You are nowhere close but you could be: Open Letter to XR

You are nowhere close but you could be: Open Letter to XR

In 2018, along with a small group of other people, I helped to cofound Extinction Rebellion. I presented the first paper to these activists, arguing a Rebellion against the British government over its inaction on the climate crisis was now viable and necessary. I created the mobilisation plans for the first year of XR. I wrote the initial strategic design for the April 2019 Rebellion.

Let’s remind ourselves. XR was set up to create a rebellion against the British government. This means that your actions have to take a serious and credible aim at this objective. XR was set up to tell the truth and to act as if that truth was real, regardless of the consequences. XR is neither aiming at this objective, nor telling the truth.

The truth is two fold:

First, we are facing global social collapse. The 2022 IPCC report predicts up to 700 million refugees by 2030, in eight year’s time. And that is just Africa. Half the people in Africa.

Second “we have to act quickly” as Sir David King says – if we don’t start winning in the next three years we condemn humanity to hell for hundreds of thousands of years.

This situation is totally and utterly unique. Any analysis which is based upon the past has no purchase on the next decade. The unimaginable is about to happen and the world will never be the same again. The notion that XR is a “social movement”, an “environmental campaign”, a “network of activists”, completely misses the point. It is a mad dash to save our children and the lives of billions of the poorest people on the planet.

Nothing. Nothing at all compares to this.

You are failing because you are stuck in your fears and therefore you cannot bring yourselves to create the level of disruption necessary to force the change we need in the time we have. You have the numbers, you could win, but you are all hedging. To succeed you will have to challenge your family relationships, risk your job, and give up your social status. You will have to resist to the point of arrest and imprisonment. And not stop.

You are failing because you are not telling yourselves this truth. There is an abject failure of leadership. True leadership is about speaking unpopular truth. A movement that rejects such leadership falls into inertia and disintegration.

There is no excuse. You have heard the Heading for Extinction talk. You know. You may delude yourselves on this, but there is no going back, even if your privileges temporally give you that option. In truth you have no choice.

There are many reasons to step up. But the most important reason is to save yourselves from agonising guilt and shame – the utter self contempt of knowing, a few years from now, that you could have resisted, but you chose not to. The most important thing in this life is your own self respect – abiding by the voice of your inner conscience. You may pretend this is not the case, but it may be good to consult thousands of years of wisdom the subject. True “self interest” is always to act for the Good not for the Self.

So what to do?

Assume fearless leadership. Stand up in your XR meeting and make a declaration. Either people commit to the central purpose of XR – to engage in ongoing civil disobedience or leave to join one of the many organisations which are going through the motions as the world burns. A clear and coherent strategy will encourage many more to join. Everyone sits down, as a community of resistance, and organises putting their lives into order – speak to their family and their boss. As people do when they prepare to enter a war. Because this is a war and we need a nonviolent army.

Some people may not be happy with what I have written. I am not here to be popular. We have to be honest with each other.

I dearly love people in XR, I speak and talk with many of you every week. You are very beautiful people, without a doubt. But beautiful people do terrible things. In Nazi Germany “nice” people kissed their children each morning before going off to murder millions of people. At the moment you are doing the same.

The situation is deadly serious. I am deadly serious. Every day counts.

The Climate Situation
is F*cked

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