protesters sat in Oxford Circus Young protesters block Oxford Circus as part of the global Fridays for Future movement. Photo: Morgan Hayes

The school students’ mass movement against manmade climate catastrophe has lost none of its vitality, reports Ellen Graubart

Our kids, school students, have made it clear that they are not messing about. This morning they filled Parliament Square in their thousands to protest against the world’s politicians’ and global corportations’ fumbling prevarication over the dire state of the planet caused by the relentless march of a rapacious capitalist system which is devouring the Earth’s resources and threatening the global weather systems which regulate the viability of life on Earth.

I had expected a static rally on Parliament Green, but the crowd was not satisfied with that. Headed by a huge “GREEN NEW DEAL” banner the crowd began to move northwards up Whitehall. Numbers were such that there was no way the police were going to be able to dictate where the march would go, and apparently had no idea what to do but to ad hoc close one by one the forward path at each intersection as the protest moved northwards.

The chanting and shouting mass made its way up Whitehall, past Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, up Regent Street to Oxford Street, where they sat down en masse, completely blocking all east/west and southbound traffic at the Oxford Circus traffic lights. And there they stayed, chanting “This is what democracy looks like”,  “Whose future, OUR future”, “save our planet”, “Climate justice – NOW” and listening to speakers from the crowd.

As I followed the march I really felt that history was moving in front of my eyes. Who could have imagined that a small crack opened up by a remarkable young student from Sweden would be the catalyst that released the tectonic plates of the pent up anger and outrage our youngest generation have been feeling – who now refuse to have their lives and prospects trashed by the capitalist system that rules all of our lives.

This is what internationalism looks like. These kids in the UK are in sync with young people all over the world in a way that is unprecedented, and they know what they are doing and what they are up against – a rabid, uncaring capitalism – and they have declared that they will continue fighting for the survival of the planet and a future worth having for all of us. 

Ellen Graubart

Ellen Graubart was born in India of American parents and came to London from Virginia as a teenager to study art. She lives and works as an artist in Hackney. She is a member of Counterfire, Stop the War and Hackney Palestine Solidarity Campaign.