Chris Hedges and Roger Hallam: The Climate Crisis Calls For Revolution + Extinction Rebellion Promises ‘Greatest Acts Of Civil Disobedience’ Unless Tories Meet Its Demands, by Sophie Squire

Just Stop Oil Protest

Image by Steve Eason via Flickr

Dandelion Salad
April 21, 2023

with Chris Hedges

TheRealNews on Apr 21, 2023

Roger Hallam, the co-founder in 2018 of Extinction Rebellion, was recently released after nearly four months on jail. He was imprisoned for making a 20-minute speech on zoom. He was arrested and jailed because he called for civil disobedience by climate activists, specifically the blocking of major road networks in London.

Hallam is one of the most important and fearless leaders in the climate movement. He was arrested in 2017 after spray painting King’s College London’s Great Hall. He was charged with criminal damage and fined £500. He was later cleared after a court ruled his actions were a proportionate response to the climate crisis.

He led the occupation of a number of public sites in London in April 2019 and sit-down protests on major U.K. highways in the fall of 2021. Activists from his group Just Stop Oil glued their hands to the wall after throwing tomato soup at Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers — which was covered by protective glass — at the National Gallery in London.

Just Stop Oil activists have also spray painted a number of landmarks, including the Home Office, MI5, the Bank of England, an Aston Martin showroom and the rotating sign outside Scotland Yard. Two supporters of Just Stop Oil were arrested recently at the Herbert Museum in Coventry demanding that the government stop all new UK fossil fuel projects and calling on employees and directors of UK cultural institutions to join in civil resistance against the government’s genocidal policies.

Hallam has carried out two hunger strikes and been to prison three times in the past three years. The Metropolitan Police, in his latest arrest, accused Hallam and Just Stop Oil of planning “reckless and serious” public disruption.

The British High Court, in an effort to prevent further acts of civil disobedience, has issued an injunction to prevent Just Stop Oil protesters disrupting the flow of traffic. Blocking traffic, or assisting anyone who blocks traffic, now means activists can be held in contempt of court and face imprisonment, an unlimited fine, and the seizure of assets.

But, as Hallam and Just Stop Oil warns,

“Humanity is at risk of extinction, and so is everything we have ever created. Our works of art, our favourite novels, our historical buildings and artefacts, our traditions – we’re terrifyingly close to losing everything we value and love.

“We cannot rely on our criminal government or our cherished institutions to save us. Our government knows that new oil and gas means a death sentence for billions, yet they are continuing with plans to licence over 100 new fossil fuel projects.

“This means more heatwaves, more crop failure and more death. It is criminal, an act of genocide against billions of people in the poorest countries on earth, and an act of war against the young.”

[…] “Either you are actively supporting civil resistance fighting for life or you are complicit with genocide.”

Joining me to discuss the climate emergency and what we must do to save our species, and most other species on the planet, is Roger Hallam.


Extinction Rebellion Promises ‘Greatest Acts Of Civil Disobedience’ Unless Tories Meet Its Demands

by Sophie Squire
Socialist Worker UK, April 19, 2023
April 21, 2023

Extinction Rebellion (XR) has given the Tories an ultimatum—give in to its demands or it will “step up” action.

XR is calling on the Tory government to end all licences, approvals and funding to new fossil fuel projects and for a citizen’s assembly to address climate change.

The group issued the demands on Tuesday ahead of the start of its four day protest, The Big One, on Friday. It hopes to surround parliament with 100,000 people on Friday. Over 200 other organisations, including Greenpeace, Campaign Against Climate Change, Fuel Poverty Action and War on Want, backed the demands.

If the government doesn’t promise to meet these demands by 5pm next Monday, XR says it plans to “unquit”. Rob Callender from XR told a press conference,

“Four months ago, Extinction Rebellion announced, ‘We quit.’ We entered into a period of alliance-building with other movements and groups by temporarily stepping back from our tactics of civil disobedience.

“Since then, the government has made policy announcements that effectively double down on deadly climate chaos. This is their last chance to show us that they are serious about saving our lives and our futures by agreeing to enter negotiations around our demands.

“A failure to do so will mean that Extinction Rebellion has no choice but to unquit. And to step up our campaign to force the government to take the drastic and radical actions necessary to avoid runaway climate change. This time, we’re not alone—allies from this 200-strong bloc will be stepping up alongside us.”

The group’s “We quit” statement wasn’t popular with every one of its supporters. Some found it confusing and others thought it was bowing to repressive Tory laws such as the draconian Public Order Bill.

One XR activist told the Cambridge Independent newspaper in January that he thought the “leadership has crumbled under pressure from the public saying you’re stopping me from going to work”. “But we should be intensifying, not slowing down our actions,” they said.

It accelerated a debate about strategy and tactics within the climate movement whether to focus on mass mobilisation, disruptive action or combine the two.

XR says it’s in a stronger position than before because it built an alliance of almost 200 groups that back The Big One. And it’s a positive step forward that XR has said that it is willing to take “radical” action if its demands aren’t met.

Extinction Rebellion activist Marijn van de Geer told the press conference, “No single event can change the world, but The Big One will be a transformational moment for the groups and people involved.

“It will be a collective opportunity to discuss and create new tactics that will make our voices heard and drive change. And there will be much, much more to come.”

Others at the press conference called for activists to get “creative” with the kind of action they take. Austin Harney from the PCS union told the press conference, “We have recently seen lawyers who had ways to disrupt their profession by refusing to take part in the prosecution of climate activists.

“I can imagine people within the media, which continues to be guilty of untruths and misleading stories about the climate, developing their own ways of disrupting their own industry.”

Just Stop Oil has vowed to start a campaign of “slow marches” across London from next Monday just as The Big One ends.

Socialists support both mass mobilisations and direct action to achieve change—and the most effective movements combine both.

And there is an opportunity to link the strikes and climate mobilisations, the fightbacks in the workplaces and the streets. We need to make the battles over the cost of living crisis and the struggle against environmental collapse part of a common fight against the bosses’ profit system.

© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.

See also:

The Big One

From the archives:

Peter Carter: There’s No Incentive To Use Warfare If You Have A Renewable Energized Planet

I Can’t Imagine Maine Without Moose, by Rivera Sun

The IPCC’s “Final Warning,” by Andy Worthington

Behind California’s Extreme Weather Emergency, by Scott Scheffer

Jodi Dean: A Proposal to Save the Climate: Decommodify, Decolonize and Decarbonize the Country

Kill Capitalism Before It Kills Us, by Paul Street

Another Global Warming Worry: Parts of Earth Could Become Uninhabitable, by Pete Dolack + A Dire Warning About the End of Human Civilization

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