Socialist Worker

Friday 20 September - our chance to transform the struggle over climate change

Issue No. 2672

There is widespread anger over climate change - and strikes this week can ramp up the struggle

There is widespread anger over climate change - and strikes this week can ramp up the struggle to save the planet (Pic: Neil Terry)


Climate actions planned for this week could open the door for a new phase of a climate justice movement.

Groups of workers planned to take action using their collective and organised power. This is a major step towards seeing action by workers as workers, not individuals.

Millions of young people defy every expectation of them and organise an insurgent movement through the global school strikes.

Their action has amplified the terrifying reality of every teenager facing a future of record-breaking temperatures, polluted air, breakdown of food production, species extinction and more.

But they didn’t stay terrified. This generation of climate activists got angry—and organised.

Their historic school strikes, alongside the brilliant occupations and protests organised by Extinction Rebellion, have offered hope to everyone feeling despondent about climate chaos.

The rapid-onset climate catastrophe means human society is staring down the barrel of a gun.

Climate chaos is already fatally and dramatically affecting the poorest countries, intersecting with existing inequality and racism.

We still don’t know the scale of the deaths in The Bahamas, where close to 80,000 people have been left homeless.

Many students and young people have taken action over climate change

Many students and young people have taken action over climate change (Pic: Neil Terry)


Climate and ecological crisis will mean more tragedies such as the deadly Cyclone Idai which devastated Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in March. Cyclone Idai killed at least 1,300 people.

Widespread flooding has destroyed vast swathes of agricultural crops and displaced tens of thousands of families.

Urgent

What is the response to this urgent humanitarian crisis?

Mozambique, an already debt-ridden country, was offered a £95 million loan by the International Monetary Fund.

Capitalism has no solutions. But the last year of climate activism has re-energised the debate about what kind of world we want, and how we get there.

It’s already forced some politicians to take climate action. When the International Rebellion camped out on parliament’s front lawn in April, MPs declared a “climate emergency” just a few days later.

More strikes, protests, walkouts and sit-ins will be needed to win further action.

When groups of workers act together, they can bring everything in society to a stop.

Fighting against the climate and ecological emergency is a battle against the fossil fuels that pollute our air and let the rich trouser huge profits.

Capitalism cleaves us into two groups—the rich who profit from fossil fuel capitalism and everyone else, who suffers as a result. But society doesn’t have to be organised like this.

It is possible to build a socialist society, but it will take radical action by workers on a mass scale.

Continuing to organise society based on what meets the interests of the rich means death, destruction and horror. This is not a time to retreat, but to push forward.


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