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LETTERS – Keep pressure on councils for a ‘climate emergency’

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Issue 2640
Extinction Rebellion protests shut down bridges in London in November
Extinction Rebellion protests shut down bridges in London in November (Pic: Guy Smallman)

There’s a growing movement to demand political leaders take serious action on climate change.

As a direct result of this pressure, more than 20 British councils—and councils as far away as Canada and Australia—have now declared a “climate emergency”.

Groups such as Extinction Rebellion—which has a focus on direct action—symbolise a movement which is energetic, international, anti-racist and pro-refugee.

Greta Thunberg became an inspirational figure at just 15.

Last year Greta kicked off a global wave of school strikes for the climate. She recently told the billionaires at the Davos Economic Forum they were sacrificing the climate “to continue making unimaginable amounts of money”.

The fight for the health of the planet has dramatic consequences.

Councils declaring climate emergencies can’t overturn the system that plunders the natural world for profit.

But these campaigns play an important role in keeping the pressure up on such an important issue.

There are other exciting opportunities for action.

Socialists should try to link up with the Youth strikes for the climate on 15 February and 15 March. Students in British schools and colleges are planning to join the #FridaysForFuture walkouts.

And if there’s a campaign to get your local council to declare a climate emergency, get involved.

Extinction Rebellion is planning an “international rebellion” week from 15 April, where activists are aiming to shut down capital cities until climate demands are met.

Trade unionists should pass motions of support and be involved.

Socialist and trade unionist involvement will help ensure climate campaigns integrate working class and anti-racist demands.

Kim Hunter, Scarborough

Racism wasn’t at heart of eugenics movement

The Return of Scientific Racism (Socialist Worker, 23 January) article was excellent.

It is important to add, however, that racism was not the defining or central feature of eugenics.

This could be argued in relation to the movements in the US and Nazi Germany.

However, the main characteristic shared by the many different strands of eugenics was an elitist and paternalistic middle class bias. Racism was not central to the sterilisation laws passed in Scandinavian states nor to eugenics in Britain. These were mainly concerned with how to deal with those deemed as “degenerate” or “feeble-minded”.

To see eugenics as being only or even principally about racism doesn’t help us understand why so much of the left supported it.

They believed mistakenly that it was based on sound scientific insights.

Roddy Slorach, East London

Now is the time to fight for our ideas

On the radio I heard a police officer warning of the danger of the growth of the far right.

It was good to hear someone in official authority at last naming this danger.

This will bring it to the attention of millions who might have thought it a left wing fantasy.

His comments were reported in newspapers too.

So now is a good time to initiate anti-racist groups in workplaces.

We can sell badges, discuss what people want to do in their area or workplace to turn the tide on the racists.

Many unions have equalities policies and equalities officers which could be put to good use in backing these meetings.

All unions have anti-discriminatory policies which again can be used to build a meeting.

When I sold badges and talked about the possibilities for anti-racists I found I was pushing at an open door, and others have had the same experience. Most of us are against racism but we need to organise to have an effect.

Now seems like a better time than ever with awareness even being raised by the police.

Heather Booker, Swansea

Kondo has limitations

Your article on Marie Kondo and the “life changing magic of tidying up” (Socialist Worker, 30 January) was interesting.

When life is difficult, having control over our own homes and possessions can give us a feeling of empowerment. But this leads to huge pressures on women, particularly mothers, to do it all.

Getting rid of things doesn’t really make life easier for working class people—and it is more difficult for working class people to replace what they declutter. It is costly and time consuming to replace anything thrown away.

If capitalism’s drive for profit was gone, it would be easier to consider whether the items we possess are “joy sparking” enough.

Siobhan Brown, East London

Not all men are bullies

I read Leoni Knights’ letter about the new Gillette razor advert (Socialist Worker, 23 January).

We shouldn’t risk alienating ourselves from the men and women who are angry at how men have been portrayed in the video.

The ad focuses on the worst of male behaviour. Not all men are bullies, and don’t encourage and engage in violence as it seems to imply.

We are who we are, and never who the adverts tell us we are—so let’s not the adverts divide us.

Oliver Prevost, East London

Tories should be ashamed

I hope a real, socialist Labour government, led by Jeremy Corbyn, could be in place this year.

It should use its mandate to erase all the rotten, arrogant and greed-driven policies carried out under decades of Tory rule.

The government has made deliberate and merciless attacks on vulnerable people.

Tory voters should be ashamed of the right wing agenda their party has continued to pursue.

Michael Thompson, Devon

Don’t forget struggle here

It’s great to celebrate the Los Angeles school teachers in their successful strike.

But please publicise the contribution of local Liverpool Labour parties and FBU union delegates in a local victory to get proposed cuts in fire and rescue services shelved.

In or out of the EU fighting austering must be a priority for the left.

Vincent Ferguson, Liverpool

Nobody is ‘unskilled’

On reading “Tory immigration law cracks down on ‘unskilled’ migrants” I want to tell “unskilled” migrants we really appreciate everything you have brought to Canada.

Everyone has a “skill” of one kind or another and all your hard work is crucial to our success.

So sorry British Tories have it in for you—you are welcome here.

John Richmond, Toronto, Canada

We need a crack down on unskilled ministers.

Julian Self, On Twitter

Big problems with hospital

I read “Problems were built into the Glasgow hospital named ‘Death Star’ (Socialist Worker, 30 January).

These problems are a result of a relationship between medical models of healthcare, technical solutions and the prioritisation of the needs of large corporations’ profits.

Gerry Mooney, On Twitter

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