On Tuesday 1st September members from the Young Communist League joined the large climate change march in London, organised by Extinction Rebellion. The words on their banner read “Socialism or Extinction”, a rallying cry to the urgency of the climate emergency we face and our inability to prevent it while living under Capitalism, has caused a fair bit of controversy. Extinction Rebellion central organisers felt that they needed to denounce the banner and reject that they were in anyway sympathetic to socialism, causing a mass of online backlash against their apolitical positioning.
Read an analysis of it from Dom Cerasoli here: https://challenge-magazine.org/2020/09/02/extinction-rebellion-green-capital-against-the-working-class/
Following this, newspapers such as The Times and the Daily Express have since run articles suggesting that XR protests were “under threat from parasitic hard-left groups”. The Times even editing their article a few hours later after XR had blockaded a number of newspaper printing sites around the country, and seeming to suggest that it was actually communist interference behind this action.
In response, the YCL have issued the following statement:
The YCL, coming up to its centenary next year, recognises all of those who have struggled, like us, against capitalism — especially those in the environmental movement, who took the fight to the corporations killing our planet when no one else would.
Environmental destruction is an inevitable product of the capitalist system. Capitalism has proven itself unable and unwilling to save the planet, and time has already run out.
In the face of this runaway climate change and complete inaction from our government, which is run by and for the rich, Extinction Rebellion is a breath of fresh air. We salute all those who have taken part so far, and all those who will rally to the cause as the choice between death or rebellion becomes ever more clear.
We refuse to accept any division pushed by the despicable Murdoch press between the socialist left and the ecological movement. If stating the obvious truth that countless rank and file XR groups and members have stated this week, that capitalism itself is unsustainable, makes us “hard left” then we proudly say yes: we are the hard left.
And so is everybody who knows you cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet.
We participate not to attack the radical, anti-capitalist heart of the environmental movement, but to support it, to help it build bridges to the workers’ movement, to the unions and the everyday working people who have the power to stop big business and its drive to sacrifice the Earth for short-term gain.
The rebellion doesn’t need guilt money from businessmen: it needs more militance, more action, and more volunteers. The only “parasites” are the capitalists: socialists have always and will always be environmentalists, and true environmentalists will always be socialists.
In the face of nature being destroyed profit the choice is simple:
Socialism or Extinction!
YCL Agitprop Commission
On behalf of the Executive Committee
Young Communist League of Britain
5 September 2020
Challenge News Desk