Extinction Rebellion: A New Kind of Climate Protest Movement

Aug 25, 2019 by

Alongside Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion is establishing itself as the second arm of a new global climate protection movement. Forged from the lessons of past protest cultures and a present-day understanding of mental health and sensitivity, the group seems to be finding its stride.Image result for Extinction Rebellion

By Georg Fahrion –

To understand how radical climate activists tick, a layperson need only listen to an anecdote about button pins. It’s early August, and roughly 150 supporters of the growing global protest movement Extinction Rebellion (XR) have gathered in Hamburg for a weekend of workshops. A small bowl holds handfuls of button pins, each with a small red heart.

Go ahead, one of the organizers tells the crowd, grab one and put it on. It’s an invitation to her fellow campaigners, who needed to get their impending sense of doom over the climate off their chests. As soon as your emotional capacity is exhausted, the organizer says, feel free to take off the pin. “Of course,” she adds, “maybe wait until the discussion is over.” The crowd laughs.

The impact the XR movement will have may still remain to be seen, but if this weekend in August has made anything clear, it’s this: The activists may be courting the maximum public attention with their acts of civil disobedience, but to one another, they’re incredibly sensitive.

It would be too easy to simply dismiss the organizer’s offer for everyone to say what’s on their mind as a kind of contrived mindfulness. Much more, the group’s approach explains why so many activists from around the world have joined XR within such a short amount of time. But what kind of people are they? What are their goals? And how do they intend to achieve them?

Uprising or Extinction

XR doesn’t see itself as a bunch of elitist activists, but rather as a collective movement that accepts all people with open arms. Ever since the first XR activists proclaimed a “rebellion against the government” in London’s Parliament Square on Oct. 31, 2018, the movement’s organizers say it has expanded into dozens of countries, including the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific and the United States. Alongside Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion is setting out to establish itself as the second arm of a new global climate protection movement.

XR’s supporters want to bring traffic, business and government affairs to a standstill. They hope to achieve this through peaceful civil disobedience, with the ultimate goal of forcing a turnaround in climate policy. In London, they simultaneously occupied and blocked five bridges in November 2018, affixed themselves to the gates of Buckingham Palace with superglue, and dumped buckets of artificial blood on Downing Street in March 2019. In Germany, XR activists occupied the Oberbaumbrücke bridge in Berlin in April for hours and the Deutzer Brücke bridge in Cologne in July. Both are important bottlenecks for the flow of traffic.

Source: Extinction Rebellion: A New Kind of Climate Protest Movement – SPIEGEL ONLINE

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