Movement

Shut Down DC

Shut Down DC is a coalition of environmentalist activist groups which announced plans to significantly disrupt traffic in Washington, D.C. on September 23, 2019 to bring awareness to climate change. The group has stated that it aims for its demonstrations to affect the most powerful people in the city by blocking what they believe to be key intersections for politicians and other areas of note. As of September 13, about 250 people had confirmed they would join in the demonstrations. [1]

The group is sponsored by All Out D.C., a network of activists that formed after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. All Out D.C. has hosted rallies involving Antifa members in the past, causing D.C. police to prevent violent interactions between them and right-wing demonstrators, including the Proud Boys. [2][3][4] Additional sponsors include Rising Tide North America, Extinction Rebellion Washington DC, and CCAN Action Fund. [5]

Activity

Shut Down DC’s website claims to be a part of the “Global Climate Strike 2019,” a worldwide movement of environmentalist groups that plan to go on strike from school or work and block traffic during the week of September 20, 2019. “This is the mass uprising that everyone with climate anxiety has been waiting for,” its website states. [6] Extinction Rebellion, an environmentalist group headquartered in the United Kingdom, held similar demonstrations in the streets of London for a week in April 2019. [7]

Shut Down DC has aligned its demands with the platform put forward by Strike With Us, which includes the Green New Deal, halting all fossil fuel extraction and planned infrastructure projects, and advocating for lawmakers to introduce legislation for the so-called “Rights of Nature” which would include a ban on resource extraction. [8][9] Shut Down DC has also stated that the only way to fight climate change is to also “decolonize and democratize our communities.” [10]

On September 11, 2019, Shut Down DC blocked traffic on the intersection of Florida Avenue and R Street. north of the Dupont Circle neighborhood in Washington, D.C. The protesters allegedly did not move out of the way for a man on his way to the hospital to visit his wife, which led to a screaming match. [11]

2020 General Election

On August 31, 2020, Shut Down DC tweeted a link to its website with a call for people to go out and protest the day of the 2020 general election. [12] The link leads to a webpage calling for a protest that appears to be a celebration of democracy and a response to a potential attack on democracy. However, the Federalist reported on the story with an archived link showing that the webpage originally called for protests and action to prohibit a potential coup, an event they said was likely to happen, and that knowledge of their protest plans had to be reserved only for those who could be trusted. The original webpage goes on to say that any associated actors of the coup will need to be shut down, including Amazon fulfillment centers and state capitals. [13]

Prior to the election, Shut Down DC released plans on its website for multi-day protests and disruptions in Washington, DC. On election day, November 3rd, it planned to host a gathering to watch election results being reported, noting that “this will (probably) not be the time we need to create disruption to stop a coup – yet.”[14] It also described its intent to “come out into the streets” each day following the election, noting that “if Trump is trying to launch a coup, that’s no time for business as usual.”[15] Specifically, it planned to “Shut Down the Attack on Democracy” on November 4th through disrupting “business as usual” for those “that are most complicit in Trump’s attack on Democracy,”[16] and to “turn our focus to the White House” on November 5th.[17]

People

Patrick Young, one of the main organizers of the group, stated that Shut Down DC, a coalition of at least 24 different groups, aims to have decentralized leadership so that it can resist hypothetical efforts by law enforcement to arrest the main leaders. [18] According to a press release, these groups include 198 Methods, 350 DC, Backbone Campaign, Beyond Extreme Energy, Black Lives Matter DMV, Chesapeake Climate Action Network Action Fund, Code Pink, Extinction Rebellion DC, Friends of the Earth Action, Friends Meeting in Washington Social Concerns Committee, Labor Network for Sustainability, Metro DMV Democratic Socialists of America, Movement for a People’s Party, and Rising Tide North America. [19][20]

Young himself is a senior research analyst at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. [21] He had worked at Rising Tide for 15 years where he organized various climate change demonstrations and events. [22] [23]

On September 18, activist and author Naomi Klein and Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., CEO and president of Hip Hop Caucus, attended a meeting with members of Shut Down DC to build support for the movement. [24]

References

  1. Recker, Jane. “Meet the Folks Planning to Ruin Your Commute on September 23: Washingtonian (DC).” Washingtonian, September 13, 2019. https://www.washingtonian.com/2019/09/13/meet-the-folks-planning-to-ruin-your-commute-on-september-23/. ^
  2. Network, Action. “All out DC: All out DC.” The Action Network. Accessed September 18, 2019. https://actionnetwork.org/groups/alloutdc. ^
  3. Hermann, Peter, Peter Jamison, Hannah Natanson, and Clarence Williams. “Right-Wing Rally Triggers Skirmishes with Antifa Protesters as D.C. Police Work to Prevent Violence.” The Washington Post. WP Company, July 6, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/right-wing-groups-plan-freedom-plaza-rally-amid-heavy-dc-police-presence-to-prevent-violence/2019/07/06/40309e4e-9f68-11e9-9ed4-c9089972ad5a_story.html. ^
  4. “DC Climate Strike – Shut Down Business-As-Usual.” Shut Down DC. Accessed September 18, 2019. https://www.strikedc.org/. ^
  5. “DC Climate Strike – Shut Down Business-As-Usual.” Shut Down DC. Accessed September 18, 2019. https://www.strikedc.org/. ^
  6. “Platform: US Youth Climate Strikes.” US Youth Climate Str. Accessed September 18, 2019. https://www.youthclimatestrikeus.org/platform. ^
  7. “Extinction Rebellion London Protest: 290 Arrested.” BBC News. BBC, April 17, 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-47945397. ^
  8. “Demands.” Shut Down DC. Accessed September 18, 2019. https://www.strikedc.org/index.php/demands/. ^
  9. “US Climate Strikes.” Strike With Us. Accessed September 18, 2019. https://strikewithus.org/#demands. ^
  10. “DC Climate Strike – Shut Down Business-As-Usual.” Shut Down DC. Accessed September 18, 2019. https://www.strikedc.org/. ^
  11. Recker, Jane. “Meet the Folks Planning to Ruin Your Commute on September 23: Washingtonian (DC).” Washingtonian, September 13, 2019. https://www.washingtonian.com/2019/09/13/meet-the-folks-planning-to-ruin-your-commute-on-september-23/ ^
  12. Twitter. Shut Down DC. August 31, 2020. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://twitter.com/ShutDown_DC/status/1300542490857144322. ^
  13. Pullman, Joy. “Resistance Plans To Shut Down The Country If Biden Doesn’t Win,” October 20, 2020. https://thefederalist.com/2020/10/20/trump-resistance-plans-mass-mobilization-after-election-to-shut-down-the-country-if-biden-doesnt-win/. ^
  14. “November 3rd. After You Vote, Hit the Streets.” Shut Down DC. Accessed November 2, 2020. Available at: https://www.shutdowndc.org/calendar/event-five-tfgmt ^
  15. “Election 2020 Trump Must Go.” Shut Down DC. Accessed November 2, 2020. Available at: https://www.shutdowndc.org/election2020 ^
  16. “Shut Down the Attack on Democracy.” Shut Down DC. Accessed November 2, 2020. Available at: https://www.shutdowndc.org/calendar/shut-down-the-attack-on-democracy ^
  17. “Shut Down the White House.” Shut Down DC. Accessed November 2, 2020. Available at: https://www.shutdowndc.org/calendar/shut-down-the-white-house ^
  18. Recker, Jane. “Meet the Folks Planning to Ruin Your Commute on September 23: Washingtonian (DC).” Washingtonian, September 13, 2019. https://www.washingtonian.com/2019/09/13/meet-the-folks-planning-to-ruin-your-commute-on-september-23/. ^
  19. Petworth, Prince Of. “‘Climate Groups to Shut Down Washington D.C. with Mass Nonviolent Act of Civil Disobedience September 23rd; On September 20th, Young People Will Kick off a Worldwide Week of Action with an International Strike.”.” PoPville, September 17, 2019. https://www.popville.com/2019/09/climate-groups-to-shut-down-washington-dc-strike/. ^
  20. “Find an Affinity Group.” Shut Down DC. Accessed September 18, 2019. https://www.strikedc.org/index.php/find-an-affinity-group/. ^
  21. “Patrick Young.” LinkedIn. Accessed September 18, 2019. https://www.linkedin.com/in/patrickjyoung. ^
  22. “Patrick Young.” LinkedIn. Accessed September 18, 2019. https://www.linkedin.com/in/patrickjyoung. ^
  23. Recker, Jane. “Meet the Folks Planning to Ruin Your Commute on September 23: Washingtonian (DC).” Washingtonian, September 13, 2019. https://www.washingtonian.com/2019/09/13/meet-the-folks-planning-to-ruin-your-commute-on-september-23/. ^
  24. Petworth, Prince Of. “‘Climate Groups to Shut Down Washington D.C. with Mass Nonviolent Act of Civil Disobedience September 23rd; On September 20th, Young People Will Kick off a Worldwide Week of Action with an International Strike.”.” PoPville, September 17, 2019. https://www.popville.com/2019/09/climate-groups-to-shut-down-washington-dc-strike/. ^

Notable People

  1. Patrick Young
    Main Organizer
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