The effect of climate change on migration, is one of the largest aspects of social fallout resulting from rampant capitalism’s destruction of the enviroment. On the 7th-18th December a sizeable group of No Borders activists from Wales and the south west joined thousands of others and travelled to Copenhagen to attend the mobilisations at the UN Climate Summit – COP15. There was a Climate No Borders convergence space at Ragnhildgade, a “No Borders! No Climate Refugees” day of action as well as several talks, workshops, film showings and discussions.
We also took part in many of the other actions during our stay including “Our Climate: Not Your Business!“, “System Change not Climate Change“, and “Reclaim Power!” as well as the other alternative summit activity that was taking place. You can find reports from all of these gathered from a variety of sources on the icop15 news aggregator. The main story that came out of the protests was the newly rushed-in law which allowed police to ‘preventatively arrest’ anyone without charge. The arbitrary arrest of nearly 1000 people from the Libertarian Socialist bloc on the huge demonstration on Saturday 12th December (to be caged for 12 hours and in some cases deported) set the tone for the likely police action for future days (and our reaction to that).
On Monday 14th December before the “No Borders! No Climate Refugees!” march could begin at it’s announced start time of 11am, police intervened to seize and impound the stage truck, along with many of the banners and equipment, arresting 17 people including many of the speakers. Rumours of a repeat of previous mass arrest tactics circulated amoungst the crowd gathered at Israel Plads in the centre of the city, surrounded by the press and increasing numbers of police. Organisers hastily managed to get hold of replacement truck and equipment, and the protest was able to set off (somewhat late) to march towards the Danish Defense Ministry.
Over 3,000 people mostly ‘chainned together” through linked arms in a tight bloc, with a sound system on a truck in the centre of the crowd and a large number of drummers maintained a well spirted, noisey and intense surge through the streets. Chants in a multitude of languages included:
”No border – no nation, stop deportation!”
“alerta! alerta! anti-fasista”
“Solidarité avec san papier”
“unemployment and inflation are not caused by immigration! Bullshit! Come off it! The enemy is profit!!”
“No nation – no border, fight law and order”
“We are here and we will fight! Freedom of movement is everybody’s right!”
“One solution – Revolution!”
Whilst a blow by blow account of the day is unnecessary, when the march reached parliament square outside the Defence Ministry and the legal demonstration ended, attempts by the police to control people were unsuccessful. One of the huge pieces of greenwash displays that littered Copenhagen (or ‘Hopenhagen‘) for the duration of the summit, a giant inflated globe, was the subject to a surreal ‘tug-of-war’ between the crowd and the huge mass of police. Protesters were able to break police lines and confound kettling tactics before contiuing to the Christiania free town. Here people dispersed in high spirts or waited for the pre-“Reclaim Power” party later in the evening with speakers including Naomi Klein, as the night wore on police attacked Christiania with tear gas and batton charges arresting a number of people.
This summit itself has been roundly condemned as an unparalleled failure. For the best part of the entire event the world’s major economies aggressively protected their economic growth at the expense of the safety of much of the planet. This came as no surprise to anyone with any kind of anti-capitalist critique, there are no solutions to the crisis that can be found in the ideology of imperialist economic domination that typifies the neoliberal agenda. We must resist the false solutions and attempts at increased social control that typify so much of the governmental response to the chaos of the climate.