The Central Committee of the Young Communist League has issued the following statement in response to the record breaking heatwave affecting Britain.
Britain is being hit by the most severe heatwave on record. Record temperatures in excess of 40 degrees are set to be hit. The government has issued the first ever red weather warning for extreme heat.
A weather event of this scale and this nature demands a massive response from all parts of the emergency services, especially the ambulance services and the NHS. These are the same services which have been viciously cut and starved of funds for over a decade under Tory rule in Britain. Thousands will needless die across Britain this week as a result of Tory austerity.
Wildfires are blazing across Southern Europe, North Africa and Turkey. India is being hit by severe drought and flash floods. Across the world weather and climate events are already threatening the lives and livelihoods of billions of working people.
But it would be a mistake to think that developments are a natural phenomenon. These destructive and deadly effects of climate change are the product of made forces – of capitalism and production based on private greed and private profit.
The ruling class, through their politicians and their state and monopoly media, voice warm words about climate change while continuing to burn fossil fuels and destroy the natural environment apace. This week the politicians and their media tell us we have to adapt to heat. Their message is we have to do the same with climate change tomorrow.
We can be under no illusions. Events of this nature will become more frequent and more intense. Climate change is happening not in the distant future, but today – and capitalism is the cause.
Climate change is a class issue. The world’s richest 10% account for 50% of fossil fuel emissions, with the poorest 50% accounting for just 10%. Just 100 companies have accounted for 70% of greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. The world’s richest 1% are responsible for double the CO2 emissions of the poorest 50%
The ruling class know full well the human cost that capitalist made climate crisis will entail. And they’re happy for working people and humanity to suffer what will come.
The worst affects will be and are already starting to be seen in the global south. But here in Britain, as we are witnessing this week, the impact will be seen too, both directly and indirectly. Working people and the most vulnerable will be the victims.
But working people also have a choice and power beyond our own estimation. Climate change is man made and it can also be stopped by collective human action.
It is for the left and the labour movement to make clear that climate change is not inevitable or unstoppable or something that working people and humanity are bound to suffer through.
Britain’s Communists and the world movement recognise that capitalism has proven itself unwilling and unable to save our planet. Only by finally breaking with capitalism can we do so.
Unless the youth and working people can win revolutionary change and move beyond capitalism, the system that is killing our planet, the human story will end almost as soon as it started, on a poisoned earth.
Climate change is a class issue. The environmental movement, inspiringly led by so many young people today, must be won to a class understanding of climate change and the fact that Socialism is the only solution. The labour movement cannot continue to ignore the climate crisis if it is to avoid losing touch with young workers today. If we fail in these tasks, then we will be incapable of bringing about the systemic change the planet and humanity need.
Climate change is happening today, not tomorrow.
Radical action and change are needed today, not tomorrow.
Britain’s young communists are demanding:
- The closure of all nonessential workplaces with full pay for workers during this and future heatwaves.
- The closure of all schools, colleges and universities with full pay for workers during this and future heatwaves.
- Emergency legislation guaranteeing the right to walk off the job in excess heat.
- Extra funding and support for the NHS and emergency services to combat the heatwave.
- A real fight to prevent climate change including a genuine zero carbon plan.
- A green new deal for workers and working people.
- That the British government upholds existing international commitments on climate change.
Time for our planet is running out. Our enemy is strong. However, we know that the power of working people is invincible. It is up to the youth to lead this fight.
We demand a future!
The only future there can be is socialist!
Socialism or extinction!
Young Communist League
19 July 2022