Socialist Worker

XR climate rebellion ends with rage at financial system

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2722

Taking the message to the bankers heartland

Taking the message to the bankers' heartland (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Extinction Rebellion (XR) finished ten days of protests in London with a lively march on Thursday through the heart of the City financial district.

Hundreds of rebels marched from the Bank of England to Parliament Square in a final act of defiance—a spirit that has marked its third rebellion.

And there was a flurry of other protests throughout the capital.

Activists from the XR Youth wing glued on to the headquarters entrances of the Beowulf Mining firm.

Beowulf is responsible for mining gold and iron ore in Sweden. XR says this is disrupting the indigenous Sami people and damaging the local environment.

A protest in Oxford Street the day before saw a group from Extinction Rebellion Fashion Action lead a “guerilla repair” workshop teaching protesters how to mend clothes.

“The fashion industry urgently needs to clean up its act. Currently the cost of staying ‘on trend’ is having disastrous implications for our planet, but it doesn’t have to be this way,” said the group.

Also on Wednesday, dozens of protesters glued themselves to the gates of parliament to greet Boris Johnson when he arrived for prime minister’s question time.

They are fighting for parliament to debate and pass the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, put forward by Green MP Caroline Lucas, which is due to return to the Commons in March.

Anger at the media barons

Anger at the media barons (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Sue, a 78 year old rebel, said she was being arrested multiple times in an attempt to get the government to stick to the commitments it made at the Paris climate talks five years ago.

She implored Boris Johnson to, “Please, please, please put the climate emergency at the top of the agenda.

“It’s more important than anything, it’s more important than Covid, more important than the economy. Nothing is more important if we are to stop the catastrophe,” she said.

The cops have been less tolerant of the protests than on previous rebellions. They have allowed people to occupy roads for only short periods of time and have mostly restricted rebels to Parliament Square.

Despite a smaller rebellion than previously, home secretaryPriti Patel doubled down on XR this week.

In speech to the Police Superintendents’ Association on Tuesday she called the group’s tactics “A shameful attack on our way of life, our economy and the livelihoods of the hard working majority.”

“The very criminals who disrupt our free society must be stopped. And together we must all stand firm against the guerrilla tactics of XR,” she said.

Rebelling against the system
Rebelling against the system
  Read More

But the real criminals are the Tory government—a nasty cabal of millionaires deliberately delaying on delivering action on the climate.

They defend a death-dealing system.

On the same day XR marched through the City, a report from the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London said wildlife populations are in freefall around the world.

On average, global populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles plunged by 68 percent between 1970 and 2016.

Multiple fires continue to consume parts of the west coast of the US. The governor of Oregon has declared a wildfire emergency after two towns were burnt to the ground and thousands of residents were ordered to evacuate.

Large parts of Senegal, west Africa, this week saw three months of normal rainfall in just seven hours leading to widespread floods. Rescue workers say at least four people died.

It will take more rebellion—on an even bigger scale, involving increasing numbers of people—to win the change we need.


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