Our democracy should represent the interests of the people — interests like a safe climate and healthy environment. But today, our democracy is in peril as a handful of extremist politicians and corporations put up barriers to silence our voices based on what we look like or where we live. Following a record-setting 2020 election with an unprecedented number of votes cast, we have seen efforts to overturn a free and fair election, violent attack on peaceful transition of power, and a coordinated surge in racist voter suppression. This faction of extremist politicians who want nothing more than to return to the Jim Crow era will stop at nothing to gain power.
Corporate attacks on every manner of dissent are coming from all directions. Corporations and special interests are driving efforts to undermine our democracy by contributing to extremist lawmakers sponsoring racist voter suppression and anti-protest bills. Another particularly chilling strategy is the filing of frivolous lawsuits that attack First Amendment protected activity, referred to as SLAPPs or Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation.
These civil suits and the trumped up criminal penalties for protest are really two sides of the same coin. Both are tactics used by the same corporate actors to quash dissent. As people have become more aware of the impacts of climate change, the resistance has gotten stronger. So in a desperate attempt to disrupt our movements, extractive industries have responded by retaliating against critics through SLAPPs and anti-protest laws targeting environmental activists.
The right to protest is not only Constitutionally protected, it is also core part of who Greenpeace is and our theory of change. Greenpeace was founded in an act of protest and will vigorously fight to protect the right to peaceful protest to win our environmental goals.
We know that protests prevent pollution! The same corporations and corporate-captured politicians who are undermining environmental and public health are also attempting to restrict civil society’s right to protest these harms. They know that public opposition is a powerful force opposing their environmentally destructive practices and they seek to eliminate it. We will not let them!
Communities across the U.S. are dealing with the devastating impacts of climate change and it should be easy to pass laws that cut carbon pollution, propel renewable energy, and support vulnerable communities. Yet, we see politicians block reform on climate change time and again and the reason why is simple — the fossil fuel industry is spending millions of dollars on politicians who will support their bottom line on Capitol Hill.
We cannot protect our health and environment without a truly functioning democracy that works for all, especially BIPOC communities who historically bear the heaviest burden of pollution and voter suppression.
We urgently need a people-powered democracy. Defending freedom of speech, protest, dissent, and restoring and improving voting rights, are the first steps along that path. Unless the people have a meaningful check on power, all our other freedoms continue to be put at risk. By unleashing the power of our volunteers and supporters to push corporations, make our voices heard on Capitol Hill, take to the streets in defense of communities, and participate in creative protest, we can build a better future together.
This is how we can create a democracy that is truly of, by, and for the people.
We won’t let anyone destroy what generations of Americans have built. History has shown that people like YOU are the driving force behind change. Now is the time to fight for what you believe in. We will rise, we will resist, we will renew.
Legal Bullying Tactics: What is a SLAPP lawsuit?
Money in politics and voter suppression have thrown our political ecosystem out of balance. Corporations have claimed too much power, and it’s wreaking havoc on our environment. There’s only one thing that can fix this: people like you.