Organizing and Equity Principles
Adopted on March 31st 2020
We are in a climate emergency.
Stop the Money Pipeline coalition accelerates the movement to end Wall Street’s complicity in destroying our planet and harming our communities by demanding that banks, asset managers, institutional investors and insurance companies stop financing, investing in, and insuring climate destruction.
We seek to end the financing of fossil fuels, fossil fuel industries, fossil fuel infrastructure, and deforestation. We demand that financial institutions respect human rights, Indigenous rights and sovereignty, and uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Our goal is to highlight the responsibility of the financial industry to transition our economy away from fossil fuel disaster and toward a just, regenerative economy. We work to transform how money flows and restore our severed relationship with the earth.
Now is the time to end extreme corporate control that upholds systems of oppression and mass inequities. In our movement and escalation, we commit to disrupt and transform systems of oppression including: racism, white supremacy, patriarchy, transphobia, heteronormativity, ableism, classism, colonialism, imperialism, sexism, anti-Blackness, and more. We know and have experienced the interrelated workings of environmental injustice and racial injustice that marginalize and harm people and groups in our communities, campaigns and coalition.
Stop The Money Pipeline coalition recognizes that communities most disproportionately impacted by the oppressive and often deadly results of climate change — particularly Black, Indigenous, people of color, and low income communities — are also driving the frontlines of solutions to the climate crisis. Our organizing builds on the principles of visionary leaders before us. We strive to uphold similar values from the Bali Principles of Climate Justice and the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing.
Our coalition is multi-faceted and welcomes EVERYONE into the movement. We aspire to center equity, create a space for respectful interactions, relationship building and work towards a just society. In this work, we commit to the following:
- Solidarity. We organize with mutual respect, integrity, and dignity. We support each other’s work because we depend on one another for collective liberation.
Collective decision-making. Communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change — Black, Indigenous, and additional communities of color — are centered when making decisions, to ensure actions taken are just and lead to equitable outcomes. Along with deep consultation, this racial equity filter provides guidelines for how to center the voices of those who are disproportionately harmed by climate change and environmental racism.
- Distribution of power and labor. We believe that concentration of power is dangerous in any context, in the financial system and in our own coalition. We share resources and commit to changing the rules that govern how this work is resourced in order to more equitably advance the collective vision. Ensuring that both power and labor are distributed, not concentrated, supports our collective resilience.
- Power distribution must be shared. People of privilege need to be aware of their positional power by actively breaking down barriers and relinquishing power in favor of equity among members of the coalition.
- Racial and economic justice movements have exposed exploitative and extractive practices within capitalism. We cannot dismantle racism and patriarchy in a system that exploits people for profit. We must actively build across movements for economic and environmental justice.
- Uplift Indigenous and frontline voices in strategy, messaging, and decision-making. History has proven that Indigenous and frontline communities are critical stewards of our earth and important organizers against climate change. We commit to do the following:
- Recognize, uphold and respect Tribal sovereignty and treaty rights as supreme law of the land.
- Assert the right of Indigenous peoples and local communities to say no to any fossil fuel activity, and/or participate effectively at every level of decision-making, following the strict enforcement principles of free, prior and informed consent.
- Affirm the right of youth as leaders and equal partners in the movement to address climate change and its associated impacts.
- Affirm women’s rights and women as leaders in the movement to address climate change and its associated impacts.
- Uplift LGBTQI communities and individuals who are often neglected in evacuation and emergency shelter plans, and face greater challenges when searching for new housing and employment, due to discrimination.
- Center the needs of people with disabilities throughout event planning and coalition decision making processes.
- Grassroots solutions and policy change.
- Fossil fuel corporations profit by exploiting natural resources, human labor, and our communities— particularly those of Black, Indigenous, People of Color and frontline communities. We aim to hold these corporations responsible for their actions and support a just and equitable transition for workers and communities.
- Direct action and escalation as a means to build people power. We believe in the just and meaningful change through direct action from grassroots community organizing. We engage in nonviolent direct action that disrupts morally unjust laws; and does not inflict violence on people or animals. We do not condone property destruction. We also recognize that, due to systemic oppression, our leaders of color and communities of color risk more by engaging in nonviolent direct action.
- Introspection of self. Justice, equity, diversity and inclusion work is an everyday practice of applying the equity lens throughout our daily actions; it is a way of life. Proactive self-study is recommended.
- We each carry bias about attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. Implicit bias in individual interactions can be addressed and countered if we become aware of our bias and take actions to redirect our responses.
- Intention is not the same as impact. Good intentions can still have a damaging impact. Tend to the impact of a situation.
- Actively work to acknowledge, apologize, and learn from our own mistakes without retreating. This practice is often uncomfortable; don’t be afraid to make mistakes, we are encouraged to be more vulnerable than you usually are in doing this work. Try to name what is not being said, even if others don’t immediately see the equity issues that you see.
To white organizers and advocates:
The US climate movement’s history of exclusion, white privilege, and the perpetuation of systems of oppression is unacceptable. It is important to acknowledge the exclusion and racism within the history of environmentalism and intentionally pivot away from tokenism, patronization and false solutions that perpetuate colonialism, Eurocentrism, and inequity. White organizers and advocates must face this legacy and current manifestation of racism and inequality to transform them. We work to actively pivot away from white centered culture to a collaborative and equitable working relationship. Specifically, we call on white organizers and advocates to:
- Organize with an intersectional lens: social, economic, racial, and environmental issues are interconnected and interdependent.
- Learn about and understand systems of oppression and challenge the power structures that support those systems and create injustices.
- Follow the leadership of, listen to, learn from, and amplify the voices of Black, Indigenous, people of color and frontline communities.
- Examine your resources and privileges; utilize them thoughtfully, respectfully, honestly, and transparently.
- Decenter whiteness in leadership by consciously taking up less space-physically, in decision making, strategy creation, media and/or resource distribution.
A Vision for a New Economy
We work toward a just transition from our extractive economy to a regenerative, inclusive, and democratic one. We envision a financial system with increased democratic governance and accountability to ALL stakeholders. Our collective survival — the survival of humanity and the ecosystems we live in — will require a new financial system that:
- Prioritizes people and planet above profits.
- Meets the needs of communities and the planet.
- Repairs harms that climate disaster financing and investments have caused to surrounding communities—particularly those of Indigenous, Black, people of color, and frontline communities.
- Repairs harms that climate disaster financing and investments have done to rivers, forests, oceans, and other life-sustaining ecosystems.
The coalition works toward not only the divestment and defunding of destructive fossil fuel industries, but also toward the reinvestment of resources to redirect money to an economy that prioritizes people over profit. Reinvestment is crucial in our campaign to ensure that money moved out of fossil fuels is not reinvested into equally exploitative industries. Divested resources must be reinvested to repair the harm done by fossil fuel corporations and to redirect power and resources back to local neighborhoods and communities.
Deep gratitude and acknowledgements to the authors of the Bali Principles of Climate Justice, The Jemez Principles, Divest Ed Guiding Principles & Fossil Fuel Divestment Day Op-ED, & the BlackRock’s Big Problem Campaign for sharing their vision.
The Stop the Money Pipeline coalition recognizes that continued work on racial justice, equity, diversity and inclusion is an ongoing process and body of work. We commit to implement and re-evaluate the impact of the coalition work. We welcome feedback, suggestions, and amendments to this statement of organizing and equity principles.