Bergen: Speech at a climate strike

The following text is an edited transcript from a speech that was held during a climate strike in late September.

The demonstration had been called by Fridays for Future Bergen, who were unable follow up on the initiative, due to their dissolution. The protest was therefore organized by revolutionary student activists, put together a spontaneous event.

Speeches were held by several environmental organizations, unaffiliated exchange students, and a representative from the Revolutionary Communists (RK). Several left-wing organizations expressed their support for the demonstration beforehand, but were not present at the event.

The speech was met with positive response from the listeners. Revolutionary flyers were handed out after the event.

“I will say some words on behalf of the Revolutionary Communists of Norway.

First, I want to thank you all for coming. For a while, it looked like this event would be cancelled when the organizers laid down their organization. But instead, we have come together as a spontaneous coalition, carrying the movement forward.

So I’m glad to see all of you who have come here in the rainy city. The rain in Bergen is usually just an inconvenience, but as we speak, tens of millions of Pakistanis have been hit by floods that have put a third of their country under water.

It is the rich in the Western capitalist countries, who are most to blame for climate change. But it is poor people in the global south who are dying for it. The global system is deeply unjust.

It is becoming clearer and clearer that the current economic and political system is at war with the earth itself. Capitalism needs eternal economic growth. But how is eternal growth possible, when the earth only has so much resources? Only so much rainforest? Only so much aluminum? Only so much room for carbon emissions?

We are fighting for climate justice. The fight for climate justice is also a class struggle. It is crystal clear that the richest one percent in the world is the main driver behind climate change, while it is the poor that have to live with the worst consequences. Just one hundred big companies, are behind most global carbon emissions. This is not humanity’s war against nature. No, this is a tiny part of humanity’s war against nature, as well as against the rest of us.

Yes, there is a basic conflict between the global capitalist class, and the rest of us. And of course, their capitalist states are there to protect them. Yes, even the Norwegian state is protecting its companies from climate justice. The previous government did nothing to reduce carbon emissions. The current government is not doing anything to reduce carbon emissions either. We can’t expect change to come from the capitalist state and its politicians. Instead, they will continue to govern like they always do: dump the burdens on the backs of poor and working people, while the capitalists keep making a profit.

This is how every crisis works. Let’s consider inflation: it hits poor people, while the rich go free, or even make a profit. Or high energy prices: it’s the poor who have to freeze in their homes, while the rich can afford to pay. This is also true for the climate crisis.

The solutions that have been offered by the capitalist class, are the ones that allow this exploitative system to continue, while causing deeper misery for the poor masses of the world.

The Western capitalists move their polluting industries to developing countries. Then they blame the people in the developing countries when carbon emissions go up. They set up mining operations that force thousands of indigenous people from their land, to make batteries for electric cars. Norwegian and German capitalists build windmills in traditional reindeer herding areas, robbing Sámi people of their livelihood. And the imperialist Norwegian state buys carbon credits from developing countries, so that our rich can go on as usual, while poor countries carry the cost.

This is not climate justice. This is the same old imperialist system, wrapped in a green flag. In fact, no capitalist government, whether it is the United States, Norway, China or the EU, will deliver climate justice.

No, change is not going to come from above, but it is coming from below!

And indeed, all over the world, peoples’ movements are resisting climate change, resisting multinational companies, resisting green colonialism, and fighting for climate justice.

The ruling class is afraid of this resistance, because it works. Indigenous resistance in North America is hindering projects that make up one quarter of emissions in the USA and Canada. But the indigenous fighters are up against a strong enemy. Yes, the governments of the US and Canada are saying a lot of nice words about cutting emissions, yet they are sending police and military to crush the people who are actually making a difference.

The same fight is being waged half the word away, in India. In the jungles of Chhattisgarh and the planes of Odisha, indigenous people have taken up weapons to defend themselves against mining companies. The mining companies want to take away their forests and blow up their sacred mountains, for the bauxite under the ground. The Indian state does not defend its indigenous peoples, but instead acts as killers for the mining companies. They have even set up concentration camps to detain those who are deemed obstacles to progress. Progress, of course, means economic growth at any cost. Despite repression, despite state violence, despite multinational companies, peoples all over the world are waging brave struggles against the unjust system that is destroying the planet.

This is what the fight against climate change looks like. It is not being led by politicians in the rich countries, it is being led by poor and working people defending themselves agiainst displacement and exploitation. It is our duty, as workers, students and youth in Norway, to join in this global struggle against capitalist, imperialist expoitation of the global south.

Like many small rivers joining into a mighty stream, our movements must unite, and seize power away from the imperialist ruling class. Only this way can we build a better world. Where the needs of humanity and nature come first, not profit, and where climate justice can be delivered.

Another world is possible, and it is necessary. The struggle for climate and environmental justice is raging from India to Brazil, and here in Norway. We are at the crossroads of history. Throw yourself into the fight for climate justice!”

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