- by Richard Titelius
- The Guardian
- Issue #1984
The School Strike 4 Climate Change (SS4CC) was called around the world in the lead up to the critical COP 26 climate change conference, which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from 1-12 November 2021, to help put domestic pressure on governments and corporations to take bold and decisive action on climate change. In Perth, the rally was organised by a collective leadership of mostly young students. Most of those attending the rally were young school-aged children who are the ones who will be affected most by the impacts of climate change that will have already started to be felt by people in all parts of the planet.
The welcome to country was given by Daniel Garlett, a Noongar activist for many years and a candidate for the Federal south-east metropolitan seat of Burt for the Greens Party. Garlett spoke of the need for stronger protection of Aboriginal heritage as good physical, mental, and spiritual Aboriginal health is bound up in the protection and preservation of their country. We cannot have climate justice without justice for our First Nations People.
A member of the SS4CC collective told the 800 protesters who came, “We are being robbed of a safe and secure future by the current inaction on climate change. In our lifetime, the speaker from the collective continued, “We have experienced so many climate records and extreme weather events.” However, the speaker continued, “Governments have chosen to continue to take money from fossil fuel corporations instead of supporting the development and uptake of renewable energy.” We are the next generation, and we will not allow this to happen. The SS4CC leader asked all people at the rally and in Australia to join them as we are stronger together and can create climate justice.
The proposed Scarborough gas project off the north-west coast of Western Australia would release 6 gigatons of carbon over its lifetime and greatly accelerate the negative impacts of climate change. While there had been pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to attend COP 26 in Glasgow – until the afternoon of the rally he had remained defiant. By the time of the evening news cycle that day he had announced he would be attending.
The leaders of the SS4CC also announced that they were not just on strike for climate change but for political change and said up to 300,000 new voters would be on the electoral roll for the next election and most of these were young people who wanted to vote in politicians who were prepared to take unequivocal action on climate change.
A guest speaker was Simon Stokes a organiser from the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union whose high school aged daughter was attending the rally today notwithstanding that the principal of her state government high school had sent letters to parents telling them not to encourage their children to attend the rally. Simon Stokes said to the protesters, “We stand together with you in your defiance. Solidarity is where we stand together to help us move to a just transition.” Trade unions show us when we stand together for things which are important to us then we can win. In an ode to the trade union membership rousing chant, Stokes taught the students their own take on, “I say union you say power, UNION POWER, was changed to I say Student you say power, STUDENT POWER!
At the conclusion of the rally the protesters – in 30 celsius plus heat were asked to march the short distance to the Woodside Energy office tower to take their message of, “No more coal, gas or oil – keep your carbon in the soil and climate change is not a lie – do not let our planet die.”
The Communist Party of Australia supports stronger and more concerted action on climate change, but however calls for system change to achieve this as the operation of the capitalist mode of production is predicated on economic growth and profits for the few and poverty and misery for the many. Socialism and the socialising of the means of production ensure production for use rather than exchange value to ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth for all and the preservation of life and biodiversity on this planet to ensure this happens.