This FAQ was written for to inform people of our climate action in the Amsterdam Coal Harbour in june 2017, and who we are. Most of this is still true, but this has not been updated for our plan for Groningen and Gas, for August 24-31 2018.
Q: Who are we?
A: We are a group of concerned citizens who stand up for climate justice. We are part of a global movement against the climate destruction wrecked by the fossil industry. CODE RED is a grassroots movement in which everyone can participate; also, everyone has a voice and a say in the decision-making process. We strive to build a diverse movement. We are completely independent and do not take money from sponsors.
Our goal is to stop climate change and create a world in which people live in harmony with each other and with nature. Please also see our manifesto for an answer to this question.
Q: What are we going to do?
A: From the 22nd until the 26th of June we are organising an informal campsite/climate camp in the Port of Amsterdam. On Saturday the 24th of June there will be a day of action during which we will carry out acts of civil disobedience aiming to disturb business as usual in the fossil fuel industry in the Port of Amsterdam.
Q: The Paris Agreement has been signed, is an action like this still necessary?
A: The Paris Agreement is too little too late. No binding agreements were made in Paris, and the plans that individual countries have made so far are by far not enough to curb climate change. It is clear that no binding agreements were made: The Dutch government keeps putting off its responsibility to tackle climate change.
Moreover, the Paris Agreement was only possible because of pressure from below. If there hadn’t been a movement that stood up for climate justice everywhere in the world, the Agreement would not have been half as powerful. Therefore, it is and will remain of utmost importance to keep exerting pressure from below.
Q: But hasn’t the port decided to become coal-free? Why do you still continue?
A: The port of Amsterdam will become coal-free in 2030. This is way too late if we want to curb climate change. Moreover, it is not only about coal, but also about gas, oil and petrol. The Amsterdam port is the biggest petrol port in the world; this has to change quickly if we want to save the climate. Coal might be dealt with, but the port keeps expanding to facilitate other fossil fuels.
Q: Being an activist is fine, but civil disobedience means breaking the law. Aren’t you just criminals?
A: We have consciously chosen for civil disobedience, and for good reason. The climate problem is a very severe problem which threatens the lives of billions of people. Politicians and corporations have not taken any action worth mentioning to counter this enormous threat in the past 30 years. That’s why we think it is necessary and justified to, within certain limits and as little as possible, break the law. It is about the welfare and the life of people and nature, now and especially in the future.
Beside that it should be said that many collectives look for the limits of the law, and often break them systematically if a goal can be achieved this way. For corporations, such behaviour in order to obtain more profit is considered completely acceptable. What should be completely illegal is to allow the private profit of a few ruin the lives of billions and destroy our planet.
Q: How will you get there? Probably in a car running on petrol?
A: We advise everyone to come by bike. The camp is within cycling distance from Amsterdam Sloterdijk station, so if you have a car you can leave it at home. Beside this we should also realise that it doesn’t matter that much if you leave your car at home for a day, or use energy-saving light bulbs, or recycle paper. Of course this should be done! But it is nonsense to think that we can save the climate this way while the industry keeps pumping more and more CO2 into the air and we are losing kilometres of rainforest each day. We need systemic changes first and foremost.
Q: What exactly will you be doing on the 24th of June?
A: With our bodies we will disturb business as usual for the fossil fuel industry in the port of Amsterdam. There might be police between us and our target. In that case we will move along or through this. We will do this as safely as possible: calmy and without violence. We will also react calmly to possible escalations of the police and security employees. We will not break anything. You can also read our action agreement which outlines what we do hope and don’t hope to achieve.
Q: Are there any risks?
A: Yes, unfortunately there are risks. We are also organising trainings/workshops about the legal risks and about your rights at the camp. Make sure you participate in one of these trainings if you want to participate in the action, because it is important to know your rights!
We are well-prepared and we have an entire legal team behind us in case something happens. And remember: we are not alone! The bigger our numbers, the safer we will be.
Q: How can I participate?
A: You can participate by being at Amsterdam Sloterdijk station on Thursday the 22nd of June at 11:00 AM. There, you will be received and directed to the place where we will build the camp. In order for the camp to succeed, it is important that it is built up quickly. Therefore, it is important that many people participate right from the beginning.
If you cannot be there from the beginning, you can also join later. As soon as the camp has been built, the location will be published on our website and on social media. Try not to miss the Friday at the camp! The action will start very early on Saturday morning and it is essential that many of us prepare ourselves together on Friday – by doing an action training, attending a legal workshop, and forming so-called affinity groups. The better prepared you are, the easier it will be to enjoy a good action together with others.
Q: I do not want to participate in the action, but I do think it is a good initiative. Can I help in any other way?
A: Of course! CODE ROOD aims to give a role to everyone who wants to participate. You can always come to the camp to help with cooking or cleaning, or simply to attend a lecture. Also, a legal demonstration has been scheduled which you can take part in. If you want to stay at home, you can donate and support us through social media.
Q: What is an affinity group?
A: An affinity group is a group of four to eight people who have made agreements with each other beforehand about what they do and what they don’t want to do during an action. You trust everyone in the group and look after each other’s wellbeing. Affinity groups have two aims during an action: 1) it is the best way to protect a person during actions, because there are people who look after you and with whom you can discuss your worries, and 2) it is an unmissable way to take decisions in big groups. In a small groups you can take a decision quickly, and a delegate of the group can then share the decision and discuss this with delegates of other groups. This is called a spokes council.
Here is a list of subjects and questions to discuss and talk about with your group before the action:
- What are your goals and what do you hope to accomplish?
- What do you hope that will happen?
- What do you hope will not happen?
- How can you support each other during the action?
- What are your personal boundaries, regarding how far you want to go during the action?
- What is the name of your group (this is used to quickly find each other again)
- Are there medical or psychiatric aspects that you want to share?
- Find a buddy (for the buddy system)
Q: Can I remain anonymous?
A: At the camp we will have rules about taking pictures. During the action we will be wearing an outfit to make anonymity easier. Our photographers will try not to picture people recognizably, but keep in mind that other media will also join us.
Q: I am not 18 yet, can I participate?
A: Yes, of course! However, it is wise to discuss this with your parents.