Rebel Daily 7: Rebellion wraps up
September 12, 2020 by Extinction Rebellion
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Welcome to Rebel Daily #7 – the last issue of this Rebellion!
And what a Rebellion it has been.
Rebels have shown their true colours this Rebellion: the astounding bravery and dedication we’ve seen on the streets and online are testament to a movement that will not give up, no matter how nasty and unjust our opposition might become.
For some rebels involved, this is no joke. Papers like the Daily Mail have been singling out individuals to attack, even printing their home addresses. While certainly scary, we can take this kind of vitriol as a twisted mark of recognition: we’ve ‘levelled up’, as it were.
A full week after our newspaper blockade, the Murdoch press is still fuming. The government still seems unsure what to do with us. But, that’s okay. As we all know, we’re not here to be liked: we’re here to raise the alarm.
Preach it, sister. Photo: Jamie Lowe
And it’s working. Almost in the same breath that they condemn our tactics, some articles are criticising government inaction on the climate crisis. Whether it’s celebrities or tragedies, the truth we represent is getting harder to ignore.
If there was any doubt, this September we’ve proved that XR has still got it. The colour and magic on the streets speaks for itself. We even resurrected the pink boat (watch its spectacular unveiling).
Vibe heroes of the Rebellion. Photo: Gareth Morris
It’s now time to take some incredibly well-earned rest and gather together what we’ve learned. We all have different ways of unwinding, be it taking some time alone in the countryside, reconnecting with loved ones, or looking after our bodies.
Whatever your jam, let’s take some proper time to rest and regenerate, so that we can come back refreshed and ready for more rebelling.
For more regenerative ideas, check out this post-rebellion handbook. It takes you through post-rebellion care and debriefing, along with plenty of practical tips like how to get confiscated kit back and induct new rebels into your group.
Not your usual mannequins. Photo: Natasa Leoni
For others, the work is not done yet. HS2 rebels remain in the trees, and over 600 arrested rebels will be taking their message to the courts (you can support them with legal costs here).
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.
Pink Boat in Sight, Rebel’s Delight
10 SEP | London
Photo: Helena Smith
The last day of rebellion started much like any other – with a brave and provocative action that left police floundering.
13 courageous women D-locked themselves by the neck to railings outside parliament, with a banner that read ‘Can’t bare the truth?’. 5 more women sat on the floor and were also arrested. Printed across their chests were the terrible consequences of a world heated by 4°C: Violence, Famine, Displacement, Pandemic.
While the topless rebels dared people to look at the truth, police turned their backs and formed a barricade around them, finally using vans to block them entirely from public view.
Photo: Jonathon Vines
Meanwhile, around 1000 rebels were assembling at the Bank of England under summer skies, readying for a final march through London.
Once the procession got moving, it really was a sight to behold – a snaking kaleidoscope of colour, flags and banners fluttering as far as the eye could see.
The human train pulsed to the beat of what sounded like a hundred samba drums, and along each side was the fluorescent haze of police hi-vis jackets. Marchers maintained spacious social distance, and face masks were ubiquitous.
The great rebel column cut south through the city’s financial district and went west along the river embankment, only to find the road to Westminster blocked by police vans. Commotion was afoot. A dear old friend had returned to say goodbye.
Minutes earlier, a van towing a large tarpaulin trailer had stalled by Parliament Square. Police grabbed at cables and loose parts in a scramble, as the tarpaulin fell away to reveal a beautiful pink sailing boat, six smiling barnacles locked to its keel.
The icon of the April Rebellion was back, and just as pink and truth-telling as we remembered. Rebels cheered. Police shouted confused orders. Marchers kept arriving. And among this glorious chaos, the four-strong crew carefully pulled up the ship’s sail and let off a pink flare for good measure.
The ceremony ended with epic speeches, more cheers, and a samba band beat that had rebels on their feet. An endless supply of police filtered through the jubilant crowds, reminding everyone they really had to get off the grass by 7pm.
Photo: Gareth Morris
And looking down from on high, a jewel in our defiant crown, were the 3 great tree-dwellers of HS2 rebellion. Up among the birds for well over a week now, when will these eco-activist ewoks come back down to Earth? When the CEE bill is passed? When HS2 is cancelled? When the UK has a free press?
This phase of our rebellion might have come to a close, but until our Government does what’s necessary, it will never truly be over.
Fashion is f**ked
9 SEP | H&M Oxford Street, London
Photo: Jonathan Vines
The action encouraged shoppers to face up to the suffering at the hands of an industry which is unethical and exploitative.
A Guerrilla Repair Workshop also took place nearby where rebels repaired, remade and elongated the life of their clothes to show there is an alternative to fast fashion.
The Western world now consumes 400% more textiles than it did just 20 years ago, and the profits of fast-fashion companies have risen over lockdown while their garment workers are suffering more than ever.
‘Fashion is f*ucked.’ Repair, rewear and rebel instead.
10 SEP | Temple Avenue, London
Photo: Marina llaria
Members of XR Youth, XR London and XR Internationalist Solidarity joined forces to condemn the exploitation of Sami lands by a British mining company. For years, Beowulf Mining has been trying to mine iron ore in the ancestral territory of the Indigenous Sami People in northern Sweden.
Rebels glued on, chalk sprayed and unfurled banners outside their London offices, in an expression of solidarity and to draw attention to the Sami people’s ongoing struggle.
Don’t Silence the Science
9 Sep | London
XR Scientists and XR health professionals united outside New Scotland Yard in protest against the unlawful arrest of a fellow scientist. With their mouths taped shut, they highlighted this attempt to ‘silence the science’.
These tongues are made for talking. Photo by Vincenzo Lullo
On 3rd September, a respected scientist was addressing a small gathering about farming and pandemics when, without warning, the police seized her microphone and arrested her.
Solicitors from Bindmans are challenging the arrest and requesting a full apology.
Photo: Vincenzo Lullo
We will not allow overzealous and unlawful policing to intimidate us: we will continue to Tell the Truth.
One of the ways we’re doing this is through this amazing new guide that contains all the facts, diagrams and explanations you need to fully understand the emergency we face: Emergency on Planet Earth. Perfect for forwarding to your science-loving friends.
After October’s bottomless police confiscations, this Rebellion saw a more cautious take on accommodation.
Rebels coming to London were encouraged to stay with friends or use the XR accommodation sharing system. These options didn’t work for everyone, so some rebels opted to pitch their tents in a London park. And it turns out to have been a pretty good option!
As the rebellion began, tents appeared among the trees in Brockwell park. A rapidly-assembled team of stewards sprang into action to help get things organised. Before long, the camp contained about 100 people, roughly half XR, half Animal Rebellion.
Rebels spoke warmly of the space, the relative seclusion of which allowed a warm and supportive community feeling to flourish. A schedule soon developed to include morning yoga sessions (open to the public), collective evening cooking, and movie nights screened with the help of a projector and a nearby wall.
The camp also hosted several people’s assemblies through the week.
Photo: Brixton Buzz
Outreach was a focus for some in the camp, and the rebels’ reception was largely very positive. Local Brixton residents – some rebels but most just supportive of the cause – appeared with kind offers of food, showers and power; several restaurants made food donations.
The police were less amenable, but still much better than we’ve seen elsewhere. They kept up plenty of surveillance (including drones!), but didn’t start making eviction threats until Sunday. That night, campers held one last supper around the fire-pit in a local rebel’s garden. By Monday afternoon, the camp was gone.
They left no trace of their stay, careful to take their litter and many a new friendship away with them.
Over a thousand rebels have joined the ranks of the Digital Rebellion this September and there’s an eagerness to keep the phone lines busy and the keyboards tapping!
However, it’s a vital part of our regenerative culture that we take a break, a chance to breathe, debrief, learn and plan our next wave. Please do tell us about your experience of Digital Rebellion by completing this feedback form.
But that doesn’t mean we’re going quiet: the Digital Rebellion will continue!
HS2 is still being fast-tracked despite the fact it will take at least 120 years to become carbon neutral. Keep the pressure on HS2 and its contractors by joining in with these online actions.
As ever, you can join the Digital Rebellion group here.
Feast your eyes on more beautiful images of the Rebellion!
Photo: Gareth Morris
97-year-old, great-grandfather of 7, Arnold Pease is one of the XR Elders arrested during the rebellion. Photo: Helena Smith
The death clock ticks. Photo: Marina Ilaria
Animal Rebellion take their message to DEFRA. Photo: Helena Smith
Rest and Debrief!
In your own time
Everyone loves Value 5!
Coming back to earth after a wave of rebellion can be harder than you might expect. It’s surprisingly common to feel pretty low. For advice on this and so much else, check out the newest version of our post-rebellion handbook!
And that’s not all – the Feedback and Learning Circle is just a week or two from launching a post-rebellion feedback plan.
Reflecting and resting is a crucial part of keeping our movement healthy, so please do get stuck in!
This part of our newsletter usually features a Humans of XR story, but we’d like to pay tribute to all the animals who have rebelled alongside us this September. We love you!
(translated into English by a lizard-fluent rebel)
Mushu’s T-shirt reads ‘We want to live’
‘I rebel because climate change and habitat loss have killed my family and I demand a better future for all of nature. I’ve been on many marches since joining XR in April last year and am a regular at the Fridays for Future school strikes too.
My favourite chant is ‘A plant-based world is a lovely world’ from Animal Rebellion because, if more humans cut down on animal products, less land will be cleared for cattle grazing and fewer of my fellow lizards will die. Even in the UK, 72% of our land is managed for agriculture. Combined with growing urbanisation, there’s not much space left for animals to thrive.
I love the camaraderie, the hope, and the Samba vibes at XR marches. Plus, I get a prime view from the shoulder of one of my fellow rebels!’
We are receiving amazing human (and animal!) stories and we want to know yours. To read more – or to write your own – join our Facebook group.
DJ Bones spins some wicked tracks.
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.