Thousands join Leeds COP26 demo

A couple of thousand of people joined the COP26 demonstration in Leeds on 6th November to coincide with the major protest outside the conference in Glasgow, after a week in which the incapability of the capitalist powers around the globe to act to tackle the looming threat of climate change has become ever clearer, many were searching for answers as to what can be done to tackle climate change before it’s too late.

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

Despite the urgency of action needed, the demonstration felt less of an urgent call for action and more of a day out. This was reflected in the ‘broadness’ of the platform, including Labour West Yorkshire Mayor, Tracy Brabin, who was heckled by some attendees over her support for the expansion of Leeds-Bradford airport, a project being supported with funding for road link changes by the very same Labour council in Leeds that adopted a ‘climate emergency’ resolution after the student climate strikes, and a target of net zero emissions by 2030! Brabin has also failed to act so far on her election pledge to bring public transport in West Yorkshire back under public control.

On the other hand it was notable that important sections of the trade union movement had mobilised for the demonstration with noticeable delegations from Unite, NEU, PCS and local trades councils on the march, and militant trade unionists such as BFAWU General Secretary Sarah Woolley speaking.

Leeds Socialist Students initiated a feeder march from the university to help mobilise further for the demonstration, with around 20 taking part. Unlike other left groups on the demo who called for vague ‘system change’ or left their slogans at how bad capitalism is, our banner leading the march made it clear that we need ‘Socialist Change to End Climate Change’.

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