Inside XR #5 – IT’S APRIL!

I hear swathes of positivity from all the groups with success and expansion on many fronts. To quote Regen, there is a ‘flowering’ of support everywhere with a reaching out to countries outside the UK. XR is happy to work within and alongside Europe!

Huge thanks to everyone who sent in up-to-date news from the groups. I know how frantically busy you all are as we move towards April’s Mighty Big Push. My hunch is to keep reports here short and informative, as you have done in this issue, so it’s not another dreaded job to do. Think of it as joining the inner dots. Can you also please send photos and images to pretty-up the text.

Along the same lines, I query including an essay here. I’m not convinced it’s the right place as this is primarily a catch-up briefing. I’d welcome your thoughts. This time around, I’ve adopted Matthew’s suggestion of adding a few inspiring quotes, in tune with the mood for April.

I sign off with some about-time good news from the media: ‘The Guardian will now publish the Mauna Loa carbon count, the global benchmark, on the weather page of the paper every day.’

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/05/why-the-guardian-is-putting-global-co2-levels-in-the-weather-forecast

And the Guardian asks: ‘Were you inspired by XR?

The next internal newsletter will be out after April 15th. Now that will be an exciting issue!

Onwards.

Lynn

Accommodation

The people of London have come through for us massively and we have ~250 spaces for rebels in London being hosted by other activists scattered throughout the two weeks, if you are wanting for accommodation with a personal touch hit us up. On the open spaces front we have finalized 7 free locations of various sizes ranging from 10-100 capacity in London, but only for evening sleeping space.

We are still looking for spaces for day time respite for our brave overnight blockaders! We won’t stop till we we do!

Land & Respite:

This subgroup of Regen is really flowering. We now have close to 70 Open Homes as part of our network, willing to take activists on respite for a few days and in many cases, provide food. On the Land side, we are making excellent links with social farms around London, and the national Permaculture Association. After April L & R will split into two subgroups. Contact: xr-landandrespite@protonmail.com

XR Blog:

The original renegade international blog has retained its identity separate from the main XR websites, and we are now pleased to announce that we are in the process of expanding outward to other global movements such as Earthstrike, Youth Strike, Earth First and Reclaim The Power. We will henceforward be an international mass civil disobedience blog. Please bear with us during this transition phase, which will at some point include a name change. Interim Contact: matthew.xr@protonmail.com

Newsletter

The newsletter team has continued to enjoy its long-awaited regular output schedule: sending an issue every Wednesday has allowed us to find a steady rhythm in terms of content-writing. We’ve recently added a short new section called ‘Act Now’, the idea of which is to encourage our wonderful readers into taking small and immediate actions which will (theoretically) lead to bigger ones. We’re also working on a plan for how best to deal with the daily pace of news beginning from the 15th. All of which will hopefully be made lots easier by the addition of four new friendly faces to the team!

Press

The press team is working on all cylinders to cover the build-up to International Rebellion, and also to develop a game-plan for the 15th onwards. We’re building relationships with journalists as ever (but even more hurriedly!), and are liaising with the rest of the M&M team to ensure we have a presence at all of the Rebellion’s locations. We should have some fairly big coverage coming out towards the end of this week to set the scene.

International Support Team

The international support team have been working on facilitating conversations among different national XR teams in different countries, to build more connections across the international network. We’re working on twinning city/local groups and bringing representatives from specific work areas such as media and messaging together with similar national working groups in other countries, to ensure that folks internationally are as up to date as possible with one another.

On the weekend of 30th March, XR rebels from over eleven different countries came together in Brussels for a weekend gathering of workshops, discussions and delicious vegan food. Some were familiar with each other from months of online calls, many were meeting face-to-face for the first time, and others were completely new to the movement!

We sang, danced, did theatre workshops, chatted about biodiversity, regenerative culture and internationalist solidarity, and ended the weekend together by joining the climate march and announcing rebellion week on stage, much to the crowds enjoyment! It was a truly wonderful weekend, connecting many different groups and sharing experiences and stories.

Legal

The rebellion is near – get yourself trained up now! Green and Black Cross (GBC) have provided three more Legal Observer trainings before April 15th:

6th April – Birmingham

7th April – Exeter

13th April – Manchester

The Legal working group is also offering two Online Arrest Watch trainings on Saturday, 6th April, 6-9.30pm (register here), and on Thursday, 11th April, 6-9.30pm (register here). Arrest Watch trainings are not the same as Legal Observer trainings and are not meant to replace them. They are much more about providing rebels with insight into the full arrestee support system (rather than just what’s going on at an action) and showing them how they can become part of it. You can find more information here.

We’re still in urgent need of more legal observers (LOs) and back office supporters for the rebellion! If you can help us out, even if only for one shift, please sign up on our rota. Only people who attended the full 5-hour GBC LO training should sign up for legal observing. Anyone can help out in the back office but it’s preferable that you attend an Arrest Watch training beforehand.

Talks and Trainings

Rather excitingly, we have developed an XR meeting facilitation training together with a bunch of professional facilitators, including a lot of input from Seeds for Change (thanks to you guys!). This training is now being trialled for the first time. It introduces rebels to facilitation techniques as well as XR meeting culture. If you are a facilitation trainer and would like to deliver this format in your local area, please get in touch with xr.talks.trainings@gmail.com . There is a massive demand for this kind of training so don’t be shy!

To end on a very high note:

So far there’s confirmation for over 70 Affinity Groups attending next week’s rebellion, which means we’ve got an absolute minimum of 700 highly trained and motivated people joining us on Monday.

And here’s an article just published by James Westcott in Impakter:

https://impakter.com/scenes-from-a-rebellion/

And a podcast

https://resurgence.podiant.co/e/3739d47722c2aa/ by Marianne, editor of Resurgence & Ecologist magazine, interviewing Mothiur Rahman about XR.

Quotes for April

(I’ll try to find more obscure ones next time!)

“There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent threat of climate change.”

  • Barack Obama

“It’s a collective endeavor, it’s collective accountability and it may not be too late.”

  • Christine Lagarde

“We have a single mission: to protect and hand on the planet to the next generation.”

  • Francois Hollande

“People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change.

  • Desmond Tutu
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Inside XR #4


Web version here

The last few weeks have been frantic, frenetic and fabulous. The groundswell of awareness and support for XR continues to grow exponentially. Well done, Team XR!

XR is full of admiration and respect for the children and young people who skipped school to make their voices heard across the globe on Friday, March 15th. They are so right and so justified to shout about the state of the planet they will inherit. The numbers who turned out were staggering. We salute and support you! More in the main newsletter.

And so we move towards the upcoming Dover blockade on 30th March, described in the main newsletter as ‘one of their most turbulent actions to date to highlight the extreme vulnerability of the British people to our food insecurity.’ Climate change will without doubt induce famine – something barely touched on in the mainstream media.

To more practical matters… we have a useful new form – Integration’s latest way for working groups to ask for more volunteers (replacing the old method which involved writing a role description) which will be put on this page.

There are also rumours that the tech team, after weeks of hard work, will be unveiling a new XR website in the near future.

Online Meetings

Does your working group use online meetings?

Do you sometimes struggle to find room for a meeting-slot in the Goto calendar?

Have you ever had your meeting cancelled by another group who wants your slot?

If you’ve experienced any of these problems, please be aware that as well as the Goto Meeting account, XR also has 4 separate Zoom accounts which can be used for working group meetings. If you’d like to have the login details for one of these accounts, please email tech@rebellion.earth

The legal team has spent quite some time producing this; a document that contains valuable expert advice and information about your legal rights if you are arrested. Do read it if you are thinking of direct action and are wondering what to do – and what you need to know – if you are arrested.

From Lynn Michell:

I’m the enthusiastic novice now in charge of this newsletter, replacing the overworked Doug. I’d love each group to nominate someone to be responsible for communicating with me and for getting reports and longer pieces in. Some photos and artwork to go with your pieces would be very welcome to make the newsletter as buzzy as your real life activity.

My sincere thanks to all who’ve found time between the planning and the plotting and the protests to send in reports for Inside XR #4, even as we move with passion toward April’s momentous events. It’s important we all keep in touch.

Thank you for reading this.

Internal news

Actions, Art and Logistics

Actions

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Bn7gjUWGXotrISKEFaBmYTJFGtyjEG067ab8xlTtto8/edit#

Art

This is what we’ve been up to:

  • Rolling out a very serious flag manufacturing program and new patches
  • Producing 100s of thousands of beautiful new poster and flyer designs for promotion of April’s rebellion!
  • Finishing the new website – almost there!
  • Arts and cultural groups are expanding, putting pressure on institutions to declare emergency and hosting workshops to train ready for a performative rebellon.

M&M

Social media

  • We’ve passed 70k followers on Facebook, and over 55k on Twitter – thanks for your support! We’ve also shot up to over 40k on Instagram, partly thanks to interest from the schoolstrikes and a shoutout from Jack Harries, a filmmaker and influencer who was arrested with the #Petroleum9 for blockading International Petroleum Week in London.
  • NEW EVENT UP! We’re kick-starting the callout for a worldwide week of MASS FLYPOSTING to tell the truth on the climate emergency and ecological collapse, starting from March 30th in the lead up to International Rebellion.
  • Over 10,000 Rebels are already listed as Going or Interested to the Facebook event for International Rebellion event starting April 15th – but we want MORE, so invite all your friends! This takes two minutes, but it could be the most important thing you ever do on social media, so please do it. Together we change the world!

Press

The press team is working hard to keep up with covering the many events now happening and upcoming. Alongside the usual writing of press releases and liaising with journalists, we’re also looking to place features in publications outside of our normal audience, so that we can reach out to and bring as many people on-side as possible before we get into April.

Blog

Calling Affinity Groups to share their stories for the international XR Blog and beyond.

Are you part of an affinity group that has participated in direct action? We ask for your stories of courage, struggle, compassion and collaboration, of whatever you have experienced together, from when you first formed to where you are now. This is an offshoot of the #HumansofXR project, to show the world that this movement is their moment too, and demystify NVDA to encourage more to get involved. Creative writing and mixed media all considered. Please email xrblog@protonmail.com with your A.G. name in the subject line.

If you are interested in being a photographer/videographer of your affinity group’s ongoing story, particularly in April, please email francesca.xr.media@gmail.com

Please get permission from all AG members before printing names publicly, or choose pseudonyms.

Additional blog news: we are considering expanding our remit to cover more than just XR, to be a blog space that brings together all radical nonviolent civil disobedience movements that are happening internationally, to promote greater solidarity and revolutionary cohesion moving forward. Get in touch to give your views on this either way, as we are yet undecided.

Note that the international blog is separate from the main XR websites, so we have a lot of freedom and tactical manoeuvrability. (What a great word!)

Newsletter

Through the amazing work of those who’ve joined us, the external newsletter team is excited to be on the very cusp of regular weekly output. We’re also really happy with our new International Highlights section which showcases the sometimes under-appreciated global magnitude of XR. Going forward, we’re hoping to grow the team to include a role focussing on readership growth. If you’d like to include an announcement in the next newsletter, please email xr-newsletter@protonmail.com.

Regen

A sanctuary space is now ready in our London offices, hosting regenerative workshops, massages and healing sessions. Our kitchen is also opening up on Wednesday with an inaugural pot of soup! Any London-based healers/space holders/therapists/masseuses/cooks wanting to get involved, please contact Iain on xlaieounr@protonmail.com

Land and Respite

The UK network of respite hosts continues to grow. We continue to receive enquiries from individuals, places and organisations who want to support Rebels. It is also nice to see more requests for respite coming in. Please keep them coming. Look after yourselves! Please get in touch at xr-landandrespite@protonmail.com if you know anyone/where that would be interested in growing this network, or if you would like some respite time in an XR person’s house, resting up and being fed. We have hosts all over the country, including near London.

In preparation for April and all future Actions/Work, the team is building a new database of Land Support around London. This will include all common land, parks, open spaces, land squats (or potential), farms and private holdings where Rebels are free to roam, organise, take respite and engage in civil disobedience. Longer-term into the autumn and into 2020, this City Support Belt could potentially provide a larger strategic role. This is just our intuition, so it’s up to all of you, especially strategy people, to think of how this could be useful, if we’re right!

We are also exploring which sites around the city could welcome Earth Marchers on their way into the centre.

Watch this space as we develop a Land Support map for London for all Rebels to use.

We are reaching out to the horse-drawn community, to see if any would join the Earth Marches to provide support (carry bags/food/tents/people) and perhaps join us in the middle of London mid-April. We have put a call out, but if any of you have direct links, please get in touch. Wouldn’t you like to see a bunch of horses and wagons in London? And a big pile of horse-shit in Parliament Square? Help us make it happen!

Finally, we urgently seek a techy person to maintain our Land and Respite map of the UK, and to begin and maintain a Land Support map for London. This is a new volunteer role. Please get in touch if you can help.

Legal

Please come to our Arrest Watch Training this Sunday 24th March

https://www.facebook.com/events/1037954563058520/

It will give you the skills to prepare you and your group for arrests at actions. It will be a day of skilling up so that the next time you are out on the streets and someone gets arrested next to you, you’ll be able to support them. It’s also about skills for the action day so that there’s a framework in place to support arrestees on the day itself and to get ready for post arrest. Please send 1-2 representative(s) from your local XR group down to this training so they can skill their local rebels up in how to watch arrests. There is a lot we need to get through so prepare yourselves for a full-day training.

Bring some food so we can have a shared lunch together – we’re looking forward to training with you!

Talks and Trainings

In February, Events Organisation has helped to set up 36 talks and 22 NVDAs. In March they organised 41 talks and 20 NVDAs. And these are only the ones we know about… which is pretty amazing!

If anyone else is organising speaker trainings or NVDA Train the Trainers, please do get in touch with eventsxr@gmail.com so that we can put them into our calendar and get as many attendees as possible.

Festivals group has confirmed 8 festivals over this summer. We’ll be there with our Rebel Rebel tent including Noisily, Shindig, Glastonbury, Byline, BlueDot, Wilderness, and Boomtown!

We are looking for more volunteers to join our Events Organisation team from different regions.

Other than that, we’ve finalised our new talks and workshop scripts in time for April, and now we’re ready to go on all fronts! We are looking to decentralise even more by helping to support more Talks & Trainings working groups of Local groups, all thanks to Robin’s new Local Links idea.

Communities

Regional Development

The regional development is pleased to welcome aboard a raft of new super proactive regional coordinators in the South East, South West and the North! We are now setting up regional art factories across the UK to ensure that the rebellion is fully equipped and colourful in April. Local groups are now preparing themselves for April by gearing up with more talks and NVDA trainings. We are still looking for regional coordinators in the Midlands so if you are keen and prepared to give just a few hours a week then please contact us at xr-regionaldevelopment@protonmail.com.

Integration

The main priority within Integration is bringing in committed volunteers with regular availability into key organising roles for the International Rebellion. We’ve advertised loudly for new volunteers and are inviting working group coordinators to update us on current requirements using THIS online form.

Tech

The Tech group has been working on a number of projects including bringing a new ticketing system online for tech support requests at tech@rebellion.earth, bringing our Basecamp system more in line with the Self-Organising System structure, getting our new website up to production standard, and increasing security and data protection across the XR organism. Talk about a busy month for Tech!

International Support

The International Support team has been working on facilitating conversations among different national XR teams in different countries and to build more connections across the international network. We’re working on twinning city/local groups and bringing representatives from specific work areas such as Media and Messaging together with similar national working groups in other countries to make sure that folks internationally are as up to date as possible with one another.

A European gathering has been organised for the 30-31st March in Brussels, bringing several national teams from across Europe together for the first time in the same space to meet face-to-face.

Finance and Fundraising

“Calling All Rebels” at the beginning of March gave a huge boost to our Crowdfunding campaign: an extra £40,000 in 10 days. But we are not there yet. Tell people around you that we have a rebellion to fund!

For donations,  click here

This is an extract of what donors wrote:
Extinction Rebellion is the Earth’s last best chance – so there’s just no choice – we’re donating what we can afford and will be in London for the 2 weeks” – Jenny


“inspirational work – gives us all hope! Thank you to everyone who puts themselves out there to change hearts and minds” – Margaret

Self Organising System

We have a wonderful new, visual version of the XR Organism which shows who is a coordinator in different working groups. Check it out here.

Recently our recommendations for an XR Constitution were approved by the Anchor Circle. An exciting step towards a functioning Self Organising System! Curious about what the Anchor Circle is? Check out our explanation post here.  

We are delighted to have a few new members on the team who will be looking at how we can share the SOS system with local groups, general trainings and to structure our debrief/feedback systems.

Please make sure you send us all the key documents and videos for your group to add to this spreadsheet. Info on how to do this here.

If you need help setting up the SOS system in your group please get in touch with xrmandates@gmail.com

SOS out!


Briefing: What’s faith got to do with Extinction? Learning to hold the world in our hearts

(mothiur@neweconomylaw.org, skeena0408@hotmail.com)

We live in a secular society where, for the last few hundred years, affairs of the heart and spirit have been firmly kept separate from the “worldly” affairs of power and politics. And yet many are longing for a deeper connection to one another and enlisting in actions of civil disobedience. This demonstrates that the craft of civil disobedience as a powerful force for societal transformation when held from the heart and with the intention of non-violence (see in particular Mark & Paul Engel’s book “This is an Uprising”).

We’re a group of people who practice our faith in many different ways: Jewish, Christian, Muslim, shamanic, healing practices, meditation, humanist and ‘nothing in particular’, to name a few. We have already developed several strands of action. Our first activity was to support a civil disobedience action, the ‘Blood of our Children’ on 9 March when some of our group held space at the beginning of the procession and helped hold the “field of intention” as we all gathered to hear the children and youth speak their truth. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW02kNbpAmU&feature=youtu.be

One comment on the event: “This was an extremely moving event – more than I imagined, to be honest. And in part to this holding of sacred space.”

Creating “sacred space” may be no more than just telling people to put a hand on one another’s shoulder as we gather together, a remembrance of touch and togetherness uncommon in our atomised culture, the “sacredness” coming through an alignment of intentions through an action that, in its own small way, opens the heart.

We also now have an online “intention field” Facebook group, “Holding the World in our Hearts”, which we invite you to join. Together we hold the intention to move through our planetary crisis with “love in action” and “love in stillness”. We lean into the riches of our imagination and curiosity and through our hearts into leadership. Please join us and dedicate your sacred practices to this vision. We are planning regular ‘virtual meetups’ where we can contribute our love, our intentions and our spiritual and heart-led capacities for creating a more beautiful world. Please join us!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/holdingtheworldinourhearts

As we move towards International Rebellion, we intend to build our supportive capacities for working with civil disobedience action. We are also reaching out to faith communities in their churches, synagogues, mosques and other spiritual centres to invite them to the International Rebellion, to demonstrate “love in action” from each of their perspectives and help XR become a fractal pattern of the dynamic diversity we need to be. We are also supporting XR through creating materials to help in the transmission of “XR’s DNA”. We gave a taster of what we hope to bring to such DNA transmission training at the Spring Rebellion. There are plans for this to be rolled out as a “train the trainer” set of materials.  

One member of our group is a professional who is not of any particular faith and said he felt a little bit excluded by many in our group who are on “journeys” of spiritual transformation.  When he heard the statement below he felt it spoke to him, an ordinary guy in a job he liked and wanted to keep, but who felt fear at what he was hearing, wanted to protect his children and wanted to be reminded of what was important in life as it was easy to forget in a busy and stressed life. So finally, we would like to hear your thoughts on this: Does this speak to you, would you like to hear it read out at the beginning of the Regen Statement for XR meetings?  

If you could please take 1 minute to answer “yes/no/yes with minor amendments” in this poll that would be AMAZING:

http://www.easypolls.net/poll.html?p=5c918a20e4b070a0255c22e5

A Collective Intention:

Let us take a moment, this moment, to consider why we are here.

Let’s recall our love for the whole of humanity, in all corners of the world.

Let’s remember our love for this beautiful planet that feeds, nourishes and sustains us.

Let’s recollect our sincere desire to protect all this, for ourselves, for all living beings and for generations to come.

As we act today, may we find the courage to bring this sense of peace and appreciation to everyone we encounter, to every word we speak and to every action we make.

Thank you for turning up.

If you would like to be involved in this group’s activities please contact one of the coordinators, Mothiur or Skeena, or join the Basecamp group click here.

Internal newsletter 3

Hi all,

The build-up to April is underway. With the swarming of Fashion Week, and a whole range of regional actions including street parties in London and Bristol, Extinction Rebellion is re-entering mainstream consciousness. This return will be made official in a large-scale media briefing this Tuesday (see ‘Press’ for details), when we will announce our upcoming plans to the general public.

As we enter ‘Phase 2’, it’s only fitting that XR London should be moving into a new office. After weeks of anticipation, the necessary papers have at last been signed and we’ve been told to expect just a few days more anticipation before receiving the keys.

But there’s plenty more to anticipate: the Spring Uprising has been confirmed and will be happening on March the 16th, we’ll be mass fly-posting by the end of that month, while plans for April just got even more exciting with a March for Life.

More immediately, our next big event is coming this Friday at the Department for Education; but those who can’t make it to this – or who just can’t wait to start pressuring the government into action on climate – will be happy to find a new group aiming to use collective complaints to improve the BBC’s coverage of ecological catastrophe.

It looks like an exciting few months!

Internal news

Actions, Art and Logistics

Actions

After successful actions at Fashion Week this Sunday, and a street party in Hackney last weekend, the actions team is now preparing for this Friday’s event outside the Department for Education. Detailed plans are also being made for the Blood of Our Children event on the 9th of March.

Art

Art dept have been busy as usual!

  • Working on new lino cuts, and new artworks for the next round of flags, banners and placards.
  • Special edition artworks for London Fashion week including fashion ad hijacks.
  • A new Performance focussed working group has formed, hatching plans for ‘a breathtaking street presence’ for April.
  • Rolling out workshops in art schools where clothing is printed and placards are made alongside a talk on rebellion.
  • Sourcing reclaimed fabrics for future autonomous art factories of the future, check out the prototype from last autumn here,
  • Working on the new website.

 

M&M

Social media

  • We’ve passed 60k followers on Facebook, over 30k on Instagram, and are nearly at 50k on Twitter – thanks for your support!
  • NEW EVENT UP! We’re kick-starting the callout for a worldwide week of MASS FLYPOSTING to tell the truth on the climate emergency and ecological collapse, starting from March 30th in the leadup to International Rebellion.
  • Over 7,500 Rebels are already listed as Going or Interested to the Facebook event
  • for International Rebellion event starting April 15th!

Press

The press team has been busy covering recent actions, while also preparing for a large-scale media briefing on Tuesday the 26th, similar to a successful briefing held by us in November. During this we will present our strategy for April along with details of planned events. We are also working on a features strategy to ensure more coverage independent of actions.

Spokes and Notables circle

We have notables supporting us from the academic/ scientific /conservation/political communities and the mainstream celebrity communities. We are also starting to reach out to influencers in the local communities. The normal people who are doing extraordinary things and inspiring others to take action. We are currently planning an event in North Wales on April the 8th. The world class climber James McHaffie will be naming a new climb after XR , this will be a route never before attempted and will be known henceforth to the climbing world as the Extinction Rebellion climb. He will also be hoisting a huge banner. Please come along and offer support and use social media to share this event. Multi award winning National Geographic contracted photographer and conservationist Ami Vitale and Emmy winning filmmaker/ecologist Chris Morgan are also supporting the climb.

We will give directions to the exact locations at a later date. If anyone has any direct links to any celebrities or influencers who are passionate about the environment please contact us at xrnotables@gmail.com.

Blog

A subgroup of XR Blog has been formed: !XRWINS! (Writers’ International Networks). The purpose of !XRWINS! is to create a spider’s web of back-links across the net by approaching a large number and diversity of individual websites to feature a small diplomatic statement about XR in the context of the toxic media and democratisation of the net, along with clickable links back to xrebellion.org, rebellion.earth and xrblog.org. Media and Messaging WG will be consulted on the content of this statement, which within months we intend to see all over the net.

 

Regen

The London Regen group had a fantastic discussion at the weekly Wednesday meeting in response to the question of ‘Why does our group exist? Why regenerative culture? And what does that mean for our activities as a group?’ The following text has been stitched together from the minutes of that meeting:

Regenerative culture breaks away from the mainstream, depletive culture that is driving the ecological disaster. A rebellion of culture against our sick society. Let’s make time for embodiment. For connection. Deep connection. With the Earth, with each other and with ourselves. We must balance the urgency of our task with the pertinence of each present moment. Each soul with which we share this task.

The coming together of LIFE. ‘A depth of Wellness’. Avoiding blame. Community. Libraries. Reaching out. Breaking through the dismal spectacle of our society. Rippling out. Calmness and kindness – revitalising and refreshing. An Antidote to alienation and individualism. Harmony. Beauty. Balance.

Land Respite

With the idea gathering momentum of marching on London from all quarters of the UK, Land and Respite is looking to provide some of the accommodation needs for marchers / walkers. This can be via Open Homes (private XR households) or land-based projects (eco-projects).

As marchers accumulate towards London the demand for accommodation will increase, so we particularly seek hosts to get in touch with us clustered within a thirty mile radius of the city. However please be clear that we are not organising any accommodation for activists during actions. This is the remit of a separate WG. Our remit is ‘before and after’. Write to xr-landandrespite@protonmail.com We have taken on extra admin capacity ready for an influx of offers from hosts. We have 50 so far, but at least 500 by mid-April, including 300 clustered around the city, is our aim.

Open Homes can double up as casual sofa-surfing hosts by arrangement for XR activists travelling around the country. See the map of current hosts here.

 

Legal

The XR Legal Support Team continues to support arrestees and defendants; we are also working on legal strategy that can be presented in court. Furthermore, we are gearing up for upcoming actions by preparing easy to read information sheet for potential arrestees. Please contact xr-legal@riseup.net if you have been arrested but haven’t heard from us yet.

 

Talks and Trainings

Rather excitingly, we have a new team of professional meeting facilitators working on an XR facilitation training which we will hopefully start to deliver in local XR groups by the end of February. If you’re a facilitator and would like to help us deliver these trainings, please get in touch with xr.talks.trainings@gmail.com .

Furthermore, speaker trainings on how to do the Heading for Extinction talk have been arranged in London, Oxford, Cambridge, Newcastle, Sheffield, and Birmingham for the coming weeks. Get in touch with the local coordinators if you would like to attend one of them.

 

Communities

Regional Development

Our team is growing and working well with the Intergration team in developing an efficient and thorough process for new groups to follow and then to become connected to their local xr network. Please send any new groups you become aware of to xr-regionaldevelopment@protonmail.com

We have been struggling to cover all areas of the UK with Regional Coordinators, especially in the midlands and the north of England. We need local coordinators who have a good view of the XR landscape of their region to join our working group.

Integration

The integration team have put together a Rebel Starter Pack for new members. This is part of a developing induction process that includes regular online Intro to XR sessions and weekly Working Group Integration sessions to bring people into UK working groups. An outline of this new process along with links to sign up to new sessions can be found on page 11 of the Rebel Starter Pack.

Newsletters

The newsletter team has been growing a lot, and is currently plotting a survey which should allow us to better understand what our readers value in what we produce. Related to this, we’re also considering a radical restructuring of our format to become more user-friendly. We sent out issue 13 last night; you can find it here. If you or your Working Group would like to feature an announcement in a future issue, please email xr-newsletter@protonmail.com.

Conflicting demands have hindered the author of the internal newsletter in the creation of this issue – he’s sorry about that, and grateful to all the working group contributors.

Tech

The Tech team have just recruited a bunch of new members and are making moves to become more visible within XR. Recently they have been working on a new website, potential technologies for ticketing and are currently in the process of overhauling the Basecamp structure and documentation to ease the onslaught of notifications and improve communication links within the movement.

Festivals

The Festivals Working Group have been active now since the end of December to create a range of festival offerings to create maximum impact & movement-building opportunities throughout the summer. Most of the festivals we are applying to will have an info stall as a focal point for roving engagement teams, plus a speaker slot(s) if there is an available platform, and will be staffed by our Local Group network. We also have our ‘Rebel Rebel’ offering comprising a bespoke, professional grouping of tented areas to create a versatile platform for talks, trainings, engagement activities & music. This is being targeted at key festivals such as Glastonbury, Shambala & Blue Dot, and will utilise volunteers from within the movement to create a vibrant, colourful & dynamic presence to help raise the profile of XR. More info in the next issue 😉

 

International Support

The international support team are setting up teams of regional liaisons to coordinate communication across different geographical areas in order to decentralise the international rebellion and we are looking for people who want to take on supporting the rebellion internationally through these roles. More information can be found here.

We have a support network to help new national groups setting up and if you have any questions or would like to get hold of us then send an email to xr-international@protonmail.com

 

Finance and Fundraising

We reached £10,000 for our 2019 crowdfunder: https://fundrazr.com/Global_XR

This needs everyone’s help sharing to help us reach the £250k we need for April’s rebellion.

 

Political Strategy

Citizens Assembly for the Climate Emergency

The Citizens Assembly for the Climate Emergency (CACE) working group were advised that the best way to approach the Government to form a Citizens Assembly is to argue that the CA can solve a problem the Gov’t are not able to themselves.

They have planned another webinar to explain citizens assemblies, agreed text describing citizens assemblies for the XR website and adjusted their mandate to reflect the need to lobby Gov’t for CACE, by both XR membership generally (for which a template letter is being drafted) and through a point of direct contact with MP’s. As such, the XR CACE working group ask that someone capable of fulfilling that role can join their team.

 

Self Organising System

The SOS team have been creating new ways for the XR Organism to work in the holacracy inspired principles of autonomy and decision making. For a full reference of this, please check out our new Self Organising System document (shorter version here). We have also been working to build on the structure of XR UK which you can check out here. At the moment this structure isn’t fixed- its all a work in progress to make sure we can start to set up an airtight, constitutional organisation by the time April 15th rolls around.

We had meetings with Movement, Actions and Political circle coordinators last week and are organising an Anchor circle meeting for this week. These meeting will be all be publicly available to watch afterwards and should be available to join as silent witnesses in the future.

Need to know who to get in touch with? Check out the XR Organism spreadsheet.

Please make sure you send us all the key documents and videos for your group to add to this spreadsheet. Info on how to do this here.

If you need help setting up the SOS system in your group please get in touch.

SOS out!

Photo: Hackney Street Party, February 9th

General Climate News

The Institute for Public Policy Research published a report last Wednesday condemning the lack of policy response to now ‘critical’ levels of climatic change and its ‘catastrophic outcomes’. Following this – and XR protests at fashion week – the Environmental Audit Committee released a report calling for fashion retailers to ‘take responsibility’ for their waste. Further research on insect decline made available in the journal Biological Conservation calls for an urgent rethinking of global agricultural practices.

In better news, 15,000 UK pupils walked out of schools on Friday, following Greta Thunberg’s example. Shale fracking firm Cuadrilla lost their second planning application in Lancashire, albeit due to traffic complaints. Lastly, Hornsea One offshore windfarm will start to supply this week and is set to be the largest of its kind when completed.

 

Briefing – Collective action vs. individual action

 

This week, Louisa Goodfellow discusses the notorious ‘collective vs individual’ framing of ecological action.

A commonly cited theory surrounding the ‘individual vs. collective’ is that of the Prisoners’ Dilemma; that two prisoners in solitary confinement inform on each other to lessen their sentence, resulting in both sentences being increased. It is applied in this context as an unwillingness to act if others are not, the consequences of which being a worsened situation for all. However, most research suggests we act as a result of socio-political norms and principles, not in solitary confinement.

Writing in the Guardian, Martin Lukacs argues that pervasive neo-liberalist ideals have led us to believe in individual climate mitigation, whereas the only solution is collective action against corporate institutions. Pervasive Thatcherite privatisation, de-regulation and tax cuts have created an environment in which 100 corporations emit 71% of global CO2 emissions. This doctrine of individualist consumption has perhaps been prioritised within environmental advocacy in recent years (‘Think global, act local’) – emphasizing independent lifestyle choices, when compared with the public outcry concerning pesticides in the 60’s post ‘Silent Spring’, for instance.

The 2009 pre-COP15 rally 350.org co-ordinated 181 simultaneous protests, perhaps the largest collaborative protest in history. More recently, outcry that 8 million plastics are annually dumped in the oceans in a campaign spearheaded David Attenborough has certainly pervaded the public consciousness. But pledges by firms to reduce single use plastics and increase R&D into recycling will be another example of private greenwashing unless there is continued and wilful civil impetus for an overhaul of practice.

This case and many others proves that mass remonstration can be significantly impactful. However, as Elizabeth Wainwright reasons, rejecting the ‘individual vs. collective’ dichotomy altogether will allow a celebration of individual stories and strengths, whilst ‘tackling the corporate powers collectively’. This reframing might be seen an important part of XR’s recent successes: seeking to collectively mobilize enough of the population in a democratic, de-centralized network to challenge socio-political norms, whilst not precluding individual action and responses.

To tackle the global, diffuse damage of environmental change an individualist approach cannot work. But an individual action will make a small difference and influence collective decision making. Therefore it stands to reason that much-needed cooperative global grassroots movements, comprising of individuals, will be integral to effectively challenge damaging economic and social institutions.

Internal Newsletter 2

Inside XR #2

Hi all,

After a regenerative festive period, XR is getting back into gear!

For now the main emphasis throughout our movement, at all levels, is on strategy – from individual working groups to the immense meta-strategy process. This latter will culminate tomorrow, in the National Meetup, where people from all parts of the UK and XR will discuss the proposed strategy for April.

Concurrent with strategy, the progress of XR’s structural development has been beautifully illustrated, accompanied by an equally colorful spreadsheet listing email addresses and mandates, all of which should help both members of the public and XR alike to better understand how we organise.

In more material terms, XR members have been involved in a number of solidarity actions, including Earthstrike and the disruption of the Global Coal Resources general meeting, while our first major civil disobedience event for the year is due to take place on the roads of Hackney on February 9th.

Like many others, though, the actions team is waiting for the conclusion of tomorrow’s meta-strategy process before planning too far ahead. With this in place, it won’t be long at all before XR is back in the public eye – and hopefully it won’t be too long after that before the UK leads a radical shift in humanity’s relationship with the environment!

Strategy

After dozens of conference calls and hundreds of email exchanges, our strategy and stewardship groups were finally able to spend a weekend together in Stroud to discuss XR’s strategy for the coming months. Thanks again to Springhill Co-housing for allowing us to meet in their beautiful space! Not only were we able to discuss different aspects of the strategy in more detail but we also worked on redesigning our organisational structures and decision-making processes and connected with each other, living the regenerative culture that we now need more than ever.

The session in Stroud was followed by a smaller meeting on Wednesday which brought together all that had been learned hitherto, and where strategy representatives began to finalise the process into a document now available here, which will be presented and explained by the same representatives tomorrow. Following this presentation, all in attendance will be encouraged to give feedback; the strategy team will then meet the following Wednesday to discuss this feedback and make any necessary changes to the strategy outline before formally concluding the process.

Last weekend’s strategy meeting in Stroud. Photo credit: Maia Kenworthy

Internal news

Actions, Art and Logistics

The actions, arts, and logistics working group is currently re-forming. They are working on creating documents which will help us decentralise and integrate new members to build the teams that will work on actions over the coming months building toward April 15th and beyond. In terms of a realistic and regenerative approach we have decided all major XR actions will have at least a month lead-in. As well as eagerly awaiting the conclusion of the meta-strategy process which will guide the work of this working group going forward, we are gathering ideas for actions from a range of experienced and creative artists and activists, and being inspired by the local groups around the UK and the world who are taking creative XR actions almost every week. These will all feed into a creative visioning meeting amongst artists and activists within this working group to design the next phase of actions which will again inspire this movement through our collective power. Through our actions we will try to outreach to new groups, create mass economic disruption, and vision the future we want to see in the world. Some will be aimed at one of these, and some at all three.

M&M

Social media

Our Social Media team have been working flat out this week to scramble getting the word out for sudden events coming up, from solidarity protests for the Wet’suwet’en anti-frackers in Canada, to more protests against Jair Bolsonaro outside the Brazilian Embassy, to court solidarity support for Conscientious Protectors (arrested for blocking a London meeting to plan a new coal mine in Bangladesh). As new people hear about us our followings are continuing to grow by around 500-1000 every week or two. However, an even more interesting development is a whopping ONE HUNDRED new people signing up as “Going” to International Rebellion Week EVERY DAY, bringing the total to over 1,500 already. If this continues at the same rate we’ll be at over 10,000 by April – but with the actions coming up and more effort going into spreading the word, we know this will start to grow a lot faster… We’re excited to see how many we can get! We’ll see you on the streets in April, rebels. Tell all your friends!

https://www.facebook.com/events/126622414898833/

Stat-lovers, see this week’s analytics report here.

Press

The press team, like many others, is looking to expand in response to increasing demands. Concurrent to this we’re continuing to handle inquiries and requests from news organisations of all shapes and sizes; we’re also working on proactive strategies for creating coverage in the coming months, such as getting XR-written articles into major newspapers, working with strategy teams to ensure rapid press reactivity, and building the informational infrastructure to be ready for April.

Spokes and Notables circle

We are gathering all the amazing work that has already been done and trying to bring some coordination to future work! We are responsible for preparing people within our movement to speak to media and at events on behalf of XR. We also reach out to people who we would love to speak on behalf of us – from social justice activists to climate professors to rock climbers to A-list celebrities. As and when we make contact with ‘notables’, we are responsible for integrating their involvement (through public support to donating to being arrested!) into XR. It’s going to be a BIG YEAR both for notables joining XR and also for us needing MANY XR people ready and trained to talk to press so – if you would like to join this team please email sam.j.knights@gmail.com

Regen

The Regenerative Culture UK National Working Group has now appointed several sub-group leads meaning that integration, conflict resilience and Action Regen are all maturing, thanks to Joanna, April and Jasmine!

Regen is bringing together Local Regen groups from across the world to begin having weekly introductions and trainings starting this week. As well as this, Regen is offering emotional debriefs and sharing spirals to those who were arrested and are facing court due to involvement with XR actions in London (the next debrief being on Monday Jan 21st at 7pm).

Furthermore, Regen is in contact with several groups who will be offering trainings in Privilege Awareness, Restorative Circles & Sustaining Groups – venues being booked and dates announced soon & publicised via social media.

If anyone is interested in feeding into Regenerative Culture, you’re most welcome: we are running intro to UK National online calls weekly for the next month or more – please email xr.regenerativeculture@gmail.com if you’re interested in attending.

Finally we want to give our huge gratitude to everyone for their continuing love of each other and the earth, standing bravely in the face of uncertainty.

Legal

The legal team is continuing to expand and develop as new volunteers join the group. We have now begun to support defendants through court trails and hearings. We are also working on improving our communication system in order to better support arrestees and defendants. At the same time, we are developing a legal strategy for XR and trainings for legal observers around the country.

We continue to seek contact with anyone who has been arrested at an XR action. If you haven’t been in touch with XR legal please send an email at xr-legal@riseup.net

Talks and Trainings

The latest version of the Heading for Extinction talk is out! If you’re one of our speakers and need the updated materials, please email xr.talks.trainings@gmail.com. Our NVDA training team went to Germany to learn from the champions about how to spice up our trainings. Speaker trainings on how to give the Heading for Extinction talk are now being organised around the country, with a focus on England and Wales, but online trainings are also being provided for rebels who live a bit further off so again, please get in touch if you would like to attend them. As a result, there are now more trained speakers around than ever before – so if you need one for a talk in your local area, or if you want to organise an NVDA training, please fill out this online form. Finally, a first series of meeting facilitation trainings has been set up in Manchester, Bristol, London and Exeter.

Communities

Along with all of the strategy processes, two wonderful feedback processes have been held: the external questionnaire, analysed here, finds a generally very positive perception of XR, with one of a few points for improvement being the information flow which this newsletter is hoping to help with. The internal questionnaire, summarised here, found some similar themes (e.g. “the overwhelming amount of information balanced with the lack of communication”), together with heart-warming positives. The overall feedback testifies to a willingness across XR as a whole to listen to itself and learn from its errors.

Integration

The integration team is currently developing regular online induction sessions, a Rebel Starter Pack, a phone banking system to enable us to reach out to our database to let them know about April 15th, and an automated email system to direct rebels to their local groups. We’ve also started posting volunteer roles on the website. More info about all of this here.

Newsletters

Readers may have noticed that the internal newsletter is back(!). We’re looking to regularise the output by getting a steady system so that all of our wonderful WG contributors can get into the groove of sending in their sections.

Meanwhile the external newsletter is working on expanding its team and formalising its roles. It would also like to announce a new Announcements section – if you’d like something publicised through this platform (such as a call for volunteers, or the revelation of a new initiative), please get in touch with xr-newsletter@protonmail.com. See here for our latest issues.

Tech

A UK tech team has been forming over the last month or so. Work is now starting in earnest to form teams focused on specific technological areas, such as External Communications (use of emails/etc), internal communications (use of Basecamp and other instant messaging tools), website (looking at major updates to the website and possible support to local groups), data and GDPR (making sure our data kept about individuals is clean, and that we always respect our responsibilities regarding data-protection law). We hope that, through this work, we can facilitate the other teams in XR to be more effective at their work.

Actions, events and gatherings strategy

The Action, Events and Gatherings group has recently been formed, following the disbanding of the coordinating group. This restructuring promises to be exciting, though there are challenges during the transition period.

We’ve been looking at ways to maintain forward momentum whilst continuing to further decentralise, which isn’t easy during an intense campaign. We’ve also been considering action proposals as well as strategy up to March 2019. Proposals so far have included fracking, aviation, coal etc: all issues close to our hearts. We hope to be able to support ongoing campaigns whilst also maintaining the momentum vital to carry us towards our goal. What’s also essential now is how we develop our feedback mechanisms, so that regional groups can input on that strategy rather than have it dictated to them top-down. We are all looking forward to seeing how 2019 unfolds as we continue to take action on a variety of fronts.

Finance and Fundraising

The finance and fundraising team have been on-boarding a whole host of new folks and, without listing them all here, it’s especially a great relief to have Rob Quinn coming on board to play a CFO type role, (but let’s call him the Big Cheese of Cheese), and Lorraine Langhard to bring in more cat-herding coordination energy as well as submitting applications for grant funding. We will be launching a new crowd-funder in the early new year and a number of us are talking to potential donors. Money is relatively low right now.

Political Strategy

Set up following a meeting on 2 December 2018, the Political WG has not yet agreed a mandate but the overarching themes it has been developing are: Building a “Political Taskforce” – to influence the political and NGO field in the UK and internationally, bringing in Global South voices, to enable a message to be communicated of deep collaboration for the XR Demands. To be done in liaison with Movement WG and Actions WG; Scrutiny of whether an effective Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Emergency (CACE) can be held before April 15th, commissioned to be carried out by Sortition Foundation (subject to funding); using contacts to get to the negotiating table with government officials on XR Demands; building a “psycho-spiritual” grouping that has the capacity for political manifestation; building a model of “democratic accountability” through sensing/understanding the emergence of XR Local Groups and their needs; creating an expert advisory board which includes Kate Raworth, author of Doughnut Economics and colleagues of Jem Bendell who wrote the “Deep Adaptation” report; sub-groups are formed (CACE sub-group) and forming (Political Taskforce, Psycho-Spiritual, Advisory Board).

 

General Climate news

This week, as temperatures broke through existing records in multiple locations across Australia, on the other side of the world 1200+ Belgian students took part in school strikes to demand action on the climate crisis. Meanwhile, Hitachi became the second company in two months to cancel the construction of a nuclear power plant in the U.K., throwing the country’s energy strategy into crisis.

Briefing: Reaching Net Zero Emissions by 2025 — is it possible?

 

It’s a core part of our second demand, and we get asked it a lot; this week, Nuala Mai Gathercole Lam examines the possibility of a carbon-neutral 2025.

There’s a mainstream discourse about what it would take to go carbon neutral by 2050 or to halve emissions by 2030 — but XR’s target of net zero emissions by 2025 is markedly more ambitious. Is it possible?

The Received Wisdom on Political Will

When reports attempt to map out the road to zero emissions political will is factored in as a major obstacle to making the necessary changes quickly (for instance by 2025), as opposed to more gradually (like by 2050). Demanding zero emissions by 2025 means rejecting the received wisdom that only limited reductions are possible. Instead, the ambitious goal of 2025 must drive research and the adoption of technology.

Rapid shifts in the organisation of society are possible — the Second World War saw the repurposing of factories, retraining of large numbers of women to staff the factories, rationing of limited resources and a massive localisation of food production. What looks like a realistic time frame for going carbon neutral changes when we look at the scale of change that has taken place in the past.

Steps to Reach Net Zero Emissions

The Climate Mobilization are a U.S.- based organisation working to generate a rapid and wide- reaching response to climate change. They work with a time frame of reaching zero emissions within the next ten years. This is what they think it would take:

  1. Emergency economic planning measures to reach zero emissions
  2. A fair shares rationing programme as a means to improve energy efficiency in an equitable manner
  3. Investment in ‘negative-emissions’ technology to remove carbon from the atmosphere
  4. Comprehensive changes to our transport systems including increased public transport options and transition to electric public transport
  5. Replacing industrialised agriculture with localised farming with limits on livestock farming
  6. Restoration of ecosystems to halt mass extinctions and turn ecosystems into carbon sinks

The Technology

Many of the technologies referenced in less ambitious predictions are already in existence in some form. For instance, according to this article in Nature, the cost of producing solar energy has fallen by 80% in the last decade and Morocco, Mexico, Chile and Egypt are now able to produce solar power at a lower cost than natural gas. A report co-authored by Future Earth and Sitra says that 50% of new capacity for generating electricity is renewable, with wind and solar capacity doubling every 4 years. Storage systems are needed in order to make a 100% renewable electricity grid a reality and the cost of these utility-scale lithium-ion batteries is falling rapidly as demand increases. Finally, hydroponic farming has the potential to reduce emissions through the efficient use of electricity and water resources as well as reducing the carbon intensive transport of food associated with centralised industrial farming.

Whether or not 2025 seems like a realistic goal depends largely on whether or not you factor in substantial political change. Extinction Rebellion exists to shift the Overton window and generate political will for addressing the climate crisis — this is a key part of the puzzle and we have the tools solve it!

Photo credit: Derek Langley/XR/Cambridge

Thanks for reading this week’s internal newsletter!

To see the previous issue, see the archive. If you have any queries or suggestions, please contact douglasrogers95@gmail.com.

Let’s get ready for a Green 2019!

Internal Newsletter

Inside XR

 

Hi, all

 

You may have noticed that our movement has been growing a lot. This document is both a consequence of that growth, and (hopefully) a means of keeping track of it. On that note, Stu has written a wonderful overview of where we’re at on a strategic, medium/long-term level. By comparison, the aim of this newsletter is to give more of a week-by-week, internal perspective: keeping people in different subgroups – who might never have met – all informed about what’s happening in other areas of XR, what we’ve got coming up, and reaffirming our culture and ideals. We hope you find it useful!

 

Strategic picture

 

In the wake of Rebellion Days 1 and 2, and the many actions between and around these days, XR has launched into mainstream awareness and international relevance. We’ve been covered in everything from Vice to Vogue, holding interviews with the BBC, Sky and RT. More subtle but no less significant is how much of this coverage has referred to XR as “the social movement that pushes for radical change on climate issues”.

 

Partly through this sort of coverage, we’ve been growing on all fronts – as this community-made map majestically portrays. In the words of Annie, one of our international coordinators, “It’s incredibly exciting because we’re communicating with about 25 countries now… Many have working groups already set up, and have coordinated their own actions over the past few weeks, with more to come!”. Meanwhile, our Facebook following has ballooned by 1088%(!) since October, our posts reaching 881,000 people in the last week of November (more details further down). And it’s not just in breadth that we’re growing: our branches in both Bristol and Stroud are currently looking for dedicated office space, while the London branch is eyeing up a new office near Victoria.

 

This growth will bring its own structural challenges, especially if it continues as hoped. We’ve put a big exciting system-map on the wall of the London office (see below), which has already been a great help in making sense of who’s doing what.

It’s worth noting that the map is not (yet?) perfect: in a meeting on Tuesday 4th, for example, the legal team suggested that they be made slightly less peripheral given XR’s emphasis on (non-violent) law-breaking (see above, tiny bubble in bottom-left). The response given to this was a reminder of our holacratic nature: if you think the map is wrong, change it! Meetings such as Tuesday’s are evidence of the ongoing conversation around our systems development – a topic which, as you can see on the map, also has its own working group.

It’s still early days for XR, but we’re already seeing some political traction: last week, Farhana Yamin from our political group spoke in Parliament’s Rapid Transition Alliance meeting, and received loud applause upon mentioning our movement. Separately, Barry Gardiner MP (Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade) has invited us for discussions at Westminster.

Additionally – and in no small part due to the efforts of XR, district Councils have declared states of climate emergency in Bristol, Stroud, Totnes, Trafford, and – on Thursday – London.

 

General climate news:

 

COP24 is running from the 3rd to the 14th of December. Extinction Rebels are on the ground in Katowice: leading workshops, participating in talks, and forging worldwide links of solidarity. Elsewhere, the schools’ climate change strike has gathered pace worldwide, now involving thousands.

 

Internal news:

 

Action and Logistics:

Since the 24th the actions team has been seeking to decentralise and encourage autonomy in regional groups, and to establish a clearer organisational distinction between XR London and XR National (see structure-map, top left). Two London-based actions are planned for the next few weeks, along with a Regional Rebellion Day on the 15th. In other news, an XR Choir was unveiled at Thursday’s rally outside the London Assembly.

 

Media:

Last week, shortly after the beginning of the systems development mentioned above, the press side of the media and messaging team exercised its holocratic right to restructure itself according to the team’s understanding of its own needs. Meaner and leaner, the team is now working to build a national network of media representatives.

 

Meanwhile, the social media team has unveiled an analytics report described by coordinator, Iggy as “exponential, unbelievable, crazy”. Our Facebook page followers have grown 1088% in the month since October; video views have gone up 2724%, and in the last week of November our posts reached 881,000 people. Our Instagram went from 3,000 to 17,000 followers in a fortnight, and our Twitter following doubled in the two weeks of action.

 

Outreach and training:

The reactive team is (at the time of writing) up to date with Facebook and email inquiries, and is working on a rota system which will provide more consistent coverage, together with greater moderation. In integration, work is underway on a shiny new database, which should allow us to interact much more effectively with our tens of thousands of supporters, and the many more expected to join us.

To this end, our talks and NVDA trainings are also being updated and improved; there’s a long list of requests from around the country for help in hosting these talks, which is now being processed. Separately, we’re talking to GBC and Seeds for Change about holding specific legal and facilitation trainings early next year.

 

Regional:

As mentioned above, our groups in both Bristol and Stroud are now looking for full-time office space from which to organise. In Bristol, turnouts of 60-70 at the weekly meetings have prompted a relocation from the Anarchist Cafe into the larger community centre nearby – this shift being indicative of rapid expansion across the whole of the South-West.

 

Legal:

The legal team is liaising with other groups to ensure a more structured approach on future actions. Beyond this, they’re reading through Legal Observer notes from past actions to establish timelines in case of prosecution action by authorities. They’re also saying they need more people – contact xr-legal@riseup.net if you’d like to help!

 

Regen:

Regen is now in the process of debriefing on and analysing all recent actions. The lessons learned by the team will be passed on through updates to the existing wellbeing, arrestee support toolkits and thorough reference strategy documents will then be issued to the regional regen teams, to be shared with other XR teams.

The regen team would like to recognise the contribution of Lizzie Orchard, who resigned from the post of co-cordinator in November, and to welcome in Claire Pardoe into this role.

 

Coming up:

 

 

Briefing: ‘This is what democracy looks like’

 

Here at the internal newsletter we love truth for truth’s sake (etc.) – but we also love it because knowing the facts can help us to defend our cause in the face of tough questions, be this during a live TV interview or a Yuletide interrogation. From the plausibility of a carbon-neutral 2025 to the efficacy of roadblocks as protests, the Briefing will aim to work through the arguments one topic at a time. This time, Hannah Cousins discusses Participatory Democracy.

 

The principles of inclusivity and intersectionality are central to the ethos of Extinction Rebellion – it is therefore vital that the Rebellion strives for a democratic society. We feel that democracy is key to a progressive and effective system. However, it could be argued that the present elevation of industrial and elite interests over the needs of the many is directly related to our currently narrow conception of democracy.

 

The truth is that democracy comes in many forms. Democracy as we know it is called ‘representative’ (or ‘parliamentary’) democracy, meaning that individuals are elected to represent the wider public. It’s worth noting that this form of democracy was only popularised after the French and American Revolutions: the most famous pre-modern democracy, the city of Athens, would elect people (only male citizens, admittedly) by pulling lots. Ideally, representative democracy allows for people from all backgrounds to be elected to represent their communities; however in practice these systems often discriminate against and exclude communities of colour and women amongst others (see, for example, the House of Lords).

 

We believe that a participatory democracy would better reflect both intersectional and majority interests alike – in contrast to today’s shockingly out-of-touch system. Town halls are a well-known form of participatory democracy that already exists; other effective examples include protests and strikes, and the Swiss Cantons. However we might end up doing it – sortition or referenda, anarchism or blockchain – it’s clear that we need to reassess how we think about democracy.

 

Like many other things at the moment, this newsletter is a work in progress: we’re expecting that the format will change a bit, and we’re hoping that the distribution will – if you know anyone working in XR who should be receiving this, feel free to forward this on, and/or get them to contact douglasrogers95@gmail.com

Likewise, if you have any queries or suggestions, or would like to get more involved in any of the areas mentioned, please contact the same address.

 

Concluding quote of the week:

 

“We shall never learn what ‘is called’ swimming, for example, or what it ‘calls for,’ by reading a treatise on swimming. Only the leap into the river tells us what is called swimming.”           Martin Heidegger