Four organizational layers: a guide for grassroots activists on organizing and organizations

§1. There are four levels of abstraction in analysing organizations. These are summarised in the following table.

Four layers 01

Ideology is the theoretical analysis of the underlying reasons for the issue the organization deals with. This issue can be as general as inequality, racism, exploitation, sexism, justice or war, or as specific as increased working hours in a single company.*

Ideology is all about what people refer as “-ism”s. The ideology is the lens through which an organization sees the world. All organizations (and all individuals) have ideology: they may be implicit, incomplete or incoherent, but all organizations objectively have ideologies. Its denial can be an implicit way of recognizing the status quo or a simple refusal to methodically analysing the world.

Some examples are: capitalist, communist, democrat, ecosocialist, fascist, liberal, marxist, nationalist, neoliberal, social-democrat, and socialist.

Non-party and non-party-affiliated organizations generally unite people of various ideologies, so they tend to refuse identifying themselves with a single ideology or they may prefer to use vaguer terms. For instance, a neighborhood assembly may want to be welcoming to all the neighbors and may therefore refer to itself as a space for “direct democracy” or “active democracy” without any specific ideology. A political party, which by definition aims at changing the society as a whole, would need infinitely more clarity and solidity among its members, so the party militants would share the same ideology as well as the same programme. A political party should be able to respond to all kinds of social questions and therefore needs a guiding ideology to collectively analyse contemporary issues.

Generally speaking, only political parties would be required to organize at the ideological level.

My understanding is that Climáximo has an anti-capitalist ideological orientation. The word anti-capitalist was intentionally not included in my examples of ideologies above, because it is an umbrella term for several ideologies that identify capitalism as the root cause of the climate crisis while allowing for a range of possible alternative social proposals.Dilbert-Strategy

Politics is the general political agenda of the organization. In the civil society terminology, this is generally referred as the vision and in political parties it is the party programme.

The political position of an organization is its answer to the issue it deals with. On climate change, some examples of political positions are climate justice, energy democracy, degrowth, green growth and sustainable development. Note that some of these items are incompatible with each other while others can be complementary.

Most social movements and civil society groups are organized at political level. They may accommodate a mixture of ideologies compatible with their political position.

Generally speaking, an organization’s political position is the organization’s declaration of when it would dissolve itself. In an oversimplified setting, a feminist group would become less relevant as gender equality advances.**

While there may be many grey areas, an organization’s political stance is its engine and its measure of success: Climáximo moves towards climate justice, and it considers itself successful as closer as it gets to climate justice.

Since Climáximo has some degree of ideological clarity, it is capable of adopting several political alignments simultaneously (e.g. climate justice, energy democracy, just transition, etc.).

Strategies are the achievable steps towards an organization’s political position.

Generally speaking, campaigns and alliances belong in this category. Some examples of campaigns from the climate movement can be Climate Jobs, Green New Deal, 100% Renewables, Fee and Dividend, and Divestment. A good example of an alliance is Plataforma Algarve Livre de Petróleo.

Strategies consist of objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Ambitious, Actionable, Relevant, Realistic and Time-oriented. (See SMART objective.) A good strategy has SMART objectives for the short-term and long-term as well as organizational objectives (objectives for a qualitative or quantitative improvement of the organization itself), and ideally the organization regularly controls and reviews its activities in view of its objectives.

Strategies are informed and oriented by the politics of the organization. Their soundness is controlled by the organization’s ideology.

Tactics is real life.

Tactics include all kinds of initiatives like seminars, marches, direct actions and meetings. The reader can think of zillions of action examples. However, tactics can also include longer projects and action platforms.

An example of a project is Autarquias Livres de Petróleo e Gás, which united several groups to create pressure on the local election candidates in 2017. An example of an action platform is Parar o Furo, which used open source organizing to articulate the popular opposition to the Aljezur drill in 2018. Both of these examples were oriented by the “fossil-free Algarve” strategy of the groups involved.

Generally speaking, tactics are designed to mobilize, inspire and unite large numbers of people.

Four layers 02

A simplistic summary of this layout is: Ideologies make heavy books, politics make books, strategies make reports, and tactics make posters.

§2. One essential remark I want to make is that ideology is factual, not optional. Some ecology organizations try to avoid ideological labeling. The honest ones do this as they intend to propose “something new” to the society, something that previous ideological organizations did not try. This is not the negation of ideology. What they mean is that they are trying to build an ideology of their own which is not yet as clear as the previous ones. Other ecology groups outright deny ideologies per se; but this is part of the post-modern intellectual confusion. No organization can function without a guiding world analysis. Refusing to identify and clarify this worldview is called populism, which also ironically ends with an -ism.

§3. Here are two examples to apply some of these terms.

We identified Plataforma Algarve Livre de Petróleo (PALP) at the strategy level above. Its activities are compatible with various political stances, and it has a rather broad ideological orientation.

However, PALP consists of tens of organizations. Let us shift our angle and look at PALP from these organizations’ viewpoint: Sciaena has its own political position and several campaigns. As a strategic choice it decides to work on oil exploration. It forms an alliance with other groups, called PALP. This alliance now has an existence of its own, and can build its own strategy together with the other groups in the platform.

In this sense, PALP is a permanent platform. It is an entity and has its own strategic and operational principles.

The action camp Camp in Gas lives in the tactical layer. It is an action platform: it involves different groups; it has its own escalation plan until the camp, with several preparatory actions; and it will last for several months. In this sense, Camp in Gas is a temporary platform. While it does create a collaborative space for various groups and individuals, it has only very basic organizational structures.

§4. Within social movements, we find platforms, alliances, projects, networks, etc. Naming an organization and identifying its layer are not purely academic considerations. It clarifies how an individual can (or cannot) get involved and how another organization can relate to it. An organization joins an alliance, endorses a campaign, participates in a network. These imply different degrees of duties and responsibilities. An individual can join a network but cannot participate in an alliance.

§5. No organizational layer is categorically better than others. Each layer has its advantages and drawbacks, and successful social change requires coordinated effort of agents at every layer.

The higher we go in the table (tactics → strategy → politics → ideology), the more consolidated a group we find. In general, members of organizations formed at the ideological level have more opinions in common. Having ideological affinity, these people can reach consensus more smoothly, and take action more rapidly.

Also, generally, the higher levels imply more clarity within the organization. New situations and developments can be interpreted collectively as the organization possesses common theoretical tools to analyse them.

On the other hand, the lower we go in the table (ideology → politics → strategy → tactics), the more tangible the issue becomes. Through concrete proposals it is easier to inspire and mobilize the population.

Furthermore, generally, more people would identify themselves with a particular action rather than a complete pack of ideas. Each activist can participate in an action for a different reason. (Ask anti-austerity protesters why they are on the street and you will hear hundreds of different answers.)

§6. Spontaneous and structured control mechanisms are essential to keep an organization on the right track. Each tactic should be double-checked with the strategy and politics, and each strategy should be double-checked with politics and ideology. For every new proposal, one standard question is “What does it serve for?”.

This may seem obvious but in practice it is definitely not simple. Tactical manoeuvres may corrupt an organization’s political stance: Successive reformist tactics – each of which was a success on its own – made the European socialist parties into social-democrat bourgeois parties. At any given point, legal activities were more yielding than investing in illegal organizing; and thus many revolutionary organizations of the past got integrated into the status quo.

Conversely, rigid political considerations may block up tactics altogether: All sufficiently big demonstrations carry the risk of being hijacked by the opposite political camp; or, all actions may be – potentially – contained by the status quo. Historically, many organizations turned into discussion groups or journalist collectives through continuous preoccupations for political hygiene.

§7. Nothing I said above is new for party militants. As one goes further up in the layers the more theoretical understanding of organizing a member needs. A person participating in tens of actions starts to feel the necessity for a strategic framework for these actions. (“What does it serve for?” is a natural question.) Someone participating in several campaigns realizes the connections between these issues. A natural tendency to integrate these brings about a political contemplation. Finally, a political activist starts to analyse the root causes of the problems, which brings her slowly to party lines. (The party she looks for may or may not exist around her. That’s a totally different conversation.)

§8. A well-functioning organization of each layer requires a different kind of organizational culture and leadership.***

At the tactical level, good organizing requires practical people with a clear plan. Think about an action or a conference organizing team. All participants should know what will happen and when, they should know the logistical and political needs, and there should be a clear definition of roles among the members. It should also be clear to everyone what a successful action is. Leadership at this layer principally needs communication skills: she should inspire for action; communicate clearly; and be able to deal with different kinds of people. A tactical leader should also be flexible and a quick decision-maker, as she would face unexpected problems and opportunities.

At the strategy level, good organizing requires resourceful people with a long-term plan and structure. Think about a campaign. The organizers should know the demands, the objectives and the functioning of the campaign. If we are talking about a platform consisting of various organizations, it should be clear how decisions are made. The leadership needs strong orchestration skills. A campaign attracts people with actions ideas, the leader would thus make sure the resources are used wisely and effectively, without alienating the newcomers. Also, she should know how to delegate tasks to various people of different skills, and should be able to guide newcomers through practical know-how of the campaign (how to paint banners, who knows where to organize a meeting, etc.).

At the political level, good organizing requires strategists that trust each other and know each others’ skills. Think of an activist group. The group would have different tasks ranging from technical maintenance (website, materials etc.) to political organizing (preparing meetings, launching campaigns etc.) and it may assign fixed roles to some people. If the group has several lines of action, the degree of autonomy of each campaign should be clear. Leadership at the political level needs strong coordination skills as she would need to intertwine several campaign calendars. A certain sense of diplomacy may be needed as groups often talk to other groups or entities, with the aim of negotiating or cooperating.

At the ideological level, good organizing requires versatile people with a shared worldview. A good amount of organizational time and energy should be dedicated to theoretical and political discussions, in order to create a collective identity. An organization formed at the ideological level should have tools to build opinions about all kinds of issues. Members might not be fluent at all political fronts simultaneously, but should definitely know how to surf through them. For instance, in a socialist political party, all members would be expected to react to racist or sexist attitudes almost naturally, while only some members would be the spokespersons on these subjects. It is hard if not impossible to identify one single talent or skill to highlight for good leadership at this level. Maybe two notes are worth mentioning: Firstly, a leader should know how to attract and create other leaders, and should know how to supervise political processes without getting fully engaged in their execution. Secondly, a leader at the ideological level should have a strong sense of strategy. (I sometimes say that people who don’t have several active social media accounts should not be allowed in the central committee of a political party in today’s world. A leader should have direct experience of the direction the society is taking and should be well-versed in contemporary culture.)

Four layers 03

§9. We hear stories of a political party taking over a civil society organization, or an activist group dominating a campaign. This can be very frustrating for the people involved. Such situations happen for several reasons, many of which are well-intended and honest. I will address three cases.

First reason is a lack of understanding of the organizational layers. The cultural environment needed at each layer is different and that culture needs to be created. Activists of one layer sometimes fail to adapt to the new layer and therefore try to reproduce the culture they are familiar with. For instance, they might ask for an exaggerated degree of political clarity (e.g. “We are denouncing this oil company with this action, but is it because we think other corporations are nicer, do we defend green capitalism?” or “We want to stop this oil drilling, but do we consider nuclear energy as an alternative?”). This blurs the focus of the organization, which results in splits and divisions, thereby leaving only a certain kind of opinion inside the organization. There is a simple but difficult solution to this, which is to have clear guidelines about the aims and functioning of the organization. If we are talking about a platform of organizations, it should be clear what it means to endorse the cause and how decisions are made. If we are talking about a neighborhood assembly, it should be clear if members can be representatives of other organizations or if they must participate individually.

Another reason is assigning wrong tasks to the people with wrong skills: a good leader at one layer stands out; as part of her political training, the organization gives her tasks at a lower layer; the confusion starts. An activist with strong diplomatic skills can fail to make a powerful speech at a rally. A personal tendency to look at the big picture can be constraining when working on logistics of an action. Examples of such situations abound in all social movements. This problem can be solved with self-awareness, together with the support of the organization reviewing people’s performance.

Finally, each layer needs its own authentic leaders. Campaigners cannot prepare an action without practical people who take initiative and participate in the decisions: you need someone to tell you if a certain action is technically possible and how to go around practical obstacles. A committee consisting solely of delegations of organizations would need either extremely talented people or a proactive facilitator; otherwise it would turn into a negotiating table because the different priorities and sensibilities of the delegates would kill the synergy. But perhaps most crucial is the following: A member of an organization has inner motivation to run campaigns, and a campaigner feels the need to do actions that feed the campaign. A person that belongs to a higher layer comes with a sense of self-discipline to a lower layer. In time, the natural tendency is that these people assume the roles that others don’t want, and they slowly evolve into the leaders of the organization. Later, someone notices that all the leadership of a campaign is centralized in one or two organizations, or that all the leadership of an organization is taken up by political party militants. The trick here is to acknowledge that this is a natural tendency, and not necessarily some infiltration plan of one group or another. This lack of capacity at each level is perhaps the most difficult to resolve. I don’t know any simple solutions to this problem, but the next paragraph will exercise a few ideas.

§10. I have not seen an organization at any layer that didn’t have serious concerns about its capacity in terms of human resources. All organizations that want to grow feel the need of recruiting and training leaders. They also struggle to allocate the existing leadership in an effective way.

We need more people.

How do we get them?

There are organic ways of training new leaders, about which millions of books are published for business settings. Very little of these “Find the leader inside you” books apply to activism, because corporations use money to educate, tame and motivate in a competitive environment while we depend on volunteer work in a cooperative environment. Even so, it is possible to accompany a person gaining more confidence and experience, using bits of practical tools suggested in these books on coaching.

While very limited, there exist some activist tools, such as the Ladder of Engagement that guides organizers to identify the level of engagement of each member and to help them get further engaged in a comfortable way. Another approach is to simplify tasks into concrete tiny steps, and delegate them to new people together with basic guidelines. Checklists for Activists in Climáximo’s website are an attempt in this direction, breaking tasks like taking notes in a meeting, sending out a press release, taking photos in an action, etc. into minuscule operational parts.

Finally, this very article aims at giving a somewhat theoretical framework for organizing. I understand that some people need intuitive and social tools, while others may prefer a more methodical approach. I am aware that this kind of articles are helpful for the latter kind of activists only.

Even so, I believe that schematic simplications can help clarify and tidy up the structures and discussions in social movements. As we say in mathematics: you have to fully comprehend 2+2=4 in order to understand that in modular arithmetic 2+2 can equal 1 (mod 3) or 0 (mod 4) too.

prepared by
Sinan Eden

You can also download this document as PDF: Four layers


* Throughout this text, I will give examples mostly based on climate justice, and the organizational examples will be Climáximo and its activities.

** Obviously, this is not only a dynamic process but also a social construction: The feminist group may, while winning certain battles, expand its understanding of feminism and therefore remain as radical as it was some years ago; or, conversely, there may be a shift in the social perception and the society may decide that it already has enough gender equality (for instance, through conservative cultural engineering) and the feminist group may lose its social power.

*** Here, I do not mean leadership in any structural sense. The organization can be fully horizontal. By a leader, I mean anyone who leads others ideologically, politically, strategically or tactically – depending on the layer. Leadership can come with experience or skills, acknowledged by the group as a whole. A leader in social movements should ideally thrive for stopping to be a leader. This is only possible by distributing power and initiative, and this is only possible by sharing skills and training others. Life starts vertical because we live in alienated, class societies. To make it horizontal, we need to acknowledge that life is vertical and address this issue consciously.

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VÍDEO: A cimeira do clima em Katowice não serve. Os trabalhadores precisam de mobilizar-se para exigir uma transição justa.

This video is based on a declaration written by unionist and climate justice activists, gathered in Lisbon in November 22nd-25th by the initiative of the Climate Jobs campaign in Portugal and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. The declaration was launched at the closing session of the 4th International Ecosocialist Encounters.

To read the full text in various languages and sign: actionnetwork.org/petitions/the-climate-summit-in-katowice-wont-do-the-workers-must-mobilize-to-demand-a-just-transition/ .

Acção com veleiros no Tejo diz NÃO ao projecto do aeroporto no Montijo

Este domingo à tarde, activistas juntaram-se em Lisboa para uma acção supresa em defesa do estuário do Tejo, contra o projecto do novo aeroporto de Lisboa previsto para o Montijo.

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Enquanto a cimeira do clima na Polónia continua com as negociações em que até relatórios científicos estão a ser negados pelos governos, dois veleiros fundearam em frente ao Terreiro do Paço e desembarcaram no Cais das Colunas, em pleno centro turístico, numa acção entitulada “Içar as velas pelo estuário do Tejo! Não ao novo aeroporto no Montijo”.

Com as palavras de ordem “Montijo com aeroporto, estuário morto”, “Justiça climática já!” e “Para deixar os combustíveis fósseis no chão, aumento da aviação não”, activistas tocaram percussões e distribuiram panfletos sobre o projecto de aeroporto do Montijo e sobre os impactos do sector da aviação.

Os activistas sublinham que a verdadeira riqueza de Lisboa é o maior estuário da Europa ocidental, um paraíso de biodiversidade bem mais antigo do que a cidade, a qualidade de vida que podem ter as suas populações, actuais e futuras, e contestam os voos de low cost e turismo em massa.

Os veleiros vieram da Bretanha, França, onde a população conseguiu travar a construção do mega aeroporto de Notre-Dame-des-Landes pela Vinci: a mesma multinacional que comprou os aeroportos portugueses.

Os activistas solidarizam-se com a população da região do Montijo, que verá a sua qualidade de vida comprometida, e com as pessoas que por todo o mundo, através da rede Stay Grounded resistem ao aumento da aviação – e constroem formas de transporte, de sociedade e de economia mais justos e ecológicos.

#StayGrounded


The pamphlet in English, distributed during the action

New Lisbon airport? – Everything you should know

The Portuguese government and the multinational corporation Vinci want to build a new airport in Montijo, in a current military base. They also want to expand the current Portela airport. And they leave open the possibility of building in the future a third airport from scratch.

The airport in Montijo is meant to open already in 2022 and to cost 400 million euros. The minister of environment says no strategic environment assessment is needed. The prime minister says there’s a “national consensus”.

Global temperatures are rising. In order to avoid climate chaos, we must reduce greenhouse gases in 80% in the next ten years.

There’s no means of transport as polluting as a plane. A flight causes 30 times more carbondioxide emissions than the same trip on a high speed train. Portela and Montijo airports working together would double the number of air traffic per hour – from 38 to 72 movements.

An airport in Montijo endangers the health and quality of life of over 100 thousand people as sound and air pollution increases the risk of depression and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

Tagus estuary is one of the most important in Europe and the largest humid area in the country. It is a biodiversity paradise, with hundreds of thousands of migrant birds. Since the creation of Natura 2000, no airport was built on a European estuary, and two were dismantled. Specialists have also warned for the constant danger of bird strike.

The new airport would open up Lisbon doors to one million tourists more every year. In Barcelona and Prague, which suffer the consequences of mass tourism, the pressure of tourism is of 5 tourists to each 1 inhabitant. In Lisbon it is already 9 to 1. Families, young and old people are kicked out of their houses, their neighborhoods, their city. Evermore Lisbon residents oppose this tourism monoculture.

Vinci, France-based multinational, is the largest construction corporation in the world. In 2012 it took advantage of Portugal’s crisis to take over the public company ANA Airports. Portugal at the time had a memorandum dictated by Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF), and this was the airports “deal of the year” according to World Finance magazine.

In the ZAD of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, France, activists managed to stop the construction of a massive airport by Vinci and the government, and occupied the territory to try out alternatives.

Is it up to a multinational, politicians’ cabinets and the tourism industry or is it up to every single one of us to decide what to do with our rivers, our cities, our climate and our planet?

Declaração: A cimeira do clima em Katowice não serve. Os trabalhadores precisam de mobilizar-se para exigir uma transição justa.

Esta declaração foi escrita por sindicalistas e ativistas pela justiça climática, reunidos em Lisboa nos dias 22-25 de novembro por iniciativa da campanha Empregos para o Clima e da Fundação Rosa Luxemburgo. O texto foi lançado na sessão de encerramento dos IV Encontros Internacionais Ecossocialistas.

A cimeira do clima em Katowice não serve. Os trabalhadores precisam de mobilizar-se para exigir uma transição justa.

Políticos e empresários reunir-se-ão em Katowice, Polónia, de 3 a 14 de dezembro, para mais uma cimeira sobre o clima, a COP-24, para discutir a acção climática global.

Primeiro, eles irão culpar os governos negacionistas das alterações climáticas de direita, que ameaçam abandonar o acordo de Paris. Então, irão escrever e assinar mais documentos.

Os tratados e acordos internacionais envolvem sérias sanções para países que desejem sair ou quebrar os acordos. Sabemos isto porque o temos visto acontecer recentemente com acordos internacionais de comércio. Em contraste, sabemos o quão inconsequente é sair do Acordo de Paris, já que o acordo não acarreta quaisquer sanções. Mas também sabemos o quão inconsequente é permanecer no Acordo de Paris, com as suas metas voluntárias e não vinculativas que, mesmo se cumpridas, nos empurrarão para uma mudança climática descontrolada.

O capitalismo não será a sua própria cura. A solução para a crise climática tem que vir de baixo.

Os governos de todo o mundo devem lançar imediatamente programas de transição justa para se mudar para uma economia pós-carbono. No entanto, em Katowice, como em todas as vinte e três cimeiras anteriores, os governos vão falar sobre o que deve acontecer em 2030 ou 2050, em vez de fazerem compromissos concretos para 2019 e 2020 (isto é, quando estão realmente no poder).

Neste momento, não há transição energética (justa ou injusta) em curso que chegue perto de limitar o aquecimento global em 2º C, como sugerido pelo acordo de Paris. O business-as-usual (continuar como de costume) fornece apenas uma transição para o caos climático.

Isso significa que os trabalhadores devem tomar o assunto nas suas próprias mãos e lutar por uma transição justa nos seus termos. Precisamos de alcançar a justiça social e climática ao mesmo tempo, porque essa é agora a única maneira de ganhar qualquer uma delas.

Nós exigimos

  • programas de formação em energias renováveis e empregos de eficiência energética para quem trabalha nas indústrias de combustíveis fósseis, a serem lançados imediatamente,
  • controle público e democrático sobre o sector da energia,
  • investimento nos transportes públicos e colectivos nas cidades, assim como nas ligações entre cidades e países,
  • investimentos maciços e empregos em sistemas de energias renováveis,
  • o fim de todas as guerras, bem como da produção e venda de armas,
  • racionalizar e localizar linhas de produção, distribuição e consumo baseadas em necessidades humanas, em vez de lucro.

Não esperamos nada dos corredores da COP24.

A nossa esperança é baseada unicamente nos coveiros do capitalismo. Convidamos as e os trabalhadores do mundo inteiro a mobilizarem-se para defender um planeta habitável e a civilização, e a lutar por uma transição justa nos seus locais de trabalho, nas suas comunidades e mais além.

Para assinar a declaração: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/the-climate-summit-in-katowice-wont-do-the-workers-must-mobilize-to-demand-a-just-transition/


This declaration was written by unionist and climate justice activists, gathered in Lisbon in November 22nd-25th by the initiative of the Climate Jobs campaign in Portugal and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. The text was launched at the closing session of the 4th International Ecosocialist Encounters.

The climate summit in Katowice won’t do. The workers must mobilize to demand a just transition.

Politicians and businessmen will gather in Katowice, Poland, on December 3-14, for yet another climate summit, COP-24, to discuss global climate action.

First, they will blame climate denialist right-wing governments who threaten to leave the Paris agreement. Then they will write and sign more papers.

International agreements and treaties can carry heavy sanctions for countries who wish to leave or break them. We know this because we have seen it happen recently with trade agreements. In contrast, we know how unconsequential it is to leave the Paris agreement, as the agreement carries no sanctions. But we also know how unconsequential it is to remain in the Paris agreement, with its voluntary, not binding emission targets which, even if kept, would still push the planet to runaway climate change.

Capitalism will not be the cure to itself. The solution to the climate crisis has to come from below.

Governments from all around the world must launch just transition programmes immediately, to move to a post-carbon economy. However, in Katowice as in all the previous twenty three summits, governments will talk about what should happen in 2030 or 2050, rather than concrete commitments about 2019 and 2020 (that is, when they are actually in power).

At the moment, there is no energy transition (just or unjust) in course that comes anywhere close to limiting global warming by 2ºC as suggested by the Paris agreement. Business-as-usual provides a transition to climate chaos only.

This means that the workers must take the matter in their hands and fight for a just transition in their terms. We need to win social and climate justice at the same time, because that is now the only way to win either one.

We demand

  • training programmes on renewable energy and energy efficiency jobs for all workers in the fossil fuel industries, to be launched immediately,
  • public and democratic control over the energy sector,
  • investment in public and collective transport in the cities as well as connecting cities and countries,
  • massive investment and jobs in renewable energy systems,
  • an end to all wars as well as arms production and sale,
  • rationalizing and localizing production, distribution and consumption lines based on human needs rather than profit.

We expect nothing from the halls of COP24.

Our hope is based solely on the gravediggers of capitalism. We invite the workers of the world to mobilize to defend a liveable planet and the civilization, and fight for a just transition in their workplaces, in their communities and beyond.

To sign this declaration: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/the-climate-summit-in-katowice-wont-do-the-workers-must-mobilize-to-demand-a-just-transition/

COMUNICADO: Movimentos sociais derrotaram o furo de Aljezur. Falta travar Batalha e Pombal.

GALP e ENI declararam hoje que desistiram de exploração de petróleo em Aljezur. Esta é uma importante vitória do movimento social por um Portugal livre de combustíveis fósseis. Falta travar as concessões da Australis Oil & Gas. Vamos continuar até acabar com estas.

climaximo logo

O consórcio GALP/ENI anunciou que renunciaram a concessão offshore na Bacia Alentejana. O furo de Aljezur levantou uma contestação social sem precedentes à nivel local, regional e nacional. Hoje temos menos um furo no nosso futuro. E esta é claramente uma vitória dos movimentos sociais.

Falta parar todos os restantes furos de petróleo e gás. Para conseguirmos atingir a meta dos 1,5ºC, temos de parar todas as novas infraestruturas de combustíveis fósseis e lançar uma transição energética justa e rápida.

Climáximo felicita todos os movimentos e cidadãos que participaram nesta luta.

Esta é mais uma vitória do movimento mundial pela justiça climática. Na semana passada parou-se o fracking no Reino Unido, ontem ganhámos contra carvão em Espanha, hoje ganhamos contra a GALP em Portugal. Amanhã ganharemos contra o furo de gás em Aljubarrota e o gasoduto entre Guarda e Bragança. Seguiremos em frente pela justiça climática!

Climáximo


PRESS RELEASE: Social movements defeated the Aljezur drill. Next is to stop the drill in Batalha and Pombal.

In a declaration today, GALP and ENI announced that they gave up on the oil exploration project in Aljezur. This is an important victory of the fossil-free movement in Portugal. The next step is to stop the concessions of Australis Oil & Gas.

The GALP/ENI consortium announced that they desisted from the deep offshore concession in Alentejo. The Aljezur drill had raised unprecedented opposition locally, regionally and nationally. Today, we have one less drill in our future. And this is clearly a victory of the social movements.

Now we need to stop the remaining oil and gas projects. To limit global warming within 1.5ºC, we must stop all new fossil fuel infrastructures and launch a rapid and just energy transition.

Climáximo congratulates everyone involved in this struggle.

This is another victory of the global climate justice movement. Last month we stopped fracking the United Kingdom, yesterday we won against coal in Spain, today we win against GALP in Portugal. Tomorrow, we shall win against the Aljubarrota drill and the Guarda-Bragança gas pipeline. Marching forward for climate justice!

Climáximo

Um gasoduto passou hoje pelo centro de Lisboa

A UE dá gás ao caos climático from Climaximo on Vimeo.

No dia de ação global contra Gás e Fracking, ativistas do Climáximo caminharam pelas ruas de Lisboa para chamar a atenção sobre o projeto de 160 km de gasoduto desde Guarda até Bragança, apoiado pela União Europeia. O negacionismo das alterações climáticas do governo português toma estende-se a todas as fases da exploração de combustíveis fósseis: desde furos de petróleo e gás em Portugal, passando por acordos de gás de fracking com Trump e a transformação do porto de Sines na porta de entrada desse gás na Europa, até à expansão de gasodutos para o transportar.

Temos de parar todos os novos projetos de combustíveis fósseis. Os ativistas transportaram um gasoduto onde se lia “A UE dá gás ao caos climático” e “Gás: tão natural como a extinção” até à sede do Banco Europeu de Investimento, para o devolverem. Ironicamente, o BEI também não quis aceitar a encomenda, pelo que os ativistas desmantelaram o gasoduto no local, visto afinal ninguém o querer.

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Mais fotos no Flickr.


A gas pipeline passed through the city center of Lisbon today.

On the global day of action #GasdownFrackdown, activists of Climáximo walked through the streets of Lisbon to highlight the 160km gas pipeline project from Guarda until Bragança, a project supported by the European Commission. The Portuguese government’s climate denialism extends from deep offshore oil drills to fracked gas agreements with Trump, from gas pipelines to increasing the gas capacity of the Sines port.

We must stop all new fossil fuel projects. The activists carried the gas pipeline which read “EU fuels climate chaos” and “Gas is as natural as mass extinction”, and wanted to return it to the European Investment Bank office. Ironically, the EIB also did not accept the delivery, so the activists had to dismantle the pipeline at the spot, seeing that no one wanted it after all.

IV Encontros Internacionais Ecossocialistas – Manifesto

Alerta vermelho, alerta verde: dar forma à transformação ecossocialista

Ao olharmos criticamente para as primeiras duas décadas do terceiro milénio, soa o alarme ao vermos que o colapso social não está apenas a equiparar-se, senão a ultrapassar o desastre ecológico. A perda de biodiversidade e a destruição de ecossistemas essenciais atingiu níveis catastróficos, o planeta está na trajectória para aquecer bem acima do limite dos 2ºC, a poluição torna-se sistémica em todo os cantos da nossa Terra, vemos doenças que julgávamos extintas a voltar, ao mesmo tempo que estamos a perder os nossos bens comuns por todo o mundo para empresas privadas e governos estrangeiros. Actualmente, milhões de pessoas são expulsas das suas casas, das suas terras, locais de trabalho e até dos seus países, sem direito a escolha sobre os seu destino. Como consequência, vemos um renovado aumento da fome, do desemprego e da exclusão social, dando espaço ao aumento da desigualdade e da discriminação, do racismo, do nacionalismo e de atitudes patriarcais, colonialistas e reaccionárias.

As elites políticas e económicas capitalistas transnacionais persistem em tentar remendar as falhas do modelo económico capitalista industrial com falsas soluções tecnológicas e de mercado, a que chamam economia verde, desenvolvimento sustentável ou capitalismo natural. Cada nova crise é vista como uma oportunidade por estas elites para aumentar a financeirização, a militarização e a privatização de bens e serviços públicos.

Nada está a ser feito para resolver as duas principais contradições do capitalismo: a exploração dos mais importantes elementos produtivos – as pessoas e a Natureza. Sob a hegemonia capitalista industrial o que estamos a produzir, reproduzir, distribuir e consumir, em vez de progresso, é um profundo desenraizamento e a destruição dos próprios meios materiais e culturais que sustentaram as civilizações humanas.

Desde 2014 que colectivos ecossocialistas, ecofeministas, camponeses, sindicatos, movimentos sociais e organizações políticas se têm encontrado para imaginar colectivamente e pôr em marcha uma alternativa ecossocialista ao actual paradigma económico destrutivo. O Ecossocialismo, como crítica social teórica e prática, propõe-se a tarefa dupla de desmantelar o capitalismo, o produtivismo e a desigualdade, ao mesmo tempo que constrói as alternativas que possam produzir a justiça eco-social. Procura atingir a sua missão ao abordar questões críticas dos objectivos da economia e do trabalho, da produção e reprodução social, da propriedade dos meios de produção, a partilha dos bens comuns e os processos de decisão democráticos e solidários, tendo sempre em conta a restauração dos nossos ecossistemas fragilizados.

As pessoas que se propõe organizar a quarta edição dos Encontros Internacionais Ecossocialistas, em conjunto com as anteriores organizações das edições no País Basco, Espanha e Suíça, apelam à participação de colectivos, movimentos sociais, sindicatos, organizações políticas, investigadores, trabalhadoras, precários, desempregadas e todas as pessoas que se identifiquem com o ecossocialismo para juntarem forças e mentes na construção de uma práxis ecossocialista para as transformações sociais e o Bem Viver para todas as pessoas da Terra.

Esperamos vê-las em Lisboa de 23 a 25 de Novembro!

Programa: http://alterecosoc.org/programme/

Inscrição: http://alterecosoc.org/registration/


4th International Ecosocialist Encounters

Code red, code green: Shaping the Ecosocialist transformation

As we take critical account of the first two decades of the third millennium, we are alarmed to see that social collapse is not just matching but actually outpacing ecological disaster. The loss of biodiversity and destruction of essential ecosystems has reached catastrophic levels, the planet is expected to heat up well beyond the two degree limit, pollution in every conceivable corner of our Earth has become systemic, we are seeing diseases return that we thought were extinct, and all the while we are losing our commons all over the world to private enterprises or foreign governments. At moment, millions are expelled from their homes, lands, workplaces, even their countries, without any say in their destinies. As a consequence, we are seeing a renewed rise in hunger, poverty, unemployment and social exclusion, giving space to increased inequality and discrimination, irrational racism, nationalism and patriarchal, colonialist and reactionary attitudes.

Transnational capitalist political and economic elites are persisting in patching the failures of the industrialist capitalist economic model with false technology and market-based solutions that they like to call green economy, sustainable development or natural capitalism. Each new crisis is an opportunity for these elites to further financialise, militarise and privatise public goods and services.

Nothing is being done to address capitalism’s two main contradictions: the exploitation of its most important productive elements—people and Nature. Under the industrialist capitalist hegemony what we are producing, reproducing, distributing and consuming, rather than progress, is a profound disenfranchisement and the destruction of the very own material and cultural means that have sustained human civilisations.

Since 2014, Ecosocialist collectives, ecofeminists, peasants, trade unions, social movements and political organisations have been meeting to collectively imagine and set in motion an Ecosocialist alternative to the current destructive economic paradigm. Ecosocialism, as a critical social theory and practice, sets itself the joint task of dismantling capitalism, productivism and inequality, and constructing the alternatives that can produce eco-social justice. It seeks to fulfil this mission by addressing at the same time the crucial issues of the purpose of economy and work, of production and social reproduction, the ownership of the means of production, the sharing of essential commons and solidary democratic decision-making, while bearing in mind the restoration of our wounded ecosystems.

The Portuguese organisers of the Fourth edition of Ecosocialist Meetings, together with the organisers of the previous editions from Basque country, Spain and Switzerland, call on collectives, social movements, workers unions, political organisations, researchers, wo rkers, the unemployed and precariously employed and anyone who identifies with the Ecosocialist ethos, to join forces and minds and together help build an Ecosocialist praxis for social transformations and Buen Vivir for all of Earth’s peoples.

Hope to see you in Lisbon on the 23,24 and 25th of November!

Program: http://alterecosoc.org/programme/

Registration: http://alterecosoc.org/registration/

Global Gasdown-Frackdown: Acção e Jantar Popular

A União Europeia dá gás ao colapso climático!

A UE dá gás ao caos climático from Climaximo on Vimeo.

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Fotos e vídeo da ação: Um gasoduto passou hoje pelo centro de Lisboa


COMUNICADO DE IMPRENSA: 13 de Outubro Dia Internacional de Acção contra o Gás e o Fracking: Acção nos escritórios do Banco Europeu de Investimento em Lisboa


/English below/

No próximo dia 13 de Outubro respondemos ao apelo internacional na luta contra o fracking e contra o gás natural! Às 16h30, vamos fazer uma acção frente à sede do Banco Europeu de Investimento em Lisboa (Av. da Liberdade 190, 1250-001 Lisboa). O BEI utiliza o dinheiro dos nossos impostos para financiar a indústria dos combustíveis fósseis, financiando prioritariamente mais de 90 projectos de apoio à expansão de uma rede europeia de importação e distribuição de gás! Têm de ser travados.logogasfrackdown_360

A União Europeia está financiar uma estratégia energética que alimenta o colapso climático nas próximas décadas. Ao distrair-nos com a mentira de que o gás “natural” é um combustível de transição para as energias renováveis, a União Europeia pretende alimentar a indústria petrolífera durante mais quatro a cinco décadas, montando infraestruturas portuárias e gasodutos em todo o continente europeu para importar gás dos EUA, Canadá, Austrália, Argélia, Azerbeijão, Rússia e muitos outros países. A maior parte desse gás é hoje extraído por fracking, o que aumenta ainda mais as emissões de gases com efeito de estufa. Para pagar este novo resgate às companhias petrolíferas, a União Europeia quer usar o dinheiro dos impostos de todas as pessoas da União Europeia, através do BEI, para que sejamos nós mesmos a financiar o colapso do clima que ameaça a civilização.

Hoje sabemos que para manter o aumento de temperatura no planeta abaixo dos 1,5ºC, temos de cortar as emissões em mais de 50% até 2030. Isto é daqui a 12 anos! Temos de travar os psicopatas que querem torrar o planeta e a Humanidade em petróleo, gás e carvão!gasland01

No final do dia, faremos um jantar com filme (Gasland) e debate no Gaia, Rua da Regueira 40, Alfama, em Lisboa. Junta-te a nós!

O que é o Jantar Popular?

  • Um Jantar comunitário vegano, biológico e livre de OGMs que se realiza no GAIA, Rua da Regueira, n 40, em Alfama.
  • Uma iniciativa inteiramente auto-gerida por voluntários.
  • Um jantar em que podes colaborar e aprender a cozinhar vegano! Para cozinhar e montar a sala basta aparecer a partir das 18h. Jantar “servido” a partir das 20h.
  • Um projecto autónomo e auto-sustentável. As receitas do Jantar Popular representam o fundo de maneio do GAIA que mantém assim a sua autonomia.
  • Um jantar onde ninguém fica sem comer por não ter moedas e onde quem ajuda não paga. O preço nunca é mais de 3 pirolitos.
  • Um exemplo de consumo responsável, com ingredientes que respeitam o ambiente, a economia local e os animais.
  • Uma oportunidade para criar redes, trocar conhecimentos e pensar criticamente.

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On October 13th, we will join the global gasdown frackdown action call and do an action in front of the European Investment Bank’s Lisbon office (Av. da Liberdade 190, 1250-001 Lisboa). EIB uses public money to finance more than 90 gas projects. And each one of them must be stopped.

The European Union is financing an energy policy that may push us to a climate chaos in the following decades. Presenting “natural” gas as a transition fuel, the EU aims at supporting the fossil fuel industry for five more decades, setting up pipelines and terminals to import gas from the US, Canada, Australia, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Russia and many more countries. To pay this new bailout for fossil fuel companies, the EU wants to use public money through the EIB, so that it would be us financing climate chaos directly.

We know today that to keep warming below 1.5ºC, we must cut emissions by 50% until 2030. This is just 12 years away! We have to stop the psychopaths who want to grill humanity with oil, gas and coal.

At the end of the day, we will have a community dinner with a movie screening (Gasland) and discussion in GAIA-Lisboa (Rua da Regueira 40, Alfama).

 

Relatório: Lutar para vencer | Report: Fight to win

Lutar para Vencer capaO novo relatório “Lutar para vencer: o impacto no clima do movimento português anti-petróleo” do Climáximo mostra que as recentes vitórias do movimento contra a prospeção e exploração de petróleo e gás em Portugal conseguiram prevenir emissões de gases com efeito de estufa. Os autores concluem que ativismo pode ser a forma mais eficaz de os cidadãos reduzirem os seus impactos climáticos.

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O movimento anti-petróleo em Portugal preveniu já as emissões de aproximadamente 10 mil toneladas de CO2 nos últimos dois anos, graças ao cancelamento e adiamentos de contratos de exploração de gás e petróleo. O movimento conseguiu pressionar o governo para cancelar, ou não renovar, dois terços dos contratos existentes no início da legislativa e ainda conseguiu fazer adiar o furo de Aljezur do consórcio ENI/GALP, inicialmente marcado para 2016.

As conclusões do estudo são duas: (1) Os movimentos sociais são capazes de produzir resultados incríveis. (2) Participar em movimentos sociais será, possivelmente, a estratégia individual mais eficiente para redução de emissões: as emissões evitadas chegam, por ativista, aos 75% das emissões anuais médias de uma pessoa portuguesa, uma redução muito mais elevada do que em qualquer outra estratégia.

Todas as vitórias são temporárias e parciais, mas os impactos da crise climática não o são. Neste relatório, os autores, Sinan Eden (ativista do Climáximo) e Luís Fazendeiro (ativista da Plataforma Algarve Livre de Petróleo e investigador em transição energética) pretendem celebrar as vitórias do movimento até hoje e apelar à população portuguesa para que se junte a esta luta.

O relatório está disponível em inglês e em português:

Lutar para Vencer

Fight to Win


Fight to Win coverThe new report “Fight to Win: the climate impact of the Portuguese fossil-free movement” by Climáximo shows that the recent victories of the movement against oil and gas projects in Portugal succeeded in preventing a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions. The authors conclude that activism can be the most efficient way for ordinary people to reduce their climate impact.

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The fossil-free movement in Portugal prevented approximately 10 thousand tons of CO2 emissions in the last two years, thanks to cancellations and postponements of oil and gas contracts. The movement successfully pressured the government to cancel or not renew two-thirds of the contracts which were valid in the beginning of its mandate, and further forced the Aljezur drill by ENI/GALP -originally set for 2016- to be postponed.

The report has two main conclusions: (1) Social movements are able to produce incredible results. (2) Participating in social movement is arguably the most efficient strategy for each individual in Portugal to reduce her/his greenhouse gas emissions: the avoided emissions reach 75% of annual emissions per activist, a value much higher than any other strategy.

All victories are temporary and partial, yet the impacts of climate crisis are not. In this report, the authors Sinan Eden (Climáximo activist) and Luís Fazendeiro (Plataforma Algarve Livre de Petróleo activist and energy transition researcher) intend to celebrate the victories of the movement until today and invite the Portuguese population to join the fight.

The report is available in English and Portuguese.

Lutar para Vencer

Fight to Win

Portugal’s fossil-free movement heating up the fight as the Aljezur drill threat approaches.

In the last couple of years, the fossil-free movement in Portugal managed to force the government to cancel 10 out of 15 new oil and gas exploration contracts. Now is the turn of the ENI/GALP consortium’s Aljezur contract, the first drill of which is set for mid-September.

The government has been extremely and ridiculously supportive of this offshore project in the Algarve region. After several public consultations, parliament votings, public protests and juridical processes, the Socialist Party government insisted in favouring the corporations, renewed and extended their expired contract, and exempted the drill from environmental impact assessment.

The movement’s response was colossal.logo_preto

Here is a summary of the last few months.

Following a press conference against the project by all mayors of the region, hundreds marched in Lisbon in the “Enterrar de Vez o Furo” (Bury the drill once and for all) protest in April. This was the launch of a summer of actions, compiled and communicated through the “Parar o Furo” (Stop the Drill) campaign.

marcha02

Parar o Furo turned the whole national territory into a playground, where activists kept a rein on all government officials. There was not a single government visit in Algarve that was not met with a protest.

Activists gave a hard lesson to GALP. That is, they actually organized an open lecture on climate change with a university professor at the GALP headquarters. Of course, to protect itself from climate science, GALP invited three bus loads of police to barr the entrance. Determined to make even a little bit of science heard, the activists organized the lecture at the main entrance.

palestra5

The activists’ next stop was the Ministry of Economy. A live fossil, who heard that Portugal won the CAN European fossil award, wanted to show his solidarity with the government who wanted to accelerate the fossilization of humans. So he designed his own fossil award and delivered to the ministry.

Then it was the turn of the Minister of Environment, who was to give a conference about energy transition. An honest version of the minister went on stage and explained how the government actively supports the corporations in the fight against climate.

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The World Cup also did not go unnoticed, as GALP is one of the main sponsors of the Portuguese national team. The “Don’t Faul Portugal” video got viral on the day Portugal played its first match.

In the meantime, all the country was filled with STOP the Oil Drill signs.

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International solidarity followed: comrades from Turkey (Northern Forest Defense), Ucraine (Eco-action), Austria (System Change not Climate Change) and Italy (NoTAP) sent support videos, underlying that the climate justice movement is united against new fossil infraestructures.

As if targets for actions were lacking, Obama came to the city of Porto to talk about climate change leadership. Reminding to public that it was Obama who launched the famous shale gas revolution in the US, activists served oil cocktails and fracked water in the entrance of the conference. Obama maintained and strengthened the fossil fuel status quo and delivered it to Trump, as is the Portuguese government doing at the very moment with the Aljezur drill.

obama montage

One day later, beaches all across the country were filled with hundreds of protesters organizing human chains to protect the ocean. The decentralized action “Petróleo é má onda” (expression: oil is not cool; literally: oil is bad wave) took place in more than 20 beaches.

aljezur

Finally, just a couple of days ago, activists dressed as business men entered the Ministry of Environment and spred banknotes filled with oil. The action “Os vossos lucros VS O nosso clima” (Your profits vs. Our climate) underlined the series of political choices by various government entities to favor the fossil fuel industry and to destroy the climate. In this action, the fossil fuel industry payed a visit to the ministry to pay for its services.

Yet this is not the end of the story. On August 4th, another Parar o Furo action is set in a beach next to Lisbon where hundreds will gather for an aereal art action.

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Then in September 8th, just one week before the set date of the drill and together with the world, Portugal will Rise For Climate, Jobs and Justice. Marches in Lisbon and Porto are already confirmed and more information can be found at http://www.salvaroclima.pt .

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The website http://www.pararofuro.pt has detailed information in English about the context, has an action map, and sends newsletters (in Portuguese and English) regularly.