When we took part in the 2019 climate strikes, we couldn’t imagine that further protests would be paralysed by pandemic. And when the pandemic came, it seemed that, with the apparent decline of some industries some, the state of the planet would improve, at least minimally. But it turns out that we are actually worse off than we thought. The last two years have confirmed that, if there is any hope, the necessary changes will have to address the real causes of the problems. And much more than just touch. Capitalism and the system of decision-making through the state must sink into oblivion and we must build something better.
Neither capitalism nor the state has offered us anything to avert or help us cope with the catastrophes already underway and yet to come. If we want real change, it won’t happen without social movements. However, we need not only those that address the climate crisis, but also the change of society as such.
We see the workers’ movement as essential to this because it is linked to work as a source of reproduction and change of the whole world.
The vast majority of us will live our lives in the position of workers. In the position of workers we create and reshape the world. As a movement, we thus potentially have the greatest power to decide what is produced, how, where and for whom.
However, we stand against a power that is guided by the principles of profit, competitiveness and satisfying of the economic interests of a small part of society. Against a power that is dragging the whole of society down.
Moreover, the workers’ movement is facing fundamental challenges in regards to climate catastrophes. The most critical one is obviously the one it shares with other movements – overcoming the general reluctance of people to organise.
There is no time for frustration – we are organising ourselves
The scale of the disaster we face is vast and multifaceted. Our response may be limited, but still it is locally, trans-regionally and internationally significant. Full of solidarity, mutual aid, protest and building of the germs of a new society in our activities, organisations and relationships in general.
In our view, this kind of response should be used in all the efforts for change – from solving problems in the workplace, to protests against encroachments on women’s rights and lives, to environmental actions and all sorts of other struggles. We should think not only about the partial goals, but also about broader changes.
It is not just a nice theory that would be useless in practice. On the contrary, this approach works, and many organisations involved in these struggles would attest to this. However, we are not forgetting an important fact – the rejection of hierarchies, mutual aid and solidarity are principles that can spark social struggles, but these principles also arise in the struggles themselves. And this is the source of our hope for the survival of society.
Ecosystems are just one of the victims of capitalism and the state
Today more than ever, we need to replace capitalism with production and service provision without the profit motive and wage labour. This should be at the heart of our future thinking about climate change. Capitalism and the state are not destroying only nature itself, but also our lives. Every day. At work and in our relationships with other people. They poison us with their hierarchies and power.
That’s why we organize. Together we are stronger and can achieve more. We make decisions horizontally, without support from the state, outside of parliamentary or municipal politics and business influence. We are working on resolving problems at work, but we also deal with problems linked to the climate crisis, even at international level within the International Workers’ Association (IWA/AIT). We educate ourselves, we communicate, we coordinate, we discover new ways to fight against all forms of power and destruction. We have participated in previous climate strikes, in the protests against the construction of the LNG terminal in Bratislava, and today we will again be participating at the Global Climate Strike.
If our approach is close to your heart, get involved – https://priamaakcia.sk/zapoj-sa.
Solidarity Workers’ Union Direct Action,
Slovak Section of the International Workers’ Association
Photo report from the Global Climate Strike in Bratislava (22 October 2021)
In September, the Urban Action Camp took place in Bratislava and some of its organizers decided to coordinate the Global Climate Strike. This resulted in actions in several Slovak cities. Although the situation was not inclined to organising real strikes in the form of production stoppages, it was evident that many people in the crowd were not at work, and we know that some students also had to fight for their time off. As in the past, the rally was supported by the Priama Akcia union.
The speeches at the protest left no one in doubt that the slogan of the protest “Change the system, not the climate” was meant seriously by the organisers. They were carried out in an anti-capitalist spirit and emphasised the interconnection of different struggles.
The march through the city centre was met with a positive response from passers-by and there was a good mood throughout, accompanied by drumming.
Here are some photos from the event: https://priamaakcia.sk/Priama-Akcia-statement-on-the-Global-Climate-Stri…