The Socialist 19 February 2020 |
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Climate strikers have Valentine's Day message
'Roses are red, violets are blue, BP and Shell - we're coming for you'
Climate strikers in Sheffield, 14.2.20, photo by Sheffield Socialist Party (Click to enlarge)
Leicester: Energetic youth want to strike with workers
'Roses are red, violets are blue, BP and Shell - we're coming for you!' This was the chant of around young people marching through Leicester city centre.
The most recent climate strike was loud and energetic, made up of 120 college, secondary and even primary school students.
The hard work put into coordinating the event by the young organisers was clear. Students were stewarding, leading chants, handing out badges and collecting contact details from attendees.
Young Socialists and Socialist Party members went down to support the action. Our slogan was 'build working-class struggle for socialist change to end climate change'. All our leaflets were taken.
We marched with the students to their rally. Speakers talked about fighting for a Green New Deal, with green jobs for energy workers.
Imran Mulla, a student from WQE college, explained how climate activists had been listed as 'extremists' by the Tories' Prevent scheme. This showed the rich and powerful fear an organised movement.
Leicester Young Socialists held a meeting after the march and four of the organisers came along. They wanted to discuss the way forward for the climate movement and how to build and widen the strikes.
The organisers were keen to link up with workers. The Socialist Party was able to put them in contact with University and College Union (UCU) strikers, restarting their action on 20 February (see pages 6-7).
The National Education Union is striking again at WQE college, part of the national sixth-form strike against cuts (see pages 6-7).
Young Socialists will be supporting their pickets, linking up with the climate strike organisers to unite workers and youth in action.
Swansea: This is political!
Socialist Students and Young Socialists helped organise the February Youth Strike for Climate in Swansea. The monthly events still draw together climate-conscious young people and students.
Socialist Students and Young Socialists have helped build, prepare and run the climate strikes for a year now. And our slogan 'socialist change not climate change' was well received.
Scandalously, a small group of much older activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) tried to use their banner to cover-up the Young Socialists and trade union council banners. The latter co-hosted the event.
XR insist that these protest be 'apolitical'. But Socialist Student and Young Socialist rally speakers went down a storm when they called for workers' control and a democratic planned economy to save the planet.
Lots of young activists liked what we said. Several young protesters joined our discussion afterwards, including one joining the Socialist Party.
Sheffield: Real action to reach carbon target
The Sheffield protest was smaller than the last demo, when the UCU were on strike before the general election.
But it was really good to see 400 young people not discouraged by Tory government (it's all they've ever known) and take to the streets to fight climate change.
Dozens signed our Socialist Party petition to Sheffield City Council demanding real action to achieve their stated aim of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
- Use council and mayoral powers to regulate bus services - we say regulation could be used as a step towards nationalisation and public ownership - to provide cheap, environmentally friendly public transport
- Bring recycling services in-house
- Scrap Amey PFI scheme that has axed thousands of roadside trees
Scotland: Escalate the strikes for the climate summit
Hundreds braved torrential rain in Glasgow for the climate strike.
Glasgow Socialist Students member Oisin Duncan spoke at the rally. He called for a mass strike in every school and college during the COP26 climate summit in the city in November.
Oisin raised the need for socialist change to end climate change. This includes nationalisation of the oil, gas and wider energy sector and a new workers party to fight for socialist policies.
In Aberdeen, new people attended Socialist Students' public meeting after the strike.
Cardiff: Capitalism blamed
150 young people marched from Cardiff City Hall to the National Assembly, where school students made passionate speeches on the megaphone.
The Socialist Party's analysis - placing the blame for environmental destruction firmly at the door of the capitalist system putting the need for profit above all else, and calling for democratic economic planning to head off the impending disaster - went down well.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 19 February 2020 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.