Occupy Wall Street got a lot of attention as they poured into New York's financial district under the "We are the 99%" tab eight years ago.
Occupy activists were concerned with social and economic differences between the one percent richest and the rest of the people. Extinction Rebellion (XR) writes: "We can, and must, succeed in launching a peaceful revolution that will end the era of fossil fuel, destruction of nature and capitalism." The common denominator of the two activist groups: Capitalism is the root of all evil, be it economic differences or climate change, and so must "radical system changes".
Since its inception in the United Kingdom (October 2018), XR has spread its nonviolent actions to the world, including our oil-rich tab of the globe, as mentioned in Truls Lies Heads "Cursed" in the May issue of New Time.
The book is a two-part collection of essays from various contributors – the first part of which paints scary images of the condition and future of mother earth, in an attempt to turn the reader's despair and climate anxiety into action in part two.
If you manage to read this far, then – you should have a good day for essay after essay with dramatic claims about the end of the globe and civilization: "The climate [...] is destroying lives and threatening our future." We live in an "ecological crisis "and" mass extermination "driven by" boundless greed ". We have "eradicated ecological diversity and indigenous peoples" and are heading towards the safe demise if we continue on the same track. There is no room for doubt, nor is there any hope in the existing (economic and political) system – hard to digest for a reader.
The UN Climate Panel IPCC was overly cautious in its climate predictions, should we believe the essay "Doom and Bloom: Adapting to Collapse". In short: We have no time to lose. But how should a disillusioned, despairing person prepare mentally for civilization to perish? "We cannot escape despair, but must allow universal love to be our compass as we enter a new physical and psychological terrain," writes Professor Jem Bendell with a background from sustainable management and finance.
Britain declared climate crisis the first country in the world.
He predicts a "collapse" within ten years for most countries, describing his own period of grief when he realized he hardly has any future. He feels sorrow for his loved ones – over the fear and pain they will experience when society breaks down. Each one of us can benefit a lot from accepting the downfall of civilization, Bendell believes. He sees it as an opportunity for change in the individual's life, which in turn can be positive for the person and the society.
An effective way to bring about change is when people are willing to be imprisoned for nonviolent civil disobedience, writes author Jay Griffiths in his essay. She points out: "If you want to be arrested, arrest is not a deterrent." She talks about nice and calm actions, and about how considerate British police officers were against them. She talks about her own positive experiences and does not reflect on whether police officers in other countries offer XR activists on tea or baton.
Part two of the book is specific and closer to the manual that the title suggests. It is about organizing action groups, good unity, advice and practical tips – including meal planning: Do not cook with nuts, and it should be vegan and gluten-free. Feel free to bring your own thermos. Jail? Bring a good book.
That sounds nice, and that's probably the purpose: If XR is to reach new and uncertain possible shareholders through this book, it is tactically wise to emphasize the positive sides, although some of the negatives are also mentioned – after all, deprivation of liberty is not just festive.
An attempt to turn the reader's despair and climate anxiety into action.
XR-directed actions should be nonviolent: sit-down, play-dead, glue-you-fix until you get arrested. "Violence destroys democracies and can never produce a peaceful result," it says in an essay explaining XR's nonviolence line. You need to break the law to get attention, but it must be organized and with discipline – and the actions must be repeated. Not least: XR invites artists of all kinds, because "we should show the media that we are not waiting to die, now we will have a party". And attention has come, the international press has reportedly obeyed. The book details the media strategy in detail – and new members have joined the rebels. But happens anything?
XR has been carefully planned, according to the book. They have three main requirements: 1. The government must "tell the truth" by declaring the climate crisis and "working with other institutions to communicate that changes are urgently needed".
2. The government must stop loss of biodiversity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the year 2025. 3. The government must establish (and follow the decisions) for a national government: "Citizens' Assembly on climate and ecological justice".
To measure whether something is successful, one should have measurable results. The first London blockades and stuck-up activists cost the city (and its residents) "tens of millions of pounds" according to the book, forcing meetings with British politicians. Britain declared climate crisis the first country in the world. Several countries and cities have followed suit, and the requirement to declare a crisis can therefore be said to be successful. But then? What is being done to reach the zero emission target?
The measures proposed in the book are radical (cut everything from emissions now!): Comprehensive subsidies to individual nations and global governance – that is, a total change in society, which in such a short time does not seem realistic. When many nations do not even agree to existing climate agreements and emissions targets, it is naive to believe that they will embrace more extreme and supranational solutions.
But the rebels internationally do not give up first. XR Norway has arranged meetings and courses in non-violent communication and forms of action for a long time, and several of them traveled to Berlin to participate in XR actions in October. More actions and arrests are expected. And as the London police told the activists as they released them from prison: And good luck. ”