July 24th, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, the Party for Socialism and Liberation participated in the march for a Clean Energy Revolution in Philadelphia, Penn. Endorsed by hundreds of organizations, the March for a Clean Energy Revolution intended to “take our demands directly to elected leaders at the Democratic National Convention.”
The demands of the March organizers included a ban on fracking, keeping fossil fuels in the ground, environmental justice for all, especially communities of color disproportionately impacted by environmental heath risks and a transition to 100% renewable energy, including solar power. The march was not organized to support or oppose any particular political candidate. Rather, the organizers stated goal was to educate the public and politicians about the environmental impacts of fossil fuel usage.
However, among the crowd there was clear support for third party candidates. Even more apparent was an overwhelming pro-Bernie Sanders sentiment pulsing through the thousands of participants Marching through the scorching streets of Philadelphia. Many of these demonstrators expressed anger and frustration at the political system connecting environmental justice to issues reaching far beyond the vision of the march’s organizers.
For example, Liberation News spoke with two young women from Code Pink. They focused on the connection between climate change and war noting that, “the Pentagon has the largest carbon footprint of any single government agency in the world,” arguing that if “we want to save the environment, we have to end warfare.” They argued that while they do not “endorse any particular candidate,” they are “extremely critical of Hillary Clinton’s war hawkish tendencies and for her pattern of voting for conflict” citing her support for the war in Iraq, Libya and so on.
Another activist Liberation News spoke with traveled by himself from New Mexico to support Bernie Sanders and “the movement for environmental and social justice,” nothing that “its time we do something about all the oppression and injustice that is going on in this country and around the world.” Specifically, he argued that he supported Bernie because he “has been a champion for the environment for a long time, he has come out against
TPP, he is for a carbon tax, and he recognizes that climate change is an urgent problem facing humanity.” Like many people who have been energized by the Sanders campaign, he commented how he began self-identifying as a “democratic socialist” when he became a Sanders supporter.
Many other participants Liberation News spoke with expressed similar sentiments and disillusionment with the Democratic Party and the entire political process and system over similar issues from rigged elections, war, climate change to disdain for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Throughout the march and rally the Party for Socialism and Liberation continued to attract many new supporters with its message that it is ultimately capitalism has not only pushed the environment to the brick of destruction, but rendered more and more people and communities impoverished, imprisoned, and left behind.