- Created: Wednesday, 20 March 2019 14:49
- Written by FRFI
On 15 March, more than a million school and college students, along with teachers and other supporters joined the second global Youth Strike 4 Climate (click for background on the strike, and a report of the first protest). The Youth Strike mobilised around three key demands: enfranchisement (by lowering the voting age to 16), for the government to declare climate change an emergency and to systematically educate young people about the urgency of the climate crisis. Comrades from RCG branches across the country joined the protests with a clear message that only socialism can solve the environmental crisis.
In London, several thousand protesters marched along unplanned routes, targeting the centres of political power, blocking traffic and creating a highly visible and dynamic event which could not be ignored. Marchers chanted, 'What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!' Compared to the previous Youth Strike demonstration, the London march was larger, more organised and coherent this time with university students leading at the front carrying banners, megaphones, smoke bombs and drums. It was even less under the control of the Metropolitan Police or opportunist organisations than it was last month - the Labour Party was nowhere to be seen. London RCG comrades leafleted the demonstrators to spread information about Cuba's socialist model, the only economy on the planet that is developing sustainably.
In Nottingham we joined around 200 protesters, the majority students, marching through the city centre to demonstrate against the destruction of the planet. Afterwards in the market square the RCG was pivotal in resisting censorship and organising a democratic open microphone on which all protesters could have their voices heard. A steady stream stepped up to address the crowd and were met with rapturous applause. One chant stood out in particular: this is what democracy looks like. RCG comrades also joined a protest of 250 in Birmingham, and one in Worcester, bring our solidarity to the developing movement.
Over 1,000 young people, our comrades among them, gathered in Glasgow city centre and braved the rain to demand that immediate radical action be taken on climate change. The protest surrounded the city chambers to protest against the posturing of Glasgow City Council who are slowing attempts to make them declare a climate emergency. There were also speeches condemning the role of large corporations in the environmental crisis. The Newcastle protest included large numbers of students from the local universities and colleges but most notably from Dewley Hill school on the border with Northumberland where the Banks mining group plans to launch a new open cast mine.
The RCG salutes the movement of the youth, which in its dynamism and energy differs markedly from the events of the mainstream trade union and labour movement. We are committed to supporting and building the movement against climate change, and will give what support we can. To the movement we will bring our crucial slogan: Capitalism is extinction, socialism is survival!