In the past few months, green movements fighting against climate change have exploded on to the front pages of mainstream media outlets through the Fridays for Future movement and groups like Extinction Rebellion leading protests all over the world.
The largest and best-covered events of the year happened in April with the ”International Week of Rebellion” which closed down certain areas of London for a week, leading to a huge increase in publicity for the environmentalist cause. However, as much as I can testify that walking across a pedestrianised Waterloo Bridge is much better than one full of commuters, the current class of climate movements just aren’t going far enough with their aims and methods.
George Monbiot is a familiar face in environmentalist circles and a long-time critic of imperialism and austerity. The writer recently stated that capitalism is no longer viable if we want to stop climate change.
In a clip that quickly went viral, helped by being shared by unexpected supporter James Corden, Monbiot states that
”Micro-Consumerist bollocks isn’t gonna get us anywhere… we have to overthrow this system which is eating the planet with perpetual growth”
Monbiot’s strong words were brilliant in breaking the barrier that exists between the largely liberal environmentalist groups and the genuinely radical groups such as the Green Anti-Capitalist Front, or GAF.
GAF’s website states ”The Green Anti-Capitalist Front is an alliance of groups and individuals united by a belief that capitalism is one of the core causes of the environmental crisis threatening us all, and that if we do not act soon the costs of that crisis will fall on the poor and powerless.
”We are encouraged by the ability of Extinction Rebellion to call people onto the streets and push their demands for zero emissions. However, we believe that meeting these demands will not be possible without abolishing capitalism, a system reliant on the total exploitation of nature; whether that be sacrificing our clean water to frack for hydrocarbons or sacrificing our children to the production line. We must develop our ideas of what a different future may look like outside the constraints of both capital and fossil fuels.”
An action taken in April by the group was a ‘tour’ through London’s center coinciding with the start of Extinction Rebellion’s ‘International Week of Rebellion’. The group attempted to occupy various institutions such as the London Metal Exchange and the London Stock Exchange; both of which had to be defended by a heavy handed police force.
As well as the marches through bank-infested areas of London, the group has organised discussion groups at Extinction Rebellion’s Marble Arch site in order to further educate and inform people about the importance of fighting capitalism in the climate movement. As well as this, passers-by and activists discussed how to deal with the police and the Rojava revolution.
Another group that has taken an explicitly anti-capitalist stance is the Earth Strike movement. The aim of the international group is to use a general strike to force business’ and government’s hands to act to stop climate change. With endorsements from Noam Chomsky, Greta Thunberg and David Graeber, and backing from British trade unions like the the UCU, the BFAWU and the UK IWW. It looks like one of the best hopes in radically disrupting the system to help slow climate change.
The general strike will be held on September the 27th worldwide, get involved here.
It is impossible to separate the perpetual growth required by capitalism and the impact it has on world resources and the climate. The notion that the ‘future’ is under threat is a terrifying one, but as members of GAF are keen to point out, people are suffering right now as a result of climate change, whether it is Cyclone Idai in March or the heatwave that is hitting India right now. Action and solidarity are needed to prevent this from becoming more and more regular, especially given the poor infrastructure in many developing nations will lead to far worse impacts than in the west.
As we see the struggles of the southern hemisphere swept under the rug, we can see what climate change truly is, a new form of class warfare. The rich are consuming and trashing the planet with no repercussions, while the poor are left to pick up the pieces.
The Green Anti-capitalist Front are holding a panel discussion on Friday the 21st of June.
Find out more about GAF and future events on their Twitter page here