The People’s Assembly held at the Central Hall, Westminster on June 22nd, was very inspiring. 4000 people registered.
One of the issues was how to bring together the anti-austerity movement demands and the climate change arguments. To its credit the People’s Assembly organised a break out session on Climate change and a million climate jobs.
Our Climate and Jobs meeting was held in a rather windy open marquee, with maybe 350 people listening. Despite this it went rather well. But really it was on the fringes, climate beings something that the majority of the attendees don’t really want to tackle. Hence organisations combined to produce a joint leaflet, see
The session was addressed by Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP, Chris Baugh, Deputy General Secretary of the PCS, Manual Cortes General Secretary of TSSA and Charles Secrett an ex director of Friends of the Earth.
All speakers underlined the reality of a changing climate and the urgency of tackling the issue. Caroline Lucas stressed again that the anti-austerity movement had to engage with the issue of climate change, a crisis which was as urgent as the economic one. “There are no jobs on a dead planet” she stressed. Caroline Lucas speaks at People’s Assembly
The issue of climate jobs was central to the argument about how work could be created to dramatically reduce emissions. Manual Cortes stressed the need to get people out of cars and onto public transport and that the best way of doing this was to have a publicly run transport system. He also highlighted the Action for Rail campaign and the East Coast line debacle. Caroline Lucas received huge cheers when she announced that she would be introducing a private members bill calling for the re nationalisation of the railways.
Chris Baugh argued that the trade union movement had a strong history of fighting on important social issues and climate change was just such an issue. It, like the economic crisis was a product of a capitalist system in which profit was put before need. He called for trade unions to support environmentalists and for environmentalist to support trade unions.
He pointed out that the current battle against fracking was an absolutely vital one and one in which links between trade unions and environmentalists should be forged. He called for support for the day of protest and direct action at West Burton Power Station to defend the activists from No Dash for Gas.