As an organic farmer for over 20 years, I could no longer sustain my vegetable growing. The impacts of climate change were decimating the livelihoods of farmers such as myself. Something was very wrong with the world; I could feel it, I could see it and I knew that something had to be done about it as our entire food production system was at stake.
I studied the science and realized beyond unequivocal doubt that the extinction crisis was upon us and that our impending annihilation was being perpetuated by psychopathological criminals who have no interest in the wellbeing of the average human being or the natural world.
Something needed to be done; I gave up everything I had and left for Kings College where I spent the next 4 years sleeping in my car in order to complete my studies in the science of mass mobilization in the tradition of Martin Luther King and Gandhi. I found the answers to the questions I had been seeking. I discovered the actions that we need to take in order to buy ourselves as much time as possible and mitigate indescribable suffering that awaits us as most of the planet becomes uninhabitable and we risk unspeakable horrors such as mass slaughter, starvation and rape, and the rise of fascistic regimes as the scramble for water and land takes off.
Hope dies, action begins.
I’ve been accused of many things, most of them are true.
Some of them however are carefully crafted media propaganda, which even my own movement has used against me.
This is something that you can expect unfortunately when you use your voice and stand out from the crowd. The only way we’re going to sort ourselves out is if we realise that this is not about us, but about our children and everything we hold sacred. Something bigger than us. About all that we hold to be sacred.
We’ve got to get ourselves and our egos out the way if we are going to make a change. We are going to have to be willing to make sacrifices because what we are facing is worse than World Wars. It threatens all life on this planet.
We have to let go of who we thought we were and how we thought life would turn out, and be willing to step into service for the sake of all that we hold to be precious. We need a revolution.
In 2018 I co-founded Extinction Rebellion. I have lost count of the number of times I have been arrested. I have been on two hunger strikes
I have been to prison three times in the last three years and I am waiting for three jury crown court trials in the UK.
I started Burning Pink in 2019 to create a direct action movement which would stand in elections to create a political revolution: legally binding citizens assemblies to take over from politicians. We have painted the buildings of NGOs and political parties that refuse to tell the truth and act upon it.
The Manifesto: What is to be done
It is clear that catastrophe is now locked in. Short of a technological miracle being rolled out in the next five years, global heating will force around a billion people to leave their homes within the next two decades as the world heads over 2C – that’s 7C in inland areas, 15C on a “hot day”. The global economic system will collapse and impoverishment will hit billions of people. Revolutions are now inevitable. Functional human extinction – only around a billion people located about the polar regions – is not. The key question for humanity now is whether the revolutions will be fascistic or democratic – based upon hate or popular deliberation, enacting escapist nihilism or compassionate realism. So what is to be done?
Exit reformism to begin the revolution
Reformism makes sense when the structure of society is sound. When it is about to collapse then it becomes at best a displacement activity and at worst an active block to effective collective action. Preparing for the revolution means two things: first to give up our jobs and “go to the people”, working 60-70 hours a week – leafleting, setting up stalls, door knocking, creating public meetings for working class orators who can move people to tears, and also people’s assemblies where people reconnect and discover the ecstasy of solidarity. Second, a growing alliance of the willing needs to shut down “the economy” – that is, the death machine that is taking us to extinction – blocking roads and transport infrastructure, city centres and financial districts, week after week until arrests lead to violence by the state and imprisonment. Absolute nonviolent discipline will need to be maintained so that an internal open democratic culture can flourish, and we can appeal to the general population to join with us. The revolution will be led by women and the young and old, not by aggressive men, or it will turn into civil war and fascism.
Enact a radical democratic takeover of the state and institute citizens’ assemblies
Only a revolution can save us now because what objectively needs to be done to slash carbon emissions cannot be done by the gradualist carbon addicted regimes. This is not a “radical” position. It is a position held privately by government insiders and experts all round the world. The present regime has utterly failed and it will not save us. Going to more COPs is fucked! What is needed is a pincer movement – to stand in elections as ordinary people to uncompromisingly tell the truth and call for legally binding citizens’ assemblies to take over from politicians, and at the same time to organise mass civil disobedience in capital cities to last for two to four weeks – until the central demand for citizens’ assemblies is agreed to. This how rapid political change takes place.
Citizens’ assemblies – legally binding and independently organised, followed by a second revolution on the streets.
Permanent citizens’ assemblies need to become the new legislative arm of the state. This is the precise constitutional definition of a democratic revolution in the twenty-first century. They are legally binding so they cannot be ignored by parliaments and are organised by independent civil society groups and social movements rather than by the government and elites. When they announce their decisions, the carbon elites and their political administrators will break the rules and use lies and violence to try to take back power. This happens in all revolutionary episodes. We have to be prepared for this. As soon as citizens’ decisions are made millions will have to come back onto the streets to ensure the people’s will is done. That we demand life not death. And nothing will stop us.
All hands on deck for zero emissions and geo engineering
Citizens’ assemblies need to be asked how to get to zero emissions within 2-4 years, an 80% cut in two years. Not “net zero” which enables the carbon addicts a get out clause of “over shooting” and bringing down the temperature with technologies that do not yet exist. People in the citizens’ assemblies will be selected randomly from the population and will need to have their deliberations shown live on TV so that the whole population can learn about the horrors of our situation. Cities and regions should hold their own assemblies and debates so legitimacy for a complete emergency draw down of the carbon economy wins popular patriotic support – that is, our country, all our traditions, are at stake unless we completely change course. Outcomes will involve decisions such as:
- Halving of the total national energy requirements within weeks: through banning of flying, fossil fuel car use, non-essential consumption, with all ongoing material production designed to last for the longest period possible (similar to a covid lockdown scenario but with local people being able to meet, socialise, and be politically active).
- The reappropriation of 90% of the assets of the top 10% income bracket of the population to fund this emergency transformation, as would happen in wartime.
- Massive investment in renewable energy and retrofitting of housing to the extent of removing all fossil fuel inputs into the economy within two years. A ban on all new construction and the appropriation of all empty housing to give to those in housing need.
- Massive investment in creating natural carbon sinks and geoengineering – the latter being used to the extent necessary to return to 350 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere.
All of this is beyond politics, it is objectively necessary. It will only be opposed by carbon psychopaths on the left and right whose pursuit of their private interests undermine the common good – that is, the need for our families, communities and nations to continue to exist. The situation is like a war or a national emergency – like covid. Everyone will have to come together. Otherwise we are done for. It’s as simple as that.
This is what needs to be done.