UK Rebellion: How to rebel against extinction


14 April 2019 | Website | Extinction Rebellion

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Our leaders have failed us. It’s time to rebel – and have a damn good time doing it.

Climate breakdown and ecological collapse threaten our existence. Another world is possible, and it’s just within reach.

It’s going to take everything we’ve got to get there. So we’re pulling out all the stops and rising up in a full-scale Rebellion against this twisted system to save ourselves and the natural world from extinction.

Meet at Parliament Square at 11am on Monday 15th of April. Come to London to stay – this is not a one-day march.

Book two weeks off work, or go on strike. Think festival, arrange to stay with friends or bring camping gear.

We will be blockading the city, engaging in civil disobedience, taking direct action, and joined by amazing acts will be performing at sites to be revealed closer to the time.

Stay tuned for updates and lineup! Full guide for participants here:

On April 15th we are calling for a full-scale Rebellion to demand decisive action from governments on the environmental crisis. Join us as we engage in acts of non-violent civil disobedience against governments in capital cities around the world as part of the International Rebellion (main event here:
This is not a one-off march – we will keep going for as long as we have to, shutting down cities day after day until our demands are met:

1. TELL THE TRUTH – That the Government must tell the truth about how deadly our situation is, it must reverse all policies not in alignment with that position and must work alongside the media to communicate the urgency for change including what individuals, communities and businesses need to do.
2. CARBON NET ZERO BY 2025 – The Government must enact legally-binding policies to reduce carbon emissions in the UK to net zero by 2025 and take further action to remove the excess of atmospheric greenhouse gases. It must cooperate internationally so that the global economy runs on no more than half a planet’s worth of resources per year.
3. CITIZENS’ ASSEMBLY – By necessity these demands require initiatives and mobilisation of similar size and scope to those enacted in times of war. We do not however, trust our Government to make the bold, swift and long-term changes necessary to achieve this and we do not intend to hand further power to our politicians. Instead we demand a Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes, as we rise from the wreckage, creating a democracy fit for purpose.
As part of the Extinction Rebellion (XR), Independent XR groups, allies and protestors will take to the streets. A small number of brave Conscientious Protectors, activists from XR affinity groups prepared to lose their liberty for this cause, will commit acts of peaceful civil disobedience to disrupt the business-as-usual which is sending our species on a one-way track to extinction.

Learn more about our demands and values here, and how you can get involved:

Under our current system, we are headed for disaster. Catastrophic climate breakdown will cause food collapse, destroy communities, kill millions, and render many more homeless.

Mass extinction of wild species will lead to ecological collapse, and when they go, we go. Destruction of natural habitats will lead to genocide of indigenous peoples and the loss of our planet’s life support systems.

It’s not too late to change course – a better world is possible. We know how to get there – the solutions exist, and we have the technology to take us to a better future. But governments are consistently failing to take the urgent and decisive action that will save us.

If the system will not change, then we must change the system. It is our sacred duty to rebel in order to protect our homes, our future, and the future of all life on Earth.

Since the seeds of our Rebellion were planted in London’s autumn, thousands of Rebels around the world took to the streets. They have engaged in non-violent direct action against governments in dozens of countries for their criminal inaction on what has been described as a “direct existential threat” to humanity by the UN secretary general.
Roads and bridges were swarmed, and traffic gridlocked.
Die-ins were held, and trees illegally planted.
Oil conferences were blockaded and disrupted.
Government departments were occupied and spray-chalked.
In the biggest act of civil disobedience in decades, over 6,000 Rebels blocked five of London’s Bridges for Rebellion Day.
And throughout, dozens of Conscientious Protectors were arrested for standing up and taking action to protect our world and our future.

The actions were a wake-up call – disrupting the status quo, shutting down business-as-usual in the city, and showing the government the strength of people power. But from the seeds we planted in November, we need a forest – and though it began in the UK, this Rebellion must be global. Find and join a group organising near you:

If there isn’t one yet, start it. Bring together those who will rise up, and together defend a vision for a better world and a brighter future – one where life has value and is protected, one where we survive.

Further details to come in due time – watch this space for updates. You do not need to be arrested to take part. Please share this event with everyone you know, invite all your friends, and spread the word. There is no greater cause on Earth than Earth itself, and the struggle for a true democracy to protect life on this planet, our only home.

We will not disappear.
We will not die off.
We will not give in.
Now is the time to rise up – for people and planet. ✊??
We’ll see you on the streets, rebels.

Original Link: Extinction Rebellion

The Guardian view on Extinction Rebellion: one small step

Disrupting traffic is not enough – we must disrupt our progress towards climate catastrophe

A climate protest in London on 17 November 2018. ‘The activists of Extinction Rebellion use the metaphor of war, and this is not entirely exaggerated.’ Photograph: Guy Bell/Rex/Shutterstock

The planned choking of traffic in central London on Monday by climate activists of Extinction Rebellion falls somewhere between street theatre and direct action. If it is successful it will be costly for the demonstrators, some of whom plan to be arrested, burdensome for bus passengers who can’t get to work, and vexing for car drivers who (unlike those in emergency vehicles) will be held up. And yet, should it fail, the long-term costs of climate change will be immense for almost everybody now alive and for all our descendents, too.

In the short term, the rage of the frustrated motorist remains one of the most powerful political forces in countries like ours. The gilets jaunes movement in France started off in part as a protest against price rises on petrol; the Blair government sustained its first big defeat at the hands of lorry drivers in the fuel protests of 2000, which destroyed a sensible and ecologically necessary plan to raise fuel taxes steadily over time to discourage the use of fossil fuels.

Any movement towards ecological sanity will have to confront this anger. The drivers’ blockades were effective direct action in support of the destruction of the planet. The challenge today is to find means of direct action that work towards its preservation while winning the same kind of social acceptance and political force.

The idea that we can change the whole basis of our planetary economy without pain and inconvenience for the global middle classes is simply false.

The enormous political challenge is to ensure that the pain of adjustment towards a carbon-neutral economy is fairly distributed. At the moment the pain is concentrated on those least able to bear it.

This is true between countries, in as much as it is sub-Saharan Africa where the destabilising effects of climate change are most visible and painful. It is also true within the rich countries which consume more than they sustainably can. In the west it is the poor who will be hit worst by rising prices for food and fuel. Yet a future of less consumption and less convenience is inevitable. We can choose to some extent how and when to face it, but it cannot be indefinitely postponed.

The purpose of climate activism is to make that choice consciously and deliberately, with planning and forethought, rather than have it forced upon us in a series of improvisations between catastrophes.

The activists of Extinction Rebellion use the metaphor of war, and this is not entirely exaggerated. Although one of the purposes of groups like Extinction Rebellion is to avert wars over resources, this may – paradoxically – require the kind of social and political mobilisation only otherwise seen in wartime. The sense of a common purpose, and of suffering borne in common, which has so often and so fraudulently been invoked in the rhetoric of the political right since the financial crisis must now be appropriated and given real meaning.

Yet it is not enough for climate change to remain solely a cause of the left. This is a cause that must ultimately transcend left-right distinctions. To achieve such an escape from traditional politics will not be easy. It will be fiercely resisted, because there are many powerful forces that benefit, in the short term, from smugness and inaction. But the movement needs to isolate and expose them.

The protests are intended as the start of a global movement, as they must be. By themselves, they will accomplish little. Yet the longest journey begins with the first step – even if this is the step taken by a driver who climbs out of their gridlocked car and tries to find some other way of continuing their journey.

Climate Catastrophe and Extinction Rebellion

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

09 April 2019 | Paul Street | CounterPunch

In the last years of his life, Dr. Martin Luther King spoke against what he called “the triple evils that are interrelated” – economic inequality, racism, and militarism.

If King were alive today, he’d be talking about the five evils that are interrelated, adding patriarchy and Ecocide, the destruction of livable ecology.  He’d also be noting the dangerous rise of a new national and global fascism linked to the presidency of a malignant racist who glories in accelerating humanity’s environmental self-destruction while the media obsesses over matters of far slighter relevance.

I was given three questions to answer today. The first question runs as follows: “How have you as a historian mapped the trajectory of Climate Change over time? What do we have to worry about right now?”

Let me say as politely as I can that I don’t like the phrase “Climate Change.” It’s too mild.  Try Climate Catastrophe.  If a giant oak tree is about to collapse on to your little house, you don’t say that you are risk of housing change. You say “holy shit we’re about to die and we better do something fast.”

I haven’t really tracked climate change as an historian.  I am an urban and labor historian, not an environmental one.  The climate issue really started being noticeable to me with the often-forgotten Chicago heat wave of July 1995, when hundreds of people, very disproportionately Black, died.

I rely on climate scientists to crunch the time-series numbers on planetary warming and what they are telling us is not good, to say the least. We are at an oak tree tipping point for the house of humanity.

It’s the biggest issue of our or any time. As Noam Chomsky told Occupy Boston 8 years ago, if the environmental catastrophe led by global warming isn’t averted in the next few decades, then nothing else we progressives, egalitarians, and peaceniks care about is going to matter.

In 2008, NASA’s James Hansen and seven other leading climate scientists predicted “irreversible ice sheet and species loss” if the planet’s average temperature rose above 1°Celsius as they said it would if carbon dioxide’s atmospheric presence reached 450 parts per million. CO2 was then at 385 ppm. The only way to be assured of a livable climate, Hansen said, would be to cut CO2 back to 350 ppm.

Here we are eleven years later, well past Hansen’s 1°C red line. We’ve gotten there at 410 ppm, not 450.  It’s the highest level of CO2 saturation in 800,000 years, 600,000 years before the first fossil evidence of homo sapiens.   I recently attended an Extinction Rebellion meeting in which it was reported that 22% of all human industrial-era carbon emissions have taken place since 2009, one year after Hansen issued his warning.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report reflects the consensus opinion of the world’s leading climate scientists.  It tells us that we are headed to 1.5°C in a dozen years.  Failure to dramatically slash carbon emissions between now and 2030 is certain to set off catastrophic developments for hundreds of millions of people, the IPCC warns.

The IPCC finds that we are headed at our current pace to 4°C by the end of century. That will mean a planet that is mostly unlivable. Tipping points of unlivable existence are already being reached by millions in Sub-Saharan Africa, Sub Continental and Southeast Asia, parts of Central America and other regions where climate-driven migration is underway, with significant political consequences.

Numerous Earth scientists find the IPCC report insufficiently alarmist. It omits research demonstrating the likelihood that irreversible climatological “tipping points” like the thawing of the northern methane-rich permafrost could occur within just “a few decades.”

We really don’t know how quickly the existential threat may unfold. This is an experiment that’s never been run. What do we have to worry about? Extinction. Current female life expectancy in the United States is 81 years.

A baby girl born this year would in theory turn 81 in 2100, when, at the current Greenhouse Gassing pace, Antarctica will have melted and the Amazonian rain forest will have long ceased to function as the lungs of the planet.

I was also asked by this conference’s organizers to discuss “connections between Climate Change, class inequity, and imperialism” and to offer ideas on why “this intersectionality [is] often overlooked.”  Let me to be as brief as I can because that’s a doctoral dissertation or two. Eco-Marxists like John Bellamy Foster are right about capitalism.

It is a system not just of class disparity but of plutocratic and corporate class rule, the rule of the owners and managers of capital. And there are a number of environmental problems with capitalist class rule. The fist problem is that the owners and managers of capital don’t really care about anything other than the accumulation of capital and profit.

They are systemically compelled to commodify anything and everything they can get their hands on. They have always been perfectly content to profit from anything and everything.  They cash in on slavery, fascism, mass-incarceration, endless war, and even on turning the planet into a giant Greenhouse Gas Chamber – a crime that quite frankly makes the Nazis look like small-time criminals by comparison.

The second problem is that the owners and managers of capital are constantly throwing masses of human beings out of livable wage employment and off of social safety nets and out of common lands and public schools and public housing and the only so-called solution to the mass poverty that results from this constant Enclosure process  they’ve ever been able to offer is the promise of new jobs through ever more expansion and growth, an environmental disaster on numerous levels.

The third problem is that Wall Street and Bond Street and LaSalle Street and the rest of the big financial streets and exchanges have huge fixed and sunken investments in a vast Carbon Industrial Complex. They do not want to see that giant portfolio devalued by home sapiens choosing to survive by keeping fossil fuels in the ground where they belong.

The fourth problem is that capital is inherently and systemically opposed to and threatened by social, public, and environmental planning on the scale required for the task of moving humanity off fossil fuels and on to renewable energy and broadly sustainable environmental practices.

Fifth, class rule regimes insulate their top decision-makers from the worst environmental consequences of their growth-addicted systems.  By the time people living in ruling-class bubbles begin to sense existential threat to themselves, it is generally too late for them to do anything about it except stuff like trying to get the Tesla guy to fly them to Mars or to download their consciousness into an Artificial Intelligence satellite to roam the galaxy for eternity.

With imperialism the connections are less abstract. Eating up more than half the nation’s federal discretionary spending and sustaining more than 1000 military installations across more than 100 nations, the Pentagon system itself has the single largest carbon footprint of any institutional complex on Earth The so-called defense budget steals trillions of dollars that need to be spent on green infrastructure and green jobs if we are going to reduce carbon emissions to a livable scale.

At the same time, America’s global super-power has long depended on U.S. control over global oil and gas reserves: the remarkable economic and geopolitical power that flows to control over the flow, pricing, and currency denomination of those reserves and the super profits that result from their extraction and sale.

Oil control has long been a great source of American critical leverage in the world system. (The fact that the United States under Obama achieved so-called energy independence through accelerated fracking and drilling in the homeland doesn’t change the strategic calculation.

It’s never been primarily about getting access to the oil for our cars and trucks and facilities.  It’s been about the critical imperial leverage oil control grants Washington). A planet that depends on renewable energy rather than petroleum to run its economies will be less susceptible to that sort of imperial domination.

Why are these intersectional connections overlooked?  Because it’s a capitalist media and its sponsors are not interested in talking about how capitalism and its evil twin imperialism are about profit over people including in this case profit over people as an organized presence on the planet.

The final question I was given is “What effective solutions and political strategies do you have to offer?” This isn’t what you are asking, but I do want to say six things regarding the path forward.

First, there’s a whole bunch of information out there to use to counter the standard “cost and benefit” arguments that we can’t afford to undertake a national and global Green New Deal and  that shifting to renewable energy is a job killer.  Both of those arguments are false. The technologies are available and affordable. Green jobs do pay and will continue to pay better than fossil fuel jobs.  I have sources I’ll be happy to share on all that.

Second, we can’t afford NOT to make the transition. It is darkly hilarious to hear corporate Democrat and Republican right-wing commentators advance critical so-called cost-benefit analyses of the big scary Green New Deal.

Whatever you think of whether or not the Green New Deal is radical enough to get the job done, at least Green New Dealers are talking seriously about the benefit of a livable earth. It seems like society might want to absorb significant costs to achieve the continuation of the species. It’s a green cliché but it’s true:there are no jobs on a dead planet. There is no economy on a dead planet.

Third, we need to be ready to talk about green jobs and what they do and might pay and about how we can create social safety nets for fossil fuels sector workers if we want to sell environmental reconversion to the populace.

The carbon-capitalist Exxon-Mobil-Donald Trump-Joe Manchin right has propagated the notion that green transformation is a giant job-killer. We must counter that claim in ways that show we understand and care about the concerns of the working-class majority.

Fourth, we need to be existentialists, not catastrophists.  It’s not about the crystal ball.  We can’t care about the odds.  The betting line on Green Transformation does not matter.  Maybe it’s just 1 in 10.  Maybe it’s better. It doesn’t matter. The odds go to zero in ten if we don’t take action. Let Vegas take the bets.  We are on the field of action.

Fifth, Howard Zinn was right.  It’s not just about who’s sitting in the White House or the Governor’s mansion or the Mayor’s office or the city council seat.  It’s also and above all about who’s sitting in the streets, who’s disrupting, who’s monkey-wrenching, whose idling capital, who’s occupying the pipeline construction sites, the highways, the workplaces, the town-halls, the financial districts, the corporate headquarters, and universities beneath and beyond the biennial and quadrennial candidate-centered big money big media major party electoral extravaganzas that are sold to us as “politics” – the only politics that matters.

This is true about fighting racist police violence. It’s true about labor rights and decent wages.  It’s true about all that and more and it’s true about saving livable ecology.

Sixth, know your climate enemies.  If you think it’s just the eco-fascist Republicans, you are sadly mistaken. Yes, unlike Donald Trump, Barack Obama did not deny the existence of anthropogenic, really capitalogenic global warming.

But so what?  As Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers noted last year, “Obama watered down global climate agreements and grew oil and gas output and infrastructure in the United States.…Obama presided over the highest gas production in history and crude oil production rose by 88%, the fastest rate in the 150-year history of the U.S. oil industry.”  Obama bragged about this to a bunch of petroleum executives at the Baker Institute last year.

Vote if you think it’ll make any difference but don’t drink the full Kool Aid of American electoral fake-representative politics, the longtime graveyard of American social movements.

Become a Gilet Jaune or a Gilet Verde. Get your yellow, green, red and black vests on. Learn how to build barricades. Study civil disobedience. Join the great Extinction Rebellion, which has a dynamic new Chicago chapter and will be making some splashes here and around the world this year.

Remember the words of Mario Savio: “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus — and you’ve got to make it stop!”

If you’re waiting for some elite politician to fix this ecological mess you will be hung out to dry well past humanity’s expiration date.

A significantly shorter version of these comments were delivered at the Chicago Peace Summit at Loyola University in Chicago last Saturday.


Elsewhere in Europe, Swedish teen Greta Thunberg sparked a series of walkout strikes by schoolchildren over the sclerotic response by adults to climate change.

Such sustained protest, in countries where planet-warming emissions are sharply falling and gasoline-powered cars are increasingly banned from city streets, is unusual in the US, where the Trump administration has promoted fossil fuels, dismantled climate regulations and overseen a rise in emissions.

American protesters have shown willingness to chain themselves to oil drills or, in the case of the Keystone XL pipeline, be rounded up outside the White House. Native Americans, regularly subject to the collateral damage of extractive industry, rose up in the face of savage policing during the Standing Rock protests of 2017. But some activists feel forceful confrontation needs to become the norm.

“The mainstream environmental movement has been asking so little of people here, whereas we are saying, ‘We are in danger and we are asking you to act accordingly, to put your lives on the line,’” said Ruiz. “Very commonly, the big environmental groups will send emails saying, ‘Donate $5 today, call your congressman’ and then ask for very symbolic action where people won’t be held for long.

“We want to remind people that people in civil resistance in the past have been willing to risk their lives. The Freedom Riders [of the 1960s civil rights movement] signed their wills before they got on the buses. We have no time left, we have no time for incrementalism.”

Differences in policing approaches could be a factor in the varying intensity of protests. Extinction Rebellion, which cites nonviolent disobedience in the mold of Mahatma Gandhi, triggered dozens of arrests but no fights when activists shut down five London bridges in November. By contrast, police in North Dakota deployed water cannon and rubber bullets against protestors at Standing Rock.

“We are incredibly lucky in England to have a police force that isn’t perfect but is honourable and maintains peaceful protests,” said Tiana Jacout, a UK-based Extinction Rebellion organizer. “You can be willing to martyr yourself by going to prison here but it’s a different ball game in America.

“It’s easier to protest when you’re not being brutally beaten. I just hope they can get the revolutionary bug again.”

An Extinction Rebellion protest in the public gallery of the UK parliament’s House of Commons.
 An Extinction Rebellion protest in the public gallery of the UK parliament’s House of Commons. Photograph: James Heappey/PA

Some experienced climate campaigners reject the idea that their actions have not matched the fervor shown by their European counterparts, pointing to a raft of marches and other actions to decry Trump’s disdain for climate science and its dire implications for millions of Americans who risk being upended by flooding, wildfires, extreme heat and water insecurity.

Trump’s term has also seen cities such as San Francisco declare a “climate emergency” and the emergence of the Green New Deal, a Democrat resolution urging a second world war-level effort to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. Activists are nagged by the timed nature of the challenge, however: according to a landmark United Nations report the world has little more than a decade to avert disastrous ravages from climate change.

“I think it’s crazy that we have to do this in order to get politicians to act on the greatest crisis we face but manifestly we do,” said Bill McKibben, the co-founder of climate group and a Guardian contributor who estimates he has been put in handcuffs “seven or eight times”.

“Nonviolent direct action is never an end in itself, but carefully used it underlines the moral urgency of the moment. I think it mostly needs to become bigger, everywhere. And dramatic action – conducted with care, so that people aren’t turned off – has a serious role to play in that.”

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Extinction Rebellion: Saving the world or wasting police time?

10 April 2019 | Catrin Nye | BBC

Protest group Extinction Rebellion’s fight against climate change is making headlines – most recently when they stripped almost naked in the House of Commons. The Victoria Derbyshire programme went behind the scenes with the group, which urges people to break the law to save the world.

“Troublemakers change the world,” says Roger Hallam, one the group’s founders. “When they’re starting to call you troublemakers, you’re starting to get some traction, right?”

Controversially, the group is trying to get as many people arrested as possible.

Since its launch last year, members have shut bridges, poured buckets of fake blood outside Downing Street, blockaded the BBC and stripped semi-naked in Parliament.

Critics say they cause unnecessary disruption and waste police time when forces are already overstretched.

Mr Hallam is unrepentant: “If you’re a trade union, everyone knows that when you first go on strike everyone’s going, ‘Troublemakers.’ But then you have to state your case, which is, ‘If you don’t get this sorted, we’re going to die.'”

We filmed members as they blocked traffic in central London – playing cat and mouse with the police – and as young members glued themselves to the entrance of a fracking conference.

Civil disobedience

Roger Hallam
Image captionGroup founder Roger Hallam says he has spent years studying how to achieve social change

It has three core demands: for the government to “tell the truth about climate change”, reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025, and create a citizens’ assembly to oversee progress.

Mr Hallam has spent years researching how to achieve social change through radical movements.

“Mass participation and civil disobedience maximise the chance of social change in this context,” he explains.

“It doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed, it just means it’s massively more likely to be effective than sending emails and doing conventional campaigning. And it’s significantly more effective than using violence.”

He estimates that thousands of people will need to be arrested before the government will take notice. So far, 222 people have been arrested for offences relating to the protests.

“The police will go to government and say, ‘We’re not doing it anymore,'” says Mr Hallam. “They’re not there to start arresting 84-year-old grannies or 10-year-old kids, there has to be a political solution.”


Extinction Rebellion logo
Image captionThe group was given its office in London by a supporter

The group’s headquarters is in a slightly unexpected spot, the top of a corporate building in Euston which also houses a construction company and a fashion brand.

It was given to them after one of their members approached a corporate landlord and said: “We’re not going to be around in 10 years, let us do something about it.” He gave it to them, in effect, for free.

At a training event for new joiners, a debate is held on what counts as violence – Extinction Rebellion is a non-violent organisation.

In a role-play exercise, they learn how to deal with angry members of the public – the people they are often obstructing during protests.

They are also taught what to do when they are arrested – how to make it more difficult for police to pick them up and their legal rights once they get to the police station.

Original link: Extinction Rebellion: Saving the world or wasting police time?

join the Hawkins Bay Revolution
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James Porteous

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