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Extinction Rebellion : Not the Struggle we Need, Pt. 1
posté le 09/08/19 Mots-clés  répression / contrôle social  luttes sociales  environnement 

Extinction Rebellion : Not the Struggle we Need, Pt. 1

Posted By
Out of the Woods
Jul 19 2019 16:37

The first of a three-part critique of Extinction Rebellion, focussing on their attitudes towards the police, legal system and prison.

Content note : police brutality, institutional sexual violence, incarceration


Out of the Woods are utterly convinced of the need for action addressing ecological crisis by any means necessary. But not all means are necessary.

Across this three part critique we aim to show that the tactics, organisational form and strategies utilized by Extinction Rebellion (XR) are not just unnecessary, but are deeply damaging. They endanger those participating, other groups using direct action to struggle for political change (both now and in the future), and frame ecological crisis in ways that leave the door open for dystopian ’solutions’. We make these critiques not to denigrate those who have taken part in their activism : we admire the commitment and bravery frequently evident, and we stand in solidarity with those who face state repression as a result.1 So severe are these concerns that we discourage participation in XR actions.

We are not alone in criticizing XR. While we feel the criticisms outlined here are distinct, we acknowledge the work of others who we build upon, and who we hope to be read in dialogue with. 2

Our concerns about XR’s praxis operate across three fundamental levels : their tactics (how they carry out their actions), their organisation (how they are structured), and their strategy (their longer-term plan for action) :

Tactics : XR’s positioning of the police and security forces as tactical allies, and their method of seeking as many arrests as possible places those who participate in their actions in unnecessary danger. It provides a propaganda service for the police and prisons, who will only ever be enemies in the fight for ecological flourishing. It also creates significant dangers for other groups involved in direct action and collective struggle, including those who work with XR and those who may form in the future.

Organisation : those who take part in XR’s actions do so at considerable personal risk, yet the gains from this are accrued by its leadership. Furthermore, despite nods to non-hierarchical modes of organising, XR remains a top-down organisation with little space for dissensus.

Strategy : the manner in which XR leaders intend to take forward the momentum and influence accrued by its actions are deeply flawed. They misunderstand the nature of the crisis, the role of the state, the role of capital, and frequently repeat eco-nationalist ideals. They will lead not to ecological flourishing, but at best to a green dystopia.

We do not expect any organisation to emerge perfectly formed, of course. This is particularly so at our current moment, with little historical memory of direct action in and as collective struggle. This is in no small part due to the violent actions of the police and the state, who have deliberately and diligently worked to destroy previous collective struggles aimed at ecological flourishing. Yet the severity of our concerns, particularly in light of XR’s anti-democratic structure, means that we do not believe it is worthwhile seeking to reform XR from within (as some of us have attempted to do).

Below we provide our critique of XR’s tactics. In the coming weeks we will publish the second and third parts of our critique, focussing on XR’s organisational form and its strategy, in turn. Whilst XR is establishing groups internationally, our primary focus across the three parts of our critique is on the UK, as this is where the group is currently achieving the greatest amount of traction, and where the knowledges and experiences of the OotW members involved in writing this piece are grounded.


posté le 9 août 2019 Alerter le collectif de modération à propos de la publication de cet article. Imprimer l'article
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