Who is deCOALonize Europe and how do we see ourselves?

“Asking, we proceed…” (Guiding Principle of the Zapatista Movement)

In order to become active as an alliance under the name “deCOALonize Europe”, it is important for us to publicly present who we are, where we come from and what our convictions are – how we act.

We are an alliance that currently consists largely of white Germans. As such, we see it as our responsibility to work together to adequately come to terms with the colonial past of Germany and large parts of Europe and to combat today’s colonial continuity.

We would like to show the blatant dismay of the people in the mining areas, but it is very important to us to avoid stereotyping the people in the mining areas, e.g. portraying them as passive, incapacitated victims. Many of the people in Cesar, La Guajira (Colombia) and Kuzbass (Russia) have been struggling with the consequences of mining on a daily basis for many years and have been offering existential resistance for several generations despite severe repression. In return, we do not see ourselves as saviors or main actors in the struggle for climate justice and against colonial continuities who “bring the solutions to their problems” and do not want to be staged as such. As active supporters, we would like to join the struggles of the people in the mining areas and build a bond of solidarity along the (hard coal) supply chain. Therefore we are in exchange with active groups and people from the hard coal mining areas.
Here in the hard coal importing countries, we publicly disseminate the demands of friendly groups and individuals from the mining areas. At the same time, it is important for us to become active ourselves. That is why we also make our own demands in order to contribute to ending colonial continuity and climate injustice.

The forms of action and protest culture of the European climate justice movement are strongly influenced by the historical resistance of various Black & Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC), which we want to acknowledge and refer positively to these historical and current struggles of the people in the mining areas. In our actions and in public perception, it is important to us that non-white actors have their say and become more visible.

We strive to create different opportunities for participation within our actions, also because political activism can result in different levels of repression for people. Both in the coal mining regions and in Germany, e.g. for people with difficult residence status and/or people affected by racism.

We had an intensive discussion about whether and to what extent we want to become active under the name “deCOALonize Europe” and were encouraged to do so by activists from Colombia as well as by “deCOALonize” from Kenya. Furthermore, we see ourselves in an ongoing learning process in which we make mistakes and in which we are open to criticism and other perspectives.

We are looking forward to exchanging ideas with you.