SUMMARIES OF THE DISCUSSION GROUPS

This is a document that summarises 32 discussions between 400 activists at the FFF European meeting in Torino in July 2022. Click on the button related to the topic you are interested in to read the report! You can also download the whole document by clicking here.

9486FCD9-3C79-43E8-BC49-5A13D20EE223_1_105_c.jpeg

Discussion groups

INTERNAL DISCUSSIONS (July 26th and 27th)

These discussions, which took place over the first two days of the meeting, focus mainly on issues and problems internal to the organisation and functioning of the Fridays For Future movement. The four topics were selected on the basis of the suggestions we received via the form, via the messages and via the calls.

 

1. DECOLONISATION PRACTICES WITHIN FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE

Summary

As a foreword, even if MAPA is a global concept that includes many minorized communities, these sessions have focused on North-South relationships and BIPOC people. As MAPA, we mean most affected people and areas and as BIPOC we mean black, indigenous and people of colour.

 

The session started with inputs from Luìsa Santi (Brasil), Patience Nabukalu (Uganda), Ednell Messia (Venezuela), Eric Damien (Kenya), Micheline Sallata (Indonesia) and Nansedalia Ramirez (Mexico). They highlighted the importance of recognising our responsibilities rather than our guilt about colonisation and its outcomes. They emphasised the importance of working with MAPAs rather than for them. Many environmental movements existed in the Global South before Fridays for Future, they deserve the same attention as European-led movements. They called for an antiracist perspective on climate justice, the inclusion of BIPOC people in local groups, the sharing of resources and a better representation of MAPA projects in the media. They insisted on the necessity to decolonise the point of view of European activists and reporters/journalists on MAPA projects: We are not doing them a favour by giving them space or support, we are giving them back what they deserve.

Participants have discussed the importance of collaborating with MAPA people in decision-making processes as equals. They emphasised the need to listen to their needs and reflections seriously and take it into account. On the one hand, it’s important to get in touch with MAPA people living in the Global South to learn from their projects and eventually work with them on making it known in European countries. The idea of twin district long-term collaboration between a European local group and a Global South local group has been raised. On the other hand, we must remember that there are BIPOC people living in European countries, we have to make an effort on including them and supporting their fights.

There is a need for better understanding between Global South and Global North. The work of MAPA is not known enough in the Global North and their voice should be amplified. When using our media network, we must ensure BIPOC people are given the place they deserve to express their points. We should be aware not to take over their fight and take all the attention. Moreover, we should highly avoid the white saviorism mindset and recognise the strength of mutual collaboration with MAPA people.

As activists from the Global North, we should attack those who are based on our continent and responsible for terrible projects in the Global South. We should use events happening in Europe to talk about what MAPA communities are going through. When supporting MAPA projects, we should consider the variety of needs of the different MAPA communities.

Standing in solidarity with MAPA and BIPOC people and projects means sharing resources as well. This might be direct financial resources, and also the knowledge and power to be able to access their own funding and run campaigns in the global north. It means putting activists in touch with the Global North network of associations, foundations, activist groups, social media and press.

Including BIPOC people in our movements, needs the creation of safe spaces. The usage of an adapted language is key to reach BIPOC communities. Taking part in BIPOC people struggles in local areas such as demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism is a key point of local collaboration with non-white communities. In such movements, we should embrace our role as allies, not as stakeholders. Repression targeted against BIPOC people must be considered when planning an action.

Racism is everywhere. It is necessary to call out the racist behaviours in our environments and movements. We must take it seriously when BIPOC people call out racist behaviour and have systems in place to deal with transgressions that centre the needs of the individual or individuals affected. The anti-racist education must not be only handled by BIPOC people - Education should have resources, time and funding invested in it, especially if the work is being done by BIPOC organsiers. We should make the effort to educate ourselves and to educate each other. Moreover, we should highly avoid tokenizing MAPA activists and consider one person representative of an entire community. Decolonization happens at every scale: international movement, national, local group and most importantly at a personal level for each activist. In this process, acknowledging our privileged position and our own bias is key

Decolonialism is a constant process and must be treated as such. It is also critical that European movements now translate theory and discussions into action. 

 

Full notes of the session:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/14DhrKm5YcdO_YXw5bZ8Vv_4cXLpOaRTJyXv9vYud13c/edit?usp=sharing 

2. RELATIONSHIP WITH THE MEDIA

SUMMARY

1. How can we spread the stories and battles being fought in MAPA countries?

  • Structure of information with MAPA and social media – build a bridge to facilitate the contact between MAPA and media.

  • Solidarity with MAPA: colonialist situations on the part of the global north. How can European citizens do something for the MAPA countries in European territory: pointing at fossil fuel companies.

  • Radicality of our discourses, avoiding simple narratives of media as “there is no planet b” or focus on individual actions. Simultaneously, to avoid a narrative of collapse, we need people to believe in change and that they have power to change.

  • Provide guidelines on what to do or not to do (e.g., avoid victimisation).

  • In Narratives, we have agreed to be more disruptive and radical, but pay attention that we won’t get criminalized.

 

2. How can we highlight that the climate crisis is a social crisis?

  • Finding common ground, since people don’t know the connections between different issues and the climate crisis.

  • Invite different movements to our strikes to show them how their fights are also climate fights. Not only ‘polar bears are dying’ but also we, the people, are suffering and dying. “There are no separate jars, but a big bowl made of several flavours. To have a good dinner, we need all of them combined”

 

3. How we can draw more attention to the climate emergency? 

  • Means of action: talking to students in schools, workshops on how to repair a bike or do yoga, theatre, election programs– newspaper articles to comment on them. Using TikTok and twitter → new people to listen to us.

  • More disruptive actions. Lines that divide radical and less radical actions are different in each country. If it helps, doing disruptive actions can bring more media attention.

  • Changing what you post on each media to adapt to its style.

  • If we have a Message more disruptive and radical, with less individual action and more collective action political responsibility (also narrative or actual problems).

  • Social Media: More communication or coordination structure in our Social Media

 

4. How can we find a balance in our radicality?

  • We want to reach people who can join us to continue activism and bring forth our demands, but we also want institutions to listen.

  • We can have a benefit in being seen as “cute” so they pass us the mic, and then we say what we want (radical)

  • we can have an anti-capitalist, decoloniality and radical narrative by saying radical words according to the context (e.g., in a school that is possible, in another context you may need to change vocabulary a bit but agree on the content, which is actually anti-capitalist, without framing it as anti-capitalism)

  • While we are in FFF, we can still participate in disruptive actions organised by other groups

 

5. How do we represent ourselves?

  • FFF is now represented by people from western/Northern Europe who are in contact with journalists directly and release interviews without the consent of the movement. 

  • We want to avoid a personalization of our movement

  • Possible solutions: create a list with names of people willing to turn and speak to the media. Pay attention to diversity there (such as gender balance or from which region).

  • Spokespersons elected in limited time periods

  • Common nicknames that the media refer to, but the person actually changes.

  • More exchange between the different countries and how they are solving this problem.

 

3. INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION BETWEEN DIFFERENT CHAPTERS OF THE MOVEMENT

SUMMARY

Most of the time in our movement the western and eastern Europe are considered the same, just EUROPE. But this is not really true. Our backgrounds, our history and our cultures are different in many ways. Most of the income from EE (Easten Europe) countries are going away to WE (Western Europe) and not back to our communities. Democracy as you know it is much younger than WE democracies and we need to fight for our voices to be heard again and again. Some of our countries are undemocratic at all. In the past we were facing oppression from many sides and for some of us this oppression didn't go away. When Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, our lives changed a lot. 

 

There are differences and diversities between WE and EE. But we still believe that our diversity could be our strength. 

 

To address the problem of cooperation between WE and EE, but also global cooperation all over the world and especially with those most affected, we need to understand each other's context and we need to create more space where we can do that. To be able to cooperate internationally we need to ensure that all of the FFF chapters are involved and the processes are meeting all of our needs. We need to respect the diversity of backgrounds we come from and try to understand each other's ways and means of working, structures, strategies and processes. When working on an international level we should be aware that as many regions as possible are included and if not we need to take responsibility of ensuring that the outcome also meets their needs. All processes should be clear to everyone who is affected by them. People unorganised in groups should be considered as well. To cooperate well we also need to take in consideration countries that are not members of the EU. To make this happen we need to organise ourselves and have more and further discussions on our structures but also spend more time by creating interpersonal connections and friendships. Divided we fall, united we stand.

 

4. HORIZONTALITY AND TRANSPARENCY

SUMMARY

This summarises the 4 sessions that happened on the topic of horizontality and transparency.

What is the situation at the moment? 

International Level

There is not an explicit structure. There is a problem to find a process to legitimise a structure and this problem of not defining a clear structure has been going on for 2 years.

There is a need to find a structure that: 

  1. works for everyone 

  2. is inclusive for everyone 

  3. can evolve with the time/be updated. 

 

There are two kind of group: 

  • non decisional open groups, with lot of people, but also journalists (not secure)

  • working groups that make decisions 

 

Usually, a relatively small group of people who know each other from SMILE or other events do all the work. In this situation we have an inevitable centralization of power, with a bubble group forming.

There is also a problem with information flow. There are too many messages that are sent and having the structure organised on Telegram is complicated. 

 

National Level

Very different situations. Some hierarchies work better than others. Overall many local groups have faced the problem of people being dominant because of their media appearances or because of centralising all information. It’s hard to work horizontally when the outside world isn’t.  

 

Generally we need to spread an organisational culture, encouraging and facilitating learning processes for the activists of the movement, with webinars, feedback meetings, workshops and sharing of information, skills, contacts and experiences.


Complete summary of the discussions:

Summary of transparency and horizontality (w/ international cooperation)

 

Minutes from Room D4 discussion:
Horizontality and Transparency - Room D4

Input from the self-organized group 
From the groups transparency and horizontality emerged a group that wanted to keep working on the topic. The group came up with this document: Structure in FFF international  
In the closing plenary a temperature check was taken.

 
4E5C506B-EF08-4ACF-8EC8-10F4DD763318_1_105_c.jpeg
6D351852-4C65-44B4-B982-55FA3F30BCF2_1_105_c.jpeg

EXTERNAL DISCUSSIONS (July 27th and 28th)

These discussions, which will take place over the first two days of the meeting, focus more on issues and problems internal to the organisation and functioning of the Fridays For Future movement. The four topics were selected on the basis of the suggestions we received via the form, via the messages and via the calls.

 

5. DECOLONISATION, ANTI-CAPITALISM AND CLIMATE JUSTICE

Ideas from the first day of debate and answers to the main questions raised

  • Difficult for mapa people to come to spaces and share they knowledge and participate in debates.

  • MAPA people should be in the spot and they don’t.

  • We speak about ‘helping’ mapa people, but we should deconstruct our colonial mentality.

  • Decolonization is a whole way of resistance that comes from the global south.

Why is FFF a colonial space and which are the solutions?

Group 1:

  • White/european mindset → we are not thinking of what can happen to MAPA people if they attend a Global Strike.

  • Lack of awarenes of BIPOC and MAPA people.

  • We should think of MAPA people when we prepare a gs and others ways of action.

  • Workshops organized my MAPA people.

  • Be aware of our contexts, capacities and limitations (when to do global mobilizations and when to do local ones)

Group 2 (white perspective):

  • We still talk about “we” and “them”. → point on that: “maybe is interesting to keep in mind that we are not the same, they have very different and not priviledge reality”

  • European methods in the focus.

  • Fridays “for future”, but for MAPA is their present reality

  • Is our responsibility to share our knowledge.

  • Let MAPA choose narratives and implement it.

  • Not “helping”, take responsibility.

  • Try to have diversity in our actions.

Group 3:

  • Assuming european archetypes for all Mapa people.

  • Focus on colonial institutionalism

  • Focusing on priviledge people

  • saviorism looking outside, not inside.

  • Open to discomfort

  • Not exploiting MAPA voices.

Group 4:

  • FFF founded at the global north, and supported by global north media.

  • We have been raised in a colonial way, so everything we do could be colonialist.

  • Self-confrontation and collective shadow-work.

  • Make decolonization an overarching thing.

How is anticapitalism related to climate movement and decolonization?

Group 1:

  • Anticolonialism is agreed upon so is interseccionality

  • Neocolonial monetary dependence

Group 2:

  • The twin-birth of colonial capitalism

  • Anticapitalism as new unnamed imaginaries beyond Marx

Group 3:

  • Local networks and collective mindsets to deconstruct our mindset as a reaction to the neocolonial individualism

  • Connection between struggles of the 99% (workers, women, lgtbi+, BIPOC…)

  • Global solidarity

Group 4:

  • Climate movement has already been capitalised

  • Think about what developement as capitalism and growth.

  • We should center the conversations on decolonisalism and anticapitalism.

How do we make sure that decolonization doesn’t turn into white saviorism?

Group 1 :

  • Balance Global/Local

  • Share common experiences and resources

  • Including a MAPA perspective, not token

Group 2:

  • Listen before acting

  • Work in the European power centers

  • Comunicate directly

  • Act directly on conversation

Group 3:

  • Amplify voices, “not speak for the voiceless”

  • Aknowledge

Group 4:

  • Both sides can learn from each other → cooperation/knowledge sharing

  • exploitation has already happen, so think in terms of compensation/reparation → take responsibility

  • not imposing ourselves

  • see if there’s resistance from them.

Minutes from the discussions:

Report on Decolonisation, anti-capitalism and Climate Justice

6. PALESTINE IS A CLIMATE JUSTICE ISSUE

SUMMARY

Through this discussion we managed to answer the questions as to why Palestine is a climate justice issue, and why it is important to focus on people over trees. Social justice is part of climate justice, and Palestine’s resources are still being exploited, especially through the Israeli weapon industry, now making its way to Europe through Elbit in Sweden. Andres wanted to focus on how the state of Lebanon is also complicit in invisibilizing the Palestinian struggle, instead of speaking as though they were Palestinian.

 

For more context we can refer to the work of FFF South West Asia and North Africa (SWANA). The Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement is the only peaceful solution. Not endorsing it means, Lebanese might get in a war soon. Could we prevent it?

 

We concluded that the correct approach is for FFF and particularly FFF Germany to reconsider their position, by centering and not tokenizing MAPA people for their profit, and let them share their own stories, and for the rest to support us, and amplify our work. The media should not dictate what we can or cannot say.

 

This way will build a stronger movement is by understanding each other and advocating for the necessities of the people from the Most Affected People and Areas. Privileged activists should pay more attention and respect to us in these spaces, but also online.

 

Europeans should sign the ECI (or European Citizens Initiative) petition to stop trading with companies in Israeli settlements.

 

7. MEANS OF ACTION

SUMMARY

The sessions started with inputs from Swan Smithson (XR UK; England) and Gonçalo Santos Paulo (Occupy! End Fossil Fuel; Portugal). They both presented their movement. XR UK is a non-violent civil disobedience decentralised movement focused on system change. It is famous for blockading cities to bring attention to the climate crisis. Occupy! End Fossil Fuel is planning school and university occupation to put pressure on governments for divestment and stop the use of fossil fuels.

Participants agreed across both sessions that time for weekly Friday strikes has come to an end. These actions are not as effective as they used to be, do not get the media attention they used to and even not as radical. It has become harder to gather people to come to the strikes and exhausting for activists who are organising it. There is a common need for diversification in the means of actions and tactics used by the movement. However, as Friday Strikes are a part of our identity, we should keep doing them on an irregular basis. Global strikes are considered a good entry point and considered “safe space” for those who are not activists, or that cannot risk possible arrest but would like to support the movement/cause. 

 

The type of actions FFF chapters have done to date include various types of risk depending on geographic chapter and local group such as regular strikes, conference, civil disobedience, articles, open letters, disrupting conferences, blockades, occupations etc. 

 

Activists in FFF have mixed feelings on using a variety of tactics. Each local group is different and decides autonomously what suits them best in their context. On a personal level some feel they would like to take NVDA however they wish to protect the movement's image in the press and with political negotiations so would like it to be done in another name. On the other hand there was a strong wish to diversify tactics beyond strikes and another popular proposal to collaborate with unions and civil servants to all strike together.  

 

There was an acknowledgement of a need to work more collaboratively with other movements both in and beyond the climate movement, learn from them, appreciating their actions and results, ultimately collaboration should prevail over competition. 

Some local groups/chapters are already working collaboratively.  We could collaborate with other movements more by Climate camps, Climate concerts, Action workshops, cinema, more resources, more people. 

 

The variety of actions has boundaries that should not be crossed. First, we must acknowledge our movements have gained some credibility with political institutions in some countries. Going into too radical actions might make us lose this privileged discussion status with decision-makers. Radical actions might be worth conducting with other groups and movements. Second, if some level of violence is acceptable, it must not harm people, nor animals in any case. Moreover, we should consider the potential backlash and hate our actions might trigger. In this process, considering everybody we are disrupting is necessary. An effort for communication is essential for every group we disrupt. Third, we must consider that not everybody can take part in direct actions for personal, administrative, medical reasons, etc. Thus, the level of risk acceptable should be evaluated by each local group according to their local situation with authorities. Fourth, in collaborating with other groups, we should pay attention to them not stealing our image for their own profit.

 

Link to the full notes:

Means to action

 

8. COLLECTIVE STRATEGIES IN VIEW OF THE GLOBAL STRIKE

SUMMARY

First session was about finding the questions we need answers to in the second session. 

But what we agreed on was that we can’t fight globally on local problems, but connect the global narrative with local problems. 

Which brings us to our six key questions we discussed. 

 

1. How can we connect the global problem to the local one?

In this case, how can we integrate our hashtag #peoplenotprofit. We collected many different suggestions:

  • Give concrete examples for the global narrative. ask yourself: is a part of the supply chain of emitters in your region? Call them out!

  • Connect daily struggles of the people with the climate crisis, f.e. the energy crisis with fossil fuels

  • This led us to the third suggestion: show positive examples, like where is climate justice already in place or in process, so that people get an idea of the solutions

  • Because that is really important: #peoplenotprofit isn’t only a demand but also a statement: people have power, not profits. People constructed this narrative, people can take it down.

  • The problems are not the lack of solutions but will to widely implement them and we need to spread this awareness in all our regions with concrete examples

 

2. The second question asked about how the war in Ukraine affects our work, our narratives?
We realised, there are two things happening at the same time:

  • Some countries reactivate coal mines again without discussing the consequences on climate change

  • But the second development is that governments use the momentum to change to renewable energies to get independence. So our task is to connect the problem of the high energy costs and the renewables as a solution. These two shouldn’t be played out against each other but connected in one solution.

 

3. What might trigger people to get active and come to our actions?

  • Connect the ecological with the social problem

  • About the discussion of the effectiveness of strikes it’s important to remember:

→ the regularity counts

→ that we don’t want to be the enemy but the opposition that convinces people

  • Think about: what is so cool, that everyone wants to tell their friends be part of it and that can be different from region to region?

 

4. Then we asked ourselves: who do we need to connect with?

  • Simple answer: everyone who is on the ground of our values. That can be certain churches, or ngo’s or organisations that support refugees.

5. Which is also part of the fifth question: how can we foster intersectionality?

  • get in touch with other groups and fight together

  • call out the polluters of your river, and explain their connection to the climate crisis

  • make collaborations with other fights in workshops but also on strikes

6. To come to the last question: what other forms of action can we do? and what is our midterm-strategy?

  • also here there are a lot of different options but also here keep in mind:

  • is the action inclusive and for everyone available? We don’t want to exclude people!

  • We realized that a it’s really difficult to get a midterm strategy globally but for europe we agreed on probably focussing on energy and getting independent with renewables:

 

And about the radicality: it’s not a linear thing. It’s not getting more radical, the more laws your brake, radicality is a more dimensional thinking. Think about: Who could be doing what? At what time and where? A soft action coming from an unexpected direction can have a very big impact! 

 

So let’s keep thinking globally and respect our regional differences to tackle all the different problems connected to the same crisis!

 

Full Minutes:

Collective strategies