Socialist Worker

Extinction Rebellion activists set to hold a series of ‘Rebel Risings’ for the climate

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2667

An Extinction Rebellion uprising in east London began with a march from Bethnal Green in July

An Extinction Rebellion uprising in east London began with a march from Bethnal Green in July (Pic: Steve Eason/Flickr)


Climate activists across Britain are getting ready for a series of local “Rebel Risings” starting from this weekend.

Risings are planned in Aberdeen, Manchester, Borth, Cambridge, Devon, Brighton and three in London throughout August and September.

Organisers Extinction Rebellion (XR) are billing training events as “mini festivals of radical ideas” full of talks, teach-ins and workshops about the climate emergency and how to get involved in action.

At the event in south east London this weekend, activists are planning a host of activities on Blackheath Common.

The group said, “We will be protesting over council and government investment in the fossil fuel industry and its effects on life in the oceans, on the land, and to communities and people in the Global South.

“Lewisham, Bromley and Greenwich collectively invest £160 million of our money in the fossil fuel industry. Come and join us in telling the truth and demanding change.”

On Sunday there will be a “new black death procession,” where protesters will don funeral clothes and march towards the National Maritime Museum.

Rebels will be updated on the latest from the campaign to stop the Silvertown tunnel.

Campaigners “swarmed” a roundabout near London’s Blackwall tunnel last Friday to protest against plans to build the new tunnel.

The proposed construction would add to problems at one of London’s worst hotspots.

Asthma

Residents in the boroughs of Newham and Greenwich already suffer some of the highest levels of air pollution and highest numbers of children with asthma in Britain.

Local campaigns against this billion pound project go back six years.

The Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition has increased its activity this year. Campaigners have taken letters and petitions to City Hall challenging London’s Labour mayor Sadiq Khan’s decision to go ahead with the tunnel.

Protesters in Newham who joined the XR swarm were given new hope that the project could be blocked.

Victoria Rance, coordinator of Stop the Silvertown Tunnel, said, “The first driver I spoke to had driven her son to hospital with an asthma attack the evening before.

“She thanked us for our action.”

XR’s direct actions appeal to wide layers of people who are frustrated at the lack of progress over climate change.

Joseph had come down from Cambridge to join the protest. “This is great actually creating change,” he said. “I have learnt so much since becoming involved.”

Many protesters felt the action was a success, and argued for similar actions on a bigger scale.

Stop the Silvertown Tunnel has challenged Transport for London’s (TfL) backing of the project.

It dismissed TfL’s traffic and pollution forecasts as “an elaborate fiction designed to draw attention away from the fact that the cost-benefit analysis for the scheme doesn’t make sense”.

The matter is urgent. The contracts with RiverLnx Consortium are due to be signed by the end of this month.

Thanks to Miriam Scharf

For more details on the Rebel Risings to go to bit.ly/RebelRisings

All out on 20 September

School strikers are piling pressure on adults to join them in a strike for the climate on 20 September.

In Bristol, strikers have written to Labour mayor Marvin Rees and city councillors calling for a wave of action on the day.

It called for the council to work with schools and employers to allow as many workers and students as possible to join a city centre rally.

“We have just 12 years left to save our planet from climate catastrophe,” it read. “Please support our youth in their efforts to prevent disaster.”

In Sheffield, school strikers are busy painting banners to drop around the town in preparation for the day.

And in Southwark, south London, trade unionists have written to the council.

They are demanding it “sound the alarm in all its buildings and encourage workers to go out on the streets to stand in solidarity with people and planet.”

There’s only six weeks left until 20 September—a day likely to be the biggest worldwide mobilisation for the climate ever.

Workers should be fighting now to see what kind of strike, stoppage or protest they can organise in their workplace.


A fracking failure for Cuadrilla

Fossil fuel firm Cuadrilla is running into more problems as it tries to restart fracking at its Preston New Road (PNR) site in Lancashire.

Fracking pumps water, chemicals and sand at a high pressure into rock formations—which releases trapped gas and causes devestating damage to the environment.

“Sleeves” are opened by Cuadrilla when it wants to release fracking fluid, and closed when not in operation.

But mechanical failures at the site mean that two sleeves have been constantly open at the PNR1z well since November 2018.

It tried to seal the sleeves with concrete earlier this year.

And last week the firm reportedly told the PNR community liaison group that a more recent attempt to fix the problem failed.

The firm is preparing to frack its second well at the site.

It wants an 18-month extension of its planning permission so it could complete fracking of both wells.


Are UN talks heading for Glasgow?

Glasgow could be the host city of the next stage of key United Nations (UN) climate change talks.

Italy and Britain have launched a joint bid to co-host the Cop26 talks, set to take place at the end of 2020.

The talks are due to be to be the biggest gathering since 2015’s Paris talks.

Italy has applied to hold the preliminary meeting with Glasgow being Britain’s choice to host over 30,000 delegates.

There will need to be a huge movement to demand that politicians take seriously the climate emergency facing us all.


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