Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1038/29002

From The Socialist newspaper, 16 November 2018

Youth climate strikes: Democratic organisation and socialist policies needed

Youth climate strike, central London, 12.4.19, photo by Mary Finch

Youth climate strike, central London, 12.4.19, photo by Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

For a third time in successive months, young people, mainly school and college students, took to the streets in cities and towns across the UK on 12 April to protest against the lack of action by government and big business to halt potentially catastrophic climate change.

The walkouts and protests were noticeably smaller than those on 15 February and 15 March - partly reflecting the Easter holidays, but also the absence of a coherent programme to tackle climate change caused by capitalism, and the lack of campaigning strategy and organisation to develop the movement. Below, the Socialist carries some reports on the 12 April action.

Socialist Party members and Socialist Students have helped build for and participated in all three days of protests. We call for and are assisting students to establish democratic student unions and to link up with workers organised in trade unions - whose potential industrial muscle can achieve political change - together in a united campaign.

At the same time we fight for a programme of socialist measures - including public ownership of public transport, major industries and agribusiness, in order to globally plan production in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.


Brighton

Students marched through Brighton to protest against climate change. This time, they held a sit-down protest on the main road in town, which has been listed as Britain's seventh most polluted street outside London.

Socialist Students explained that by reaching out to the working class and trade union movement, we could shut down not just one road, but the entire country!

Many young people were keen to discuss socialist and Marxist ideas, despite reluctance from the official organisers to politicise the event. But the mood of the school students themselves was clear. There was huge support for the idea that to fight climate change, this system - capitalism - has got to go. And that starts with kicking out this rotten Tory government.

Unfortunately, the protest was much smaller than previous months, which made our calls to get organised and build the movement more important than before. This means forming groups in the schools and colleges for a democratically organised, mass movement against climate change.

Connor Rosoman, Brighton and Sussex Socialist Students

Nottingham

The Facebook announcement for the Nottingham climate strike on 12 April said that the event would go ahead, but there would be no organisers there!

People wanted to know why no organisers were there and this was a good way to start a conversation about how a movement should be built and organised democratically and with accountability.

Nottingham Socialist Party branch secretary, Geraint, spoke about the need for socialist change to solve climate change and our ideas to take the momentum around the strikes forward.

At a meeting afterwards we organised future leafleting and a meeting to build for the next climate strike, as well as a plan to approach local trade union branches to get support from workers. This includes approaching the National Education Union.

The dissatisfaction with establishment politicians and the lack of activity from the Trade Union Congress and union leaders has led some campaigners to adopt a 'non-organisation organisation' model. This has the consequence for organisers of making them unaccountable.

They also do not have a programme to bring about meaningful change. One of the demands of #YouthStrike4Climate is to get councils to declare a 'climate emergency'. Nottingham and other cities have done this, but it does not mean anything without binding environmental policies.

They also think that youth regularly demonstrating will move big business and capitalist governments to act. It will not.

We need to organise school and student unions and organise among trade unions and workers. The movement needs to be democratically led and accountable and have a proper programme to stop climate change - pointing to an end of capitalism and the socialist transformation of the world.

Clare Wilkins

Manchester

Upwards of 500 confident and galvanised school students met in central Manchester to protest the Tory government's abysmal efforts to counter impending ecological disaster.

The school strike had a positive and militant atmosphere which culminated with a spontaneous mass sit-down protest on a busy main road. (continued right)

The crowd had a mixed character, including some liberal elements, who unfortunately limited themselves to vague and abstract calls simply for politicians to "take action on climate change".

However it was the Socialist Party's calls for the nationalisation of the banks and top companies on the basis of democratic workers' control in order to fund alternative 'green' energy production which resonated most clearly with the protesters - with 23 protesters signing up to Socialist Students.

Andrew Carss

Leeds

The third round of climate strikes took place in the middle of high school students' Easter break. With around 400 gathered on the steps of Leeds Town Hall the turnout was smaller than on the previous two strikes. However, considerable developments were made towards achieving a greater level of autonomy and unionisation for the striking students.

Meanwhile, Leeds City Council intends to double the number of passengers using Leeds Bradford Airport despite councillors passing a climate emergency declaration!

Morgan King, Leeds Socialist Students

Newcastle climate demo, 12.4.19, photo by Elaine Brunskill

Newcastle climate demo, 12.4.19, photo by Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

Newcastle

Young people were out in force for the demonstration which began at the Newcastle civic centre and marched through town until reaching the Monument in the heart of the city, where Socialist Party members ran an open mic.

Many protesters highlighted issues around pollution and environmental damage caused by big business and placed emphasis on the vital need for system change.

The young people in attendance, who were mainly teenage girls, showed a vital understanding of the critical need to dismantle the current system which places profit before people, if we are to succeed in halting climate change.

The ideas and passion of these young people will surely only lead to even better strikes in the coming weeks.

Emma Dawson

London

School holidays might have cut across the turnout on the third day of action against climate change. But, as usual, the demo was loud and angry. We marched up to Oxford Circus where students filled the road and sat down.

On previous demos Socialist Students held an open mic, allowing students to discuss a way forward for the movement. Learning from this initiative, the organisers on this demo turned the sit-down protest into a mass student assembly allowing any student to speak.

A member of Socialist Students spoke on the need to build school student unions which can defend students from punishment by school management. We have organised a meeting about how to launch school students unions.

Some students are starting to raise the idea of a 'Green New Deal'. One student also linked it to the need to fight for climate jobs with decent pay.

We discussed how any Green New Deal will have to include socialist demands of taking ownership and control out of the hands of polluting companies, which dominate the economy, and put them under public ownership and the control of workers and young people.

London Socialist Students

York

Over 150 young school students gathered in the centre of York to protest against climate change. There were speeches and music and they marched around the city centre twice.

I spoke at the beginning of the rally and my promise of safe spaces for students to meet, which had been agreed by the York Trades Union Council, was met with enthusiastic applause.

The numbers on this rally were down on the previous one, with exam pressures and school staff training days being cited as possible reasons. The age demographic was also younger and there was a clear majority of female protestors.

I spoke to a lot of protestors about building teams of like-minded students in their schools and linking up between the different schools. I left information for them to contact the local trade union council and the Socialist Party to assist them in building a campaign that includes planning and discussion groups. I am also building an increasing list of contacts who I can email directly.

Nigel Smith, secretary of York Trade Union Council

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 16 November 2018:


What we think

Tories facing electoral meltdown - but only a socialist alternative to austerity can finish them off


News

100 billion for bosses - cuts for us.

Assange arrest: US and allied governments seeking revenge for exposing dirty wars

Labour looks to Bank of England to stall house prices

No-fault evictions ban, but cuts leave tenants vulnerable

Cuts drive council tax debt

Labour needs socialist policies to solve "climate emergency"


Minimum wage

20 years of the minimum wage: Fight for a real living wage for every worker


Workplace news

Newham bin workers ballot for strikes

Arriva Rail North cleaners fight bosses' punitive pay arrears

School staff demand action on pay and testing at NEU conference

Deliveroo workers protest at firm's Nottingham roadshow

PCS union: vital local strikes and a national pay ballot - vote for a fighting leadership

Unison union: right wing tries to block campaigning - elect a socialist leadership


International socialist news and analysis

Sudan: No to rule of the generals!


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Labour councils must act now to save our schools!

Council elections - an opportunity to present a socialist alternative to cuts

Activists rally in fight for more council housing and against high rents

Alternative housing awards

'Reforms' hollow out the NUS

Youth climate strikes: Democratic organisation and socialist policies needed


Opinion

Engels' classic essential for understanding socialist ideas old and 'new'

Real life on Universal Credit: "As soon as I get billed for my electric, I'm finished"

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 16 November 2018   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Climate change:

triangleThem & Us

triangleA speaker at the youth climate change protest in Newcastle, 21.6.19, photo by Elaine Brunskill

triangleHow can we build workers' action to support the climate strikes?

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleYoung Socialists - re-establishing Rhondda's fighting traditions

Youth:

triangleThe unheard voices of Gosport

triangleKnife crime tragedy linked to council cuts

triangleSocialist change not climate change

triangleOil firms spend $1bn fighting climate laws: 'Green New Deal' needs socialist policies

Strikes:

triangleCome to the 2019 NSSN conference

triangleScottish airport strikes - fight for better pay and pensions

triangleClimate change protesters in Newcastle, 24 March 2019, photo by Elaine Brunskill

Socialist:

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: A socialist programme to transform society

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Corbyn and the working class

Students:

triangleA speaker at the youth climate change protest in Newcastle, 21.6.19, photo by Elaine Brunskill

School:

triangleUnions and campaigners discuss fight to end education crisis

Socialist Students:

triangleD-Day for fighting Trump attack on NHS

Protest:

triangleNigeria: Stop police harassment of Abbey and Azeez!

Young people:

triangleLaughable research denies low-pay scandal

Student:

triangleBuild student unions and walkouts to fight climate change and Trump!

Leeds:

triangleSudan solidarity protests

Nottingham:

triangleNotts college contract dispute

Green:

triangleThe Green New Deal we need is socialism

Brighton:

triangleBrighton: Unite rules conference fringe meeting - Step up the fight for socialist policies

London:

triangleAngry Barking fire victims demand action from landlords and authorities

Newcastle:

triangleNewcastle anti-fascist demo

Manchester:

triangleManchester: RMT transport workers' conference fringe meeting

Agribusiness:

triangleBritain bakes as water pipelines leak

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

26/6/19

NSSN

Come to the 2019 NSSN conference

26/6/19

Lancashire

Stagecoach drivers continue their fight

26/6/19

Bridgend

NSSN meeting determined to fight for Ford workers

26/6/19

Devon

Stop the Devon and Somerset fire service cuts

26/6/19

Hull

Hull trade union festival a great success

26/6/19

Barking

Angry Barking fire victims demand action from landlords and authorities

26/6/19

Harrogate

Harrogate academy workers strike against cuts

26/6/19

Unite

Colloids workers strike to support sacked rep

26/6/19

Nottingham

Notts college contract dispute

26/6/19

Midlands

Midlands mental health workers walk out against privatisation

26/6/19

RMT

Salisbury South Western Rail strikers determined

26/6/19

Unison

Unison conference: Socialist Party members call for anti-cuts fight and build left challenge

26/6/19

Glasgow

Striking workers defy the race to the bottom at Glasgow and Aberdeen airports

26/6/19

Education

Unions and campaigners discuss fight to end education crisis

19/6/19

South Western Railway

South Western Railway staff strike for safety

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999