UK and International Extinction Rebellion
XR is a decentralised network of local groups, XR Oswestry & Borders being one. Since its beginnings in autumn 2018, the movement has grown amazingly, and continues to do so. To date, XR is represented by hundreds of groups in around 50 countries all over the world.
On 31st October 2018, we assembled on Parliament Square in London to announce a Declaration of Rebellion against the UK Government. We were expecting a couple of hundred people. Instead, 1500 came to participate in peaceful civil disobedience. The energy was contagious! The next few weeks were a whirlwind. Six thousand of us converged on London to peacefully block five major bridges across the Thames. We planted trees in the middle of Parliament Square, and dug a hole there to bury a coffin representing our future. We super-glued ourselves to the gates of Buckingham Palace as we read a letter to the Queen. Our actions generated huge national and international publicity and, as news spread, our ideas connected with tens of thousands of people around the world. The XR project was resonating with a deeply felt need for community and solidarity. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” we chanted! Dozens of countries now have groups springing up, from the Solomon Islands to Australia, from Spain to South Africa, the US to India.
In April 2019 we began our first phase of International Rebellion. In Pakistan, we marched through the capital. In the US, we glued ourselves to a bank. In the Netherlands, we occupied the Hague. In Austria, we blocked roads. In Chile, we lay down in the middle of a street. In Ghana, we blew whistles to sound the climate alarm.
In the UK, meanwhile, we shut down five iconic locations in Central London: Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Picadilly Circus and Parliament Square. We stayed there for ten days, delivering a rolling programme of speeches, discussions and public assemblies. We closed down fossil-fuel companies, blocked the roads around the Treasury and glued ourselves to the London Stock Exchange. We attempted to cause as much economic disruption as we possibly could.
By the end of the fortnight over a thousand people had been arrested (including some heroes from Oswestry and Borders).
We have already seen a huge shift in public opinion, and the UK has become the first country to declare a climate emergency.
So what’s next? We are working relentlessly, building our movement in preparation for the next phase. So come and join us. Rebel for life. For the planet. For our children’s children’s futures. There is so much work to be done.
At the core of Extinction Rebellion’s philosophy is nonviolent civil disobedience. We promote civil disobedience and rebellion because we think it is necessary- we are asking people to find their courage and to collectively do what is necessary to bring about change.
We aren’t focussed on traditional systems like petitions or writing to our MPs and more likely to take risks (e.g. arrest / jail time). We don’t want or need everyone to get arrested – for some this is not a good idea – but we do want everyone involved to support civil disobedience as a tool.
We are promoting mass “above the ground” civil disobedience – in full public view. This means economic disruption to shake the current political system and civil disruption to raise awareness. We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience that this causes.
We have made some decisions about security and our interactions with the police. We have made a strategic decision to communicate with the police about what we are doing when we believe that is more likely to enable things to go well (which we can’t always be sure of). Except for the case where a small group is trying to do a specific action that needs the element of surprise, we generally don’t try to be secure in our communications about plans. We expect that we have been infiltrated by those without our best interests at heart and suggest people bear this in mind.
We are about political change, not personal change (though we welcome the latter).
We are completely nonviolent, our actions are done in full public view and we take responsibility for them. We have an Action Consensus which outlines how we work together on actions.
We organise in small groups. These groups are connected in a complex web that is constantly evolving as we grow and learn. We are working to build a movement that is participatory, decentralised, and inclusive.
The structure aims to empower anybody to act as part of XR, so long as they agree to follow our ten core principles. You can read our Self-Organising System (or XR Constitution) for more information. We are seeking a balance between being able to act quickly in response to fast-changing situations and being able to integrate the collective wisdom of multiple perspectives when needed.
Here is a Visual Representation of the Working Groups that are organising at a UK-wide level, and this constantly evolving spreadsheet contains more information about each of these groups.