Crisis and turmoil continues in British politics – build the climate movement, SUTR and strikes!
The crisis and turmoil in British politics continues with nothing round Brexit resolved on the so called “Super Saturday”. More crucial votes are planned throughout this week but is very unclear at this stage what the results will be. What is clear is that the deal agreed last week between Boris Johnson and the EU is even more racist and neoliberal than that negotiated by Theresa May. See the SW article here.
In this situation there is a great need for action independent of the issue of Brexit. We saw this during the XR International Rebellion which finished last Friday. It drew in 1,000s of people over the two week period, and also on Sunday with the 800-strong Stand Up To Racism conference. And last week the CWU announced its ballot result – a stunning 97 percent voted for strikes on a 76 percent turnout.
See below for anti-racist and climate campaigning.
Next Oxford SWP meeting
7pm Thursday 124th October
Restore building, Manzil Way, East Oxford OX4 1YH (map)
Plant-based diet can fight climate change,” said a recent BBC headline. The Guardian said that, cutting meat consumption “could play a big role in tackling climate crisis”. The media said that less meat consumption would cut back on food waste.
Numbers of people changing to a vegan diet are increasing. The Economist reported that a quarter of Americans aged 25-34 are vegans or vegetarians. Of course major corporations have identified this growing market and seek to make huge profits from it - hence the controversy caused by the vegan sausage roll that gave Greggs so much publicity, McDonald's have launched the McVegan burger and Tyson Foods, a giant meat company has a stake in Beyond Meat that sells meat-free patties to restaurant chains.
But with the IPCC reporting that agriculture, forestry and land use account for 24% of global emissions (of which 15% is from livestock), how are the remaining three-quarters of emissions to be tackled if we are to avert climate catastrophe? Can we save the planet if vast numbers changed to a vegan diet?
Come and join the discussion.
A weekend of socialist debate, culture and workshops for students and young workers.
Book your place at bit.ly/bigsocialist
Speakers & workshops include:
Ilan Pappé, anti-Zionist author • School climate strikers • A People's History of Hip Hop • Revolutionaries from Hong Kong & Sudan • Alex Callinicos, author of the Revolutionary ideas of Karl Marx • Grime, Drill & the demonisation of music • Race, class & identity • and more tbc!
Capitalism creates crisis. Runaway climate change threatens the future of the planet. Racism and the far right are on the rise on a level unseen since the 1930s. Economic turmoil and austerity continue 10 years on from the credit crunch.
But there has also been resistance to the system. Across the globe new climate movements have burst onto the streets, mass movements have challenged racism and the far right and we have seen big revolts in Hong Kong and Sudan.
There is a now a renewed interest in socialist ideas. This weekend is a chance for students and young workers to debate socialist ideas and discuss how we can build a world that puts people before profit. It will include debates, culture, workshops, plenaries, live music, bookstalls and much more.
The XR International Rebellion was very successful. It was a very ambitious plan to occupy 12 sites for two weeks. Despite a much more repressive police response, including pre-arrests, mass use of Section 14 banning orders and the clearance of occupations, the protests and actions continued until the end of the planned rebellion. The Grief March in the middle weekend drew in going on 30,000 protesters while a myriad of different initiatives took place. Even last Friday thousands of protesters brought central London to a standstill, see the SW article here.
The action at Canning Town tube station where XR protesters climbed on top of a tube train and faced an angry response from commuters was seized on by the right wing media and blown out of all proportion. Our starting point is that we defend the protests and action. Protests are disruptive, and given the context of the scale of climate catastrophe we face unless action is taken are justifiable. See the SW article here.
We don’t want XR to retreat from radical action. Of course there are debates within all movements about tactics. In XR these have gone far wider than just about the Canning Town incident but also about the approach to the police, the nature of the state as well as many other things.
And we have to continue to think about wider initiatives that help draw in larger groups of people and sections of the organized working class. That’s why the XR trade union solidarity day during the Rebellion was so important and actions such as going with XR groups to leaflet bus garages or Royal Mail offices. This week common cause could be made with the strikers at the Science Museums on Wednesday. It was great to see SUTR host a workshop on climate refugees at one of the XR camps last week.
Fri 25th Oct: student climate sit-in at Oxford County Hall. Assemble 11 am Bonn Square.
Sat 2 Nov: Campaign against Climate Change meeting UCL, Gower St, London, will look at how we can build on the success of the recent climate actions in preparation for the UK hosting of the UN climate negotiations next year.
Fri 29 Nov: Student climate strike
Stand Up To Racism
Saturday's conference was great success. Over 1,000 registered for the event. See the report on the SUTR website here.
Speakers included Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, journalist Gary Younge, musician and activist Lowkey, Richard Burgon MP, Kadisha Brown-Burrell, Finsbury Park Mosque chair Mohammed Kozbar, NEU General Secretary Kevin Courtney, Muslim Council of Britain Representative Talha Ahmad, Emma Dent Coad MP, London Assembly member Unmesh Desai and PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka and speakers from the US and across Europe and from Extinction Rebellion and the school climate strikes.
There were some interesting debates at the conference – see the SW report here.
Following on from the conference as SUTR write: “The key punchline of the conference, the next key step, is the UN Anti Racism Day demonstrations on 21 March 2020. With over 30 delegates from across twelve countries delegated at Saturday’s conference, the #WorldAgainstRacism coordination also held a summit on Sunday to discuss international plans for 2020’s UN Anti-Racism Day demonstrations.”
Other key initiatives coming out of the conference as detailed on the SUTR website include:
- Stand Up To Racism Workplace & trade union conference in the new year
- Auschwitz – the educational trip is in November, it is full this year, reflecting the thirst to learn lessons from the horror of the Holocaust – get in touch asap if you are interested in joining the delegation for 2020’s trip
- November is Islamophobia Awareness Month – see this website islamophobiaawareness.org for info and events
- Care4Calais winter appeal in December
- Keep racism out of the general election – as soon as a general election is announced this will be a key campaign for Stand Up To Racism nationally and in every local group