“Where often we can feel powerless, the We Make Tomorrow conference is focused on giving confidence and direction to building our collective democratic power to set out the pathway to address the climate and multiple crises facing us.”
By Sam Mason, Coordinator of the Climate Justice Coalition Trade Union Caucus
There is arguably no more ostentatious symbol of power than the British monarchy. Whether a coronation for a King or another occasion, the choreography is set to remind us of the limits to our so-called democracy. A pageantry supported by ever repressive laws such as the Public Order Act which has been denounced by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for the “serious and undue restrictions” is places on rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.
Legislation that will be used to curb growing protests against the fossil fuel corporate economy which also wields vast power over the terms of energy and decarbonisation policy. While food banks grow, fuel poverty increases and workers struggle on low wages, BP and Shell calmly pocketing billions in profits for the first quarter of the year (again) shows in whose interest this serves.
Further, attempts to rightly claim a due return on the wealth created by workers to workers and communities, are met with more repressive anti-trade union laws in the forms of the minimum service levels bill for example. In turn other laws, particularly derived from the EU, that protect our health and safety at work or in our environment are being scrapped or watered down.
Finally, and not least, to mention, while the world over has become more unequal and unsafe, those who are driven to desperate measures to flea wars, the impacts of climate change, and economic collapse as a result of UK policies past and present, are met with hostile migrant policies.
The working class in the UK and globally are standing in the cross-hairs of all these crises at the same time as we rapidly need to transform our economies to address the drivers of climate change, namely fossil fuels. The struggle to transform where power lies, who owns keys assets in the economy such as energy, water and transport, and who gets to say what gets made by whom and for whom, are therefore central to the fight to move to a green economy.
Where often we can feel powerless, the We Make Tomorrow conference is focused on giving confidence and direction to building our collective democratic power to set out the pathway to address the climate and multiple crises facing us. It’s supported by UNISON, PCS, Manchester Trades Council, War on Want, NHS Workers Say No, Doctors in Unite, Campaign Against Climate Change, Fuel Poverty Action, Greener Jobs Alliance and more.
It aims to bring together workers from every sector, along with climate and wider labour movement activists because the climate crisis affects all of us and all our jobs. It will dig into what climate change really means for workers and starting from the point that climate change is fundamentally an issue of labour and social justice. From health and safety threats from extreme weather events to the rising cost of living, job losses and closures to attacks on pay and conditions, drastic and deep change is currently in the hands of bosses and a hostile government.
The conference will hear from speakers involved in current disputes such as the inspiring GMB Amazon workers in Coventry, health and education workers, and representatives from construction and transport sectors. We will also hear from international guests such as the ex-GKN workers in Italy and be reminded of the need to address historic injustices such as inflicted on the coal miners from the Orgreave Truth and Justice campaign.
Numerous workshops will focus on sharply defining the crisis across sectors and how we can build collective democratic power and organise within our workplaces and communities. These will be spaces for frank and honest discussion.
This is a conference to talk about the challenges and solutions to climate change but central to it is social, economic, political, and international justice. We hope you will join us in Manchester as part of the fight for building for a better tomorrow.
- Sam Mason is the coordinator of the Climate Justice Coalition trade union caucus. You can follow the Climate Justice Coalition on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- The We Make Conference takes place at the Methodist Church, Central Buildings, Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JQ on Saturday May 20th – register and find out more here.