Extinction Rebellion: Why do they Rebel?

Why do they Rebel? They say it’s because the current system of governance is corrupt, unfit for purpose and that it fails to address the issues currently facing our generation.

We’ve all seen the videos on social media. A group of in-experienced teenage activists take to the roundabout at Trafalgar Square and attempt to bring London to a standstill. They do so in the name of Climate Justice. But these groups; Extinction Rebellion, Animal Rebellion and now Beyond Politics, are they not just using a cause’ as a justifiable means to wreak havoc on the streets of London?

Before the world became obsessed with COVID and staying locked up indoors, Roger Hallam and Extinction Rebellion were encouraging people to go outside and “fight for our future”. They believe the Conservative Government isn’t doing enough to prepare for the tipping points in the climate system, biodiversity loss, as well as combatting against the risk of social and ecological collapse.

As a collective, they feel as though the most effective way to lobby is via the means of nonviolent civil disobedience. This has consisted of road blockades, but also activists chaining themselves to the gates of parliament, glueing their hands to the side of a London Underground train and covering the streets of Whitehall in ‘fake blood’.

In their eyes, all of these methods of activism are well justified and effective. Now I certainly agree with the latter. It’s incredibly effective, especially if their goal is to whip up a media frenzy about their latest escapade. But justified. Nope, sorry.

I’ve always believed there are two types of politics. On the one hand, you have the activists, lobbying groups and collectives who are campaigning and pushing their agenda. Meanwhile, on the other side, you have the administrators. The MP’s, Lords, Civil Servants. Their job is to assess all the issues currently facing our country and prioritise them as best as they can to reach a consensus in which the majority of the population is content with.

So, as Extinction Rebellion takes to the streets today, remember they do indeed have their place in our political debate. They have been a handy vehicle in lobbying the conversation of climate change. However, what that doesn’t mean is that they have the right to go around terrorising party HQ’s, blocking ambulance’s, police and fire engines from doing their job as well as preventing hard-working individuals from getting to work.

We all worry about the future of our planet. But instead of trying to become the modern-day ‘Suffragettes’, why can’t XR and Beyond Politics focus on arranging meetings with parliamentarians and members in the House of Lords? And on top of that, why don’t they consider putting forward candidates to stand in the next election?

Roger Hallam has created a movement, which has the potential to become a force for good and potentially change. However, I worry that he is quite happy with it being the vehicle of nuisance and disruption.