Hundreds of thousands of people joined marches on November 6th called in response to the COP26 conference in Glasgow.
Reports include 100,000 in Glasgow, 20,000 in London and several thousand in all the major cities.
This is a massive step forward in the movement to force our government to take real action to halt climate change. Across the demonstrations there was a recognition that Boris Johnson’s government is more interested in Greenwashing the market and profits than they are in saving the planet.
The PCS should be proud of the role that we have played in the movement. We have been involved in the COP26 Coalition, which called the protests, from the beginning, both nationally and in many areas. However there is a lot more to do to make sure that we mobilise our members to engage in the protests. We also need to be developing our network of green reps and fighting for them to have power in the workplace.
PCS Left Unity NEC members spoke at a number of rallies, raising our campaigns and demands in the wider movement.
November 6th is the start of a new stage of campaigning for a Just Transition from a carbon economy. To achieve Climate Justice we need Social Justice, as the slogan goes we need system change not climate change. There is a real debate to be had in the trade union movement about the way forward. Many fear that a transition from a carbon economy will lead to job losses. We need retraining and quality green jobs to be able to use the skills of workers displaced by a climate transition, and we need to win this debate urgently.
Report from Glasgow
On 6th November, I joined my PCS comrades on the Trade Union Bloc of the Glasgow COP26 march. It was a wet, windy November day in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park, however we were not about to let this dampen our spirits. With 50 or so PCS activists joining a march of reportedly 100,000, we took our banners, flags and placards and assembled, ready to head off at 11:30, however there were delays in getting set off, which is often the case.
The Trade Union Bloc was then split in half by the police to allow Extinction Rebellion in, and it was closer to 2pm by the time we were eventually moving. The frustrations from standing about waiting and not knowing what was going on soon wore off and there was a steady flow once we got moving, until we got to St Vincent Street where we came to a halt.
We saw police moving down the street in large numbers and knew something was going on. The chants of “Let them go!” from the crowd confirmed this, and it turned out that the police were kettling a handful of protesters from Living Rent and Young Communist League. From reports I have seen, they held them for 2 hours before letting them go.
Whilst this hold up did mean some people left the march, by the time we got moving again there were still a large number marching. We eventually got to Glasgow Green, however with all that had happened it was far later than we had hoped to get there. The march was still going strong though with thousands still on their way to the green. Unfortunately I didn’t manage in to the main area to see any speakers that were still to speak, but reports from some who did was that there were some brilliant speeches.
All in all an eventful day, which I won’t forget any time soon, and despite the hold ups it was good to be with so many like-minded people marching for the same cause.