Highlights from Copenhagen | by MG

Highlights from Copenhagen

by Gopal Dayaneni (edited by Michelle Mascarenhas-Swan)

December 2009

Here are some highlights on the work of the delegation & my work here so far:

1) “No Decisions About Us Without Us!”

They are severely restricting access to the Bella Center for Civil Society as of today, and the restrictions on badges (and the requirement for secondary badges) means that many accredited delegations from impacted communities, north and south, are excluded from the process. There will be an action today and a press conference about the restricted access, and we are organizing folks under the message, “No Decisions About Us Without Us.”


Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the MAJOR action, called RECLAIM POWER. Folks from outside will march to the Bella center (COP) and come up to, and possibly through, the gate to meet a civil society and country delegate walk-out of the talks to make a “Peoples’ Assembly”. At the front of the march to the Bella center will be southern peoples and other impacted peoples who are accredited and not allowed access. This is the Seattle-ing of Copenhagen.

Remember, if Parties of Conference walk out (that means country delegates) the whole thing comes to a halt, because it is a consensus process. We think we have several southern countries.

If we frame the collapse, we build our power moving forward. If we frame the collapse, we have a year to build up our base, and support the work of our allies who are engaged in all the processes. What we can move, or stop, in the COP is one way to measure our power. Here, you can’t talk about climate without talking about Climate Justice. For most, that means try to take away it’s meaning. But it has also shifted the debate significantly. Equity is central. Even mainstream NGOs are talking about debt. Stern was forced to say “climate debt” which is incredible, even if to deny it (you can not deny a frame without evoking it first).

Nothing good will come from this COP, so the question is who gets to frame the collapse. Do we get to frame it as Civil Society and Southern Countries say, “We won’t settle for Death.”  or will Northern countries blame the collapse on “China and the G77.” Or will the rich countries cobble together a bad deal that is a Political Agreement and not a legally binding treaty, and then say, “we did it,” when in fact they have done nothing but waste more time.

3) Danish Cops are Keeping the People’s Voices Out!

The Danish cops are coming down very hard on demonstrations. Last night it is reported that Naomi Klein was tear gassed.

4) Towards Strategic Alignment of Movements

We helped pull together a meeting of POC/EJ/RJ forces form the US yesterday that was one of the first to get unity. We are sending a letter to Obama (as a vehicle) to talk about both that we stand with the south, and that “what is bad for the south is bad for us too.”  (see media advisory)

I gave a talk with Naomi Klein the other day and the whole delegation will be getting together with her later this week.
Oh- and we have been quite successful in moving this idea that there is a “south of the north” and some of the new messaging for Reclaim Power and other things have included the idea of “the global south and climate impacted communities in the north.”

We also pulled together a meeting last night of Global South folks and grassroots groups from the North (all people of color) to a meeting that included some amazing folks. That was very well attended, and I think good. We’ve been finding ways of engaging, for sure.

5)  WEDNESDAY MORNING (6:30am COP time)

We have the big RECLAIM POWER action this morning, in which we will march with La Via Campesina, Jubilee South and Focus on the Global South onto the Bella Center, and then, possible, through the gate and meet up with folks walking out from the inside.

Access to the COP has been severely restricted by the UN, resulting in the vast majority of people, even accredited people like us, being locked out of the process.

Okay, we have to move, we are anchoring one section of the mobilization.