Existence is Rebellion #2: The Birth of Galaxies

Existence is Rebellion: A Regenerative History of the Universe

by Matthew T-hanu Kalessin 

Two: The Birth of Galaxies

[All quotes and information below are sourced from the website of the McDonald Observatory in Austin, Texas: https://stardate.org/astro-guide/galaxy-formation]

We have already established that the very existence of the Universe is an act of Rebellion -the original act of Rebellion.

The Hubble Space Telescope and other measuring tools have shown the first galaxies took shape from around one billion years after the Big Bang or the Original Rebellion, as you might call it. 

There are two main theories to explain how the first galaxies formed. The truth may involve both theories.

One theory says that galaxies were born when massive clouds of gas and dust collapsed under their own gravitational pull, allowing stars to be created.

The other theory says the young universe contained many small “lumps” of matter, which coalesced to form galaxies. 

Every galaxy is a rebellion, because before galaxies, there were no galaxies. Extinction Rebellion is just such a galaxy. 

According to the McDonald Observatory, ‘The galaxy-formation process has not stopped. Our universe continues to evolve. Small galaxies are often pulled into larger ones.’

Extinction Rebellion attracts other smaller social movements, gives them a platform and a new, larger centre of gravity.

‘Galaxy mergers happen fairly often. A large portion of the bright galaxies that we see today may have formed from the mergers of two or more smaller galaxies.’

Extinction Rebellion joins in solidarity with other global non-violent direct action movements for ecological and social justice, like Youth Strike For Climate and Earthstrike. Together we can form one uber-movement.

‘Mergers can take anywhere from a few hundred million to a few billion years to complete. They can trigger intense bursts of new star formation’.

Extinction Rebellion is making stars of all of us, but let’s not take too long about it!

‘Galactic collisions rarely produce head-on wrecks between individual stars. Even when two galaxies ram together, the distance between stars is enormous’

Extinction Rebellion and every other global non-violent direct action movement can work together without anyone getting hurt.

‘While galactic collisions rarely destroy stars, they often create them. As vast clouds of gas and dust in merging galaxies slam together, they can create thousands or even millions of new stars.’

The more Extinction Rebellion joins with other movements, the more new volunteers will appear in all movements.

Join the international Extinction Rebellion here.



esther stop the maan...


– I spoke as an activist in the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations, in general and a representative of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) which takes a special interest in the connections between the Maangamizi (the Afrikan Hellacaust), the global Afrikan reparations claim arising from it, and a host of contemporary injustices that not only we as Afrikans, but also the rest of humanity faces and which endanger our very existence. That is the possibility of human and other species extinction.

Extinction is an expression of structural violence against Indigenous peoples and their relations, and colonial violence in particular; involving systemic forms of harm, exclusion and discrimination, each of which is ecologically devastating. So how does extinction apply to us as Afrikan Heritage Communities?; well, for over 500 years, the entre Maangamizi, in all its phases, rooted in the Transatlantic Traffic in Enslaved Afrikans (TTEA), enslavement and colonialism, has been and still is geared towards the extinction of Afrikan people. These forms of colonial and structural violence not only involved mass killing, but also the invasion, occupation, settlement and despoliation of our Motherland, Afrika; uprooting and disordering Afrikan communities, trafficking millions of Afrikans into Abya Yala (the so-called Americas) which had genocidal and ecocidal outcomes; destroyed millions of lives over generations and changed the socio-economic fabric of existing societies in Afrika, Abya Yala and the Caribbean. For those that remained, this led to enduring injustice with intergenerational and epigenetic effects. For instance, undermining our own Afrikan modes of governance and kinship systems and in the process systematically destroying relationships between life forms in addition to epistemicide/s or the erasure of knowledges. Such forms of violence weakened the co-constitutive relationships between Afrikan Heritage communities, other life forms and ecosystems that have enabled our collective survival in harmony with nature for millennia.

An aspect of genocide is “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” Various aspects of these harms are epitomised in the twelve manifestations of ecocide and genocide highlighted in the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition, a grassroots tool of the SMWeCGEC, working towards genocide and ecocide prevention by mobilising people as part of the People’s Reparations International Movement (PRIM) and the ISMAR to stop various manifestations of the Maangamizi. The third manifestation of the Maangamizi contained in the petition is: denial of Black and Afrikan ‘Mother Earth’ (Nana Asase Yaa), human and peoples’ rights to national self-determination as an oppressed People.  In the petition, various other ‘power disparities’ and inhumane public policies and practices are identified which have genocidal outcomes and continue to cause devastation to Afrikan Heritage Communities within and beyond the UK. Such policies and practices have resulted in the decimation of generation after generation of people of Afrikan heritage due to ecocidally induced physical and cultural genocidethe destruction of ecological and social life-systems as well as natural flora and fauna. Not to mention the perpetration of a myriad of other environmental crimes such as wildlife crimes, illegal logging, illegal fishing, illegal waste disposal and pollution, illegal traffic of ozone-depleting substances and illegal mining.

Some of the genocidal outcomes for Afrikan Heritage Communities include:

• Physical, biological, economic, cultural genocide
• Social and civil death of Afrikan People.
• Ecocide of our environment.

However, the life-destroying pollution of our planet, anti-Black racism, its specific form of Afriphobia and the impoverishment of whom Frantz Fanon referred to as the ‘Wretched of the Earth’, all arguably have their causes in the current unjust world system. Many scholar-activists have helped us to understand that the current world system is rooted in and has been established through the Transatlantic enslavement of Afrikans. We as an Afrikan-led Reparatory Justice campaign are therefore working as an affinity group and campaign which is building solidarities with the Extinction Rebellion Movement on the basis of the commonality of interest we share in rebelling against ecocide and ensuring accountability for environmental crimes. In addition to the fact that our campaign itself is a form of ‘rebellion against extinction.’ – In that it is safeguarding Afrikan people’s role as custodians of humanity’s futures; which focuses on the racialised and other intersectional destruction/s of genocide and ecocide as deliberately inflicted forms of colonial, imperialist violence against Afrikans, indigenous peoples and Mother Earth, in furtherance of advancing holistic reparatory justice. This is something which PARCOE, the reparations coalition I am part, of refers to as Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice.  In this regard, the SMWeCGEC has been heavily influenced by PARCOE’s approach or (‘overstanding’) of the problem of climate changefrom a Pan-Afrikan internationalist perspective; therefore seeing the climate emergency as the result of the criminal imposition – by the ruling classes of Europe – of a rapacious system expropriating the resources of the globe, not only at the expense of the majority of Humanity, but also to the detriment of our Mother Earth.




Our strapline in the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Campaign is ‘stopping the harm – the first step to repairing the damage’. By repairing the damage we are referring to reparations or as we prefer to say, Reparatory Justice. We see this as the beginning of the solution to reversing centuries of super-exploitation and extractivism and ending the ‘climate emergency’ and its corollary ‘human and peoples rights emergency’. Enforced access to much of the world’s natural capital – oil, gas, timber, minerals which lies on or beneath lands occupied by Afrikan, indigenous and Aboriginal peoples often entails land evictions, displacements, forced relocations, arrests, abuses and killings and other violations. For us as people of Afrikan heritage, reparations cannot simply be limited to financial compensation alone due to the nature of the damage and existential threat that we are facing. Comprehensive and adequate reparations require the removal of structures built on centuries of war crimescrimes against humanitygenocide and crimes of aggression, in the forms of enslavement, colonialism and neo-colonialism or what we refer to as the Maangamizi.

Reparations must entail the cessation of current violations, such as environmental crimes in particular, and guarantees of non-repetition including true decolonisation and the restitution of sovereignty for Afrikan, Aboriginal and other indigenous peoples globally. For sovereignty, as conceptualised by Afrikan and indigenous peoples, is indispensable to halting the destruction of Nana Asase Yaa (Mother Earth) as our home; which has been caused by the structurally violent European initiated cultural, political, socio-economic system known as capitalism that is rooted in the genocide of indigenous and Afrikan peoples, chattel enslavement and the dispossession of ancestral lands, territories and natural resources.

Afrikans, Aboriginal and indigenous peoples have always known that the processes of genocide and ecocide are inseparable, for what has happened to our people and the lands on which we live are interconnected. In the Pan-Afrikan perspective of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Campaign this warrants an ‘overstanding’ that in stopping the harms of ecocide and genocide, we not only have to emancipate and save ourselves, but this process of stopping the harm and repairing the damage must also result in the repair of humanity and the cosmos. Since we as Afrikan people, who in the words of Audre Lorde, “were never meant to survive,” see that we have unique insights into what it means to be in stewardship of this World, Planet and Cosmos.

Accordingly, one of the seven goals of Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice is to “Enforce environmental elements of global justice full respect for Mother Earth/ Nana Asase Yaa rights.” However, we know that we cannot accomplish even our own self-determined goals for Reparatory Justice fully without working with others who are seeking to achieve similar goals of revolutionary social change and transformation. As the Afrikan freedom fighter Samora Machel said: “International solidarity is not an act of charity: it is an act of unity between allies fighting on different terrains toward the same objectives. The foremost of these objectives is to assist in the development of humanity to the highest level possible.”



                                Samora Machel


But how do we repair the loss of a future?

We have to destroy the peace of those who are too comfortable to change in order to rebuild!

By all means, we must escalate the rebellion by building alternative futures.

I close with some words of wisdom from the Calypsonian Baron’s ‘Mother Earth is Dying’.

Today the things we nurture could determine the future
And pray what would the picture be
See grandson and granddaughter fighting, chaos and disaster
As Mother Earth protest violently
Wake up, wake up people and be part of the struggle!
The planet earth in serious trouble
We got to end this melancholy refrain
We cannot afford to lose Paradise again
That’s why I’m pleading.

Mother Earth is crying, she say to stop the polluting…
Mother Earth is Dying, we got to stop the polluting…
Whole attitude got to change, and priorities rearrange
We got to become more competent
The way we protect the environment
And fight, fight for all that it’s worth
Fight to save Mother Earth…
Mother Earth crying… 
In case you don’t know, the planet Earth dying slow
What a sad way to go.


Thank you!

Esther Stanford-Xosei, Coordinator-General, ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC)


Existence is Rebellion #1: Cosmic Inflation and the Big Bang

Existence is Rebellion: A Regenerative History of the Universe

by Matthew T-hanu Kalessin 

One: Cosmic Inflation and The Big Bang

The Big Bang -or rather, the cosmic inflation that is now known to have preceded the Big Bang- could have been the original act of rebellion. This was the rebellion of Existence against the Nothing that came before, or for religious people, perhaps this could be described as the rebellion of God against Nothingness or even, the rebellion of God against the unity of Theirself. In the mysterious and unlikely context of this Something, or this Creation, coming out of Nothing, criticisms that the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement won’t succeed suddenly seem utterly ridiculous. If the Cosmos exists, seemingly without reason, and if ‘life’ as we know it exists, against all odds, then against lesser odds, XR can succeed.

Yet, if time began at the beginning of the cosmic inflation, then there can have been no ‘before’ the inflation…so the inflation has always existed. If this is the case, there was no rebellion against Nothing, but there was still this massive rebellion against everything that came after. Everything that came after the cosmic inflation was dependent on it, whereas the cosmic inflation was dependent on nothing. The inflation then, whatever the case, is conceptually a rebellion against the Big Bang and everything afterwards. Just as XR is a rebellion against the supposed inevitable extinction of humankind and many other species.

Am I making any sense? No? Good, then I’ll go on…

The cosmic inflation and everything that came ‘after’, in short, the whole of Existence, is also a rebellion against Non-Existence in a different way. In other words, whether there was a beginning of time or not, a starting point to the cosmic inflation or not, everything we know is a rebellion against what could have been, or what could never have been, or what we can’t imagine, or the complete absence of an everything which includes both Nothing and Something.

With me so far? No? Don’t worry, here comes a simple instruction:

Support Extinction Rebellion.

Why? Because you already do. You are already a rebellion against extinction, by your mere existence. Why not manifest that more fully, by rebelling, by existing more fully, now, while you have the life for it? Merely existing is no rebellion against the likely untimely deaths of your grandchildren and their pets.

Nurses to Extinction

The old woman coughs hoarsely into a handkerchief, pulling the mask from her face. We use morphine to keep her free of the agitation of respiratory distress, and nebulized drugs to keep her airway open, as well as make the cough productive. Eating and drinking are hard to do when you are constantly on an oxygen mask. Even with the oxygen off your mouth, there is oxygen flowing into your nose. This is not really helping her to live, merely setting trails to her dying with tubes and wires.

The webpage London Air gives you very measured and description of how air pollution can affect conditions like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD). It does however not give any insights into the emotions of those suffering from the disease, often caused by our bad air quality, nor of those who care for them – London’s many fine nurses, healthcare assistants, allied health professionals, and doctors. We do the best we can with people panicked and traumatised at their own bodies’ failure. The ravages of COPD are quite ghastly to behold. Many patients bounce back into hospital a short time after their admission with the same problem, but with a poorer prognosis. Our treatment of them has only been a sticking plaster, placed over the cracks. We do our best to keep people happy and enjoying that bare, reduced life they lead in hospital. Back out in the polluted streets and modern slums of London we do not see or hear them – they are invisible – save when they re-emerge from this “illspring.”

The “sticking plaster” seems for me symbolic here, as it mirrors our government’s attitude to dealing with climate change. For a small cut, a “sticking plaster” is ideal, but climate chaos is a huge, scarifying wound – capable of destroying communities, dwellings, lives and –as time may tell – societies. Nothing small or temporary will do. I did not want to be a “sticking plaster” in the battle against extinction and the poisoning of our environment. Nurses have long been patient advocates. But that advocacy remains locked to our clinical area for the most part. We should remember the bravery of some of the first modern nurses such as Mary Seacole, who, derided and scorned, journeyed into battles to take injured soldiers away from harm’s reach or tend to their injuries.

But long before the Crimean War, women, and occasionally men, provided help to their communities when it was not always safe and went against the authorities’ wishes. What were the state-sanctioned Stuart witch trials of England other than an attack on local “healers” and “pellars”. Most of these people did the best they could with a lack of science and scant resources. It was in some sense a power grab enacted by James I – drawing influence away from local knowledge and talent and making the country ready for the Age of Reason, which was all too keen to throw the kernel of medical wisdom away with the chaff for being folksy. The 17th century Stuart regime was faced with a crisis, in the form of the 1665 plague, a terror that took the lives of 100,000 people. The clinical heirs to the folk wisdom of ill health, the plague doctors, were not able to offer good remedies. The rich fled London. Industrialisation and human misery helped to spread the damage. This history offers us a smaller scale parallel of our modern situation. The difference is that we can stop extinction with our knowledge and tactics, whereas early modern clinicians had little hope of stopping Bubonic epidemics. Not to detract from their humanity and human sensitivities, but nurses are made for crisis situations, whether that be widespread disease or climate change.

Nurses should feel empowered by being trusted figures in the community, the inheritance of a job that is a vocation nor a career. We can speak about climate chaos, as well as report from the frontline of pollution and degradation’s effects on our nation’s health. We have the social connections of those wise women of times forgotten, but with a deeper pool of knowledge and more possibilities of working together within our networks.  We can relay the suffering of those in poverty and lingering in chronic illness and give voices to the voiceless. We can be more than mere “sticking plasters” in sum. Which is why, as your fellow nurse, I would passionately urge all of you to join Extinction Rebellion.

Tom Lennard @tomlennard

You can get involved with the Extinction Rebellion health workers group at “XR Health Workers”.





Eyewitness Account from Declaration Day

From small groups of people rallying up to fight against the profitable eviction racket (known as bailiffs) to a full-blown protest in Parliament Square demanding our oil-lobbied politician rethink about their response to climate change, people are rising and demanding change across the UK. On Wednesday the 31st of October, Extinctions Rebellion peacefully took over London’s busiest intersection to purposely disrupt the mindless routine of the city. 24 hours prior to the organised rebellion, scientists stated that since the 1970’s, humanity has made extinct 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles. By the time our grandparents will turn 90, that number will have risen to almost 80% unless immediate action is taken.

A pool of different eclectics, faiths, and ages poured into the event projecting a heartfelt and welcoming communal vibe. Like a spell, people would fall silent cradled by the melodic pagan-like hymns sung while their smiles and shining eyes spoke more than a thousand words could. The palpable energy pulsating from the drumming and chanting crowd showed the love for our blue earth, and their cry for action was fierce. Amplified by the microphone, Green MEP Molly Scott Cato stated: “We are not here because we understand the importance that our planet has to our survival, rather because we all feel a deep energetic connection with mother Gaia”.

Out of the many speakers, Greta Thunberg, a 14-year-old who has been school striking for climate change, stood in front of thousands to share her message of action. With the latest UN reports stating that we have no more than 12 years before climate catastrophe, the teenager’s perspective of “climate crisis has never been treated as a crisis” deeply contrasted with the child-like inaptitude of our leaders.

Families shed tears of pain for the conditions in which they were inevitably going to leave the future to their younger loved ones. “It is painful for me to accept that the youth of today will never be able to experience the life that I had growing up because we wiped it out”, expressed one grandparent.

In the two and a half hours of public highway obstruction, police officers mingled and conversed with protestors. One officer paid personal attention to the well-being of certain protestors who had locked their arms and laid down on the road.  The mood seemed cheerful and friendly between protestors and law enforcement, giving off the illusion of a festival rather than a protest. A touching moment was briefly captured when Tom, a steward for Extinction Rebellion, approached the yellow-jacketed men and women with “Save Our Children” stickers. The momentary hesitation from their part was replaced by a handful of officers gingerly huddling in with outstretched hands to accept the stickers with prideful smiles. However, the harmonious atmosphere quickly came to an end when a false emergency ambulance was called in by the police to break the crowd apart. Within minutes, new stern faces populated the area shouting, pushing, and intimidating the crowd off the road.

The tug of war between civil disobedience and law enforcement created a divide amongst the activist. With most of the protesters dancing and singing on Parliament Square, the police swarmed the protestors locked to the gates of the Parliament. To create an aversion, a member of “Grandparents for a Safe Earth” decided to lie down with the activists despite having been pushed away by the police several times. The commitment of these individuals being ruthlessly arrested for asking for an emergency response to our polluted laws shocked many bystanders.

But we are not easily intimidated. Extinction Rebellion will take over Parliament Square again from the 12th till the 17th of November to demand carbon neutral strategies from our elected representatives.