XR change of tactics

April 2024 Forums General discussion XR change of tactics

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    We quit!

    So, they are building up to a mass action around Parliament on the 21st April. Doubtless, there will be secretly organised actions within the main body, but the aim is to get 100K people there:

    As we ring in the new year, we make a controversial resolution to temporarily shift away from public disruption as a primary tactic. We recognise and celebrate the power of disruption to raise the alarm and believe that constantly evolving tactics is a necessary approach. What’s needed now most is to disrupt the abuse of power and imbalance, to bring about a transition to a fair society that works together to end the fossil fuel era. Our politicians, addicted to greed and bloated on profits won’t do it without pressure.

    Whether they can get that 100K will be interesting. I suspect that they intend to sustain it will make it interesting:

    Surrounding the Houses of Parliament day after day in large numbers means we can leave the locks, glue and paint behind and instead demonstrate faith in a critical mass of people to create a moment that’s impossible to ignore.

    They’re aim is ‘building relationships’, but that seems to be about brining new groups of people into NVDA. Still, it’s an interesting turn, and they are now talking about attendances over arrest and trying to be more inclusive.

    I doubt project 3.5 is very far from being resurrected…


    Maybe they have decided to go for broke because they are convinced that the situation is getting worse and that the urgent thing now is to topple the government and replace it with a different regime that will take drastic, immediate measures to deal with climate change.

    I don’t know to what extent Roger Hallam is still one of the leaders of XR (maybe Just Stop Oil was just a front for them rather than the breakaway it appeared to be), though the police will. But here is how he set out, in his 2019 manifesto Common Sense in the 21st Century, subtitled “Only Nonviolent Rebellion Can Now Stop Climate Breakdown And Social Collapse”, how a non-violent “rebellion” could topple a government.

    “We must adopt the most successful model for regime change shown by the social scientific research – the civil resistance model. This involves mass participation civil disobedience: tens and hundreds of thousands of people blocking the centres of cities to demand change. There are a number of tactical options, but the main process is as follows:
    • The people conduct mass mobilisation – thousands need to take part.
    • They amass in a capital city where the elites in business, government and the media are located.
    • They break the law – they cross the Rubicon. Examples include blocking the roads and transport systems.
    • They maintain a strictly nonviolent discipline even, and especially, under conditions of state repression.
    • They focus on the government, not intermediate targets – government is the institution that make the rules of society and has the monopoly of coercion to enforce them.
    • They continue their action day after day – one-day actions, however big, rarely impose the necessary economic cost to bring the authorities to the table.
    • The actions can have a fun atmosphere– most people respond to what is cultural and celebratory rather than political and solemn.
    After one or two weeks following this plan, historical records show that a regime is highly likely to collapse or is forced to enact major structural change.”

    The 21 April is the beginning of the weekend of our Annual Conference, so we will be there to witness the inevitable failure of this crackpot strategy.


    It appears that Just Stop Oil are going to continue their self-indulgent, irritating and counter-productive tactics — counter-productive because most people are already convinced that something needs to be done about climate change, so they are not even raising consciousness about the issue. In fact, as they believe that a way-out can be found without getting rid of the market system they are themselves contributing to the confusion about what needs to be done.



    Exchange of emails between a comrade and XR.

    Our member wrote:

    “Like you, I am extremely worried and concerned at the devastation being wrought on our environment, people and the species (with no voice), with which we share the planet. I have been to a number of your meetings and can only respect the tireless efforts being made by your members. Their dedication and concern is palpable.
    That said, and given your numbers and (hopefully) growing support, would not the efforts of XR and its members be better aimed at changing the system in its entirety? Climate change is just a symptom, albeit terrifying, of Capitalism. War, hunger, homelessness, starvation and poverty are also symptoms and those caught up in any of these have little time to think of global warming. Unless Capitalism is replaced then no amount of reforms (if achieved at all) will solve the main issue – profit at all costs. We need a new world order that does not put profit before the environment.
    If your energies were channeled into the efforts of the Socialist Party of Great Britain (link attached) all the above ills could be addressed. I sincerely hope you succeed in your aims but when have reforms ever really worked in the past – especially with so little available time?”

    XR replied:

    “We were not set up with the intention of advocating for any specific type or kind of system to change to – and it would be extremely difficult to change to that advocacy now, advocating for any system would be to undermine our current demands and principles.
    I was a member of the SPGB over 40 years ago.
    It was its policy then (which aligns with the thoughts of Karl Marx himself) that Capitalism doesn’t require a revolution to fail, as it will inevitably fall apart as a victim of its own internal contradictions, I’d be surprised if its policy has changed.
    As I know now the SPGB has 300 members, whilst Extinction Rebellion has over a million supporters worldwide, and by and large they all seem to agree with our current demands.
    Hope this helps,
    Tony Marone
    Public Engagement Working Group”

    Three observations:

    1. Eat shit. Ten million flies can’t be wrong.

    2. What an admission that XR is not advocating a change of system but is merely campaigning for “demands” within the existing (capitalist) system.

    3. It is not our view that capitalism will automatically collapse of its own accord through its contradictions (which is why we are checking his claim to have been a member).


    XR don’t want to change the system, they just want to solve a problem caused by capitalism…without getting rid of capitalism.

    They think they’re like the anti-segregation activists in the southern U.S. in the ‘Sixties – when they’re really much similar to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

    If he wants to play Top Trumps with organisations, fine: the SPGB – 300 members; XR – 1 million members; the Jehovah’s Witnesses – 8.5 million members.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Moo.

    I have tracked down on the internet another reply by Tony Marone, in which he explains XR’s “demands” in more detail. It dates from 2019 and is in reply to someone who asked why XR “didn’t mention Brexit as increasing Carbon pollution if it means trading with further flung places”.

    Here it is:

    “You are right, we don’t have a position on Brexit, but that is because we don’t have positions on any of the causes, influences or solutions to the climate crisis.
    XR’s campaign is about making the authorities pay attention to the issue, tell the truth about it, act accordingly, and democratise the process.
    There are many other organisations focussing on the specific environmental threats and solutions – however, that is not what we do.
    XR does not advocate any specific solution to the climate crisis, this is because all potential solutions have to be available for discussion when we get to the stage of a Citizen’s Assembly.
    XR’s core demands are:
    – The Government must tell the truth about the ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens.
    – The Government must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels.
    – We demand a Citizens Assembly to set the policy and oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.
    When we get to the point of Citizen’s Assemblies will be the time for agreeing solutions, until then we must pursue these 3 key demands.
    Hope this helps,
    Tony Marone
    Reactive Team
    Extinction Rebellion”


    He contradicts himself saying, on the one hand, that XR does have any stance on the causes or possible solutions to the climate crisis and that this has to be left to the Citizens Assembly it proposes but, on the other hand, goes on to call on the government to “reverse inconsistent policies” and to legislate to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption.

    So they are demanding some reforms from the government. But stating that they are not saying anything about the causes of climate change, well, what can we say!

    Postponing this to a hypothetical national Citizens Assembly is a cop out but it looks like that, if they ever get it, socialism could be one of the solutions that could be considered. But there’s a problem. Most “citizens” are not socialists and so would adopt more or less unrealistic proposals to be implemented under capitalism. For socialism to be adopted they’d have to be socialist-minded. So it would be back to square one: the need to have a convinced socialist majority and do to concentrate on helping that to emerge.


    According to today’s Times:

    “Just Stop Oil plans to put candidates up for election if Labour MPs do not sign a pledge to resign if a Labour government does not cancel oil and gas licences granted by the Tories.”

    Contesting elections would not really be a change of tactics as they have contested elections before, only to get as many votes as us.

    Their degree of support will be confirmed at the Rochdale by-election a week on Thursday where one of them, the Reverend Mark Coleman, is standing.

    The Times quotes another of them as saying;

    “We do aim at some point to take the reins and to take political power’.

    But how? By a mass uprising when they reach the figure of 3 percent they claim is enough to bring about political change?

    If they do get political power, they won’t last very long when they try to drastically reduce everybody’s standard of living.


    All they will do is take a couple dozen votes (in each constituency) from the Monster Raving Loony Party (AKA the Green Party).


    For the record, the Revered Mark Coleman got 455 votes or 1.5 percent of those who voted.

    Just Stop Oil did, however, carry out their threat to disrupt elections:



    For the record, the Revered Mark Coleman got 455 votes or 1.5 percent of those who voted.

    How does this compare to the average percentage when the SPGB stands?


    About twice can much, but then we don’t claim this as a mandate to do anything except carry on campaigning for socialism. Just Stop Oil think that, despite such minimal support, they have the right to disrupt other ordinary workers’ life through blocking roads, etc. in any event, they are in the same league as us and TUSC.

    More on him here:

    An interview with the Reverend Mark Coleman, candidate in the 2024 Rochdale by-election.

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