Striking school students have joined Valentine’s Day rallies across the world as the protest movement attempts to ratchet up pressure on governments and companies before crunch UN climate talks in Glasgow later this year. Climate strikes were planned in 2,000 cities across the world on Friday, and that bigger actions were planned for the coming months. Friday’s action was not intended as a mega-strike like those in September, when more than 6 million people took part, but it showed how the campaign has evolved.
In London, the young demonstrators held banners proclaiming “Roses are red, violets are blue, our Earth is burning and soon we will too” and “Climate change is worse than homework” as they marched through Parliament Square on Friday to mark the first anniversary of nationwide climate strikes in the UK.
Students in Durham, Glasgow, Brighton and dozens of other cities also braved often wet and cold condition to march through the streets chanting, “What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now.”In India on Friday, strikers turned their focus on government plans to deforest swathes of the Aravallis mountain range, which is a conservation area that provides freshwater and oxygen for Delhi and other cities. Some carried banners in English reading: “I love Aravallis”, “Our green lungs” and “Protectors are turning destroyers”.
In Sydney, climate strikers demonstrated with banners that depicted the devastating bushfires and blamed the government of Scott Morrison for the “climate chaos” that has hit Australia. In the Philippines, climate strikers organised an educational storytelling campaign to raise public awareness.
In Scotland, Holly Gillibrand, who was one of the first strikers in the UK when she started a vigil outside Lochaber high school in Fort William in the Highlands, said the growth of the movement had been incredible.
“When I began striking over a year ago, Greta Thunberg and Fridays for Future were not well known at all and I was one of very few strikers in the UK, but since then, everything has changed. The movement has gone from one person to 7.5 million. Even if we still aren’t getting the radical action we need from governments, politicians are feeling the pressure to act and we just need to keep pushing, keep shouting, keep rebelling until they do.” Holly continued her strike on Friday, with a hot chocolate to help get her through the wet weather.
Among those striking for the first time on Friday was a group in Rwanda, where protesters tweeted images of themselves holding signs that said: “Rwanda stand for climate.”
A year ago, the size of the protests in the UK took police by surprise, as thousands defied their teachers to skip school and join the still nascent movement. The students are now backed by longer established environmental organisations, including Global Justice Now, Greenpeace and the Green party. Among those at Friday’s march in London was a trade union climate bloc.
Friends of the Earth are backing the school climate strikers, who it credits for shifting public opinion. There is still a long way to go, but with technology developments and strong policies, the group said there was cause for hope. “Huge change is possible..."Indeed the change the Socialist Party seeks is huge.
Does it make sense to risk destroying civilisation for the sake of profit? Capitalism imposes ecological devastation on the planet. Capitalism is the problem that socialism can solve. Socialists aims to produce and distribute resources by and in the interests of the whole community. In a money-free society production can be planned properly and the world's resources conserved instead of being wasted or damaged for the sake of making a quick profit. The risk to the world posed by the threat of dangerous industrial processes and indiscriminate waste of resources has never been greater in spite of all the efforts of reformists and ecological pressure groups. Only the abolition of capitalism and its replacement by socialism can halt the destruction. We must replace capitalism before it destroys the earth.
Against continued capitalist chaos, the Socialist Party fights for a new social system based upon the overthrow of the exploiters. Against nationalist hatreds and hostilities, the Socialist Party proclaims and practices proletarian solidarity, the unity of the workers of all lands against their capitalist exploiters. Against endless wars of conquest, the Socialist Party strives to eliminate war through a socialism.
The capitalist are trying to throw the burden of this world crisis on the working people. When capitalist production does not bring sufficient profit, the capitalist uses every means to guard himself against loss. He throws the workers pitilessly out into the street. He raises the cost of living. He beats down salaries, and for this purpose he creates lock outs and mobilises strike-breakers.
The capitalist seeks to increase the hours of work or the efficiency of labour, in case wages remain the same. Protection for the workers is made impossible. The most indispensable articles are raised in price, the production of goods which do not bring big profits is stopped. We see this best in the failure to relieve the shortage in dwellings. Housing accommodations for the lower classes are neglected. Hospitals and nurseries are closed. Invalids, pensioners, and cripples are abandoned. Through the most subtle systems of taxation a considerable part of the workman’s income is stolen. In order to carry this out more easily the capitalist buys the periodicals, the newspapers, controls literary production and employs thousands of agitators to influence the workers in a manner favourable to his own interests. The capitalist strives to demoralize and to destroy the workers’ organisations, especially the labour unions. With a subtle system of swindle and lies capitalism tries to eliminate these organisations from the struggle against it. When it does not succeed in this, it tries to destroy them by means of force.
Global warming and the environmental crisis is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. The uncontrolled exploitation and gross waste of resources typical of capitalism, is the source of this disaster. Short-sighted hunt for profit, neglects and abuse of science under capitalism destroy the world’s environment at an accelerating speed. Science, technology and industry can be positive and beneficial to society, but private property and the priorities of the elite and the ruling class create great problems. Our answer is that the working people must organise to overthrow those who threaten the existence of the people of the world. Only a planned socialist economy has strength to remedy a future climate catastrophe. Planned economy makes social and sensible use of the resources. Production will be planned on the basis of what serves society, not what yields the most profit. The producers themselves, the workers, will decide what to produce and how – not “the market”.