On Saturday (23 July) we filmed at the first big Just Stop Oil coalition march in London.
The coalition is made up of various campaign groups, activists and trade unionists, including Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace & Justice Project, Fuel Poverty Action, Don’t Pay, XR Trade Unions, Disabled People Against Cuts, as well as Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil.
Rather than a customary A to B affair, groups set off from several railway stations across the capital, taking different routes to Parliament Square.
We caught up with Dr Bob Gill with a few dozen people gathered at Angel in North London. He spoke about how the impending NHS privatisation will further raise the cost of living, causing stress and illness which will ripple through society. We also spoke with Dr Juliet Brown at Parliament Square who wants to see investment in future fossil fuels to stop, as pollution and climate change add further pressures to health and well-being.
Climate activists clarified that the demand is to stop NEW investment in fossil fuel extraction – we have around 8 years of reserves which could be used carefully while a rapid and just transition transforms our society towards a more sustainable future. But the government, aided by a billionaire-owned media landscape, is just not listening to what is needed.
A trade unionist told us how the climate crisis and cost of living crisis are intertwined and how climate activists should support workers while asking them also to support a just transition away from fossil fuel industry to greener technology.
Marches normally end in speeches then everyone goes home, but this was something very different. After a symbolic sit-down in the road outside Parliament (authorised with police on this occasion), instead of speeches there was a short walk to St James’ Park, where people sat in small groups and were invited to plan together how to build a movement towards widespread civil resistance in October.
The coalition has five clear demands:
- No NEW oil extraction
- Tax polluters and billionaires
- Subsidise energy costs for ordinary people
- Insulate homes
- Subsidise public transport.
We spoke to JSO facilitators, who told us that many of those attending were new to activism. Some of these were depressed about the direction of society, and frightened by the recent heatwave, and so were keen to get involved, even though they hadn’t considered civil resistance before.
Although numbers on Saturday barely reached a thousand, groups attended from Scotland, Wales and across the UK, and the day was really a movement-building and outreach event, which included non-violent direct action training and a big chance to network.
We interviewed a soft-spoken Afghanistan refugee, who attended after an invite from the Peace & Justice Project. He told us he wanted to see children all across the world taught how to care for our planet, nature and environment. He said that together we can save the planet, but together we could lose it!
More info: weallwanttojuststopoil.com