The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 19th April 2019

Tell the truth on climate change!

by New Worker correspondent

CLIMATE CHANGE protesters disrupted transport throughout central London this week in street protests calling on the government to “tell the truth about climate change” and reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025. Hundreds of activists have been arrested in the protests that began on Monday, organised by the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement, aimed at shutting down the capital.

Earlier this month a group of XR supporters stripped in parliament during a Brexit debate and glued their hands to the glass of the House of Commons’ public gallery to highlight the threat of climate change.

This week’s protests have caused traffic jams and grid-locks across the capital. London Underground services have been disrupted. British Transport Police say they’ve restricted passenger Wi-fi connectivity at Tube stations in the interests of safety, and to prevent and deter “serious disruption” to the London Underground network. A senior police officer said: “Ongoing demonstrations are causing serious disruption to public transport, local businesses and Londoners who wish to go about their daily business.”

John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn’s No 2, tweeted his support for the activists. He said the disruptions “will be worth it” if it “moves us all a step further in tacking climate change”.

But fellow Labour member Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, says that although he “shared the passion” of the activists he was “extremely concerned” about plans that some of them had to disrupt the Tube.

Young activists who’ve set up tents in Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square and Oxford Circus have put up road blocks on major roads and bridges whilst others have even glued themselves to lorries and trains to cause disruption and attract attention to the ecological catastrophe they believe is imminent if nothing is done to halt it.

Protesters targeted Shell’s London headquarters, gluing themselves to windows and smashing the glass revolving doors of the big oil corporation, and some 500,000 people were affected by the diversion of 55 bus routes as a result of the disruption on the roads.

Four climate activists even glued themselves to the fence outside Jeremy Corbyn’s house in north London. They said they were all Labour supporters but wanted the party to go much further on the issue. One of them, a 60-year-old man who walked from Stroud to take part in the London actions, said: “We are here because we are supporters of Jeremy Corbyn and he is the best hope this country has got to get us out of this. But we need system change and a transformation of our consumer economy, and we know he is a person who has the authority and power to deliver that.” Parliament is in recess and the Labour leader was apparently not at home at the time.

The protests are not just limited to London. Other demonstrations have taken place in 80 other cities around the world. In The Hague in Holland activists swamped the International Criminal Court building; and police made 29 arrests when over a thousand climate change campaigners blocked one of the main roads into Edinburgh’s city centre.

The British-based ecology movement plans to go ahead around the clock with its acts of disobedience until the end of the month. “Climate breakdown and ecological collapse threaten our existence. Another world is possible, and it’s just within reach. It’s going to take everything we’ve got to get there. So we’re pulling out all the stops and rising up in a full-scale Rebellion against this twisted system to save ourselves and the natural world from extinction,” they say in a statement released this week.

Extinction Rebellion was established following a call from a number of academics and veteran ecology campaigners last year to set up a movement that embraces Gandhi-style civil disobedience to take the movement to the streets and fire a common sense of urgency to tackle climate breakdown.