Thousands of students will walk out from school tomorrow as part of an international protest against politicians' passivity in the face of existential environmental crises. We must demand a bold socialist alternative.

Thousands of students will walk out from school tomorrow as part of an international protest against politicians' passivity in the face of existential environmental crises. We must demand a bold socialist alternative.

The School Strike 4 Climate movement started in August last year, when one 15-year-old Swedish student, Greta Thunberg, walked out of her school to campaign against government inaction on climate change.

The demonstrations have rapidly developed into a uniquely militant, global and organised youth movement. As Greta’s story went viral on social media, strikes and protests spread worldwide. Now up to 70,000 school students are striking every week - in at least 270 different cities and towns - under the tag #FridaysForFuture.

In her speech to the UN, Greta Thunberg stated:

“[W]e have not come here to beg the world leaders to care for our future. They have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again…[W]e can’t save the world by playing by the rules…the rules have to be changed…We have come here to let them know that change is coming whether they like it or not. The people will rise to the challenge.”

The strikes first spread to Australia. By December last year thousands of students had joined them, mostly in Europe and North America, including in Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Japan, the US and Canada. Since the new year, they have spread even further to countries across Africa and South America, with strikes in Colombia, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and Mali.

Tomorrow (15th February) these school strikes will hit Britain for the first time. Rallies are planned in over 30 locations nationwide, co-ordinated by the UK Youth Climate Coalition.

“People seem to think this is an issue that can be solved another time,” stated Zoe, a student organiser of tomorrow’s protest in Bristol. “But there is no other time.”

These strikes have already been widely supported by academics, teachers and their unions. The National Association of Head Teachers in the UK has “applauded” the students taking part. In Australia, unions as diverse as the National Tertiary Education Union, the United Firefighters Union and the Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association have come out in support of the striking students.

Existential crisis

Extinction RebellionIt is easy to understand why this movement has become so popular: it has given voice to a whole generation that is profoundly disillusioned with - and left-behind by - the current system.

This generation, across the world, has grown up in an age of ubiquitous austerity and economic crisis, watching in frustration as governments have sold their futures out to capitalist interests in countless ways: from tuition fee hikes to cuts to youth services. Looking forward, all that young people can expect under capitalism is a lifetime of debt and precarious working conditions.

No wonder young people today have little-or-no faith in big business governments when it comes to protecting their future against oncoming catastrophic environmental crises. They are being sold out yet again - but this time with existential consequences.

Climate change - and the inability of establishment politicians to stand up to the corporations responsible for it - is blatant proof that the compassionless capitalist system will sacrifice everything and everyone in the name of profit.

Many students understand this threat acutely. They know that real change will not be brought about within, or by reforming, our current system. Only radical and uncompromising solutions offer a road to salvation.

We need a revolution

climate revolutionThis movement has enormous potential. It is radical and organised – these weekly #FridaysForFuture strikes are deliberately coordinated across the world for maximum impact, and are being used to build towards a global student strike in over 40 countries simultaneously on 15th March.

But in order to be successful, the radical environmental demands of the student strikes need to be taken up by the leaders of the labour movement, in order to create a mass movement of workers and youth fighting for a clear, bold, socialist alternative to the current failed status quo.

The capitalist system – and the politicians who defend it – are responsible for climate change and environmental degradation. The technologies and resources needed to end climate change clearly exist; the problem is that they lie in the hands of a tiny elite.

Only by breaking with the profit motive and planning the economy on the basis of needs can we put an end to the destruction of our planet. This means taking the banks and major monopolies into public ownership, and putting them under workers’ control. On the basis of socialist planning, we can not only survive as a species, but thrive as a society.

We can, and must, fight for a genuinely bright future for young people: one where everyone is guaranteed a decent standard of living, and where we democratically and rationally plan production in order to effectively tackle the environmental, economic and social crises humanity faces.

We offer our full solidarity to those taking part in the student strikes – in Britain and internationally. And we urge all young people looking for radical change to join us in the fight for socialist revolution.

Socialist Appeal are proud to publish this education guide to help focus your studies of Marxist theory and practice. Visit the various tabs below to find links to introductory articles, classic texts, videos and audio talks for different topics. Read More
Check out this selection of writings for an excellent introduction to many of the fundamentals of Marxist theory, providing a strong basis for those wishing to equip themselves with the ideas necessary in order to fight for socialism. Read More
Dialectical materialism is the philosophy or methodology of Marxism. We must seek to understand the laws of society and nature in order to change them. Read More
Historical materialism is the general theory of how and why society develops in the way it does. Each social system has its inherent laws of motion. If we want to overthrow capitalist society, we must understand how capitalism works. Read More
Marxist economics is the study of the laws of motion of capitalist society, allowing us to understand why capitalism perpetually goes into crisis, where inequality comes from, and what the alternative is. Read More
The Russian Revolution is the greatest event in world history for Marxists. Studying the events of 1917, and understanding why the Revolution degenerated into Stalinism, provides vital lessons for revolutionaries today. Read More
For Marxists, the state is not at all neutral. We must understand the state’s real basis and strip away its mysticism by treating it historically - taking in its origins, rise, and eventual fall. Read More
Anarchism is naturally attractive for those wanting to abolish capitalism. But only Marxist ideas can explain why bureaucracy and oppression exist - and how to overthrow the exploitative capitalist system. Read More
Marxists are irreconcilably opposed to the oppression of women and fight determinedly for liberation and against discrimination. We believe this will be achieved through the class struggle - to abolish the oppressive capitalist system. Read More
The madness of fascism expresses the historic crisis and dead-end of capitalism. But it could have been avoided if the working class had a united revolutionary leadership, prepared to take power. Read More
Nations have not always existed, nor will they always exist in the future. Marxists are internationalists, fighting for world socialist revolution as the only way forward for humanity and our planet. Read More
Wars represent the sharp extreme of capitalism’s impasse. Imperialism, Lenin said, was the "highest stage of capitalism". As long as the profit system exists, there will be wars over markets and spheres of influence. Read More
All written history, Marx stated, is the history of class struggle. Our task is to learn the lessons from history in order to prepare for the revolutionary events taking place today and in the future. Read More
Our aim is to spread the ideas of Marxism, in an organised fashion, amongst workers and youth. In order to do this, we must study the history and traditions of the working class. Read More
  • Educate Yourself
  • The Fundamentals of Marxism: suggested reading
  • Dialectical Materialism and Science
  • Historical Materialism
  • Marxist Economics
  • Russia, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalinism
  • The State
  • Anarchism
  • Women's liberation
  • Fascism
  • The National Question
  • Imperialism and War
  • Revolutionary History
  • Revolutionary Strategy