for plausible non-violent actions of civil disobedience
The year 2018 was again one of the hottest years in the recorded history. Scientists agree that our planet is warming. They suggest that to avoid a catastrophic temperature increase of more than 1,5 degrees Celsius, it is crucial to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep at least 80% of all known fossil fuels under the surface. Nevertheless, fossil companies plan to extract and burn them.
After considering the urgency of the climate crisis and the long-term unwillingness of politicians to solve this problem, we again decided to take action. During the Czech Climate Camp, we are going to realize non-violent civil disobedience actions against one of the coal infrastructures in the region. For a moment, we will limit mining and coal burning – the most crucial sources of the climate change and its dramatic consequences.
The planned action is a publicly announced act of civil disobedience that is directed against one of the local coal infrastructures. Anyone can take part regardless their previous experience with similar protests. We are going to participate in legal demonstrations or in more daring non-violent actions of civil disobedience against one of the local coal infrastructures.
We will prepare for the action through a training, we will learn to organize ourselves in affinity groups, to take decisions non-hierarchically and to block effectively. We will behave calmly and non-violently. We won’t provoke escalation in order not to put anyone in danger. We will block and occupy only with our own bodies or equipment for passive resistance, we won’t destroy nor damage any equipment. We will go along the police lines or barriers and we will avoid any physical contact with the police and security guards. In all circumstances, we will follow the principles of nonviolence, we won’t react to any possible provocations. Our action is not directed against the workers of the coal industry, nor against police. The safety of all participants and workers will be our top priority. We will try to make the action as creative and accessible to broader public as possible.
All together we take the responsibility for the success of the action, we will support each other. Should anyone consciously break this action consensus, they cannot claim the right to support from the others in case of any legal, financial and other consequences of the action.
Initiative Občané za konec doby uhelné
[lit.: citizens for the end of the coal era]
Practical information about action days
What is going to happen during action days?
There’s going to be space for lots of different forms of nonviolent protest to end the coal era. Grassroots movement Limity jsme my together with locals from Zastavme elektrárnu Chvaletice [lit.: stop power plant Chvaletice] are organizing legally announced demonstration against weakened emission limits for the Chvaletice power plant and for end of the coal era. Our civil initiative Občané za konec doby uhelné [lit.: citizens for the end of the coal era] calls for nonviolent actions of civil disobedience which are supported by other ecological organizations, scientists, artists and other well-known individuals.
Is civil disobedience going to be included?
Civil disobedience is a common and widely used method to stand against unjust or untenable actions. By breaking the rules non-violently, we demonstrate that we are ready to bear the consequences of breaking the law in order to point out very serious problem ignored by the political and legislative powers. It is generally agreed upon that humans cause the climate change and that the emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels need to be strictly reduced.
It is also undeniable that the climate change negatively affects millions of people, mainly those who contributed to the change the least. The extraction and fossil fuel burning have a negative effect on the Czech landscape and damages the health of thousands of people. The Czech and foreign politicians do not search for solutions. Instead they give empty promises and create environment that allows further extraction and burning of fossil fuels, extension of mines and selling of old power plants to coal barons. The Paris climate conference brought an agreement to keep the warming under 1,5 degrees Celsius but it doesn’t appear to be actively implemented.
That is an unbearable injustice. To peacefully stand against the coal infrastructure might mean to commit a minor offense. However, it is legitimate and even necessary within the current political situation. It means to uphold the long tradition of civil disobedience which places individual consciousness above formal legislation as was the case of Charter 77 or the pre-revolution demonstrations for clean air in North Bohemia.
What is the link between the camp and the civil disobedience action?
Klimakemp is a place that gives its participants space for coordination, networking and autonomous civil action. This year’s actions of civil disobedience have been called for by our initiative Občasné za konec doby uhelné [lit.: citizens for the end of the coal era]. However, we plead that all participants follow the agreed and approved action consensus. It was established non-hierarchically through a discussion among people participating on preparations of direct actions. It specifies the conditions in which they are ready to take action themselves. Should anyone ignore the consensus, they cannot count on our support in their actions or in dealing with the consequences.
I don’t want to take part in civil disobedience. Can I join the camp?
Sure! As we mentioned before, there’s going to be a legal demonstrations against weakened emission limits for coal barons (private fossil business owners), climate change, fossil fuels and for climate justice near Chvaletice power plant. There will be space for anyone to voice their opinion. Moreover, Klimakemp needs someone to keep everything going even during action weekend but to support all protesters as well in case you don’t want to participate in any action.
I have never participated in civil disobedience
We want people in the Czech Republic join actions of civil disobedience. We plan several training sessions during the camp. They will provide the participants with the necessary preparation. Everyone should be given a chance to gain the knowledge necessary for similar actions from more experienced participants.
What is an affinity group? Should I have to join one?
It is better to participate in legal demonstrations or civil disobedience actions in a group of four to ten people for its better coordination. Such groups are called affinity groups. Their members can trust each other, they take care of one another and they take common decisions and actions. It is mostly important to have a common goal. Every affinity group can send their delegates with group’s suggestions to collective plenary. The plenary will decide on further collective actions by consensus. We recommend forming an affinity group before the camp, but there should be space to form yours during the camp. Don’t hesitate to ask someone at the camp to help you with the non-hierarchical organization. Its practical use is one of the Klimakemp goals.
What to do in case of civil disobedience?
We ask everyone who wants to take part in civil disobedience to follow the action consensus and to strictly avoid violence. Take care of your affinity group, mainly of one of its members who you are paired with as a buddy.
What are the possible legal consequences?
It is probable that you will commit a minor offense by civil disobedience – mainly disobeying a police call. That can lead to up-to-48-hour detention and a fine. Should you get arrested during the camp, be sure that you won’t be left alone – the other participants will do their best to achieve your release and they will help you to bear the consequences.
One part of the camp will be an autonomous legal aid run by voluntary civil team of lawyers whose services will be available to everyone following action consensus. It’s possible to contact them via email firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone number +420 910 128 501. We are going to publish a legal analysis of the most common offenses that could be committed during the camp.
If you study the law or you are a lawyer and you’d like to join the team, please send an email to legal team.
What if something happens to me at the camp or the events?
Everyone will take care of everyone at Klimakemp. There will also be a medical team ready to help if needed. If you study medicine or you are a paramedic, please send an email to Limity jsme my if you want to join the team.