Next steps on climate

Issue section: 
Issue: 
(450)

The global climate strike on Friday 20 September surpassed all expectations. Greta Thunberg has estimated there were over 4 million protesting worldwide, from Europe to America, to Kenya, to the Pacific Islands.

In Britain there were perhaps 350,000 on the streets, including 100,000 in London and tens of thousands across Scotland.

This puts the day on a par with the 15 February 2003 protests against the Iraq invasion and the global women’s marches in 2017, with the notable difference that the climate strike was the only one of those to take place on a weekday.

So how can we build on this momentum? Many workplaces held lunchtime rallies or took part in the marches in their town or city. It’s crucial that activists hold feedback meetings to build networks for further action.

As we go to press, the date of the next school strike has not been announced, but if workplaces supported it last month then why not every month?

In the meantime, the next big thing is the Extinction Rebellion (XR) International Rebellion beginning on Monday 7 October.

In Britain the plan is to occupy central London and bring key parts of it to a standstill, on an even bigger scale than the last time at Easter.

As part of the International Rebellion there will be a trade union solidarity day on Saturday 12 October, when trade unionists are encouraged to bring their workmates and banners down to the XR camps.

On the same day there is a climate conference organised by the education unions, NEU and UCU, an initiative which other unions should emulate.

The Campaign Against Climate Change AGM on 2 November will be another forum to debate ways to build the movement.

And there is much to debate. The Labour Party conference last month passed a Green New Deal with much more robust targets than previously, marking a real shift in some of the trade unions when it comes to their attitudes to the climate crisis.

But the slogan “System Change Not Climate Change” goes a step beyond this, to raise the notion of a more fundamental transformation.

For info go to campaigncc.org and rebellion.earth