Here's the text of the leaflet Socialist Students members were giving out at the climate strikes around the country today. If you want to get involved then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Climate Criminal-in-Chief to visit UK
Once again May is rolling out the red carpet for Donald Trump, the sexist, racist, billionaire Climate Criminal-In-Chief. But it isn’t just what Trump thinks about climate change that’s the problem (3 years ago he said he thought climate change was a “hoax”), it’s his actions as US President that matter. Since taking office he has pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement and scrapped a climate change advisory group in the government for not including enough representatives from big business.
That’s what he and May have in common. They both act in the interests of the capitalist class. The system they defend – capitalism - is based on exploitation of working-class people by the bosses, whether that’s through cuts and austerity, university fees, high rents, poverty pay or environmental destruction. We suffer – they get richer!
Walk Out against Trump + Climate Change
Last time Trump visited the UK, hundreds of thousands marched against his sexist, racist, anti-working class agenda. Given the growing climate movement taking place in Britain and around the world now, the demonstration when he visits in June will also be against the inability to act on climate change of his and May’s governments.
Building for both the next climate strikes and to walk out against Trump should start now, with general students’ meetings or just groups of interested students at your school or college. We must spread the movement to all young people who will be affected by climate catastrophe, low pay and austerity.
The fightback on these issues and others, including school funding cuts, can be stepped up by organising school students’ unions - students democratically organising together. These can take a lead in building for the walk-outs and demonstrations, and can also defend students against detentions and punishments.
If you want help or to discuss what to do, contact Socialist Students.
SOCIALIST CHANGE TO END CLIMATE CHANGE!
It has become a well-used statistic on the demonstrations: 100 companies are responsible for 71% of greenhouse gas emissions. While it is absolutely right that people recycle and demand their schools cut down on waste and emissions, this movement must also fight to take the power out of the hands of big businesses if we are to stop the destruction of the planet for profit.
The calls for the government and councils to declare climate emergencies reflect the anger with the inability of capitalist establishment politicians to act on climate change. Protesters demand that emissions are cut, or even that towns and cities become carbon neutral in the next 10-30 years.
Some local councils, the Welsh and Scottish governments and Parliament itself have unanimously called a climate emergency. But the Tories and the Labour Blairites represent those who are making profits off the back of environmental devastation, so these words will be meaningless unless we fight for measures to bring real change.
Our movement needs to demand that councils use their existing powers, for example to build carbon-neutral council housing for all the families and young people in housing need. This could also create jobs with trade union rates of pay. By refusing to pass on Tory cuts to youth services and other services, Labour councils could, alongside our movement and strikes by workers, help force the Tories to call a general election.
Organising mass action to get the Tories out is the most important way we can influence parliament right now – replacing them with an anti-austerity Corbyn-led government with socialist policies. But will the capitalist elite in Britain then accept real green proposals in the interests of workers, young people and the environment?
The IPCC estimated it would cost $900 billion a year to halt global warming. This represents less than 2% of world economic output but it will not be forthcoming when profit remains the driving force for the global economy.
To prevent the bosses undermining such policies, we need to take all the major banks and big corporations out of their hands. Nationalising Britain’s top 150 firms under democratic workers’ control and management would allow socialist planning of the economy to meet the needs of all and the environment.
We can have no faith in the capitalists to defend the planet. How can they fix it when they can’t even fix their own system which has been in crisis for the last decade?
The trade unions, which organise workers, are key in escalating our struggle against climate change. By linking up with them, young people can build a potentially colossal movement. Mass collective working-class strike action has the power to not just shut down the roads but to shut down the whole country. From the teachers and students in our schools and colleges, to the bus and train drivers on our transport networks, to those who create all the goods and services in our society - the working class has the power to bring everything to a halt.
Greta Thunberg, who started the climate strikes in Sweden, recently said she is in favour of a general strike. She’s correctly pointed to who has the real power in today’s society, not those at the top but ordinary workers and young people.
A general strike would need to be democratically organised in the workplaces and trade unions. It can force the capitalist class to make concessions, out of their fear of such a movement developing further and challenging their right to rule.
That’s the type of movement we need to build. And it needs to become strong enough to justify their fear and really challenge their right to rule, posing the alternative of a socialist society that can offer an entirely different future.
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