How a movement of movements can win: Taking XR to the next level.

This article was first published on Medium.

Our October Rebellion needs to be bigger than April’s was. Way bigger. Because this time, it has to be about not just getting verbal concessions from power, pious declarations of climate and ecological emergency without actual consequence. No; that’s just not good enough. Because this is the age of consequences. There’s no more time to play with…

No less than Antonio Gutierrez, UN Secretary General, has said that if we don’t start making serious – transformative – change within about the next 12 months, then there is no way the world can head off the kind of catastrophe outlined in last year’s IPCC 1.5degrees report. The Budget this autumn is the last chance that the UK Government has to alter its spending priorities hugely within this time-frame. That Budget must be a climate-and-ecological-emergency budget. (And not merely obsessed with Brexit, which is a short-termist side-show compared to that emergency. There is, obviously, a very real danger – a likelihood – at present, that the Government will splash cash on a pre-election bonanza and spend anything it has left on a no-deal Brexit contingency. We’re here to ensure that this doesn’t happen; that, instead, the UK starts to plan now to address the real emergency and to bring about rapid transition.)

If the authorities won’t budge, then there will be consequences. Us. Forcing a fork in the road. From our October Rebellion, we need a massive change of direction conceded, actually begun, acted upon. And if not, then a Citizens Assembly to decide the way forward. An Assembly of ordinary Citizens, properly informed about the hell-on-Earth that humanity is serenely creating, and empowered, after real reflection and deliberation, to decide on how this country is going to play its part in charting a very different path. Fast.

How are we going to get to this new scale of Rebellion? How do we get several times as many people out onto the streets this autumn? And many more of us ready to be arrested (and indeed, some of us, imprisoned)?

Anyone who was there in April will tell you how amazing it was. The experience of a lifetime. I believe that pretty much every one of us who was there then will be back. Plus those who regretted (in retrospect) not having been a part of it; there’ll be there too. And many more who have been ‘woken up’ by talks etc. from XR that they’ve heard since.

But there’s no guarantee that that will add up to enough new rebels. How do we go to the next level?

We have a plan: a movement of movements. We want contingents of new rebels from movements ‘allied’ to XR. The peace movement. The animals movement. The social justice movement. And several more. Call it the rebel alliance

I’ve written a pamphlet about how this rebel alliance will work best. About in particular how we should together target the economic and financial system and those who run it. The power behind the authorities…

The pamphlet is called “Truth and its consequences”.

Let me dispel some possible misconceptions about this proposed approach to our strategy for this autumn, here:

This is not about targetting rich and powerful individuals as individuals. This is about targetting the system they run, and sometimes them as the people who have the roles of running it.

XR is beyond party politics, and not a competitor on the standard political spectrum. So: This is not about being ‘left-wing’. No, the logic is much simpler than that. In an emergency, we need to all be in it together. But that simply means that it’s elementary that the polluter elite need (for example) to reduce their flying more than the rest of us, and so on and so forth. Flying needs to rationed, or at least to be done on the basis of a stringent progressive ‘frequent flyer levy’. There was nothing ‘left-wing’ about instituting food rationing in the second world; it was simply what made sense in a Blitz spirit of us all pulling together. The same kind of spirit we need now: a spirit of wartime mobilisation in this greatest of emergencies in human history. Similarly, there’s nothing ‘left-wing’ about Contraction and Convergence, the cleanest and clearest proposed way of achieving some basic level of climate justice, converging on us all polluting the same small amount that the planetary ecosystem can now tolerate, worldwide.

What this is about is about making very clear that the systems that are running us into the ground and over a cliff-edge are intolerable, and that they must change. Now. We will not allow the City to continue to leach money that should be used for an emergency programme of transitioning our economy to something that can be ecologically viable. We will not allow them to continue to invest in fossilised energy-systems that are killing our children, right now.

I hope you’ll read my pamphlet. I hope, in the relatively decentralised way that the October Rebellion will be run, that you’ll choose to put your body on the line in stopping Parliament from instituting any Budget that is not a Climate and Ecological Emergency Budget, or in stopping the financial ‘heart’ (sic) of London from beating its deadly drum of business-as-usual. I hope you’ll be part of the Rebel Alliance that is poised to change this country forever, and put it on a fairer path, a path to a future.

And then, after they fight us, and we ‘fight back’ with the force of truth and in deepest non-violence…(I hope) we’ll win.

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