Extinction Rebellion

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This topic contains 310 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by  ALB 2 weeks, 2 days ago.

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  • #190230

    Dave Chesham
    Participant

    “Will you come?”

    Unfortunately the computer diary says no.

    #190234

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Usually it was animal rights that disrupted fashion shows in the past with fake blood, XR has adopted a similar tactic to expose the resource waste of the fashion industry.

    “Extinction Rebellion staged a “die-in” outside the central London venue, throwing buckets of fake blood to symbolise how “business as usual” for fashion and other industries is leading toward the extinction of life on earth. The group is calling for the industry to be “cancelled” and is planning continued disruption to fashion week, culminating in a “funeral procession for fashion” to be staged on Tuesday evening.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/sep/13/do-or-die-extinction-rebellions-die-in-london-to-end-with-fashion-funeral

    #190239

    ALB
    Participant

    Alan, hasn’t it occurred to you that the people behind this are the same as those who did it before but are now doing it under the banner of XR?  XR is becoming a catch-all for all sorts of “direct action” protests, so undermining its claim that climate change is the only issue that matters.

    What’s this stunt got to do with climate change? Yes, the fashion industry is a waste of resources, but so is the arms industry and in fact the whole financial superstructure of capitalism. Compared with these two, the fashion industry’s contribution to wasting resources must be peanuts.

    This sort of protest against the effects of capitalism is not going to make any difference as long as the cause, capitalism, remains. The only way to stop the waste of capitalism is to get rid of capitalism and that requires consciously socialist political action, not pin prick “direct action”.  So that’s what we should be encouraging, not giving publicity to stunts like this.

    #190241

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    ALB, I post here mostly for the benefit of our members, well, for  the very few that even bother to visit this forum, that is.

    Apart from the major events such as the 20th Sept Strike, which I view as something qualitatively different, our blog features few publicity stunts in its coverage of environment.

    But socialist political action requires participation and participants require powers of persuasion. We have no influence. We are insignificant. We have no contact. We are invisible. There is no point in being in denial about this reality.

    It is perhaps a simplistic truism but all we can do right now, is Organise, Educate, Agitate but education and agitation is exactly where we are failing.

    It is not without cause that Schekn talks about focusing on our own numbers.

    We need to recruit to increase our membership and we are not doing all that well, some individuals somehow coming into contact with us but can anyone tell me if this is reaching the replacement level we require to continue?

    A 100 members who raised the commitment and conviction to even fill in a poll and return it. Robbo’s 10 minute a month for socialism was too onerous for many to even attempt to engage in. But some of us persevere so kudos to those who are on social media and Quora. But there our voice is not of sufficient strength to counter the millions of other messages being uploaded.

    My strategy is simply for Mohammed to go to the mountain and cease waiting for the mountain to come to us but as DaveC constantly reminds me this stretches our capacity to the point that it cannot be accomplished.

    But perhaps a few publicity stunts conducted by just a handful of members we can muster are the pin-pricks we now require to prove our existence and give us albeit  limited access to present the socialist case against capitalism. I have occasionally suggested stuff such as projecting socialist messages on to public buildings. We can as you say direct attention to the cause and picket the Stock Exchange rather than a fashion show or an arms trade exhibition.

    We  can’t say socialism can solve the climate crisis because BrianJ, believes it is now too late for a cure and socialism is the best system to provide the  palliatives to reduce the pain. I’m still in the optimist camp that we still have a window of opportunity which is rapidly closing.

    On one visit to a local branch, a long-standing member blamed workers themselves for not taking up the opportunity we gave to them to accept socialist ideas. But now, when they are no longer being offered an option because the branch declines to carry out any activity, I wonder who he now blames?

     

    #190242

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Climate protesters have blockaded a bridge in central Melbourne, Australia with police moving in and arresting multiple people.  300 activists descended upon the bridge to call for action around the climate emergency.
    “The seriousness of the global climate crisis demands mass non-violent, disruptive action to get the kind of urgent change we need if we want to avoid catastrophe,” spokeswoman Miriam Robinson said. “We know this type of action is inconvenient for some and we don’t set out to disrupt people’s lives needlessly,” she said.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/14/dozens-arrested-as-extinction-rebellion-protesters-blockade-melbourne-bridge

    #190249

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Extinction Rebellion’s co-founder,  Roger Hallam, has been arrested for the second time in three days after trying to fly a drone near Heathrow Airport during an environmental protest, the group said.

    Seems he is determined to be a martyr for his cause and wishes to become a political prisoner. Won’t this divert resources and attention away from the goal?

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/14/extinction-rebellion-co-founder-arrested-at-heathrow-protest

     

    #190251

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Climate demonstrators protested at Germany’s biggest car show in Frankfurt on Saturday, using the event as a platform to demand the car industry address its role in damaging the environment. Between 18,000 and 25,000 protesters, with more than 10,000 of these on bicycles who blocked the motorways A661 and A648 on their journey to the IAA protest. The protest is a further sign of a snowballing global movement calling on world leaders and industry to take action against the destruction and degradation of the environment.

    Merkel opened the show with a warning on climate change, yet set out no plans for regulations, only asking the industry to invest more resources in producing affordable and sustainable electric cars.

    https://www.dw.com/en/thousands-of-climate-protests-target-frankfurt-auto-show/a-50435008

     

    #190252

    ALB
    Participant

    We have no influence. We are insignificant. We have no contact. We are invisible.

    Now you have moved on, Alan, from Private Fraser to wearing sackcloth and ashes. Next step will be self-flagellation. Actually, though, that’s what you might have started with.

    We may have no influence but we are not invisible. Only last May we contested the Euroelections in the South East region of England, an area with some 6 or 7 million electors (more than in many EU countries, including Ireland).  Our name appeared on the ballot paper and legal election publicity. The fact that we didn’t make much impact was not due to being invisible but to most people either being interested only in the Punch and Judy show of conventional politics, or,  if they were interested in radical politics, had other priorities than socialism.

    In May next year there will regional elections in London, with only a slightly smaller number of electors. If we contest them on a London-wide basis we will not only be on the ballot paper but have a short statement in a brochure with these from all party lists that will be sent to all households.  So we won’t be invisible.

    Whatever our problem is, it is not Invisibility.

    #190254

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    The answer to this is very easy. No need to guess. Do a simple poll.

    Ask people if they have heard of us.

    If they have, ask if then ask if they are aware of what “sort of socialism” we stand for.

    Of the 6 or 7 million who have been directly contacted by us, then there will be evidence of its influence.

    I don’t know the cost of doing such but there are commercial businesses out there who will conduct an opinion poll on our behalf for a fee.

    Let them also lay out the results by age-group. We have to engage with the younger generation to survive so let us find out what they know of us.

    How many know about us when we have not been in the public eye as we were once with outdoor meetings and selling the Standard on street corners. At one time I think we did have a brand and name recognition. I don’t think we have that nowadays.

    Actually, we can do a very basic poll ourselves.

    Stand on Clapham High St, outside HO, and ask passers-by. Even with the HO blatantly as the backdrop I don’t think the figure will be high.

    Sometimes the truth does hurt, especially when some have invested whole lives in promoting the Party and/or socialism so I can sympathise with  the reluctance to accept weaknesses or  failure.

    It is far too simplistic to argue that our fellow-workers have had the opportunity to hear from us and so it all must be their fault for rejecting the ideas.

    We abrogate any responsibility that we may have not have communicated sufficiently well in a good enough manner to be understood.

    Or we deterministically pass the buck to the fact that the “system” is too powerful, that capitalist ideology will always prevail in dominating the consciousness of our fellow-workers.

    I haven’t given up trying but I am questioning if what we do are the right things and if a different approach might be required. Re-appraising tactics and strategy is not self-flagellation. But it can be painful, I grant you.

    Didn’t Einstein once say  doing the same thing over and over again but somehow expecting a different outcome is a symptom of insanity.

    #190255

    ALB
    Participant

    Actually, there is no evidence that Einstein ever said that. It’s another internet myth or fake information:

    http://www.news.hypercrit.net/2012/11/13/einstein-on-misattribution-i-probably-didnt-say-that/

    What would be insane (or, rather, utopian socialism) would be expecting socialist ideas to come entirely from what we do and then to blame ourselves for not getting very far.

    Not that we do do the same thing over and over again — unless you mean putting over the direct case for socialism, as we do in various and changing ways.  But the only alternative to that is reformism. Which people have been doing over and over again without getting any nearer to socialism.

     

    #190257

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    I recall chatting to someone while I was working alongside him and he talked about  listening to the socialists at the Mound and how the speaker pointed him out and said that there were dummies in shop windows better dressed so who was the real dummy.

    He was quite indignant at the time, being in his Sunday best and thought of himself as a dapper dresser, but even after 30 years,  he still remembered what was said and understood the message. The name of the Party however no longer registered with his memory but the message remained fresh in his mind.

    Socialism is not inevitable, we have always argued against the determinist automaticity of believing it will come. It requires the active will of the people.

    And yes we have often said that the Party is only just a contributory factor to the acquirement  of consciousness and that our existence as an organization can pave the way to socialism more smoothly.

    But I suggest that your assumption that we have put over the direct case for socialism,  in various and changing ways doesn’t really reflect the propaganda or promotional efforts in the past. We have been rather predictable and our campaigns mundane. Even this week we are relying upon a means of conveying our ideas that will not be welcome by environmentalists so how can we expect them to be receptive. I hastily add it should not be all about style at the expense of substance.

    I bow to your knowledge at detecting false quotes but I think my meaning was pretty much clear. We need to think out the box and experiment differently with the way we engage with fellow-workers. Even if they forget our name, our ideas may sink in and stay.

    #190261

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    But to add, I am not decrying everything the party has done.

    Edinburgh is embarking on the pedestrianisation of large parts of the city centre, in particular around the university district. I’m sure similar projects are planned for many other cities and towns.

    This could have presented  opportunities for the revival of out-door speaking venues, bringing soapbox oratory to a new generation that have never encountered such before – the return of the public forum of ideas.

    Sadly, we now lack the experience we once had in the past when we produced so many skilled speakers. It is a shame we cannot take full advantage of  urban redevelopment.

    However, the new open spaces are offering venues for street stalls that some branches are already making very good use of. Every branch should be urged to hold a weekly street stall, and the Party should help out by providing the banners and flags and stocks of literature to draw attention to their presence.

    #190364

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-49752770

    XR protesters have blocked three entrances to one of the biggest oil refineries in Europe, the Valero site in Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, early on Thursday morning.

    #190430

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/21/paris-on-high-alert-as-protesters-try-to-revive-gilets-jaunes-movement

    Black Bloc anarchists infiltrated a peaceful climate change march in Paris on Saturday, smashing shop and business

    I think we have made it clear that the so-called Black Bloc talks for no-one but themselves and many of them don’t even listen to eachother. My first direct encounter was in 2005 during the Make Poverty History Edinburgh march and then I said they were more intent upon making a fashion statement than any political statement.

    #190784

    schekn_itrch
    Participant

    There was an article about the XR (Extinction Rebellion) in the last issue of Socialist Standard, written by Adam Buick. It is great that he informs comrades of this important movement and some issues it raises. However, as usual, like a broken record, the rhetoric of the article was, “everything everyone offers is reformism, hence against the SPGB principles, hence bad”.

    This representation of material is really not helpful. It does not stimulate thought, it strangles hope, it is counterproductive in terms of uniting with the aim of changing the status quo.

    Moreover, the author makes several factual mistakes, a lot of assumptions, and shows general ignorance of the subject of the article, even when there are members of the party a lot more knowledgeable and available for consultation. Let’s see what Adam misrepresented.

    “At this level, this (Citizens Assemblies) is pure reformism, calling on a capitalist government to implement some desirable measure within capitalism.” – this is wrong. In fact, most of the movement’s participants recognize that implementing the “net Zero by 2025” is not realistic within the capitalist framework, and therefore expect Citizens Assemblies to advise government to “Change System”- their common slogan. If abolishing capitalism is a reform – I am all for such reformism! In which case, we should be standing with the XR, not criticize their approach.

    “So the question arises: how could a minority of 3.5 percent bring about a participatory democracy (let alone the common ownership of the Earth’s resources that socialists want in addition)?” – well, that’s very simple, really. 3.5% force the government to establish CAs. Citizens Assemblies (CAs) are meant to do just that, to allow participatory democracy, and to establish the common ownership of the Earth’s resources that socialists want in addition. Somehow the author completely missed this point, or maybe is simply not sufficiently informed.

    Next, let’s see how much the authors knows about the climate science. “Such an increase (4.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels) would certainly cause problems, especially under capitalism, with the flooding of low-lying land, mass population movements, and more extreme weather. But it would not mean that six out of every seven humans will perish.” Exactly what qualifications or expertise allow the author to make such claims? From the text of the notorious “Hothouse Earth” article published by Harvard scientists a year ago in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (https://www.pnas.org/content/115/33/8252#sec-4), “Collective human action is required to steer the Earth System away from a potential threshold (of around 2 (!) degrees above the pre-industrial levels) and stabilize it in a habitable interglacial-like state.” Habitable is a strong word scientists rarely use. I don’t think this is so far-fetched to assume that an IN-habitable Earth would result in every 6 out 7 people perished. But of course the author knows better than the climate scientists! Please follow the link and read the article, don’t just take my word for it.

    “Although this (net zero carbon emissions by 2025) does seem to offer hope amongst their doom and gloom, it doesn’t really as it’s not realisable (not even if socialism were to be established tomorrow).” – well, I suppose the author knows a better proposed date? What would it be? Suppose, we are driving a car that is headed for a cliff. When would you say is the best time to slam on the brake? When you are at the edge? According to Adam, yes, because then it would be “realisable”. Very clever indeed. It is just common sense that with all of the government inertia we know of, we should demand the start of the action as soon as imaginably possible, with the hope to hasten the process as much as we can.

    I welcome the information on activities of XR and thus a possibility of discussion. However, I am strongly against, first of all, false information misrepresenting the current scientific consensus on the topic, and second, the stance of some comrades who would criticize and thus not stand side by side with those in our society who are the most likely to bring about the change we all so passionately desire.

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