Report and Criticism of Climate Strike

Last week, supporters of the Vancouver section of the Revolutionary Student Movement joined students and others from around Vancouver in attending the mass “Climate Strike” action. While there were a number of flaws owing to the prevailing liberal character of the larger event, it was an impressive mass mobilization and the participation of our group was a minor success.
To recap, the Climate Strike consisted of a rally at City Hall followed by a march across the Cambie Street Bridge leading to another rally downtown. The goal of the action was extremely imprecise, with the only point that all participants could probably agree on being that more action needs to be taken to combat climate change. One could even argue that calling it a strike is a misnomer, since a real strike wouldn’t end until a set of concrete demands have been met. The liberal and big tent nature of the event was exemplified by the significant presence of groups such as the Green Party and the Labour Zionist group Habonim Dror which, while they may take left-leaning positions on issues like climate, fail to include an anti-colonial or even a serious anti-capitalist analysis, and as a result fail to produce genuine solutions to the climate crisis.
Despite these issues, there was one particularly impressive result in that thousands of people showed up to this action and others like it in other cities, blocking the streets of major urban centers and demanding greater action to combat the climate crisis. However, both due to the lack of concrete and radical demands and the fact that no significant collective mass organization has been organized around the Climate Strike, this will likely be ephemeral, and will go the way of Occupy and the protests in the United States against Donald Trump, with no significant change in our situation and increasingly little follow-up.
On a smaller level, this event was a minor success for RSM Vancouver as well. In addition to distributing 100 leaflets, we also got positive responses to our presence from a wide variety of attendees, many of whom were members of the new, increasingly radical, generation of high school students who represent the future of RSM and of leftist organizing as a whole. In this sense, despite liberal organizing at the head of the movement, it does seem fair to come away from the Climate Strike feeling a slight glimmer of hope.– Jamie Ragins, Supporter of MER-RSM Vancouver

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