On Saturday, September 8, DSA members took to the streets for San Francisco's Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice march to send a clear message: the fight against climate change cannot be won without meaningful system change. East Bay DSA's Climate and Environmental Justice Caucus (informally known as the EcoSocialists) showed up in full force, well-equipped with colorful signs and posters (handmade at preparatory art parties), chants, and copies of DSA's own “What is EcoSocialism?” zine.
The march was part of San Francisco's larger series of grassroots events surrounding the Global Climate Action Summit, set as a midpoint progress review between Paris 2015 and 2020. Within the larger Labor section of the march, DSA represented just one of the many varying interest and identity groups coming together to fight for one common goal. As Socialists (broadly) and EcoSocialists (more specifically), the DSA climate justice contingency advocated for the fight against climate change on the primary basis that environmental justice and accountability is intimately tied up with the liberation of working class people. In their words, the East Bay EcoSocialists' mission is "to fight for marginalized communities, end fossil fuel dependence while furthering climate mitigation and resiliency, and ensure a just, equitable future worth living in for everyone."
In total, over 30,000 march attendees were reported, drawing on activists and climate advocates from all around the Bay Area. This wide draw of the march gave East Bay DSA members the opportunity to meet, connect, and collaborate with comrades from San Francisco, Marin, and Santa Cruz.
Among the many political figures, community leaders, and activists in attendance, Jovanka Beckles' enthusiasm for climate justice helped her stand out in the crowd. Beckles is a candidate for California's 15th State Assembly District and East Bay DSA member whose platform emphasizes the need to move California towards 100% clean energy by 2035, launch a Green New Deal, and install a strong corporate pollution tax, among many other environmental goals in the interests of working people.
Nishikant Shorey, who helped found San Francisco DSA's Climate and Environmental Justice Committee, explained that he believes in the importance of a socialist standpoint in the fight against climate change "because the current government isn't interested in anything that's not a business-friendly, capitalist solution." In addition to serving as a point of environmental guidance for SF DSA, Shorey and SF DSA's EcoSocialists have their own charter advocating for the divestment of the city's pension fund from fossil fuels, to the move to public banking, awareness of ongoing environmental racism, and more.
Among DSA-member made signs and flags waving high, one handwritten sign read "INFINITE GROWTH WITH FINITE RESOURCES IS IMPOSSIBLE," paired with "2° WARMING = MASS MIGRATION & MASS DEATH" on the other side. Lex Von Klark, a high school senior and DSA member from Marin, loved this sign. "These are exactly my feelings," he said. He had just presented to his class on the same topic the day before and was excited to come out to the march after feeling cooped up in school. Von Klark noted that these issues of global warming, migration crises, and labor rights are all contingent on one another—he's also passionate about opening borders, abolishing ICE, and ending the exploitation of indigenous workers. The fight against climate change is just one important piece of the puzzle.