Kings College Divestment Campaign Diary

Kings College Divestment Campaign Diary

Okay so judging by the respectable number of likes on my last post (or is it just that people like cats?) I am slightly encouraged that doing this FB thing is not a totally bad idea. So I have a plan to do regular posts on the Kings campaign to get them to divest from fossil fuels – practically to raise its profile amongst non Kings people so hopefully at the point it really heats up (and the plan is it will) there might be group of people who can give support – if only to make that phone call “now look here you King’s College people stop messing about suspending students and just do the right thing and divest – otherwise I’ll have to come down there myself and sort it out” … that sort of thing.

I have two initial and important points to make. I have kids and rely upon their mum to be able to do what I am going to do. As she has rightly pointed out it’s all very well doing this activism stuff but what about the back up people. So just to be clear I totally acknowledge and appreciate her work – and all the other “low status” stuff people do in society to keep the show on the road. We are all enmeshed in intense networks of interdependence both economically and emotionally and this idea of the “great man stepping forward to save the world” is well .. total bollocks.

Secondly just for the record I am going to be doing all this stuff not for the attention or even because I think we “will win”. In a weird deeply paradoxical way I can only get myself to do what I plan to do by totally lowing my expectations that it will have no effect and people will just think I’m a twat (not for the first time!). Because at the end of the day my emotional resilience such that it is, is based upon some notion that I simply can’t stand by any longer. In some fundamental sense I’m done. This society I live in has I think gone profoundly mad and if it thinks I’m mad for thinking this – and acting upon it – well so be it. I am inspired here by the Rosa Parks thing – not giving up her seat on the bus (yes I know it was set up). I think the reason it was so powerful was because it is usually a small thing that makes us crack. This Kings College investment thing – I mean what the hell – how is doing something on that gonna stop all this global warming. It’s like hell you want to not give up your seat on the bus – you really think that’s going sort of centuries of structural racism?

Of course this is not the issue. The issue is I’m over this shit. Kings College investing in Shell and BP is just beyond outrageous – destroying the world for our children. It’s down there with sending Jews to the gas chambers – if you don’t think so then maybe you should check out the latest climate science.
So I am going to act anyway and whatever.

Enough seriousness – where’s that cat picture….
(PS anyone know of any journalists or even know of someone who knows someone...) 


Enough introspection! (see previous posts)
Words are cheap; Action is the antidote to despair; Sentiment without action is the death of the soul; a stitch in time…. And so on.

After a slight wobble today the plan is on.
See the photos/video on Tuesday afternoon.
And what’s more here is another cat picture.

Thought I would do some notes for new people:
I am doing a diary of a campaign in real time (no retrospective rationalisations): the Kings College Climate Emergency demand that the college divests from all Fossil Fuels. Thirty years after a scientific consensus was established on the dire consequences of burning oil coal and gas, no British University has yet divested from all these industries. I do PhD research and testings for how to make bottom up radical campaigns more effective. The plan is that this campaign is going to be different in path breaking ways – hence the FB posts … and the cat pictures.

I’m still on the look out for journalists btw. 

I was suspended and then I was reinstated.
Kings Divestment Campaign Diary Post number 9

I'm sure that's a quote from the Bible - but either way after being suspended, banned from entering Kings (empirically confirmed when I got dragged out of the students union last week) and forbidden to talk to any KCL staff, I have for some unknown reason been brought back into the fold. On the condition of not continuing to disrupt the college's participation in global scale herd as it gallops over the cliff on climate change.
Needless to say I am duty bound to continue whatever nonviolent action it takes to change the college's investment policies. But it is good to have a small victory for sanity. Justifies another cat picture I think.

I am organising a campaign of open civil disobedience to get Kings College to divest from ALL fossil fuels. For details see the FB page at Kings College Climate Emergency. The plan is to do whatever it takes to win. You can help by today or tomorrow ringing or emailing the top man at Kings and politely telling him to get with the programme of fossil fuel divestment. He must be very clever because he's on half a million a year!

And so it has come to this – A hunger strike
King’s Divestment Campaign Diary Post no 10.

I’m sort of getting a bit more used to doing things which are totally outside my comfort zone but are still extremely difficult. I seem to live a sort of double life where I do some full on climate stuff and feel like a complete idiot because life just carries on and everyone acts as if everything is fine and there’s nothing to worry about. Then I listen to a you tube video by some professor expert for 40 years on the arctic and he says our situation’s totally fucked and I think this society I live in has gone completely mad.
So according to my research findings the only way to effectively deal with this mass pathology is to strike at it with extreme sacrificial measures. This means a hunger strike – the plan is that only when people experience a real political drama will they be able to emotionally connect with the reality of the dire situation we are in. It’s a long shot of course but I can’t see any other shot half as a long. I wish more than anything I could but I’m afraid petitions, marches and the rest of the tame performance of political ritual permitted by present regime will certainly not cut it.
I could say something deeply profound about moving beyond hope and fear but I think I will let actions speak for themselves. I will however round off this post with a bit of symbolism – a dead cat.

Yes I am involved in an escalation of actions to get King’s College London to divest from all fossil fuels. Full details at Facebook page: King’s College Climate Emergency. 

I'm on day 11 of my hunger strike to get King's College to make a decision to divest from fossil fuels. To be honest it has been pretty okay up to yesterday when I felt like I was going to throw up all day. I'm better today but beginning to to realise how wonderful it is to be able to eat food. The things we take for granted eh.
However after seven acts of civil disobedience in seven weeks, a hunger strike into its second week and numerous one days fasts, the management is realising it has to act. An informal meet up "for coffee" (I don't drink coffee) last week produced an outline for an agreement on both divestment and positive investment in green energy. What we need now is a formal meeting, and a public statement of intent witnessed by the press. At this point I will stop my hunger strike. This is possible in the next few days but it would be amazing if hundreds of people take a minute to send a quick email to the principal Professor Edward to ask him to sent up such a meeting and that delaying will only prolong the hunger strike and damage the college's reputation. The email is Please share with your friends.

Sorry to break the run of cat pictures but needs must... 

.. and then we won.
King’s College Divestment Diary post number 12.(last one)

The best thing about being on hunger strike for 14 days is coming off it! Oh the gloriousness of a simple banana. It has been humbling to realise in a fairly visceral way our complete dependence upon the natural world and even more deeply the complete stupidity of denying our interconnectedness.

The campaign was won at 6pm yesterday with the College agreeing to all our demands – a total divestment from all fossil fuels and a range of other measures to decrease its carbon dependence. Yes of course activists will have to continue to monitor the implementation but this is undeniably a confirmation yet again that it is direct action that gets results – and rapid lightening escalations can get fast results. The world is in an unprecedented crisis in the face of abrupt climate change and we can no longer pretend that things that don’t work still do. We need acknowledge our fears and then put them to one side (they don’t go away) and then do what needs to be done. There is now no avoiding the fact that we need to create nonviolent disruption and undertake significant personal sacrifices if we are to have the impact we all desire. I hope this campaign and my diary has helped inspire some of you guys out there to do what you know you have to do.

Before finishing this diary (been sort of fun actually) I would like to thank Isabel and Clare for looking after the kids while I have been on the frontline and all the other people you have given me the support without which I could not have undertaken this campaign. I would also like to thank the great security guys at King’s – showing yet again being nice to people pays. And last but certainly not least to the cleaners at the college who have cleared up after our actions and deserve total respect for their essential work in keeping the institution functioning. I wish them all the best in their struggle to get decent pay and conditions.

Lastly I am doing a participatory workshop on why the campaign won and we can do it again (drawing on my PhD research into effective radical campaigning) – “Open Direct Action. Why it works and What Next” 22nd March at King’s (see FB event for details)
.. and well here’s a picture of the most amazing thing in the world for me at the moment.. a hummus sandwich!

Lots of Love,
Roger x 

The Climate Situation
is F*cked

Help me to get with the job of sorting it out.