Next week Extinction Rebellion will undermine the government to prevent a climate and ecological emergency: Here’s how
When hope dies, action begins.
Extinction Rebellion was born out of an urgency to tackle spiraling climate collapse at a grassroots level. The methods of action Extinction Rebellion implement are born out of a growing global disillusionment with neoliberal politics and campaigning. There is increasing discontent with parliamentary politics and their inability to act on behalf of the people. Therefore groups like Extinction Rebellion are taking matters into our own hands.
Since Extinction Rebellion declared a rebellion against the government and all institutions and businesses that fail to tackle climate change in October 2018, the movement has grown exponentially. Thousands of lectures and skill-sharing workshops have taken place across the globe, designed to disseminate knowledge and give people the vital tools to build communities of activists in their local area.
This level of participation is critical to how the movement undermines governments around world and offers a viable transgressive and productive alternative. Being decentralised allows for the truly mass-scale participation this requires, while building solid infrastructural support for the wider environmental movement and enabling participants to take autonomous action.
Everyone is encouraged to join, produce material and take action in the name of Extinction Rebellion in line with their personal beliefs and the movement’s core values and aims – from blockading infrastructure to occupying bank branches, or convincing councils to declare climate emergencies. Extinction Rebellion belongs to anyone who agrees with our non-violent principles and existential aims.
This scope for active participation is fundamental to the success of Extinction Rebellion. It creates an affectionate antidote to the anxious alienation experienced under current representative democracy. The movement’s non-violent ethos allows anyone to get involved in any role, from legal observing and well-being support to ‘arrestable’ tasks, as Extinction Rebellion calls actions that can lead to police reactions. As a decentralised movement, Extinction Rebellion can rapidly expand its reach into communities both nationally and globally.
Making rebellion aesthetic is equally important. We live in an epoch of instant gratification and eye-catching imagery; whether it is scrolling through Instagram or Facebook a striking images capture the attention of conscious masses and encourages them to join a movement. Therefore, Extinction Rebellion combines contemporary art with political action. Symbolic performances, like pouring hundreds of liters of fake blood onto the street outside of Downing Street to represent the blood of our children’s future, are snapped up by journalists and disseminated across major media platforms. These ‘performative shocks’ are powerful tools to activate people who feel the need to take charge.
Extinction Rebellion’s ability to transgress politics-as-usual and disrupt neoliberal logistics is necessary in forcing a capitalist government to attend to the survival of all human and animal species over short-term economic gain. For our ultimate leverage, Extinction Rebellion focus on jamming the vital infrastructures that enable economic growth. By blocking central London for day after day during the International Rebellion starting on 15 April we will force the government to negotiate a green future.
We will be in the streets, until they face up to this crisis and act. Join us!
Connor Newson is a student coordinator for Extinction Rebellion
and an MA student in Art and Politics at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Photo credit: Jana Leu
You can join and read more about Extinction Rebellion’s international rebellion from 15 April in London here.