Extinction Rebellion: A Cause for Hope for the Planet and Maybe for Revolution

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1821 ... May 8, 2019

Extinction Rebellion: A Cause for Hope for the Planet and Maybe for Revolution

Mike Shaughnessy

The worldwide protests organized by Extinction Rebellion (XR), have put the issue of the ecological crisis into mainstream political discourse. Non-violent actions have been carried out in more than 30 countries and within them, many more towns and cities. But it has been in the UK, the birthplace of the movement, that has seen the most spectacular actions, particularly in London. Four central London locations were held, and blockaded, three of them illegally, for almost a week, with over a 1,000 arrests being made by police.

It has astonished me that protesters held on for so long in London, but I had obviously misjudged the numbers that Extinction Rebellion... could mobilize, especially those willing to be arrested in the process. The Metropolitan Police, have, by and large, handled the demonstrations well, and proportionately, as far as I can tell. I’ve been out of London for a few days, and only managed to visit the Parliament Square camp, on the second day of that encampment, and all was very quiet whilst I was there.

The right-wing media has attempted to smear the protesters all week, but the best they came up with was to call them "middle-class." Since when did the Daily Mail see being middle-class as an insult? The accusation was that working-class people had more to worry about, low wages, insecure jobs and public services cut to the bone, which may well have some truth in it, but when was the last time the Daily Mail etc. championed the causes of these people? Never, is the answer.

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