"Workers are the power and strength we need"

Submitted by AWL on 7 January, 2010 - 1:58 Author: Ian Terry

Vestas occupier and activist Ian Terry who was in Copenhagen to speak at the Klimaforum and take part in Workers’ Climate Action activity against Vestas, spoke to Dan Rawnsley.

You spoke in the Klimaforum on left alternatives to capitalism. How do you feel the meeting went?

There seemed to be a lot more interesting conversations coming from the floor than the panel. It is good that a lot of people from different backgrounds and from all over the world were coming together and recognising that the climate issue is a left issue. But it felt like there was an absence of the Danish left.

You were the only person from the platform to discuss the importance of overthrowing capitalism. Do you feel this is a problem?

I see it as a problem in that they’re not so militant about the ideas, but as I say, it was quite clear from the demonstrations that the green movement is an anti-capitalist movement.

How do you feel about the march to the Bella Centre on Wednesday 16th? What was gained by the action, were there any problems?

It highlights problems with a lack of organisation. The horizontal organising works really well to a certain level, but you can get lost in discussions about how you’re getting through a fence etc. Breaking down into affinity groups breaks down the main discussion. The organising was definitely lacking, though it’s a developing thing. It’s a drawn out process and with a little more planning it might’ve been more successful. It was clear that the police would have numbers and everything they needed. It would’ve been nice to keep everything a lot more central for everyone.

What sort of action do you think activists in Britain need to take now to develop the fight against the climate crisis?

We need talks between different groups, trade union and socialist groups and green groups. They should solidify their bonds and help each other on different disputes. The key, the only way we will solve this problem, is making sure we engage workers everywhere, north and south of the globe.

In the People’s Assembly people were discussing how we need to do outreach and that as a movement it’s easy for us to preach to the converted and not try to get to the people who seem less receptive. In reality coal workers and oil workers aren’t the enemy; it’s the companies and the exploitation that capitalism breeds.

Workers are the power and strength we need; as consumers we haven’t much control over what happens, the only power we have is to withdraw our labour.