The climate change action group Extinction Rebellion emerged in the early months of 2019 in the United Kingdom. Since then its platform and modes of action have generated minor interest in other Anglophone nations.
The three core demands of Extinction Rebellion are as follows:
1: Tell the Truth: Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
2: Act Now: Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse emissions to net zero by 2015.
3: Beyond Politics: Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ assembly on climate and ecological justice.
Formed in 2018 from a nexus of activists in established campaign group Rising Up! Extinction Rebellion has carried out several campaigns of civil disobedience: sit-ins, die-ins, disruption of traffic and public transport and so forth in aid of their message, the declaration of a climate emergency.
Therein lies our first clues as to the provenance of this collective; two-word group monikers which are also slogans capped off with a flourishing apostrophe usually indicate ties with certain billionaire donors with globalist-capitalist agendas.
Nevertheless, in the interests of a thorough and objective analysis, we must take Extinction Rebellion at face value; every movement has its spokesmen and intellectuals, in this case, a core member of the group named Roger Hallam provides the most coherent explanation of their tactics and their ideals.
Despite his obvious intellect, Hallam has the air of a wild-eyed zealot. While not as dull and dogmatic as your average suburban ideologue, his talks and interviews have that same calming, almost hypnotic tone affected by preachers and cult leaders.
The main thrust of his tactical talking points for a climate change rebellion are fairly typical leftist fare; Hallam argues for the creation of a radicalised revolutionary vanguard drawn from the 3% of citizens whom he calculates would be willing to take direct action and risk arrest.
In other words, he promotes the non-violent rebellion of civil rights protestors exemplified by Gandhi and Dr Martin Luther King coupled with the village square proselytising of old-time English travelling radicals and preachers.
Leaving aside the fact that armed struggle and intra-communal violence were very much a part of Gandhi and King’s movements Hallam rejects the use of force displayed by the French Gilets Jaunes tendency in favour of “inconvenient” demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience.
The trouble is that if history shows us anything it is that even peaceful, grassroots revolutionary movements led by sober intellectuals will attract people who get a kick out of violence and confrontation, not to mention all the fame seekers, bad actors and state infiltrators who are, no doubt, already worming their way into Extinction Rebellion.
At some point, the authorities will crack down on the climate rebels and send in their police and para-state counter-groups to kick some heads. From there, the entrée is given to hard “defensive” formations and hooliganism among the Green groups, thus the moral authority of peaceful resistance is lost.
Hallam comes across as something of an idealistic fuddy-duddy, however, the most revealing example of Extinction Rebellion propaganda to date is footage of a meeting held in Oxford in March 2019 at which the fame-seekers and nutty social-justice types who make up the corps of the movement held the floor.
The whole affair has the appearance of a sermon, or a Christian revival meeting, with moments in the proceedings being devoted to silent reflection and readings by lay people punctuated by the fire and brimstone preaching of master of ceremonies George Monbiot.
It is from the video of this event that we can deduce some of the more fleshed-out elements of the otherwise vague-fundamentals of the Extinction Rebellion plan; these raise more questions than answers and to the trained eye the whole movement seems doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past 50 years of ecological activism.
From the outset the presentation descends into a farce by virtue of the fact that everything is framed in the terms of Intersectional Feminism, which is the current ideology of the corporate elect and their bourgeoisie; no serious person intent on communal action can abide by the use of endless appeals to authority and the use of such terms as “privilege”, “marginalised communities” and allusions to the “global south”.
This indicates to working people that Extinction Rebellion has already been taken over by bad actors whose plan is always to dilute the core message of climate emergency with SJW ephemera, to frustrate the real men and women of action among the ranks and to gradually re-absorb the tendency into the nowhere land of mainstream Green-Left politics.
The idea of the citizens’ climate council is also given some meat on its bones and the viewer may be given to fits of derisive laughter when it is explained; the council would be comprised of citizens chosen at random and educated on climate matters by “the best science”.
We will leave that one hanging, like the ghost image of some old Soviet newsreel.
The path to zero emissions is also explained as a sort of total war on harmful emissions requiring a complete conversion of the economy akin to the mass mobilisation of society seen during the World Wars.
Fine, we can agree that it really would take such a state of emergency to effect the changes needed to head off climate change but it needs to be understood that the wars of the 20th century bankrupted all the major economies of the world, save the USA which backed the war effort against National Socialism with loans, commodities and military equipment.
Britons would have been starving in 1942 without support from the imperial dominions and America and that support came with a heavy price; the outcome was independence for the British dominions and the rise of the American empire.
How any of this is to be achieved without the massive manufacturing base the Europeans had in the lead up the wars is anyone’s guess. Presumably, the transition is to be made with horse-drawn transport; human muscle power, and clipper ships crossing the globe on the trade winds.
The speakers also emphasize that Extinction Rebellion wishes to be inclusive of people of all walks of life, political persuasions and religious beliefs so are we to assume that Neo-Fascists, Stalinists and Islamists are to be given a seat at the table and be allowed to form their own activist cells?
After all, the kind of society envisioned by the climate rebels is the dream of all authoritarian thinkers; once established it would be ripe for a populist takeover by such groups given the misery which would be inflicted upon ordinary people during the transition to an emissions-free society.
Extinction rebellion will not work; it is already well on the way to being taken over by the aforementioned bad actors and drowned in progressive liberal equivocation, intersectional feminist drama and bourgeois virtue signalling.
It is a shame since concrete action to deal with climate change and extreme weather will likely be necessary for the near future and a mass call-up of some sort will be needed to build resilient communities; it is just that Extinction Rebellion, if it carries on along its present course will be the movement least well equipped to deal with any emergency situation.