Extinction Rebellion

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This topic contains 310 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by  ALB 1 month, 1 week ago.

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    I suspect most people here already know about this invaluable resource, but just in case:

    https://sci-hub.tw/ – type an article’s title in the search field, and enjoy reading scientific literature. Publishing houses are really at the top of the list of the most heinous capitalist practices, limiting access to the knowledge from research mostly funded through public money. Knowledge should be free, it belongs to all people equally.

    About XR and airports: there was going to be something at Heathrow, and they published on the official website of XR that they are not with those people, meaning that they neither support nor oppose it. In any case, they withdrew their legal and financial support to that instance of rebellion. We’ll see what they do next, they have just 3 hours ago released an announcement that October 7th is the start of a 2-week blockade of Westminster and other actions at unprecedented scale. On the verge of Brexit, this is promising to be a heck of an October.

    DJP, I am not a specialist either, this is why I do not write articles about it. I do see logical inconsistencies, however, and can comment when something is factually incorrect. Your question about human reproductive patterns: normally we wouldn’t need to prove a pattern that is the same for all life forms on Earth. It is you who should prove why one particular species should be different from all the rest. But if you want historical examples, please read Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond – it is full of examples. One example is when a stable population on an island gets new crops / domesticated animals from outside, and their numbers shoot up, suggesting that their previous population level was limited by availability of food. Please understand that I am not trying to say that with education we still behave like fruit flies. However, capitalist reality is keeping large populations in poverty and so uneducated, and this in turn results in those populations’ proliferation.



    This is a related article of interest. It seems this discussion list reflects a general debate on the subject of population by a quarter I had no idea existed

    We have thought of the deep greens and primativists to be the fringe even the misanthrops (who i can’t  help associate the term with werewolves) but, lo and behold, there exists the fringe of the fringe – the anti-natalists.


    “…Fuelling anti-natalist arguments in recent years is an increasing focus on the environment and the potentially devastating effects of climate change.
    Judging from posts in the anti-natalist groups, there’s clearly a large overlap between their ideas and environmental activism.
    “I feel that it is selfish to have children at this time,” adds Nancy a vegan, plastic-free, animal rights enthusiast and yoga instructor from the Philippines.”The reality is that the children being born into the world are creating more destruction for the environment.”…In a Facebook group called “very angry anti-natalists” a petition is being shared which they hope to send to the United Nations. Its title is “Overpopulation root of the climate catastrophe – worldwide birth stop now.” So far it has 27,000 signatures… At times the rhetoric sounds like selective breeding – or eugenics…”

    As for the conventional attitude to population, the article explains

    “…But will an increasing population necessarily lead directly to environmental disaster? According to the BBC’s Global Population Correspondent Stephanie Hegarty, it’s hard to say, because the future is so difficult to predict.
    “According to scientific projections, due to economic development and dropping fertility rates, the population of the world is likely to plateau at about 11 billion in 80 years,” she says. “Whether the planet can sustain that or not – we do not know.
    It’s also very difficult to predict how many people the planet can sustain because it’s all about consumption. And that means everything from air, water, food, fossil fuels, wood, plastic – the list goes on and on,” she says. “Clearly some of us are consuming a lot more than others. A family of 12 in a country like Burundi will consume less, on average, than a family of three in Texas. There are so many factors that are going to be changing over the next decade and the next century that we can’t predict right now.”





    “…there was going to be something at Heathrow…”

    I recall the possibility of XR flying drones over the airport was once expressed and I always assumed that this was a proposal by just one element and later read that it was rejected.

    A wise decision on safety grounds but if blockading some bridges and roads distances sympathy for XR as ALB maintains (I shy away from such a conclusion) then occupying the airport terminals and airline check-ins won’t be a threat to safety but won’t make too many friends either. Curious to know if travel insurance would cover such flight delays.

    This brings us to criticism directed at Occupy a few years ago. Because as you yourself have experienced the structurelessness of XR may well assist in its security since flash-crowds are not easily infiltrated or their events contained and controllable.

    But it also challenges its accountability.

    Who does a group of XR activists answer to? Who authorises it and permits its actions in the name of XR? Can we create a SPGB XR group, for example?



    “However, capitalist reality is keeping large populations in poverty and so uneducated, and this in turn results in those populations’ proliferation.”

    But the birth rate has already rapidly fallen *the world over*. Population is increasing not because more people are being born but because more people are living longer.

    Watch this film for up to date information:




    Related to my earlier post


    A new group calling itself Animal Rebellion is joining forces with Extinction Rebellion to stage sit-ins and block roads in London for two weeks in October.

    Alex Lockwood, an Animal Rebellion organiser and spokesman, told The Independent: “The destructive nature of the animal agriculture and fishing industries are contributing hugely to the climate emergency – they are a leading cause of carbon emissions. This isn’t scaremongering by animal activists, this is respected organisations like the UN, the IPCC and the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission of the RSA saying we must switch to plant-based diets.”

    He added they were “deeply sorry” for any inconvenience to the public.
    “Like Extinction Rebellion, we are collectively of the view that, given the failure of world leaders to date, disruption is now necessary to get anything like commensurate change. If there was a better, less disruptive way of doing this we would do that instead.”

    This forum has had a long exchange on veganism and I think agreed that the future diet of society will most likely be flexitarian, a lot more veggies and beans but with some meat treats, perhaps more chicken rather than beef.

    I also think the forum was a bit negative on the success of forcing a specific diet down the throats of an unreceptive public even if the power of the State with taxes was applied. Is it working with cigarettes. In some developed countries, yes smoker numbers have gone down,  but the tobacco industry has simply shifted its markets to where they can get away with building a new generation of nicotine addicts.

    I did see that Goldsmiths University was removing beef from their menus. Perhaps such decisions will grow and spread.

    Goldsmiths University is banning the sale of beef on campus to help fight the climate crisis

    As with the sugar tax I have seen some movement from the soft drinks corporations. As diabetic I see more no-sugar colas on the shelves.

    I patiently but eagerly await for Socialist Rebellion to emerge…it may take a while



    Can we create an SPGB XR group? Excellent question. As far as I understand, there is nothing that would stop us from doing it, at least in principle. The official position of XR is as follows:

    “All are welcome who want to adhere to our principles and values

      <li class=”type”>

      we have a shared vision of change

      Creating a world that is fit for generations to come.

    1. we set our mission on what is necessary

      Mobilising 3.5% of the population to achieve system change – using ideas such as “Momentum-driven organising” to achieve this.

    2. we need a regenerative culture

      Creating a culture which is healthy, resilient and adaptable.

    3. we openly challenge ourselves and our toxic system

      Leaving our comfort zones to take action for change.

    4. we value reflecting and learning

      Following a cycle of action, reflection, learning, and planning for more action. Learning from other movements and contexts as well as our own experiences.

    5. we welcome everyone and every part of everyone

      Working actively to create safer and more accessible spaces.

    6. we actively mitigate for power

      Breaking down hierarchies of power for more equitable participation.

    7. we avoid blaming and shaming

      We live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.

    8. we are a non-violent network

      Using non-violent strategy and tactics as the most effective way to bring about change.

    9. we are based on autonomy and decentralisation

      We collectively create the structures we need to challenge power. Anyone who follows these core principles and values can take action in the name of Extinction Rebellion.”

    Most of these are extremely vague. Their structure is not really decentralized, it is just opaque. For example, in the document “How-to-start-a-local-Extinction-Rebellion-group” (https://rebellion.earth/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/How-to-start-a-local-Extinction-Rebellion-group.pdf) they write “For example, if the Communities team want to start outreaching to the Muslim community, they can decide it in their group without asking permission from the rest of the local group (more on decision making later).” – but that “later” never came, somehow, and then they write “A Coordination Group is a group of the coordinators from the different WGs (Working Groups) which meet to decide key local issues and how the working groups will be strategically focussed.” So there is central structure after all, they are just carefully hiding it.



    “3.5% of the population to achieve system change”

    Somewhere on the forum is a discussion on this. My position is for socialism it will not require an actual numerical majority, but the 3.5% needs to be more 35%

    “using ideas such as “Momentum-driven organising” to achieve this.”

    Is that Labour Party’s Momentum they wish to emulate? If so what actually is that organizing style? I’m a bit out of the loop

    “we welcome everyone and every part of everyone”

    I think you have already had a few comments on this thread concerning  suitable allies and bed-fellows. It always takes two tango.

    So agreement of 6 out of 9 isn’t too bad

    But they themselves seem to fall down on their aspirations if as you seem to suggest that their power-structure is not transparent. Again as I implied in another post, this is probably a consequence of their protest strategy – surprise and the unexpected.

    But for how long can they keep out the police-spies and agent provocateurs. Once XR is penetrated, its tactics are more easily undermined, and even manipulated.

    Open public meetings with direct elections and delegate democracy within the groups has to appear, if it is to be more permanent. Again Jo Freeman’s Tyranny of Structurelessness is the basic text on this aspect of political organization.



    There was very recently an “activity” of devising a strategy for the next year of the movement activities (including the upcoming October) at an XR meeting. There were some interesting ideas like land ownership criticism, wage slavery, growth and profit-based economy, some of which I believe got into the final draft. These local proposed strategy directions are then supposedly discussed at a higher level when representatives from the local groups meet in London. I am yet to witness people vote for these representatives, though, or to see how they are accountable.



    Just been looking at their site again (it’s much more professional since the last time I looked). I see XR are proposing that the government should take its mandate on climate change from the verdict of “Citizen’s Assembly”:

    “Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.”

    The members of such an Assembly are not going to be elected:

    “Similar to jury service, members are randomly selected from the population by a process called sortition. Quotas are used to ensure that the assembly is representative in terms of key characteristics such as gender, age, ethnicity, education level and geography.”


    “Assembly members learn about critical thinking before they hear balanced information from experts and stakeholders. The members spend time deliberating in small, facilitated groups and then they draft and vote on recommendations.”

    Sounds as if it might be a useful way of taking some decisions in socialism, but we’re not there. We’re living under capitalism, where it is not the decision-making process that is the problem but the fact that the workings of the capitalist economy frustrate many decisions to improve things however democratically taken.

    Since there are so few socialists at the moment there’s not much chance of one of us being selected. This means that the “balanced information” from “experts” will assume that capitalism and its competitive struggle for profits continues.

    What is odd, though, is that XR has already pre-empted the decision, as they also demand:

    “Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.”

    Assuming that the Citizens Assembly endorses this demand. Under the XR plan the government then has to carry this out. The trouble is that, if it did, by increasing energy costs this would undermine the competitivity of British exports, leading to an economic downturn and so a political backlash.

    XR anticipate this when they say that a Citizens Assembly

    “will help politicians to commit to a transformative programme of action justified by the mandate they receive from the citizens’ assembly, reducing the potential public backlash at the ballot-box. “

    This is assuming that people will accept that the government should give priority to a mandate from a Citizens Assembly over one from the ballot box, a rather bold assumption I would have thought.

    In any event, there is a possibility that a Citizens Assembly will come to a different decision to XR and, for instance, add a rider saying the government should only adopt measures to reduce emissions to net zero by 2025 if other states agree to do the same (a highly likely decision, I suggest). In which, case we’ll be back where we are now, with capitalist states, because of their particular economic interests, being either unable or unwilling to do this.

    XR, evidently, have thought their plan through. Despite this,  they believe they have the right to disrupt ordinary people’s life and holidays.

    There is another amusing possibility. Suppose that, by chance, a socialist is chosen by lot to serve on the Assembly and suppose they convince it that socialism is the way-out. This couldn’t be a mandate for socialism since socialism can only come into being when a majority want it, the obvious way to demonstrate this being through the ballot-box. Which once again brings us back to where we are now where a majority don’t want it despite it being the only framework within which the problem of climate change can be rationally tackled.




    John Oswald

    Sadly, socialism will inherit, if and when it comes, a world without the iconic animals with whom we lived in our childhood dreams. We will have to speak to our grandchildren of elephants, lions, rhinos, etc. as we speak of dinosaurs and extinct, former beings.



    Sounds as if you are challenging Alan for the role of Private Fraser ! There’s an article in this month’s Socialist Standard that Anton Pannekoek wrote in 1909 which says that elephants were in disappear of disappearing. 110 years later they are still there. Cheer up, things are not that bad !


    John Oswald

    John Oswald

    John Oswald


    If you said about the climate crisis, “It’s not that bad”, you would rightly be condemned, but when it comes to animals, socialists really have a blind spot!



    It’s ok. I know. You don’t need to convince me. I’m just saying that the End of the World is Not Nigh.

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