Extinction Rebellion: Not the Struggle we Need, Pt. 2

Hier kun je discussieren over Extinction Rebellion: Not the Struggle we Need, Pt. 2.

Your Risk; Their Reward
Fetishizing XR’s formal organisational form at the expense of power relations is a little like seeking to explain Amazon’s rise by focussing on how it organises technologies and ‘human resources’ whilst ignoring its exploitation of labour power.

XR is not, of course, a profit-seeking company. Yet just as Amazon’s profits are ultimately dependent on the labour of its employees, XR’s ‘success’ is due to participants. More specifically, it is because XR participants put themselves in considerable danger (from the police and state violence discussed in part one) that XR is achieving such notoriety. Participants will of course say that they are taking these risks for the planet, for each other, for the world’s poor, for their children, and for the environment. We do not doubt their sincerity. Yet we cannot help but think that their actions primarily help XR reproduce itself, and in particular bolster the power of XR’s ‘leaders’.

Not so Nonhierarchical
All-too-often XR’s claims to nonhierarchy fail to stand up to scrutiny. The prospects for participants in struggle to shape the overall direction of the organisation is limited, the scope for vanguardist action against the wishes of others is large, and accountability is weak.

Informal Hierarchy
XR seems more interested in disavowing leadership than interrogating its complexities and responsibilities. The Zapatistas are not above criticism, but they make clear the roles their ‘leaders’ play, ground their authority in the collective and ensure that they are recallable. By denying that they have leaders, XR allows its leaders to act without scrutiny. This thread by a disabled activist who sought to reform XR talks (https://twitter.com/pancake_puns/status/1184770068934266880), for example, of ‘invisible hierarchies’: very often the most insidious kind.

Reproducing Oppression
XR’s tactical focus on getting participants arrested already reproduces broader societal oppressions, and they refuse to incorporate structures designed to challenge these in organisation.

XR, for example, has no safe(r) spaces policy and there is no clearly determined accountability process. There is no formally mandated group to deal with abuse within the movement, nor any guidelines for local groups to do so. Given that recent radical movements in the UK have been marred by well-publicised cases of sexual abuse, transphobia and the reproduction of racialized, gendered, classed and (dis)abled hierarchies, these missing elements exhibit further disregard for the wellbeing of participants. As @pancake_puns on twitter points out, this means that the burden for change falls entirely on those already marginalised and oppressed: they are then frustrated by XR’s informal hierarchies while they try do undertake this work.

Struggle Within XR
XR Youth, who have claimed that they are “really based on talking about indigenous communities”, with the “global south [at the centre] of what we talk about and how we express ourselves”. XR Scotland, too, have taken a critical stance vis-a-vis “deep rooted problems at the heart of the Extinction Rebellion movement”, with a particular focus on its whiteness; and the presence of groups such as Global Justice Rebellion in the movement is also encouraging. We believe that the struggles they are centreing are incompatible with the approach taken by XR, and that were they to be successful XR would be a wholly transformed organisation. The chances of this occurring are slim. We must also be alive to the dangers of XR ‘liberation-washing’: co-opting these struggles in a manner akin to the liberal ‘diversity’ tactics employed by large institutions in order to avoid making structural changes.

If XR’s ‘success’ is indeed in part due to a lack of historical memory of radical struggle in the UK then these internal struggles within it may prove invaluable in the long run, even if they do not achieve their laudable aims in the short run. Many people are experiencing activism for the first time in XR and whilst we feel comradely-but-forceful critique from outside the movement is important, there is potential for groups within XR to make substantive pedagogical contributions in this context. We have all been involved in struggles that were imperfect or, sometimes, downright wrongheaded. We do not come into this world perfect activists. The experience of many in XR may prepare them for other struggles that are still to come.

Full article at https://libcom.org/blog/xr-pt-2-31102019
Extinction Rebellion: Not the Struggle we Need, Pt. 1, https://www.indymedia.nl/node/46385

Roger Hallam — Extinction

Roger Hallam — Extinction Deception

Hallam is an emotional trickster, businessman and failed academic who’s built a reputation on half-truths and propaganda over this past three years. Since helping to build a new movement that’s inspired many people to take action on the climate and ecological crisis confronting them he’s attempted to rebrand himself as an author. It’s within this context, that this week’s series of interviews with the German media have stoked a fierce backlash, revealing the hidden unaccountable power structures at the heart of the movement.


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