21–24 April 2023
100,000 people at the Houses of Parliament.
Impossible to ignore.
Extinction Rebellion UK, the original XR, are back. Starting in 2019, their phenomenally successful first few years of direct action on the streets of London led to a global movement, a huge increase in public awareness of the climate and ecology crises as well as mainstream media coverage and political discourse. It also changed activism, provide templates for how to effect mass social change, and spawning new movements like Just Stop Oil.
They didn’t get everything right. There’s been critique from societally marginalised groups about both the make up of XR and the strategies and tactics used and how they impact on different peoples. Some of the later protests pushed the wrong boundary, attracting righteous anger, particularly the occupation of a rush hour train.
But for the most part they were exactly what British and other industrialised societies needed to wake the fuck up about the tidal wave bearing down on us right now. The debate shifted from climate as ‘something in the future for other generations to deal with that might not be that bad’, to the crisis, and its magnitude, and its imminence, being in our faces.
Building on the back of other climate movements including the sustained actions of indigenous peoples, School Strike for Climate, and many NGOs, XR confronted Brits with the true nature of the crisis, what needs to be done and what can be done.
Obviously they haven’t averted climate change and I expect the usual disparagement from some for XR not having saved the world, as if everything I just wrote isn’t the necessary set up for large scale social, political and economic change. If we see climate action and transition as a long event, XR are the ones running round telling people the house is already on fire and pointing to what is stopping us putting it out. That’s not the only thing that needs to happen.
While various actions have continued since then, in the past year or so they’ve been taking stock on their direction and strategies. Now they are back with a 4 day action at the UK Parliament. This is exactly the right move, having done major actions on London roads and targeting banks, airports, and oil investment, they’re now shifting away from general inner city life and climate driver businesses to the heart of the problem: government.
From the XR UK website,
More than 70 organisations are supporting – including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and PCS Union to name but a few.
- Family friendly
- Accessible and welcoming
The streets will be transformed with People’s Pickets outside government departments and a diverse programme of speakers, performers and workshops, awash with colour and culture. There will be art and music, talks from experts, places to listen and engage, and activities for the kids.
- Friday 21st – Unite to Survive. Westminster is filled with flags, banners and people.
- Saturday 22nd – Earth Day. An enormous, celebration & family-friendly march for biodiversity!
- Sunday 23rd – Running Out of Time! The Big One coexists with the London Marathon.
- Monday 24th – Choose Your Future. Parliament returns, the demand is delivered.
Come on your own, with friends and family, a community group – or a local XR group. Come when you like, leave when you like, and stay for as long as you can. You can always ask a steward (hi viz jackets) to show you around and help you find like minded people. Whatever your plans, come, be heard and be counted!
Not sure you’ll make a difference?
Every single person makes us collectively more powerful, and makes our voices harder for the Government to ignore. Just imagine what thousands of us working together could do. We can make this the biggest climate protest ever held in the UK – something that is talked about for generations. We can bring about change. We can turn the tide. But first, we need to show up.
You are needed, we are needed, everyone is needed.
Here comes everyone.
Mod note: no climate denial under my posts, including ‘it’s too late’and the Bart Simpson defence (‘humans didn’t do it’).