On 27 September, millions around the world once again took to the streets in defence of the environment. Globally, 3.6 million are estimated to have participated, which means that a total of 7.6 million are estimated to have gone on strike and demonstrated for the environment [climate] on 20 and 27 September. The Committee for a Workers’ International, the socialist international which Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna is the Swedish section of, intervened everywhere we are active, and argued that only a socialist programme can take us out of this climate change nightmare.
By Robert Bielecki, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden)
Over 6,100 different “events” – strikes, demonstrations, protests and more – were organised in 185 countries on 20-27 September, supported by “73 unions, 820 civil society organisations, 3,000 companies and 8,500 websites”, reports globalclimatestrike.net.
In many countries, more focus was placed on one of these dates. For example, on 27 September, there were no events in some countries whereas on 20 September, there was a record number of events, as was the case in Australia. Meanwhile, in New Zealand, 170,000 are estimated to have marched for the environment, which is one of the country’s largest demonstrations ever and 3.5 percent of its population.
Largest was probably in Italy, where 1.5 million are estimated to have taken to the streets. Resistenze Internazionale (CWI in Italy) reports that: “Millions of young people and workers are today protesting against climate change. This movement will grow and fundamentally change the world we live in. We cannot fail because it is about the survival of humanity. And if capitalism and those who represent it are opposed to this global struggle, it is time to change society and replace those who govern it”.
Just like the Friday before, over 1.000 gathered in Israel/Palestine, where Tnu’at Maavak Sotzyalisti / Harakat Nidal Eshteraki (CWI in Israel/Palestine) participated. They report that in Tel-Aviv alone “there were over 1,000 participants, with many as young as 12-14 years old on a very lively demonstration”.
In Warsaw, there were a couple of thousand demonstrators. Alternatywa Socjalistyczna (CWI in Poland) reported that: “Although the participants do not always understand the need to link the fight against climate change with the fight to change the socio-economic system, it is important for socialists to participate in the movement and introduce a path and strategy to take the movement forward “.
In The Hague in the Netherlands, more than 30,000 took part. Socialistisch Alternatief (CWI in the Netherlands) had a good intervention, selling newspapers and handing out many leaflets.
In the Spanish state, hundreds of thousands of workers and students were out on strikes and protests against climate change and against the environmental disasters that are constantly taking place alongside increasingly severe weather phenomena. Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in the Spanish state), raised the slogan “System change, not climate change – fight for a socialist social transformation!”.
In Austria, more than 150,000 took part with our comrades in the SLP (CWI in Austria) intervening in Vienna and Graz, among other places. In Vienna alone, over 100,000 participated. There we had “a dynamic bloc with socialist proposals about how to take the movement forward”. In Graz, 8,000 were involved, and SLP writes that “they were so many that the police were forced to divide the demonstration into several different demonstrations”. The SLP also had a good intervention there and put forward anti-capitalist positions on the demonstration.
In the Greek city of Thessaloniki, more than 1,500 took part in Friday’s climate strikes. Xekinima (CWI in Greece) attended and held the socialist banner high.
Across Sweden, 80,000 took to the streets to protest climate change and global warming. In Stockholm alone 60,000 took to the streets, which was the biggest demonstration since the anti-war movement in 2003. In Stockholm Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden) took the initiative together with our youth organisation, Young Socialists, to organise an anti-capitalist block in the demonstration – a very lively and energetic one. Chants of “International solidarity – we only have one planet” and more were echoing through the streets.
In Gothenburg, we also intervened in the climate protest which stopped central traffic for hours when 10,000 spilled onto the streets. In around ten cities and locations, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna participated with brilliant results, with high numbers interested in joining our struggle as well as in the number of papers sold, leaflets handed out, subscriptions bought for our paper, money raised, etc.
In the Ivory Coast, Militant (CWI in Ivory Coast) intervened in the climate protests that took place there on 25 September. It was FESCI, the big school and university student union in the Ivory Coast, who called it. The march from the Felix Houphouet-Boigny University in Cocody, Abidjan gathered thousands, and Militant distributed leaflets both before and during the demonstration and talked to participants about the need for the socialist transformation of society.
In Montréal in the Canadian province of Québec, 500,000 participated, and it was here that Greta Thunberg also demonstrated on Friday. The comrades in Alternative Socialiste (CWI in Quebec) had a very well-attended information tent.
Also in Canadian Vancouver, there were 100,000 on the streets. Socialist Alternative (CWI in Canada) writes that the march “completely shut down downtown traffic for several hours”. They sold 50 magazines and handed out thousands of flyers for a protest meeting on Monday.
Around the world, we in the CWI are fighting for a socialist world, a struggle that has probably never been more important. Never before have Rosa Luxemburg’s immortal words “Socialism or Barbarism” been as accurate as they are today. We need you – in Sweden and internationally. Join the global resistance now!