Braving police cordons, hundreds of members of the Young Communist League (YCL) of Britain protested in Glasgow on Saturday, November 6, raising the banner of ‘Socialism or Extinction’ and demanding concrete proposals from the COP26 summit to mitigate the impact of climate change. While many other environmental activists and youth organizations also marched, the police on Saturday tried to restrict the YCL contingent from taking part. Progressive sections in the UK, including the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) and various trade unions, condemned the police aggression against YCL cadres.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties, or COP26, began in Glasgow, Scotland, on October 31 in the backdrop of alarming climate changes and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Progressive sections across the world have expressed outrage at the vague commitments made by the G20 member states towards mitigating climate change in their recently concluded meeting in Rome. Many climate rights groups and progressive youth groups, including COMAC from Belgium and the Portuguese Communist Youth (PCP), among others, have held marches in Glasgow demanding concrete actions from COP26. Young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg denounced the climate conference in Glasgow as a failure which is “sort of turning into a greenwash campaign, a PR campaign, for business leaders and politicians.”
Following the protests on Saturday, YCL-Britain stated, “YCL was the only group to have been personally escorted by police officers on the demonstration, it is apparent that the YCL are perceived as a credible threat. This increased police monitoring is in wake of the YCL’s unmissable presence at both the DSEI Arms Fair and the Tory Party Conference. While we fight for Socialism – the police fight for extinction.”
“We would like to reiterate that we are neither intimidated nor surprised: as the state begins to see communist youth as a threat once again, as they see large numbers of young people actively confronting capitalism, we expect them to do everything they can to defend the wealth and privilege of the ruling class they serve,” YCL added.
The CPB alleged that “over 150 young communists marching for ‘Socialism or Extinction’ have been attacked and kettled by police during the demonstration.”
The delegates at the 56th congress of the CPB also sent their solidarity to the YCL-Britain.