Youth Climate Strike

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slothjabber
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Mar 11 2019 09:47
Youth Climate Strike

I suppose this goes as much into 'news' as 'organise', which is the other place I thought to put it.

This is happening on Friday 15th March.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/01/youth-climate-change...

Perhaps I've missed it but I haven't seen any discussion on what is going to be happening, either in support of or critiquing it.

Anyone got any thoughts on this, or indeed useful information?

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Fozzie
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Mar 11 2019 10:19

It's broadly A Good Thing.

My daughter went on the first one last month and will go on this one.

Her school was fairly supportive of the first one, but other schools where we live said that kids would be marked as truanting if they attended.

It sounded pretty fun and I assume for a lot of those who went it would have been their first demo.

Theresa May criticised people for going which lead to chants throughout the day of "fuck Theresa May".

The question is whether this generation will be bought off with platitudes from politicians or will they turn into the next wave of activists who can challenge climate change head on? Probably a bit of both.

slothjabber
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Mar 11 2019 10:48

Yes, I think it might well be a radicalising experience for some and a way of recouping others to reformism. Which is why I think 'we' (a broad 'we' this one, meaning something like 'those who see no real solutions inside a capitalist framework') should be generally supportive (while also pointing out there are no solutions in capitalism).

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Serge Forward
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Mar 11 2019 11:52

ACG article on the last demo:
LINK

slothjabber
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Mar 11 2019 13:16

Thanks for that Serge.

slothjabber
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Mar 11 2019 13:24

Sorry for double post.

Mike Harman
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Mar 11 2019 19:26

While not about the climate strike, wrote this up about school walkouts in the US last year which touches on some of the issue facing the kids trying to do them - which between individual schools can swing between liberal co-option and repression depending on the head: https://libcom.org/blog/cutting-class-communism-school-strikes-april-20t...

There were police horse charges, kettling and arrests on the last day of walkouts which frankly I'd have expected the police to be a bit more hands off with kids in school uniform.

Not sure if there's a thread on here about the entirely awful Extinction Rebellion yet?

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Mar 11 2019 19:55

On Extinction Rebellion, this seems like a fairly worthwhile attempt at friendly critique: https://freedomnews.org.uk/green-anti-capitalist-front-manifesto-open-le...

Was trying to think of any interesting texts that had come out of the last wave of student walkouts in the US, drawing a blank, but some people formatted a chapter of a Nanni Balestrini novel dealing with a walkout in printable zine format if that's of any use?

slothjabber
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Mar 11 2019 23:14

Thanks for that Mike, there's a lot of interesting info there.

EDIT: and R Totale for further info.

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Mar 17 2019 22:25

R Totale thanks for the link to the Green Anti-Capitalist Front Manifesto.
There seems to be a few ideas in there that are a bit vague such as:

Quote:
We must push our trade unions to adopt an environmental as well as anti-capitalist stance which argues for a just but rapid transition for workers in extractive industries.

I can't see any reference in the text to anarchism, communism or revolution.

Has anyone any idea which organisations are acually part of this front? (maybe this is for another thread?).

Edit: I cannot understand why any anarchist group would get involved with Extinction Rebellion.

Spikymike
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Mar 13 2019 11:21

rat, Not sure exactly who is involved in this Green Anti-capitalist Front but there is more on their Twitter Feed including this promoted more upfront anarchist critique of 'Extinction Rebellion' here:
https://theslowburningfuse.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/why-extinction-rebel...
Edit: that is a text borrowed from elsewhere now posted up on libcom by LAMA.

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Mar 13 2019 11:44

My daughter's school is not supporting the kids who want to go out on strike this Friday and has offered a discussion on climate change with some of the geography teachers instead.

We've written and said that she is going anyway, but I suspect this will need to gradually decreasing numbers as the novelty wears off and the schools are less understanding.

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Mar 14 2019 22:01

I don't suppose anyone will be able to get this printed in time for tomorrow, especially as the people who posted it don't seem to have added a print-ready formatted version, but there's this from Canadian comrades: https://north-shore.info/2019/03/14/open-letter-to-climate-strikers/

"Politicians, including some aspiring ones who call themselves ‘activists,’ ask how the growing fear and discontent might be exploited for personal gain. History clearly demonstrates that if we allow these people to lead our movements, they will pull the plug at precisely the moment that we become a real threat to the existing order. Those in power rely on funneling our rage towards dead ends. Let’s get organized, but not behind politicians trying to sell us the latest Hope™.

We don’t know exactly what a ‘better world’ could look like. But like you, we feel that we have to try. We don’t want to just feel like we’re on “the right side of history,” a narcissistic trap. We want to be effective, within an ethical framework that values freedom, autonomy and solidarity. Let’s start taking seriously the idea we might actually have an impact. To that end, we propose a joyful, strategic, and fierce resistance that might include these ingredients:

Transformation, not reform. Capitalism is killing the planet. It is a system based on endless growth, and only serves the rich and powerful. No lifestyle change or government reform is going to touch that. It’s gotta go. Those in power will not simply be persuaded to change their ways and give up the wealth and power they have accumulated through centuries of patriarchy, colonial plunder, and mass exploitation.

The police stand in our way. Maybe you already hold your breath when a cop drives by. If not, remember that even the friendliest cops have to follow orders or get fired. Police are the violent defenders of this rotten system. To even make a dent, many people will have to break a lot of laws, and not just in the “arrest me for the cameras” kind of way.

Let’s build lives worth living. We’re cynical, but we are not hopeless. When we refuse to resign and instead build lives worth living now, we see glimpses of a different future, and start to feel compelled to defend ourselves. We want collective lives rife with empathy, creativity, and openness.

Thank you, again, for showing up. This is the beginning of a long road, or maybe a tightrope. Let’s walk it together, trying to avoid the traps that lay ahead."

sherbu-kteer
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Mar 15 2019 09:57

I was at the Sydney one today, the turnout was really great. I asked around a bit and it seemed like most of the schoolkids there were given permission to go by their school, with varying levels of official encouragement -- there were a few chartered buses nearby, probably for some of the private schools who had organised large groups of attendees. As for uni students, I know that the University of New South Wales put out a statement saying they're not going to penalise students for being absent today, and University of Sydney went a step further and said they're not even going to penalise staff for being absent.

The official tenor of the event was quite electoral; some of the speeches talked about making sure our politicians act properly and that sort of thing. There was a weird bit where they gave out Bill Shorten (opposition leader, likely next PM)'s office phone number and told people to save it and call it later with a demand that he "be our climate leader" and announce a better climate policy or something. To the credit of the official organisers, they did a good job including speakers from a bunch of different backgrounds/perspectives: there were kids from Western Sydney (working-class, multicultural) who talked about that, indigenous kids, kids from pacific islands countries (Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, etc).

More generally I felt the crowd was more radical than the officials. There was no specific anarchist presence that I saw. Most of the left organisations were represented; the Communist Party of Australia was there with the Maritime Union, Socialist Alliance (orthodox Trots) had their banner, as did Solidarity (Cliffites, SWP sister party), and Socialist Alternative (also Cliffites, led a chant of "oceans rise, so do we/overthrow the bourgeoisie").

Overall I'd say it was a good event and probably served as a good introduction to activism for schoolkids who have never done this sort of thing before. I don't expect anything huge to come out of it but as far as these things go it was definitely worthwhile.

Also, I saw a handful of people carrying Extinction Rebellion signs; they seemed really strange so I decided not to approach. They were promoting some event they have coming up. Do they deliberately try and market themselves to seem like a shady cult? What's with the weird iconography?

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Mar 16 2019 21:34

Oh, for anyone interested in the Green Anticapitalist Front mentioned above, they have an open meeting coming up in London: https://greenanticapitalist.org/2019/03/13/open-meeting-23rd-march-2019/

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Mar 17 2019 22:31

That Green Anticapitalist Front meeting seems to be about hanging onto those liberal martyrs of Extinction Rebellion.
Bad idea.

The Green Anti-Capitalist Front is a new movement supported by radical
groups and individuals across London and the UK which aims to support
the surge of actions being carried out by Extinction Rebellion...

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Mar 18 2019 19:31

I mean, probably worth quoting that bit in full, because it looks a bit different in context:
"The Green Anti-Capitalist Front is a new movement supported by radical groups and individuals across London and the UK which aims to support the surge of actions being carried out by Extinction Rebellion while also offering a radical alternative for those who see the abolition of capitalism as the only real means of avoiding complete ecological catastrophe. We also recognise that many of us would like to be involved in actions which do not include asking to be arrested or collaborating with the police. We are calling for an open assembly where we can decide how we wish to interact with Extinction Rebellion and what alternative actions we can pursue."

Which to me sounds like they have quite a clear critique of ER's liberalism and definitely don't plan on getting involved in their pointless mass arrests, but are trying to present it in a bit more of a "you catch more flies with honey" kind of way? They also say that the point of the meeting is to decide "how we wish to interact with Extinction Rebellion", so if anyone wanted to turn up and argue that ER are such a bunch of dangerous numpties that no-one should touch them with a ten-foot pole, presumably there'd be space to make that argument?

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Mar 18 2019 22:09

Yes I agree with you there and I should have quoted the full paragraph.
But I am am very pessimistic about the there being any positive aspects of anarchist communists engaging with ER.

Here's a link to a video that was posted on Libcom's Twitter account back in November that clearly shows the moronic attitude of ER.

https://twitter.com/copwatcher/status/10656625404185640

I also agree with the Libcom obsevation that accompanies the video:

Quote:
If you're even remotely considering taking part in an Extinction Rebellion action you should watch this first, then keep several miles away until they stop doing this fucking... enthusiastically and intentionally getting people arrested
what the fuck.

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Mar 18 2019 22:55
rat wrote:
Here's a link to a video that was posted on Libcom's Twitter account back in November that clearly shows the moronic attitude of ER.

https://twitter.com/copwatcher/status/10656625404185640

I also agree with the Libcom obsevation that accompanies the video:

Quote:
If you're even remotely considering taking part in an Extinction Rebellion action you should watch this first, then keep several miles away until they stop doing this fucking... enthusiastically and intentionally getting people arrested
what the fuck.

Link's not working, is it the right one?

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Mar 20 2019 16:34

Sorry about that, I was trying to post a link to the short video clip on Twitter. Here's the longer version entitled 'We can't get arrested quick enough' on the Guardian's website. The clip on Twitter started at about 10:20 of this 13 minute one, so if you havn't got 13 minutes to waste, just start from there.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2018/nov/22/we-cant-get-arrested...

(This link might work for the Twitter thread: https://twitter.com/libcomorg/status/1066007829444788225)

[edit: are Extinction Rebellion actually some sort of cult, which requires the devote to go through a sacrificial ritual of getting nicked?]

Battlescarred
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Mar 19 2019 11:34

According to the London AF FB page re the Green Anticapitalist Front:
"So, some members have set up this group but we want to expand it as wide as possible. Please help take it off our hands and make it not just an Anarchist Fed group! We've been overwhelmed with emails of support since we launched it - think the time might be right for an anticapitalist front!"

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Mar 24 2019 22:39

This 22 minute video by Roger Hallam explains the reactionary ideas of Extinction Rebellion:

"This is about getting things into a situation...that you can actually get into the room with the government, and that's what it's about..."

So essentially it seems that he considers all those foot soldiers who get arrested on Extinction Rebellion demos, as very useful cannon fodder in his battle for the XR leadership to be recognised as representatives, mediators who can do business with the state.

Or am I just getting carried away in my bitterness, and he just wants to be able to impose some 'reasonable' demands on whatever government?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSOlRNCO9L8

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Mar 24 2019 20:04
rat wrote:
This 22 minute video by Roger Hallam explains the reactionary ideas of Extinction Rebellion:

"This is about getting things into a situation...that you can actually get into the room with the government, and that's what it's about..."

I'd hesitate to call that reactionary, but "getting to a point where governments see us as a legitimate voice" is non-radical as such.

I'm not sure yet what more thorough analysis people in Extinction Rebellion tend to have in terms of existing society and what societal change is needed. They express the awareness that the problem is bigger than climate change, extending to other ways we are critically undermining ecosystems on a scale that is reaching all sorts of limits. I think such an awareness will necessarily circle back to affect what underlying causes and longer-term solutions people perceive. I think that is the area where the radical, non-radical or even reactionary politics will really come into play (for example, whether people draw Malthusian conclusions - 'there are just too many people' - or instead anti-capitalist ones), not in the types of actions or the desired immediate results.

Even when actions are essentially "petitioning the government" or demanding a seat at the table, it should be pointed out that government is only the place where the lack of political will to do anything is concentrated, not where it originates.
Governments are so inactive in preventing climate change and ecological destruction because they are the expression of capitalist interest in society.

By the way, I think that ("capitalist interest") should be taken to mean: all forms of capitalist interest, including the capitalist interest of people who need to sell their labour-power, or any other interest which is reproduced through the existing social form. The reproduction of capitalism is the base-line for all interests that correspond to it, which means that if you let the capitalist form of your life-interests take precedence over their substance, then preserving capitalism will be the only realistic option, and it will seem that your life as such presupposes the continuity of capital as a social relation. If you can conceive of the two separately, you are not forced by the power of your own brain to side with capitalism, and your life-interests would perhaps tend to be slanted towards preserving the life-world rather than the continuation of the capitalist form.

Spikymike
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Apr 6 2019 16:25

The Green Anti-capitalist Front seems intent on expanding itself as a broad front organisation for a mixed bag of assumed anti-capitalist campaigning groups with this propaganda demonstration and it's assertion that 'Climate Struggle is Class Struggle' here:
https://freedomnews.org.uk/april-15th-anti-capitalist-demo-call-out/
That assertion still needs to be based on some explanatory analysis as to how the two are, or can be, practically linked - but maybe that will be forthcoming.

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Apr 6 2019 20:36

As this is the active thread on climate change, I just wanted to drop this article I was reading earlier:

Peter St. Clair - Facing the heat
https://brooklynrail.org/2019/04/field-notes/Facing-The-Heat

St. Clair is critical of the Green New Deal, of the too-moderate left and their too-limited critique of capitalism (i.e. only critical of unregulated capitalism), and arguing for the need for a militant social movement demanding an immediate conversion away from fossil fuels.

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Apr 9 2019 20:58

that vid is absurd. does that twat really think getting people arrested will convince the public that they are right when he openly is trying to get it to happen and admits to this ON CAMERA.

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Apr 9 2019 21:15

Ugh. I only managed six minutes. What a liberal toss.

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Apr 21 2019 16:25

Since I don't think anyone's come up with the definitive helpful critique of XR/related initiatives yet, just to suggest anyone interested in trying to write one might get some inspiration from looking over old debates about climate camp - see for instance "Remember, Remember: Climate Camp" and various other texts from the Shift archives.

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Apr 22 2019 15:30

There's a cut down version of the vid on twitter https://twitter.com/copwatcher/status/1065662540418564096

that kept the bits about XR's leaders arguing with the police to arrest more protestors. Twitter isn't exactly the best place to look things up I made a copy.

https://archive.org/details/ExtinctionRebellionConspireToGetPeopleArrest...

Was on youtube but the Guardian is cracking down on uploads.

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Apr 23 2019 21:04

In case people haven't seen it, the flyer GAF produced is here: https://greenanticapitalist.org/2019/04/16/april-15th-post-action-report...

ajjohnstone
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Apr 25 2019 23:13

https://enoughisenough14.org/2019/04/24/rebellion-extinction-a-capitalis...

An over-simplification of the undeniable political naivity of XR or simply acknowledgement that capitalism will co-opt even its opponents?

Quote:
"the capitalists will sell us the rope with which we hang them with"