The Socialist 19 June 2019 |
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Stop climate change - fight for socialist change
School students fighting for system change on the climate strikes, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Theo Sharieff, Socialist Students national organiser
In recent months tens of thousands of students have walked out of schools and colleges, demanding urgent action against climate change. More and more debate is taking place on what this action should be and how it can be brought about.
No confidence can be placed in the Tory government or any other pro-capitalist politicians to prevent climate catastrophe, as they represent a system that places the profit-making of the billionaires at the top of society above taking far-reaching measures to protect the environment.
The Socialist Party argues that burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and other drivers of global warming can only be rapidly phased out by taking into public ownership the giant corporations which are responsible for most of these environmentally damaging practices.
Only by placing the control and management of those companies in the hands of working-class people, on a democratic, socialist basis, can decisions be taken to massively invest in alternative energy and other environmentally sustainable technologies.
This means escalating the protest actions to bring down the Tory government, while at the same time building support for a socialist programme - and developing a mass movement which can make sure that a Jeremy Corbyn-led government can deliver it.
Students can start building now in schools and colleges for a day of climate action in September - Friday 20 and Friday 27 are being raised - for the largest yet walkouts and demonstrations.
This means organising meetings to democratically plan how the turnout can be maximised. Students' unions can be set up and coordinated with other local schools and colleges.
These unions would have the potential to organise fightbacks on other issues too - including against low pay and funding cuts in education and youth services.
The idea of an 'earth strike' on 27 September has been raised, which correctly points towards who really holds the power in our society: the working class. Workers in industry, transport, and all other key workplaces producing goods and delivering services, have the power to bring the economy to a halt.
School and college students and other climate protesters should ask local trade unions and trades councils to back the September protests and discuss with them whether workers can join them at any stage of the day.
For example, protests could be held at the front of their workplace at lunchtime or the start of the day. There is already discussion on this in some unions, especially education unions.
Local and national union leaders should be called on to speak at the demonstrations, bringing the voice of representatives of the six million organised workers in Britain into the climate actions and the preparations for developing them further.
By linking up with the trade unions, young people can be in the frontline of building a potentially colossal and very powerful movement for the fundamental, system-level change that is urgent and essential to stop climate change: socialism.