Extinction Rebellion (XR) concluded its “impossible rebellion” on Saturday after two weeks of actions, marches—and over 500 arrests.
Up to a thousand people joined a March for Nature in central London and groups affiliated to XR including, Animal Rebellion, Ocean Rebellion and XR Doctors all joined the protest.
Many of the rebels on Saturday said that they believed that the two weeks was a success.
Masud from Birmingham said that while numbers may not have been as large as other rebellions, people were still attracted to it by recent reports on the urgency of climate action. He also thought it had built on work by XR previously.
“We’ve been explicit about the need to rebel against the system, and that it is an emergency. I still think people are drawn to that,” he said.
Martha, a school student, said that the impact of Hurricane Ida is a stark reminder of the worsening climate crisis.
“Seeing a storm wreck a country like the US that is so rich is always shocking. I think it will really open people’s eyes,” she said.
Martha added that she and other students at her school are currently organising for the 24 September global climate strikes.
There was a celebratory atmosphere on the protest with rebels dressed up as bees, birds and even an elephant.
Activists carried signs with slogans such as “Can’t buy your way out of extinction” and “Stop the war on nature”.
The protest assembled in Trafalgar Square and marched to Hyde Park for a closing ceremony.
Many of the rebels on the march voiced their opinion about where XR should go next.
Gillian from London made it very clear that she thought that XR should first and foremost “follow the money”.
“We need to keep targeting finance and the banks. They are calling the shots and are leading us to disaster.”
Lola who had joined the protest from Tower Hamlets in east London told Socialist Worker that she thinks Covid-19 had an impact on the numbers who joined the rebellion.
But she also highlighted how important it is to build XR actions as big as possible.
“If we have enough people we can block whatever road we like, we can create much more disruption. Our goal should be to build this movement as big as possible,” she said.
Liam is a teacher and a member of the NEU union. He said workers should play an important part in the struggle for climate justice.
“As teachers we need to be pushing for climate education, make schools less polluted places and push for them to be net zero schools.
“Workers more largely should be more of focus for XR, there’s a lot we could bring to the movement,” he said.
Lola also added that while this week has been positive, XR must be part of the fight against the Tories’ protest-targeting police bill. Otherwise, future rebellions could face even more repression.
She said, “I’m worried that the police bill will go through. If it does we need to be ready. We need to make plans and think about how we can be even more disruptive next time.”
XR’s rebellion has successfully highlighted key climate issues. And there are intense debates about how to win system change and confront capitalism.
Socialists have to be part of this movement. They must argue for mobilisations around the global climate strike on 24 September and action focused on Glasgow’s Cop26 international climate conference in November.
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