The pouring rain and howling wind did not deter over 100,000 people from marching through the streets of Glasgow on Saturday – nor could it dampen the spirits of the Marxist bloc!
Glasgow has been burdened with the closure of roads, schools, museums, shops, workplaces as a result of the COP26 conference, alongside a UN ‘blue zone’ occupying parts of the Clyde river. This has contributed to a mood of anger locally.
City residents had already turned out in thousands to support the Fridays For Future climate strike the day before. And yet many more were drawn to the Global Day of Action on Saturday.
Both demonstrations were joined by thousands of trade unionists and striking workers. Bin collectors and cleansing teams have been picketing all week, demanding fair pay and a rescue package for Glasgow’s crumbling public services.
The mass demonstration instinctively seized upon the connection between the class struggle and the climate struggle, in which it is essential that the working class plays a leading part. Chants of ‘Glasgow Council shame on you’ rang out as we passed the council’s headquarters.
Many also flocked to the city from around the world, demanding serious action on climate change. Days before, for example, Greta Thunberg gave expression to the complete lack of trust that young people feel towards the so-called ‘world leaders’, accusing them of “pretending” to act, with an endless “blah, blah, blah” of false promises.
Under the banner of ‘climate revolution’, dozens of IMT and MSF activists from across Scotland and Britain led calls to expropriate the polluting capitalist class; for workers’ control over a plan of green transition; and for the overthrow of the global capitalist system.
We received cheers and messages of support from fellow marchers and passers-by, distributing hundreds of flyers into eager hands.
The mood of the procession did not falter one bit, with chants and slogans throughout. Breaking through the misty rain, a rainbow appeared over the marchers in Finnieston. As the column halted there, few knew that the delay was caused by the heavy-handed intervention of the police, who were surrounding and kettling activists up ahead.
The overwhelming support of the crowd forced the police to retreat. They could not repress the mood of defiance and indignation arriving at Glasgow Green. Once there, a festival atmosphere took over. Though there was little opportunity to dry off, thousands stayed for the final speeches and live music.
This was one of the largest demonstrations that Glasgow has seen for years; a marker of the real mood in society towards vacuous international summits such as COP26 – and towards the global ruling class that waffles away at them.
The patience amongst ordinary people has begun to run out, as the capitalist system and its political representatives refuse to face up to the climate emergency.
This is a fight for our very future. The urgent task is for workers and youth to arm themselves with revolutionary ideas and methods, in order to successfully carry through this struggle.