The #ClimateStrike Movement and the Future of Unionism
By Mercurius Goldstein
This study intends to:
- investigate the means and manner through which young people as climate activists relate their personal world to the practice of collective action and participation, and what terms such as “strike” and related industrial strategies mean to them in this context
- apply an historical perspective to the #ClimateStrike movement in the context of general strikes of the 19th and 20th centuries at the zenith of the global union movement
- consider the potential for a re-emergence of collective action via the union movement as the pre-eminent driver of social and economic justice, in combination with the #ClimateStrike movement at the vanguard of environmental justice
The hypothesis to be investigated is that the global #ClimateStrike phenomenon heralds a crucial opportunity to rejuvenate a culture of collective action, participation and union membership among the rising generation of activists.
Focus questions will include:
- What are some key experiences and learnings that young activists have gained through their participation in the #ClimateStrike movement thus far?
- How do young activists relate to the notions of collective action, participation and organisation to achieve their goals?
- Through what strategies could the union movement, in general, and education unions, in particular, ensure they remain visible, viable and prominent in the cause of climate justice for a stable and viable future for working people and the cause of public education?
From the Introduction:
The year 12 graduating class of 2019 in NSW finished their HSC exams only for many of them to walk literally into a conflagration. For them it was not a summer of “schoolies” and joyful preparations for their next phase of life in a TAFE, university, employment or a “gap year”. It was for many, a summer of terror and peril, not to mention the last pandemic-free months for all of us.
#ClimateStrikes are union business.