Title: The Spiky Fluffy Debate: Reflections on the Extinction Rebellion Event
Opening shot of London streets bustling with cars and people.
Narrator: In 2019, the Extinction Rebellion movement took the world by storm with its call for urgent action on climate change. Thousands of people took to the streets, demanding that governments take concrete steps to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis. But did the movement live up to its promise?
Cut to an interview with a protester.
Protester: I went to the #XR event thinking that they might have learned from the history of activism about how not to be pointless.
Narrator: Our protagonist went to the event with high hopes, hoping for a clever and spiky fluffy debate that would challenge the status quo. But what did they find?
Cut to footage of the Extinction Rebellion event.
Narrator: Our protagonist found a diversity of #fluffy “education” spaces being pushed over by cars and tourists. The dominant outreach was all dogmatic and fluffy, with NGOs asking the government to act. There was no consensus for direct action, and the police moved the protesters back into narrow “permitted” penned-in spaces.
Protester: The only feeling of empowerment was when people overflowed onto the roads and blocked the traffic for a time. But there was no consciousness for this.
Narrator: The second day was the same, with a very slow A to B march and middle-class protesters in animal costumes. The demands went into the government, and a few days later, they were ignored.
Protester: Hundreds of millions of people are going to die, and billions will be displaced over the next few decades, and this was it?
Narrator: Our protagonist met with the original core UK Indymedia crew, who gave him some background on how the event was organized. The outcome of the NGO meetings was a diversity of strategies, starting with four days of fluffy asking for action, followed by a week of #spicy traditional non-violent direct action led by the “just stop oil” group. But this plan was nowhere to be seen during the event.
Cut to footage of the tiny “just stop oil” tent at the event.
Narrator: Our protagonist searched everywhere for announcements and people making this good plan happen but found nothing. The diversity of tactics was becoming an obvious fig leaf for the NGO crew to push their pointless agenda.
Protester: If any spicy actions came after the government ignored the fluffy demo, then it was not going to get supported.
Narrator: In the end, the event was a disappointment, with no concrete action or plans for the future.
Closing shot of the London streets.
Narrator: The Extinction Rebellion movement may have brought attention to the climate crisis, but without concrete action and a plan for the future, will it make any difference? The spiky fluffy debate may have sparked hope, but it remains to be seen if it will lead to real change.
I went to the #XR event thinking that they might have learned from the history of activism how not to be pointless. Our online media is very broken so from the information I received I got the impression the might be a clever spiky fluffy debate at the “bigone demo” I was hearing different views with no “facts” in the weeks up to the event I was wondering if I should bring a tents as the was a vibe (hope) that it might be something more than a A to B march. People had said that the were going to take the space around parliament and then refuse to move in till the government excepted the need to do something real about climatechaos. I tried reaching out and searching online to see if something affective like this was planned, but could not find any “facts” or real information.
The dominant outreach was all dogmatic fluffy #NGO path of asking the “government” to act, which was so obviously not going to work that I kept my belief that people could not be this stupid and self-defeating agen. So I keep looking for information that something useful is being planned, I did not find any. So gave up the idea of joining an occupation and instead of a tent and supply’s I packed a small bag full of camera gear and headed to London.
On all the media I use and subscribe to I could not find any info on the event, turning up on the first day people started to arrive, it was a diversity of #fluffy “education” spaces being pushed over by cars and the tourists, the only feeling of empowerment was when people overflowed onto the roads and blocked the traffic for a time, this provided a blessed moment of peace and brought focus free from the car noise, but the was no conciseness for this and the stewards and police moved the people back into narrow “permitted” penned in spaces and the noise and repression of car culture was back to take away our small sense of empowerment.
This was the first day.
The second day more people came, the same #fluffy “education” spaces and a very slow A to B march. It was nice to see the middle classes in their animal costumes, people had gathered, a good thing. But that was it, we were given a bit more space by the police. Our “demands” went into the government, and a few days latter they were ignored.
The were a few more days, I did not go, but from the little I found on my media it was the same.
Earlier at the event I met 3 or the original core UK indymedia crew, they gave me some background on the process of how we ended up repeating such an obviously pointless event in such a time of need for action. It turns out the had been months of #NGO meetings to move the event away from confrontation to being one of “asking for action”, the outcome from the #NGO side was a diversity of stratageys – there would be 4 days of fluffy – the ask – then if (well obviously when) this was ignored there would be a week of #spicy (a new term for #spiky) traditional non-violent direct action #XR protests led by the “just stop oil group”. This was not a bad plan, I was kinda of impressed, a good working example of the spiky fluffy debate, I thought in a moment of hope.
So during the event, I looked everywhere for announcements and people making this good plan happen. I found nothing, what I did find was a tiny “just stop oil” tent, with some teenagers shadowed between the big pushy NGO tents. Agen I was disappointed this “diversity of tactics” was becoming an obvious a fig leaf for the #NGO crew to push there pointless agenda, if any spicy actions came after the government ignored the fluffy demo then it was not going to get supported.
Agen I looked on my media and could not find anything about these actions on Monday or Tuesdays in till my partner who is on Instagram said they were posting a video of a handful of people slow marching round London, this was it. I looked on my media agen but could not find anything about this, looked on XR website, nothing, looked on “just stop oil”, only a email list, telegram channel no information.
At this point I shrugged and though about making this video…
Hundreds of millions of people are going to die and billions will be displaced over the next few decades and this was it… this was it… really this was it?