Marxists at Fridays for Future “We do not want to split”

Mr. Mart├Čnez, what exactly do you do at Fridays for Future?

I am active at the university group at the Free University in Berlin. And I'm involved with Change for Future, the anti-capitalist platform within Fridays for Future.

And what have you achieved so far?

We have organized a plenary assembly at the FU, the largest in several years. There were almost 500 people there. We have formulated seven demands to the university management. Among other things, it is about no longer using the plane for business trips in Germany, making the university climate-neutral by 2025, but it is also about more sustainable offers in the cafeteria.

In the climate strike on 20 September, your anti-capitalist platform wants to be clear, virtually as the left wing of the movement.

We discussed that for a long time. But we have agreed on that now, yes.

How would you locate the group?

Change for Future is a heterogeneous movement. Within CFF organize themselves, socialists, communists, anarchists and other people. We all share the insight that we have to overcome capitalism to solve the climate crisis. We understand ourselves as an anti-capitalist platform within Fridays for Future, but we are not bound by any other organizations.

How did you find yourself?

There was an effort throughout the year to do something like this. The first major national meeting took place at the Summer Congress in Dortmund. Since then there are chat groups – and in such a I have been invited.

How many people are in the group?

Around 300, which are also organized in regional subgroup.

Do you want to split Fridays for Future?

We definitely do not want columns. Fridays for Future is a reservoir for all sorts of opinions. That's a good thing. But at the same time, anti-capitalist perspectives were part of the movement right from the start. We try to organize these positions in a more concentrated way so that the system-critical input can be better integrated into the movement.

This means?

Our economic system is incompatible with environmental sustainability. It increasingly exploits both major sources of our wealth: human labor and nature. As long as we do not change this way of doing business, it will go on like this. That's why we fight for a complete democratization of the economy and politics.

Is Fridays for Future not Democratic?

But. You can contribute through the local groups. It is also totally normal that you do not have the perfect structure right from the start. But we want to avoid that hidden hierarchies form and a small elite circle sets the direction and the contact with the individual local groups and the base is lost.

The danger do you see?

Yes, in any case. Of course, the media is always looking for personalities. That is normal. But we do not want the movement to be shortened.

You speak of Luisa Neubauer, who also writes a column for the star,

Neubauer has profiled the movement well, no question. But it is no secret that she is a member of the Greens. It stands for a bourgeois policy that is not shared by all.

What do you want to change?

It is important to us that we always rotate, even when it comes to press inquiries. And it is also very important that delegates are accountable to the grassroots at all times and that decisions are taken transparently.

Are Marxists fans of Greta Thunberg?

Why not? It was the entry into Fridays for Future for all of us. She has launched the movement, for which she deserves the utmost respect. It is admirable how icy cold she is in front of all these business people and politicians and does not mince words. What she does is great. She also expressed herself systemically. If change is not possible in this system, we may need to think about a change, she said.

They are committed to closer ties to the unions at Fridays for Future. Where do you see common interests?

We need to get our hands on it, because we can only build up enough pressure together to actually make politics give in – in a way that does not happen on the backs of young workers and precarious workers.

Frank Bsirske, the outgoing Verdi boss, supported the strike.

But not any more. He shies away from the political strike.

A political strike is not aimed at a collective bargaining party, but at politics. And this form of strike is also forbidden.

I find the statement wrong. It is a bit bold of Mr Bsirske to say that one should just stamp out. Only a few can do that. And then it is not true that the unions are not on a political strike. In 2007, IG Metall also called for a political strike against the pension at 67. At that time tens of thousands of people took part.

What significance does the strike have?

September 20 is an absolutely crucial day. We are very excited about how many people will join us now. It has to be a combative day. Different movements have also called for further actions, such as Extinction Rebellion and Ending terrain to occupations to paralyze the infrastructure.

Extinction Rebellion causes a stir with civil disobedience.

This disobedience is urgently needed. But just peacefully. The movement is from England. In London they have already brought all traffic to a standstill.

End of terrain is a bit more militant then?

Militant? No. They also have a peaceful consensus on action. Only they carry the whole thing more directly to where it is burning. They say openly: We will occupy the open pit, we will bring the machines to a standstill.

What is your everyday life as an activist? Do you get 27,000 Whatsapps a day? How much time do you use? How would you describe that?

The number is not that wrong. There's a lot going on in the Whatsapp groups. But then we organize plenary sessions here at the Free University, then there are telephone conferences, other events. It always depends on what's going on, but it can be up to two hours a day.

What are the biggest challenges for the time after the climate strike?

This is discussed a lot with us. We have to wait and see what the government submits. And then it is important that we do not let ourselves be put off. Because it is clear: we want to save the planet and not the profits of corporations.

But even if now run older. Above all, Fridays for Future is a movement of boys, right?

For sure. And it is a movement that is dominated by women. In Germany, Luisa Neubauer is the leading figure, internationally Greta Thunberg. This movement is clearly female dominated. And that's great.

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