Tuesday, September 19, 2023


This weekend was the anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, and I had the pleasure of gathering with several hundred of my comrades, old and new, at Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park) for a march to, and a civil disobedience action at, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This action, one among many in NYC this week targeting financiers of the climate crisis (BlackRock, KKR, Citibank, Bank of america), calls attention to the direct connection between Wall Street banks and their federal overseers, and ultimately President Biden himself.

A march in the pouring rain seemed somehow fitting in this time of progressively unpredictable climate events. I was thankful to be marching through water rather than wildfire.


Perhaps in a cynical attempt to abide by the stipulations of the recent NYCLU landmark legal victory concerning free free speech and police reform, a repeating pre-recorded message told us we were involved in an illegal action and subject to arrest as soon as the march stepped off onto Broadway. I attempted to move to the sidewalk as NYPD bore down on the march from the rear, but realizing that the sidewalk ahead was blocked with barricades, I continued down Broadway until the march could find its way onto an unobstructed sidewalk.

In a year that has already set a record for the number of $1bn(+) weather/climate disasters, it behooves us to think about who is footing the damages/recovery bill.



The passion of Occupy Wall Street was ignited by the unjust bailout of the banks who knowingly drove the world into the 2008 financial crisis. Now, the irresponsibility of the fossil fuel financiers is driving another crisis, this time with the future of the planet on the line. But here the public bailout is ongoing. Our taxes are effectively subsidizing the fossil fuel industry – if ExxonMobile, BP, Shell (Etc.) were forced to take responsibility for the damages/recovery caused by their industry, their profit margin would drop to zero overnight.

The Fed has the regulatory power to force the banks to stop financing fossil fuels, and that regulatory power, as the saying goes, that buck stops with Biden. The President can and must take action to address the climate emergency that is upon us. Our collective future depends on this action being taken – now. The youth I marched with are well aware of this. They know their future is in jeopardy, but they are also existentially aware that the fate of the planet itself is in question.

Sunday’s 75,000 person March To End Fossil Fuels culminated in a rally full of inspiring speakers and performers. Gen Z and Millennials will potentially comprise the largest voting block in 2024, with this in mind a powerful message for President Biden echoed from the stage:


We hold the power of the people, the power you need to win this election. If you want to win in 2024, if you do not want the blood of my generation to be on your hands, end fossil fuels.

Emma Buretta – Fridays for Future


Having seen, and written, about the failure of the Democratic party to secure the Presidency in 2016 through a shared power strategy that would have seen a Clinton/Sanders unity ticket, as well as the casual disregard of youth participation in 2004/2008 after Obama had secured the presidency, I have little faith in the party to concede to youth demands. In a contest between Trump and Biden, youth will once again be asked to hold their noses and vote for the lesser of two evils.

Will that precarious two party balance be upended in 2024 by a third evil – Climate Chaos? What would happen if these youth led movements explicitly stated that they would withhold their votes from Biden in 2024 if he does not address the climate emergency before the election? Does the DNC have the gall to risk another loss to Trump for the sake of going it alone?

Witnessing these youth led movements over the last week, I am delighted by the combination of resilience and irreverence. My favorite chant from Monday’s civil disobedience action was “No oil! No gas! Fossil fuels can kiss my ass!” I am delighted to see this generation rising and answering the call of mother earth. In the inimitable words of Arundhati Roy “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”   

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