A Growers diary from 2018

My 2018 season on the farm began with rain and lots of it. I had vivid dreams about the irrigation pond at the back of my caravan slowly filling my home while I slept.

The rain and the cold delayed the planting of crops and meant our two acres of asparagus lay dormant. We took advantage of the heavily sodden ground to dig docks out of the first acre of asparagus. We hoped to see spring soon.

Spring came with the first two swallows. It was a very short spring. The trees all blossomed and then greened in unison; the different shades of fresh greens were really beautiful. The asparagus responded with a bumper harvest over a month and a half. Some days we took 100-200 kg a day from the two fields. Spring flipped to summer very quickly.

We loved summer’s first month. We could plant whenever we wanted, not having to worry about sodden ground anymore. The seedlings responded well to the damp earth and constant sun. Then we started to miss the rains. I threw up while weeding the parsnip field. We began to really notice how hot it was. We missed breezes. We became obsessed with weather reports. The rains always seemed to miss us. The ground hardened. The irrigation ponds shrank.

A tame jackdaw named Morgana became part of the team. Driven into someone’s kitchen by hunger and thirst. We fed her by hand and she’d dosed with me in the hotbox that was my caravan during lunch. Sometimes we had 2-hour siestas to get through the hottest part of the day. We’d never needed siestas the 2 previous years I’d worked on the farm.

The summer continued. The grass browned. The crops suffered. We planted cabbages, kale and broccoli into sand. The soil blew off the fields into our eyes. I had to wear glasses to protect mine, which became red and itchy, my eyesight so blurred I couldn’t see properly. We drained both ponds. That had never happened in my time there or during the grower’s 16 years producing crops. We prayed for rain. It didn’t come.

The crops started wilted. Some started dying. We became desperate. We started taking water from the river. Bringing it back up to the farm in a water tanker. We fed our wilting crops sparingly through 120-metre-long irrigation pipes. We realised the true value of water. We we’re thankful then for that wet cold spring, which filled our rivers so they still ran during the drought. The rains that had kept local reservoirs full enough, so we could still water tunnel crops with mains water.

The river kept our crops alive. We heard other farms weren’t so lucky, losing whole plantings of crops twice over.

Rain finally came. We drank the 50 ml caught in the rain gauge with champagne I had saved for a special occasion. The rain had some effect, most of all on our morale, which had been waning as the summer continued. But we still needed to take from the river to truly feed the crops.

The news spoke of UK crops failing and lettuce was sailed across the Atlantic. Brexit talks continued with no definite or security.

The crops managed to survive through our sheer force of will and luck. Luck that someone had leant us that tanker; luck that the rivers and reservoirs still had enough water for us to feed our crops with. We were tired from the effort. I thought about it all and what it meant if that luck ran out.

My 6 month season ended. I felt emotionally and physically battered. I’d thought we’d had time. I thought we’d change it before it all happened; before the climate truly broke down. Then I, a Western, got a taste of how the other half of the planet lives, the half that truly knows what climate change means. Food insecurity. I saw what that looked and felt like. It was terrifying to contemplate what happens when the luck run out. I thanked whatever’s up there for the March rains which filled our pond, reservoir and rivers. Do we hope to based our food security on the luck of the weather? Because we can’t be certain about how the weather behaves anymore. 2018 was a year of ice and fire, neither of which we were ready for; I know I wasn’t.

I have a sadness in me I didn’t have before this year and before this season. It’s the sadness that comes from dead hope. From truly feeling what dying, sterilised earth feels like and that we are heading for big, uncomfortable changes.

From my comfortable position as a Westerner I’ve cared about the environment almost in the way you care for a pet. I got upset about it, signed petitions about plastic in the oceans and the extinction of species, tried to champion the natural world through my art and chose to work in organic farming. But it was only this year that I realised that I’M in danger. My little taste of food insecurity, which must be laughably small in comparison to what African or Middle Eastern farmers experience, made me realise how little we are ready for the dramatic breakdowns in the status quo of our weather. Which are going to happen. This was a year of ice and fire; the Beast from the East to The Grapes of Wrath.

I still carry this sadness in me. It pops up regularly; snatches away happy moments; the pointed end of the stick bursting my optimistic bubble. I guess that’s why I wanted to write this for Extinction Rebellion, because they acknowledge this sadness, this dire experience that we are apathetically allowing to happen, but they are showing such energy in response to it. They speak common sense and they speak it loudly so we can all hear and maybe have enough time to change. They call up the utter nonsense and self-interest that has infested out politics and our systems and they inspire me to continue.

Next year I will still be growing crops; my partner and I will be renting a market garden from the start of 2019 and we plan to incorporate all kinds of plants and habitats to benefit the wildlife which shares the land, but I now know that these actions also benefit me, that protecting nature isn’t an act of sacrifice or parenthood, but one that means I too can keep living on this earth.

Written by Rebecca Mackay

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“What I Stand For Is What I Stand On”

45062838_10214466431552284_787289044617789440_oSince I last wrote, #ExtinctionRebellion has gone boom! Shared by Mr Monbiot to Mr Sanders who tweeted it to the World – what we do now on 31st Oct Declaration Day and in the subsequent direct actions, really matters. Just like everything we do that has consequence on the future – though we are so far removed in time and place, we barely need to think about that – only this time, how this plays out will be replayed to us on a very short feedback loop, over and over again, and the consequences will be deeply present.

I look out on a cloudless sunset skyscape, where contrails blaze across the darkening blue like dragons, beautiful and dangerous. I have thought a lot about what this rebellion is asking folks to sacrifice. Holiday flights. No big deal, surely. But what about those whose family are in distant lands? Maybe growing old and dying. Are they to deny each other a last chance to clasp hands and hearts? Supermarkets. I think of the empty shops in high streets and lack of community hubs across our towns. I think of the vast over cultivated expanses of tree-barren agricultural land no longer growing food for human consumption. I think of all our concrete gardens. Pharmaceuticals. I get real to the fact that many of my dearest friends’ lives rely on a daily dose of drugs. And those so close to my heart, who have choices about how they live because of Big Pharma. There is so much more. Individual car ownership. Home heating as winter is coming. Pure Water preservation.

Remorse. I swim in an ocean of it.

And still, #ExtinctionRebellion appears utterly necessary to me. It is not that these privileges will disappear from our plate immediately. They are the kinds of policy re-evaluations that will be taken to the People’s Assemblies. Decision-making will be distributed among real people who have to live with them, with a firm commitment to living within the means of the planet . A commitment to assuring there are other than human beings still available to sustain those generations, already born, who will be dealing with the exigencies of life on a planet in deep trauma.

And so, Declaration Day approaches and now has a life of her own. The laughter of gods echoes through the corridors of our plots and plans. Where my focus goes now is nonviolence and de-escalation. I have been arrested for civil disobedience – grabbed from behind and face-planted in the dirt by police protecting a lorry from my oh so slow walk. It is not pleasant. It is not nonviolent.

My mind goes to the nonviolent direct action training Rising Up are rolling out to support volunteers. I took the role of a police person in role play and felt the frustration and irritation grow as the activist in front of me refused to move, in the face of all my cajoling and persuasion and even my rising ire. The one next to me cried, and still did not move. It was hard to keep calm and rational. I listened to the sharing of experiences of my affinity group – how they stayed grounded and calm and held their positions – deep breathing; rooting to the Earth; flowing like water; repetitive statements; songs.

Ah, songs. I am resonant to the power of songs – the way these magically manipulative mouths of ours have been gifted capacity to carefully shape sacred sound into words layered with meaning and history. This is a tactic I used to great effect when I spent 24 hours in a holding cell after the slow walk arrest. Cells have incredible acoustics and I would sing for an hour – not always songs, sometimes tones or mantras, til the vibrations were bouncing round the tiny plastic room. Then, in the silence after the sound, when every cell in my body was resetting itself to the highest vibrations resonating around me, I would lay down and sleep – for hours. Deep, nourishing , restorative sleep. When I woke, I began the whole process again, until hours later, I was release, calm and wide awake, to the welcoming arms of the wellbeing team who met us with food and tobacco and music to shake to.

Song. What a powerful tool in the armoury of nonviolence. We will have songs on Declaration Day. Songs to bind us together in nonviolence and connectedness. Songs to raise our energies and songs to help us calm each other. Songs to voice out loud our commitment to make a stand for where we stand.

So, bring your singing voices, rebellioneers. Leave behind the system tools of anger and aggression. However many come, we are a small minority of people who will sing our way back to a world that works for all life on Earth.

Written  by April Griefsong

 

 

Now or never – a short story

Louise Williams heard the results of the IPCC report on 1.5 degrees and was inspired to write a short story. It’s the conversation she doesn’t want to have with her grandchildren.


Caris sat cleaning the tools while I knitted. She reminded me a lot of her mum when she was ten. Back then I had always assumed I’d have grandchildren, but in recent decades I wasn’t so sure. Lennon was busy around us, packing things into boxes, unable to sit still as usual.

“Granny,” Caris said, as if asking a question.
“Yes love?”

“We were doing history in school today, and they were talking about the turn of the century. Did you really have computers that were too heavy to carry?”

I grinned. “Well, yes, at first, then as I grew up they got smaller and smaller – more like the pods you get now, except everyone had them.”

“Granny, you don’t talk a lot about the olden days, do you? Our teacher said it was really different, though she’s too young to really know. Can you tell me?”

I sucked in some air.

“Lennon, how’s that packing doing? We’ll be off in two days, before the snow sets in.”

Caris stopped working and looked up at me. I kept knitting but found some words.

“It’s hard to explain, Caris. Truthfully, I guess I feel bad talking about it. When I was your age, my grandparents sometimes talked about the war and how rough things got. More often they didn’t tell you the whole story, but you just knew it was terrible. But for us growing up in the nineties, it was the opposite. We had so much, too much really…”

Just then Rob came in with our son-in-law Ethan.

“Grandpa!” cried Caris, “Can YOU tell me about the olden days? I’ve never heard you say much either.”

Rob grunted as he took off his boots. “Those days are long gone.”

Ethan piled up some of Lennon’s boxes. “He doesn’t like to think about what we lost,” he commented, and half-hummed a line from an old song we used to sing in the car: “If I hadn’t seen such riches, I could live with being poor.”

Rob bristled a little. “There’s some truth there, but you know that’s not why we won’t go over it.”

“Why then, Grandpa?”

Rob and I exchanged looks. We had talked about this before. How could we dazzle them with tales of luxury and secure living beyond their wildest hopes? How could we admit that…except now felt like the time to tell the story, before we moved inland for the winter storms. Perhaps it would be the last time we’d all make it together back to the lodge.

“What else did your history teacher say, Caris?” I asked.

“Um, she said that everything was a lot more connected and organised, and computers led to an age of information. But at the same time, people ignored all the warnings. Is it true, Grandma? Did people really know about the breakdown before it even happened?”

Everyone in the room paused, even Lennon, who was only six but wise enough to grasp the question. I answered.

“Yes, they did. We did. Well, we did and we didn’t. Things were clearly changing, but they also stayed the same and there was a lot of confusion.”

“There were a lot of folks intentionally confusing people too,” said Rob, and I could see his old anger rising up. Well, let him let it out.

“How do you mean?” asked Lennon.

“You can’t believe it, but there were people with a lot of money and power who wanted to carry on just as they were, selling their gas, running their airlines, and to hell with the consequences. So they deliberately confused the public: they’d query the science, skew statistics, put out fake facts…and instead of standing up to them and pointing out their private financial interests, the journalists kept inviting them onto the TV to give their case!”

He was pacing by now.

“Of course, some of these folks were actually in Government! There were politicians with big money in fossil fuels, so they strongly opposed renewable energy and gave the push for fracking.”

Caris’ eyes widened.

“You mean, the GOVERNMENT knew and they covered it up?”

“They didn’t need to cover it up,” I replied. “They just distracted us. Everyone knew. We learned about it at school. Every year there’d be a new report about record temperatures, rising sea levels. People didn’t put two and two together. There they were, rock stars raising money for an Ethiopian famine, not seeing that this was all part of climate breakdown, and one-in-a-hundred-year disasters would become one-in-every-ten, one-in-three…”

I broke off. The news footage started replaying back in my mind. The 2023 drought across East Africa. Images of emaciated mothers choosing which child to feed. The 2026 floods in South Asia. The third European heatwave. A succession of hurricanes battering central America while wildfires swept across Australia. One crisis appeal after another. The fall of Mont Blanc in 2031, which finally made Western governments sit up and take action, but by then the permafrost was melting, releasing vast quantities of methane, and it was too little, too late. The global food shortages, then climate refugees, firstly from Africa, then Spain, Greece, Italy. Boatload upon boatload. The riots, the protests, the collapse…

Lennon had sat on Ethan’s lap. “If everyone knew, why did no one do anything? Couldn’t people have stopped it?”

“It wasn’t that no one did anything,” said Rob. “Some went to prison for speaking up. Some Governments tried hard to change things. They were fighting a huge wave though. It’s not like our leaders now, who take decisions for the good of everyone, even if it’s unpopular. Lots of leaders back then just did what they thought the people – and the media – wanted. They didn’t splash out on public transport or a nationwide insulation programme, because it wouldn’t go down well. They didn’t dare tax our petrol. They could’ve had the balls to change things, and they didn’t.”

“But if everyone had gone on the streets and protested, like the big demo in 2040, they’d have had to listen, wouldn’t they? Why didn’t the people just rise up?”

Ethan chipped in.

“Some did – I remember our friends at school going on a march. But most people didn’t seem that bothered. Politicians would rarely be asked about climate change when they went out canvassing or appeared on TV. It’s as though the threat wasn’t immediate enough, rather like the image of a frog slowly boiling in a pan of water. And the American film was right – it was so inconvenient. It was the age of consumerism and convenience, and most people didn’t want to let go of even a tiny bit of that. I guess, deep down, they hoped it wasn’t as bad as the scientists said.”

Rob nodded. “I used to hear some folks say, ‘There’s no point me changing my life, because the governments can’t sort themselves out and China is building a new power station every month.’ They were right, in a way. We did all feel sort of helpless.”

“It’s crazy”, I said, “when you think about it. We had the highest rate of education in world history, greatest access to information, such a spread of wealth and resources, and the clearest evidence of the coming future possible. I mean, it wasn’t even the future – it was already happening in front of our eyes. And we could have transitioned quite painlessly into a greener way of doing things and probably been happier for it. But we failed. We hoped technology would magically suck all the carbon out without us lifting a finger, or we pointed at China and kept our own feet on the pedal, or we looked at Africa and the Maldives and thought, “it’s OK, I don’t live there.” In one way or another, the world allowed it to happen. It didn’t have to be like this.”

Caris lifted her head from my lap and looked up at us, her eyes sad.

“And what about you, Granny and Grandpa? What did you do?”

Original: https://joyinenough.org/2018/10/16/now-or-never-a-short-story/

 

Calling all artists, crafts people, singers, movers, makers, movie-makers!

The Rebellion Needs YOU!

We want to post your creative outpourings across our social media channels. Please support us in the run up to the Declaration on the 31st and after by sending us your artwork, photos, decorated XR rebellion cakes, songs, music, films, knitting, cartoons, and memes.

Whatever you are planning: a cheeky local action: like putting an XR sticker on the Churchill statue’s hat or dangling a banner from a bridge or sewing an XR logo onto your kid’s bib – please take a short recording or a still photo and send them to us.

This rebellion is fuelled by your creativity and we want to keep that energy rising.

Send your material to us and the social media team will keep telling the story of our rebellion by posting your art in amongst news stories.

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!

Please send your material to info@risingup.org.uk

Rebellion diary – 20/10

Like a Pussy Riot for the end of the world

That was how XR was described in an article the other day, post our occupation of Greenpeace headquarters in London and it truly delighted my soul!

I was the person from XR who had replied to the interview questionnaire for that article and just as i was delighted to see the article i was also equally anxious when i read it through the first time after it had been published, seeing my name next to all those words. its not that i was saying anything i was regretting but its just a bit more controversial to occupy Greenpeace offices compared to if it would have been the premises of a fossil-fuel company. Seeing my name attached to controversy in a public space is not something i am used to, swedish as i am, a country which endeavours to stay neutral!

Extinction protest brings Stroud to a standstill

That was the headline of my day today. I have been disrupting the flow of traffic for protests several times before, but never in the town which has been my base during the three years i have been living in the UK

People are coming out of the woodwork now

That was true of Stroud today, like a micro-cosm of the country at large. All those names we have on our list of emails and so few turning up to our weekly meetings, it turns out they are all coming out for actions in droves and attracting new people as they go, just not for meetings

What are you up to, wee person?

‘Criminal damage’, soon more times than i can keep count of but i seem to be unable to get any repercussions for it even when i do it right in front of members of the police (White privilege). Today i painted several extinction symbols on the road while traffic were halted by some beautiful trouble.

PIZZEY-OCT2018-7
Photo: Simon Pizzey, Stroud News and Journal

 

What is it all about then?

Rising sea levels are already drowning entire nations and will destroy coastal cities across europe in not too long, and still people are in rage for being late to a football match between Gloucester and Cheltenham. Who knows, the entire city of Gloucester might be flooded and destroyed in a couple of decades or even less, situated on a river plain as it is

We shall seize the moment, for a kiss behind the barricades

Life in the rebellion involves for me most of the time sitting at my desk typing on my laptop or sitting in conference calls so take the above romantic quote with a pinch of salt. Its about adventure though and somehow, without me clearly understanding how, my life has gone from ‘trying to be somewhere i am not’ to ‘i have now arrived and find myself swept up in an adventure’

Apples at work, apples at play

My ‘normal’ job at the moment is all about apples. Picking them, moving them, crushing them and pressing them to apple juice. Its all about the harvest but still im frantically around and about with my body and my mind while the season is passing by. The shadows, the amber light in the mornings and evenings when i cycle to and from work along country lanes, the deep orange of the apple juice and the now falling leaves from the pear trees, the chill in the air on a clear day and the last rides of the year on the back of a landrover across fields and orchards. All here and then gone.

Everyone gone, forever

 

A FRAMEWORK FOR UNDERSTANDING EXPLOITATIVE SOCIETIES

Written by Karl Lam

Orginal article found Here

INTRODUCTION

Human beings are capable of high levels of cooperation, love and caring. However, for thousands of years most of us have been living in societies that systematically suppress these human qualities. These inhuman social systems now function to sustain themselves, the systems, not the people within them.

Our societies are organised so that almost everyone derives some material benefit or sense of security from the exploitation or subordination of others. It is a network of inhuman relationships that has persisted and reproduced itself but which serves no human purpose. As human beings, even ‘the elites’ are victims of these inhuman social systems.

In this article I look at exploitative societies, how they arose and what now holds them in place, to assist in the development of effective policies and programs for transforming them into fully human-centred societies.

I look at the role of mistreatment and oppression, and how, by dividing us, they derail attempts to change the inhuman structures. I also look at how oppressions – such as racism, sexism, classism, anti-Semitism, and so on – arose, and how they became part of our cultures, our societies and our unconscious minds.

Oppressive attitudes and behaviours aren’t individual ‘character defects’, but are part of a wider and more fundamental problem in our societies. Oppression and mistreatment operate in individuals mostly at an unconscious and emotional level but, because they are often unconscious, we have also unwittingly built them into our cultures, institutions and social structures. Transforming our societies will require understanding how mistreatment and oppression work, both at the emotional level and at the structural level.

Blame and punishment tend to perpetuate the root causes of mistreatment and oppression, both at the emotional level and at the structural level, and so are entirely counter-productive.

WHERE DOES MISTREATMENT COME FROM?

Exploitation is a particular kind of mistreatment, so it will be useful to look at where mistreatment, in general, comes from.

If you are mistreated as a child (or simply witness the mistreatment of others) and you don’t recover from the emotional hurt of that experience, then you become vulnerable to acting out either ‘end’ of the mistreatment later in your life.

That is, you become vulnerable to acting out your original role – that of a child being hurt: fearful, passive, not standing up for yourself, etc. You also become vulnerable to acting out the role of the person who hurt you (or others) – by hurting someone else, often in a similar way. Often, you won’t notice that you are doing this. If you do feel something, it’s often how you felt when you were originally hurt. So, you may feel like you are the victim, even as you hurt someone else. This can be very confusing!

All of us are vulnerable to mistreating other people because we were all mistreated (or witnessed mistreatment) when we were young and we haven’t recovered from those experiences. If you grow up in a society where sexism, racism and other oppressions are present, you can’t avoid witnessing mistreatment because it’s built into ‘normal’ interactions. It’s hard to face how much mistreatment every child in our society is exposed to, and that we all now act it out at other people, but it seems to be true of everyone.

Quick Audience Survey

Whenever I give talks on this I do a quick audience survey. I ask people to raise their hand if they do any of these:

Have you ever been irritated with someone? Or impatient?

Do you ever feel like you have to win? Or at least not lose?

Do you ever want to have the last word? Or be seen to be ‘right’?

Do you ever react angrily to someone? – Or snap at them?

Or stay distant, cold or uncommunicative? Or quietly withhold your full cooperation?

I raise my hand to all of them. Most people in the audience tend to laugh and raise their hands in recognition.

These all result from being on the receiving end of, or witnessing, hurtful behaviour. If you do any of those things, you could ask yourself ‘Where did that come from?’

Not understanding that every child, and so every adult, has been affected by this has led to much confusion about human nature.

OPPRESSION IS ORGANISED MISTREATMENT

I called attention to some less harmful forms of mistreatment, above, to illustrate how we have all been affected. But this mechanism has meant that mistreatment, and an ensuing vulnerability to mistreat others, has been passed down to each new generation of children for thousands of years. At the same time our societies were growing larger and more complex. Mistreatment of individuals by other individuals evolved over time into structures of power and dominance. These power structures organise and encourage different groups of people to act out mistreatment, based on unresolved childhood hurt, at other groups. This is a significant part of the organised mistreatment we now call oppression. It is a self-perpetuating system that serves no human purpose.

Oppression is organised mistreatment, but the organisation of the mistreatment has arisen more through a complex interaction of unconscious and unintended actions than through conscious human intention. Even when intention was involved, it was driven by an acquired vulnerability to re-enact mistreatment. No one is to blame for this self-organising system.

Another way of saying this is: through no fault of their own, every individual has acquired a vulnerability to mistreat others. However, social structures have evolved where different groups of people have been assigned different platforms to mistreat others. For example, men have been assigned the platform of sexism that organises and encourages us to mistreat women. Each of these platforms also evolved justifying narratives (including ‘scientific’ theories) that typically dehumanise the target group.

[This model explains why apparently-successful revolutions often reproduce oppressive structures. When the revolutionaries become the new leaders they suddenly find themselves in a new position. The acquired vulnerability to mistreat others, that they and we all carry, suddenly has a new platform.]

PUNISHMENT AND BLAME ARE COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE

Everyone in our societies has been loaded up with a vulnerability to mistreat others, and then assigned one or more platforms that organise and encourage us to do it. However, some groups of people are disproportionately blamed and vilified for this. For example, white working class people tend to be singled out as the racists, and blamed for their racism. Black men and Muslim men tend to be seen as the sexists, and blamed for their sexism.

Part of the oppression of these groups is that they are labelled as ‘the oppressors’. This is confusing because they are acting oppressively. But they are also an easy target for being labelled the oppressors. We are all part of this system, but we are not all singled out for blame. For example, the sexism of white men, or the racism of white middle class people are not held up for public vilification in the same way.

This mechanism of blame damages the groups being singled out, but it has a much wider and more damaging effect. When a group of people is blamed for acting out oppression, everyone else moves away from them. We try to make sure we aren’t seen to behave in similar ways, for fear of being the next targets.

Given the harsh blame that we see aimed at others, it’s easy to see why many of us become defensive at any suggestion we might carry similar attitudes and behaviours. Most of us try to hide where we carry this vulnerability to mistreat people, and its organised form, oppression. Often the best we can do is to pretend it’s not there, hope it doesn’t show, and avoid situations where it might. If (when) we are pulled to mistreat other people, we are also pulled to conceal or defend the wrong things we have done.

It can become attractive to find groups of people whom ‘everyone’ agrees are ‘the oppressors’, or ‘the bad people’, as it directs attention away from ourselves. This then perpetuates the problem.

Recovery

We humans seem to recover from the vulnerability to mistreat others when we can release the emotions from hurtful and confusing childhood experiences. This involves crying, laughing and talking about what happened to us. This works best in a caring and supportive environment. Emotional release often allows us to open our minds, re-examine our behaviour, and reject misinformation about ourselves and others. It’s very difficult to do this when we feel like we have to hide our thoughts and behaviours, or defend ourselves. Blame and punishment tend to lock oppression and mistreatment in place because they prevent the necessary conditions for emotional healing.

There is a difference between preventing and interrupting mistreatment or oppression (which are necessary and important) and blaming, vilifying or punishing someone for it (which are counter-productive).

PART 2

DIVISION

For thousands of years we have been living in societies where the mechanism of ‘divide and rule’ has been used to control and exploit people. Divide and rule means turning different sections of a population against each other so that each section sees the other as their immediate problem. They fail to see that they are being used by someone else. They fail to see that if they were united it would be impossible to exploit them. The enormous power latent in any group of organised people is neutralised by turning it against itself. In effect, the divided population controls itself and facilitates its own exploitation.

Divide and rule has been used on every ‘scale’, from whole nation states down to individual people. Examples include the British Empire’s control of India and competition over limited privileges within a workplace.

Many people are familiar with the concept of ‘divide and rule’ and that it has been used to facilitate domination and exploitation in certain situations. But the division has been more widely and deeply destructive. It has been built into our societies and cultures. It has become embedded in our minds and our identities. In fact, our identities – who we think we are, who is ‘us’ and who is ‘them’ – are essentially divisions.

This long history of division has distorted our understanding of reality. It is hard to see that we have many interests in common with other people, that we can work towards mutually beneficial goals and that what we ‘lose’ by sharing we regain many times over through the power of cooperation and organisation. This individual outlook has become so accepted and normal it is widely seen as ‘reality,’ or at least ‘human nature’.

INEQUALITY

Deep and lasting divisions seem to occur when one group acquires, or is given, a higher status and power over another group.

From the ‘oppressed’ group’s point of view, how can you trust a group of people who systematically mistreat you, and deny (or can’t see) that they do it? How can you trust a group of people who have shown themselves to be untrustworthy by repeatedly treating themselves and their interests as more important than you and your interests? How can you unite with people you can’t trust?

For the ‘oppressor’ group, how can you unite with people you don’t value or respect – or even see? Or who seem to be angry with you ‘for no reason’? How can you unite with people if you are not willing to give up your privileges over them – privileges you have come to depend on for your sense of security or self-worth?

This is why hierarchies, or small gradations of power and status, have always been necessary to maintain systems of divide and rule.

Some of these hierarchies have a layered structure and others cut across each other. An example of layered hierarchies is social class, where the large-scale divisions of owning class, middle class and working class are themselves sub-divided into many layers. Examples of cross-cutting hierarchies are where race divisions, or divisions between men and women, cut across class divisions and cut across each other.

Dividing the population into these complex, cross-cutting hierarchies has meant that almost everyone has come to occupy a position that is both ‘oppressor’ and ‘oppressed’ at the same time.

Each distinct oppression (each type of racism, each ‘layer’ within classism, and so on) produces its own separate division. The result is that each individual ends up divided from every other by one or more relationships of mistreatment or privilege. However, we don’t have the same relationship to the ‘oppressor’ and ‘oppressed’ parts of our position. We more often notice and feel strongly about where we are mistreated, but rarely notice, and often deny strongly, any suggestion that we might mistreat others! [See Part 1 for a discussion of unawareness and denial.] Everyone ends up thinking that the problem is other people.

Growing up in such finely divided societies leaves most people feeling that no one can be fully trusted and not understanding that we all have many interests in common. Under these conditions it often appears better to acquire or retain small material advantages or status for oneself or one’s group, than to reject these in order to build unity with others.

OPPRESSION

The critical role of inequality in forming divisions allows us to understand oppression differently. Irrespective of how they originally got started, all oppressions (such as sexism, racism, classism, and many more) now serve a higher function: to keep the population thoroughly divided and confused, to make it impossible for any movement to form that is large enough, united enough or clear enough in its aims to challenge the established order. The mistreatment, damage and exploitation of the oppression are almost incidental – it’s simply that arranging for one group to systematically mistreat or exploit another has proven to be the most effective way to keep people divided, confused and powerless.

Sometimes oppressions were invented specifically to divide two groups, but others simply evolved [See Part 1].

Some examples:

The racism we see today was originally invented in order to divide white people from the darker skinned peoples being colonised by Europe at the time. In the absence of racism, too many white men in the colonising armies ‘went native’ and refused to kill. Today, within ‘developed’ nations, a major function of racism is to divide the majority of working class people from various others to keep them preoccupied with a false sense of danger or competition.

Similarly, sexism creates a division between all females and all males. Women can’t fully trust men, and men find it hard to respect women, and often trample over women’s interests in favour of their own. This division then sabotages relationships in any situation where males and females might live or work together – that is, almost anywhere – for example, within families, workplaces or liberation groups.

Homophobia, or gay oppression, sets up heterosexuals to target gay people, and so divides heterosexual people from gay people. But the division goes wider: fear of being labelled and targeted as ‘gay’ makes it hard for the majority heterosexual population to form very close, trusting same-sex friendships, and so divides male from male and female from female. Particularly for men and older boys, the threat of gay oppression means that showing caring towards another male is, or feels like, risking violence, humiliation and isolation.

The main function of anti-Semitism is to set up some Jews as the immediate oppressors of the non-Jewish working class (or another oppressed group), so that oppressed peoples (and their allies) become preoccupied with ‘the Jews’ rather than accurately understanding the whole exploitative structure.

PART 3

THE MIDDLE AGENT MECHANISM

Middle agents are people or groups who end up controlling an oppressed group on behalf of an overall oppressor group, and in doing so, become the ‘visible face’ of the oppression. Because they are the nearest and most obvious oppressor, and are the ones actually doing the ‘hands-on’ harm, they attract attention away from the overall oppressor group.

Examples of middle agents are mainstream politicians, the police, the army, lawyers, teachers, social workers, managers and some union leaders. There are many others – almost everyone in an oppressor role ends up playing a middle agent role of some kind (for example, men). Also included are corrupt regimes in resource-rich countries, whose role is to oppress their own people on our [the dominant country’s] behalf. Sometimes a cultural group comes to occupy a middle agent role, for example (a section of) Jews in Medieval Europe; Israel in the Middle East; South Asians in East Africa, ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia or Scottish Protestants in Northern Ireland.

Middle agents tend not to understand that they are middle agents. That is not necessary for the arrangement to work. All that is necessary is that a situation exists where, merely by pursuing what appear to be their own interests or feeling that they need to defend themselves, a group ends up carrying out the policies of a more powerful group and – just as importantly – taking the blame for these policies.

People in middle agent roles tend to identify with the interests of the overall oppressor group, or at least with the established social and economic order, even though they are being used by it. The privileges they hold are provided by the overall system and they see its apparent strength as protection against the resentment and hatred of those they oppress on its behalf. They don’t understand that a significant part of their own role is to take the blame for oppression and, in extreme circumstances, to be sacrificed in order to protect the established order.

The middle agent mechanism is effective partly because it’s confusing, and it’s confusing because it doesn’t fit into simplistic understandings of oppression: are they oppressed or oppressor?! Are they the good people or the bad people?! It’s worth looking at an example in more detail: anti-Semitism.

ANTI-SEMITISM

In medieval Europe our rulers had a long history of inviting stateless Jewish people into our countries to play roles that were carefully chosen and often enforced by law. For example tax collectors, money lenders, court officials and others. In this way Jews were manipulated or forced to become the ‘visible face’ of oppression in the eyes of the general population. The rulers could then maintain a good, clean, romanticised image among the general population by diverting resentment about unfair conditions in the society on to ‘the Jews’. (Only a small section of the Jewish community actually played these roles; most Jews were poor peasants or workers.)

To maintain this system, anti-Semitic propaganda was systematically encouraged, but maintained at a low level, ready to be built up when the need arose. When the repression of the majority population reached such a level that revolt was imminent, it was ‘the Jews’ who were offered up to the anger of the peasants or workers, by the ruling class. In this way, struggles against exploitation have been repeatedly ‘short circuited’, or diverted, and ruling classes have been able to maintain their position – at the expense of Jews.

This mechanism involved those in power offering some Jews special protection and privileges, which were attractive, but which also helped to fuel resentment of all Jews among the rest of the population. When convenient, that protection was easily withdrawn, leaving all Jews in the precarious position of being both vulnerable and hated.

At these times, Jews were killed or driven out of the area. Another part of the overall mechanism involved the rulers later ‘apologising’ to Jews and inviting them back again with new offers of privilege and protection, so that they could be used in the same way all over again.

Similar mechanisms are still active in the modern world. The most obvious example is the role of Israel in the Middle East, where the largely-Jewish state plays the role of middle agent, to control the Middle East on behalf of the West.

The real target is the broad population

The underlying reason for anti-Semitism is control over the broad population,not harm toJews. Jews have simply been used as a means to an end. This mechanism is not unique to the oppression of Jews – there are many other groups who have been used in a similar way, such as ex-patriot Chinese in South-East Asia, South Asians in East Africa, or Scottish Protestants in Northern Ireland.

It is this middle agent aspect of anti-Semitism that is the most important to understand because it has been the most confusing and therefore causes the most damage, both to Jews and to those progressive movements who have been too easily diverted by it.

Though people on the Left of politics often consider ourselves thoughtful around issues of oppression, and will often fight on behalf of many oppressed groups, it has been hard to get a clear commitment to this for Jews. One reason for this – perhaps the main one – is that, because the oppression of Jews involves using them as the proxy oppressor, many of us on the Left have been confused by this and so find it hard to see Jews as oppressed.

Another reason might be that the Left has struggled for well over a hundred years to try to achieve a better society, but has only made slow progress. The gains we do make have often been lost before they can be fully consolidated. This can feel discouraging and frustrating, and can engender strong feelings of powerlessness. It is much more comfortable to avoid feeling powerless in the face of these difficulties by attacking easy targets – not fully understanding that they are offered to us for that very purpose.

PART 4

THE ELITES

You may have noticed that I haven’t said a lot about the top oppressors – the elites, the ‘1%’, the owning class. It will be useful to mention them, while not putting more attention on them than is useful. We can mislead ourselves by attributing to them a power or importance that they don’t have.

On the one hand, they are the major beneficiaries of the economic exploitation that our societies have been organised around – and the internal logic of this economic system inevitably grinds towards them becoming richer and richer. They do actively organise the division and mutual oppression of everyone else in order to maintain their position.

On the other hand they are just human beings. The same internal logic of this economic system also ensures that one small group of people will always end up at the top. If it wasn’t these particular individuals then it would be others. If these people were removed another set would take their place, as has happened many times throughout history. They are not special.

These people appear very powerful. But they, personally, have no more power than any of us. All of their power is enacted by other people. For example, politicians, the army, the police, lawyers, managers and many other middle-agent groups [See Part 3]. In fact we all play a part in this: the only ‘security’ offered by the exploitative system is a position where you exploit others more than you are exploited yourself. In seeking this false security we unwittingly become agents of the overall system.

This top group also have a kind of pseudo-power that is simply the absence of our own power. That is, how thoroughly divided and confused we are in the face of making big social changes – how we feel there is almost no one we can trust fully to stand with us, and how powerless each of us feels as an isolated individual.

So the elites, the ‘1%’, are not our problem. Our problem is the way present human societies function to confuse, isolate and dehumanise every one of us.

THE UNITY DIVIDEND

A huge fraction of all human effort is wasted because we organise our societies on the basis of exploitation. The same is true for the planet’s natural resources.

The power of human beings resides in two areas: each individual’s intelligence, which is potentially huge, and our ability to work cooperatively with others, which is also potentially huge.

It is impossible for a small group of people to exploit a large population if the population retain their full power, therefore exploitation requires sabotaging both individual minds and their ability to work together. (As a starting point this makes no sense, but no one chose this system – it arose out of fear and contagious mistreatment a long time ago.)

This sabotage is usually held within rough limits: too little sabotage and the population become too powerful to exploit, too much sabotage and they become unable to do productive work, so there’s nothing to exploit.

One way to think about divided societies is that people have been turned against each other – that a significant amount of the work we do is, effectively, work against others. If we think of this using the mathematical or scientific analogy of vectors, then it might look like this:

arrows

the black arrows represent the productive effort of one group of humans, and the red arrows the productive effort of another group, then the lengths of the two blue arrows represent the total useful productive output under the different conditions of division and unity. The relative lengths of the two blue arrows suggest that an enormous increase in productive effort may be available to us as a species. We will need this if we are to address the coming crises in the destruction of the environment and the collapsing economic system.

Though the relative sizes of the black and red arrows were chosen to illustrate a point, I suspect that this represents something like the real situation. I hope to explore this in more detail in another article.

REACHING FOR OUR POWER

People often feel small, insignificant and powerless in the face of large entrenched injustices. To take on big challenges we have to find our power. However, when we reach for our power, very often what we find instead is a pull to mistreat people how we ourselves were mistreated as children (or how we witnessed others being mistreated).

An example is where activists who oppose oppressive policies are pulled to target with ridicule, anger or hatred, the politicians who put forward those policies. The activists are trying to not feel small and powerless by adopting the behaviour of an oppressor. This is always counter-productive because it rides on the same mechanisms that lock the exploitative system in place. It strengthens the hold of these mechanisms on everyone’s minds rather than reducing their hold.

Real human power involves harnessing the creative intelligence of your own mind, and reaching for, organising and inspiring the creative intelligence of others towards truly human goals.

CONSTRUCTING SOLUTIONS

This document attempts to build a new framework for understanding the societies that we live in presently. We certainly need new understandings – our societies systematically break (or dehumanise) every single one of us, in order to fit us into their inhuman structures. Everyone, even the super rich, would have much better lives in societies that serve everyone’s real, human interests. And yet, even though our societies function in no one’s real interests, none of the many attempts to change them have succeeded, so far. We need to understand why.

What will real solutions look like? How can we dismantle the inhuman form of social organisation we have unwittingly fallen into, and transform it into a form that supports and reflects our humanness?

This document doesn’t attempt to provide solutions (that would be impossible), but to lay out elements of understanding that might be used to construct workable solutions. I’ve listed some of these elements below:

Unresolved emotional hurts lead to an acquired vulnerability to mistreat others. These emotional hurts are acquired during childhood through unavoidable exposure to the mistreatment that is endemic in exploitative societies. This vulnerability is currently carried by every single individual in human society, not a separate group of ‘bad people’.

It will be useful to develop methods for healing the emotional hurts that drive this mechanism, and also for preventing it passing on to the next generation of children.

The presently-universal nature of this vulnerability to mistreat others, and other effects of unhealed emotional hurt, have led to wide confusion about human nature.

Exploitation and oppression are simply organised mistreatment. They originally became organised through ‘self-organising’ processes, not through conscious human intention. No one is to blame.

It will be useful to understand how exploitative societies place almost everyone in both oppressor and oppressed roles, and how this functions to create many cross-cutting social divisions. Each person becomes divided from others in many different ways and tends to think the problem is other people, rather than the overall organisation of society. While we are so confused and divided we are powerless to change the overall society.

Effective action on many critical issues, such as the destruction of the natural environment upon which all human existence depends, will require united and broad-based mass movements. The biggest impediment to such movements arising and remaining effective has been division, whether spontaneous or externally provoked. Preventing and overcoming division are vital for the future of humanity.

It will sometimes be necessary to restrain individuals when their acquired vulnerability to mistreat others is too dangerous. However…

Punishment and/or blame of individuals or groups, for mistreating people or having oppressive attitudes of any kind, are completely counter-productive. They result in a denial and defensiveness across the whole society which prevents a wide and open examination of all aspects of the problem and the personal changes necessary at the level of each individual.

Because the desire or compulsion to punish and blame are currently built into our cultures at an unconscious emotional level, avoiding the pull to indulge in punishment and/or blame will be very difficult. However, this is fundamental and it seems likely that attempts to fully solve problems that are, at their base, rooted in emotional hurt will fail until sufficient clarity is achieved on this point.

Whenever any person or a group is held to be the source of the problem (whether it be refugees or ‘the 1%’) – then that gives strength to the actual source of the problem: a system that feeds off of turning people against other people.

Karl Lam

This is a big subject and these articles are only an overview. Also, there is so much more thinking to do, so many discussions to be had and implications to be worked out. Practically, there are so many experimental actions to be learnt from, bridges to be built and people to be reached for.

XR Newsletter #4 – Democracy demands a rebellion

Democracy demands a rebellion 📣📣
Hello Rebels!

This is the 4th Extinction Rebellion Newsletter. If you’ve just joined the rebellion, welcome!

The Extinction Rebellion is spreading out across the internet. If facebook isn’t working for you, you can also stay in touch and up to date here;
Website- https://risingup.org.uk/XR/
Blog- https://extinctionrebellion.org/
Twitter- http://twitter.com/ExtinctionR
Contents:
Activity Since Last Newsletter
The Extinction Rebellion – Key Demands
Declaration of Rebellion
Suggested Reading/Viewing
Volunteer Call out
The Rebellion is coming – How to get involved
Latest News and Data
In Depth: Cuadrilla at Preston New Road
Sign off

Activity since last newsletter

New Facebook groups:
Elders: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1714248518686469/members/
Sisters: https://www.facebook.com/groups/918452671682090/
Young People: https://www.facebook.com/groups/540448519750807/
(and we hope for brothers soon!)

Rising Up! Autumn Gathering 2018

On the weekend of 29/30 September 2018 people from around the country came to London for Rising Up!’s Autumn Gathering 2018, to learn about non-hierarchical, non-violent action in the face of climate catastrophe.

The Autumn Gathering included a number of workshops; creative protest through clowning and ‘brandalism’; discussion of sortition; as well as legal/prison briefings in the run up to the Autumn actions. Dr Gail Bradbrook and Roger Hallam PhD discussed the origins of the Rising Up movement, its aims, and effective methods to see necessary radical change.

Further organisation of the Extinction Rebellion was solidified through meetings between the seven Working Groups of the movement. Currently people are needed in Outreach and Training; how to do talks and training to grow the movement; and Regenerative Culture to ensure sustainability of the movement and avoid burn out among protestors. For details regarding all our Working Groups, as well as contact details for the co-ordinators to get involved, please see our Campaign Overview Document

On Saturday there was a walk to Cable Street in commemoration of those stopping Moseley’s march through London at the infamous battle between fascists and anti-fascists in 1932. The 4th of October was the 82nd anniversary of the battle of Cable Street, and our visit to the sight reinforced a defiant spirit among the Extinction Rebellion! With love and rage, the weekend was a storming success.

“This was an inspiring weekend that gave people a chance to be creative, be challenged and have fun. The food and the company was great and a visit to Cable Street placed Rising Up in a historical context of Rebellion.” – Jeremy

The Extinction Rebellion – Key Demands

Sortition:

Sortition – the use of random selection to fill a legislative assembly with members of the public who are trained and appointed to decide on policy.

This is one of the key demands of the Extinction Rebellion. To create a national assembly comprised of randomly selected members of the public to focus specifically on solutions for the climate crises. The selection process would be stratified to ensure a representative sample of society populate the assembly – with women making up fifty percent of representatives for example. These assemblies will be supported by expert panels that will suggest policy that is in turn debated by the appointed members of the national assembly. This will lead to evidence based policy being chosen by the people, in the interest of the people. Expert knowledge will be provided and available on tap, but NOT on top.

It is now unquestionable that our current political system is failing to address environmental issues. A sortition led national assembly provides a solution to problems in the current election and decision making processes; career politicians, powerful vested interests distorting policy, five year cycles that ensure a preference for short term election friendly policies – to be foregone after election victories – rather than long term planning, to name just a few. A representative national assembly based on random selection would eliminate these problems.

We know the problems and are offering alternative solutions. We ask you to join our efforts to work on something better!

To find out more about sortition, please watch Brett Hennig’s video in the Suggested Viewing section, and visit the Sortition Foundation’s website – https://www.sortitionfoundation.org

More information to follow so stay tuned!

What if we replaced politicians with randomly selected people? | Brett Hennig
Declaration of Rebellion

Wednesday, October 31, 2018. 10 AM – 3 PM
Meet at the statue of Millicent Fawcett, Parliament Square, London.

There will be a rally to address the press and public. Speakers will be invited to talk about the dire situation we face. We will hold a short extinction ceremony, honouring those who have died and those who will die as a result of the criminal negligence of the government’s inaction. We will then hold a peaceful sit-in and a banner drop at a nearby location to symbolise our defiance in the face of extinction and our determination to rebel. Some will take a non-violent action which may lead to arrest. If the government does not respond seriously to the Extinction Rebellion’s demands, civil disobedience will commence from the 12th November. Now is the time because we are out of time. There is nothing left to lose.

RUN-UP ACTION IN BRISTOL
Make Ecocide Law
BRISTOL
Monday, October 8, 2018. 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM
The Bearpit
St James Barton Roundabout, Bristol. BS1 3LY
https://www.facebook.com/events/1550304565104261/

This protest will involve nonviolent civil disobedience intended to highlight the government’s inaction on the ecological crisis. Everyone welcome to play their role. Flyering, holding banners and dancing needed!

Suggested Reading:

– World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice

– ‘Eco-grief’ over Climate Change Felt by Generations of British Columbians

– Beautiful Trouble

Suggested Viewing

– Hope Dies, Action Begins: : an interview with RisingUp’s Gail Bradbrook

– What if we replaced Politicians With Randomly Selected People? – Brett Hennig

– How Protest is Redefining Democracy all Around the World

– World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice

Can you give financial support to the Extinction Rebellion/RisingUp?

RisingUp! and the Extinction Rebellion will have many costs over the coming months including art materials, banners, fliers, personal expenses etc. The Rebellion needs a lot of funding to start in several place across the UK at the same time and to continue into 2019. Indeed, the scale of the Rebellion could be limited by the amount of money available.

If you would like to support the Rebellion financially, a regular standing order would be perfect (as would one off donations). Standing orders or money transfers should be made to our Triodos Bank Account (Sort code: 16-58-10 Account No: 20737912) in the name of Compassionate Revolution Ltd (the holding company for Rising Up!).

Alternatively, if you’re a PayPal user (or more comfortable with PayPal), PayPal
payments can be made to info@risingup.org.uk

Any queries contact Dave Nicks (dave.nicks@btinternet.com)

Volunteer Callout!

We need some serious help if we’re going to make real system change. Can you help us to organise a talk in your area, promote our events on Facebook or get on the phone to new members?

If so please drop us an email to extinctionrebellion@risingup.org.uk, message the Facebook page or join our volunteer Facebook group.

For more information on the working groups and generally what is involved with the rebellion please check out the ‘How to get involved’ and ‘Briefing’ documents.

“Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” –Vince Lombardi

Can you help us spark a rebellion?
Sign up to the rebellion!
The Rebellion is coming –

How to get involved

To make our holocratic movement more accessible for those who’ve decided to #deletefacebook here is our full itinerary of upcoming events, talks, meetings, trainings and socials.

Extinction Rebellion Weekly Volunteer Conference Calls

As we escalate towards the Rebellion, we need your help to create a decentralised network of groups that are volunteer led to make #systemchangenotclimatechange a reality. For more info check out the How to Get Involved document, here

These conference calls are conducted online. First GoToMeeting? Let’s do a quick system check:
https://link.gotomeeting.com/system-check

Mon, Oct 8th, 2018. 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
You can join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/394667933
Or, you can dial in using your phone.
United Kingdom: +44 330 221 0097

Access Code: RSVP for access code
https://www.facebook.com/events/560395517742724/

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018. 1 PM – 2 PM
You can join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/645780797
You can also dial in using your phone.
United Kingdom: +44 330 221 0088

Access Code: RSVP for access code
https://www.facebook.com/events/174111800168900/

XR London Meeting – Weekly Event Promotion
If you have been meaning to support the Extinction Rebellion for a while but weren’t quite sure how to do so, this is the perfect opportunity for you to join! Come along this Wednesday and learn how to promote our talks and trainings online! Please bring (preferably vegan) food along and a laptop, if possible, otherwise a phone will also do the job. We’re looking forward to spending a relaxed and productive evening with you! 🙂

LONDON
Wednesday, October 10th, 17th, 24th 2018. 7PM
Mayday Rooms
88 Fleet St, London. EC4 1DH
https://www.facebook.com/events/2198401650440845/

XR Networking Meeting
This year, most of the XR actions will take place in London. Therefore, we invite people involved in other environmental and radical networks in the city to a meeting where we will provide briefing on the plans. As long as groups agree with the general aims and have a commitment to nonviolence, we want to encourage them to make their own statements and organise their own public actions.

LONDON
Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 7 PM – 8:30 PM
Mayday Rooms
88 Fleet St, London. EC4 1DH
https://www.facebook.com/events/1909607045823806/

Extinction Rebellion Rave

“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution” – Emma Goldman

The Extinction Rebellion Rave on Saturday the 20th of October 2018 is going to raise awareness of & support for the rebellion in November against the criminal inactivity of the UK government on the climate emergency and ecological crisis. The form, time and place of the rave is still be to determined. If you have a venue or any another resources that you would like to donate for the rave please let us know.
https://www.facebook.com/events/536360923477869/

LOCATION TBC
Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 8 PM – 4 AM
https://www.facebook.com/events/536360923477869/

TRAINING: How to Give a Climate Change Talk
Saturday, October 6, 2018 at 6 PM – 7:30 PM
ONLINE

As part of our preparations, we are giving talks up and down the country entitled, ‘Climate Change: Why we are heading for extinction and what to do about it.’ Based upon award winning PhD research on effective campaign mobilisation, the talk explains why we are heading towards climate apocalypse and outlines the political response necessary to maximise the chances that we will avoid extinction.

To reach the as many communities across the country as possible we are training anyone who is interested, so they can go to their local communities and deliver the talk themselves. The facilitators will be able to send documents and scripts, making the process as easy as possible – so don’t worry if you have never given a talk before! Join the conference call if you’re keen to help and want to learn how to give the talk in your own community. Here are the details you will need to access the conference call:

You can join this meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/936258621
You can also dial in using your phone.
United Kingdom: +44 20 3713 5011

Access Code: RSVP for access code
https://www.facebook.com/events/2079971305665974/

Protest Art Workshop
Climate Change is THE big news. Forget Brexit, put away your political allegiances, and join us for an afternoon exploring the subject head-on. The afternoon will begin with a talk about the existential threat we are facing, followed by an art workshop led by award-winning designers This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll and sustainable fashion icons Body Politic. @thisaintrock | @bodypolitic We will work with you to create protest statements, artworks and clothing adaptations. We’ll also help get your messages ‘out there’. Materials will be provided. A pay what you can donation is appreciated.

LONDON
Sunday, October 21, 2018. 3 PM – 5 PM
Acqua7
7 Balls Pond Road, London. N1 4AX
https://www.facebook.com/events/462673200891495/

XR Media & Messaging Training
The Extinction Rebellion needs to be on-it when it comes to communicating what we’re about. So we’ll be spending the day refining our messaging and practicing speaking with confidence and power. If you’re interested in being a part of XR and speaking to the media, this workshop is for you!
The workshop will be led by Jamie Kelsey Fry, contributing editor for New Internationalist and media activist.

BRISTOL
Sunday, October 7, 2018. 11 AM – 4 PM
St Werburghs Community Centre
Horley Road, Bristol. BS2 9TJ
https://www.facebook.com/events/687865524926263/

TALKS: Climate Change: Heading for Extinction and What To Do About It
In these public talks, we share the latest climate science on where our planet and our society is heading, discuss the some of the current psychology around climate change and offer solutions through the study of previous radical social movements.

BRIGHTON
Tuesday, October 9, 2018. 6 PM – 8 PM
Sussex University, Room 202, Fulton Building,
66 Hollingdean Terrace, Brighton. BN1 7HA
https://www.facebook.com/events/1871247802955974/

NOTTINGHAM
Wednesday, October 10, 2018. 7 PM – 9 PM
International Community Centre.
61b Mansfield Road, Nottingham. NG1 3FN
https://www.facebook.com/events/2003160089747126/

BRADFORD
Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 7 PM – 9 PM
Delius Arts & Cultural Centre,
29 Great Horton Road, Bradford. BD7 1AA
https://www.facebook.com/events/2124255184483513/

CAMBRIDGE
Thursday, October 11, 2018. 7 PM – 9 PM
David Attenborough Building
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
https://www.facebook.com/events/258208564898963/

LIVERPOOL
Friday, October 12, 2018. 7 PM – 9 PM
Gilmour Room, Liverpool Guild of Students.
Liverpool. L3 5TR
https://www.facebook.com/events/297763541053406/

GLOBAL FRACKDOWN CARNIVAL: Talk and NVDA Training.
Saturday, October 13th. 2 PM – 8 PM
Barkers Pool, Sheffield. S1 1
https://www.facebook.com/events/650351438695454/

BATH
Sunday, October 14th. 7 PM – 9 PM
The Bell Inn
103 Walcot Street, Bath, Somerset. BA1 5BW
https://www.facebook.com/events/279591185984923/

HUDDERSFIELD
Monday, October 15, 2018. 7 PM – 9 PM
The Corner – Mallinsons Brewery Taphouse
5 Market Walk, Huddersfield. HD12QA
https://www.facebook.com/events/2832026656823044/

LEEDS
Tuesday, October 16, 2018. 7 PM – 9 PM
Wharf Chambers
Ground Floor, 23 – 25 Wharf Street, Leeds. LS2 7EQ
https://www.facebook.com/events/262532501118474/

LONDON
Tuesday, October 16, 2018. 7 PM – 9:30PM
King’s College, London – room to be confirmed
https://www.facebook.com/events/550608238686158/

PENRYN
Wednesday, October 17, 2018. 7 PM – 8:30 PM
Fish Factory Art Space
Commercial Road, Penryn, Cornwall. TR10 8AG
https://www.facebook.com/events/2099585986742458/

KING’S LYNN
Thursday, October 18, 2018. 7 PM – 8:30 PM
Marriott’s Warehouse
south quay, King’s Lynn, Norfolk. PE30 5DT
https://www.facebook.com/events/334316847145503/

BANGOR
Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 7 PM – 9 PM
Blue Sky Cafe
Ambassador Hall, Rear of 236 High Street, Bangor, Gwynedd. LL57 1PA
https://www.facebook.com/events/1419879428145893/

LONDON
Tuesday, October 23, 2018. 7 PM – 9 PM
Big Green Bookshop
Unit 1, Brampton Park Road, Wood Green, London N22 6BG
https://www.facebook.com/events/2159580987652058/

TRAININGS: Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA)
Affinity groups are forming around the country to take part in a series of escalating disruptions during November. At these training sessions we will do a briefing about the Rebellion, go through the theory, and more importantly the practice of nonviolent action. We will consolidate these lessons by forming affinity groups during the training, and discuss further ways to recruit people.

LONDON
!LOCATION AND DATE CHANGE!
Monday, October 8, 2018. 7 PM – 9:30 PM
UNITARIAN CHAPEL
Newington Green, London. N16 9PR
https://www.facebook.com/events/280251462555857/

LANCASTER
Thursday, October 11, 2018. 6:30 PM
Friends Meeting House
Lancaster, Lancashire. LA1 1TX
https://www.facebook.com/events/740586202952239/

OXFORD
Tuesday, October 16, 2018. 7 PM – 9 PM
John Wesley Room, Wesley Memorial Church,
New Inn Hall Street Oxford. OX1 2DH
https://www.facebook.com/events/286931115237870/

FROME
Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at 7 PM – 9:30 PM
Frome Town Hall
Christchurch St W, BA11 1EB Frome, Somerset
https://www.facebook.com/events/269507633678678/

PLYMOUTH
Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Union Corner – Stonehouse Action
96 Union Street, PL1 3EZ Plymouth
https://www.facebook.com/events/472346683272222/

Workshop: What’s the deal with prison?
Introductory, interactive workshops on prison – why does going to prison make a difference? What’s it like inside? How can we support each other through this process? Covering the key aspects about we are using going to prison as a tactic for the November rebellion and how it’s going to work.

DISCLAIMER: We wish to make very clear that the information contained in this workshop is our best bet view. We cannot be responsible if matters turn out differently to what we all expect. We will give you the best probability we can of what might happen. If you want certainty it might be best to reconsider whether you take part.

LONDON
Tuesday, October 9, 2018. 7 PM – 9 PM
Venue TBC
https://www.facebook.com/events/264002284248175/

BRISTOL
Wednesday, October 10, 2018. 7 PM – 9 PM
Venue TBC
https://www.facebook.com/events/429484817578443/

LONDON
Tuesday, October 23, 2018. 7 PM – 9 PM
Venue TBC
https://www.facebook.com/events/462891354119868/

BRISTOL
Wednesday, October 24, 2018. 7 PM – 9 PM
Venue TBC
https://www.facebook.com/events/340493086699610/

MANCHESTER
Thursday, October 25, 2018. 7 PM – 9 PM
Venue TBC
https://www.facebook.com/events/488538718223225/

ONLINE
Thursday, October 25, 2018. 7 PM – 9 PM
Join from your computer, tablet or smartphone: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/784464013
Or, dial in using your phone: United Kingdom: +44 20 3713 5028
RSVP for access code.
https://www.facebook.com/events/529919910769214/

The rebellion will be volunteer led!

Latest News and Data

Kings College London Students Face Charge of Criminal Damage for Spray Chalking
In February 2017 eight protestors used chalk spray on the entrance of KCL’s Strand campus, writing slogans promoting environmental issues. The eight protestors brought cleaning equipment with them but were stopped from washing off the spray chalk by campus security. Of the eight who took part, two of the protestors are now facing charges for the total of the supposed damage, set at £9000 by the Crown Prosecution Service – eighteen months after the event. This issue was resolved internally with Kings agreeing to the demands of the protestors after a 14 day hunger strike was initiated by Roger Hallam, PhD at Kings and central figure in the Extinction Rebellion.
Trial date is set for 4th November, court support details to follow.
https://therealnews.com/stories/rhallam0509kings

Extinction Rebels at Bristol Freshers’ Fair
The queue for free Dominos pizza at Bristol University’s Freshers’ Fair was stormed and blockaded this week as the Extinction Rebellion and Bristol University students protested large corporations invading student spaces.
https://epigram.org.uk/2018/09/28/freshers-fair-dominoes-stall-disrupted-by-bristol-uni-protestors/

Scientists STILL Struggling to Find the Right Words to Motivate World ‘Leaders’
A much-awaited report from the U.N.’s top climate science panel will show an enormous gap between where we are and where we need to be to prevent dangerous levels of warming. They’re calling it the “Talanoa Dialogue,” in which parties to the Paris agreement begin to consider the large gap between what they say they want to achieve and what they are actually doing. (or not doing…). This comes from the FORTY EIGHTH session of the IPCC. The final wording of the report is expected to be agreed upon at the TWENTY FOURTH annual COP, (Conference of the Parties), which is scheduled to take place in Poland in December this year.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/energy-environment/2018/10/03/climate-scientists-are-struggling-find-right-words-very-bad-news/

Environmentalists Take UK Government To Court
The High Court has granted permission for five legal challenges against expanding Heathrow airport to proceed to full hearings.
Tim Crosland, director of Plan B, welcomed the decision. “It’s clear that plans to expand Heathrow Airport are inconsistent with this government’s own commitment to the Paris Agreement, a fact which Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary has conveniently ignored,” he continued “We need the government to confront the climate crisis head-on and to invest in clean forms of transport, not the most polluting kind. Wildfires in the Arctic Circle over the summer must be a wake-up call.”

Indonesia Tsunami: Death Toll Jumps to 1,400 Expected to Continue to Rise as Volcano Erupts
A 7.5-magnitude quake struck just off the central island of Sulawesi, setting off a tsunami that engulfed the coastal city of Palu on Friday last week. There are fears some survivors may still be trapped under the rubble of buildings. The Red Cross estimates that more than 1.6 million people have been affected.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-45716915
This follows a summer of unprecedented numbers of earthquakes in the area known as the ring of fire – the region encircling the Pacific Ocean. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-22/over-last-7-days-our-planet-has-been-violently-shaken-144-major-earthquakes. These are NOT normal weather patterns. We must inform others, and act to change our painful fate.

Defiant Resistance Stepped up at Preston New Rd Following Sentencing of #FrackFree4
If sentencing the frack free four to such disproportionate jail sentences was intended to intimidate the anti-fracking movement, the strategy has comprehensively failed. The bellmouth (entrance) to Cuadrilla’s Preston New Rd site was blockaded in the early hours of Monday morning by 9 people, 2 tripods and a lot of arm tubes for some 58 hours. All were cut free by Wednesday but the blockade resumed straightaway with more lorry surfers deploying on Thursday. One protector was arrested for throwing an apple to them. This week’s blockades were in solidarity with the three men who were jailed last week for an anti-fracking protest at Preston New Road in July 2017. A fourth man was given a suspended sentence. The local community have been campaigning against fracking at the site for the last 8 years.

Ways to support the #FrackFreeFour here:
http://frackfreefoursupporters.org/
Anti-fracking protest outside shale gas site continues into third day

Angus Energy granted a High Court injunction
Attempts to clamp down on protesting at their fracking sites in Balcombe and Brockham, Sussex, last month (September) were in effective. About 50 protectors gathered the day after the injunction was granted to make their opposition to fracking clear.
Balcombe villagers protest against oil tests

Old Tidemill Occupied
Around 50 local volunteers have set up camp at the Old Tidemill wildlife garden in Deptford to protect 74 mature trees from the council’s proposed housing development there. The occupiers hope that a judicial review may yet save the garden, but following three years of campaigning and engagement with the democratic process they are taking no chances. For more background take a look at crossfield.blogspot.com. You can donate at crowdjustice.com/cases/save-reginald-save-tidemill
https://realmedia.press/old-tidemill-occupation/

Hambach Forest – Mass Demo This Saturday, 6th October
Following the recent evictions of tree houses in the Hambach Forest, the threatened clearing by the energy company RWE is becoming more concrete. However, the admissibility of this clearing is currently being heard by the Federal Environment and Nature Conservation Union (BUND) before the Higher Administrative Court. Creating facts before the court decision is another provocation from RWE. Under the court’s pressure, RWE has declared it will not begin clearing before October 14, 2018. That’s why the BUND, Campact, Greenpeace and the Friends of Nature in Germany are calling for a demonstration on October 6 at the Hambacher Wald to send a clear signal to RWE. 8.2k have clicked ‘attending’ on the facebook event page, with 41k ‘interested’.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1482505368518579/

Stansted 15 Trial Begins This Week
Last year, 15 people grounded a deportation charter flight for ten hours to prevent it taking off. The individuals responsible for this non-violent direct action have been charged with terrrorism-related offences that could result in life imprisonment. They were due to stand trial in March this year but after a series of delays the trial was adjourned.
These brave, compassionate activists succeeded in their aim of grounding the plane, proving both the strength of non-violent direct action and the corruption of the governmental and judicial processes. Their trial began this week, our thoughts are with them.
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/uk-mass-deportation-protesters-charged-terrorism-offences-chelmsford-court-dangerous-precedent-a8257211.html
https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/stansted-15-amnesty-observe-trial-amid-concerns-anti-deportation-activists

In Depth – Cuadrilla at Preston New Road

One of the aims of these newsletters is to highlight the challenges we are facing in the struggle to reframe the debate on climate change; the realities of ecological collapse feature very low in corporate media, if at all; coverage of those protesting in the name of these issues is distinctly lower; as well as the increasingly punitive legal measures to strangle free protest. Events at Preston New Road in recent years provide practical evidence of these ideas, and speak of the need for our movement.

Cuadrilla have been drilling for shale gas since 2010. Their first attempts at extraction in Preese Hall, Lancashire, resulted in two earthquakes, on 1 April and 27 May[1]. Drilling was suspended after the second tremor, with Cuadrilla commissioning a number of reports to investigate the cause. All evidence pointed to the tremors resulting from, “direct injection of fluid into the same fault zone.”[2] By 2013, despite spending over £100 million, with licenses to operate on ten sites in the UK, Cuadrilla had only carried out drilling on one site[3]. The multifaceted difficulties in successfully locating and extracting gas without excessive disruption to local wildlife and communities was evidenced by Lancashire County Council’s decision to refuse permission to frack at Preston New Road in 2015[4]. The decision made by local authorities, was overturned in 2016 by then Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid.

More than 300 protesters have been arrested since Cuadrilla began constructing a fracking pad at the site in January 2017[5], with high profile arrestees including; Lancashire County councillor, Gina Dowding, Fylde councillor, Julie Brickles, and Kirkham Town councillor, Miranda Cox. The success of the dynamic protesting used at PNR, such as the lorry surfing used by the #FrackFreeFour who were recently given wholly disproportionate jail time, is beyond question. With on-going disruption, Cuadrilla filed an injunction order in 2018 that would make almost all forms of protest around the sight site illegal[6]. The strength of direct action is reflected in the High Court’s approval of that injunction order. As of July 2018, legal forms of protest have been limited to slow walks and marches, or meetings, gatherings and vigils. These are only permissible with the following conditions,

“Provided that: (i) the said events take place between the hours of 0930 and 1230 on a Wednesday; (ii) the said walk or march lasts for no more than 1 hour; and (iii) the said meeting, gathering, vigil or similar assembly lasts for no more than 15 minutes.”[7]

Injunctions such as this, combined with the highly discretionary Public Nuisance order should be of concern to anyone who values the right to protest, freedom of speech, assembly and association.

Any ‘solutions’ predicated on the use of fossil fuels, are NOT a solution. We need to think beyond existing paradigms that saw the world develop through the 20th century with a complete dependence on fossil fuels[8]. This is the kind of critical thinking the Extinction Rebellion encourages.

[1] https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21120-how-fracking-caused-earthquakes-in-the-uk/
[2]http://energyspeakswv.com/Resources/Docs/Studies/Final_Report_Bowland_Seismicity_02-11-11.pdf (P.52, report commissioned by Cuadrilla).
[3] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/mar/13/fracking-cuadrilla-halts-operations-lancashire
[4]https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewDocument.aspx?fileid=18206275. (See point 5 on Page 2 for detailed reasoning of Lancashire County Council’s rejection of Cuadrilla application for Preston New Road.)
[5] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/26/anti-fracking-activists-jailed-for-blackpool-cuadrilla-protest
[6] https://cuadrillaresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/High-Court-Order.pdf
[7] https://cuadrillaresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/High-Court-Order.pdf (P.3).
[8] https://www.postcarbon.org/renewable-energy-will-not-support-economic-growth/

Sign Off
And so we come to the end of our 4th Edition of the Extinction Rebellion Newsletter. Pulling together the information to share with you all can be a disheartening process. With each passing week, devastation at the hands of climate change is growing.

But there is hope. For every company seeking short term profits over long term environmental assurance, there are protestors emboldened in their attempts to disrupt means of production. The lines are being clearly drawn. Those who wish to save the natural world, and those who wish to destroy it. The decisions we all make now will be heavily scrutinised in the years to come. We must ensure we are on the right side of history.

We’re developing the format of the newsletter in an effort to make it as useful and helpful as it can be. Any help with future editions; constructive criticism, feedback and input would be much appreciated.
“The way to change the nature of your experience is to change the nature of your thoughts”
Marianne Williamson
Please contact us at extinctionrebellion@risingup.org.uk if you have any questions or want to be added/removed from the mailing list.

If you have news or information which you think should be in the next newsletter, email: extinctionrebellion@risingup, with ‘XR NEWSLETTER’ as the title.