As the October Rebellion struggles through the second week of action, the usual Establishment lackeys cast their slurs. The latest sponsored polls of public opinion purposefully opened the flood gates for the bile from deniers and reactionaries to pour out, damning the protesters for our very existence. At the same time, Police used s14 yesterday to ban all Extinction Rebellion (XR) activities in London and use Stop-and-Search (a bludgeoning tool of unaccountable power usually focussed upon Black people) to further muddy the public’s ability to differentiate between protester and terrorist.
It’s not as if we weren’t warned. The XR creed includes acceptance of law-breaking in order to ram home the point – we knew we’d face the wrath of the Establishment. Greta has repeated herself by tweeting today, “if standing up against Climate and ecological breakdown and for humanity is against the rules then the rules must be broken.” We have fought the Law and the Law has fought back.
What is more disturbing, and quite unnerving for quite a few compatriots in XR, is the apparent public hatred of us. The trolling is vicious, only to be expected, and XR activists are more than able to discern the rant from the real opposition. But there are far fewer vocal supporters. The usual “lefty” celebrities have gained notoriety, from anti-War Jane Fonda to wildlife’s Chris Packham, but it is hard to see any groundswell of popular support. More vitally, there is little sign of defence of our tactics.
Is it that people don’t want to know, that the message of the 6th Great Extinction and coming Climate Catastrophe is too scary? Or is it actual disbelief? We have always suffered from the false news of the media ideologues, painting all things as the best of all possible worlds. Yet this has never prevented revolt nor indeed revolution when the conditions are met – polarised society, economic hardship of the masses, flagrant opulence of the Rulers. It would appear that there is sharp political opposition to the notion of climate change that is gaining ground despite our best efforts.
Humanity has been warned of the coming human-made climate crisis for a very long time. Svante Arrhenius calculated the cumulative effects of human-induced climate change back in 1896, getting very close to predicting what is happening right now, if expected to occur in “a few thousand years”. In 1898, Thomas Chamberlain summarised his research into the rising carbon emissions as returning the planet to a climate similar to the Middle Tertiary Age, with sea extension and climatic intensification.
In 1964 I was part of a classroom project on climate change in my primary school. Pollution may have been the focus, but global heating was on the curriculum. And 50 years ago today, in 1969, scientists formally warned President Johnson (no relation to Prime Minister Johnson) of the calamity predicted from increased C02 emissions by the year 2000: sea acidification, extreme weather, arctic melt, etc. Why, in the same year, Joni Mitchell even wrote songs about pollution and the extinction of the bees.
We have had 30 years of international political lobbying to stop greenhouse gas emissions. 20 years since the USA Vice President, Al Gore started spouting about the need for industry to clean itself up quick. The amazing growth in computer technology has offered 20 years of more and more accurate inspection of environmental conditions across all geographic areas, and the resultant modelling has produced extraordinary detailed predictions most of which have come to pass, just much earlier quicker and with greater severity than the micro-chips could imagine.
There is a hint of despair present. When humanity chooses so blatantly and aggressively to discount the facts, the warnings, the science and the vocal minority pointing at our own imminent extinction, what’s the point of fighting for survival? In my view, it is the enforced passivity and resulting sense of powerless of the majority that renders them hostile to the actions of the rebels. The fear, the anxiety, the emotional energy required to confront the facts and resolve to act all feel too great a challenge. And in such a condition of paralysis the human being has a tendency to resent those able and active around us.
The antidote to this is simple. We need a sufficient shout, a loud enough wailing, a critical mass of active protest calling-out in a single combined voice: Act Now! The October Rebellion must be seen as just a start, as a small-scale rehearsal for the Real Thing, indeed, as a polite whisper of concern before the cacophony of revolt to win-over the doubters and cast-aside the deniers. The Establishment should quake – they have been warned.
Wednesday 16th October 2019