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Ende Gelande – coal mine occupation in Germany
Climate change is acting as catalyst for growing inequality in an already unequal world. It’s already increasing water shortages, food shortages and conflict. A study recently found that drought, worsened by climate change, led to the mass migration which helped spark the Syrian war. But if we seize the opportunity, climate change can be a catalyst for good too, bringing us together to take action.
Predictably, the recent climate negotiations in Paris ended with promises void of substance. It was another depressing attempt to kick the can down the road, condemning millions to hunger and destitution. This is exactly what was expected by anyone who knows anything of the history of our governments’ inaction on this issue.
2015 might have been a bad year for climate negotiations but it was a good year for the grassroots. From direct action to divestment and community energy co-ops, the grassroots are leading the way. Our governments are inert and unable to react in the manner and to the degree that climate change calls for. We must therefore react ourselves, which is why 2016 must be a year where we reclaim the power from our politicians and from the corporations whose interests they promote.
This was always the vision, even before Paris. Knowing the deal would fail, and not wanting to repeat the mistakes of Copenhagen, mobilisations around COP21 were a vehicle for movement-building rather than influencing a broken process, to come out stronger, broader and bigger, ready for mass escalation in 2016. We drew our red lines in Paris, and marked the targets for 2016. Now it’s time to hit them.
In the week of 7-15 May there will be a wave of global mass actions, shutting down major, iconic fossil fuel infrastructure projects across the world. The week of action will be kicked off by frontline communities in the Philippines, followed by actions in Indonesia, Australia, North and South America, Europe, Africa, Israel, Palestine and more. Germany will see a mass direct action on a coal mine near Berlin, following the success of Ende Gelände in summer 2015 which involved 1,500 people taking direct action to shut down an enormous coal mine in the Rhineland for a day. This is no normal week of action. Being based on the principles of escalation, mass participation and linked, global action, this will be civil disobedience on a scale not seen before.
Meanwhile in the UK, direct action network Reclaim the Power is calling a year of climate action in 2016. ‘Groundswell’ is a structure that links, amplifies and encourages the escalation of the work already being done across the UK. It is a supportive framework for people and groups new to direct action. Acting together and in solidarity with grassroots movements taking action on climate chaos around the world, it’s an invitation to share and learn from each another, to celebrate what the movement has already achieved and to encourage others to get involved in this year.
At the core of Groundswell is you and your friends, groups, and organisations. You can decide what your actions will look like. Reclaim the Power can also offer ready-made ‘off the shelf’ actions for those who want to build their confidence with greater support. Along with other groups, Reclaim the Power can offer help, training and support for teams who want it. Groups sign up to one action every three months, building towards collaborative large scale events as the year goes on.
Inspired by the ground-breaking Climate Games that brought together direct action and real life action adventure gaming in Paris via an online platform, the Groundswell website (coming soon) will have a secure, purpose-built media-sharing platform to update participants about other groups’ actions as and when they happen, providing inspiration and motivation.
The global climate movement is gaining momentum. The groundswell is coming. We need to keep up this momentum to win this battle. It will need a lot of us working together. But if our governments won’t make the changes we needed we must make it happen ourselves. Together, we can do more for climate justice in a year than our governments have done in the last 21.
Louis Mendee explains the real human costs of climate change for the global south.
From climate change to automation to demographic shifts, Mathew Lawrence explains the challenges our economy will face in the coming decade.
Fifty years after the Abortion Act, women are still dying from being denied basic services, write activists from Feminist Fightback
We need to tackle the patronising ideology that lets Tory think-tanks sneer at social tenants, writes Emma Dent Coad
Acid Corbynism allows people to imagine a future beyond the paltry offerings of capitalism, writes Keir Milburn
'We wanted to use a shared love of the beautiful game to stand in solidarity with those living under occupation', writes Kate Hadley.
Priti Patel's shady deals are business as usual. Enough is enough, writes Eleanor Penny
Boris Johnson is a local disaster and a national embarrassment. He must go, writes James Clouting
The global elite have been stealing from society on an unprecedented scale, writes Tom Walker
Richard Murphy says that the appropriate political will and understanding of tax can put an end to offshore avoidance and evasion
Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism
Catalan independence is not just ‘nationalism’ – it’s a rebellion against nationalism
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte argue that Catalonia's independence movement is driven by solidarity – and resistance to far-right Spanish nationalists
Tabloids do not represent the working class
The tabloid press claims to be an authentic voice of the working class - but it's run by and for the elites, writes Matt Thompson
As London City Airport turns 30, let’s imagine a world without it
London City Airport has faced resistance for its entire lifetime, writes Ali Tamlit – and some day soon we will win
The first world war sowed the seeds of the Russian revolution
An excerpt from 'October', China Mieville's book revisiting the story of the Russian Revolution
Academies run ‘on the basis of fear’
Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) was described in a damning report as an organisation run 'on the basis of fear'. Jon Trickett MP examines an education system in crisis.
‘There is no turning back to a time when there wasn’t migration to Britain’
David Renton reviews the Migration Museum's latest exhibition
#MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny
Meet the digital feminists
We're building new online tools to create a new feminist community and tackle sexism wherever we find it, writes Franziska Grobke
The Marikana women’s fight for justice, five years on
Marienna Pope-Weidemann meets Sikhala Sonke, a grassroots social justice group led by the women of Marikana
Forget ‘Columbus Day’ – this is the Day of Indigenous Resistance
By Leyli Horna, Marcela Terán and Sebastián Ordonez for Wretched of the Earth
Uber and the corporate capture of e-petitions
Steve Andrews looks at a profit-making petition platform's questionable relationship with the cab company
You might be a centrist if…
What does 'centrist' mean? Tom Walker identifies the key markers to help you spot centrism in the wild
Black Journalism Fund Open Editorial Meeting in Leeds
Friday 13th October, 5pm to 7pm, meeting inside the Laidlaw Library, Leeds University
This leadership contest can transform Scottish Labour
Martyn Cook argues that with a new left-wing leader the Scottish Labour Party can make a comeback
Review: No Is Not Enough
Samir Dathi reviews No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics, by Naomi Klein
Building Corbyn’s Labour from the ground up: How ‘the left’ won in Hackney South
Heather Mendick has gone from phone-banker at Corbyn for Leader to Hackney Momentum organiser to secretary of her local party. Here, she shares her top tips on transforming Labour from the bottom up
Five things to know about the independence movement in Catalonia
James O'Nions looks at the underlying dynamics of the Catalan independence movement
‘This building will be a library!’ From referendum to general strike in Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte report from the Catalan general strike, as the movements prepare to build a new republic
Chlorine chickens are just the start: Liam Fox’s Brexit trade free-for-all
A hard-right free marketer is now in charge of our trade policy. We urgently need to develop an alternative vision, writes Nick Dearden
There is no ‘cult of Corbyn’ – this is a movement preparing for power
The pundits still don’t understand that Labour’s new energy is about ‘we’ not ‘me’, writes Hilary Wainwright
Debt relief for the hurricane-hit islands is the least we should do
As the devastation from recent hurricanes in the Caribbean becomes clearer, the calls for debt relief for affected countries grow stronger, writes Tim Jones
‘Your credit score is not sufficient to enter this location’: the risks of the ‘smart city’
Jathan Sadowski explains techno-political trends of exclusion and enforcement in our cities, and how to overcome this new type of digital oppression
Why I’m standing with pregnant women and resisting NHS passport checks
Dr Joanna Dobbin says the government is making migrant women afraid to seek healthcare, increasing their chances of complications or even death
‘Committees in Defence of the Referendum’: update from Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte on developments as the Catalan people resist the Spanish state's crackdown on their independence referendum
The rights and safety of LGBTQ+ people are not guaranteed – we must continue to fight for them
Kennedy Walker looks at the growth in hate attacks at a time when the Tory government is being propped up by homophobes