Yesterday the Sunrise Movement staged a children’s protest accosting Senator Dianne Feinstein at her offices. One child told staff “We are doing a global strike for climate!”. They are wearing backpacks and clearly state they are skipping school. When Feinstein objects to the costs of the Green New Deal, you hear the adults chiming in over the children. Then a young girl, who looks to be maybe 10 actually tries to start to debating military spending. Totally normal right?
Then as Feinstein explains political and economic realities a woman in a bright yellow t-shirt from the Sunrise Movement tells her she is looking in the faces of the people (children) that will live with her inaction. She gives the game away there a little. And the gaslighting used by the adults in the video is just unreal.
Videos of this ridiculous stunt were tweeted by the Sunrise Movement. You may go watch the full video yourself if you wish because unlike the far left, I am not going to publicize a video of terrified children who have been told the world will be irreparably damaged in 12 years. But I will start to tell you about the Sunrise Movement.
This organization made a splash in November of 2018 when they staged a protest inside Nancy Pelosi’s office. You may remember Supporting Actress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stopping by to tell how like totally awesome they were and their work was like so important. AOC had to appear of course because the press was following her around like ankle biting herd dogs because she was just so cool. And the Sunrise Movement hit the national stage.
It also set the stage for the Justice Democrat versus Establishment Democrat feud we are watching play out. The upstart Freshman protested the likely Speaker. Note how many times Saint Ocasio-Cortez’s name is invoked by the children in the full Feinstein video if you watch it. When interviewed about the original protest in Pelosi’s office, Justice Democrat endorsed candidate Ro Khana had the following to say. Emphasis is mine:
And Sunrise’s “Green New Deal” has gone from a fringe proposal to one that’s endorsed by nearly 20 members of the new Democratic Congress in a matter of weeks. One of those to sign on is California Rep. Ro Khanna (D), who headlined a press conference Friday on the steps of the Capitol in support of the deal.
In an interview with E&E News, Khanna compared the Sunrise Movement to the student gun control activists who survived the Parkland mass shooting in Florida.
“I love ’em,” Khanna said. “They are young, passionate advocates. For them, climate change isn’t theoretical. They know that by the time they’re my age, they are going to have to deal with this.”
“Inside the Sunrise Movement (it didn’t happen by accident)”, E&E News, December 3, 2018
Huh, where have we heard that before? Oh, that’s right. Bo Thoren from Sweden when he suggested it to Greta Thunberg. Funny that.
Anyway, even though Sunrise hit the mainstream media with an assist from “It Girl” AOC in late 2018, they have been operating and connecting for quite some time.
The organization began as U.S. Climate Plan Inc. As a 501 (c) (3). The three co-founders of this organization were two students from Wesleyan College and their visiting professor Dr. Michael K. Dorsey. Dorsey got them a $30,000 grant with his “connections” and their task was to write a Climate Plan to address climate change.
Oddly, most traces of U.S. Climate Plan Inc. have been erased from the internet and finding any information on “The Plan” as they called it nearly impossible. The two students Evan I. Webber and Michael Lichtash did some press on it, but the website and all links to $30,000 “Plan” are dead. But their Tumblr blog is cute.
Enter The Wayback Machine. That handy dandy little web crawler archived the page. The internet really is forever. Because Wayback does not love all browsers or operating systems here are screencaps of the page. The final footnote identifies all thre co-founders:
In it you can see the foundations of the Green New Deal. Massive government investment, restricting our energy supply and large scale changes to our infrastructure.
But “The Plan” kind of fizzled, so in 2016, U.S. Climate Plan morphed into The Sunrise Movement Education Fund according to Charity Navigator. All three original founders are still listed. And according to their 990, the group had raised nearly a quarter million in funding between 2014 and 2016. Evan Weber is the only paid member of the team listed. Seems like Dr. Dorsey’s “connections” really came through as they were never an organization with just a $30,000 grant. We’ll tell you more about Dr. Dorsey’s connections in another post.
From the 2016 Schedule “O”. Emphasis is again mine:
Spring Forward This Spring, US Climate Plan, Energy Action Coalition, and Gamechanger Labs collaborated to host 12 statewide summits under the banner of #SpringForward to bring together young leaders, build off the Paris moment in this critical year for US climate action, and seed short- and long- term strategies for growing youth-led movement for government action towards climate justice at a local, state, and national level
The Sunrise Movement was established in 2017 as a 501 (c)(4). Though it appears to have engaged in direct lobbying. I can not find a tax filing, a list of officers or board members or an audited filing for 2017. While none of this is required per se, it is a critical piece of accountability and transparency according to Charity Navigator. It is also pretty common for other NGO’s I have been researching.
Evan I. Weber is the only original member still linked to the transformed organization. It appears Matt Lichtash has gotten a real job and started his own climate change information aggregator on the side. Dr. Dorsey is not officially linked in any documentation I can find after 2016.
Now the organization is made up largely of activists from the student fossil fuel divestment movement and other environmental activist movements like those who protested the Dakota Pipeline. Activists like Nathan Phillips and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. Their primary goal was to influence the 2018 elections and now they look to influence 2020 and beyond.
From 2017 and as always, emphasis mine:
Sunrise promotes itself as a group focused on “building an army of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.” It claims to be non-partisan, but its policy priorities are decidedly anti-oil and gas including: “A transition to a 100% renewable energy economy, an immediate halt on all new fossil fuel projects, the break-up of the large energy monopolies and a transition to local, democratic control over our energy system.”
“As Divestment Movement Collapses, Activists Shift To Campaign Trail”, Michael Sandoval, Western Wire, November 3, 2017
And here is their pitch heading into 2018:
In 2010, Glenn Beck highlighted a quote from Van Jones when he was speaking to activists from Campaign for America’s Future. Jones said:
You handle the top down. But it is also bottom up and inside out. Top down, bottom up and inside out.
Sunrise’s stunt with Feinstein gave me no choice but to start with what is going on with the bottom-up movement. I promise we will get to the top down so we can avoid the inside out. The next post will bring us to present with Sunrise.