Socialist Worker

Climate protesters debate a way forwards

Issue No. 2650

Debating the way forward

Debating the way forward (Pic: Guy Smallman)

After the initial excitement of Monday’s Extinction Rebellion protest, activists reflected on how the day of protests had gone—and what might happen next.

Audrey from Sweden said activists had to be “open and positive in the world—talking to people, being direct and clear in communication”.

Tim from south London emphasised “non-violent communication in schools and workplaces to diffuse the emotion in the argument.”

“Some people may feel their personal choices aren’t environmentally friendly and they’ll be defensive about it,” he said.

Alex wanted everyone to “share what we’ve done today with everyone we meet at festivals and parties”.

And Tessie from Bristol said activists had to “bridge the divide” between activists and other people.

“Stop being raging lefties,” she said. “If you just rant at someone they’ll probably go away complaining about the left. Go in with humility and just talk as people.”

Others thought about how to organise and draw people in to the movement.


Harrold from Manchester said, “We have to figure out solutions for getting people to want to be part of this.”

And Emma from Ireland said, “We need more events like this that have an effect on the government.

“They’ll get bigger and bigger—and the effect that will have on the government will get bigger.”

Marion, a protester at Oxford Circus, said, “I’m very proud about everyone getting together to protest over climate change—especially in the most commercial streets of London.”

“I’m very impressed by the peacefulness of this action,” She added. “That’s something I worried about.

“But even the police are facilitating us blocking the streets.

“It means our ideas are accepted.”

One central demand has been for setting up citizens’ assemblies in local areas.

Danny from Bristol urged people to “organise petitions at your local council or borough to call on them to set up a citizens’ assembly. But let’s not wait for them to do that, let’s set them up.”

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