By Alice Gato
In 2011, thousands of people went out into the streets in several countries against austerity because their lives were being stolen to pay for banking crisis. In 2019, thousands of kids went out on the streets all over the world against climate change because their life (and future) was being stolen for profit. Now, in 2023, capitalist elites are getting their biggest profits ever at the expense of oil and gas expansion and its inflation, and we are paying for it.
It’s not the time to postpone the fight against the climate crisis because people need to worry about how they are going to put food on the table, pay rent or pay for their studies. It’s time to fight for system change not climate change exactly because of that. The cost of living crisis which we are living and paying for out of our pockets has the same root as the climate crisis which we have been living for decades and paying with our lives: a capitalist system addicted to fossil fuels that thrives from our suffering. Last year, the fossil profit driven inflation became the everything profit inflation. In Europe, under the excuse of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, they have deployed a massive historical investment in more fossil infrastructure. This only increases the profits of these companies, while dragging us towards climate chaos and making us pay for it – through public subsidies and historically high prices. Haven’t we payed enough?
We are paying for their insane profits every time there is a flood, a heatwave or a drought. We are paying for their crisis every time they cut our wages or the investment on public services because they want “energy diversity”, which is just a way they have of to fool us into paying for increasing global emissions and crossing the 1.5ºC warming during this decade. We won’t let them continue to lead us to the climate hell they’re setting up, and we definitely won’t pay for it. It’s their time to pay.
This Northern Hemisphere summer will likely be a glimpse of the hell they are setting for us, with heatwaves all over the world, historical droughts and massive forest fires. By the end of it, they will try to steal even more from us. We know there is no way out of this crisis that relies on fossil fuels expansion. We also know there is no way they are going to solve the crisis they have created. The time has come to usher in a popular social movement across Europe and the world, to bring about the change that governments and institutions refuse to assume. We will not wait to cross 1.5ºC warming for the “perfect conditions” to change everything. This is the time where we fight back before everything changes irrevocably against us. It’s time to go out to the streets united, like we did in 2011 and 2019, against precarity, fossil fuels, oppression, for housing and essential services, and demanding what they’ve stolen from us. The choice of letting their crimes continue is a political one which we refuse. We have paid more than enough. Now, they will pay.
On the September 30th we will gather in the cities and the squares of Europe, demanding:
- Price controls over all essential sectors (food and water, electricity and heating, house rents and healthcare);
- The end of their tax havens and fiscal paradises;
- The deployment of decentralised, community-based and democratically controlled renewable energy to achieve 100% of renewable electricity by 2025;
- Free public transports for all;
- Public housing for everyone.
We are people from different political backgrounds and European countries. Some of us have been working in unions and against precarity and know that the only way to ensure workers rights is to fight for a just transition others come from the climate movement and know that there is no way to achieve climate change within the capitalist system. Some of us come from the housing movement and know that the housing crisis and the crisis of all essential services being taken from us is just another way to keep a system that doesn’t benefit the majority going. All of us know that there is no justice for the global south and the working class on the global north until our life is more valued in this society that capitalist profits. Until we put an end to the colonialist fossil fuel expansion, until care is at the center of our economies and until we start cutting the emissions that are leading us towards climate chaos we will not stop and we will not falter.
So, if you come from a social movement, if you just know it’s time to join this fight for your life, if you know that you’ve payed enough and that it’s their time to pay, come with us on this day, with your imagination, your willpower and your rage, with your banners and your families, your friends and your allies, and join us. If you are reading this from Austria, Portugal, the Netherlands or Germany, join the marches that will take place there. If you come from any other European country and want to mobilize with us, organize this march on your own country. You can reach out to us through our website theirtimetopay.org or via email email@example.com.
Everyone of us has the power to fight back, and together we will show that we have the power to refuse the catastrophic direction they are taking us towards. We will not take it anymore.