Extinction Rebellion - We're back

By Roger Hat, Extinction Rebellion

Well actually, we never went away.

During the pandemic, like the rest of the population, we have been lying low. Since our Big October Rebellion, when 1,700 peaceful, normally law-abiding citizens felt compelled to break the law in a bid to focus government attention on the Climate and Ecological Emergency, we have been busy doing what we do best:  planning, organising and mobilising!

As we go into autumn, we are mobilising our rebels to speak the truth in London, Cardiff and Manchester. Our aim is the same:  in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence from the UN Inter-governmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), the Government must act; we have no time to lose. We must compel the Government to Tell the Truth and Act Now on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

At the start of the pandemic, long before the Government had taken action, many COVID-19 local community support groups were set up, co-ordinated and organised by our rebels. Low-key and without branding or publicity, we did this because we know how to network and organise in our communities and because we care! 

COVID-19 showed us that, when real crisis hits, governments and citizens can mobilise quickly and act together for the common good.  Government and citizens listened to the scientific experts on COVID-19, so why aren’t we listening to the science on catastrophic climate collapse? The answer is simple – the neo-liberal capitalist power structure doesn’t want us to because it sees its power and wealth being diminished.

The London Rebellion, started on 1st September, with marches from various locations to Parliament Square where we blocked the road outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, in readiness for MPs returning from their summer recess. We have been lobbying them to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (put together by members of Extinction Rebellion alongside members of the successful Big Ask campaign) and on 2 September this was tabled to parliament by Green MP Caroline Lucas. 

Extinction Rebellion we're back real sustainability

Our next activities will focus on the democratic, financial and neo-liberal capitalist establishment. There will be actions at the Bank of England, the London Stock Exchange and much more. “Money Rebellion” was launched with a talk by Extinction Rebellion co-founder, Gail Bradbrook, on 10th September in Westminster. It will target the heart of our financial institutions by providing a framework for people to withhold nominal payments of taxes, debt or mortgages. Comprehensive support packages and legal information will be in place to help with this.  

“Small Business Resistance” appeals directly to the 5.9 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK, who are regularly overlooked by the UK Government and unfairly penalised by a taxation system which is happy to hand out billions in bailouts to major corporations. As always with our activities, the power of both of these projects will be in mobilisation of large numbers of rebels. We continue to fight against catastrophic climate collapse, but also to fight for equality, inclusion and social justice. 

As well as our Rebellions in London, Cardiff and Manchester, there will be a series of pressure-building local actions around the regions (access your local group’s Facebook page here for more details)

Local activities include action against Bayer, the German based international pesticides giant, which makes environmentally destructive and ecocidal glyphosate-based “Roundup” TM (marketed as a weed killer). Bayer was given an incredible £1 billion during COVID-19 as support cash from the British government, before distributing millions to shareholders in dividends. 

Extinction Rebellion we're back real sustainability

The Bank of England has made provision for up to £67.7 billion (source) as a COVID fund to support large, environmentally-destructive corporations. Many of these companies pay little of no tax in the UK and continue to pay vast sums to their shareholders and senior Executives in bonuses, while announcing mass redundancies!

We are seeing a repeat of the destructive, disastrous action that UK governments took after the 2008 financial crash, resulting in 12 years of austerity which, according to the British Medical Journal, caused 120,000 unnecessary deaths and left a traumatised population deeply in debt with a massive widening of inequality in the country. 

The billions ploughed into large destructive corporations should be spent on decarbonising the UK economy and dismantling the neo-liberal continuous-growth economic model, which is the root cause of climate-related genocide and ecocide. 

This is what we are up against: entrenched powerful, wealthy individuals and institutions that are doing everything they can to maintain their wealth and power by stopping governments doing the right thing. This is why Extinction Rebellion is back and out on the streets this autumn – socially distanced of course.

Extinction Rebellion is made up of good, law-abiding, caring, socially-responsible citizens. But we have so little time left – perhaps as little as 5 years – to prevent irreversible climate collapse and ecosystem destruction. We are facing an unimaginably terrible future for our planet. This is so unfair to our children and grandchildren. If you feel the same way, come and support us! The Rebellion needs you and you don’t have to join Extinction Rebellion to rebel against the extinction of humanity. We are the messenger, not the message. See you there!