BREAKING: Keystone XL Denied!

18 01 2012

In case you haven’t heard the thunderous celebration by the North American climate movement, today the State Dept is set to outright reject the Keystone XL pipeline. #booyah

This is a reminder that people power works. Direct Action works. Social movements work. Grassroots organizing works. Lets take some time today to celebrate another huge victory.

Every time we win, it builds our resolve for the next fight. We know the fossil fuel industry owns Congress, and so far the Keystone XL campaign has been like playing Whack-A-Mole, or kinda like going to battle with a zombie who just won’t die. There may yet be another stage of the fight, and there will definitely be other theaters of engagement heating up in the Tar Sands fights, like the Enbridge Northern Gateway. I’m confident we’ll be ready to take em on. Moments like this help us remember our power, and that its worth all the headaches and stress of movement building. So lets keep winning.

If you’re in DC, help build the momentum by joining 500 referees blowing the whistle on congress being soaked in big oil Jan 24th. Or this friday, you can join the J20 (January 20) #occupy actions all around the world mobilizing to take on dirty corporate interests. Here in the Bay Area we will be shutting down the SF financial district with nonviolent direct action (check out the hot Lady Gaga outreach flashmob video here).

Here’s a quick sampling of the breaking coverage of the Keystone XL victory from Bill McKibben, and on Globe and MailWashington Post, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, ThinkProgress, Grist, Daily Kos, and Politico.

Congratulations, climate movement. What a great way to kick off the new year, eh?


Climate Justice and Left Turn

26 12 2007

There is a new issue of Left Turn out. And I have an article in it.
left turn

The issue’s theme is Collective Soul: Religion and the Left. There is also a section on Climate Justice, and my writeup is on the Powershift 2007 summit. I had hoped to give a more intimate reportback here in this blog, as well as a writeup about the RAN/SEAC network that a bunch of us busted our butts launching at Powershift through what turned out to be almost a mini-action camp…but for now, here’s the article. It’s being run next to a few articles on Climate Justice, so it’s meant to compliment those, which are much more heavy in terms of political content.

Powershift 2007: Youth Rising to the Climate Challenge

On November 3rd, I felt a stadium shake from 6,000 students jumping to their feet and chanting “Green Jobs, Not Jails! Parks, Not Prisons! We Won’t Stop Till Somebody Listens!” It was kind of a national coming-out party for the youth climate movement. More than a student environmental conference, Powershift 2007 was a moment revealing youth power and its potential to drive some deeply transformative shifts in this country.

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Praxis Makes Perfect: the New Youth Organizing

14 09 2007

Madeline Gardner and I were asked to contribute a chapter to a new book coming out on AK Press called Real Utopia: Participatory Society for the 21st Century, edited by Chris Spannos of Znet.

madeline gardner and joshua kahn russell with an easel from their strategy training

this is what we wrote:

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Intergenerational Organizing

8 09 2007

A little while ago I wrote an essay on intergenerational organizing and SDS for a project that ended up being put on hold. I was later asked to shorten it to a 1,000 word article for Yes! Magazine called Not Your Grandfather’s SDS.

Here it is!

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the US Social Forum.

1 08 2007

Another World Is Possible; Another U.S. Is Necessary.

Well, I’m inspired.

July 10, 2007

A week after the US Social Forum I am just barely regaining my energy to engage in the world again. It was a week and a half long marathon – first with an organizer training camp I had the privilege of helping coordinate with RAN, then with the four days of the Forum itself, and then the post-forum meetings and networking in Atlanta.

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Friday Athens SDS scored a major victory marked by a pinkie swear.

18 06 2007

Reposted from my old blog ( – this was from February 9th, 2007. See here for old comments.

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The Ohio University campus has been rocked this year by a decidedly anti-democratic, unaccountable administration, pushing unpopular policies without any student input whatsoever. “Free Speech Zones” on campus attempt to shut out discourse and protest. Arbitrary fees around popular student parties and holidays, the sudden cuts of Athens Varsity Sports teams, and indulgent pay bonuses for Administrators have left students feeling alienated and without control of their college. Ohio University is being run like a corporation rather than an educational institution.

SDS has risen up to advocate for student syndicalism and a radical vision of a democratic university, and built an impressive coalition in the process. The SDS free speech demonstration on Friday, Feb 2nd, was attended not just by activists, but students most activists groups wouldn’t think to try to organize – including athletes and Frat boys.

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I was invited to come to OU in Athens by their SDS chapter and the umbrella activist group InterAct, to do workshops, trainings, and other action support, both as an SDSer and also as an organizer from Rainforest Action Network (RAN). Trainings with SDS ranged from sustainable organization building to campaign strategy, while I got to connect with InterAct about collaborating on a few RAN-related projects including shutting down a corporation called TXU building dirty coal fired power plants (but that is a separate entry entirely).

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