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Statement on Amsterdam’s Climate March 2023

On Saturday November 12 2023, ASEED marched in the Decolonial Anti-Racist Block in the Climate March in Amsterdam under this year’s name “March for Climate and Justice”. Yet, Saturday’s events remind us that the connection between climate and justice needs to be made clear continuously.

The Climate March had invited Greta Thunberg to speak on stage, but during her speech, a man was let through security and violently grabbed the microphone from a speaking Greta, declaring: “I came here for a climate demonstration, not a political statement”. Greta had just spoken about the need for the climate movement to stand with all oppressed people. This happened after the organisers interrupted a Palestinian woman invited on stage by another speaker by muting her microphone mid-speech. Her speech was about the environmental harms of the current Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip and the ongoing occupation of Palestine.

This is not a stand-alone incident, but an example of the systematic exclusion of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) voices from the climate movement. Racism in the climate movement is reflected in the refusal to acknowledge the connection between environmental racism, colonial capitalism, social justice issues and the climate crisis. 

However, resistance and solidarity cannot be silenced. As the organisers denied the entry of the Climate Justice for Palestine Block, several blocks, organisations and people marched in solidarity bearing Palestinian flags and banners stating:

“Genocide and apartheid are killing people and our planet: No climate justice on occupied land”
“Free Palestine is a climate justice issue”
“The climate crisis is a colonial crisis”
“From West Papua to Palestine: Land back”
“Stop groen-kolonialisme. Kapitalisme = racisme. #FreePalestine”

The climate movement and the organisers of the climate march must recognise the real meaning of “climate justice” and stand with all oppressed people giving space for their voices. Because, as Chihiro Geuzebroek reminds us: “a climate march that does not want to stand with the most oppressed to topple a supremacist culture and dismantle the militarism that threatens our planet is not building a movement but a distraction.”

ASEED stands in solidarity with the Palestinian Liberation Struggle and the Palestinian speaker who was silenced at the Climate March, because climate and food justice cannot be achieved without the strength of BIPOC fighting for justice and dismantling the colonial capitalist roots of the climate and food crisis.

For more information about Saturday’s events and context about the Dutch climate movement, please read Chihiro Geuzebroek’s piece titled “Why is Greta unsafe on the stage of the climate march?” (in Dutch) here.