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Climate strike: How to continue? What is the next step? [Wuppertal, Germany]

Wuppertal. Germany. Yesterday (September 23, 2022) I joined the climate strike demo in Wuppertal. I had to pull myself together to go to the demo. The climate movement is in a crisis and in my opinion the Fridays For Future (FFF) demos have become a kind of ritual, without the necessary anger and power. Thoughts after the FFF demo in Wuppertal.

Written by Riot Turtle.

Before the start of yesterday’s demo there were several speeches. One of the local organizers said that it was not allowed to stick stickers during the demo. This sentence was symbolic of the law-abidingness of the organizers of the demonstration. In a speech, one of the organizers said that the problem with the climate policy of the German government was caused solely by the FDP. He seemed to have forgotten that it was the Green climate and economy minister Robert Habeck who visited Qatar to negotiate contracts for fossil liquid gas. Since February 24, the day the Russian army’s invasion of Ukraine began (it actually started in Crimea in 2014), a gigantic fossil fuel rollback has begun around the world, including Germany. Lignite-fired power plants that were shut down are being put back into operation, new LNG terminals are being built in Germany, discussions about fracking, nuclear energy, etc. etc. The Greens are playing an active role in this rollback.

The German government is investing billions in infrastructure for the fossil fuel industry, driving dependence on this climate killer industry even further. Corporations like Uniper are being nationalized, more billions for the fossil industry. Instead of ensuring that people are no longer hostages of the fossil industry, the “green” minister Habeck now wants to exchange the blackmailer Putin for the dictatorship in Qatar. This is not surprising.

Climate strike demo in Wuppertal (Germany) on September 23, 2022.

The Greens are a neoliberal party and their role in the governing coalition with the FDP and SPD is rather to pacify the climate conflicts. They channel these conflicts and make sure that the euro keeps rolling. First the economy, then climate policy. Their misleading narratives and green capitalism policies will not solve climate problems. Capitalism is the root of the climate issue and green capitalism is part of that problem.

Personally, I consider the new investments in fossil energies as a declaration of war. A declaration of war against many living beings of our planet. It has been only a few weeks since millions of people in Pakistan lost everything due to floods caused by climate change. Many people drowned. Many people on the African continent are fleeing, droughts caused by climate change are destroying their livelihoods. You can’t grow crops in a growing desert. And these are not the regions that emit most of the CO2. The fossil fuel industry and the states of the global north that promote and protect this deadly industry are responsible for many deaths and a growing number of regions that are becoming uninhabitable.

To believe that states that build walls, beat up people seeking protection, sometimes even shoot them at their borders (Evros) and let people drown in the Mediterranean Sea, will ensure that people can seek protection for the consequences of our economic and climate policies is at least naive. We will achieve nothing by appealing to those who accelerate climate change and massive species extinction. We must fight against the fossil fuel industry, the capitalist system (the root of the problem) and states that maintain the current status quo.

The reformist approach of major parts of the FFF movement in this country is becoming more and more of a problem. I was positively surprised that the climate strike demonstration in Wuppertal was able to mobilize 750 people. After a long break on the streets, this was a good result for Wuppertal. But we should not forget that a few years ago FFF could mobilize several thousand people in Wuppertal. It was also noticeable that there were hardly any school kids on the demo, in contrast to the local FFF demos in the early days most of the people were much older. In Wuppertal, it seems that FFF is no longer able to mobilize many students. Of course it is good that people of all ages took to the streets yesterday, but where were the students? Why couldn’t FFF Wuppertal reach them anymore?

Maybe the problem is that parts of the local Fridays for Future Wuppertal organizing group are members of the Green Youth, an independent youth organization affiliated with Bündnis 90/Die Grünen ( The Greens, part of the German federal government coalition). After 9 months in government, even more young people have lost all illusions in the Greens and the political class in general. Moreover, the FFF repeats the same approach over and over again. A peaceful round around the local church, appealing to the people responsible for the climate catastrophe after another summer of droughts, floods, a growing number of forest fires and melting ice caps. They will listen to the appeals and then continue their deadly business as usual.

The ruling class has proven its ruthlessness more than once, which is why there is no point in repeating a ritual that can’t do much more than create awareness. FFF, like many parts of the climate movement, is on the defensive, in a deadlock. FFF’s beginnings did a lot to raise awareness. But the awareness is there now. The next step is not only desirable, it is necessary. If we want to make a difference, we must realize that it will only be possible in a long struggle using a variety of tactics. The fight against the fossil fuel industry and its lackeys in parliament, the fight against the ones who are causing the climate crisis, is not about being nice. It’s about fighting hard with tactics that increase pressure. That shut down the fossil fuel industry.

Climate strike demo in Wuppertal (Germany) on September 23, 2022.

If FFF stick to their ritual demos, they could become part of the problem instead of fighting for the future. They could become a movement that channels and thus neutralizes the struggle for climate justice. What we need now is a debate about strategy and tactics. About blockades, occupations, even sabotage. About developing an ungovernable movement that fights for climate justice. A movement that connects this struggle with social struggles. A movement that fights to overcome borders, that puts decolonization into practice. In short, a movement that grows into a revolutionary force that understands that the main problems of our time cannot be solved in the current political and economic system with its hierarchies. Yes, these are big words, but in my opinion they are the only possible direction that can stop further aggravation of the climate catastrophe and many other problems.

Riot Turtle, September 24, 2022

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