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Your activism isn’t activism if it’s not intersectional

In solidarity with Palestine

This is an opinion piece shared on the platforms of Regeneration 2030. The specific statements and opinions in the piece are the author’s own.

Author: Alva Danielsson

Photo credit: Rebecca Zanini/ReGeneration 2030

As a climate activist, I often get asked, “Do you make a difference?”. Sometimes it is journalists, referring to the 5 years of climate strikes that youth in Fridays For Future have done worldwide, wondering if we actually brought upon any changes. Sometimes it’s my family member at holiday dinners, trying to understand why I do what I do.

I usually have two answers to that question. I either respond by explaining how system change has been accomplished historically, and why social movements and people power are key to bringing on change. Or I simply ask the question back - do you think you are making a difference?

If you are being honest with yourself - are you?

What would you have done during the suffragette's fight for women’s rights?

Or during the apartheid regime in South Africa?

What would you have done during the uprising of a fascist regime,

or when your leaders were slowly narrowing your rights as citizens?

When we learn about, and talk about the horrors of our history, we ask ourselves, how could they let it happen?

All those people who were silent during times of injustice, why did they do nothing?

Well, this is it.

You’re doing it right now.

These past couple of weeks have really shown such passivity. Israel is currently carrying out a non-proportionate attack on the citizens of Palestine in the Gaza Strip, who according to both Amnesty and Human Rights Watch are living in an apartheid state. UN expert even warn that there is a risk of genocide and crimes against human rights.

This is a crucial time for us as global citizens to stand up for justice, demand a cease-fire, and condemn all war crimes and violence against civilians. The climate crisis is deeply connected to colonialism and oppression, and as a climate justice activist, it is obvious for me to stand up against all sorts of oppression. Those who contribute the least to the climate crisis are the ones most affected by it. It is rooted in the profit-based economic system that began burning fossil fuels at the beginning of the 1800s and simultaniosly exploiting natural resources and cheap labor in already marginalised communities. We will never solve the climate crisis without intersectionality and social justice. Building solidarity between climate movements and social movements is the only way to truly gather the people's power that will change this world for the better.

Photo credit: Rebecca Zanini/ReGeneration 2030

So ask yourself why you are hesitant to act.

Ask yourself why you don’t speak up.

If your activism only includes certain issues, it is not inclusive.

If your climate activism only includes the climate-related part of the crisis, it is not climate activism.

If you perceive the social issues, such as Palestine, as “complex”, and find it hard to take a stance, you need to educate yourself. It is your responsibility, as a privileged person, to learn about oppression. It is your responsibility to act.

Join your local demonstrations. Share sources and Palestinian voices on your social media. Talk to your family and friends about what is happening. Whatever you do, do not be silent.

The other week, when I participated in my local Fridays For Future climate strike, I carried a sign that said “When injustice is norm, resistance is duty”. One person asked me why I had that sign, instead of one of the usual climate- or fossil fuel-related signs that make up the majority of the messages on the strike in the town where I live. The answer is simple: if there is injustice, we need to act on it. As a citizen in one of the world's most privileged democracies, I have many rights, but also obligations. It is my obligation to use my democratic means to push for change. To use my voice, when so many are quiet.

I feel compelled to end this post on a positive note, and I’d like to do so by acknowledging everyone who is speaking up against the oppression and injustice right now. The hundreds of thousands who are marching on the streets, those who challenge the social media algorithms trying to silence their content, and those who simply speak about what’s happening. These conversations can be long, draining, hard, and uncomfortable, I know that myself. I also know that this fight might come at a cost. There is loads of criticism in mainstream media and on social media against the activists and movements who are speaking up. In some countries, demonstrations have even been banned, and despite this, people keep protesting. Check on each other, take care of yourselves, and continue the fight. See you on the streets.

Resources on Palestine

Resources on climate justice

Photo: Private

Author: Alva Danielsson

Alva Danielsson is a climate justice activist from Sweden, working as Movement Coordinator for ReGeneration 2030. They have a background in climate striking and organising concerts for climate justice, currently studying biology and geology at Umeå University.

Read more about the ReGeneration 2030 team here.

ReGeneration 2030 has a zero-tolerance policy on structurally-embedded discrimination at all our events, within all our structures, and during all activities.


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