Walking with the People’s Climate March in Paris


Yesterday we joyously walked across Paris with 10,000 incredibly diverse people –hundreds of hand made signs and colorful attire–an intense crew of drummers—a New Orleans brass band—all races and ages –strollers and surfers and a strong grey haired contingent.

Demonstations are not phony if they do not involve direct action or “occupation”.  Demonstrators are not soldiers in an army led by smart generals. Move your ass and your brains will follow. Sit on your ass and you get hemorrhoids.

As for “targets” and “ideolgy”?   What “ideology”?  If you have one comrade, let’s hear it!  Are we waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain?

I’ll give you an easy ideology—divide the total number of barrels of oil by the total population and ration it.  Each American will get about a half gallon a day to burn.

If you want more, buy the ration stamps from poor people all over the world—a Real Carbon Market that will distribute wealth beyond all previous redistributions.

As for “targets”, reporting ONLY on hand made signs, Monsanto was the biggest target followed by oil, energy, banks, drillers, frackers, nuclear power plants, Belo Monte Alstom—on and on.  “If the climate were a bank it would be saved”, ”No economy without a planet”, “No to Agri-Business”, “0% tax on all local products not shipped”, “Alofa Tuvalu” carried by a woman who spends 6 months a year there since 1990, “Yes We Must”,  “Fuck Enron” (woman with oil on her face),  “Jobs With Justice” Local 451  CWA  Columbus, Ohio, “Holland is Fucking the Earth, Forget His Women”, “Solidarity!  One Earth”,  “What is the carbon footprint of your plate?” “Pesticides Do Indeed Kill”,  “I am the change”.  “Monsanto is Buggering the Earth”,  “$$$ Kills–Earth and Sea”, “Heads of State! Your Bodies are on Earth!”—”Wake Up”.

I apologize for my translations from the French– Consider “Sauvez Les Ours, Pas Le Bourse”  Save the bears, not the banks–loses the poetry.    Of course many animal costumes of great artistry.  And many signs that were works of art.

All along the way people talked, argued, exchanged emails, explained their own action groups.  Local exchange systems had representatives  All the little projects of each contingent were empowered when they saw they were part of a great collectivity of actions.

A lonely man with a pro-nuclear reactor sign was tolerated with bemused smiles.  A good measure of the size of his point of view.  The WWF (World Wildlife Fund) was avoided by many—I started to take someone’s picture and they called out “NO, don’t photograph me near them”.

Now of course I know New York is the center of the Global Corporate Empire, and those who want Direct Attack should do so today and I wish I were there with you, but wouldn’t you like to have been demonstrating with the handful in Aleppo?

“Families need Air, Water, Food, and Well-Being” and “No Lies”.

And families, like the air and the water and the plants —cover this earth.

That’s why people everywhere took this Sunday to parade joyously and creatively.

All Power to the People.

Joe Paff is chairman of CounterPunch’s board.

Joe Paff is the chairman of the board for the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity. He lives in Petrolia.