ON 10-11 OCTOBER activists gathered at University College London to discuss the politics and direction of Workers’ Climate Action. Some had been involved in the network since the beginning, but many were new to WCA.
The first day was made up of workshops aiming to educate activists and provoke debate. Workshops like Paul Hamptons’ session outlined key movements events like the Lucas Plan and the ‘green bans’ movement centred around the New South Wales Builders Labourers Federation and made the case for the importance of working class agency in the fight against climate change. Other workshops like Roger Geffen and Ian Fillingham’s session on the history and politics of the environmental movement provided an invaluable insight into this movement for those, like me, who are unfamiliar with it. The sessions accomplished WCA’s self set task of branching the divide between the labour movement and the climate justice movement and prepared activists to take on arguments around worker-led just transition.
The second day, in Hackney, was given over to strategising for ongoing campaigns around Vestas, Kingsnorth and Heathrow as well as looking at education for activists and the development of resources to help the campaigns. A long discussion was held over creating structures for the network to help it carry out future work. The meeting accepted volunteers for a minute taker, a treasurer, a website and e-mail working group and a meetings working group with the intention that these positions hold no political power, remain fluid with different people taking on the roles and fulfil purely necessary administrative tasks. Though the day was lengthy and at some points arduous activists attending seemed to feel satisfied with decisions made and prepared to carry them forward. The structure will be revised at the next WCA meeting which, it has been proposed, will take place in November.
After the weekend the network seems set to grow beyond its work in the last few years with activists beginning to plan local solidarity work as well as contributing time and energy to big national campaigns. The conference was a great success for the network and its developing politics.