RE­VEALED: Ex­tinc­tion Rebellion plans for ‘pub­lic sui­cides’ as Glas­gow eco sum­mit looms

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Virus Fear Spreads - By David Rose

EX­TINC­TION Rebellion lead­ers are con­sid­er­ing a se­ries of ‘ex­treme’ protests to dis­rupt this year’s UN cli­mate change sum­mit in Glas­gow – in­clud­ing a pos­si­ble hunger strike that ends in death or a demon­stra­tor pub­licly com­mit­ting sui­cide.

The ac­tivists are also propos­ing to spray traf­fic lights black, close mo­tor­ways and road tun­nels and carry out ‘in­dus­trial sab­o­tage’, ac­cord­ing to in­sider doc­u­ments ob­tained by The Scot­tish Mail on Sun­day.

The pa­pers were drawn up by Ex­tinc­tion Rebellion’s ‘Ac­tion Strat­egy Group’, which is re­spon­si­ble for plan­ning fu­ture protests and the form they should take.

They say the time has come for a ‘tem­po­rary mora­to­rium on our tra­di­tional “midground” ar­restable ac­tions’, such as the oc­cu­pa­tions of cen­tral Lon­don streets which took place twice last year.

In their place should be a new wave of ‘higher risk protests’, to be jus­ti­fied by ‘our own vul­ner­a­bil­ity in terms of the im­mi­nent threats to our food sys­tems and econ­omy, the risk of fas­cism, famine, dis­ease and war’.

Among ‘top ideas’ the group has dis­cussed are a ‘hunger strike to the death’ and even peo­ple pos­si­bly pre­pared for ‘sui­cide’.

The doc­u­ments say dis­rupt­ing the Glas­gow con­fer­ence, known as COP26, will be the ‘pin­na­cle of our ac­tion cam­paign this year’.

They add: ‘The COP UN Cli­mate Change Sum­mit due to be held in Glas­gow in Novem­ber is a tool of a bro­ken sys­tem.

‘Pre­sented by some as our last hope for change, it will not give us the so­lu­tions we need. So our 2020 rebellion will cul­mi­nate in Glas­gow but will look be­yond COP as we ex­plore in­ter­na­tion­al­ist so­lu­tions… lead­ing to a Global Cit­i­zens’ Assem­bly on Cli­mate and Eco­log­i­cal Jus­tice.’

Up to 200 world lead­ers are ex­pected to at­tend the event, with around 30,000 del­e­gates and cam­paign­ers.

One doc­u­ment, headed ‘Vi­tal Ad­di­tions to Ac­tions Strat­egy’, out­lines ‘a set of core prin­ci­ples and projects’ that are re­garded as ‘es­sen­tial’ and in­cludes a sec­tion on ‘ex­tremes of sac­ri­fice’.

It states: ‘As the cli­mate and eco­log­i­cal emer­gency be­comes more dan­ger­ous ev­ery day, we must en­cour­age more ex­treme ac­tions to achieve mean­ing­ful change.

‘This move­ment must not be­come in­ef­fec­tual and for­get its re­bel­lious heart as it grows. Ex­treme self-sac­ri­fi­cial ac­tions can act as a van­guard for the move­ment, in­spir­ing peo­ple in their re­bel­lious jour­ney and fo­cus­ing the world’s at­ten­tion.’

It adds: ‘It also seems nec­es­sary for the move­ment to clearly out­line in any strat­egy go­ing for­ward, the in­ten­tion to en­cour­age more ex­treme ac­tion in re­sponse to gen­uine grow­ing cri­sis so as not to face push­back from the move­ment as a whole ev­ery time a highly sac­ri­fi­cial ac­tion takes place.’

The doc­u­ment also sug­gests that the eco-protest move­ment – also known as XR – is well aware of the widespread fury trig­gered when its ‘rebels’ climbed on top of a tube train in a poor area of Lon­don in Oc­to­ber and dis­rupted thou­sands of com­muters’ jour­neys to work.

The in­ci­dent was de­picted in videos show­ing XR pro­test­ers be­ing pelted with mis­siles and pulled off the train. The Oc­to­ber protest ‘was ar­guably prob­lem­atic for the move­ment’, the doc­u­ment ad­mits, and was ‘alien­at­ing’. Un­for­tu­nately, the doc­u­ment says, ‘at the present time, we sim­ply do not have the num­bers needed to achieve our goals through mass civil dis­obe­di­ence’.

The an­swer is to ‘fo­cus on ex­tremes of sac­ri­fice lev­els’, with ‘ex­treme self-sac­ri­fi­cial ac­tions [that] can act as a van­guard for the move­ment, in­spir­ing peo­ple in their re­bel­lious jour­ney and fo­cus­ing the world’s at­ten­tion.’ The doc­u­ment says the hunger strike un­til death will be ‘a high sac­ri­fice ac­tion with on­go­ing sup­port… [we need to] go to ex­tremes of sac­ri­fice lev­els.

‘For such high-risk ac­tions, ac­tion de­sign must be slick and highly con­sid­ered.’

In its view, ‘more ex­treme ac­tions’ will ‘achieve mean­ing­ful change’.

Ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ment, Ex­tinc­tion Rebellion needs to ‘scare

the f*** out of peo­ple’, by en­cour­ag­ing them to ex­pe­ri­ence ‘fear of death’ from ‘famine’ and pol­lu­tion.

It should foster a ‘fear of hell, hell on Earth, fire and floods,’ and make use of ‘chil­dren and vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple on the front line’.

XR’s will­ing­ness to un­der­take more ex­treme forms of protest was hinted at by its founder, Roger Hal­lam, a for­mer or­ganic farmer, in an in­ter­view with a Swiss news­pa­per this year. He said: ‘Civil dis­obe­di­ence is not for cow­ards. Martin Luther King also made peo­ple sit on the streets. He also knew that, sta­tis­ti­cally some­one would die… Our ac­tivists know what they’re do­ing and what they’re get­ting into.’

Other doc­u­ments seen by the MoS out­line the move­ment’s large and grow­ing in­come and ex­pen­di­ture.

Last year it re­ceived more than £4 mil­lion from crowd-fund­ing and donors. As of De­cem­ber, it was pay­ing ‘liv­ing ex­penses’ – in other words, salaries – to 120 staff.

Last night, an Ex­tinc­tion Rebellion spokesman said: ‘These notes are an in­for­mal list of ideas gath­ered from peo­ple dur­ing brain­storm­ing, they have not in­formed Ex­tinc­tion Rebellion’s 2020 strat­egy.

‘As with any brain­storm, peo­ple would likely be en­cour­aged to think broadly – that doesn’t mean that these ideas should or would be taken fur­ther, or out of con­text.

‘Yes, we, hu­man­ity, are in an ex­treme sit­u­a­tion. Would Ex­tinc­tion Rebellion en­cour­age peo­ple to en­gage in non-vi­o­lent peace­ful civil dis­obe­di­ence? Yes. Would Ex­tinc­tion Rebellion en­cour­age any­one to put their own life at risk or the life of oth­ers? No.’

Last month, MoS told how the safety of world lead­ers had been put at risk af­ter sen­si­tive blue­prints of the sum­mit site were put on­line by bungling civil ser­vants.

The UK Gov­ern­ment ad­mit­ted the doc­u­ments had been up­loaded in er­ror and quickly re­moved them.

CLI­MATE BLUES: Eco ac­tivists march­ing in Glas­gow last month

GREEN WITH RAGE: From top, a sit-down protest in Ox­ford Cir­cus in April 2019; an ac­tivist at a Lon­don rally in Oc­to­ber 2019; and an XR youth leader clash­ing with po­lice at a Lon­don rally in Fe­bru­ary

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