The UK group most centrally involved in organising youth climate strikes, UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN), is calling a “day of action” on 25 October.
It seems, currently, that the format will be more walkouts, another “climate strike”. The next global climate strike is set for 29 November.
20 September was the most recent climate strike, in which workers joined youth, taking part in workplace actions. Actions were taken in many places, including by many of us, although as a rule initiated by workplace activists without much direct support from the union nationally. This is likely to remain the case in the near future. In any case, organising in our direct workplaces is a necessary start for building for future climate strikes.
In every workplace, socialist environmentalists should work to build an action for 25 October and 29 November, however small, starting now. Start the discussion among colleagues, including those who don’t normally engage much in “conventional” union issues.
Raise the issue in your union branch. A collective photoshoot, a lunchtime rally, a 30-minute work stoppage, or the like, should be possible in most workplaces.
If you don’t think you will bring about such actions, the backup option — although generally the second rate one — is to book time off work, and plan to support other workplaces and the youth climate strikers.
We must use workplace actions on the days of climate strikes to introduce and expand workplace socialist environmentalism.
XR on streets to 20 October
On Monday 7 October, a hearse drove into Trafalgar Square, the driver D-locked his neck to the steering wheel, and the passengers glued and locked themselves to the vehicle. Police attempted — with limited success — to stop more people from gluing themselves underneath.
In ten other sites around London — including two key bridges — countless more activists participated in the start of Extinction Rebellion’s latest International Rebellion, calling for action on climate change. Over 275 were arrested in London, and over 700 internationally. Thousands are taking part in over 60 cities globally.
XR France managed to block and occupy Paris’s most central and busiest intersection, while protests in Amsterdam — reportedly infringing attempts to ban the protest — faced police aggression and in Madrid police brutality left ten hospitalised and many others injured.
Police in London pre-emptively arrested at least ten individuals “on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance”, and seized tents, toilets, and disabled access equipment. The labour movement must take a stand against this infringement of civil liberties. It is a reminder that the police are, fundamentally, a repressive institution serving our class enemies.
Nonetheless, the protests are going ahead, and tents and camps have been set up across London.
The demonstrations are set to continue until October 20 in London. On the weekend of 12-13 October, and subsequent weekends, they will be spreading around the country. Socialists should get involved, support them, and advocate bold class-struggle climate politics.
Boris Johnson — a historic climate-change questioner, if not sceptic, as well as an authoritarian manoeuvrer — has ridiculed Extinction Rebellion. Whatever legitimate criticisms there are to be made of XR, such comments are despicable, and reflect his continued opposition to taking action on climate change.
He was speaking at a book launch for a biography of Margaret Thatcher. He tried to claim her — and implicitly himself — as “a true feminist, green and revolutionary”.
Margaret Thatcher did comment on the danger of climate change, deforestation, and other threats. However, elsewhere, she played down climate change. Her concern over it — like many conservative so-called greens, including the founders of the Green Party — centred on “the population explosion”.
Greenhouse gas emissions have exploded at over 100 times the rate of population in the last centuries. Over one billion people today make no net contribution to climate change. Given these facts, blaming “too many people” for our environmental woes is completely untenable.
Putting aside what Thatcher believed or espoused, what really matters are the policies she pursued. The idea that these were “green” (or “feminist”) in any sense if laughable.
Her economic deregulation, and advancement of ruling-class power, have set us back in attempts to limit environmental catastrophe.