Urban75 Home About Offline BrixtonBuzz Contact

Extinction Rebellion

Red Sky

It was like that when I got here.
You're rather proving my point there Red Sky given criticism of XR certainly hasn't been relentless, nor is it unconstructive. GBC's article saying they couldn't work with XR any more for example showcases a group that made a lot of supportive effort, was constructive in its criticisms and even when it was in a state of collapse, was still offering good advice. ACAB hasn't published any public takedowns, GAF is clear with its praise even while noting problems — in fact afaik you'd be hard-pressed to find any anarchist group just straight up slagging them. And personally I think this is the first time I've posted anything critical on the subject in quite a while.
Ha ha... just have a quick scroll thorough the relevant Twitter accounts. London Anti Fascist Assembly, Libcom , Freedom etc . It's downright unhealthy.
 

smokedout

criminal
They're not stupid , there are a number of legitimate criticisms to be made of Extinction Rebellion but stupidity of the leadership isn't one of them.
He may not be stupid but he is arrogant and wrong. He is wrong to say the climate science says that social collapse in the UK within ten years is inevitable, he is wrong that there is evidence pointing to his personal style of NVDA being the most effective in bringing about regime change, he is wrong to assume that anyone will give a shit if a few climate activists land in jail, he is wrong about the police being friends and on our side really, he is wrong to dismiss the legal advice he had been repeteadly given and he is wrong to be part of an undemocratic, unaccountable organisation which he appears to use as his own personal chequebook. Also he comes across like an eccentric old drunk and I cant think of a worse spokesperson for the type of movement he hopes to foster which aims to reach beyond activist hippy ghettoes. Everything about him is wrong, and the people getting nicked and putting their livlihoods on the line deserve better because it is them that have made XR what it is, not him, he should shut up.
 

Rob Ray

Irony is well sad
Ha ha... just have a quick scroll thorough the relevant Twitter accounts. London Anti Fascist Assembly, Libcom , Freedom etc . It's downright unhealthy.
The libcom Twitter history is pretty enlightening, inasmuch as a) they're not slagging off arrestees or activists, but the leadership (same people I've been critical of here in fact) at the rate of a "relentless" 1-3 posts per month b) what they do go after is genuinely some pretty dodgy shit happening under the XR umbrella, which would be bad to just bury tbh.

The Freedom account meanwhile consists mostly of prisoner and arrestee support, two articles from other groups (to wit, GBC and GAF statements, neither unconstructive) and a couple of posts asking them to take the conspiracy google doc file down. At a rate of less than one a month.

Again, I feel like this is largely making my point about the lens you're looking through for me.
 

Red Sky

It was like that when I got here.
He may not be stupid but he is arrogant and wrong. He is wrong to say the climate science says that social collapse in the UK within ten years is inevitable, he is wrong that there is evidence pointing to his personal style of NVDA being the most effective in bringing about regime change, he is wrong to assume that anyone will give a shit if a few climate activists land in jail, he is wrong about the police being friends and on our side really, he is wrong to dismiss the legal advice he had been repeteadly given and he is wrong to be part of an undemocratic, unaccountable organisation which he appears to use as his own personal chequebook. Also he comes across like an eccentric old drunk and I cant think of a worse spokesperson for the type of movement he hopes to foster which aims to reach beyond activist hippy ghettoes. Everything about him is wrong, and the people getting nicked and putting their livlihoods on the line deserve better because it is them that have made XR what it is, not him, he should shut up.
Yep. All those things, well most of them. Although they're criticisms of Hallam rather than XR.

I'm genuinely torn. I've been kicking around the movement/scene for nearly thirty years now. I've seen how badly it's fallen to bits in the last five years particularly. I can see the glaring faults with XR , but it is a movement that is alive, not stagnant.
 

Rob Ray

Irony is well sad
it is a movement that is alive, not stagnant.
That I agree with. But support means more than just cheerleading, it sometimes means telling people things they don't want to hear because bad consequences, that we know about, have happened before. We know how the cops work. We know some of their underhand tactics and that there's laws which they're not pulling out yet but will, and when they do people get hurt. There's people in court right now over spycops (and you can bet your lunch the next generation of those scumbags are out and about as we speak), there's anti-fracking activists getting hammered by their injunctions, there's liaison officers trying to wheedle key info out of people. When XR's leadership wave their hands airily about that stuff it matters.

Bear in mind, the cops know this playbook. They've had strategies for sit-down protests since the 1950s, they have the same historic map of how protest escalation works that we do. They're already prepared for the next likely step of XR's evolution as people get frustrated with static protest not working and move to more active forms of dissent. Their tactics will involve pre-prep such as identifying key figures to fuck up well ahead of time. If XR's leadership can't be smart or responsible then the membership needs that critical info direct and asap.
 
Last edited:

redcogs

in the gutter beholding the stars
He may not be stupid but he is arrogant and wrong. He is wrong to say the climate science says that social collapse in the UK within ten years is inevitable, he is wrong that there is evidence pointing to his personal style of NVDA being the most effective in bringing about regime change, he is wrong to assume that anyone will give a shit if a few climate activists land in jail, he is wrong about the police being friends and on our side really, he is wrong to dismiss the legal advice he had been repeteadly given and he is wrong to be part of an undemocratic, unaccountable organisation which he appears to use as his own personal chequebook. Also he comes across like an eccentric old drunk and I cant think of a worse spokesperson for the type of movement he hopes to foster which aims to reach beyond activist hippy ghettoes. Everything about him is wrong, and the people getting nicked and putting their livlihoods on the line deserve better because it is them that have made XR what it is, not him, he should shut up.
Certainly eccentric, but i find the hippy charm quite refreshing. Its hard to know what a template for an ideal leader might be, but we've had enough suits surely? Unfortunately there's no shortage of arrogance in leadership circles, and where its identified it needs relentlessly exposing and ruthlessly controlling 'from below'. Any new organisation will need significant architectural change as its developing?
 

Red Sky

It was like that when I got here.
That I agree with. But support means more than just cheerleading, it sometimes means telling people things they don't want to hear because bad consequences, that we know about, have happened before. We know how the cops work. We know some of their underhand tactics and that there's laws which they're not pulling out yet but will, and when they do people get hurt. There's people in court right now over spycops (and you can bet your lunch the next generation of those scumbags are out and about as we speak), there's anti-fracking activists getting hammered by their injunctions, there's liaison officers trying to wheedle key info out of people. When XR's leadership wave their hands airily about that stuff it matters.
We're not half as clever as we think we are. We also failed and are continuing to fail.

XRs tactics in some ways take all this into account. What's the point in spycops if everything's out in the open anyway?

They're not trying to organise in the same ways eco anarchists did 20 years ago. I look back at those uber paranoid swallow yer SIM card and eat the map meetings that had actual police officers in the room and laugh. I mean really, is that the lesson we're trying to teach?

XR at its best is about mass movement building, trying to create a genuine cultural shift. That requires openness.
 

Rob Ray

Irony is well sad
We're not half as clever as we think we are. We also failed and are continuing to fail.
I don't think we (or I!) are particularly clever, personally if I were more so maybe I'd have been able to help avoid some of the endless, draining factional nonsense that's sucked so much energy and talent out of things over the last decade. But one lesson does stick with me — the State will come for you, open or not, if it gets annoyed enough. If you're open it'll send people in anyway, just to disrupt and cause internal strife. If you're nice and legal it'll eventually pull out old anti-AR laws banning protest in specific areas to make you less so. The only real defence is to know your shit and not make silly mistakes.
 

Red Sky

It was like that when I got here.
I don't think we (or I!) are particularly clever, personally if I were more so maybe I'd have been able to help avoid some of the endless, draining factional nonsense that's sucked so much energy and talent out of things over the last decade. But one lesson does stick with me — the State will come for you, open or not, if it gets annoyed enough. If you're open it'll send people in anyway, just to disrupt and cause internal strife. If you're nice and legal it'll eventually pull out old anti-AR laws banning protest in specific areas to make you less so. The only real defence is to know your shit and not make silly mistakes.
XR are pretty upfront about this....
 

Rob Ray

Irony is well sad
They're upfront about the concept, but their practical advice is objectively bad, hence the criticisms. There's no situation where spilling your guts to a liaison officer or in a cop shop is a good idea. There's no good reason to give the police a hitlist of people prepared to break the law in your name. Legal advice is not something to hand out on the back of one half-remembered workshop. If you know the next stage of this process, and I think their leadership is counting on it, then people should be prepared so they're not rushing headlong into trouble they're not prepared for.

Pretty much all I want out of banging away about the above is for it to be taken seriously, the rest I'll happily give a thumbs-up to because, like with the rejuvenated Labour Party, I'm all in bleedin' favour of people feeling empowered to get off the sofa and start raising hell, and couldn't care less if they're a signed-up anarcho militant when doing so.
 

Red Sky

It was like that when I got here.
They're upfront about the concept, but their practical advice is objectively bad, hence the criticisms. There's no situation where spilling your guts to a liaison officer or in a cop shop is a good idea. There's no good reason to give the police a hitlist of people prepared to break the law in your name. Legal advice is not something to hand out on the back of one half-remembered workshop. If you know the next stage of this process, and I think their leadership is counting on it, then people should be prepared so they're not rushing headlong into trouble they're not prepared for. Pretty much all I want out of banging away about the above is for it to be taken seriously.
Which is why I got involved with giving legal workshops in the first place.

There are times when giving a prepared statement in the cop shop is a good idea.

This Legal Info - Extinction Rebellion isn't actually all that bad. The problem they had in April were the hundreds who rushed to get arrested without reading it.
 

Pickman's model

every man and every woman is a star
He may not be stupid but he is arrogant and wrong. He is wrong to say the climate science says that social collapse in the UK within ten years is inevitable, he is wrong that there is evidence pointing to his personal style of NVDA being the most effective in bringing about regime change, he is wrong to assume that anyone will give a shit if a few climate activists land in jail, he is wrong about the police being friends and on our side really, he is wrong to dismiss the legal advice he had been repeteadly given and he is wrong to be part of an undemocratic, unaccountable organisation which he appears to use as his own personal chequebook. Also he comes across like an eccentric old drunk and I cant think of a worse spokesperson for the type of movement he hopes to foster which aims to reach beyond activist hippy ghettoes. Everything about him is wrong, and the people getting nicked and putting their livlihoods on the line deserve better because it is them that have made XR what it is, not him, he should shut up.
his coming across as an eccentric auld drunk is the least objectionable thing about him
 

LynnDoyleCooper

I fucking told you so.
I've been looking for a group to join, and in trying to figure out which one I met up with some people from one recently that most matched by politics. It has 3 or so people in my area (area that is, not town, and it's a massive area as well) that are active, whereas a recent XR meeting in my city got well over 150 people without much effort. Yes, we can talk about their less radical and simpler to digest politics and the background of those attending etc etc, but tbh that's letting loads of us off the hook.

At the very least the XR stuff should be making most of the anarchist and similar groups have a think about what are XR getting right (and yeah for sure among all the stuff they're getting wrong) that we are so spectacularly missing? And given the fact that climate related activism is only going to get more of a thing in the coming years, how can we best engage with it and help catalyze it to something more?

Just been talking to a friend from France who's excited about the links between the climate strikes and the gilets jaunes who are working together in some areas under the banner of "End of the month // end of the world. Same struggle."
 
Last edited:

Rob Ray

Irony is well sad
Tbh I feel like talking about "spectacularly missing" things is a pretty unhelpful approach, not least because the movement's not actually in as bad a place as some people seem to have decided it is via a lack of presence at protests (which also isn't entirely accurate - quite a lot of people involved in XR stuff and escpecially DSEI, particularly at grassroots, are anarchists and simply not on the "organised" radar so much).

When I started out in 2003-odd there was no syndicalist presence to speak of in Britain but the tail end of summit hopping and street carnival was present. Today the street stuff is down but the IWW has grown massively, UVW has been founded and has a big anarchist influence within it etc. I'd say the level of organising around housing struggles is better, our physical institutions are more numerous and mostly more stable (eg. fundraisers are actually going on for roof fixes and the like rather than leaks being ignored) and we're planning multiple major events for next year well in advance. In terms of what I'm personally most active in, Freedom's doing better than at any point over the last 15 years both financially and as a hub for activity.

I've talked to Earth First and some of the Climate Camp folks, and their numbers have been up markedly in recent years. Fracking hasn't taken off in quite the way roads did, but there's still a lot happening. The biggest drain has been the loss of squatting as a jumping off point (the 2012 law did a lot of damage), but even there the odd green shoot can be seen.

That's in the face of getting hammered by the New Left Fashion of Corbynism, massive internal fighting over trans rights and whatever the hell "idpol" is supposed to represent, and all the rest. I think we have a tendency (and maybe always have) to spend way too much time focusing on naval gazing negatives — and that is in itself a problem.
 
Last edited:

LynnDoyleCooper

I fucking told you so.
For sure some of those things are happening but I think they largely are about sustaining a small scene of people already involved/engaged, and often are focused around London. In terms of wider engagement and enthusiasm for radical politics, and the ability to effectively intervene in stuff it's largely a pretty grim picture I think.

And the Labour thing is a good example of this too, are our politics so poorly articulated and lacking in power that chunks of the movement have deserted for Corbyn at the first chance?
 

ska invita

back on the other side
I've just read Roger Hallams short booklet, available as a free pdf
Here
https://www.rogerhallam.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Common-Sense-for-the-21st-Century_by-Roger-Hallam-Download-version.pdf

On the plus side it's the most accessible and to the point 'lets have revolution' text I've read in a long time, one I expect will get a fairly wide readership, but was surprised that it doesn't address a single one of the points of constructive criticisms that have come XR's way. Does seem cloth eared.
 

Rob Ray

Irony is well sad
Thing is I don't think putting people on the street necessarily indicates much more than that a decent crew of organisers has called a timely demo in an interesting way and gotten a lot of people to turn up. Yes there's a lot to be said for doing so with a strategy for radicalisation via confrontation etc, but what actually sustains this past the original excitement, and can keep things on track when the crowds get bored and/or older? Infrastructure. And we have more of that now than we used to I reckon. On Corbyn, I've said my piece here fwiw.

I'm not saying everything's rosy btw, there's a lot of problems in the movement. But I for one am sick to the back teeth of negativity — and if there's one thing I think does build movements it's when people quit moaning about how bad things are and start working toward what they can be.
 

LynnDoyleCooper

I fucking told you so.
I've just read Roger Hallams short booklet, available as a free pdf
Here
https://www.rogerhallam.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Common-Sense-for-the-21st-Century_by-Roger-Hallam-Download-version.pdf

On the plus side it's the most accessible and to the point 'lets have revolution' text I've read in a long time, one I expect will get a fairly wide readership, but was surprised that it doesn't address a single one of the points of constructive criticisms that have come XR's way. Does seem cloth eared.
He not surprisingly only ever seems to do him talking alone to the camera, I'd be interested to see him publicly debate this stuff with someone.
 

Red Sky

It was like that when I got here.
Tbh I feel like talking about "spectacularly missing" things is a pretty unhelpful approach, not least because the movement's not actually in as bad a place as some people seem to have decided it is via a lack of presence at protests (which also isn't entirely accurate - quite a lot of people involved in XR stuff and escpecially DSEI, particularly at grassroots, are anarchists and simply not on the "organised" radar so much).

When I started out in 2003-odd there was no syndicalist presence to speak of in Britain but the tail end of summit hopping and street carnival was present. Today the street stuff is down but the IWW has grown massively, UVW has been founded and has a big anarchist influence within it etc. I'd say the level of organising around housing struggles is better, our physical institutions are more numerous and mostly more stable (eg. fundraisers are actually going on for roof fixes and the like rather than leaks being ignored) and we're planning multiple major events for next year well in advance. In terms of what I'm personally most active in, Freedom's doing better than at any point over the last 15 years both financially and as a hub for activity.

I've talked to Earth First and some of the Climate Camp folks, and their numbers have been up markedly in recent years. Fracking hasn't taken off in quite the way roads did, but there's still a lot happening. The biggest drain has been the loss of squatting as a jumping off point (the 2012 law did a lot of damage), but even there the odd green shoot can be seen.

That's in the face of getting hammered by the New Left Fashion of Corbynism, massive internal fighting over trans rights and whatever the hell "idpol" is supposed to represent, and all the rest. I think we have a tendency (and maybe always have) to spend way too much time focusing on naval gazing negatives — and that is in itself a problem.
The only reason the roof is leaking at my local social centre is the manifest incompetence of the people running it . It's a very safe space alright, right up until the ceiling caves in.
 

Rob Ray

Irony is well sad
The only reason the roof is leaking at my local social centre is the manifest incompetence of the people running it . It's a very safe space alright, right up until the ceiling caves in.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the non-moany way to sort that is to show your own competence in getting it done.
 

Rob Ray

Irony is well sad
I've tended to find that saying "give me the go-ahead I'll get it done" (as long as your reputation for actually doing so is alright) gets around most of the bureaucracy in pretty short order tbh. Most of the time people put off repairs or fudge fundraising it's because they're not confident and/or experienced in what they're doing, so they'll bite the hand off someone who does.
 

Rob Ray

Irony is well sad
True that. The thing I'm pleased about is that fundraising is happening at all — those roofs are in a bad way because for a long time no-one was even checking (or if they did hadn't gotten the word out).
 

Red Sky

It was like that when I got here.
I've tended to find that saying "give me the go-ahead I'll get it done" (as long as your reputation for actually doing so is alright) gets around most of the bureaucracy in pretty short order tbh. Most of the time people put off repairs or fudge fundraising it's because they're not confident and/or experienced in what they're doing, so they'll bite the hand off someone who does.
I think I'll defer to my experience rather than your optimism.
 
Top