Extinction Rebellion

February 2024 Forums General discussion Extinction Rebellion

Viewing 15 posts - 406 through 420 (of 447 total)
  • Author
  • #224401

    I have just worked out why they think that ‘their’ government has ‘betrayed’ them. It will be because they subscribe to the myth that the government exists to serve and protect the people and that, in not doing enough about climate change (more specifically in not spending money on properly insulating all homes in Britain), the government has failed in its ‘duty’ and, worse, has betrayed those they are supposed to protect.

    In other words, they subscribe to the conventional view of what governments are there to do, whereas in fact of course government are there to protect the interests of the rich owning class. It is their government not ours.

    Their political consciousness has not evolved beyond the view of those who vote for parties to form a government to do something for them. They are naive reformists even if their tactics are to break the law to try to pressurise the government into adopting the particular reform they want.


    Our message must be to clearly press home our Marxian analysis that the government is the executive committee of the ruling class and regardless of appearance, serves its interest, not the general population.

    The creation of the so-called “welfare state” has blurred the image.

    And also the myth of the “ordinary tax-paying public” camouflages the reality.


    I think they adhere to the social contract theory of government as set out in the US Declaration of Independence. That they see the government as having broken its side of the bargain is their justification for resorting to civil disobedience, ie, of any obligation to obey the government

    Hence the over the top language they use about ‘betrayal’ and the government being ‘traitors’. Some of their foot soldiers actually appear to believe this student essay stuff.


    Now that we have identified one of the major differences in analysis with environmentalists, we should now tailor our articles highlighting the flaw in the eco-warriors campaigns.

    To adapt I think one of your early remarks, reformism by direct action but nevertheless still reformism.


    It’s started. As usual in “civil disobedience” protests: once some have been jailed the emphasis shifts to protesting and to trying to get them out.

    Notice that their main slogan is still the naive and misleading “Betrayed by My Government”

    Pathetic as well as counter-productive.

    Vauxhall Bridge is the main bridge you would take to get from north of the Thanes to get to our Head Office. So if they repeat this stunt next Saturday when South London branch meets we will go there to leaflet them.

    But it looks as if some of them will be in gaol singing “I fought the law and the law won.”


    I read in the Morning Star that one of the Insulate Britain prisoners has begun a hunger strike. 5 days in.


    Six climate crisis activists whose protest halted transport links serving London’s financial district have been acquitted by a jury.



    Two of us went to a meeting last night of the Roger Hallamite wing of XR which, after the failure of Insulate Britain has now rebranded itself as Stop Oil.

    They are planning spectacular disruptive actions in March and this was a meeting to recruit volunteers, prepared to risk imprisonment, to join their campaign. It was not run democratically as no questions were allowed. At the beginning an attempt was made to physically eject a climate denier who was technically physically assaulted (unfortunately I didn’t know how the video on my phone works but it was recorded by others); so much for these people’s training in non-violence.

    After a 40-minute talk, by it has to be admitted a good speaker, the meeting was broken up into three groups. I don’t think either we or the climate deniers there would have been given a chance to express our views as the aim was clearly to identify likely civil disobedience volunteers. They want a minimum of 1000 to sign up. Anyway we left at this point. It reminded me of an event I once went to which was to try to get people to sign up to regularly ordering a crate of wine (I just went for the free bottle) in which the organisers weeded out those unlikely to do this so as to concentrate on likely suckers. So it was more that type of meeting than a normal political one.

    Politics were involved of course and the underlying assumption was still that of XR that political and social change can be brought about by as little as 3.5 percent of the population practising civil disobedience. The speaker gave three instances of this tactic working: the Civil Rights movement in the US, the collapse of the “Communist” regimes in Eastern Europe, and the Arab Spring, particularly the first. The first point to notice about this is that these were political changes, changes in the political superstructure of capitalism that were compatible with the operation of capitalism as an economic system. What XR, Insulate Britain and now Stop Oil are demanding are reforms that come up against the economic laws of capitalism which not even government action has been able to change. So their campaign has no chance of succeeding.

    But the aim they put forward is not their real aim. Their real aim is to getting a movement going towards their imagined 3.5 percent trigger point. The speaker virtually admitted this when, after conceding that the campaign to get the government to insulate all homes in Britain had failed, said he was going to make it “easy this time” for the government to give in; this time, they were going to demand something much less — that the government refuse to grant any more licences to extract oil or gas in and around Britain. Since the Danish government has already done this, presumably they are banking on the British government following suit.

    Their aim is to get what the speaker called a “win” through the direct action of as few as 1000 people, in the expectation that this would lead to more and more “wins” and more and more people doing civil disobedience until the government does more to stop global warming. It’s a bit like the Trotskyists “transitional demand” tactic except that they expect a win rather than a lose will spur people on to follow them.

    What particularly annoyed me about the meeting was what the two other speakers said. One a “middle class” woman directly appealing to other, middle class women to do something to give some meaning to their bored life. She specifically said they didn’t expect poor people to come forward as they recognised that they couldn’t afford to. An Anglican priest said said that participating in such action made him feel “authentic” and described his elation as part of a group scrambling down to block the M25. So they are doing this to make themselves feel better? What self-indulgence at other people’s inconvenience.

    Anyway, expect more Insulate Britain type disruption in March (though the speaker did say this was unlikely to involve blocking motorways again).


    This sounds like a carbon copy of the meeting we went to in Lancaster, except there the speaker said that Insulate Britain was deliberately devised to be a win that the government couldn’t reasonably say no to. Cue incredulous expression. As for inconveniencing the public, they argued for broken eggs and omelettes. I wonder if they’ll keep scaling down their ‘win’ demands until they finally do win the right of pigeons to fly over urban built-up areas.


    Insulate Britain call by architects


    The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has calculated that insulation, double- or triple-glazing and gas boiler replacement in 3.3m interwar homes that sprawl around England’s towns and cities could cut the country’s carbon emissions by 4%, helping it towards the net zero target by 2050.

    The professional body is calling for a national programme and has costed the works at up to £38bn, which far exceeds current government green homes subsidies. But it believes the works could prove cheaper because the repetitive designs of the terraced and semi-detached homes should allow for economies of scale in a mass rollout. It also foresees savings of more than £500 a year in energy bills in many cases.


    They have now officially gone public with their plans.

    There is an account here of one of the public planning meetings like the ones members of Lancaster and West London branches attended.

    They seem to be deliberating courting bad publicity again by “going for petrol stations”:

    “She added: “At the end of March, the Just Stop Oil campaign will be in the streets, and will be blocking fossil fuel infrastructure and then we will go to the petrol stations. And we won’t be popular, but it needs to be done.”

    If they think they have chosen a demand which will get them an “easy win” they appear to have made a mistake.


    Still around


    Dr Graeme Hayes, an academic at Aston University who studies social movements, was also among those who gathered in Hyde Park. He has observed, researched and analysed XR since its inception in 2018. Hayes said he felt ideological barriers were preventing XR from evolving.

    “I’m trying to look for things about capitalism, for example, and it’s hard to find.”


    Insulate Britain


    The judge added his role was to “apply the law” and said their actions had caused “significant disruption” to the motorway.

    He said: “I have heard your voices. They have inspired me and personally I intend to do what I can to reduce my own impact on the planet, so to that extent your voices are certainly heard.”


    Extinction Rebellion on Wednesday revealed plans to bring people into the United Kingdom’s streets on September 10 in response to the government’s latest efforts to enact new limits on protest.

    hat the anti-protest measures include:

    New criminal offenses of locking on, and going equipped to lock on to others, objects, or buildings—carrying a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine;

    The creation of a new criminal offense of interfering with key national infrastructure, such as airports, railways, and printing presses—carrying a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison and an unlimited fine;

    Measures to make it illegal to obstruct major transport works, including disrupting the construction or maintenance of projects like HS2—punishable by up to six months in prison and an unlimited fine.

    “The bill is expected to extend stop and search powers so the police can seize articles related to these new offenses

    “New preventive ‘serious disruption prevention orders’ will also be available for repeat offenders.”



    They did rather ask for it. And probably wanted it as a means of getting further publicity and maybe support, though as frequently happens in campaigns that break the law, this shifts the emphasis from the original aim to defending those who have been penalised for taking part. Like the IRA and “Republican prisoners”.

Viewing 15 posts - 406 through 420 (of 447 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.