Jeremy Corbyn, the former Labour leader, has teamed up with direct action campaigners to form a new “red/green” climate and social justice movement which aims to stage a “major wave of popular mass action” later this year.
Corbyn’s Peace and Justice Project, which he set up in 2021, is joining forces with Just Stop Oil campaigners who have staged a series of disruptive climate actions over the past six months.
The new movement – which also includes trade unionists, civil society organisations and leftwing activists – argues that the current “destructive economic model” is the root cause of the cost of living crisis as well as the climate crisis.
Ahead of the launch on Thursday, Corbyn said: “Movements are the motor of change in history. When we come together, we can transform the world. And we must because those in power – the fossil fuel giants, the billionaires and the governments they own – are picking our pockets and stealing our future.”
Just Stop Oil, the direct action climate crisis group that developed out of Extinction Rebellion, has hit the headlines in recent months with its activists targeting oil refineries, petrol stations and high-profile events such as Premier League football matches.
Its decision to work with Corbyn’s group and leftwing trade unionists suggests many younger climate activists see the economic system as the root cause of the climate crisis and growing poverty and inequality.
Lawrence Leather, 22, a spokesperson for Just Stop Oil, said: “As the climate breaks down, the cost of everything will rise. That’s why we want to bring together the broadest coalition we can, including the trade unions, Britain’s biggest social movement, around concrete demands that decarbonise and put money back in people’s pockets.”
Under Corbyn’s leadership, Labour offered a far-reaching climate justice agenda, including a massive programme of state investment to rapidly decarbonise the economy, creating hundreds of thousands of green jobs. It also set out plans to upgrade the UK’s housing stock, revitalise public transport and nationalise energy companies to reduce bills.
The new campaign, called We All Want to Just Stop Oil, says it will stage its first major action – a march in central London – on Saturday 23 July.
Leather said: “It’s been over a year since Sir David King, the former UK chief scientific adviser, warned the ‘next three to four years will determine the future of humanity’. But still the government refuses to do anything … We are encouraging everyone to step up now and join the movement. The politicians won’t save us. It’s on us to change history.”