Socialist Worker

As politicians refuse to act - activists stay on the streets and demand climate justice

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2644

A ‘Blue wave’ demanded climate action in Glasgow last Saturday

A ‘Blue wave’ demanded climate action in Glasgow last Saturday (Pic: Andrew McGowan)


With just days to go until global strikes on 15 March, climate change activists show no sign of slowing down their protests.

The “Fridays for Future” school strikes movement is growing. Thousands struck in Norway for its first widespread strike last week.

Students directed their anger at the government’s decision to keep granting oil and gas exploration licenses.

In Belgium, there were marches in Antwerp, Huy, Brussels, Mechelen, Dinant and Liege.

Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg—who started the climate strikes movement—joined a 4,000-strong march in Hamburg. A key demand of the German strikes is an end to coal mining.

“For way too long, the politicians and the people in power have gotten away with not doing anything to fight the climate crisis,” she said.

Leading a funeral procession on a climate demo in Canterbury

Leading a funeral procession on a climate demo in Canterbury (Pic: Geoff Beer)


“But we will make sure that they will not get away with it any longer.”

The global strike on 15 March is likely to be the ­biggest yet—and workers could join the action.

In France, the CGT union federation has called on everyone to join the upcoming walkouts. “Environmental issues and the climate emergency are inseparable from our struggles for progress and social justice,” it said.

In Britain, a 20,000-strong school strike last month has forced MPs to give the appearance of concern.

Handful

Last week the House of Commons held the first debate on climate change in two years. But only a handful of MPs bothered to turn up.

It’s clearer than ever that “normal” politics won’t produce the scale of change needed.

In the face of inaction from the government, activists are staying on the streets.

About 150 people marched round Canterbury in Kent last Saturday calling for immediate and serious action to be taken to halt climate chaos.

The march took the form of a New Orleans funeral with a large coffin representing the species already lost and the growing threat posed by global warming.

Demonstrators blocked the main road and addressed the queue of traffic about the need for action. Many drivers were surprisingly sympathetic.

Over 100 people marched in Glasgow on the same day. Protesters formed a “blue wave” and demanded the council commit to cutting carbon emissions to zero by 2025.

Climate change activists are preparing for an “international climate rebellion” on 15 April.

Extinction Rebellion is organising a week of direct action in Britain, and similar events in 30 other countries.

Now is the time to join the movement for climate justice.

School, sixth form, college and university students should be on the streets on 15 March. And trade unions should back them.

For ideas of action on 15 March go to youthstrike4climate on Instagram

Demo hits oil summit

Extinction Rebellion disrupted an oil conference last week by gluing themselves to the windows of the hotel hosting the event.

Nine members of the direct action environmental organisation were arrested after police spent about two hours detaching the protesters.

International Petroleum Week, held at a swanky Mayfair hotel in central London, brought together oil and gas bigwigs.

Extinction Rebellion’s Sam Knights said that guests represented companies that “are destroying our planet”.

He said, “They continue to put private profit over human life.

“The fact that they are still talking about acquiring new fossil fuel reserves at this point in the climate crisis is not only deeply immoral, it is criminal.”


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