Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Hundreds of Thousands of Students Join the Climate Strike in Germany, Around the World

The #FridaysForFuture protests have expanded to 1,500 cities in 150 countries. Today hundreds of thousands of students left their classrooms and took the streets around the world. In Berlin, for example, almost 30,000 joined the #ClimateStrike.

Nathaniel Flakin

March 15, 2019
Facebook Twitter Share

Around the world, youth participated in the #ClimateStrike: The first ones took place in Australia and New Zealand, following the sun over Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, with the last ones taking place on Pacific Islands. We can only guess how many school students joined the global mobilizations, but it was certainly hundreds of thousands.

In Berlin, for example, up to 30,000 people took the street, ranging from young children marching with their parents or teachers to young adults shouting anticapitalist slogans. “We are here, we are loud, because you are stealing our future!” they chanted again and again. One sign declared poetically: “Like the oceans, we rise!”

Greta Thunberg

16-year old Greta Thunberg from Stockholm initiated this movement last year with a weekly school strike of one in front of the Swedish parliament. Now, hundreds of thousands of young people are following her example. While bourgeois governments argue that the responsibility for stopping climate change lies with individual consumers, Thunberg makes clear that it is the capitalists and their governments are the ones destroying the planet. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, she said:

Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we will have created, but that is not true, because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame. Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.

Politicians’ hypocrisy

Germany has a largely progressive image regarding climate change – Chancellor Angela Merkel has been called the “Climate Chancellor.” This is mostly a lie. While there has been substantial investment in wind and solar power, Germany is simultaneously a world leader in the use of low-energy lignite coal – and according to a recent “compromise”, this particularly CO2-intensive form of energy is going to continue until 2038. The German auto industry produces millions of cars that use fossil fuels.

Merkel called the students’ protests a “very good initiative.” But besides a few good soundbites, her government has done everything in its power to prevent any regulations that would have the slightest negative effect on German industry. Germany’s social democratic president Steinmeier has also spoken out in favor of the protests – and very symbolically took a government jet to travel a few hundred kilometers to attend one.

The neoliberal politician Christian Linder got a lot of criticism for a tweet saying that students should leave the question of climate change to “professionals.” The students understand that the looming catastrophe – which is already becoming visible in the form of unprecedented forest fires and hurricanes – demands immediate and radical changes to the economy. “Professionals” like Linder, in contrast, are more concerned about protecting corporate balance sheets for the next quarter. Capitalist production is fundamentally incapable of organizing the kind of long-term planning that is now necessary.

You might also be interested in A Green New Deal Can’t Save Us. A Planned Economy Can.

Workers have the power

Many politicians have criticized the students for skipping school every Friday for weeks. Can’t they protest on Saturday instead? Numerous signs countered: “Why get an education if there is no future?” These students have understood that striking – interrupting the normal functioning of society – is the best way to make their voices heard. This is something that can inspire the working class around the world. It is workers who have the social power to create a new economy, one based democratic planning to meet the needs of the many, instead of creating profits for a few.

In Berlin, a number of public transport workers joined the protests, using the hashtag #WorkersForFuture. The city’s bus drivers had been on strike the day before, fighting for better wages and working conditions. They said that “the bus strike is a climate strike” – massive investments in public transport, financed by taxing the banks and corporations, are necessary in order to reduce the use of cars. The students also need to show solidarity with the ongoing struggle of the transportation workers. At the same time, the teachers’ union declare their support for the students’ strike, and many teachers joined as well.

Facebook Twitter Share

Nathaniel Flakin

Nathaniel is a freelance journalist and historian from Berlin. He is on the editorial board of Left Voice and our German sister site Klasse Gegen Klasse. Nathaniel, also known by the nickname Wladek, has written a biography of Martin Monath, a Trotskyist resistance fighter in France during World War II, which has appeared in German, in English, and in French, and in Spanish. He has also written an anticapitalist guide book called Revolutionary Berlin. He is on the autism spectrum.

Instagram

Europe

A Russian tank fires toward Kharkiv on the May 10 offensive against Ukraine.

Russia’s Offensive in Ukraine May Be a Turning Point in the War

Russia’s May 10 offensive in Ukraine may be a turning point in the dynamics of the war, and the specter of Ukraine’s defeat is exposing the cracks that divide the Western powers.

Claudia Cinatti

May 21, 2024

Nancy Fraser, Jacques Rancière, Silvia Federicci and many others say: Stop the Criminalization of Palestine Solidarity in France!

Anasse Kazib, a union activist and former presidential candidate, was recently interrogated by French anti-terrorist police. In this open letter, more than 800 prominent intellectuals and activists call to stand united against the criminalization of Palestine solidarity.

A mash-up of Macron over a palestinian flag and articles detailing the rising repression

Against the Criminalization of Opinion and in Defense of Our Right to Support Palestine: We Must Stand Up!

In France, the repression of Palestine supporters is escalating. A conference by La France Insoumise (LFI) has been banned; a union leader has been arrested and charged for speaking out for Palestine; court cases have increased against those who “condone terrorism”; and the state has stepped up its “anti-terrorism” efforts. In the face of all this, we must stand together.

Nathan Deas

April 23, 2024

Occupy Against the Occupation: Protest Camp in Front of Germany’s Parliament

Since Monday, April 8, pro-Palestinian activists have been braving Germany's bleak climate — both meteorological and political — to protest the Israeli genocide in Gaza, and the unconditional German support for it. 

Erik de Jong

April 20, 2024

MOST RECENT

Two large signs that read "UC Divest from Genocide" and "Gaza Solidarity Encampment" behind the two signs a "UAW on Strike sign" pokes out

Dispatch from Day 2 of the UC Santa Cruz Picket Line

Left Voice member and City University of New York worker Olivia reports on the second day of her trip to Santa Cruz for UAW 4811’s historic strike to talk to workers.

Olivia Wood

May 25, 2024

Why Won’t PSC-CUNY Stand with Palestine Now?

While other higher education unions are going on strike in defense of their workers and against the genocide in Gaza, the bureaucratic leadership of PSC-CUNY just crushed a resolution calling on the university to divest from Israel and to drop the charges against Palestinian activists arrested on April 30. 

James Dennis Hoff

May 24, 2024

Attack on Pro-Palestinian Protestors at UMich Latest Example of Democrats Defending Israel’s Genocide in Gaza

Capitalist apologists from the Democratic Party have chosen their business partners in Israel’s far-right government over Palestinian lives. In Ann Arbor, those same so-called “progressive” Democrats decided to bring felony charges against protestors earlier this week, encouraging harsh police violence against the University of Michigan encampment.

Ryan McCarty

May 24, 2024
Activists in Detroit speaking at a press conference condemning repression of the pro-Palestine movement on May 20, 2024.

Detroit Activists Hold Press Conference to Condemn Repression of Pro-Palestine Protesters

Detroit Will Breathe organized a press conference to discuss the police violence and repression against pro-Palestine protesters. The movement must stand in solidarity and unite to combat the increase of repression.

Kyle Thibodeau

May 23, 2024