Category Archives: Extinction Rebellion

Art in a changing climate

A refugee is someone who survived and who can create the future.

Amela Koluder

Climate change does not respect border; it does not respect who you are — rich and poor, small and big. Therefore, this is what we call ‘global challenges,’ which require global solidarity.

Ban Ki-moon

There are myriad reasons why people set down roots along the Oregon Coast: “the ocean,” “the air,” “the laid-back lifestyle,” “the small town feel of the towns,” “no rat race,” “the geological and ecological beauty.”

For others, like First Nations cultures (Coastal Salish), or Nehalem, their roots were set down thousands of years ago, tied to land, sky, forest and the power of place.

Now, enter the term “envirogee” — derived from both “environment” and “refugee” — a displaced individual who has been forced to migrate because of environmental devastation. Some call themselves “climate refugees.”

191220_oct_Anja Albosta IMG_6788.jpg

For Anja Albosta, and her spouse, Mark, relocating to Waldport is much more than a geographic upheaval.

In 2018 my husband and I left our home in the Yosemite area due to drought, the die-off of millions of ponderosa pines and fire evacuations three years running. The last year driving out through flames on both sides of the road. We then relocated to the beautiful coast of Oregon.

I’m in their nice home overlooking Alsea during the slack tide. Sand bars ripple under the big bridge joining two portions of the coastline over the precarious sand spits and intertidal zone that make this both a dramatic place to live, and precarious (think ocean surge vis-à-vis a tsunami).

They spent time researching places, using a climate change or global warming lens as part of their search. For them, the last time fires hit their neck of the woods, North Fork (31 miles from the south entrance to Yosemite National Park), they had all their important papers in containers as they evacuated.

The hardy Ponderosa pines in their former ecosystem were dropping like flies — creating a huge tinder box for tens of thousands of acres, putting home, roads and human and animal life in danger.

To be more specific — There are two and a half million dead trees within the 131,000-acre national park. Dead trees are a natural occurrence, but the higher number of dead ones now are attributed to warmer temperatures, drying periods, pine bark beetles. Climate has changed dramatically.

For Mark and Anja, after 20 years living in the area, they have the long view of how that ecosystem is degrading and at risk due to the results of climate change.

Enter the Beachhead of the Siuslaw National Forest

I met Anja a few months ago at Pacific Sourdough, where she had been working for around five months staffing the front counter and now also making some of those yeasty delicacies for which the Waldport bakery is known.

My SOP is learning about the various communities on the coast and digging deep into people’s lives quickly since I have been on the Central Oregon Coast barely one year. Big mouth, big heart, big ideas: I go head-first into this life with my background in radical politics, radical education, radical sustainability and journalism. I like people.

Not all my subjects are in line with my radical (rooted) politics or my deep systems thinking (the colluding negative forces of consumption/war/financialization/oppression/cultural genocide/environmental destruction/capitalism) approach to why things are a mess for not just the USA, but more importantly for the oppressed — second and third world (pejoratives by first worlders, but radically important descriptors to revolutionaries).

It was clear to me both the owner of the bakery, Katie, and the artist, Anja, were willing to riff about plastics in the ocean, acidification of the Pacific and the ragged state of American governance. In the end, though, Anja is a believer in America and Western Culture, whereas I know that America (North America) and Western Culture are pathogens against all sanity and sustainable cultures and lives and communities.

Note that this piece first appeared in the lifestyle rag, Oregon Coast Today, a gig for which I gain a few shekels for these feature columns — Deep Dive • Go beneath the surface with Paul Haeder

We swapped cards, and Anja’s piqued my interest — she’s an artist with a background in interior design. Artist-plus-envirogee- plus-world traveler makes for good fodder for my people profiles.

191220_oct_Sargassum by Anja Albost.jpg

Tranquility (sort of) in their hillside house overlooking the Pacific

I’m in the house Mark and Anja bought from the proceeds of selling their self-designed custom-built airy home with two-story view windows (eventually, a view made up of gray, brown charred trees) sited at the edge of the Yosemite National Park, which was made famous by photographer Ansel Adams, President Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir, father of the Sierra Club.

She tells me Mark’s carpentry skills and both of their sweat equity turned the outdated and dysfunctional home into a wide-open floor plan with amazing built-in shelves and classy handmade doors and frames, as well as a new kitchen.

Anja’s paintings not only adorn all the walls — even the laundry room has three large acrylics hanging next above the laundry items — but she has many leaning up on walls that serve as a dining area a-la-painting studio.

Art for Art’s Sake

Anja’s youthful years include growing up in Germany and Switzerland, then Santa Barbara. She ended up back in Switzerland as an interior designer. “I had a fancy job, money, two months off each year for a vacation. But I wasn’t being fulfilled.”

That life changed when she was in her early 30s, propelling her to Yosemite for some outdoor adventure. She met Mark, who was rock climbing and asked Anja if she wanted to try her hand at climbing escarpments and the famous Half Dome.

Most of the rock now exposed in the park is granitic, having been formed 210 to 80 million years ago as igneous diapirs six miles below the surface. “Tis-sa-ack,” an Ahwahnechee phrase for Cleft Rock, is Half Dome’s pre-white man name.

She tells me that “coming to Yosemite changed my life.” In more ways than just her marital status, that is clear. Mark was a mountaineering guide in the park, and Anja threw in hard and fast as a painter while working 40 miles away in Fresno as an interior designer for clients who demanded style, panache and quality craftsmanship.

Her art from the Yosemite years is up in their house — broad horizons, silhouetted landscapes, with those rock features that Yosemite is known for. She tells me that much of the oil and water color creations ran parallel with the work she did as an interior designer — paintings that “went well” with various home settings.

On her website, her work is categorized as such — design; commissions and commercial art; watercolors, oils; mixed media.

For people living on the Coast, and others in our “green” Cascadia-Pacific Northwest, her latest evolution in her work really puts tread to the pavement when it comes to “statement art”:

From 2016 to the present, her art “has revolved around ‘balance’ and ‘the passing of time.’” Her art cuts into new emotional and societal space, for both the viewer and artist herself, reflecting her 52-years on Earth as an artist in transition. Succinctly, we might say she is looking for deeper meaning, a sense of purpose and creative inspiration — “climate, politics, religion, my own life.”

Climate Fight Should be Fight Again Capitalism

I go way back to the 1970s fighting against Sonora desert razing and scraping, against the shrimp bottom trawlers in the Sea of Cortez and the reckless, cyanide-laced explosive bait for such vermin as coyotes, puma, kit foxes, coatimundi.

I understand the long-view of how decimated the environment has become, due to rapacious capitalism and consumerism addiction. I never had much hope for humanity.

Anja sees the world from several lenses — one is hopeful as she plumbs the ideas of someone like Steven Pinker (psychologist, author of The Better Angles of Our Nature). The other lens is tied to youth and purpose, possibly hope, in the form of Swedish activist Greta Thurnberg. That third eye, so to speak, is occluded with darkness and impending catastrophe as Anja holds close to the research and writing of Elizabeth Kolbert (author of The Sixth Extinction and Field Notes from a Catastrophe, as well as Cataclysm Has Arrived: Man’s Inhumanity to Nature).

Anja galvanizes herself into that rarefied arena of being obsessed with painting —

I am an artist. I think at some point in my life I got to a place where it isn’t a choice for me. It is what I am and do.

That obsession isn’t without pitfalls, of which Anja is completely aware — tough to make a living selling paintings without a huge marketing push, and possibly a huge West Coast (LA, SF) or East Coast (NY, Boston) presence.

“I have other degrees [she tells me she is a self-taught artist from way back, in her teens] but at the end of the day I would paint.” For her, there are a thousand paintings in her head. She’s always thinking about images and color.

“I believe things are better. Women have the vote all over the world. Religion is shrinking. People are up in arms about this new attack on women’s reproductive rights, Planned Parenthood. We have all this gender awareness.”

Mixing Oils with Politics

Many in my artistic field — fiction — believe story has to flow from the common dramas of human compunction. I have had arguments with some telling me it is verboten to insert politics or a spin of political positioning in fiction.

We all have these universal stories set as conflicts, a sort of heuristic that defines how stories have always been told: man (woman) against self; man (woman) against man (woman); man/woman against culture/society; man/woman against god/religion; man/woman against nature.

For me, I add man/woman against science; and then, this new one, man/woman against Artificial Intelligence.

Interestingly, the climate change debate is political, psychological, cultural, economic, environmental and spiritual. For many now, like Greta, a collective trauma has set in. Many in my camp, however, have always questioned the fascist aspects of Capitalism holding sway over our personal, cultural, environmental lives. My cadre are also worried about climate fascism on all sides — a white Swedish teen — Greta with her Hulu special, Time magazine person of the year award, and fawning — lecturing the world on her idea of what should and should not be done in regards to climate we rebuff.

Anja sees the world in a type of collective cognitive dissonance. Anja understands that she comes from that privileged global group — white middle class American. She says she constantly thinks about how much pain and suffering will unfold in countries with less resources, less wealth and who are positioned on the front lines of extreme climate change effects.

Truly, though, when I look at Anja’s art, I see that vision of one woman who has traveled the planet emotionally, philosophically, creatively and intellectually. The art is influenced by artists such as Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe. The recent mixed media drive she is exploring is both passion and obsession, fear and darkness. She goes through hundreds of magazines like New Yorker, National Geographic, Scientific American and others — and then starts cutting out images. Her canvases can be part black and white sketches of her own, swirls of vibrant colors, dark silhouettes of trees and then this collage treatment rendering images or words not always recognizable.

We the viewer have to provide context to what she is doing in each work.

Collage, montage, mixed media, found materials and objects she incorporates, and Anja’s work is in the same league as Kurt Schwitters and Hannah Höch.

Putting my thumb on her work stylistically is challenging. California-based collage artist Eugenia Loli has some of the same techniques, but Anja is a true painter, whose canvases blend the collage with hyper evocative colors and transformed shapes from nature.

A fellow like Alexis Rockman, who has been imbuing climate change in his art since 1994, is also somewhat in the same vein as Anja. For Rockman, he uses his position as an artist “to visualize these things that were very abstract and remote in terms of people’s life span and comprehension.”

Again, Anja’s art is in its own league, tied to very specific issues of our current political, cultural and environmental zeitgeist, and when she shows me each of her works, her explication is as potent as the imagery by itself.

We talk about how to get her work “out there” — possibly in libraries, schools, restaurants, rather than this shoe-string, consignment sort of kitschy and retread art world for which she is competing.

Timelessness and Timeliness

There is a real urgency, real or perceived, in the climate change debate. My cadre is worried more about poverty, resource theft, subjugation of entire countries and areas of the globe to this thuggery of parasitic or disaster capitalism.

In any case, Anja’s art is of “the now,” emerging in tandem with the 24/7 news and attention span cycles of modern Western culture.

She’s 52, and we live in a time where her art once she has passed on will not be eliciting some miracle of resurgent interest . . . or that hidden gem producing millions in sales the art world still vaunts.

The culture she lives and works in is tied to planned and perceived obsolescence, and her work is actually beautiful, evocative and infused with those hidden or obvious images from magazine cutouts. He technique is to blend and then push a seamlessness into the entire canvas, where the viewer sometimes can’t figure out where her dense but light-filled vine-like shapes end and the National Geographic image of the giraffes begin.

Each art piece is also galvanized to “the telling” of the piece: how and why Anja conjures up the shapes and creates architectonics while also pointing out the subtle placement of magazine clips. Each piece is a story upon a story, relaying a complex overlay of where we are at now in this country’s and in the globe’s history.

Her most recent piece, “Sargassum,” reflects this globe as water planet, and while the cover of Kolbert’s Pulitzer Prize winning book The Sixth Extinction is floating in the sea, with a tether like tentacle, this piece is vibrant, evocative and something any individual or business should consider for display.

We talk about getting those magnificent explanations she does so well down on paper, and then having a piece like Sargassum anchored by the text, giving this mixed media art-form yet another dimension — words. Or a poem . . . or song lyrics.

“Galapagos Monsters;” “Alice — Looking Through Time;” “Let Girls Learn;” “Acquiescent;” “Betrayed;” and other titles are just the tip of the melting iceberg in Anja Albosta’s work. Try her out by going to her website, and then place yourself in the story unfolding in a world that without any doubt is challenged more and more daily with those cascading issues of injustice toward child-man-woman-mountain-animal-sea-lake-jungle-air-soil.

Luckily, Anja’s spouse, Mark, was willing to cross that hallowed ground of personal space — husband-wife relationship — and that of the art observer-aficionado. Here’s his take on Anja’s artwork:

Paul Haeder: What do you like about Anja’s work?

Mark Albosta: Anja’s art operates on several levels simultaneously for me. On the surface, the visual impact (color choices, images, shapes etc.). Then it pulls me in deeper to understand what the message is she is conveying, and finally I have my own interpretation or lasting effect that stays with me.

PH:  What role do you think artists — both Anja and you, as a musician — have in their communities?

MA: I have observed and think artists shape communities by revealing and delivering concepts to people that are only arrived at by doing the work as an artist. Expressing from the inside outward instead of engaging in the world from the surface. That translates outward to the community.

PH: What surprises you about Anja’s work?

MA:  Her originality in every piece. She is never at a loss for new ideas.

PH:  Define her work — her style, her final products/creations.

MA: Question 1 answers much of this but I will try and elaborate. Her style to me is of a dichotomy. Elegance and chaos. It is always present, similar to the world around us. There is a tense correlation to society and nature in her art but it is still easy to appreciate/immerse myself into every piece. The end result is passion.

 

Time #9 ~ Do You Know What You Are? ~ 18x24 ~ 2019

Art in a Few Hundred Words

All’s fair in love and art when looking at the artwork and intellectual and creative ethos of Anja Albosta. Her goal is getting her artwork out there, so to speak, and we can see that at age 52, in terms of chronological time, Anja has many good and inspiring years left. For me as a writer, this story will be read in the newspaper (part one) and then some will pick it up in the ether, reading the full-length people profile on line.

Anja’s art, however, if placed into environments where people can contemplate it, look at it, and discuss the meta-cognitive value of what she is paining/saying, well, that might be ephemeral too, but many more could be inspired by her art to move into some place of understanding or healing.

I’ll let her words speak for her. Her website can lead interested people into an entire world of depth, whimsy, provocation and beauty.

Paul:  What would you say your life philosophy is in as many words as you care to express?

Anja:  Stay balanced in an ever-changing world. Express myself as myself as best I can with the awareness that we are all always influenced by the world around us.

Find enough down time in our busy world to integrate events within myself. Feel, see, be able to truly listen when needed, to nature around me, people, sift through news and events and be authentic.

PH: Postmodernism looks at busting out of grand theories and concepts of art. What would you call your art given many in and out of the art world seem to be interested in movements, styles, expressive ideology in the artist’s own words?

AA: My paintings at this time, perhaps since 2015/16 have become a ouroboros of sorts, events happen and I create, at the same time I create and see events differently because of it.

Not sure what to call my art; labels help put anything in context. Yet I am not trying to fit in nor trying to be especially innovative. My paintings are just that, my process, my expression at this moment of my life. “Process Painting” comes as close to a label as I can think of perhaps.

PH: This is a foundational question that maybe I didn’t ask in so many words: what does your art mean to you?

AA:  It helps me balance all the cognitive dissonance in my own life, the worlds, past childhood events. In some strange way my art is everything to me, and yet how can that be true, it is just paint and bits of paper on canvas.

If I had no artistic expression, I would be lost, but if I only had art, I would be very isolated and lonely.

PH: What role does the artist have in society?

AA: Many artists have been recorders of history. Otto Dix, Kandinsky, Toulouse- Lautrec, Kate Greenaway. Recording their emotions of an era as well as actual events.

Current art and so many artists bring people together, social gatherings, ideas, philosophizing over the human conundrum of our best and worst. Art, music, innovative food, creating depth for the heart and soul that corporate consumerism can’t.

PH: What do you like about your work?

AA: It always feels like my art is an adventure, brings me completely into the flow of the moment.

My art is interesting to me as I work on it, consumes me at times over the weeks or months the oils dry and the painting is ready for the next layer of depth and expression. My work is what I want to do with my time. But I struggle with it too, question myself, then I paint again, hours pass and time is lost.

PH:  Are you ever surprised by your work?

AA:  Yes. I am continually surprised by my paintings. Creativity is organic for me. I read books and articles, see images and process in the moment.

Integrating the cognitive dissonance in the world around me. Always I find I have brought together opposites. Life and death, beauty and destruction, now and the past, humans and animals. Light and dark. Politics, religion, human choices. Questions, always questions … not so many answers.

•••

“This Is Oil Country!”: Climate Protests And The Left

The left has a dark secret that is becoming ever harder to ignore: it is riddled with climate scepticism, indifference and denial.

Pick your favourite left-progressive writers, check their Twitter timelines and published work for mentions of the climate crisis. Check their level of support for protesters who, despite being arrested and beaten, have finally forced the issue into ‘mainstream’ political awareness after thirty years of fatal indifference and hostility.

This week, a Canadian fossil-fuel enthusiast defaced a mural of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, painting these words over her face:

Stop the Lies. This is Oil Country!!!

Remarkably, when it comes to their understanding of the climate issue, much of the left has long lived in ‘oil country’. Dissidents who exposed the West’s ‘humanitarian interventions’ in Iraq and Libya as oil grabs have themselves unwittingly been captured by oil industry propaganda presenting climate concern as a scam by money-grubbing scientists seeking research funds and ‘bourgeois’ cynics seeking new ways to exploit honest working people.

Last week, Julia Steinberger, Professor of Social Ecology and Ecological Economics at the University of Leeds, tweeted:

Yesterday morning, and during the whole day, #ExtinctionRebellion faced the City of London: the banks who are bankrolling and profiting from fossil industries and planetary devastation.

Yesterday evening, the human right of freedom of assembly was suspended in all of London.

As Steinberger added:

Yesterday’s action and reaction are not coincidental: this is what happens when people go up against power.

And the City of London, indeed, is the locus of corporate power in the UK. Journalist Jonathan Cook describes it as ‘a tiny, secretive enclave within Britain, a state within a state’. The protest ban signalled both the real power behind the parliamentary throne, and the depth of corporate opposition to the protests, giving the lie to the claim that they are the plaything of corporate marketing.

Leftists have been misled by a clear surge in media reporting of protests that are obviously hard to ignore (1.4 million protesters in Germany alone on a single day), and by unlikely support from some corporate media. This, it is claimed, indicates a hidden corporate agenda. The leftist website, OffGuardian, which hosts extreme climate denial (see here, here and here), commented this month:

Remember – when the MSM don’t want you to support a protest movement they just don’t tell you about it. Think #giletsjaune.

#ExtinctionRebellion is theatre – we’re invited to take sides, polarise, but never question what actually lies behind the movement

Ironically, this favoured left take is also popular with hard-right corporate media. A recent comment piece in the Telegraph was titled:

Extinction Rebellion exposes Left-wing activism as a global elite sham

In reality, ‘mainstream’ support for the protests is offset by fierce hostility from many media corporations and should be viewed in the context of decades of extreme media and political opposition. As recently as April 2019, even after the start of the mass climate protests one year ago, Colombia Journalism Review reported:

Yet at a time when civilization is accelerating toward disaster, climate silence continues to reign across the bulk of the US news media. Especially on television, where most Americans still get their news… Many newspapers, too, are failing the climate test. Last October, the scientists of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a landmark report, warning that humanity had a mere 12 years to radically slash greenhouse-gas emissions or face a calamitous future in which hundreds of millions of people worldwide would go hungry or homeless or worse. Only 22 of the 50 biggest newspapers in the United States covered that report.

As we have documented for a quarter of century, this is very much the long-term trend. In 2017, Media Matters found that US news networks, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and PBS had collectively given coverage to climate change that totalled just 260 minutes in the entire year. Of this, 79 per cent, or 205 minutes, was focused on actions or statements by the Trump administration, rather than on climate change itself.

Noam Chomsky has accurately described the ‘schizophrenic’ nature of ‘mainstream’ coverage:

So, it’s as if on the one hand, there’s a kind of a tunnel vision — the science reporters are occasionally saying look, “this is a catastrophe,” but then the regular coverage simply disregards it, and says [of fracking], “well, isn’t this wonderful, we won’t have to import oil, we’ll be more powerful,” and so on.

Chomsky added:

It’s a kind of schizophrenia, and it runs right through society. Take the big banks, JP Morgan Chase, for example. They’re the biggest bank and CEO Jamie Dimon is an intelligent man. I’m sure he knows the basic facts about the dire threat of global warming, yet at the same time they’re pouring investments into fossil fuel extraction, because that’s the business model. They have to make a profit tomorrow.

The facts, then, do not indicate deep corporate support for climate activism, but patchy support by less fundamentalist individuals and corporations within a system that is designed down to the last nut and bolt to generate maximum profits in minimum time.

The left-sceptic take on the climate protests is as deluded as any notion that the West was ‘fighting for democracy’ in Libya, or acting to ‘liberate’ Iraq. It is an example of why environmentalists have long lumped left and right together as ‘grey politics’ subordinating the planet to fantasies of endless industrial ‘progress’ and ‘growth’. Consider, for example, the terrible record of the Labour Party on climate change until very recently. The truth is that, with honourable exceptions, the left has never had a problem with the concept of infinite growth on a finite planet, only with how the fruits of that growth are distributed. Along with the right, it has struggled mightily to abandon this article of faith, this now completely discredited conceit of ‘manifest destiny’ (see here for further discussion).

This week, Extinction Rebellion (XR) commented:

Total silence from the Government since Parliament’s declaration of an environment and climate emergency in May.1

The Tory Party is the party of corporate power, and this is where Big Business currently is on climate – it wants to make cosmetic changes, pretend nothing is happening and carry on regardless.

If we are able to maintain a finger-hold on reality, then we have to accept that climate science, based on elementary principles of physics, is not part of a corporate conspiracy, is not effete ‘middle class’ paranoia, and is not designed to exploit the public. At time of writing, more than 1,100 scientists have signed the ‘Scientists’ Declaration of Support for Non-Violent Direct Action Against Government Inaction Over the Climate and Ecological Emergency.’

This support for the protests, not positive comments from the Guardian, is what matters.

Message To The ‘Eco-Zealots’ – ‘We’ll Take You Down!’

On October 17, video footage emerged of a mob endangering the life of a peaceful XR climate protester by throwing him off the roof of a London tube train to the ground where he was then punched and kicked on the ground.

ITV showed additional footage of an XR camera team filming the same protest at London’s Canning Town station being punched and kicked on the ground by the mob. The Telegraph reported that people on the platform who ‘took matters into their own hands’ could be investigated by police, who said their actions were ‘unacceptable’. The protesters had held up the train for ‘a few seconds’ before they were attacked. XR responded:

The people involved today did not take this action lightly. They were a grandfather, an ex-buddhist teacher, a vicar and a former GP among others who acted out of rational fear for the future as this crisis deepens.

The Telegraph reported that one of the two activists who climbed on top of the train was 36-year-old Mark Ovland, who gave up his Buddhist studies to devote himself to climate change action. In a blogpost before the Canning Town action, Ovland wrote:

… sometimes the actions I choose to take part in won’t be popular, I know that. But I’m really not in this to be popular.

I’m in this because I love life so, so much, and I want it to continue and I don’t know what else to do. I’m wanting to help raise an alarm so loud that no one can ignore it.

Kerry-Anne Mendoza, Editor-in-Chief of The Canary, a leftist website that has strongly supported the protests, responded to the incident:

The XR stunt shows what happens when a movement for all gets dominated by middle class whiteness.

We’ve been raising these concerns for a while, and it’s overdue they be heard and acted upon. Precisely because the cause is so important and urgent. In solidarity

We responded on Twitter:

That’s a huge leap. People of all classes and colours are protesting and disrupting in numerous non-violent ways around the planet. This “stunt” delayed commuters for a short period of time. It’s a big deal because the protester was violently attacked – that’s what matters.

Mendoza replied:

I’d already posted about the violence being a) unacceptable, and b) not about a train delay, but a mob mentality that no one should be praising. I can do that, and raise an issue about how XR operates.

In fact, Mendoza’s first response to the sight of peaceful protesters being beaten and kicked was to blame the victims:

What a mess! A tone deaf move borne of XR’s blindspots on race & class.

As for the mob violence: ‘That’s not to be admired.’

Mendoza’s condemnation was entirely reserved for the protesters, describing them as ‘silly buggers [who] ended up blocking an electric train, in a working class community, and pissing off nearly everyone. The arrogance of privilege’.

The peaceful protesters, then, were ‘silly buggers’, the mob a ‘working class community’. Mendoza added of the people who had been attacked that they were ‘tone deaf middle class activists’ who were ‘stupid’.

The Canary published a report by Ed Sykes on the Canning Town incident, ‘which revealed an apparent disconnect between the movement and ordinary working-class communities’. Even BBC articles like to make some gesture in the direction of balance, but Sykes gave exactly one point of view over and over again –  XR’s ‘own goal’ had been foolish, risible: ‘the action had “alienated” working-class people… activists should focus their efforts “on politicians & the top of big corporations & banks”.’

By contrast, Jasper Jackson noted in the New Statesman that much of the criticism of the action had simply misunderstood the purpose of the protests:

Extinction Rebellion has been clear that its primary goal is not to secure majority support for taking the necessary action to tackle climate change.

There is good reason for this. Decades of campaigning have not thrust climate change to the forefront of political consciousness. People care about the environment and are worried about a warming planet, but not enough for most to make it the deciding factor in which way they vote.

Instead, XR’s goal is to cause enough disruption to the economy and the functioning of society that governments are forced to do what is needed to make a dent in global warming. If the cost of their protests and direct action outweighs the investment needed to turn us into a zero-carbon economy, the economic arguments should succeed where the existential and moral ones haven’t.

The campaign is based on research that suggests that mobilising just 3.5 per cent of the population can be enough for a movement to succeed – the ‘distracted and apathetic’ majority is not the target audience. The simple fact is that 30 years of effort has failed totally, so XR is trying something different. As Jackson concluded:

That is going to mean pissing a lot of people off. Going by recent history, their approach may be the only option left.

In 2014, ‘mainstream’ media responded with grim indifference after left-wing MP George Galloway was hospitalised by a brutal, politically motivated street attack. Remarkably, last week, Galloway retweeted an article celebrating the mob attack on the climate protesters published in The Sun by the infamous climate denier Mick Hume, who wrote:

And like those other passengers packed on the platform, Londoners were cheering the working-class commuters who showed the amazed eco-zealots exactly what we thought of their attempts to bring the Tube to a halt.

Hume, formerly editor of Living Marxism, newspaper of the now-defunct Revolutionary Communist Party, added:

The message from the rebelling masses was clear: Protest all you like — but try to mess with our grim morning slog to work and we’ll take you down!

Under a picture of an activist being dragged along the ground, a Sun caption read:

By targeting Canning Town, the middle-class activists demonstrated that their arrogance is only exceeded by their ignorance.

It goes without saying that this was poisonous propaganda likely to fuel further hatred for the protesters.

Above a video of the tube station violence, Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood tweeted:

This response in London today has my full support.

Tom Kibasi, director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, said it was good to see ‘working class Londoners… standing up’ for themselves. Kibasi later tweeted:

I regret tweeting in haste earlier this morning and went too far.

In the Telegraph, Charlotte Gill stuck her own boot into the victims of the attack:

Through their increasingly deranged requests, and middle-class obsession with their grandchildren’s futures, Extinction rebels have achieved something utterly extraordinary: they have turned climate change into a class war.

As this makes clear, the issue of class is a major line of attack for corporate media – aided, it seems, by many on the left – seeking to turn the public against the protests. Thus, Gill added:

Overwhelmingly, there’s a whiff of economic superiority about XR, expanded upon over the weekend when the Mail on Sunday revealed that activists have been paid up to £400-a-week for inflicting misery on Londoners. Rebels have become the darlings of the rich and famous, with oil heiress Aileen Getty giving them £500,000 in donations and 100 celebrities, including Lily Cole and Steve Coogan, signing an open letter (urgh!) urging the public to “educate” themselves on climate change.

Why don’t these self-regarding twerps “educate” themselves on what it’s like to be on the national living wage?

In the Independent, celebrity broadcaster and commentator Janet Street-Porter wrote under the following title, apparently without irony: ‘Pity the poor carbon-chomping celebrities who think they’re “just like us”‘. Street-Porter added:

You can’t help wondering if this is a demo dominated by the middle class.

In the Telegraph, Julie Burchill lamented hearing ‘the over-privileged and under-productive half-wits of Extinction Rebellion talk about economic growth as if it was child abuse’, revealing XR’s ‘contempt’ for working people.

The Evening Standard, a latter-day ‘penny dreadful’ distributed free to Londoners, opined:

A small number of idiots, claiming to protest on behalf of Extinction Rebellion, climbed on Tube trains and the DLR this morning in east London to stop people getting to work. It was risky, selfish and stupid and they deserved the contempt now being poured on them.

Yes, the reaction of some passengers at Canning Town, who dragged them off the top of Jubilee line carriages and began a fight, was contemptible too — brave station staff did their best to keep order. But it’s no wonder passengers were angry.

This did not vindicate the violence but affirmed the righteousness of the anger, which is bad enough.

More generally, the promotion of hatred of climate protesters is a primitive but popular theme in ‘mainstream’ discourse. Ezra Levant of Rebel News described Greta Thunberg as ‘a circus freak’ who had been ordered by her mother ‘to infect other children with terror & depression’.

British businessman and Brexit bankroller Arron Banks responded to news that Thunberg was sailing to the US to attend the UN Climate Action Summit, tweeting:

Freak yachting accidents do happen in August…

Matt Baish, a US teacher, said he would not attend a rally featuring Thunberg because he didn’t ‘have my sniper rifle’.

Fox News contributor Steve Milloy described Thunberg as a ‘teenage puppet’, adding: ‘Climate bedwetters… the world laughs at this Greta charade.’

All of this, remember, directed at a 16-year-old child.

The Moral Balance – What Action Is Legitimate?

So what rights do climate protesters have in seeking to avert the near-term extinction of all human and most other life on earth?

In wartime, states have, of course, repeatedly bombed, indeed nuked, whole civilian cities in the cause of ‘national defence’. When US leaders obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they did so on the declared, highly questionable pretext that incinerating hundreds of thousands of civilians was necessary to preserve the lives of US soldiers who would otherwise be killed invading Japan. At the time, the US mainland was facing no threat even of attack, much less of destruction and defeat. Millions of US citizens then (as now) considered these atrocities entirely justifiable. In our own time, consistently large numbers of British and US people express few or no qualms when their governments decide to bomb one more country in the Middle East.

A key reason for this complacency is that modern citizens have been persuaded to perceive the state as a uniquely qualified moral actor to which we should defer, with the military and political leadership (even Trump!) often deemed completely beyond reproach when war is waged. There is no rational basis for this exalted view of the state. Britain and the US, for example, have an appalling record in greed-driven mass murder and exploitation. These systems of power have far less moral credibility, far less right to act, than the average, non-psychopathic individual – all of us paragons of virtue by comparison.

Given that we really are facing extinction – the death of everyone we know and love, ourselves included – and given that, over the last thirty years, governments and corporations have completely ignored the entreaties of climate scientists and activists by powerfully accelerating, not restraining, the runaway corporate capitalist machine – then, adopting ‘mainstream’ standards, activists must be morally entitled to use violence, even extreme violence, in trying to prevent the elimination of life on earth. After all, people are already dying in large numbers. Misha Coleman, one of the authors of a study by Australia’s Monash University, commented last July:

There are absolutely people dying climate-related deaths, [especially due to] heat stress right now.

During the Black Saturday fires [in Victoria, Australia, in 2009] for example, we know that people were directly killed by the fires, but there were nearly 400 additional deaths in those hot days from heat stress and heatstroke.

There are numerous similar examples, but these deaths are tiny specks compared to what lies ahead. A 2018 report from the World Health Organisation predicted that between 2030 and 2050, climate change would cause an additional 250,000 deaths per year, some 5 million in total. But Frank Fenner, Emeritus Professor in Microbiology at the Australian National University and an authority on extinction, went much further when he predicted literally billions of deaths in an interview with the Australian newspaper in 2010:

We’re going to become extinct. Whatever we do now is too late. Climate change is just at the very beginning… Homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years… I try not to express that because people are trying to do something, but they keep putting it off. Mitigation would slow things down a bit, but there are too many people here already.

We abhor violence and are convinced that a resort to violence in the name of climate action would quickly alienate the public and generate a fascistic state backlash that would destroy any remaining hope of positive government action. It is absolutely not the answer. But the fact remains that all peaceful, non-violent actions must be deemed legitimate insofar as they obstruct the extinction of life on earth.

Climate science is not a class, race or gender issue. The idea that some kind of bogus class analysis can declare protesters ‘stupid’, ‘arrogant’ and ‘immoral’ for inconveniencing commuters, for costing working class people money, and even their jobs, is absurd. In fact, it is simply surreal, if – and it’s a big ‘if’ – we are able to grasp the almost unimaginable and imminent nature of the climate threat, and to weigh the merits of the competing moral claims, as we do in wartime. Millions of people cannot accept the need to kill and be killed in the hundreds of thousands, or millions, in defence of the nation, and then rail at the obstruction of public transport in the defence of all humanity. Of course, we can argue that protesters were naïve to risk their safety by provoking commuters in London’s notoriously tough East End, but that is not an argument about the ethics of the protest.

We understand that the people punching and kicking protesters in Canning Town likely had little understanding of the truth of our situation – dumbed-down state education, media distraction and a very real corporate conspiracy to deceive the public have seen to that. We understand that they would find our positing of the moral balance in these terms hysterical and absurd, perhaps a ‘middle class fantasy’. But, as ever, ignorance does not help them or us, and is no defence.

  1. XR, emailed press release, 22 October 2019.

XR Co-Founder Discusses Climate Emergency

Extinction Rebellion (“XR”) has hit the world stage like a flash of light with participants in more than 70 countries all within one year’s time. Its allure is simply “telling the truth” about the climate crisis… for a change. A breath of fresh air in a world filled with deceit and lies by people in positions of power.

Recently, Roger Hallam, an organic farmer and King’s College scholar and co-founder of XR, spoke at a gathering of local people in Penzance, Cornwall.

What follows is an abbreviated interpretation of that speech:

One of the biggest lies/misunderstandings about climate change is: “It’s complicated.” Meaning, only scientists and trained officials can deal with it because ordinary people cannot grasp the complexities. Whereas, the fact of the matter is: It’s not that complicated. Hallam expounded upon some simple, what he refers to as killer facts:

It’s undeniable that the Arctic is melting. “It’s too warm; it’s ice; it melts. You don’t need a degree in science to figure that one out.”

Unquestionably, the severity of the diminishment is horrifying. Seventy-five percent (75%) of the mass volume of Arctic ice has melted in the past 30 years. Stop and think about that for a moment… after thousands of years of thick multi-layered ice, it’s nearly all gone in only 30 short years. That’s well beyond the scope of natural behavior; it is catastrophic in many ways. After all, it’s not 10% not 30%; it’s 75%, which will ultimately bring torrential shifts in climate for the entirety of the Northern Hemisphere. In fact, it has already started.

Hallam mentioned a Harvard professor who recently claimed that there would be no permanent ice left in the Arctic by the summer of 2022. The professor said it’s a certainty. “It’s clear the summer ice is headed for zero within the next 1-5 years… it’s going to be happening. And, it’s a simple scientific law that says once you’ve removed the ice from dark water, you get the latent heat effect, which means that temperatures increase dramatically and suddenly.”

All of which disrupts upper atmospheric jet streams as the temperature differential between the Arctic and the tropics drops, so it slows down the jet streams, and creates weather blocks that terrorize farmers that depend upon predictable weather cycles, year-in, year-out. Nowadays, it’s the unpredictable; e.g., the 2019 Midwest massive flooding of farmland, unprecedented.

“Once the ice is gone, it’s going to be completely chaotic. Within the next ten years, this is what’s coming down the road.” (Hallam)

Hallam claims the Arctic is not a complicated issue. The ice goes and the entire Northern Hemisphere changes in ways that nobody knows because we’ve never been there before. It’s an unintended experiment that’s already gone off the rails.

He discussed the climate crisis in terms of temperature: Since pre-industrial times the temperature has increased 1.1°Centigrade. Some people think it’s a bit more, some people think it’s a bit less, but 1.1°C is in the ballpark. In that regard, the Paris climate agreement, “which I’ll suggest to you is the biggest example of a massive delusion in the history of humanity,” promotes the lie that we must stay below 2°Centigrade. But, the simple scientific fact is 2°C is already locked in.” It’s well known in academia that 2°C is already locked in. There are several reasons why:

  • Carbon Life – When carbon is put into the atmosphere, it doesn’t immediately heat up the earth. It takes 10 to 30 years to translate to higher temperatures. Therefore, even if carbon emissions stopped tomorrow, there’s still 10-30 years of carbon working its way through the climate system. A recent scientific peer-review paper projected that latent carbon cycle equal to 0.7°C no matter what mitigation steps are taken today. That means 1.8° is already locked in (adding 1.1°C to 0.7°C).
  • And, “global dimming” peer-reviewed papers say fossil fuel usage puts pollutants or particulate matter in the atmosphere that actually mitigates heating of the planet by reflecting solar rays back to outer space. So, once you get rid of the fossil fuels, and cease emissions, the sun’s rays will come thru unimpeded by fossil fuel particulates. It’s estimated to increase global temperatures by 0.7°C.

Inclusive of all above, 2.6C is locked-in even though part of the “lock-in” is removal of carbon emissions. Another recent peer-reviewed paper says carbon in soils will increase temperatures by another one degree centigrade by 2050 because once you heat up the earth, you heat up the soil, it releases more carbon, taking temperatures up over 3°C.

All of the above-mentioned climate disruption happens before human anthropogenic current activities are counted. Alas, carbon emissions are still going up at rates of 1.6 ppm as of a couple years ago, then, 2.7 ppm and then 3ppm. The growth rate is headed straight up, not down.

Thus, with global average temperatures already locked in at 2°C, it means portions of middle continents or mid latitudes will hit 4°C. According to NASA, global warming varies but is highest in Earth’s mid-latitude regions during the warm season. At 4°C in the middle continents you cannot grow grains at scale. That means one thing: Starvation.

Looking at the issue one more way: Pre-industrial CO2 in the atmosphere was 280ppm at its peak over the past 400,000 years, but it’s been growing much faster than ever before over that past 100 years and now at 415ppm. It wasn’t so long ago that people were saying 350ppm was the upper limit or danger zone when ecosystems would start to falter. But, atmospheric CO2 is already at 415. What about that upper limit and shouldn’t that be a call to action?  Nevertheless, there is no call to action, nowhere to be seen or heard. There is only talk interspersed with token dabbling in electric cars and solar panels and wind. The hard fact is fossil fuels were 80% of energy sourcing 50 years ago. Fossil fuels are 80% of energy sourcing today. Where’s the change?

In all, Hallam claims the “real bad news is: We’re facing social collapse. We are facing the end of civilization.” If you want to know what social collapse looks like, check out Somalia. Check out Afghanistan. Social collapse looks like an economic crisis when there is no longer any support for the poor. The schools won’t be able to run. The university courses will close. No beds available at hospitals. Food supplies run out, people starve and fight.

Last year for the first time ever a food-growing crisis hit all across the Northern Hemisphere, down 20% down in North America, Europe and Russia, all in one year!  If that were to happen three years running, there would be massive starvation in Europe. That analysis by a sustainability professor is based the most downloaded (450,000) academic paper in history.

Fifteen years ago, Hallam planted 20 acres of crops. Starting in early June, the rain continued for seven weeks, nonstop. He lost every single outdoor vegetable. He lost £100,000 and 20 people lost their jobs. But, nobody cared because if you can’t get your food locally, you can fly it in. And, the following year, it rained almost 7 weeks once again. That was followed by the warmest April ever in the UK; then the coolest August ever, then the coldest wet winter on record, and last year was the warmest summer on record in Wales. Climate change is real and unpredictable. Thus, farmers do not know what’s going to happen and many go out of business. Around the world, farmers are committing suicide in record numbers, and as for America:1

Still the worst consequence of the climate crisis, which is the real endpoint, will be war. What will happen when hundreds of millions of refugees are fleeing from the tropics because the heat is unbearable? There will be war. This will happen before flooding of major coastal cities, which is also “locked-in” to the climate system.

The climate crisis is absolutely real. It’s a climate emergency! Temperatures continue setting new records. It was over 44°C in Karachi last year and many people died of heat stroke, but nobody cared because it is Karachi. Heat hit 47°C in parts of India. (Body temps at 42.22°C can result in convulsions and death)

The risks can be explained by the theory of nonlinear dynamics in social and economic systems. First, a few hundred die from heat stroke, and then it goes up a little bit more and then a thousand die, up a little bit more and then three million people die in a few days. All of a sudden, it happens so suddenly!

Because of wet bulb effect, at a certain point the human body cannot survive heat and humidity and dies within 6 hours. It’s nonlinear. This is already happening in the animal kingdom. It happened in the Russian Steppes 2-3 years ago when 200,000 deer died in 3 days.

Hallam has talked to leading political economists around the world, and they all agree catastrophe is coming. “When it comes it’s going to be fast.” They all agree. Within weeks because everything is inter-connected, meaning, food supply and distribution throughout the world.

Hallam mentioned what he refers to as “a difficult discussion item” how to stop the misguided process. The social sciences provide answers. If you want to rapidly change the political direction of a society it only happens thru massive social disobedience. Period! It’s the only way, and it is what XR is all about.

Society has been trying to sort out the climate crisis for 30 years. Alas, it’s gotten nowhere. Meantime, since 1990 there’s been a 60% increase in carbon emissions. All efforts, meetings, and discussions have been a catastrophic disaster. One-half of the carbon emissions in the atmosphere by the human race have been since Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth was released. Still, it’s been followed by catastrophic failure, which is the starting point for thinking about what really works. And, what really works is what we haven’t been doing. We haven’t been “Causing a Fuss.”

On a personal basis, Roger Hallam admitted that he does not like causing a fuss. It’s not in his character, but it’s the only formula for success.

Civic disobedience works. The reason it works is because of two things: (1) Disruption… no one takes any notice unless you cause disruption. It increases the reputational and economic costs of the opponents. Whereas, “being nice doesn’t do anything.” Disruption creates attention, and attention is the first point at which people start to change their opinions. For an example of what doesn’t work, in 2003, one million people in London protested the Iraq war. The protestors waved banners and hollered and conjoined with like-minded, and then, they got on buses and headed home. What happened? Nothing happened because a march never causes disruption. It’s there and it’s gone. (2) Sacrifice without suffering there is no change. It’s when you go to jail that people take you seriously. What changes a person is seeing other people suffer for their beliefs.

XR involves arrest and going to prison. XR’s slogan is: Tell the truth and act as if it is real. Rebels have to be willing to upset people. XR has added 100,000 people to their mailing list in one year because people want to hear the truth.

The fight for civil rights in U.S. is an example of civic disruption working to the benefit of a cause. The Freedom Rider campaign of 1961 started with 25 students. MLK advised them not to do it. They did it and were surrounded by KKK, who set fire to their bus and beat up the students. Then, another 25 students came; followed by national press. President Kennedy noticed. The racist beat up his emissary. Hundreds more went to Mississippi… 500 people were put into prison doing hard labor. Prior to the Freedom Riders, 70 years of conventional protests did not work, did not move the civil rights needle. But, several weeks of Freedom Riders did the job. They caused a fuss.

The Children’s March- Birmingham circa 1963 is another example as 50 children, marching in opposition to segregation, went to prison after harassment by police, fire hoses and beatings because the kids simply walked in the streets. Then, 1,000 children in prison; then 3,000 in prison the next day, until the authorities give in. The chief of police caved in and Birmingham, Alabama agreed to desegregate the local stores. The children caused a fuss.

Radical political change works when participants have no fear. The children of Birmingham were fearless in civic disobedience.

At King’s College Hallam was suspended twice for pushing fossil fuel divestment. Eventually, King’s College said they would divest tar sands investments in a few years. Thereafter, Hallam and one other student started spraying signs around the campus. Then, eight more students joined, and they sprayed the campus. Then, the vice principal came within five minutes of a massive spraying. At the time, Hallam was suspended from King’s college. Still, he re-entered the property again and again. After 5 weeks, the university agreed to divest. According to Hallam, the willingness to personally sacrifice is key to success.

In April 2018 the upstart Extinction Rebellion ignored warnings from authorities. Within 8 days in London they had 1,200 arrested. It was the biggest civil disturbance in London in 50 years. Before the April civic disruptions, the general public did not have an opinion about climate change. After XR’s public disruptions, 67% of the UK population acknowledged the “climate emergency” and 50,000 people signed up for XR.

Disruption and sacrifice are the necessary ingredients. People get involved for a range of reasons. Including, (1) they are terrified about what’s going to happen with the climate crisis, knowing their careers and status won’t be there anyway if it’s not stopped (2) it is an act of conscience. It’s a sense of civic duty. (3) A sense of adventure by people who are already messed up in life and looking for redemption in their lives.

Extinction Rebellion intends to continue civil disobedience until governments of the world declare a “climate emergency.” It almost seems as if it’s their fate in life.

But, is there truly a climate emergency at hand?  Answer: It’s a given, study the science, and you’ll join in person or commit funds to XR. The science is 100% definitive, and it’s real scary!

  1. “Suicide Rates are Rising, Especially in Rural America” NBC News, September 6, 2019.

XR Co-Founder Discusses Climate Emergency

Extinction Rebellion (“XR”) has hit the world stage like a flash of light with participants in more than 70 countries all within one year’s time. Its allure is simply “telling the truth” about the climate crisis… for a change. A breath of fresh air in a world filled with deceit and lies by people in positions of power.

Recently, Roger Hallam, an organic farmer and King’s College scholar and co-founder of XR, spoke at a gathering of local people in Penzance, Cornwall.

What follows is an abbreviated interpretation of that speech:

One of the biggest lies/misunderstandings about climate change is: “It’s complicated.” Meaning, only scientists and trained officials can deal with it because ordinary people cannot grasp the complexities. Whereas, the fact of the matter is: It’s not that complicated. Hallam expounded upon some simple, what he refers to as killer facts:

It’s undeniable that the Arctic is melting. “It’s too warm; it’s ice; it melts. You don’t need a degree in science to figure that one out.”

Unquestionably, the severity of the diminishment is horrifying. Seventy-five percent (75%) of the mass volume of Arctic ice has melted in the past 30 years. Stop and think about that for a moment… after thousands of years of thick multi-layered ice, it’s nearly all gone in only 30 short years. That’s well beyond the scope of natural behavior; it is catastrophic in many ways. After all, it’s not 10% not 30%; it’s 75%, which will ultimately bring torrential shifts in climate for the entirety of the Northern Hemisphere. In fact, it has already started.

Hallam mentioned a Harvard professor who recently claimed that there would be no permanent ice left in the Arctic by the summer of 2022. The professor said it’s a certainty. “It’s clear the summer ice is headed for zero within the next 1-5 years… it’s going to be happening. And, it’s a simple scientific law that says once you’ve removed the ice from dark water, you get the latent heat effect, which means that temperatures increase dramatically and suddenly.”

All of which disrupts upper atmospheric jet streams as the temperature differential between the Arctic and the tropics drops, so it slows down the jet streams, and creates weather blocks that terrorize farmers that depend upon predictable weather cycles, year-in, year-out. Nowadays, it’s the unpredictable; e.g., the 2019 Midwest massive flooding of farmland, unprecedented.

“Once the ice is gone, it’s going to be completely chaotic. Within the next ten years, this is what’s coming down the road.” (Hallam)

Hallam claims the Arctic is not a complicated issue. The ice goes and the entire Northern Hemisphere changes in ways that nobody knows because we’ve never been there before. It’s an unintended experiment that’s already gone off the rails.

He discussed the climate crisis in terms of temperature: Since pre-industrial times the temperature has increased 1.1°Centigrade. Some people think it’s a bit more, some people think it’s a bit less, but 1.1°C is in the ballpark. In that regard, the Paris climate agreement, “which I’ll suggest to you is the biggest example of a massive delusion in the history of humanity,” promotes the lie that we must stay below 2°Centigrade. But, the simple scientific fact is 2°C is already locked in.” It’s well known in academia that 2°C is already locked in. There are several reasons why:

  • Carbon Life – When carbon is put into the atmosphere, it doesn’t immediately heat up the earth. It takes 10 to 30 years to translate to higher temperatures. Therefore, even if carbon emissions stopped tomorrow, there’s still 10-30 years of carbon working its way through the climate system. A recent scientific peer-review paper projected that latent carbon cycle equal to 0.7°C no matter what mitigation steps are taken today. That means 1.8° is already locked in (adding 1.1°C to 0.7°C).
  • And, “global dimming” peer-reviewed papers say fossil fuel usage puts pollutants or particulate matter in the atmosphere that actually mitigates heating of the planet by reflecting solar rays back to outer space. So, once you get rid of the fossil fuels, and cease emissions, the sun’s rays will come thru unimpeded by fossil fuel particulates. It’s estimated to increase global temperatures by 0.7°C.

Inclusive of all above, 2.6C is locked-in even though part of the “lock-in” is removal of carbon emissions. Another recent peer-reviewed paper says carbon in soils will increase temperatures by another one degree centigrade by 2050 because once you heat up the earth, you heat up the soil, it releases more carbon, taking temperatures up over 3°C.

All of the above-mentioned climate disruption happens before human anthropogenic current activities are counted. Alas, carbon emissions are still going up at rates of 1.6 ppm as of a couple years ago, then, 2.7 ppm and then 3ppm. The growth rate is headed straight up, not down.

Thus, with global average temperatures already locked in at 2°C, it means portions of middle continents or mid latitudes will hit 4°C. According to NASA, global warming varies but is highest in Earth’s mid-latitude regions during the warm season. At 4°C in the middle continents you cannot grow grains at scale. That means one thing: Starvation.

Looking at the issue one more way: Pre-industrial CO2 in the atmosphere was 280ppm at its peak over the past 400,000 years, but it’s been growing much faster than ever before over that past 100 years and now at 415ppm. It wasn’t so long ago that people were saying 350ppm was the upper limit or danger zone when ecosystems would start to falter. But, atmospheric CO2 is already at 415. What about that upper limit and shouldn’t that be a call to action?  Nevertheless, there is no call to action, nowhere to be seen or heard. There is only talk interspersed with token dabbling in electric cars and solar panels and wind. The hard fact is fossil fuels were 80% of energy sourcing 50 years ago. Fossil fuels are 80% of energy sourcing today. Where’s the change?

In all, Hallam claims the “real bad news is: We’re facing social collapse. We are facing the end of civilization.” If you want to know what social collapse looks like, check out Somalia. Check out Afghanistan. Social collapse looks like an economic crisis when there is no longer any support for the poor. The schools won’t be able to run. The university courses will close. No beds available at hospitals. Food supplies run out, people starve and fight.

Last year for the first time ever a food-growing crisis hit all across the Northern Hemisphere, down 20% down in North America, Europe and Russia, all in one year!  If that were to happen three years running, there would be massive starvation in Europe. That analysis by a sustainability professor is based the most downloaded (450,000) academic paper in history.

Fifteen years ago, Hallam planted 20 acres of crops. Starting in early June, the rain continued for seven weeks, nonstop. He lost every single outdoor vegetable. He lost £100,000 and 20 people lost their jobs. But, nobody cared because if you can’t get your food locally, you can fly it in. And, the following year, it rained almost 7 weeks once again. That was followed by the warmest April ever in the UK; then the coolest August ever, then the coldest wet winter on record, and last year was the warmest summer on record in Wales. Climate change is real and unpredictable. Thus, farmers do not know what’s going to happen and many go out of business. Around the world, farmers are committing suicide in record numbers, and as for America:1

Still the worst consequence of the climate crisis, which is the real endpoint, will be war. What will happen when hundreds of millions of refugees are fleeing from the tropics because the heat is unbearable? There will be war. This will happen before flooding of major coastal cities, which is also “locked-in” to the climate system.

The climate crisis is absolutely real. It’s a climate emergency! Temperatures continue setting new records. It was over 44°C in Karachi last year and many people died of heat stroke, but nobody cared because it is Karachi. Heat hit 47°C in parts of India. (Body temps at 42.22°C can result in convulsions and death)

The risks can be explained by the theory of nonlinear dynamics in social and economic systems. First, a few hundred die from heat stroke, and then it goes up a little bit more and then a thousand die, up a little bit more and then three million people die in a few days. All of a sudden, it happens so suddenly!

Because of wet bulb effect, at a certain point the human body cannot survive heat and humidity and dies within 6 hours. It’s nonlinear. This is already happening in the animal kingdom. It happened in the Russian Steppes 2-3 years ago when 200,000 deer died in 3 days.

Hallam has talked to leading political economists around the world, and they all agree catastrophe is coming. “When it comes it’s going to be fast.” They all agree. Within weeks because everything is inter-connected, meaning, food supply and distribution throughout the world.

Hallam mentioned what he refers to as “a difficult discussion item” how to stop the misguided process. The social sciences provide answers. If you want to rapidly change the political direction of a society it only happens thru massive social disobedience. Period! It’s the only way, and it is what XR is all about.

Society has been trying to sort out the climate crisis for 30 years. Alas, it’s gotten nowhere. Meantime, since 1990 there’s been a 60% increase in carbon emissions. All efforts, meetings, and discussions have been a catastrophic disaster. One-half of the carbon emissions in the atmosphere by the human race have been since Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth was released. Still, it’s been followed by catastrophic failure, which is the starting point for thinking about what really works. And, what really works is what we haven’t been doing. We haven’t been “Causing a Fuss.”

On a personal basis, Roger Hallam admitted that he does not like causing a fuss. It’s not in his character, but it’s the only formula for success.

Civic disobedience works. The reason it works is because of two things: (1) Disruption… no one takes any notice unless you cause disruption. It increases the reputational and economic costs of the opponents. Whereas, “being nice doesn’t do anything.” Disruption creates attention, and attention is the first point at which people start to change their opinions. For an example of what doesn’t work, in 2003, one million people in London protested the Iraq war. The protestors waved banners and hollered and conjoined with like-minded, and then, they got on buses and headed home. What happened? Nothing happened because a march never causes disruption. It’s there and it’s gone. (2) Sacrifice without suffering there is no change. It’s when you go to jail that people take you seriously. What changes a person is seeing other people suffer for their beliefs.

XR involves arrest and going to prison. XR’s slogan is: Tell the truth and act as if it is real. Rebels have to be willing to upset people. XR has added 100,000 people to their mailing list in one year because people want to hear the truth.

The fight for civil rights in U.S. is an example of civic disruption working to the benefit of a cause. The Freedom Rider campaign of 1961 started with 25 students. MLK advised them not to do it. They did it and were surrounded by KKK, who set fire to their bus and beat up the students. Then, another 25 students came; followed by national press. President Kennedy noticed. The racist beat up his emissary. Hundreds more went to Mississippi… 500 people were put into prison doing hard labor. Prior to the Freedom Riders, 70 years of conventional protests did not work, did not move the civil rights needle. But, several weeks of Freedom Riders did the job. They caused a fuss.

The Children’s March- Birmingham circa 1963 is another example as 50 children, marching in opposition to segregation, went to prison after harassment by police, fire hoses and beatings because the kids simply walked in the streets. Then, 1,000 children in prison; then 3,000 in prison the next day, until the authorities give in. The chief of police caved in and Birmingham, Alabama agreed to desegregate the local stores. The children caused a fuss.

Radical political change works when participants have no fear. The children of Birmingham were fearless in civic disobedience.

At King’s College Hallam was suspended twice for pushing fossil fuel divestment. Eventually, King’s College said they would divest tar sands investments in a few years. Thereafter, Hallam and one other student started spraying signs around the campus. Then, eight more students joined, and they sprayed the campus. Then, the vice principal came within five minutes of a massive spraying. At the time, Hallam was suspended from King’s college. Still, he re-entered the property again and again. After 5 weeks, the university agreed to divest. According to Hallam, the willingness to personally sacrifice is key to success.

In April 2018 the upstart Extinction Rebellion ignored warnings from authorities. Within 8 days in London they had 1,200 arrested. It was the biggest civil disturbance in London in 50 years. Before the April civic disruptions, the general public did not have an opinion about climate change. After XR’s public disruptions, 67% of the UK population acknowledged the “climate emergency” and 50,000 people signed up for XR.

Disruption and sacrifice are the necessary ingredients. People get involved for a range of reasons. Including, (1) they are terrified about what’s going to happen with the climate crisis, knowing their careers and status won’t be there anyway if it’s not stopped (2) it is an act of conscience. It’s a sense of civic duty. (3) A sense of adventure by people who are already messed up in life and looking for redemption in their lives.

Extinction Rebellion intends to continue civil disobedience until governments of the world declare a “climate emergency.” It almost seems as if it’s their fate in life.

But, is there truly a climate emergency at hand?  Answer: It’s a given, study the science, and you’ll join in person or commit funds to XR. The science is 100% definitive, and it’s real scary!

  1. “Suicide Rates are Rising, Especially in Rural America” NBC News, September 6, 2019.

Celebrity Protesters and Extinction Rebellion

Benedict Cumberbatch.  Olivia Colman.  Fine actors.  They believe in Extinction Rebellion, or perhaps, rebelling against the prospect of extinction.  The environment thing, humanity as a damnably scandalous, ecologically damaging species. But they also believe in taking sponsorship from the very same entities who are doing their best (or worst) to engage in matters of existential oblivion.  So the circle of contradiction, even hypocrisy, is complete.

The matter has come to the fore over overt expressions of support for XR’s two-week effort of disruption in London by the entertainment set.  Severable notable sites have received the attention of the climate change protest group.  The Treasury building has been sprayed with fake blood.  The London Underground train system has been disrupted.  Protestors have glued themselves to trains, to floors and even mounted trains.  Roads to Westminster were blocked, sit-ins staged at City Airport.  Over a 1,700 arrests have been made.

Phil Kingston was one such figure, not exactly a rabble rouser or hardened rioter.  The 83-year-old glued his hand to the side of a carriage at Shadwell and was concerned for his grandchildren.  “I’m also very concerned about what’s happening in the poorer parts of the world who are being hit hardest by climate breakdown.”  Being Christian, he expressed concern about “God’s creation being wrecked across the world.”  Kingston was also jointed by a rather eclectic sampling: a vicar, an ex-Buddhist instructor, and a former GP.

The incident, which involved aggressive scuffling between commuters and the protesters, was acknowledged in a statement from the movement as something divisive.  “In light of today’s events, Extinction Rebellion will be looking at ways to bring people together rather than create an unnecessary division.”  Others were keen to pick holes in the rationale of the protest: Why, for instance, get at an electric train?  Within XR, things are far from uniform.

Such protestors were a rather humble lot, but it did not take long for the bigger fish to join the shoal. Cumberbatch added his voice of support, his grin flashing as it was snapped by cameras in front of the Extinction Rebellion hearse blocking traffic to Trafalgar Square.  Behind him were the conspicuous words hovering with spectral, foreboding promise: “Our future.”

The criticism of this was not far behind.  Cumberbatch is the very conspicuous “brand ambassador” for MG in India.  (Previously, Jaguar counted him among their celebrity proponents.)  The MG GS sports a particularly thirsty engine, and the actor is featured in an advertisement doing rounds in one on, of all places, Trafalgar Square.  MG India’s Hector SUV has also boasted Cumberbatch’s smooth persona.

Academy award winner Colman has also found herself at odd between protest and brand. Having openly expressed her support for the movement, questions were asked by some of the more barbed wings of the British press whether there might be a clash between being on a British Airways inflight video, and disrupting flights.

Over the summer, Oscar winning actress Dame Emma Thompson was also ribbed for flying from Los Angeles to London to participate in an Extinction Rebellion protest.  Her explanation to BBC Radio 4 was that the objects of her job, and being a protester, might not always converge.  “It’s very difficult to do my job without occasionally flying, although I do fly a lot less than I did.”

Those bastions of supposed establishment wisdom, such as The Spectator, were chortling and derisive.  Toby Young was keen to highlight how purchasing vegan baguettes at Pret a Manger was inconsistent with anti-capitalist protest.  He also expressed, at least initially, concern at how law enforcement authorities had, generally speaking, been models of restraint before XR enthusiasts. Had there been “a group of Catholic nuns protesting about changes to the Gender Recognition Act, the riot squad would have been straight with the tear gas.”  For Young, it was good to laugh at these modern millenarians infused with the spirit of apocalyptic terror.

The issue of celebrity encrustation, however, was bound to come by and find voice.  And the engine room of entertainment turns the moral message, however hypocritical, into entertainment.  Bite the hand that feeds you and call it a show.  Having anticipated the rage, the celebrity big wigs have turned vice into a virtue.  An open letter with a hundred names or so, from Sir Bob Geldof to Sienna Miller, took to the barricades and distribution channels with an open letter of affected contrition.  “Dear journalists who have called us hypocrites.  You’re right.  We live high carbon lives and the industries that we are part of have huge carbon footprints.”

What matters is the broad church of hypocrisy.  “Like you – and everyone else – we are stuck in this fossil-fuel economy and without systemic change, our lifestyles will keep on causing climate and ecological harm.”

Those behind the letter stressed the speed of change as their concern. “Climate change is happening faster and more furiously than was predicted.  Millions of people are suffering, leaving their homes and arriving on our border as refugees.”  Children, through the voice of Greta Thunberg, had also called upon “the people with power and influence, to stand up and fight for their already devasted future.”  (Rather cocksure are these celebrities, they, who wield such, as yet unmeasured influence.)

Unlike those critical journalists, the signatories cannot help but be just a touch smug.  There was “a more urgent story that our profiles and platforms can draw attention to.  Life on earth is dying.  We are living in the midst of the 6th mass extinction.”

Much, and in some cases too much, can be made about the celebrity activist who undercuts the argument.  “None of us,” explained Sarah Lunnon of Extinction Rebellion, “is perfect.”  The argument is still worth making, and publicity still worth having.  Unfortunately for the likes of Cumberbatch, the gravity of such messages can be obscured by the person as label.  In revolution, becoming a label is not only counterproductive but deadly.  Protestors like Kingston can just hold their head that much higher.

If the Poles of Mars have melted, why bother writing?

I heard a rumor that the poles have melted on Mars. Could this be in anticipation of US plans to colonise the planet?

In an earlier contribution I observed that the person transported to the Rockefeller-sponsored/ donated headquarters of US faux multilateralism, aka as the United Nations, for a pubescent tirade performance was incredible — in the sense of incredulous and mendacious. Of course, I circulated these comments among my younger, less sceptical friends aware that my unrestrained criticism would not endear me. However, I am simply too old to worry about the “terms of endearment”. I recall just after the GDR/ BRD border was opened — thirty years ago — when I was accidentally in Berlin (was this done for me?) that I watched a lot of very strange things which were not reported on television.

The day after I departed for a trip to the US to visit my mother who was dying of cancer induced by her exposure to photographic chemicals at a medical university where she had worked as photographer and lab technician. Leaving aside the story of her then immanent death, I recall clearly how I tried to explain to a person who was dying (and died several months later) that this was the time, the last time, to talk sincerely. I do not want to say the “truth” because that is another issue entirely. Unlike almost all those (mainly Hollywood) films readers will have seen, my mother was not able to say anything — even knowing that this would be our last conversation ever.

In case the reader cannot imagine, permit me to make the point of this digression clear. Even impending death cannot induce sincerity or candor where it has not been learned and practiced in one’s active life. I do not claim a monopoly of the truth or the right answers to every question but I have spent my entire conscious life trying to achieve sincerity or authenticity if you will. Hence my impatience with the article posted on DV (and certainly elsewhere) that leads me exceptionally to a direct reply — even if in the sense of parliamentary courtesy I refer only to the honourable contributor from Los Angeles (his city of residence according to the Internet sources I consulted).

Hence, Reader, I rise and pray to respond to Extinction Rebellion Sweeps the World.

The honourable author represents the phenomenon Extinction Rebellion I presume without sarcasm as a democratic, youthful and positive expression, a response to supposed problems that is to be welcomed and supported.

I disagree emphatically. Moreover, without prejudice to those young people who are justifiably frustrated with the resilience of the ruling corporate elite and the sheer force it is able to wield against any attempts to end wars, poverty, gratuitous state violence, and the massive health hazards created and maintained by parasitic capitalism, I reject and believe that such rejection is justified for critically thinking persons, any of the author’s assertions or insinuations that such a movement is either democratic or even benevolent.

Permit me to elaborate my objections:

First of all, the author insinuates that the so-called sans culottes were disciples of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. This is historical nonsense. The sans culottes were what Marx later called “Lumpenproletariat”; i.e., ideologically vacuous opportunists mobilised in part because of their willingness and experience in petty violence (as part of the police-petty criminal dialectic) and in part by their own awareness that in the midst of massive social disruption crime can be dressed in politics. It is absurd to associate this kind of mob violence with Rousseau — an author whom it is reasonable to assume a largely illiterate criminal class had not even read.

It is a minor point but Rousseau may have inspired many of the revolutionaries in France but he was by no means the inspiration for the most powerful who were, in fact, bourgeoisie. Moreover the motto “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” is nowhere traceable to Rousseau, per se. It is also doubtful that he was responsible for this motto’s establishment. Rousseau held no political office during or after the Revolution.

Second, a mere glance at the Extinction Rebellion website indicates that the demands are not democratic but “statist”. The idea that establishment of “citizens’ committees” makes a top-down state operation more democratic is absurd on its face. I would refer the Reader here to the speeches of the German democratic activist Rudi Dutschke, whose life was ended prematurely by assassination some 40 years ago. Democracy in Dutschke’s view cannot exceed the consciousness of those who are themselves involved in the democratic process. There are no fast tracks to “Bewusstwerdung” (becoming conscious).

There are even more serious objections to the author’s arguments, both explicit and implied. I will limit myself, however, to just a few.

The single issue “climate change” is not only absurd and arrogant it is also deceptive. While it is possible to forgive the vulnerability to absurd ideas, arrogance and deceit cannot be dismissed. Now I must, and am willing to concede that the author does not write to deceive. Yet what he reproduces is deceptive even if he is only the innocent bearer of the message.

It is not necessary to deny climate change. There has always been climate change. Most of us could not help learning in school that the earth rotates, revolves around the sun and in the process is part of an ever-changing universe. The moon we were told partly causes tides — moving more water than in each individual human body. So it is logical to believe that the moon and sun have an impact on our bodies even if we cannot measure it very well. Hence with this basic knowledge what has been added by the millennialism of the “climate change crusade”?

For one let us start with the propaganda. Every day we are told that such and such or so and so does not comply with the Kyoto Accord. But does anyone talk about what the Kyoto Accord really is? No. There is constant self-flagellation (but mainly the flagellation of non-whites) about the failure to reduce carbon emissions. Well, if we all held our breath until we died we would have no more CO2 problems. The Kyoto Accords are not an emission-reduction agreement but an emission trading framework. Ever since NATO was able to disable the Soviet Union and COMECON economies and annex all but the Russian political apparatus, there has been only one mode for exercising non-military power: the “market”. By “market” is really meant the banking and commodities trading cartels domiciled in the US and UK, but whose directors are resident wherever they cannot be reached by accidents of jurisdiction.

‘Compliance with Kyoto has nothing to do with reducing pollution, ending the exploitation of natural resources by international corporations at the cost of the human population. Kyoto is an agreement to implement a regime by which those who are forced to use inefficient and polluting energy sources are compelled to pay to the rich for that privilege — so-called carbon taxes. It is also an agreement to financialise the already virtually unrestricted pollution by international industrial corporations (mainly NATO-defended) by creating and enforcing the “market” for emission credits — a derivative financial instrument. Kyoto — like so many international agreements — has nothing to do with the benefit of ordinary people on the planet. It is an agreement like that adopted at the Berlin Conference in the 19th century: to divide Africa among the Europeans.

Why would the author encourage an organisation with such a dubious impact on the consciousness of those who genuinely are frustrated and interested in improvement of the quality of human life? I will assume for the sake of argument that this interest is sincere and extends beyond satisfaction of one’s own personal anxieties.

I submit to the Readers that the answer is complex, but not complicated. In other words, it is possible to understand but difficult.

Let us begin with the organisation of Extinction Rebellion. If it is, as the author would have us believe, analogous with the sans culottes, then we have to say that it is an organisation that has adopted the tactics of the lumpenproletariat — of opportunistic or ignorant exercise of brute force without consciousness (or interest in) as to the consequences of such violence. The ostensible single issue strategy of the organisation betrays this opportunism.

Since 1945, the Atlantic forces organised in 1947 as NATO have been challenged by the demand for popular sovereignty in the colonies of Europe and the US and socialism even in the reactionary US. The defeat of the NATO in 1949 and the victory of Chinese over Western colonialism (per capita worse than the horrid 1917 revolution in Russia) was probably the most traumatic event of the century for capitalism (the nihilist ideology of Euro-American piracy). The official policy issue was framed in terms of “decolonialisation”. The colonised framed this as “independence”.

The most important practical issue, however, was how to maintain control and how to defeat independence movements and prefer “decolonisation” agents. The most important conflicts for this process were the US war against Korean independence, the French wars against its Indochinese colonies and Algeria and ultimately the US war to absorb French Indochina (with its drug industry) and surround China –which it ultimately lost in forty years ago when the last UH-1 left the CIA compound in Saigon.

As the only military power capable of challenging independence armies, the US armed and funded all its European allies in order to defend its future “open markets”. In Korea and Vietnam, it intervened directly because domination of Asia was seen by the US elite as the logical terminus of Manifest Destiny. The inability of the US to dominate Asia militarily in the same way it dominates Latin America led to massive research investment. On the one hand the war department (renamed “Defense”) spent trillions to develop weapons of mass destruction aimed mainly at peasants. On the other hand it invested millions in social sciences to find witting and unwitting scholars and activists who would create what now is called “Humint” in US military jargon. Humint is a euphemism for what the Gestapo did. In fact, the first advisors to the US military for Humint were Nazis and Madison Avenue marketing types following the lessons of Edward Bernay (used effectively to create mass hysteria for WWI).

In this process the CIA et al. developed a complex program called “Phoenix”, originally ICEX, which cleverly combined civilian operations with assassination and other forms of terrorism. People like the deceased Phoenix operative with ambassadorial rank, Richard Holbrooke, were trained as twens to combine building clinics with killing cadres. This was not an accident of war but the product of a vast intellectual undertaking to which an obscure graduate of Ohio State University belonged, no later than when he published “National Security through Civilian-based Defense” in 1970. This booklet, a reverse engineering exercise, analyses without references, the strategy of the Vietnamese National Liberation Front, derogatively called Viet Cong in the US, and develops the concept of covertly organised middle-class resistance to Communism based on the lessons “learned” by US scholars about the yellow enemy. This work would lead the US war department and other agencies to fund what became the Albert Einstein Institution. From this modest sinecure Dr Gene Sharp (Oxon.) would become the equally modest prosyletiser for “non-violent” warfare against NATO targets.

Around 1989 with the culmination of NATO warfare against the Soviet Union and COMECON, a previously little known financial manipulator from the same right-wing Hungarian clique to which people like Holbrooke were connected by marriage, would borrow the slogans of the anti-communist philosopher Karl Popper to create with his manipulated millions (or billions?) the “civil society” myth. This “civil society” implicates the entirety of outsiders without actually including them. Thus the alleged philanthrope turned the money he stole from the British Treasury (actually British taxpayers) with his naked speculation against sterling into an international organisation for disenfranchising citizens and concentrating civilian authority in unelected, foundation-financed, elite (mostly university-educated) cadre organisations which appropriate the voices of the mass of citizens, especially in countries where NATO is attacking their government.

Extinction Rebellion is one of the products of this “photosynthesis”.

But what makes this possible? Are the people who associate with Extinction Rebellion stupid, ignorant or insincere? Are they “dupes” — as it used to be said of Westerners who remained communists despite the benefits of the West? Are perhaps the facts right — that is to say members are driven by good will and best available knowledge? Honourable author and Readers, I do not assert that everyone associated with Extinction Rebellion or similar organisations is either a “dupe” or stupid.

It is necessary to understand that Extinction Rebellion originates in a complex of political warfare, what the military types call “asymmetric warfare”. That is a euphemism for the fact that the army can incinerate you and your village at enormous cost and you can impede the market simply because you are unable to buy the newest product upon which a major corporation has placed all its bets.

Political warfare is complex but not complicated. As the principal authors from the Albert Einstein Institution are fond of saying it takes only about 3% of the population committed to make substantive change. Anyone who has studied school classroom behaviour can grasp this. I have called this the “bully principle”. The question that I raised in my previous article was if all these activists know that 3% is the critical mass — where is the 3% to stop police murder of Blacks, or to end real estate and bank usury, or to create universal health care (it is being dismantled where it already was achieved)?

The answer is that the single agenda “climate” movement the author so lauds is not a movement at all but a staging. This stage action involves a few people who pose as research and guidance and a mass of people who have little in common beyond (1) their desire to see a simple unifying solution to world problems and (2) their inability to think historically or in terms of class consciousness. The simplification or better said reduction of all problems to one cause mimics the West’s interpretation of Marxism-Leninism, just as radioactive cesium imitates calcium in the bone marrow.

Especially in the US with its medieval fundamentalism and slavery-based political ideology, a scheme of religious-motivated vigilantism is enormously attractive. Witch-burning and lynching, popular but top-down managed forms of retribution, persisted long after Europeans (until the fascist era) had abandoned mass religious persecution. It is still an essential element in popular culture, even among those who do not enjoy John Wayne or Clint Eastwood.

The CIA and other secret police agencies recruited across the political spectrum — especially in the US. The recruit was not always witting. However, one element was always present and the psychologists in the Company understood this very well: the deep belief that no matter how heinous the US regime may be, it was the best of all possible worlds and hence had to be defended. If anyone should doubt this they only have to read the text to Lillian Hellman’s Candide, brilliantly rendered to music by Leonard Bernstein.

This also explains the composition of Extinction Rebellion and the “climate” movement as a whole. It is ultimately a political warfare strategy based inter aliaon the counter-insurgency doctrines developed by the US regime during the war against Vietnam. It is a part of Phoenix. It is mainly “white” and ultimately it is directed at “non-whites” and the poor- – even if many associated with it still believe the contrary.

As I have argued elsewhere, the US regime went to Vietnam for tin, opium, cheap rice, and cheap labour among other things. Just as it was in Indonesia where a million were killed to secure primary commodities from that country and three plus million in Korea before that. “Communism” was just a term used to rile the religious fanatics in the US and Europe to attain the necessary degree of participation in whatever witch-burning, lynching party or mass murder was planned to perfect the theft. “Climate” is the crusade of the post-communism era. It is still a religious crusade. It is rooted in the irrationalism of Christendom.

It is truly regrettable that the author either has not read his history or is at best indifferent to it. It is shameful that he submits to the reader such a superficial and distorted homily.

Readers, I thank you for your attention and yield the floor.

Extinction Rebellion Sweeps the World

Extinction Rebellion, XR est. October 31, 2018, has become a powerful force across the globe, almost overnight!!!

It is the fastest-growing environmental movement ever. As such, it is only too obvious that “people get it” when it comes to climate change/global warming because they’re jumping aboard like swarms of locusts. In fact, XR’s truthful exposure of the climate crisis/global warming is single-handedly turning average citizens of the world into fighting mad radicalized eco warriors. People who ordinarily do not get involved in politics or advocacy of any kind are suddenly eco warriors.

XR’s swagger is similar to the San-Culottes of 18th century France. At the time, the French common people (Sans-Culottes) were radicalized by their poor quality of life under the Ancien Régime. They rebelled; they changed history in the face of the most powerful monarchy in all of Europe, as their revolutionary motto Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, introduced via Jean Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract (1762), remains to this day.

XR has 485 groups in 72 countries. Its demands are simple and straightforward; however, the challenge of meeting their targets requires a WWII Marshall Plan worldwide coordinated effort:

  • Tell the Truth- Governments must start leveling with the public about the scale of the ecological crisis by declaring a climate emergency.
  • Net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025
  • Citizens’ Assembly- Governments must create citizens’ assemblies to hear the evidence and help devise policy.

Their demand of net zero emissions means a complete overhaul of how the world is organized as a society. Everything changes from transport, to domestic and industrial energy systems, to food production, to overall levels of consumption. It’s revolutionary in every respect, but in that regard, climate change itself sets one horrendous record after another as the biosphere itself experiences revolutionary changes, in some instances 10x faster than the paleoclimate record.

XR has pledged to shut down 60 cities, including London, NY, Buenos Aires, Sydney, Cape Town, and Mumbai, government buildings, airports, and financial districts during this month of their genesis. They teach maximum disruption to provoke political action, gluing themselves to airplanes and the gates of Buckingham Palace and obstructing major highways and governmental offices. They peacefully disrupt society at its central core and consider arrests and jail time as merit badges.

According to the Financial Times, XR has seen a surge of donations, including celebrities and big names in finance like Sir Christopher Hohn, head of TCI hedge fund who donated £500,000, commenting: “I made the donation because humanity is aggressively destroying the world through climate change and there is an urgent need for us all to wake up to this fact.”1

Total fundraising during XR’s first 12 months amounts to  £2.5m. Supporters include the band Radiohead, actress Emma Thompson, and punk artist Joseph Corre. Its biggest institutional donor is the Climate Emergency Fund, which is a US charity with donors like Rory Kennedy (daughter of Robert K) and Aileen Getty, heiress to the Getty Oil fortune.

XR distinguishes itself from other environmental groups because it advocates civil disobedience, going so far as breaking the law to make its point. The global emergency required to stem our radically changing climate does not allow for gradualism. They need results now.

After all, following years of hollow promises and empty commitments by governments of the world, XR recognizes the only way to get the job done is by breaking laws via civil disobedience. Nothing else seems to work, and so far, XR has been successful beyond initial dreams.

XR’s April 2019 protests were powerful and fruitful, creating a massive surge of public concern as the climate crisis has subsequently been categorized in the UK as one of the top five most important issues facing the country. The government has actually legislated net-zero emissions by 2050, and Labour is headed for a much more ambitious target of 2030.  Nobody thought a two-week blockade of central London would be met with so much public support. In all, XR has moved 90 towns and cities in the UK to adopt net-zero plans.

XR is doing something quite remarkable. Without firing a shot and without financing to start its campaign, it has impacted average citizens around the world. It appeals to society’s elemental sense of right versus wrong. “The truth” is their mantra. It resonates with people that have turned cynical, as world leaders, especially in English-speaking countries, have abused the long-standing privilege of honoring the truth. Rather, the world hangs by a thread of lies and deception, which is tenuous leadership.

“The truth” gives Extinction Rebellion a powerful edge. People respect it. As it happens, a world order filled with leadership of thuggish liars and overt deception has set the stage for XR to succeed.  It’s why average people are willing to sacrifice by prostrating their bodies on city streets. They’re smitten by the allure of truthfulness for a change!

Similar to the circumstances surrounding the French Revolution that beheaded its king, today the public is cynical and crass and motivated to fight because of massive failures by the status quo, lying, deceiving, thuggish personalities in positions of power. The eyes of the world watch America’s carnival barkers and their sideshows strut. It sickens people to the point that, when XR comes along, it’s a breath of fresh air.

XR should do very well in America.

  1. Leslie Hook in London, Financial Times, October 11, 2019.

Git Up, Git Out, Cut the Bullshit Arrests Out

Hundreds of people from across the Southeast converged on Atlanta on Friday September 27th for the Southeast Climate Strike & Rebellion. Organized by a coalition including Earth Strike and Extinction Rebellion, it came at the end of a global strike week called for by the school strike movement in which millions railed against the systems that are failing humanity.  At least 19 were nicked for offences ranging from carrying PVC pipe for a trampoline prop to standing briefly on a piece of land designed exclusively for fast-moving metal death machines.

The plan was to occupy an intersection in the swanky commercial centre and planet-eating business district of Buckhead, and hold a family friendly festival with speakers, music and colourful banner waving fun.  But business as usual means big pots of dosh for some people, so police made sure to squash that vision of community on behalf of their employers at every turn.  Not quite grasping the way a low carbon transport system is intended to work, cops used a line of bicycles like riot shields to aggressively push activists back onto the sidewalk and prevent the occupation.  Photos of riot police in the media, avoided; unquestionable dominance of car culture, sustained.

As several hundred relocated to Midtown via Atlanta’s MARTA train (“almost like being in an actual city,” cooed Florida visitors), snatch squads continued to pick people up with flimsy excuses and instill fear along the way.  A man from Extinction Rebellion Winston-Salem (NC) was minding his business far away from the road when two cops meandered through a crowd and tackled him to the ground without warning for the crime of wearing a mask.  Police also arrested a 17-year-old from the same chapter, then told local media that they didn’t arrest any minors (a claim that was later deleted from the article when the journalist realised it was false) (chapter legal fund).

Having outmaneuvered the eco-friendly bike fuzz, a second intersection was then held for around 20 minutes.  Unfortunately a lack of material blockades and numbers allowed police cars to find a gap and harass protesters out.  After regrouping and eating together in a park, the crowd used a semi-consensus model to decide their next move.  A march down a trail ended with a raucous noise being made in a shopping market.  Coppers on bikes gave way to Fire & Rescue on bikes for no clear reason.  The only group preventing safety were the APD (despite their absurd claims to be providing it) and self immolation was never on the official agenda.  But if the cops keep blocking nonviolent dissent there’s no telling how desperate people will get as famines, extreme heat and societal collapse bear down on us.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, supposedly a progressive climate leader, has a standard plan to bring the city to 100% renewables by 2035.  Naturally, half of that will be achieved by paying someone else to make the cuts (through Renewable Energy Credits, aka offsets), and the pledge has the useful benefit of making many people believe that it is a commitment to carbon-neutrality when it refers only to electricity generation.  Anybody that truly understood the latest science would know that carbon offsets are pointless when the entire global economy now needs to be decarbonised, would know that 2035 is too late for anything, and frankly, would have ordered police to step aside and allow the mass action to go ahead, because this is a fucking emergency that threatens the safety of everyone on this planet.  Instead, violent suppression, spurious arrests, helicopters and a tonne of cops were deployed to send the message that an actual adequate response to the armageddon that faces us is unacceptable.  Token targets that fail to address the problem are all that will be tolerated in a city with a notorious sprawl problem and the world’s busiest airport (21 years running!)

On that same Friday Boston rebels held a bridge for three hours with no arrests.  Earlier in the week a coalition of 2000 blocked the streets of DC leading to 32 arrests, while in San Francisco the financial district was occupied and a massive mural was painted on the roads covering two blocks.  Five were arrested in a roadblock in Denver.  Despite the Southeast Climate Strike & Rebellion not going as originally planned, people still sacrificed for the cause, compelling the public to ask why they would do so unless we faced an emergency, and many lessons were learned.  For one thing, when the Earth becomes unable to sustain human life, be sure to thank a cop.

“How Dare You!” The Climate Crisis And The Public Demand For Real Action

Reality clashed with the BBC version of false consensus in a remarkable edition of HardTalk last month. Roger Hallam, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, was starkly honest about humanity’s extreme predicament in the face of climate breakdown and refused to buckle under host Stephen Sackur’s incredulous questioning. Sackur’s inability to grasp that we are already in a climate emergency, and that massive changes are necessary now to avoid societal collapse, was clear for all to see. His line of questioning attempted to present Hallam to the BBC audience as a dangerous revolutionary, trying to destroy capitalism for twisted ideological reasons.

Sackur: ‘You want to bring down the capitalist system as we know it, is that correct?

Hallam: ‘The capitalist system is going to be brought down by itself. The capitalist system is eating itself.’

Sackur: ‘Well, no, the point about your…’

Hallam (interrupting): ‘Let me make this point clear, right? The capitalist system – the global system that we’re in – is in the process of destroying itself, and it will destroy itself in the next ten years. The reason for that is because it’s destroying the climate. The climate is what’s necessary to grow food. If you can’t grow food, there will be starvation and social collapse. Now, the problem is, people in elites, people in the BBC, and people in the governmental sector, cannot get their heads round what’s actually happening. The fact of the matter is, if you go out and talk to ordinary people in the street, they’re aware of this. And that’s why hundreds of thousands of people around the world are starting to take action…’

Sackur (interrupting): ‘I understand what you’re [saying], your perspective on the climate is that the emergency is here, it’s now and we have to respond.’

Hallam (interrupting): ‘No, I don’t think you have [understood].’

As Hallam pointed out in the interview, ‘hard science’ shows that, as things stand, billions of people will die in the next few decades as a result of climate breakdown. William Rees, professor emeritus of human ecology and ecological economics at the University of British Columbia, and the originator of the concept of ‘ecological footprint’, agreed. He added bluntly:

Humanity is literally converting the ecosphere into human bodies, prodigious quantities of cultural artifacts, and vastly larger volumes of entropic waste. (That’s what tropical deforestation, fisheries collapses, plummeting biodiversity, ocean pollution, climate change, etc. are all about.)

Earlier this year, Noam Chomsky noted that:

In a couple of generations, organized human society may not survive.

If corporate media were structurally capable of reflecting reality, this would be constant headline news:

Every single [newspaper] should have a shrieking headline every day saying we are heading to total catastrophe. […] That has to be drilled into people’s heads constantly. After all, there’s been nothing like this in all of human history. The current generation has to make a decision as to whether organized human society will survive another couple of generations, and it has to be done quickly, there’s not a lot of time. So, there’s no time for dillydallying and beating around the bush. And [the US] pulling out of the Paris negotiations should be regarded as one of the worst crimes in history.

Human extinction within one hundred years is a real possibility. A massive upsurge of public concern, placing unassailable pressure on governments to drastically change course, is urgently needed. Climate strikes, with seven million people taking part last Friday, inspired in large part by the example of 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, need to be ramped up even further, demanding real change; not fixes to a fundamentally destructive system that is falling apart, bringing humans and numerous other species with it.

As Thunberg passionately told world leaders at the UN in New York last week, in a powerful mix of emotion and reason:

People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you! […] How dare you pretend that this can be solved with business-as-usual and some technical solutions.

Thunberg’s speech gave the lie, yet again, to ill-founded claims that she is being manipulated or ‘manufactured’ as a front for neoliberalism, ‘green’ capitalism or ‘neo-feudalism’. As Jonathan Cook wrote in a cogent demolition of cynical claims made against her, including by some on the left:

Thunberg is not Wonder Girl. She will have to navigate through these treacherous waters as best she can, deciding who genuinely wants to help, who is trying to sabotage her cause, and which partners she can afford to ally with. She and similar movements will make mistakes. That is how social protests always work. It is also how they evolve.

Cook added:

Should Thunberg become captured, wittingly or not, by western elites, it is patronising in the extreme to assume that the many millions of young and old alike joining her on the climate strikes will be incapable of recognising her co-option or whether she has lost her way. Those making this argument arrogantly assume that only they can divine the true path.

Elite Fear of the Public

Despite considerable ‘mainstream’ coverage given to climate activism in 2019, public demands to make fundamental changes to the global economy will most likely continue to be ignored, twisted or derided. Indeed, the more extremist elements of the corporate media are prone to fear-mongering about the supposed risks – i.e. to wealth and power – in making significant changes in society. Thus, for example, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, international business editor of the Daily Telegraph, warned darkly:

The Green Taliban will sweep away our liberal order unless we get a grip on climate change.

We have a choice. Either we fight runaway climate change with liberal market policies and capitalist creativity, or we cede the field to Malthusians and the Green Taliban.

A Telegraph editorial had mocked the climate movement the previous week:

This climate strike is a joke. Childish socialism won’t help the environment.

The establishment paper scorned protesters as ‘economically illiterate’ and dismissed their ‘Luddite war on capitalism’. This is the stock clichéd insult, seemingly requiring no explanation or justification. The fact is, there is virtually no substantive coverage or discussion of capitalism as a root cause of the climate crisis, and that it is driving its own collapse, as Roger Hallam pointed out on BBC’s HardTalk – a rare mention indeed.

As an illustrative example: a search of the ProQuest newspaper database on September 26, covering the previous seven days, yielded 2,075 mentions of ‘Greta Thunberg’. But only 21 of these included the word ‘capitalism’. And, of these, only four made substantive critical remarks about capitalism: an article on The Canary website, an Irish Times piece quoting Naomi Klein, an article in Kashmir Times, and an opinion piece in Free Press Journal, based in Mumbai, India. In other words, vanishingly few; and not one in a major UK newspaper.

But then, corporate media and political leaders hate the idea of an informed public demanding real societal change. Bear in mind former Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent admission that he panicked over a possible ‘Yes’ vote in the Scottish independence referendum in 2014. When a YouGov poll put the ‘Yes’ campaign in the lead, it hit him ‘like a blow to the solar plexus’ and led to ‘a mounting sense of panic’.

Or recall the consternation of Tony Blair, Prime Minister in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He was so concerned about public opposition to the coming war that he told George Bush that the US may have to go ahead without UK involvement. Ian Sinclair, author of the 2013 book, The March That Shook Blair: An oral history of 15 February 2003, said:

It is important to remember just how close and how much the anti-war movement came to shaking Blair during that period and nearly stopping the participation.

Sinclair expanded:

On 9 March 2003 Development Secretary Clare Short threatened to resign, and there was a real concern within Blair’s inner circle that the Government might not win the parliamentary vote on the war. Receiving worrying reports from their embassy in London, Washington was so concerned about Blair’s position that on 9 March President Bush told his National Security Advisor Condeeleeza Rice “We can’t have the British Government fall because of this decision over war.” Bush then called Blair and suggested the UK could drop out of the initial invasion and find some other way to participate.

He continued:

Two days later was what has become known as ‘Wobbly Tuesday’ – “the lowest point of the crisis for Mr Blair”, according to the Sunday Telegraph. The same report explained that the Ministry of Defence “was frantically preparing contingency plans to ‘disconnect’ British troops entirely from the military invasion of Iraq, demoting their role to subsequent phases of the campaign and peacekeeping.” The Sunday Mirror reported that Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon had phoned the US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and “stressed the political problems the Government was having with both MPs and the public.” An hour later Rumsfeld held a press conference and explained that Britain might not be involved in the invasion. The Government was thrown into panic. Blair “went bonkers”, according to Alastair Campbell.’

Sinclair argues that although the invasion of Iraq went ahead:

It’s important to be aware of just how close the anti-war movement came to derailing British participation in the Iraq invasion.

“It’s Appropriate to be Scared”

We therefore need to take heart from the growing public awareness and determination to act in the face of the climate crisis. A recent poll showed that, in seven out of the eight countries surveyed, the climate emergency is seen as ‘the most important issue’ facing the world, ahead of migration, terrorism and the global economy.

At least three-quarters of the public agree that the world is facing a ‘climate emergency’, with climate breakdown at risk of becoming ‘extremely dangerous’. In the UK, 64 per cent agreed with the statement ‘time is running out to save the planet’ and a mere 23 per cent in the country think that the government is taking sufficient action.

Time is indeed running out, just as the scale of the crisis becomes ever clearer. Senior climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf cautioned via Twitter:

Climate skeptics and deniers have often accused scientists of exaggerating the threat of climate change, but the evidence shows that not only have they not exaggerated, they have underestimated.

He was pointing to a piece in Scientific American titled, ‘Scientists Have Been Underestimating the Pace of Climate Change’. The article’s authors, including renowned science historian Naomi Oreskes, warned that:

Climate change and its impacts are emerging faster than scientists previously thought.

As if on cue, a new landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned that sea levels could rise by fully one metre by the end of the century. Professor Jonathan Bamber, director of the Bristol Glaciology Centre at the University of Bristol, said:

Sea level rise is projected to continue whatever the emission scenario and for something like business-as-usual the future for low lying coastal communities looks extremely bleak. The consequences will be felt by all of us.

Even worse, warned Professor Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at the University of Cambridge, the report did not mention the ‘very serious threat’ of methane coming from the seabed of the Arctic continental shelf as the permafrost thaws, releasing large amounts of powerful global-warming gas.

In an article for Nature, the prestigious science journal, lawyer Farhana Yamin, explained why she embarked on civil disobedience after three decades of environmental advocacy for the IPCC, the United Nations and others:

The global economy must be fundamentally reconfigured into a circular system that uses fewer resources and is based on renewable technologies. The time for half measures has run out — as made plain by the 2018 IPCC special report on the impacts of a 1.5 °C rise in global average temperatures. That’s why I chose to get arrested.

In April, Yamin super-glued her hands to the pavement outside the Shell headquarters in London, surrounded by numerous policemen. Once unstuck, she was arrested for causing criminal damage.

She said:

The current form of capitalism is toxic for life on Earth.

One might as well delete those three words, ‘current form of”.

Yamin continued:

By now you might have labelled me an extremist, here to boast about her mid-life flirtation with the barricades. Talk of injustice, devastation, emergency and the need for radical change is far removed from the neutral vocabulary used by the scientific community in journals such as Nature. But these seemingly emotional terms now fit the facts — and they effect change. I’d rather be labelled ideological than mislead the public into complacency.

How long will it be before other, even more senior, figures ‘take to the streets’, figuratively or otherwise, demanding real change? Professor Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to the government, recently told Roger Harrabin, BBC environment analyst, that the faster pace of climate change, with an increasing number of extreme events, is ‘scary’. He expanded:

It’s appropriate to be scared. We predicted temperatures would rise, but we didn’t foresee these sorts of extreme events we’re getting so soon.

Other scientists contacted by the BBC echoed King’s emotive language. Senior physicist Professor Jo Haigh from Imperial College London said:

David King is right to be scared – I’m scared too.

We do the analysis, we think what’s going to happen, then publish in a very scientific way.

Then we have a human response to that… and it is scary.

Gerald Meehl, a senior scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, warned:

I have a sense of the numbing inevitability of it all.

It’s like seeing a locomotive coming at you for 40 years – you could see it coming and were waving the warning flags but were powerless to stop it.’

The BBC’s Harrabin observed:

Few of the scientists we contacted had faith that governments would do what was needed to rescue the climate in time.

This ought to be so shocking that, to repeat Noam Chomsky’s point, newspapers should be headlining scientists’ warnings about climate every day, as well as highlighting that even normally cautious leading science experts have little faith in governments taking the necessary action to avoid the worst effects of climate chaos.

The UN has already warned that the climate crisis is the ‘greatest ever threat to human rights’. If the UN had warned that Iran, Russia or China is the ‘greatest ever threat to human rights’, it would get blanket coverage with huge headlines and leading pundits screaming, ‘Something must be done!’.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN rights chief, told the UN human rights council in Geneva earlier this month:

The economies of all nations, the institutional, political, social and cultural fabric of every state, and the rights of all your people, and future generations, will be impacted [by climate change].

She also denounced attacks on environmental activists, and the abuse and insidious accusations hurled at Greta Thunberg (which Thunberg herself has stoutly rebutted).

Writing for the leading physics news website, phys.org, Ivan Couronne called Thunberg’s ‘How dare you?’ UN speech ‘a major moment for climate movement’:

Thunberg’s way of speaking—brief, forceful and backed up by well-chosen scientific data points—contrasts sharply with the style of her peers, as was apparent over the weekend during a youth summit.

Some of the young activists already speak like their elders, reciting long texts lacking in nuance.

The uniqueness of Thunberg’s speech—at times reserved, at others blunt—partly comes from her Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism that the teen says has made her very direct.

Couronne reported that Thunberg writes her own speeches, relying on reputable climate scientists to ensure that she gets her facts correct. These include Johan Rockstrom, Stefan Rahmstorf, Kevin Anderson, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Glen Peters and others.

Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at the University of Manchester, told phys.org:

I am confident that Greta writes her own speeches, but quite appropriately checks the robustness of facts, scientific statements and any use of numbers with a range of specialists in those particular areas.

Rahmstorf, Head of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, added his support:

After discussing with Greta here in Potsdam and in Stockholm, I can vouch that she acts out of her own authentic motivation, and she knows the science. I wish more politicians would get this well-informed about climate science! Why is that not the case?

The answer is that political leaders remain largely beholden to powerful financial, economic and corporate forces that have yet to acknowledge the gravity of the climate crisis; and – in the case of the huge fossil fuel industries, in particular – are actually driving us ever closer towards oblivion. Only massive mobilisation of the public can turn things around. We are literally fighting for human survival.

Extinction Rebellion

The climate crisis is turning average law-abiding people into raging law-breaking eco rebels, by boatloads. Extinction Rebellion (ER) is at the forefront, demanding that governments declare climate emergencies and take urgent action.

In that regard, ER, which started in the UK, says government must reduce carbon emissions to Net Zero by 2025, or else! Social chaos will spring loose from within the darkened shadows of a raging climate, bringing civilized society to its knees and within current lifetimes. For proof, read the science, which says it all. We’re doomed without taking action to cut greenhouse emissions to Net Zero.

In that regard, in November 2018 ER activist extraordinaire Jenny Shearer super glued herself to a railing outside the glorious golden-trimmed gates of Buckingham Palace in expectation that: “This will get the Royal family to come and join us.” Meanwhile, another 2,000 ER activists brought a coffin, which symbolized a “sure-fire death sentence” facing the “next generation” vestiges of the present-day crisis.

For ER warriors, the climate crisis is like a freight train with failing breaks barreling down a mountainside headed for a massive wipeout of society. Regrettably, it’ll happen way too soon to take comfort today.

This coming October 31st marks the one-year anniversary of ER from beginnings on Parliament Square on October 31st 2018 when the ER leaders announced a Declaration of Rebellion against the UK government, expecting a couple hundred people to attend. Surprisingly, 1,500 showed up to exercise their right to peaceful civil disobedience whilst breaking the law and getting arrested.

Shortly thereafter, 6,000 ER activists peacefully blocked five major bridges across the River Thames. They planted trees in the middle of Parliament Square, and dug a hole for a coffin. Additionally, they lie down in streets or at entryways to public buildings, bringing parts of London and other UK cities to a standstill.

Roger Hallam, an organic farmer and Ph.D. candidate at Oxford University and Co-Founder of Extinction Rebellion, was recently interview on BBC’s Hard Talk hosted by Stephen Sackur d/d August 2019.

When asked why ER, Hallam responded:

Millions of people around the world have realized, or have come to the point where something drastic has to happen… And, um… nothing is happening, and that means you have to start breaking the law in order to make change happen.

According to Hallam, people are waking up to the fact that governments have been lying about the issue of global warming for the past 30 years and experts have been lying about the consequences, fudging the data or low-balling. Over the years, elites and governments have said carbon emissions would go down, but they haven’t; they’ve gone up 60% since 1990, and they’re still going up. This was supposed to be the decade when all sorts of positive stuff would happen, but it’s not happening.

As a result, people are very angry. People are in a rage. People don’t want their kids to die. There are no words to describe how serious it is.

According to Hallam, other organized groups, like Greenpeace, have “fundamentally failed” to alter the climate crisis. Across the board, everybody has failed.

The fact of the matter is we are facing mass starvation within the next 10 years, social collapse, and the possible extinction of humans. It couldn’t be worse. This situation has come about after 30 years of failure, failure by the elites, failure by the governments, and failure by campaigners.

As a result, the table has been set for a powerful aggressive hands-on approach to resolving the crisis, and ER is the most successful climate change movement in the UK. In the first year, 100,000 people signed up. As such, ER has changed the conversation in the UK because it is “dedicated to telling the truth,” and the truth is governments and elites have been lying to people for 30 years.

The truth is all about hard physics… the science is real, meaning: “We face social collapse as and when weather systems around the world collapse because of rampant climate change.”

As Hallam describes it, if there is no fundamental change in the structure of the global economy in the next ten years, then we’re headed for global catastrophe, and for certain mass social collapse with concomitant mass starvation.

BBC’s Sackur challenged ER’s ability to gain public support for its radicalized programs by utilizing a negative approach. In response, Hallam explained how before 1,200 arrests of ER eco radicals in the streets of London in April of this year in the biggest civil disobedience demonstration in British history, the British public didn’t have any opinion on climate emergency. Afterwards, 67% of the British public agreed there is an emergency. That is a remarkable achievement and enormously telling of hidden awareness by the general public.

Not only, but according to Hallam, the capitalistic system is in the process of destroying itself because it is destroying the climate. Increasingly, people in the streets are aware of this. Thus, socialism is no longer irreverent, as it gains credibility because the capitalist state of affairs ignores the crisis, and, in fact, feeds into it, which the general public understands much better than realized.

In celebration of a year’s resounding success, this coming October 2019 there will be thousands of people in massive civil disturbances in the streets of London, nonviolent, respectful, but disruptive. That’s ER’s methodology, and it works, as it additionally spreads to America and the world.

According to Hallam, unless governments and elites undertake immediate action, the trajectory for the planet is the death of six billion people this century.

Still, ER has experienced defections. Simon McKibbin, a lecturer at Cambridge University, left ER because of Hallam’s plan to shut down Heathrow Airport with drones. McKibben said: Flying drones into busy airspace is a departure from nonviolence. It threatens people and creates the potential of losing the good will of the public.

However, Hallam, who said he is not yet committed to using drones at Heathrow, is resolute, stating that if nonviolence does not work, then the next hurdle for society is bound to be the desperation of violence, which ER avoids. He says it is inevitable that ER will win the hearts and minds of the public as they awaken to the fact that their governments have failed them in this crucial life and death struggle.

After all, climate change/global warming is one of the most recognizable things in human history, but maybe that’s part of the problem, as familiarity nurtures solace. Which is one more reason why Extinction Rebellion is so important in rescuing civilization from falling into the surrealism of a very strange rabbit hole.