Rebel Daily 2: If the trees die, so do we
September 03, 2020 by XR Newsletter
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On the first day, we found our feet and planted them in our public spaces. On the second day, we really got down to business. Rebels moved like water to target specific sites of ecocidal atrocity.
Manchester rebels expressed their outrage at fast-fashion giant BooHoo and the greasy GMA pension fund. In Cardiff, rebels painted sea level rise predictions in blue chalk paint onto shopfronts to evoke the very real prospect of most of the city being underwater by 2050.
Online, rebels are flooding the personal inboxes of Boris and Cummings with hundreds of emails and repeated phone calls to No 10 and the Treasury. One rebel described their calls as a polite disobedient dance: “We all know the steps, but who knows what our collective dancing may do?”
And in London, the corrupt, climate-denying think-tanks at Tufton Street were under rebel scrutiny, HS2 rebels delivered a massive, bleeding tree stump to DEFRA’s doorstep (and locked onto it!), and determined crowds succeeded in re-routing Boris himself.
The Lightship Greta is on her way, taking some time to enjoy the leafy scenery.
Our second day of Rebellion notably saw the CEE bill be introduced in Parliament – an achievement testament to the tireless work of many rebels and rebel-friendly folk from all across society. More on this below.
We shouldn’t have to sit in the streets and get arrested for our government to listen to its people. Our democracy is all out of whack and unfit to deal with the crises that grow graver every day.
Our world is in a truly dire state. Change must come, but it may be slow, hard-fought – and only time will tell if it’s enough.
Can I u-turn myself out of here?
Whatever happens, this team remains continually inspired by the countless moments of beauty which make XR unique. Whether it’s arrestee support waiting up through the night, rebels sitting peacefully in the road to be arrested, remote rebels keeping with us from all corners of the world, or the everyday acts of kindness and warmth which make our world worth saving.
For a brilliant video of some of the day’s actions, see here. For beautiful photos, see here.
UPDATE: As we write this, we’ve been seeing an incredible blockade of parliament in progress, along with a colourful roadblock outside the DHSC. If you want to help support these actions happening now, check out the London Telegram feed!
If you’d like to help, please check out our guide and learn more about XR.
To connect to rebels in your local area, get in touch with your nearest XR group. If there’s no active group near you, you can start your own!
If you’d like to see previous newsletter issues, you can find them here.
As we enter this crucial phase in human history, our Rebellion will need money to make sure our message is heard. Anything you can give is appreciated.
Action Highlights Back to top
The Tide Is Rising
02 SEP | Cardiff
King Canute commanding the waves from his golden throne. Photo: Baker
The steps of the Senedd hosted a beach party visited by ghosts from the past, a crew of skeletons including King Canute on a golden throne. A stark warning to the powers inside that the waters will rise even if you sit on a mighty throne.
Rebels flooded the city, exposing how the majority of Cardiff will be flooded by 2050 unless we tackle the climate emergency. They paused at a roundabout that would soon join Atlantis underwater. Those explaining the action to waiting drivers said they mostly got positive responses.
Wave goodbye to your discounted clothing…
Two rebels sprayed blue waves on a shop-front marking how high sea levels will reach even if we manage to keep to 1.5 degrees of warming. They were the first to be arrested in the Rebellion in Cardiff.
A police commander tried to read out a statement to the crowd but he withdrew after being drowned out by the samba band and portable PA. He later said “fair play” to one of the stewards!
We’re taking a new banner for a spin.
Cheap clothing? The Earth pays for it
02 SEP | Manchester
This bear demands better than the GMA’s grizzly investments.
On the second day of the Northern Rebellion, a white bear waltzed into Greater Manchester Authority, shaking up the stuffy entrance with some disobedience funk. The city’s pension fund has £1.8bn invested in fossil fuel companies including BP and Shell, making it the biggest and dirtiest public-sector pension fund in the country. It also has no plans to divest until 2050!
Without blaming or shaming (or maybe just a little), they swayed to the tune of Shame Shame Shame and rocked out moves like The Love and Rage, The Boris and The U-Turn.
From there the party moved to St Peter’s Square where it grew in numbers, culminating in a mass die-in.
Rebels also protested outside the HQ of fast-fashion empire BooHoo. The fashion industry accounts for 10% of global CO2 emissions, more than transport, aviation and shipping combined.
BooHoo has also been accused of human rights violations, with illegal working practices highlighted in its supply chain. During the pandemic, staff in Leicester-based factories were forced to continue working, even when they had Covid-19, with a wage of £3.50 an hour, far below the UK living wage at £9.80 an hour. This is slave labour.
Power to the Trees
02 SEP | Westminster, London
London’s Rebellion was renewed yesterday morning as rebels tried to blockade parliament itself. The attempt to hold the road was bolstered by the launch of the ‘Extended non-compliance’ group, whose brave members go into ‘ragdoll’ mode when arrested, not just until they’re in the police van, but all the way to their cells. Despite this help, a harsh police response forced rebels off the roads and sought to contain us in a ‘soft kettle’ on Parliament Green.
Just when it looked like the police had us figured, a spontaneous walk gathered steam, left the green, and became a massive, joyous, rambling roadblock for a large part of the day.
This unplanned march was greatly spurred on by XR Doctors, who rejoined the socially-distant throng after their dramatic die-in (for a brilliant video, see here).
Doctors present death certificates to climate corpses. Photo: Crispin Hughes/Gareth Morris.
Rebels returned to the green in time to witness (remotely) Caroline Lucas’s reading of the CEE Bill (see story below), and spirits were raised further by a brave action from anti-HS2 campaigners. As two protestors distracted police with flares, a handful started climbing the trees on the opposite side of the square, resulting in cheers, police shoving rebels aside to try and reach them, and a surreal tug-of-war over a bag on a rope. All but one climber made it to the safety of the canopy.
A poignant and powerful lock-on at DEFRA: police had to chainsaw through this tree-stump before traffic could reclaim the road. Watch the sawdust fly for yourself here.
Speaking truth to Tufton Street Lies
To finish the day a heroic affinity group set up two tripods on Tufton Street, the beating heart of the UK’s climate change denial lobby, holding the road for an evening of inspirational speeches. Speakers began by outing the insidious networks working out of Tufton Street that do so much to undermine our democracy.
When the seas rise, we might all be climbing tripods.
The stage was then turned over to Writers Rebel. Hosted by actors Sir Mark Rylance and Juliet Stevenson, the event gathered 20 award-winning writers to speak out against climate science denial and the influence of climate sceptic think-tanks on UK politics. Speakers included Zadie Smith and George Monbiot. Poet Ruth Padel, historian Sir Simon Schama, and novelist Margaret Atwood all released supporting video statements.
Lies, lies, lies all over Tufton Street.
“We need writers to turn their lens to what is happening, beyond the cynical spin and disinformation put out by the forces of vested interest and corporate greed that inhabit these buildings that surround us tonight,” Stevenson said, calling on all writers and other artists to join the movement (video from 1:34:45).
Writers and activists then blockaded the building’s entrance and used stencils to plaster its façade with the word “LIES”. Two were arrested.
The CEE Bill is officially on the table
02 SEP | House of Commons, London
Blink and you’ll miss it!
A title being read out and Caroline Lucas standing up and sitting down in Parliament may seem like minor acts, but in fact they represent an historic moment in our quest for climate justice.
The CEE Bill was successfully tabled today with the maximum number of 11 co-sponsors from across 7 political parties covering all 4 nations in the UK. On top of this, more than 10 MPs have already backed the Bill as well.
Sadly, the date for the next ‘reading’ of the Bill isn’t until March 12th, 2021 – far too far away (we feel your rage and we’re raging too!). It’s not good enough.
We need to get as many MPs as possible to back the bill. Join rebels in Westminster and call or email your MP now.
XR Unchained Back to top
It’s Rebellion time! Which means there’s too much happening for one newsletter to handle! Feast your eyes on the finest selection of more Rebellion actions below.
Animal Rebellion makes a dig at the BBC with the message: ‘Don’t bury the Truth!’
Outreach on wheels in Cardiff.
XR Grandparents and Elders stand together, tied together by washing lines with children’s clothes. Photo credit: Crispin Hughes
In Manchester, rebels march by the Library on a beautiful day.
Back the Bill
20 MPs are already backing the CEE Bill, but we need to build up far more support to get the bill passed. Pull your MP over the line, call them and send an email explaining why we need this bill now. Use this super easy digital tool to find your MP and access template phone scripts and emails.
And then give Boris a ring, in this digital disruption, occupying the phone lines and flooding the inboxes of No 10 and the Treasury calling on them to act on the climate emergency.
London: For more London Actions check out the schedule and the Telegram.
Cardiff: For a live and nearly-comprehensive list of what’s upcoming, see the schedule and Telegram.
Manchester: For the latest on the Northern Rebellion, see the schedule and Telegram.
Join the Digital Rebellion here. Please note, the page will be updated with new themes, so it’s always worth checking! Digital rebels are welcome to join a daily Zoom call, along with an open Telegram group.
Announcements Back to top
See it, Say it, SORTED.
XR appeals to anyone with insider information about the climate and ecological crisis to share it through the whistle-blowing website TruthTeller.Life.
If you can shed any light on how lobbyists, think tanks or PR firms in particular are misleading the public, TruthTeller.Life can help you anonymously disclose what you know.
Humans of XR Back to top
Kite | Tufton Street, London
“The ruling elite are lying to everyone about climate change. We need to help people see through the lies. So, that’s why I’m up here.”
We are receiving amazing human stories and we want to know yours. To read more – or to write your own – join our Facebook group.
Sweet dreams, everyone.
Thank you so much for reading! There’s so much going on that we barely have time to write this sign-off. Keep up the amazing work!
If you have any questions or queries, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we enter this crucial phase in human history, our Rebellion needs money to make sure our message is heard. Anything you can give is appreciated.