4 better or 4 worse? As XR nears its ‘big one’

Four years ago I stood by the pink boat of truth in Oxford Circus to give the opening speech at the international rebellion against governmental crimes against humanity for inaction on the ecological and climate crises. The video of the full speech:

Four years on, many of the activists who have been involved in XR since that time have been reassessing how they will engage in future. The former finance lead of XR UK, Andrew Medhurst has written up his reflections, where he also summarises some of the new strands of work – showing how movements evolve due to successes and failures. I share my own journey in a book that is now on sale (ahead of free release as an epub in July). It is called Breaking Together: a freedom-loving response to collapse” – a title that I hope conveys some of the ideas. It has entered the Amazon bestseller charts at #1 in its category ‘political freedom.’ That category fits, as I map out a very different agenda to the one that has hijacked Western environmentalism in the last decade. That is the now-dominant agenda telling us that technology, enterprise, surveillance, restrictions and the schemes of billionaires, are the way ahead, and so we must force each other to stay hopeful and compliant. As co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, Clare Farrell, has explained “if you want to save some of the world, but hate being told what to do, this book is for you.” She is encouraging everyone out for the ‘big one’ in a couple of days. I am pleased to see a range of environmental groups supporting their effort to remind leaders of the level of public concern about the climate and ecological crises.

I remained convinced, however, that unless the green movement escapes its deference to the establishment and stops looking down on whomever corporate media tells us to, then there is no chance of a truly society-wide mass mobilisation for radical social change.

That has to be a mobilisation that listens to and engages people where they are at on a range of issues that are made worse by overbearing corporate power, captured regulators and corrupt elites. It is something I explained in a long essay over a year ago, and in the song “Love and Rage.” I strongly recommend a read 🙂 At the time, it mainly generated vilification from exactly the middle class commentariat that a transformative green movement must urgently free itself from – but the XR comms team caved and didn’t have the discussion about what being part of something more than green might mean. Perhaps a realisation about that could be the silver lining to the the dark clouds of 4 years of failure in impacting on emissions, atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, biodiversity loss and suchlike. Because whomever continues to respect the establishment in a society that created such carnage and now uses spreading anxiety to syphon off public money into the pockets of venture capitalists, as is happening globally now, is simply not serious and needs to be ignored. So whether or not the “big one” turns out stinky or not, it really is time for some frank talking within the Western green sector about how to be relevant and not just useful idiots of the ruling classes and factions of capital. It is why I have a whole chapter in my book on the need to break ranks with the ‘fake green globalists’ and their apologists and champions in the media and green movement. Otherwise, 4 years from now, we will not only own less and be unhappy, but we will greatly regret our years wasted in timidity.

An interesting new angle emerged from April 19th 2019, which shows some of the vibe that day. A movie on some of this stuff is being released this summer. Subscribe to this blog to learn about the premiere (in Berlin) as well as my book tour.

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