Extinction Rebellion

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This topic contains 64 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Dave Chesham 4 weeks ago.

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  • #156511

    SussexSocialist
    Participant

    Are we aware of the organisations Rising Up and Extinction Rebellion?

    They are organising more and more direct action, non violent protests against the state’s inability to take action on climate breakdown.

    Also promoting Friday school strikes in sympathy with the awe inspiring Greta Thunberg.

    Also having meetings in London, Bristol, etc.

    Worth debating?

    Worth attending events?

    #160557

    SussexSocialist
    Participant

    Did anyone go, officially or as individuals? As events go it was successful I’d say. If nothing else it shows what can be done with quick organising over social media and non violent direct action. Very small number of peaceful members of the working class closed five London bridges- we have the power!

    #160623

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    I did a google for the anti-racism rally which the Party attended…couldn’t find any references except for the Socialist Worker and two minor news-sites but every major news outlet carried stories and pictures of the bridges blockade.

    Stunts and spectacles produce publicity.

    For a few hundred quid we could acquire one of those outdoor projectors that display images on buildings. Hi-tech fly-posting in other words.

     

    #160658

    robbo203
    Participant

    “For a few hundred quid we could acquire one of those outdoor projectors that display images on buildings. Hi-tech fly-posting in other words.”

     

    Good idea,  Alan.   The need for more novel ways of propagandising the case for socialism is pressing.  I also think it would be very useful to engage with people like Extinction Rebellion who are likely to be quite receptive to what we have to say.  At the end of the day trying to get governments to change their behaviour is not going to work but that does not invalidate the need to work for a fundamental  paradigm shift in people’s thinking.  Hopefully people will see the connection between this and what we socialists are saying

    #160670

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    They won’t be receptive to an organisation that does not take any action and simply talk.

    It is why they came into existence because other groups were not treating the climate crisis as an urgent priority.

    We’ll have to convince them that socialism is the only solution and they should lay aside their other objectives and concentrate on trying to capture the State. Nope, I don’t hold out too much hope that we can persuade them to drop their direct action and take up the ballot box.

    We’ll have to work out some sort of alternative strategy to get them on board and that is the great question we must find an answer for. And it has been one of how to interact with reformers we been asking since our formation. We thought we had the answer, but i am not too sure time has confirmed that. I’m hoping that there exists a synthesis where we coalesce into complementary movements.

    I’m open to suggestions, Robbo, but we need more than the power of words. Extinction Rebellion believe that if they are to be heard they need to heighten their profiles by events and stunts, yet even if successful, their ultimate reliance upon the State’s intervention is their weakness. How do we explain that?

    #160672

    ALB
    Participant

    Did anyone go, officially or as individuals?

    No, four of us were distributing the Identity leaflet at the beginning of the anti-racism march outside the BBC.

    I am not convinced that this particular stunt was a good idea. Blocking bridges and disrupting the travel arrangements of ordinary workers. More likely to be counter-productive. In fact, if as originally envisaged, we had tried to get the stall from Head Office (south of the river) to the BBC (north of the river) by car we would have been prevented from doing so.

    They need to chose better stunts if that’s what they want to do.

    #160676

    Matthew Culbert
    Keymaster
    #160721

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    All protests cause inconvenience to the general public, ALB.

    Your argument is often used against strikes and pickets that such actions alienate peoples sympathies. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t and depends on the concern of the general public on the particular cause

    In most of the newspaper reports, they quoted participants who seem to acknowledge and apologise for any inconvenience. I think any personal disruption to peoples daily lives can be placated by explaining the necessity. When i was active in my union, we once distributed a leaflet saying we were sorry.

    As for better stunts, i think they cannot be faulted too much. Unsure of the numbers they could mobilise by social media they targeted London’s communications weakness very effectively. According to what i read, tens of thousands were on the anti-race march but a lot less on the anti-climate change. Who got the media coverage and their message across?

    In fact, what was the better organised?  A well prepared for and expensive march and rally or this impromptu protest and rally. Surely a lesson on producing a demonstration that should be learned by all other protest groups.

    #160737

    SussexSocialist
    Participant

    I would not regard this as s stunt. It is deliberate direct action and was extremely effective. OedestrPede, cyclists were all allowed through, they merely stopped motor traffic. And if you can’t see why, you’re missing the point entirely.

    I was annoyed that the TUC and big unions had organised the other event and pointed this out in social media. They too don’t get it. Whilst not belittling their cause yesterday, the ultimate enabler of equality is death – extinction of life as we know it doesn’t care about race or gender. Environment and by default, systemic change first before all else. Time’s up for debate.

    The might of unions, NGOS like Greenpeace and others needs to start supporting this direct action. We too need to get our act together…..

     

    #160770

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    We should also note that Saturday’s bridge blockade was not their only action of the week, Sussex. A couple of weeks ago, not many had heard of them but it shows what a matter of a few days and some media attention can do

    They gained publicity earlier by a sit-in of buildings, some chaining and gluing themselves to doors.

    I’m all ears Sussex for any suggestions from you on how the Party can in your own words get its act together.

    I do not see any illegality taking place due to our vulnerability in being sued or fined, putting our assets at risk, much less our members willingly being martyrs. The penalty of being a structured relatively rich organisation.

    I suggested one tactic (and i have before if anybody recalls where i even suggested where to by the equipment) which involves if need be just one person but can give the Party’s existence a visibility (pun intended)

    I seriously doubt that the younger environmental activists would even heard of us or know of our “green” case against capitalism, Robbo. Another reason why they won’t really be receptive. If any have come across us , i’m pretty sure were seen as party of “grumpy old men”, on the path to extinction itself.

    We need a strategy that does bring us into contact and into a relationship with various activists, that is mutually beneficial.

    The best example i can recall is the SPC and the OBU, but it is not an ideal one

    #160952

    ALB
    Participant

    Aren’t we in danger of arguing like reformists amongst themselves as to which problem has to be dealt with more urgently — in fact have we not put the first step on this slippery slope by suggesting that global overwarming is more important than racism? This is an important issue for “activists” as they only have limited time and must decide what activity — what immediate issue — to devote their time to.  Our time and energies are limited too and what distinguishes us, isn’t it, is that we have come to conclusion that these are better devoted to directly propagating socialism as the only framework within which can be lastingly solved most if not all of the problems that the different, competing groups of reformists.

    #161042

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    You are right, alb,  but we cannot just be talking to ourselves.

    We require a receptive audience, one that can relate to our core ideals.

    Although we debate our critics, we don’t approach the far-right rallies to attract interest.

    We already ration our resources and energies to the most likely places where we will be listened to and given a hearing.

    Every member of the working class that i have ever met holds reformist positions,  and we have a daunting task to undermine those illusions somehow.

    First, we find the common ground to build up the debate and the discussion and then we can begin to reconcile our differences.

    When it comes to propagating our respective cases, we cannot assume that we hold the high ground in the manner of persuasion. Other organisations have demonstrated on just that simple matter of broadcasting their ideas, they have been more successful than ourselves. We should be prepared to learn.

    I know we are separate and distinct from all other political groups and we need that independence to maintain our goal for socialism, but it isn’t our sole aim, is it? We have racism and sexism and nationalism and wars and poverty and every other cancer capitalism has brought forth to argue against and no, i am not suggesting we construct a hierarchy of oppression. In fact, it is to link them all into a unified opposition to capitalism, to bring together all those divergent campaigns. I rather see ourselves as the umbrella organisation that diverse groups muster under.

    However, it does not mean that individual activists are required to give up the sector of the resistance they are engaged in. We would never ask a trade unionist to stop his involvement, nor should we urge environmentalists or anti-racists to end their participation.

    Our only purpose is to ensure people understand the cause of the many problems and know what the solution is. But we have to be inside the tent pissing out, not outside pissing in.

    #161043

    ALB
    Participant

    That’s a different, and better, argument — which group of protestors are more likely to be receptive to our message?

    I am sure the Extinction Rebellion people are sincere (except of course for the inevitable undercover police men and women among them) and they are drawing attention to a problem and a danger (though, in my opinion, not as dangerous as their name suggests, though still something that would bring disruption and added misery to millions of people). One problem with direct action groups that deliberately break the law is that some of them get sent to prison and then they have to devote time and energy to highlighting the plight of those of their number in prison. It’s happened time and again with such groups.

    Our message, unfortunately or not, is unlikely to appeal to new activists who want “something now”. The evidence from people who have joined in recent years is that they are people who were once activists but have concluded, after ten or more years of activism that brings no or meagre results, that on reflection something more positive is required than running around just trying to do something about all the fires that capitalism has started.

     

    #161044

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    85 arrested at the bridge blockade, several more earlier in the week, but i doubt the sentences will be more than a fine. I think the court system got a shock when they tried to jail those fracking protestors.

    I have already highlighted our own peculiar vulnerability to breaking the law. Those older members might think deja vu from the CND sit-down protests.

    I think in my replies to Robbo, i sort of agree with you that we have our work cut out reaching many of the environmentalists who whether veterans or not, may well have a jaundiced view of us from their experience of left groups and likely to view as much the same. We certainly cannot parachute ourselves in and assume the character of all-knowing oracles.

    But we have to engage before they are totally co-opted into advocating legislative and regulatory palliatives. Was it not yo who the source of the quote “reforms by blows” …or in this case reformist direct-action

    I’m not so sure they have been sucked in by the Establishment as yet, so perhaps the slogan “system change not climate change’ still resonates

    Which group are likely to be receptive? – that is for us to find out by trial and error. Sussex in his first post suggested a debate. I would rather invite them as guest speakers or have a round-table forum for a non-adversarial meeting. I think we have shown that these have results. As you noted Glenn came on board. Maybe we can use both he and Brian Gardner as our spokes-persons in any event. Both are disarmingly charming.

    But not as a one-off but perhaps a series of get-togethers. I simply don’t think people have a Damascene conversion or an epiphany moment especially if they are already committed to a certain outlook It takes a few interactions and exchanges. (probably why most successful meetings are in the pub, afterwards)

    I actually think i am repeating myself from my attitude towards Occupy St Pauls where i believed we could have done a lot more.

    #161830

    SussexSocialist
    Participant

    I understand what you are saying ALB but in a way runaway global warming IS more important than racism! You can’t be racist or a victim of racism if you’re dead. ALL other issues under the sun, literally, pale into insignificance if the scientific evidence of runaway, catastrophic global warming is correct. It is global, it is unprecedented and it is not comparable to anything else. Reformism, war, racism, trades unionism, the economy, all of it is bollocks unless we (humanity) have somewhere to live, water to drink and air to breathe. This is the crux of this matter. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the IPCC report is wrong. Maybe the planet can take even 4deg warming and we can all still carry on as (relatively) normal and myself and many others will all look like right gherkins. I hope so. But the current overwhelming evidence is that is not going to be the case.

    Alan, I don’t know what we can do other than engage people, perhaps update our literature or write some new stuff on this subject and perhaps leaflet demo’s? Take out ads in the press and tie in with the urgency of the issues? Maybe even TV or internet ads?

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