‘Squad’ member Rashida Tlaib urges eco-activists to be ‘much more aggressive’ in a secret


Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has urged climate activists to be ‘much more aggressive’ as they plan a campaign of blocking highways and chaotic protests later this summer, DailyMail.com can reveal.

DailyMail.com gained access to private talks in which Tlaib, a member of Congress‘s leftist ‘Squad,’ gave a pep talk to some 125 hardliners from Climate Defiance, Declare Emergency and other environmental groups.

The activists have already blocked US highways, vandalized an artwork in Washington, and heckled politicians at speaking engagements. They’re understood to be plotting much larger European-style climate protests later this summer.

‘We have to be much more aggressive in regard to fossil fuel expansions,’ Tlaib, a Detroit Democrat, told the online gathering.

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, pictured at an oil pipeline protest at the White House in June, wants to see 'more aggressive' climate change protests

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, pictured at an oil pipeline protest at the White House in June, wants to see ‘more aggressive’ climate change protests 

Declare Emergency protestors Tim Martin (left) and Joanna Smith, both 53, face jail time for daubing red and black paint on the case protecting Edgar Degas' Little Dancer Aged Fourteen at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, in April

Declare Emergency protestors Tim Martin (left) and Joanna Smith, both 53, face jail time for daubing red and black paint on the case protecting Edgar Degas’ Little Dancer Aged Fourteen at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, in April

‘If we don’t get the policies we need, if our legislative process is failing us, then direct action gets the goods.’

Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, spoke as more smoke from Canadian wildfires drifted across New York City and other parts of the US northeast in the latest ominous sign of unchecked global warming.

Roger Hallam helped launch Extinction Rebellion and Declare Emergency

Roger Hallam helped launch Extinction Rebellion and Declare Emergency

The congresswoman praised the groups’ ‘civil disobedience actions’ and urged them to ‘use the bullhorn,’ saying Congress and the White House would not cut pollution enough until ‘the streets demanded it.’ 

Tlaib was joined by filmmaker Adam McKay, who pledged $100,000 to fund climate activism in the US, the environmental journalist David Wallace-Wells, and activists who had broken laws and served jail time for their protests.

They include Tim Martin, who faces jail over a protest at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, in April, when he and Joanna Smith allegedly daubed paint on the case protecting Edgar Degas’ Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.

Poll

Is highlighting climate change a valid reason to damage artworks?

  • Yes 19 votes
  • No 1670 votes
  • Not sure 9 votes

His group, Declare Emergency, wants President Joe Biden to declare a climate crisis and use his executive powers to radically cut emissions of planet-heating gases, which are linked to worsening storms, droughts, flooding and other devastating weather events.

The group was created last year by Roger Hallam, the British co-founder of Extinction Rebellion (XR), which in 2019 staged a week-long series of rallies in London that shuttered much of the city center, causing millions of dollars of losses

Hallam says he wants to create a similar ‘large-scale civil disobedience campaign on the climate catastrophe in the United States,’ but it remains unclear if he can replicate his success on this side of the pond.

Climate Defiance, meanwhile, has grabbed headlines by heckling and disrupting politicians’ speaking events, including Democratic senators Amy Klobuchar and Joe Manchin, and White House climate adviser John Podesta.

In the online session, Declare Emergency’s Seattle-based mobilizer Donald Zepeda unveiled plans for the protests on federal properties that the group plans to stage in New York City and Washington in August.

The online meet was attended by filmmaker Adam McKay and the environmental journalist David Wallace-Wells

Climate Defiance has made headlines by disrupting politicians' speaking events, including Democratic senators Amy Klobuchar (pictured) and Joe Manchin, and White House climate adviser John Podesta

Climate Defiance has made headlines by disrupting politicians’ speaking events, including Democratic senators Amy Klobuchar (pictured) and Joe Manchin, and White House climate adviser John Podesta

‘We aim for whatever causes the most kerfuffle, everyone has to see it. Everyone is impacted,’ Zepeda said.

‘Doing massively disruptive, nonviolent civil disobedience, it’s a necessary and important part of getting us to where we need to be.’

Adam McKay, a writer, director and producer behind such movies as The Big Short and Don’t Look Up, said: ‘Nothing cuts through the BS and rigmarole more than straight-up disruptive activism.’

‘I’m talking about the power of the people,’ he added.

‘I’m talking about the people that created democracy, that threw the kings out of power.’

Though many people support efforts to tackle global warming, others eschew the tactics of XR and other hard-line outfits, which have shuttered roads, highways, airports, offices, and other public venues.

The FBI did not answer DailyMail.com’s request for comment.

European climate activism has led to rough clashes between demonstrators and police, like this month's protest against oil use in Hoogvliet, the Netherlands. Organizers want to bring this to the US

European climate activism has led to rough clashes between demonstrators and police, like this month’s protest against oil use in Hoogvliet, the Netherlands. Organizers want to bring this to the US 

An activist sprays paint on the Guildhall in London during Extinction Rebellion's summer protests in London in 2021

An activist sprays paint on the Guildhall in London during Extinction Rebellion’s summer protests in London in 2021

UN experts say planet-heating gases are making Earth dangerously hot, but the US, China, and other world governments have set ambitious targets to reduce the risk by switching to clean energy sources over the coming years.

Americans are less worried about climate change than their European counterparts.

While 31 percent in the US want to rapidly switch to renewable energy sources, another two thirds want to continue using oil, coal and natural gas as well as the cleaner alternatives, according to Pew Research Center polling.



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