The state is so worried about Extinction Rebellion (XR) it has included the direct action group in its Prevent strategy.
The November 2019 “safeguarding document” from the Counter Terrorism Policing South East also lists school climate strikers.
An earlier version of the document—reported in Socialist Worker in September 2019—included XR, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and groups such as Stand Up To Racism, Unite Against Fascism and the Socialist Workers Party.
The “Prevent duty” means that public sector workers, such as teachers, have to report people who “may be vulnerable to being drawn into extremism”.
XR is threatening legal action to remove its name from the briefing.
Lawyer Jules Carey called the group’s inclusion “clearly unlawful”.
“It is extraordinary that Counter Terrorism Policing South East have added Extinction Rebellion to the list of terrorist groups and extremist organisations that the Prevent strategy was set up to deal with,” he said.
But while Prevent’s remit may include environmental activists and socialists, its primary aim is to spy on Muslims. Meanwhile a long-awaited review of Prevent is being delayed again as its chair, Lord Carlile, was forced to step down because of allegations of bias.
The problem with Prevent isn’t just that XR has been added to it—but that Prevent exists at all.