Welcome to the Rebellion Jenny Jones

Welcome to the Rebellion Jenny Jones
Picture: "The Triumph of Death", Pieter Bruegel the Elder.. Oil on panel (c 1562). Museo del Prado, Madrid.

I have just returned from the Glastonbury fantasy land where it’s all love and peace, and fuck all is happening. The Greenpeace Oxfam incumbents have got it all sewn up. Just Stop Oil, managed to get 5 tickets for the biggest climate campaign of 2022 (Greenpeace got 200 plus – to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds so “they can afford to come to the festival next year”, well that’s what one of their people told me). Greta Thunberg got on the pyramid stage to declare we need to put hope into action and then got the crowd to shout “JUSTICE” to her “CLIMATE” – well then, that’s the global south sorted out.

One of the youth coordinators of the JSO summer mobilisation, working to recruit for October, was “disgusted”. Where was the pathway to action? Action? Just put up a poster saying “TRUTH” – Orwell is spinning in his grave. We had four videos ready to go, with famous people willing to do some real work and point people to nonviolence training sessions, and concrete routes to struggle on the streets. Not one of them was shown. On the massive screens, we just got yet more NGO ads – looking like banking adverts (or is it the other way round).

And then there is Jenny Jones, who tweeted after watching a panel with myself, the former MEP Molly Scott Cato and Justin Rowlett

“Watching a debate with @GreenPartyMolly @BBCJustinR and Roger Hallam of @XRebellionUK Now I have supported XR on the streets and in the Lords, but having listened to Hallam, I'm wondering why I bothered”.

My crime? I am not being polite, I am not giving due recognition to the hard work of the handful of Green politicians, and I am not playing by the rules of the establishment game. Why? Because it isn’t working. Remember Sir David King, is saying “We have to act quickly” – that means more pavement widening schemes from the leather benches is not gonna cut it.

We have three years and counting.
We have 1500 arrests and counting.
We have 43 ordinary people banged up in prison and counting
We have thousands of young people mad as hell, but not yet having worked out how to express it, and counting.

Let’s restate reality. Extinction Rebellion is a REBELLION against the UK government to stop the plan to create EXTINCTION – that’s everyone gone forever. If Baroness Jenny Jones and the other Green Politicians want to be collaborators in the mass death project they know where the door is. It’s a free country, at least for them.

After all the moaning, dismissal and outright patronising by the green establishment before April 2019, suddenly they all came rushing into the naïve arms of XR once the ‘concept was proved’. And then promptly destroyed the very thing that made it a success – ‘mass nonviolent action’ for as long as it takes. The “You don’t have to get arrested” was a dog whistle to the privileged allowing the abandonment of the poor and vulnerable who will never get any justice till the skies turn dark with social struggle. The self-appointed spokespeople of the oppressed put the dampers on the very thing that would lead to their liberation – a load of shit happening on the streets. The unholy alliance between the NGOs and “radical left” SOAS guilt-stricken rich kids concocted the greatest nonsense in the history of radical politics – that when humanity is facing the biggest HELL in its history when it is gonna happen in the next decade when it will go on for 100,000 years, that “people might get hurt” if they sit in the road.

Either people have Inalienable Rights, or they do not. If you believe they do, then you have no choice other than to go into resistance when those rights are violated. That’s being radical 101.
Yes obviously not “everyone has to get arrested” – it’s a team effort. But the reason people use this criticism – is because they have a complete lack of empathy for the mass rape, slaughter and starvation coming down the line for the billions of voiceless. If this was happening to them, then the story would be completely different.

The penny has dropped – youth have sussed out they are going to get hurt anyways. What the fuck. That’s why they don’t care anymore about the mothering from Green Party bigwigs and the NGO “duty of care” people. “What’s the point of getting a degree when this shit is coming down the road” one recently told me. Exactly.

No, what Jenny Jones and co want, is a nice bit of tame “nonviolence on the side” to supplement their reformist sweet nothings. And that’s what’s going on here. The green movement’s old guard – with their intellectualised cynicism, their interests to defend, their appalling record of failures to avoid, the last thing these people want is a rude awakening of mass revolt. “The mob started to reason”. Our friend, Frank from Greenpeace, had the courage to tell the truth of the matter when he congratulated XR for “democratising direct action” and blew his chances of becoming Director!

I did a few sessions in front of the old guard crowd at one of the Glastonbury tents. I got told off for not answering the questions – I was ticked off for not being polite (God forbid), – for being “aggressive”, “emotional”, “divisive”, and then of course that last act of desperation: being “patriarchal” and just “being” a man (let’s throw in “white” and “old” for good measure). When this happens you know you have reached the verbal fight stage (first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win - Gandhi).

Young people are finally seeing through this tired trope which is used to cut down people who upset the progressive (white middle class – just saying) establishment. Remember what MLK wrote in “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”. In fact, just in case you are interested in facts, I designed the first successful youth civil disobedience climate mobilisation plan - for Just Stop Oil this April. I pushed for getting all young people to appear in the media for the first time in a UK climate campaign. I am working with black community activists to get their communities out on the streets, over the shit that is happening back in the Caribbean where their families get battered by storm after storm. The Grand Coalition has left the station Jenny, but it does not include you and the old guard, because you don’t even have it in you to go up to the young people and congratulate them on staying up on an oil depot pipe for 60 hours straight.
We must not go all soft on “progressive” establishment critics. These people – let’s call a spade a spade – are our enemies. We need a rebellion come what may, not to lick the arses of the semi-great and good. I will continue to talk my truth – sometimes it might even be THE truth. This raucous spirit powered the explosive growth of the UK’s biggest social movement. Without spirit and confrontation, the lifeblood of a movement dies. So put away your fears – you will never be “popular”, and let’s be the best people we know ourselves to be. Step up and get onto the streets with your heads held high this autumn, with pride and determination, and march on the Great Corruption: the House of Lords. Jenny and fellow “Lords” will be hiding behind the police lines as reformists in revolutionary times always do. True colours and all that.

Sorry, the centre will not hold. It has long gone.

This movement does not belong to you Jenny – in truth it never did. Nor does the Green Party. The big (beyond massive) elephant in the room for the party is this: the irreverence of reformist party politics when the country’s top scientist is showing us the three-year card. Everyone knows it, so when is one of you going to have the guts to call out your Emperors for having no clothes? When is one of you going to lead your troops out into the road at the start of the rebellion, rather than when you are so embarrassed by two weeks of grandmothers getting dragged off the road, that your leaders finally turn up to show a bit of ‘solidarity’. You have to laugh.

“The times are a-changing,” a poet wrote a while back. We are coming down from the hills, we are going up from the housing estates, we are coming off from campuses. This autumn we will say to the government “fuck your police bill – do your worst”. We are British and no way will we be bullied into submission. This country belongs to its people, all of them. With all our diversity, our eclectic backgrounds, and with all our glorious differences. And we will no longer stand by and let this government shit on the most vulnerable and desecrate our kid’s inheritance.


Get in touch when you decide to join us, Jenny, the door will always be open.

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