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!
Actions, Art and Logistics
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 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.
- 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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
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.
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 😉
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.