Millions on strike against climate change

This video from Canada says about itself:

Youth Climate Strike demonstration in Montreal, March 15, 2019

By Bryan Dyne:

Millions of students and youth march against climate change

16 March 2019

An estimated 1.4 million students and youth walked out of school and took part in Friday’s worldwide demonstrations against climate change. The internationally coordinated protests, the largest in sixteen years, were organized in response to the growing realization among young people that the governments of the world are incapable of taking any significant measures to halt global warming.

The latest UN report states that there may be as little as eleven years before the impact of climate change on human civilization becomes exponentially more devastating. …

The initial impulse of the movement, known as the Youth Climate Strike and Fridays For Future, was given by 16-year-old Greta Thurnberg, who began striking against climate change outside the Swedish parliament building last August. This has been followed by a series of protests over the past several months.

Yesterday’s protests were on a larger scale. The official list counts actions in more than 2,000 cities in at least 120 countries on every continent, including Antarctica. There were 235 in Italy, 214 in France, 200 in Germany, 195 in the United States, 144 in Sweden and 120 in the United Kingdom.

The single biggest demonstration was in Milan, where an estimated 100,000 students and youth marched. Organizers counted 60,000 participants in Montreal, 50,000 in Naples, 40,000 in Paris, 30,000 in Brussels and Rome, 20,000 in Berlin and 10,000 in London. Smaller protests involving dozens or hundreds of students and youth occurred in every corner of the globe, including Cape Town, Tokyo, Moscow, New Delhi, Mexico City, Jakarta, Buenos Aires and Shanghai.

More than 23,000 German, Austrian and Swiss scientists signed a statement supporting the protests under the name “Scientists For Future.” They declared, “The concerns of the young protesters are justified and supported by the best available science… The young people rightly demand that our society should prioritize sustainability and especially climate action without further hesitation. Without far-reaching and consistent change, their future is in danger.”

The demonstrations reflect a growing radicalization of young people internationally, not only in relation to climate change, but in response to mounting social inequality, the victimization of immigrants and refugees, and unending war.

This was reflected in many of the slogans on handmade banners that students brought to the rallies. Some included: “Capitalism is killing the planet; kill capitalism”; “Profit or future”; “Open borders for refugees”; “Capitalism is killing us”; and “World strike for the future.”

Members of the Socialist Equality Party and other supporters of the World Socialist Web Site attended demonstrations in several countries, where they distributed copies of the WSWS perspective “The Youth Climate Strike and the fight against global warming” and other statements, explaining the SEP’s fight to mobilize the working class against capitalism. …

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality at the University of Michigan spoke with students and youth in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Marisol, a high school junior at Community High School, said, “The corporations and politicians are totally unwilling to change anything. The working class just needs to wake up and see our power.” She added, “It’s not the fault of the people at the bottom, who have nothing. It’s the rich and the corporations and the politicians who are responsible.”

Lys, a high-school student in Paris, noted that “Today in France there are 280,000 soldiers. They are deployed throughout the world. I find that France has a sphere of action that is far too large. The wars are for private interests, whether they be financial or political, and not for humanitarian concerns. That’s what I find dangerous. That’s also what I’m afraid of for the climate. It’s the private interests which buy politics and power. That’s why I came today.”

The massive influx of resources needed to halt and reverse climate change requires the reorganization of economic, social and political life on an international scale. Energy production must be coordinated on a global scale in order to transition to renewable forms, which in turn requires the most serious scientific investigation into new techniques and ideas.

Such a fundamental shift, however, comes into direct conflict with the nation-state system and the drive of corporations for private profit. It is not a question of youth appealing to the powers that be, but of directly opposing the domination of society by a handful of billionaires and the social system over which they preside. At the same time, as the global nature of the protests objectively demonstrates, students must turn to the only progressive international social force on Earth, the working class.

Just as economic and technical development under capitalism has caused a worldwide ecological crisis, it also contains the ability to address this crisis in a rational way. However, to free up the resources needed to tackle climate change—along with war, poverty and inequality—requires a complete socialist reorganization of economic life. The economy must be placed in the democratic control of the working class, the only social force capable of establishing a society based on human need, including a healthy global environment.

This 15 March 2017 video says about itself:

Alexandria Villaseñor is a leader in the US youth climate strike, a movement that is seeing students skip school to protest inaction over combating climate change. The 13-year-old activist was a lead organizer of US Youth Climate Strike in New York City on March 15, which has spread to over 100 countries across the globe.

From the World Socialist Web Site, 16 March 2019:

Reporting teams from the World Socialist Web Site interviewed students who protested in countries around the world on Friday for action on climate change.


Ladan, 18, who had left classes at her school in Oxfordshire, told the WSWS, “Me and my friend really care about climate change and have wanted to do something about it for so long. If we don’t do something soon, we won’t have another opportunity.”

British students on climate strike

Asked why so many young people had come to the demonstration, Ladan’s 16-year-old friend Lucy said, “A lot is due to social media. It’s much easier to access and find an answer. There are so many accounts that advocate doing something about what is wrong. People are realizing that capitalism and money aren’t the most important things anymore.

“Capitalism is responsible for climate change because capitalists want to find the cheapest solution to sell things to people.”

Four students from the Tunbridge Wells Bennett Memorial School held up banners declaring, “We are the revolution for the solution” and “Change the government. Not the climate.” They told the WSWS that they thought climate change is the biggest problem for young people.

“It is also political,” one student noted. “We need to change the system and the approach to climate change. Because right now there is no real policy.

What capitalism doesn't get is there is no economy on a dead planet, this British student says

“Our school was telling us to write [about climate change], not strike, but we decided to strike. It makes a difference to come here. Because we are all together. Young people were portrayed as apathetic to politics but now they are finding a way.

“This planet is one thing we have all got in common. And it is being ruined by capitalism for the sake of profit. It is going downhill so quickly.

“They don’t care about wealth for ordinary people. It’s got to the point where money, profit margins are what matter. It’s not about the people that work or the people who do the production that matters anymore.”

One of the students declared, “The two-party system is not working anymore.” Another said, “I’m proposing a democratic form of socialism, where there isn’t the one percent that controls 60 percent of the wealth anymore.”

Three other students had also come to the demonstration together. One, holding a “Kill Capitalism. Kill Climate Change” banner, explained that he had attended the previous demonstration in the UK on February 15 and wanted to “stop the slide forward to catastrophe.”

Capitalism kills the planet. Kill capitalism! and Open borders for climate refugees, British students say

His friend explained that recently MPs had held a climate change debate and only 30 were present. “It was the first debate for two years and no one turned up. It shows they do not care.

“One of the reasons governments don’t care about climate change is that they are lobbied and funded by oil corporations. We can change things through protests but also calling for public ownership instead of private property. Today is a good way of making change.”

Another of the students insisted though that “There is little you can do individually. It comes down to international agreements and cooperation with other countries.”

His friend said, “It’s much more about changing ownership. People realize that the system has got worse and seen the rise of right-wing extremism. It’s about controlling corporations and putting them into the hands of the people.”


Lys, a high-school student in Paris, said, “We came to the protest to show that the youth have a chance to change things and that we want things to actually get done—not just more promoting the government’s image.

“There is pressure from lobbies. There are fake solutions put in place. Hybrid cars—that’s great, because they don’t pollute in the cities, but the batteries still pollute a lot … I want actions to happen on a world scale, across Europe or the whole world.

Some dream for a bank [banque]. We dream for icebergs [banquise], this Paris, Frence student says

“Today in France there are 280,000 soldiers. They are deployed throughout the world. I find that France has a sphere of action that is far too large. The wars are for private interests, whether they be financial or political, and not for humanitarian concerns. That’s what I find dangerous. That’s also what I’m afraid of for the climate. It’s the private interests which buy politics and power. That’s why I came today.

“I think it is totally unhelpful to tax products from gas usage. People living in rural areas have no other means of transport than their car. Parisians drive to work but could do without them.”

A high school student from Lycée Saint-Louis in Paris said:

“We’re not going to revolutionize the environment through a petrol tax. We have to change everything; the society, the economic model that is made for the profits of the banks and capitalism. I think that it’s by changing the economic system fundamentally that we’re going to save the planet. At the moment we are not deciding things based on saving humanity but on saving profit.”

Our inaction today is a crime for tomorrow, Paris students say

“As far as I see it the Paris agreement was a big show to give the impression we were doing something.”

Asked about Macron’s announcement of compulsory military service in France, the student said: “Go fight for Macron? Absolutely not. Nor for France. I don’t consider myself ‘French’ but a human being. My only region is that of humanity. The service should not be for the military but to teach us things like first aid.”

German pro-climate demonstrators

This photo shows German pro-climate demonstrators have a sign saying that dinosaurs (like politicians neglecting climate change) also thought there still was time.


Arvid and Finn are physics students at the Free University of Berlin.

Arvid said, “I am enthusiastic about the mobilization that has taken place in recent weeks for climate protection. But I think it’s very difficult to tackle this great task of climate protection with the current economic system where everything is designed to compete. In this system, companies or nations fight for themselves. Capitalism is not the best way to meet this challenge.”

Finn added that “every effort to protect the climate is considered a ‘competitive disadvantage’ in this system.”

Liz, Pascal, Valerie and George are geography students at Humboldt University.

Pascal said, “Climate policy concerns us all. We are natural scientists, geographers. The politicians have slept on this for years, even though we know the limit of global warming of 1.5 degrees set by science to prevent a natural disaster. We can’t accept that. It’s the generation taking to the streets today that will be massively affected. It will change all our lives. But I think we can still turn the rudder around. But we only have 10 years left and that is an extremely short period.”

Students protest in Berlin

George said he was not opposed to the capitalist system, but that it would need to be “restructured” in order to address the problem of climate change, so that it was not focused on “growth.”

“We have lost about a quarter of our humus soil in the last 25 years,” Pascal said. “Nobody from government politics is interested in that. It is dramatic and we see the dangers everywhere. Biodiversity continues to decline. We must act now, at all levels.”

United States

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) at the University of Michigan spoke with students and youth in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Marisol, a high school junior at Community High School, said, “I feel that we are living with a cloud over our heads. The corporations and politicians are totally unwilling to change anything. The working class just needs to wake up and see our power.”

Isaac and Marisol at the University of Michigan in the United States

She added, “It’s not the fault of the people at the bottom, who have nothing. It’s the rich and the corporations and the politicians who are responsible.” Isaac agreed the capitalist system was the root of the problem of climate change: “We need to break out of the two-party system for sure, they are both for the rich.”

Nissa and Isaac, who are students at the University of Michigan, came to the protest because they think climate change is among the most pressing issues facing the working class today. Nissa explained, “I believe this is a systemic issue, meaning the capitalist system. And in order to solve it we need to understand that. The world elites are so far from fixing this issue, and they can’t. Nothing has been done, it’s actually getting worse.” Isaac added, “I think we both agree that the only people who can solve this is ordinary people, the working class.”

At New York University, IYSSE campaigners attended several protests around the city. Lucie, a New York University student majoring in European and Mediterranean studies, said, “I was inspired by marches in Europe and we need to show our support. We don’t have a planet B. We are not seeing the change that is needed. The politicians are not changing laws that were written before this research was done, and they act like it is too hard to change now.” When asked if she thought change was possible under capitalism, she added, “No! We need radical changes now. The alternative needs to become the norm.”

Lucie’s friend, Audrey, said, “I don’t understand why everyone is not here. We see that this issue hits some people harder, but it affects everyone. The politicians are just ignoring us and pretending that everything is fine.”

An IYSSE campaign team in New Orleans interviewed Darryl. He said, “I think this growing worldwide movement driven by the youth is really key in getting something to happen. I think we need to have a complete change in policy on energy issues and keep oil and gas in the ground and move rapidly toward solar and renewable resources.” When asked what it would take to implement these policies, Darryl said, “I think it’s going to take a mass political movement. I’ve seen the Green New Deal but it needs to go a whole lot farther than what they’re talking about.”


A WSWS team interviewed students in Montreal. In response to a question about the inaction of governments around the world, one student replied: “We have to change them, but they all end up the same.” His friend added that “everyone has to oppose their governments”, otherwise, the consequences would be that “there will be nothing left on our planet in a couple of generations.”

Explaining why he was protesting, Theo, a high school student, replied, “We are here to protest against climate change, because governments do nothing, and big business does nothing.”

Emphasizing the international character of the protests, the WSWS reporter asked another group of students what they thought about its significance. In response, they pointed to their sign, which said “F**k capitalism.”

“What’s needed is a system change,” one student said, adding, “It’s good to see all people, students, people who have kids, old people, coming together to protest.”

Fanny, a student from Switzerland, said she had already participated in similar demonstrations in her own country. Recognizing the importance of the international character of the demonstrations, she stressed the need for global political action, adding that attempts to present climate change as an individual problem must be countered. “Governments dodge responsibility for this by presenting it [environmental action] as an individual issue.”

This 16 March 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Kids Go On GLOBAL Climate Strike

Doing what the adults refuse to do. Cenk Uygur, John Iadarola, and Tommy Vietor discuss on The Young Turks

“An estimated 1.4 million young people in 123 countries skipped school Friday to demand stronger climate policies in what may be one of the largest environmental protests in history.”

Read more here.

By Oscar Grenfell in Australia:

Tens of thousands of Australian students join climate strike protest

16 March 2019

Tens of thousands of Australian high school students participated in strikes yesterday, demanding immediate action to address climate change and environmental destruction. The rallies were part of a series of protests around the world, including across Europe and in the United States.

The demonstrations were the largest in Australia involving high school students since at least 2003, when there were mass protests against the illegal US-led invasion of Iraq.

An estimated 30,000 participated in Sydney, with similar numbers in Melbourne. Around 10,000 protested in Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland, while thousands rallied in Perth, Adelaide and Hobart. In Newcastle, a working class regional city north of Sydney, at least 2,000 demonstrated. Dozens of smaller protests were held in country towns and regional centres across the country.

Part of the Sydney rally

The size of the rallies makes clear that young people, who have grown up amid endless war, soaring inequality and an assault on the working class, are being propelled into political struggle. They are animated, not only by concern over the destruction of the environment, but also the dominance of the banks and corporations over every aspect of social and political life, the rise of militarism and the turn to authoritarianism by governments around the world.

In the lead up to the strike, senior politicians and the corporate press expressed the fear and hostility of the political establishment at the emergence of a movement among young people. Members of the federal Liberal-National Coalition government denounced the students as “truants”, while the Murdoch media ran a stream of articles, claiming that the protests were the result of “left-wing indoctrination” in high schools. Teachers who publicly supported the rallies were threatened with punitive measures.

Bill Shorten, the federal Labor leader, also condemned the protests, demanding that students demonstrate outside of school hours. …

Other politicians, however, including NSW [New South Wales] Labor leader Michael Daley and leading Greens representatives declared their support for the rallies. …

High school students who addressed the Sydney rally condemned the continuing use of coal, including the establishment of the Carmichael mine in central Queensland by multinational corporation Adani.

They denounced the close ties between the major parties and the coal industry. Some denounced Labor MPs for refusing to commit to ending the expansion of coal mining and to action to stem climate change. Others spoke powerfully on the devastating impact of climate change on the Pacific Islands, and on the dire plight of Aboriginal communities, partly resulting from environmental degradation and a lack of clean water sources.

A section of the Melbourne protest

The … federal Labor government of Julia Gillard did nothing to stem carbon emissions, when it was in office from 2010–2013. Under its signature carbon tax policy, Australia’s carbon emissions actually increased. According to Labor’s own 2012 modelling, if the tax had remained in place from 2012 to 2020, annual national carbon emissions would have grown from 582 to 621 million tonnes by 2020. …

The Newcastle demonstration

The attempts by the political establishment to co-opt the climate strike movement must be resisted.

Climate change is a product of the profit system, and the irrational division of the globe into competing capitalist nation-states. What is required is a turn to the working class, and the construction of a mass socialist movement against war, inequality and authoritarianism. Only by establishing a world socialist society, based on social need, not private profit, can the scourges of climate change, poverty and the threat of nuclear war be ended.

This 15 March 2019 video from Britain says about itself:

Youth Strike 4 Climate: London

The #YouthStrike4Climate global day of action on March 15 could be a game changer. With school student strikes in 2099 different towns and cities in 123 different countries, things have come a very long way since Greta Thunberg walked out of school demanding urgent action over climate change just three months ago.

In London, around 40,000 students descended on central London and ran the police ragged, breaking through police lines near Buckingham Palace, and joining Extinction Rebellion youth to block Westminster Bridge. Militant, joyful and determined, the school students are literally fighting for their lives – and on this evidence, look well capable of changing the future.

By Ceren Sagir and Chantelle Billson in Britain:

Friday, March 15, 2019

Youth continue strike for climate

THOUSANDS of schoolchildren and young people brought central London to a standstill today to protest against the government’s inaction on climate change.

A number of them dodged police barriers and climbed onto the Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace with one making it 82 feet to the top.

Others blocked off the roads around Trafalgar Square. Chants of “oh Jeremy Corbyn” and “hey, ho, climate change has got to go” were heard as they marched there from Parliament Square.

Anna Taylor, one of the organisers of the YouthStrike4Climate protest, said the government was failing to recognise the severity of the environmental crisis.

The 17-year-old said: “We’re here because we feel betrayed and we don’t feel we can trust them to protect our future, which is why we’re having to go on strike to make our voices heard, and let them know that unless they change something we will keep striking until they consider our demands.

“They’re failing to make environmental reform and environmental policy a priority, they’re focusing on economic policy and Brexit and failing to address the climate crisis facing us.”

Action was also taken across Britain with students striking in major cities, as well as around the world with 2,000 events expected to have taken place in more than 120 countries.

Ahead of the protest, Labour’s shadow youth affairs minister Cat Smith said the party was in solidarity with the protesters.

She said: “The strike demonstrates that young people care deeply about environmental issues and will use their collective power to bring about meaningful change.

“This should serve as a wake-up call to the political establishment that young people’s views can no longer be ignored, and urgent action is needed to tackle the escalating ecological crisis.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also backed the strikers, tweeting: “Thank you for standing up against climate change. You shouldn’t have to pay the price for the mistakes of previous generations.”

Prime Minister Theresa May and Education Secretary Damian Hinds previously criticised the young protesters for being on strike from school during the first nationwide action in February.

Conservative MPs have now lined up to praise the “inspirational strikers.”

In a video released ahead of the strikes Environment Secretary Michael Gove told students they agreed that collective action on climate change can make a “profound” difference.

New research shows that recent climate change is having profound effects on wetlands across the American West – affecting birds that use these wetlands for breeding, migration and wintering: here.

USA: GOP SENATOR: HAVE MORE BABIES TO STOP CLIMATE CHANGE Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) tore into the Green New Deal on Tuesday, stating on the Senate floor that the only thing needed to combat climate change is for Americans to “fall in love” and have “more babies.” Lee, who has previously expressed doubt about the scientific consensus that human activity is the main driver of global warming, bashed a resolution laying out the tenets of the Green New Deal. [HuffPost]


53 thoughts on “Millions on strike against climate change

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