155d03b5dd&emdi=8d82e0d4-6a95-ea11-86e9-00155d03b5dd&ceid=269047#home-section> You may also click here to receive fewer emails from Sunrise <https://click.everyaction.com/k/17482956/195856204/729302353?nvep=ew0KICAiVGVuYW50VXJpIjogIm5ncHZhbjovL3Zhbi9UU00vVFNNU00vMS84MDU0MSIsDQogICJEaXN0cmlidXRpb25VbmlxdWVJZCI6ICI4ZDgyZTBkNC02YTk1LWVhMTEtODZlOS0wMDE1NWQwM2I1ZGQiLA0KICAiRW1haWxBZGRyZXNzIjogImphaS5zZW5AY2FjaW0ubmV0Ig0KfQ%3D%3D&hmac=aFO6613sc4w80T9sSGNf_Tp7E--swFb9yBxWbIfBrPQ=&emci=f2077746-6795-ea11-86e9-00155d03b5dd&emdi=8d82e0d4-6a95-ea11-86e9-00155d03b5dd&ceid=269047>, or if you no longer wish to receive any emails from Sunrise please  unsubscribe <https://email.everyaction.com/unsubscribeUnique/f2077746-6795-ea11-86e9-00155d03b5dd/8d82e0d4-6a95-ea11-86e9-00155d03b5dd?nvep=ew0KICAiVGVuYW50VXJpIjogIm5ncHZhbjovL3Zhbi9UU00vVFNNU00vMS84MDU0MSIsDQogICJEaXN0cmlidXRpb25VbmlxdWVJZCI6ICI4ZDgyZTBkNC02YTk1LWVhMTEtODZlOS0wMDE1NWQwM2I1ZGQiLA0KICAiRW1haWxBZGRyZXNzIjogImphaS5zZW5AY2FjaW0ubmV0Ig0KfQ%3D%3D&hmac=aFO6613sc4w80T9sSGNf_Tp7E--swFb9yBxWbIfBrPQ=&id=101783642&emailAddress=jai.sen%40cacim.net> .

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Jai Sen

Independent researcher, editor; Senior Fellow at the School of International Development and Globalisation Studies at the University of Ottawa

jai.sen at cacim.net <mailto:jai.sen at cacim.net>
Now based in New Delhi, India (+91-98189 11325) and in Ottawa, Canada, on unceded and unsurrendered Anishinaabe territory (+1-613-282 2900) 

CURRENT / RECENT publications :

Jai Sen, ed, 2018a – The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance. Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
Jai Sen, ed, 2018b – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ? (Indian edition). New Delhi : AuthorsUpfront, in collaboration with OpenWord and PM Press.  Hard copy available at MOM1AmazonIN <https://www.amazon.in/dp/9387280101/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1522884070&sr=8-2&keywords=movements+of+movements+jai+sen>, MOM1Flipkart <https://www.flipkart.com/the-movements-of-movements/p/itmf3zg7h79ecpgj?pid=9789387280106&lid=LSTBOK9789387280106NBA1CH&marketplace=FLIPKART&srno=s_1_1&otracker=search&fm=SEARCH&iid=ff35b702-e6a8-4423-b014-16c84f6f0092.9789387280106.SEARCH&ppt=Search%20Page>, and MOM1AUpFront <http://www.authorsupfront.com/movements.htm>
Jai Sen, ed, 2017 – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?.  New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press.  Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
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